Dom Casmurro Chapter 101


Well, let’s make ourselves happy once and for all, before the reader, weary of waiting, makes up his mind to seek his entertainment elsewhere; let’s get ourselves married. It was in 1865, an afternoon in March, a rainy one, incidentally. When we arrived in Tijuca, where we had our love nest, heaven suspended the rain and lit up the stars, not just the known ones but those that will only be discovered in centuries to come. It was a courteous gesture, and it was not the only one. St Peter, who keeps the keys of heaven, opened up the gates and ushered us in, then after touching us with his staff he recited some verses from his first epistle: ‘Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands … Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold … But let it be the hidden man of the heart … Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life …’ Next he made a sign to the angels, who sang a passage from the Song of Solomon so harmoniously as to have given the lie to the Italian tenor, had it been sung on earth; but it was in heaven. The music fitted the text as if the two had been born together, like an opera by Wagner. Then we ourselves strayed into those infinite regions. Have no fear. I shall not attempt to describe them, nor does human language afford the means for so doing.

After all, this may have been no more than a dream: what more natural for an ex-seminarist than to hear Latin and scriptures all round him? And it is true that Capitu, who knew neither scripture nor Latin, learned by heart one or two phrases such as this, for example: ‘I sat down in the shadow of that which I had so much desired.’ As for those of St Peter, she told me next day that she fully agreed and that I was the only lace and the only adorning she would ever wish for. To which I replied that my wife would always have the finest lace in the world.