Dom Casmurro

by Machado de Assis

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XCIII - For a Deceased Friend

As for the other person who had the obliterative force, it was my colleague Escobar who on Sunday, before noon, came to have Matacavallos. A friend had thus given me a dead man, and such a friend that for about five minutes he had my hand in his, as if he had not seen me since long months.

"Do you have dinner with me, Escobar?"

-I came to this.

My mother thanked him for the friendship he had with me, and he replied politely, though somewhat tied, as if he had no promising word. You saw that it was not so, the word obeyed him, but man is not always the same at all times. What he said, in short, was that I valued myself for my good qualities and improved education; in the seminary everyone loved me, nor could it stop being that way, he added. He insisted on education, on good examples, "the sweet and rare mother" that the sky gave me ... All this in a choked, trembling voice.

Everyone liked him. I was as happy as if Escobar were my invention. Jose Dias gave him two superlatives, Uncle Cosme with two cloaks, and Cousin Justina did not find fault with him; then, yes, on the second or third Sunday, she came and confessed to me that my friend Escobar was a bit thick and had police eyes that escaped nothing.

"It's his eyes," I explained.

I do not say they belong to another.

"They are reflected eyes, Uncle Cosimo said.

"Probably," said Jose Dias, "but it may be that Mrs. D. Justina has a point." The truth is that one thing does not prevent another, and reflection fits very well with natural curiosity. It seems curious, it seems, but ...

"He seems to be a very good boy," said my mother.

"Right! confirmed José Dias not to disagree with it.

When I mentioned to Escobar that opinion of my mother (without telling her the others of course) I saw that his pleasure was extraordinary. She thanked me, saying that they were kindnesses, and she also praised my mother, a grave, distinguished lady and a very young lady.

"I was forty already," I said, vaguely, out of vanity.

-It's not possible! exclaimed Escobar. Forty years! It does not look like thirty; She is very young and beautiful. Also, someone has to go out with those eyes that God gave him; are exactly the della. Has it been for many years?

I told her what I knew of her and my father's life. Escobar listened attentively, asking more, asking for an explanation of missing or dark passages. When I told him that I remembered nothing of the land, so little had come, he told me two or three reminiscences of his three years of age, still fresh now. And did not we expect to return to the countryside?

"No, we will not be back now. Look, that black man who's passing by is from there. Thomaz!


We were in the garden of my house, and the Negro was on duty; He came to us and waited.

"He's married," I said to Escobar. Maria, where are you?

"You're sticking corn, yes, sir.

"Do you still remember the garden, Thomaz?"

"Remember, yes, sir."

-Well, go away.

I showed another, another, and still another, this Pedro, that Jose, that other Damião ...

"All the letters of the alphabet," interrupted Escobar.

As a matter of fact, they were different letters, and only then did I notice this; I also pointed out other slaves, some with the same names, distinguished by an appellido, or person, such as João Fulo, Maria Gorda, or nation like Pedro Benguella, Antonio Moçambique ...

"And they're all here at home?" he asked.

-No, some are out on the street, others are rented. It was not possible to have everyone at home. Nor are they all in the field; most of it stayed there.

"What amazes me is that Dona Gloria was soon accustomed to living in the city, where everything is tight; the one there is of course great.

"I do not know, but it does. Mama has other houses bigger than this one; but he says he must die here. The others are rented. Some of them are very big, like the street in Quitanda ...

"I know that; It's beautiful.

-It's also in Rio Comprido, in Cidade-Nova, one on Cattete ...

"You will not lack ceilings," he concluded, smiling sympathetically.

We walked to the bottom. We passed the wash-house; he paused there for a moment, looking at the stone of clattering and making thoughts about the cleanliness; then we continued. What the reflections did not remind me of now; just remind me that I found them ingenious, and laughed, and he laughed too. My joy was with him, and the sky was so blue, and the air so clear, that nature seemed to laugh with us as well. So are the good hours of this world. Escobar confessed this accordo of the intern with the external, by words so fine and high that they moved to me; then, for the purpose of the moral beauty that fits physically, he spoke again of my mother, "an angel doubled," he said.

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