Dom Casmurro Chapter 105


Otherwise everything went well. Capitu loved gaiety and amusement, and in the early days, whenever we drove out or went to the theatre, she was like a bird released from its cage. She dressed tastefully and modestly. Although, like other girls, she was fond of jewels, she did not want many or expensive ones, and one day she became so upset that I had to promise not to buy her any more. But this didn’t last long.

We lived a quiet life. When we were not with the family or friends, or attending a concert or private gathering (and these rarely), we used to spend our evenings at our window in Glória, gazing at the sea and the sky, the outlines of the mountains and ships, or people walking by on the beach. Sometimes I would tell Capitu the history of the city, at others I’d talk about astronomy – amateurish facts which she listened to with eagerness and curiosity, though not so much as to prevent her dozing off occasionally. As she couldn’t play the piano she decided to learn after her marriage, and she did this so quickly that soon she was playing in the houses of our friends. It was one of our pastimes in Glória. She sang, too, but very little and not often, having no voice for it. One day she realized that it would be better not to sing at all and gave it up. She loved dancing and dressed herself with loving care to go to a ball. It was her arms … Her arms require a paragraph to themselves.

They were beautiful, and the first time she displayed them bare at a ball I do not believe they had their equal in the city, not even yours, dear lady reader, if indeed yours had been born, though probably they were still in the hands of the divine sculptor. They were the most beautiful arms there, so much so that they made me quite light-headed. I broke off conversations with people just so as to see them, no matter that they were entwined in the sleeved ones of others. At the second ball it was different: when I saw that the men never tired of gazing at them, moving close to seek them out, almost to ask for them, and brushing them with their black sleeves, I became irritated and nervous. I did not go to the third one, and in this I received the support of Escobar, to whom I recounted my vexation.

He readily agreed with me. ‘Sanchinha isn’t going either, or if she does it will be in long sleeves. Otherwise it seems to me indecent.’

‘I agree. But don’t mention the reason or else they’ll call us seminarists. Capitu has already called me that.’

Nevertheless I couldn’t refrain from telling Capitu of Escobar’s approval. She smiled and answered that Sanchinha’s arms were not well shaped, but she readily gave way and didn’t go to the ball. She went to others but wore gauze or some such thing which neither covered nor concealed them entirely, like Camões’s veil.