Dom Casmurro Chapter 112


Ezequiel wouldn’t behave like that. I don’t imagine he would make poisoned meatballs, but he wouldn’t refuse to use them either. What he would certainly do would be to chase the dogs off with stones as far as his legs would carry him. And if he had a stick he would use a stick. The future warrior was the apple of his mother’s eye.

‘He doesn’t take after us. We’re peace-loving,’ she said to me one day. ‘But Papa was like that, too, as a boy, according to Mamma.’

‘He’ll certainly be no milksop,’ I agreed. ‘The only small fault I can find with him is that he likes to imitate others.’

‘What do you mean, imitate others?’

‘Imitate their mannerisms, their gestures, the way they walk. He imitates Cousin Justina, he imitates José Dias, and I’ve even noticed that his feet are like Escobar’s, his eyes, too …’

Capitu gazed at me thoughtfully, saying finally that we should correct him. She realized that it was a habit of his, but thought it was just imitating for the sake of imitating as many adults do, adopting the manners of others. But so that it shouldn’t go any further …

‘But we mustn’t be too hard on him,’ I said. ‘There’s plenty of time to correct him.’

‘Yes, there is. We’ll see. Weren’t you like that when you were angry with someone?’

‘When I was angry, yes. A child’s way of getting his own back.’

‘Yes, but I don’t like imitations in the house.’

‘But you used to love it when I did that, didn’t you?’ I said, tapping her lightly on the cheek.

For answer Capitu gave a sweet ironic smile, one of those smiles that cannot be described, only painted. Then she stretched out her arms and placed them over my shoulders, looking so graceful that they seemed – a hackneyed image – a necklace of flowers. I did the same with mine, regretting that there was no sculptor there to reproduce the image in marble. No doubt only the artist would be admired. When a person or a group turns out well no one wants to know about the models, only the work; it is the work that counts. No matter; we would know that it was us.