Dom Casmurro

by Machado de Assis

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XXV - The Promenade

We entered the Promenade. Some old faces, other sick or just plain sluts scattered gloomily on the path from the door to the terrace. We proceed to the terrace. Walking, to give me encouragement, I spoke of the garden:

"It's been a long time since I've been here, maybe a year.

"Forgive me," he said, "it has not been three months since you were here with our neighbor Padua; do not you remember?

"It's true, but it was so far ..."

"Elle asked her mother to let him bring her, and she, who is good as the mother of God, consented; but listen to me, since we're talking about this, it's not nice that you walk with Padova on the street.

-But I walked a few times ...

"When I was younger; in a natural way, he could be created. But you are getting young, and he is gaining confidence. D. Gloria, after all, can not like this. The Padova people are not bad at all. Capitú, despite those eyes that the devil gave you ... Have you noticed her eyes? They are so obliquely and disguised gypsy. For, in spite of them, he could pass, if not for vanity and adulation. Oh! the adulation! Fortunata deserves esteem, and he does not deny that he is honest, has a good job, owns the house in which he ran, but honesty and esteem are not enough, and the other qualities lose much of value with the bad company in which he walks. Padova has a tendency for good people. In him smelling like a man is with him. I do not say this out of hatred, or that he speaks ill of me and laughed, as he laughed, for days, at my shoes.

"Excuse me," I interrupted, stopping short, "I never heard you speak ill of you; on the contrary, one day, not long ago, he told a man in my presence that you were "a man of ability and could speak like a deputy in the chambers."

Jose Dias smiled deliciously, but made a great effort and closed his face again; then he replied:

"I do not thank you." Others, of better blood, have done me the favor of high judgments. And none of that prevents him from being what I tell him.

We walked again, climbed the terrace, and looked out to sea.

"I see you do not want my benefit," I said after a moment.

"Why else, Bentinho?"

"In this case, I ask you a favor."

-A favor? Send, order, what is it?


For a while I could not tell the rest, that it was not enough, and it came from heaven. Jose Dias asked again what it was, shook me gently, lifted my chin and stared at me, anxious as well, like cousin Justina in the evening.

"Mom what?" What does Mom have?

"Mother wants me to be a priest, but I can not be a priest," he finally said.

Jose Dias straightened in amazement.

"I can not," I continued, no less astonished than he, "I have no space, not a taste of the life of a priest." I'm for whatever she wants; Mom knows I do everything she says; I am ready to be whatever you like, even a bus driver. Father, no; I can not be a priest. The career is beautiful, but it's not for me.

All this discourse did not come out of me like that, naturally, peremptory, as it might seem from the text, but in pieces, chewed, in a slightly deaf and timid voice. Nevertheless, Jose Dias had heard him startled. She certainly did not count on resistance, no matter how small; but what astonished him most was this conclusion:

"I'm counting on you to save me."

The man's eyes widened, his eyebrows arched, and the pleasure I was counting on giving him the choice of protection did not show in any of the muscles. His whole face was too little for stupefaction. Indeed, the matter of discourse had revealed in me a new soul; I myself did not know myself. But the final word is that it brought a unique vigor. Jose Dias was stunned. When the eyes became ordinary dimensions:

"But what can I do?" He asked.

- Very much. You know that in our house everyone appreciates it. Mom asks for your advice a lot, does not she? Uncle Cosme says that you are a talented person ...

"They're good," he said flatly. They are favors of worthy people who deserve everything ... There it is! no one will ever hear me say anything about such people; because? because they are illustrious and virtuous. Your mother is a saint, your uncle is a perfect gentleman. I have known different families; none can overcome yours in nobility of feelings. The talent that your uncle finds in me I confess I have, but it is only one, -is the talent to know what is good and worthy of admiration and appreciation.

"You must also protect your friends, like me."

"How can I help you, angel of the sky?" I will not dissuade your mother from a project that is, beyond promise, the ambition and dream of long years. When you can, it's late. Still, he did me the favor of saying: "José Dias, I must put Bentinho in the seminary."

Shyness is not such a bad coin, as it seems. If I were fearless, it is probable that with the indignation I experienced I would break the call of a liar, but then I would have to confess to him that I had been listening, behind the door, and one action was worth another. I was content to reply that it was not too late.

"It's not late, it's time, if you will."

"If I want to?" But what other thing do I want, if not servile? What desire, but be happy, as it deserves?

"It's still time. Look, it's not out of hand. I am ready for everything; if she wants me to study laws, I'm going to S. Paulo...


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