Dom Casmurro

by Machado de Assis

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XVI - The Interim Administrator

Padova was employed in a division dependent on the ministry of war. She did not earn much, but the woman spent little, and life was cheap. Moreover, the house in which he lived, as our own, as a minor, was his property. He bought it with the great luck that came to him in a half lottery ticket, ten short stories of kings. The first idea of ​​Padova, when it won him the prize, was to buy a cavallo from the Cape, a brilliant vest for his wife, a perpetual family grave, send some birds from Europe, etc .; but the woman, this Fortunata, who is standing at the back door of the house, talking to her daughter, tall, strong, full, like her daughter, the same head, the same clear eyes, the woman who told her that it was better to buy the house, and to keep what was left to go to great trouble. Padua hesitated a great deal; after all, had to yield to the advice of my mother, whom D. Fortunata asked for help. Nor was it only on this occasion that my mother paid them; one day came to save the life of Padova. Listen; the anecdote is short.

The administrator of the division where Padua worked had to go to the North in commission. Padua, or by regulatory order, or by special designation, has replaced the administrator with the respective fees. This change of fortune brought a certain vertigo to him: it was before the ten contos. He did not content himself with reforming his clothes and his canopy, he threw himself into superfluous expenses, gave the woman jewels, and on feast days he killed a piglet, was seen in theaters, and came to the polished shoes. He lived like this twenty-two months in the supposition of an eternal inter- nity. One afternoon he entered our house, afflicted and in a frenzy, he was going to miss the place, because he had arrived on that morning. He asked my mother to watch over the unfortunates she left behind; he could not suffer the misfortune, he would kill himself. My mother spoke kindly to him, but he did not attend to anything.

"No, my lady, I will not consent to such shame!" To bring down the family, to make up ... I said, I kill myself! I will not confess this misery to my people. And the others? What will the neighbors say? And the friends? And the public?

-What do I publish, Mr. Padua? Leave it alone; be a man. Remember that your wife has no other person ... and what to do? For a man ... Be a man, walk.

Padua wiped his eyes and went home, where he lay prostrate for a few days, mute, locked in the alcove, or in the yard at the bottom of the well, as if the idea of ​​death lingered on him. D. Fortunata scolded:

-João, are you a child?

But she heard him speak so much that she was afraid, and one day she ran to ask my mother to do her favor to see if her husband would be saved if she wanted to kill herself. My mother hired him at the edge of the well, and told him to live. How crazy was it to look like he was going to be disgraced, because of less gratification, and lose an interim job? No, sir, he ought to be a man, family member, to imitate his wife and daughter ... Padua obeyed; he confessed that he would find the strength to do my mother's will.

"My will, no; it is your obligation.

"Well, it's an obligation; I do not know it's the way it is.

In the following days, he continued to enter and leave the house, sewn to the wall, face to the floor. It was not the same man who spoiled his hat in courting the neighborhood, smiling, eyes in the air, even before the interim administration. The weeks came, the wound healed. Padua began to take an interest in domestic affairs, to take care of the birds, to sleep quietly in the evenings and in the evenings, to talk and to give news of the street. The serenity returned; Atraz della saw the joy, one Sunday, in the figure of two friends, who were going to play the ground, to try. Already he was laughing, already playing, had the air of custom; the wound healed of everything.

Over time there came an interesting phenomenon. Padua began to speak of the interim administration, not only without the regrets of honoraria, nor the vexation of loss, but even with faintness and pride. The administration remained at Hegyra, where he counted both before and after.

"At the time I was an administrator ..."

Or else:

-Oh! yes, remember me, it was before my administration, one or two months before ... Now wait; My administration has begun ... It is this, a month and a half before; It was mez and a half before, it was not longer.

Or yet:

"Rightly so; there were six months already that I administered ...

Such is the posthumous flavor of interim glories. José Dias cried that it was the vanity that survived; but Father Cabral, who carried everything to Escriptura, said that with Padova he was given the license of Eliphaz to Job: "Do not despise the correction of the Lord; he wounds and heals. "


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