Dom Casmurro

by Machado de Assis

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LIV - Panegyrico of Santa Maria

No seminar ... Ah! I will not tell the seminar, nor would I have a chapter. No, sir, my friend; some day, yes, it is possible that I compose an abbreviation of what I saw and lived there, of the people I treated, of customs, of everything else. This scabbard of writing, when picked up at the age of fifty, does not take off anymore. In youth it is possible to cure a man of it; and, without going any further, right here in the seminary I had a companion who compose verses, in the manner of those of Junqueira Freire, whose poet friar's book was recent. He was ordained: I met him in Saint Peter's court and asked him to show me the new verses.

"What verses?" he asked, startled.

-Yours. Because you do not remember that in the seminary ...

-Oh! he smiled.

He smiled, and continuing to look in an open book for the time he had to sing the next day, he confessed to me that he had not done any more verses after being ordained. It was youthful tickling; it scratched, it went, it was good. And he spoke to me in prose of an infinity of things of the day, the expensive life, a sermon of the priest X ... a Minas Gerais vigairaria ...

Contrary to this was a seminarian who did not pursue a career. It was called ... No need to say the name; suffice the case. He had composed a Panegyrico of Santa Monica, praised by some people and then read among the seminarians. He obtained a license to print it, and dedicated it to St. Augustine. All this is old history; what is younger is that one day, in 1882, going to see a certain business in naval division, there I found this colleague, made head of an administrative section. He had left a seminary, left letters, married, and forgotten everything except the Panegyrico of Santa Monica, some twenty-nine pages, which he had distributed throughout life. As I needed some information, I went to ask them, and it would be impossible to find any better or more prompting; gave me everything, of course, right, copious. Of course we talked about the past, people's memories, case studies, incidents of nothing, a book, a verb, a motto, all the old stuff came out here, and we laughed together, and we sighed in company. We lived some time in our old seminary. Or because they were from him, or because we were young, the memories brought such a power of happiness that, if any contrary shadow happened then, it did not appear now. Elle confessed that he had lost sight of all the companions of the seminary.

"Me, almost everyone; once ordained, returned naturally to their provinces, and those here took up their errands.

-Good time! he sighed.

And after some reflection, looking at me with dull and stubborn eyes, he asked me:

"Did you keep my Panegyrico?"

I did not think to say; I tried to move my lips, but I had no word; after all, I asked:

-Panegyrico? What a panegyric?

- My Panegyrico of Santa Monica.

He did not immediately remind me, but the explanation should suffice; and after a few moments of mental research, I replied that I had kept it for a long time, but the changes, the travels ...

"I'll bring you a copy."

Before twenty-four o'clock I was in my house, with the booklet, an old booklet of twenty-six years, grimy, stained of time, but without a gap, and with a handwritten and respectful dedication.

"And the penultimate copy," he told me; now I only have one, which I can not give to anyone.

And as he saw me leaf through the opusculo:

"See if you can remember a bit," he told me.

Twenty-six years of intervallo make friends die closer and assiduous, but it was cortezia, it was quasi charity to remember some lauda; I read one of them, accentuating certain phrases to give it the impression that they found echo in my memory. He agreed that they were beautiful, but he preferred others, and pointed them out.

"Do you remember well?"

-Perfectly. Panegyric of Santa Monica! How this brings me back to the years of my youth! I've never forgotten the seminary, believe me. The years pass, the events come over each other, and the sensations also, and new friends came, who also left later, as is the law of life ... For, my dear colleague, did not erase that time of our coexistence, the priests, the licenses, the recreations ... our recreations, remember? Father Lopes, oh! Father Lopes ...

Elle, with her eyes in the air, must have been listening, and of course she listened, but she only said a word to me, and yet after some quiet time, looking up and sighing!

"You're very pleased with my Panegyrico!"


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