Dom Casmurro

by Machado de Assis

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II - About the Book

Now that I've explained the title, I'll start writing the book. Before that, though, let's say the reasons that put the penna in my hand.

I live alone, with a created one. The house in which I live is my own; fil-a to build purpose, taken from a desire so particular that vexa imprimil-o, but go there. One day, a few years ago, he reminded me to reproduce in the New Factory the house in which I grew up on the old street of Matacavallos, giving it the same appearance and economy as the other, which disappeared. Constructor and painter understood well the indications that I made them: it is the same estate built, three windows of front, balcony in the background, the same alcoves and rooms. In the main of these, the painting of the ceiling and walls is more or less similar, wreaths of small flowers and large birds that take them in the beaks, from space to space. In the four corners of the ceiling the figures of the seasons, and to the center of the walls the medallions of Cesar, Augusto, Nero and Massinissa, with the names below ... I can not reach the reason of these characters. When we went to Matacavallos's house, she was already decorated; came from the previous decade. Of course it was time taste metter taste classic and old figures in American paintings. The more is also analogous and similar. I have a henchman, flowers, vegetables, a casuarina, a well and a washing machine. Use old crockery and old furniture. In short, now, as elsewhere, there is the same contrast of the interior life, which is quiet, with the outside, which is noisy.

My obvious purpose was to tie the two ends of life together, and restore adolescence to old age. Well, sir, I could not make up what I was or what I was. In everything, if the face is equal, the physionomia is different. If only I were lacking the others, go; a man consoles himself more or less of the people he loses; but I miss myself, and this gap is everything. What is here is, barely comparing, similar to the painting that is put on the beard and hair, and which only preserves the external habit, as it is said in the autopsies; the inner can not take ink. A certificate that gave me twenty years of age could deceive strangers, like all false documents, but not me. The friends that I have left are of recent date; all the ancients went to study the geology of the holy fields. As for friends, some date fifteen years, others less, and almost all believe in youth. Two or three would believe them to others, but the language they speak requires a great deal of time to consult dictionaries, and such frequency is canker.

However, different life does not mean worse life; is another thing. In certain respects, this ancient life appears to me stripped of the many charms I have found; but it is also true that she lost a great deal of thorn that made her upset, and by memory I have some sweet and witchlike memory. In truth, I do not appear and speak least. Rare distractions. Most of the time is spent in gardening, gardening and reading; as well and do not sleep badly.

Now, how it all goes, this monotony has exhausted me too. It might vary, and it reminded me to write a book. Jurisprudence, philosophy and politics came to me, but the necessary forces did not come to me. Then I thought of making a History of the Suburbs, less dry than the memoirs of Father Luiz Gonçalves dos Santos, concerning the city; was a modest work, but it required documents and dates, as preliminaries, all arid and long. It was then that the busts painted on the walls began to speak to me and to tell me that, since they could not reconstruct my times, I would take the penna and count some of them. Perhaps the narration would give me the illusion, and the shadows would pass lightly, as to the poet, not the train, but that of Faust: Here you come again, restless shadows ...?

I was so happy with this idea, that even now I tremble the penna in the hand. Yes, Nero, Augustus, Massinissa, and you, great Cesar, who incites me to make my comments, I thank you for the advice, and I am going to put to the paper the reminiscences that come to me. In this way I will live what I have lived, and I will lay my hand on some work of greater volume. Let's begin the evocation for a famous November afternoon, which has never forgotten me. I had many more, better, and worse, but it never disappeared from my mind. That's what you'll understand, reading.


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