Dom Casmurro Chapter 126


Shortly after leaving the cemetery, despite all José Dias’s efforts to stop me, I tore up my speech and dropped the pieces out of the window.

‘It’s no good,’ I told him. ‘And as I may be tempted to have it printed it is better to destroy it once and for all. It’s no good – utterly worthless.’

José Dias argued the contrary at great length, then he praised the funeral and made a final panegyric on the dead man, great-hearted, high-spirited, upright, a friend, a firm friend, worthy of the loving wife God had given him …

At this point in his speech I left him talking to himself and fell to brooding. What I brooded over was so dark and confused that my mind was in a whirl. In Catete I stopped the carriage and told José Dias to fetch the ladies from Flamengo and take them home. I was going to walk.

‘But …’

‘I’m going to pay a visit.’

My reason was to carry on brooding and come to a decision appropriate at that moment. The carriage would move faster than my legs, which could choose their own pace, slow down, stop, turn back and allow the head to go on brooding. So I walked on, still brooding. I had already compared Sancha’s behaviour the day before with her present anguish; they were irreconcilable. The widow really was loving. My vain illusions vanished into thin air. Might it not be the same with Capitu? I strove to remember her eyes, her position when I saw her, the press of people, which would naturally recommend dissimulation, if there were anything to dissemble. What I now examined in an orderly, logical manner had until then been a confused hotchpotch of ideas and impressions thanks to the jolting of the carriage and José Dias’s interruptions. Now, however, I was able to think straight and see things clearly. I told myself that I had been blinded by my former passion, which as always had left me slightly unhinged.

I arrived at this last conclusion at the same time as I arrived at the front door of my house, but I retraced my steps and went up the Rua do Catete again. Was it my doubts that distressed me or the need to distress Capitu by my long absence? Perhaps the two together. I wandered about for a long time until I felt calmer and then headed for home. In a baker’s shop it was striking eight o’clock.