Dom Casmurro Chapter 122


The widow … I shall spare you the tears of the widow, my own and those of the others. I left there about eleven o’clock. Capitu and Cousin Justina were waiting for me, one numbed with shock, the other merely bored.

‘Go and keep poor Sanchinha company. I’ll make arrangements for the funeral.’

That was what we did. I wanted the funeral to be impressive, and crowds of friends attended. The beach, the streets, the Praça da Glória, were all thronged with carriages, many of them private ones. The house was not large enough to hold them all, so many stayed on the beach, talking about the disaster, pointing out the place where Escobar had died and listening to the account of how his body was brought in. José Dias heard talk of his financial situation, there being some difference of opinion concerning the value of his estate, though all agreed that his liabilities did not amount to much. He was well spoken of. Someone discussed Rio Branco’s new cabinet: it was March 1871. I have never forgotten the month nor the year.

As I had decided to speak at the cemetery, I wrote down a few lines and showed them at home to José Dias, who declared them highly creditable both to the deceased and to me. He asked me for the paper, recited my speech slowly, weighing the words and confirmed the opinion he had just given.

The news spread in Flamengo, and some acquaintances came to enquire, ‘So, you’re going to say something?’

‘Just two or three words.’

There would be a few more than that. I had written them down for fear that my emotion would prevent me improvising. In the tilbury I spent one or two hours doing nothing but remembering our time at the seminary, my meeting with Escobar, our liking for each other and how our friendship had begun, continued and never been interrupted until a stroke of fate separated two creatures who seemed destined to remain for ever united. From time to time I dried my eyes. The coachman asked once or twice how I was feeling but, receiving no reply, concentrated again on his job. When I arrived home I jotted down some of those thoughts on a piece of paper. That would be my speech.