Dom Casmurro

by Machado de Assis

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CXXIV - The Speech

- Come on, it's time ...

It was José Dias who invited me to close the coffin. Fechámol-o, and I took one of the rings; broke the final whine. When I arrived at the door, I saw the clear sun, all the people and the cars, the heads uncovered, I had one of my impulses that never got to the execution: it was to shoot the street box, dead and everything. In the car he told José Dias to shut up. In the cemetery I had to repeat the ceremony of the house, untie the straps, and help carry the feretro to the grave. What this cost me imagines. They lowered the corpse to the grave, brought the lime and the shovel; You know that, you will have gone to more than one funeral, but what you do not know nor could know of any of your friends, reader, or any other stranger, is the crisis that made me when I saw all eyes on me, feet still, and after a few moments of complete silence, a vague whisper, some interrogative voices, signs, and someone, Jose Dias, who said to me in my ear:

-So talk.

It was the speech. They wanted the speech. They were entitled to the discourse that was announced. Machinally, I put my hand in my pocket, took out the paper, and read it to the clutches, not all, neither followed nor clear; the voice seemed to come in instead of coming out, my hands trembled. It was not just the new emotion that made me like this, it was the text itself, the memories of the friend, the longing confessed, the praises to the person and his merits; all this I was obliged to say and say evil. At the same time, fearing that they would guess the truth to me, I strove to hide it well. I think few people have listened to me, but the general gesture was one of understanding and approbation. The hands that they gave me to tighten were of solidarity; some said, "Very handsome! very well! Jose Dias thought that eloquence had been in the height of piety. One man, who seemed to me to be a journalist, asked me to take the manuscript and print it. Only my great turbidity would refuse such a simple gift.


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