Dom Casmurro

by Machado de Assis

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

XLI - A Secret Audience

The rest made me stay in the hall for some time, thinking. I saw Doctor Joao da Costa come in, and the custom voltarete was soon prepared. My mother left the room, and, taking me in, asked if she had accompanied him. "No, ma'am, she was alone. E almost investing for her: "Mama, I wanted to tell you something. -What is? All frightened, she wanted to know what it is that hurts me, if her head, if her breast, if I stomach it, and she palpates my forehead to see if she has a fever. "I have nothing, no, ma'am. "But then what is it?" "It's a good thing, Mama. But listen, look, it's better after tea; soon ... It's not bad at all; Mother is frightened by everything; it is not a matter of care. "Is not it annoying?" "No, ma'am. "Yeah, that's about constipation. You disguise yourself not to drink sweat, but you are constipated; it is known by the voice. I tried to laugh, to show that I had nothing. She did not allow me to delay the conversation, she took me, took me to her room, lit the candle, and ordered me to tell her everything. So I asked him, to begin, when did he go to the seminary. "Only for the year after the vacation." -I'm ... to stay? - How to stay? "I'm not coming home?" -Back to the Saturdays and vacations; is better. When you order yourself priest, you come to live with me. I wiped my eyes and nose. Ella stroked me, then quizzed me, but I think her voice shook, and it seemed to me that her eyes were wet. I told him that he also felt our separation. He denied it was separation; it was just some absence because of the studies; only the first few days. In a short time I would become accustomed to the companions and the masters, and would end up enjoying living with them. "I just like Mommy. There was no calculation in this word, but I esteemed it, because it made me believe that it was my only affair; he deflected the suspicions from above Capitú. How many vicious intentions have they so embarked, midway, in an innocent and pure phrase! It even makes one suspect that lying is often as involuntary as perspiration. On the other hand, my dear reader, I note that I wanted to deflect suspicions from above Capitú, when I had called my mother just to confirm them; but the contradictions are of this world. The truth is that my mother was a candida as the first dawn, before the first sin; nor by intuition could deduce one thing from another, that is, I would not conclude from my sudden opposition that I would walk in secrets with Capitú, as Jose Dias had said to him. He was silent for a moment; then he replied to me without imposition or authority, which seemed to encourage me to resist. Then I told him about the vocation that had been discussed that afternoon, and which I confessed not to feel in me. "But you were so fond of being a priest," she said; Do not you remember that you even asked to go and see the seminarians of St. Joseph in their cassocks? At home, when Jose Dias called you Reverendissimo, you laughed so fondly! How now ...? I do not think so, Bentinho. And then ... Vocation? But the vocation comes with custom, he continued, repeating the reflections he had heard from my Latin teacher. As I sought to contest it, he reproached me without harshness, but with some strength, and I rendered the submissive son that he was. Then he spoke gravely and longingly about the promise he had made; he did not tell me the circumstances, or the occasion, or the motives of it, things which I came to know only later. He affirmed the principal, that is, that he would fulfill it, in payment to God. "Our Lord has come to me, saving your existence, I shall not lie to you, nor will I lack you, Bentinho; are things that are not done without sin, and God who is great and powerful, would not leave me like this, no, Bentinho; I know I would be punished and well punished. Being a priest is good and holy; you know many, like Father Cabral, who lives so happy with his sister; an uncle of mine was also a priest, and he escaped being a bishop, they say ... Leave it to yourself, Bentinho. I believe that the eyes I laid on her were so plaintive that she immediately amended the word; No, no, it could not be morning, she knew very well that I was her friend, and I would not be able to fake a feeling I did not have. Molly is what I wanted to say, to let me out of my hair, to make me a man and obey what I did, for the benefit of her and for the sake of my soul. All these things and others were said a little hurriedly, and the voice was not clear, but veiled and drawn. I saw that the emotion of it was once again great, but it did not retreat from its purpose, and I ventured to ask it: "What if Mom asked God to give her the promise?" "No, I will not. Are you dizzy, Bentinho? And how could I know that God would spare me? "Maybe in a dream; I dream sometimes with angels and saints. "Me too, a son; but it's useless ... Come on, it's late; lets go to the room. It is understood: on the first or second month of next year, you will go to the seminary. What I want is for you to know the books you are studying well; is beautiful, not only for you, but for Father Cabral. In the seminary you are interested in knowing yourself, because Father Cabral speaks of you with enthusiasm. He walked to the door, we left both. Before she left, she turned to me, and almost saw her jump into my lap and tell me she would not be a priest. This was already his intimate desire, as time approached. It was a way of paying off the counterpart debt, another currency, which was worth so much or more, and found none.


Return to the Dom Casmurro Summary Return to the Machado de Assis Library

© 2022