THE LAST DAY - 1932
Paragraph extracted and translated from
Epilogue of an Idealist
The pensioner Antonio Mendes, 84 years of age, , was the last person to see him alive. On the day
of his suicide, Antonio took Dumont, of charrete, to the island that is in front of the Grande Hotel La Plage. During periods of very low
tides, it is possible to walk to the island on dry land.
"Dumont was calm and he did not give any indication that from there, in a few hours, he was going
to commit suicide. When he went down of charrete, he told me: "My invention will cause the ruin of the world.". "He was not
interested in conversation, and even if he were, it certainly would not be with me, a scamp 17 years of age, who would cause him to
change his mind."
Epílogo de um Idealista
"O aposentado Antônio Mendes, 84 anos, foi a última pessoa a vê-lo com vida. No dia do suicídio, Antônio levou Dumont , de charrete,
a ilha que fica em frente ao Shopping La Plage, há períodos em que é possível ir até a ilha a pé.
"Dumont estava sereno e não havia nenhum indício de que dali a poucas horas iria se matar. Quando desceu da charrete, comentou
comigo:"Eu inventei a desgraça do mundo". "Ele não era de muita conversa, e não seria comigo, um moleque de 17 anos que o
Editor's Note: I first became aware of this incident when my friend, Michael Nothenberg, told me that he known Antonio for many years
and that he had told him a little about the incident. Unfortunately, Antonio was very ill at the time and it was not possible to question him
for more details. Sad to say, in the interim, Antonio passed away and his version of the story was lost. Antonio's son was kind enough to
loan a photo of his father to Michael, which is the one you see at the top of this entry.
While I was searching for more information, I happened on this interview as reported on the
Epílogo de um Idealista webpage. I discovered that this page is only one of many on a website which
offers a very extensive coverage of Santos-Dumont's life and career. All but one of the many sections are written in Portuguese, but
with the help of the BabelFish translation program, it becomes an extremely valuable resource. It offers innumerable photographs which
are probably not available from any other single source.
You can access the homepage either from the Epílogo de um Idealista page or by clicking on: