Dom Casmurro

by Machado de Assis

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IV - A Most Loving Duty!

José Dias loved the superlatives. It was a way of giving monumentality to ideas; not having them, serve to prolong the phrases. He got up to fetch the backgammon, which was inside the house. I clung to the wall a lot, and I saw him pass in his white sticking trousers, loops, wheel, and tie. It was the last ones that used loops in Rio de Janeiro, and maybe in this world. She wore her slacks so that they would stretch out. His black satin tie, with a steel rim inside, immobilized his neck; it was fashionable then. The cheetah-bearer, dressed lightly, looked like a coat of ceremony. He was thin, sucked, with a bald head; he would be fifty-five years old. He rose with the slow pace of the custom, not wandering dragged from the lazy, but a calculated and deduced wandering, a complete syllogism, the premise before the consequence, the consequence before the conclusion. A most loving duty!


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