Dom Casmurro

by Machado de Assis

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LXIX - The Mass

One of the gestures that best express my essence was the devotion with which I ran on Sunday to hear Mass in St. Anthony of the Poor. The guest wanted to go with me, and he began to dress, but he was so slow in the braces and the loops that I could not wait for him. Besides, I wanted to be alone. I felt the need to avoid any conversation that would divert my thinking from the end I was going to, and it was to reconcile myself to God, after what happened in chapter LXVII. Nor was it only to ask him forgiveness of sin, he was also grateful for the restoration of my mother, and, since I say everything, make him renounce the payment of my promise. Yahweh, though divine, or even more so, is a much more humane Rothschild, and does not make moratoria, forgive the debts in full, once the debtor wants to mend life and cut off the expenses. Why, I wanted nothing else; dalli in deante would not make any more promises than he could pay, and he would pay them soon.

I heard Mass; in raising God, I thanked the life and health of my mother; then I asked for forgiveness of the sin and relief of the debt, and I received the final blessing of the officiant as a solemn act of reconciliation. In the end, he reminded me that the church established in the confessionary a secure registry, and in the most authentic confession of the instruments for the adjustment of moral accounts between man and God. But my incorrigible shyness closed that door for me; I feared I could find no words to tell the confessor my secret. How the man changes! Today I get to publish it.


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