Dom Casmurro

by Machado de Assis

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XX - A Thousand Priest-ours and a Thousand Ave Marias

I raised my eyes to the sky, which was beginning to become bewildered, but it was not to cover or cover it. It was to the other heaven that I lifted up my soul; it was to my refuge, my friend. And then he said of me to me:

"I pray to pray a thousand priests of ours and a thousand Ave Maria, if Jose Dias arranges for me not to go to the seminary.

The sum was huge. The reason is that I was laden with unfulfilled promises. The last one was two hundred of our fathers and two hundred Marys, if it did not rain one afternoon to Santa Theresa. It did not rain, but I did not pray the prayers. From a little boy I had become accustomed to asking heaven for its favors, through prayers I would say, if they would come. The first said, the others were delayed, and as they crowded they were forgotten. So I got to the numbers twenty, thirty, fifty. I went into the hundreds and now into the thousand. It was a way of praying the divine will for the amount of prayer; in addition, every new promise was made and sworn to pay the old debt. But they go there to kill the laziness of a soul that brought it from the cradle and did not feel it attenuated by life! The sky did me the favor, I delayed the payment. I finally got lost in the accounts.

"A thousand," I repeated to myself.

Indeed, the matter of benefit was now immense, no less than the salvation or the wreck of my entire existence. Thousand thousand It took a sum that paid for all the arrears. God could very well, irritated by forgetfulness, refuse to listen to me without much money.... A grave man, it is possible that these boyish aggravations strike you, if you do not think them ridiculous. Sublime were not. I have done much in the way of redeeming spiritual debt. I did not think of another species in which, through intention, everything was fulfilled, closing the record of my moral conscience without deficit. To say a hundred Masses, or to go up from the knees to Gloria's slope to hear one, to go to the Holy Land, all that the old slaves told me of celebrated promises, all came to me without ever fixing my mind. It was very hard to climb a bend on my knees; he must have wounded them by force. The Holy Land was far away. Masses were numerous, they could engage my soul again ....


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