Dom Casmurro Chapter 115


Let’s come now to those embargoes. And what about the embargoes? God alone knows what it costs me to write about them, let alone talk about them. Of the information that Escobar brought me I shall say no more than I said to him then, which is that it was worthless.


‘Almost worthless.’

‘Then it is worth something?’

‘Added the information that we already have, it is worth less than the tea you are going to have with me.’

‘It’s too late for tea.’

‘We’ll have a quick cup.’

We did so, and while we were drinking it Escobar looked at me as though he thought I rejected his information to save myself the trouble of noting it down, but we were too close friends for him to have such a suspicion.

After he had left I mentioned my doubts to Capitu, who brushed them aside in that delightful, charming way she has, which would soothe all the sorrows of Olympus.

‘It must be that business of the embargoes,’ she concluded. ‘And for him to come here at this time of night shows he is worried about it.’

‘I think you’re right.’

We fell to chatting, and I mentioned other doubts. I was full of them at that time; they croaked inside me like a swarm of frogs, sometimes even keeping me awake at night. I said that I was beginning to think my mother was a little cool and distant towards her.

As usual, Capitu had a ready explanation. ‘I’ve already told you what it is – the usual thing with mothers-in-law. Your little mamma is jealous of you. But it soon passes; she begins to miss you and returns to her old self.

‘Then, not having her grandson …’

‘But I’ve noticed she’s cool, too, towards Ezequiel. When he goes with me she doesn’t make such a fuss of him.’

‘Do you think she could be ill?’

‘Shall we go there tomorrow for dinner?’

‘Yes, let’s … No … Well, all right.’

We went to have dinner with the old lady. I can use this term even though her hair was not yet completely white and her face comparatively unlined. It was a kind of elderly youthfulness or youthful old age; you can take your choice. But let’s have no long faces; I don’t want to talk about the moist eyes when we arrived and when we left. As on other occasions there was little to talk about. José Dias spoke of the delights of marriage, politics, Europe and homoeopathy, Uncle Cosme of his complaints and Cousin Justina of the neighbours and José Dias, as soon as the latter left the room.

Walking home that night we again discussed my doubts, and Capitu again advised patience. All mothers-in-law were like that; then came a day and everything was changed. As she spoke she became increasingly tender. From that time on she was ever more loving towards me; she did not wait for me at the window so as not to arouse my jealousy, but whenever I came in, there at the top of the steps, between the rails of the gate, I would see the sweet face of my friend and wife, as radiant as during our childhood. Sometimes Ezequiel would be with her; we had accustomed him to our welcoming and farewell kisses, and he, too, would smother my face with his own.