Dom Casmurro

by Machado de Assis

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By the way, I do not take the sick from the bed without mentioning what happened to me. After five days, my mother was so upset that she ordered me to go to the seminary. In vain Uncle Cosme:

-May Gloria, you're scared for no reason, the fever goes on ...

-No! no! Send him to him! I may die, and my soul is not saved, if Bentinho is not at my side.

-Let's scare him.

"Well, do not tell him anything, but go look for him, already, do not delay.

They took care to be delirious; but, costing nothing to bring me, Jose Dias was entrusted with the message. He came in so stunned that it startled me. He told the rector in particular what was there, and I was granted leave to go home. In the street, we were silent, he did not change the pace of custom, -the premise before the consequence, the consequence before the conclusion, -but with his head down and sighing, I was afraid to read in his face some hard and definitive news. He had only spoken to me in sickness, as a simple business; but the call, the silence, the sighs could say something else. My heart was beating hard, my legs were wobbling, more than once I kept falling ...

The yearning to hear the truth was complicated in me with the fear of knowing. It was the first time that death had appeared to me so close, it enveloped me, it faced me with pierced dark eyes. The more I walked that Barbonos street, the more terrified I was to get home, to enter, to hear the tears, to see a dead body ... Oh! I could never expose here everything I felt in those terrible minutes. The street, no matter how Jose Dias walked superlatively slowly, seemed to run away under my feet, houses fluttered from one side to the other, and a horn that on that occasion touched the barracks of the Permanent Municipalities resounded in my ears like the trumpet of judgment Last.

I went, arrived at Arcos, I entered the street of Matacavallos. The house was not soon there, but far beyond that of the Invalides, near the Senate. Trez or four times, I might ask my companion, without daring to open my mouth; but now he had no such desire. I was just walking, accepting the worst, as a gesture of destiny, as a necessity of the human work, and it was then that the Hope, to fight the Terror, secreted to my heart, not these words, for nothing articulated like words, but an idea that could be translated by them: "Mama defunct, the seminary ends."

Reader, it was lightning. So quickly did it lighten the night, as it faded, and the darkness became more closed, by the effect of the remorse that remained to me. It was a suggestion of lust and selfishness. Affirmative piety fainted a moment, with the prospect of certain freedom, by the disappearance of the debt and the debtor; It was for an instant, less than an instant, the hundredth of an instant, still enough to complicate my affliction with remorse.

José Dias sighed. Once he looked at me so full of pity that he seemed to have guessed me, and I wanted to ask him not to tell anyone, to punish me, and so on. But the pain brought so much love that it could not be taken from my sin; but then it was always my mother's death ... I felt a great anguish, a lump in my throat, and I could not, I cried at once.

-What is it, Bentinho?


-No! no! What is this idea? The state of it is gravissimo, but it is not evil of death, and God could do everything. Wipe your eyes, it's ugly a good guy of your own to walk crying in the street. It has to be nothing, a fever ... The fevers, just as they give with force so also they leave ... With the fingers, no; Where is the handkerchief?

I wiped my eyes, though of all the words of Jose Dias one would remain in my heart; it was that very gravissimo. I saw afterwards that he only meant serious, but the use of the superlative makes the long mouth, and for the sake of the period, Jose Dias made my sadness grow. If you find in this book a case of the same family, let me know, reader, to amend it in the second edition; nothing is more ugly than giving long legs to brief ideas. I wiped my eyes, I repeat, and walked, anxious now to get home, and ask my mother for forgiveness of the bad thought I had. At last we came, we went in, I ascended the six steps of the stairs, and from there, leaning on the bed, I heard the tender words of my mother, who clasped my hands very tightly, calling me her son. It was burning, my eyes were burning in mine, all of it seemed consumed by an internal volcano. I knelt at the foot of the bed, but as it was tall, I stayed away from his caresses:

"No, my son, get up, get up!"

Capitú, who was in the alcove, liked to see my entrance, my gestures, words and tears, he told me later; but he did not naturally suspect all the causes of my affliction. Entering my room, I thought to tell my mother everything as soon as she was well, but this idea did not bite me, it was a pure velleity, an action I would never do, however much the sin would hurt me. Then, taken from remorse, I once again used my old way of spiritual promises, and asked God to forgive me and save my mother's life, and I would pray to him a thousand of our priests. Father you read me, forgive this resource; It was the last time I used it. The crisis in which I found myself, no less than custom and faith, explains everything. It was two thousand more; where were the ancients? I have not paid one or the other, but out of candida souls and true promises are like the fiduciary currency, - even if the debtor does not pay them, they are worth the money they say.


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