Dom Casmurro Chapter 111


I found it funny; I don’t deny it now after so much time has passed and so much happened, and I even admit to feeling a certain sympathy for the rat – yes, it was funny. I admit it freely. Those who love nature as she wishes to be loved, with neither partial repugnance nor unwarranted exceptions, find nothing unworthy in her. I like the rat and don’t dislike the cat. I thought once of having them live together but realized that they are incompatible. In fact one eats my books and the other my cheese. This is little enough to forgive them for, considering I forgave a dog that destroyed my sleep in worse circumstances. I’ll tell the story quickly.

It was when Ezequiel was born. His mother was feverish, Sancha was looking after her, and three dogs in the street barked all night long. I complained to the watchman, but it was the same as complaining to the reader, who has only now learned of it. So I decided to kill them. I bought poison, had three meatballs prepared and mixed the poison in myself. That night I went outside; it was one o’clock, and neither the invalid nor her nurse had been able to sleep with the racket made by the dogs. They ran off when they saw me, two going down towards Flamengo Beach, while the third stopped a short way off as if waiting for something. I walked towards him, whistling and snapping my fingers. The devil was still barking, but trusting in my show of friendship he barked less and finally stopped altogether. As I continued to approach he came towards me slowly, wagging his tail, which is their way of laughing. I had the poisoned meatballs in my hand and was about to throw him one when that peculiar laugh of his, his confidence, affection or whatever it was, held me back. I stood there, I don’t know why, moved with pity and put the meatballs back in my pocket. The reader may think it was the smell of meat that reduced the dog to silence. Without denying this, I believe he couldn’t bring himself to suspect me of perfidy and surrendered to me. The result was that he escaped.