Dom Casmurro

by Machado de Assis

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XXIV - Mother and Servant

José Dias treated me with motherly extremes and servant attentions. The first thing he did as soon as I began to walk outside was to dispense with my page; A sign was made, I went with the street. I took care of my arrangements at home, my books, my shoes, my hygiene and my prosody. At the age of eight my plains lacked, at any rate, the correct ending, he corrected it, half-serious to give authority to the license, half laughing to obtain the pardon of the amendment. This helped the master of first letters. Later on, when Father Cabral taught me Latin, doctrine, and sacred history, he would attend to his ecclesiastical reflections, and in the end he would ask the priest: "Is not it true that our young friend is moving fast?" 'A prodigy'; my mother said that I had once known very intelligent boys, but that I exceeded all of them, not to mention that for my age I already possessed a number of solid moral qualities. I, since I did not value the value of this other compliment, I liked the compliment; was a compliment.


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