Dom Casmurro

by Machado de Assis

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LXI - The Homer Vaccine

The plus was plenty. I saw the first days of separation leave, hard and opaque, yet the words of comfort given me by priests and seminarians, and those of my mother and uncle Cosme brought by José Dias to the seminary.

"Everyone is longing," said he, "but the greatest longing is naturally in the greatest of hearts; and what is he? he asked, writing the reply in his eyes.

"Mother, I came.

Jose Dias shook my hands with excitement, and then he painted the sadness of my mother, who talked about me every day, almost every hour. As I always approached her and added a word to the gifts God had given me, my mother's fading on these occasions was indescribable; and told me all this full of a tearful admiration. Uncle Cosme was also very fond of it.

"There's even an interesting case. Having told Excellentissima that God had given him, not a son, but an angel of the sky, the doctor was so moved that he could find no other way to overcome the crying than by making me one of those compliments of gallantry that only he knows. It goes without saying that Dona Gloria furtively wiped away a tear. Or she was not a mother! What a heart, my love!

-But, Mr. José Dias, and my departure from here?

-This is my business. The trip to Europe is what it takes, but it could be done in one or two years, in 1859 or 1860 ...

-So late!

"It was better this year, but we gave time to time. Have patience, go study, do not miss anything to go knowing something here from here; and, still, not finishing priest, the life of the seminary is useful, and it is always worth entering the world anointed with the holy oils of theology ...

At this point, "he reminds me as if it were today," Jose Dias's eyes flashed so intensely that they filled me with astonishment. The eyelids fell afterwards, and so they remained for a few moments, until they rose again, and their eyes fixed on the wall of the stage, as if they were soaked in something, if not in themselves; then they broke off the wall and began to wander around the whole boot. I could compare it here to Homer's vacancy; he walked and moaned around the baby he had just given birth. I did not ask him what he had, because of shyness, because two glasses, one of theology, were coming toward us. As they passed us, the guest, who knew them, courted them with the appropriate deference, and asked them for news of me.

"For now nothing could be made," said one of them, "but it looks like he'll take care of the hand."

"That's what I told you right now," said Jose Dias. I'm counting on hearing the new Mass; but even if he does not get his order, he could not have better studies than he does here. For the journey of existence, he concluded by delaying more words, he will anoint with the holy oils of theology ...

This time the eyes were dimmed, the eyelids did not fall, nor did the pupils make the previous movements. On the contrary, all of it was attention and questioning; at most, a clear, friendly smile eroded his lips. The lens of theology liked the metaphora, and said it lh'o; he thanked her, explaining that they were ideas that escaped him in the course of the conversation; neither wrote nor prayed. I did not like it at all; and as soon as the glasses were gone, I shook my head.

"I do not want to know the holy oils of theology; I want to get out of here as soon as I can, or ...

"Oh, my angel, it could not be; but it may have happened sooner than we imagined. Who knows if this same year 58? I have a plan made, and I already think in the words with which I will expose it to D. Gloria; I'm sure she'll give in and go with us.

"I doubt that Mom will board."

-We'll see. Mother is capable of everything; but with her or without her, I'm sure our going, and there will be no effort that I do not employ, let it be. Patience is what it takes. And do not do anything here that would lead to censure or complaint; a lot of docility and all the apparent satisfaction. Did not you hear the eulogy of the lens? And that you have behaved well. Keep going.

"But, 1859 or 1860, it's too late.

"It will be this year," replied Jose Dias.

"Three months from now?"

-Or six.

-No; three months

-Yes, yes. I have now a plan, which seems better to me than any other. It is to combine the absence of ecclesiastical vocation and the need to change the air. Why do not you cough?

"Why not tusso?"

"No, I will not, but I will tell you to cough, when I need, little by little, a dry cough, and some annoyance; I will prepare the Excellentissima ... Oh! all this is for her benefit. Since the child could not serve the church, how it should be served, the best way to accomplish the will of God is to dedicate it to something else. The world is also a church for the good ...

It seemed to me once again that Homer was vaccinated, as if this "world is also a church for the good," was another calf, brother of the "holy oils of theology." But I did not spare the maternal tenderness, and I replied:

-Oh! I understand! Show me that I'm sick to board, is not it?

Jose Dias hesitated a little, then explained:

"To show the truth, because, frankly, Bentinho, I've been suspicious of you for months. You do not walk well from the chest. As a child, he had a fever and a snoring ... Everything happened, but there are days when he is more discolored. I do not say that it is already evil, but evil can come quickly. At an hour falls to the house. So if that holy lady does not want to go with us, or to go faster, I think a good cough ... If the cough is to come from the truth, it is better to hasten it ... Let it be, I warn you ...

"Well, I'm not going to get out of here soon; I leave first, then we'll take care of the shipment; the shipment could stay for the year. Do not say the best time is April or May? Well be it May. First I leave the seminary, two months from now ...

And because the word was making my throat clear in my throat, I turned around quickly, and asked him at once:

-Capitú, how's it going?


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