Dom Casmurro Chapter 128


As I was saying, I crept up the stairs, pushed open the gate, which was only closed to, and found Cousin Justina and José Dias playing cards in the sitting-room. Capitu got up from the sofa and came to greet me. Her face was relaxed and calm. The other two abandoned their game and we all talked about the tragedy and the widow. Capitu condemned Escobar’s imprudence and made no attempt to hide her sympathy for her friend in her loss. I asked her why she hadn’t stayed with Sancha for the night.

‘There were many people there. Even so I offered to stay, but she refused. I also suggested it would be better for her to come here and spend a few days with us.’

‘And she refused again?’


‘Remember, the sight of the sea every morning might be painful for her,’ said José Dias. ‘I don’t know how …’

‘But it will pass. What doesn’t pass in time?’ put in Cousin Justina.

That set us off talking, and Capitu left us to see if her son was sleeping. As she passed in front of the mirror she spent so long adjusting her hair that it would have seemed affectation had we not known that she was always proud of her appearance. When she returned her eyes were red; she said that when she looked at her son asleep she couldn’t help thinking of Sancha’s little daughter and her mother’s misery. And taking no notice of our visitors or bothering to see if there was a servant present, she took me in her arms and declared that if I really cared for her I should first take care of my own life. José Dias thought her words ‘most beautiful’ and asked Capitu why she did not write poetry. I tried to turn this into a discussion, and so we passed the evening.

Next day I regretted having torn up my speech, not because I wanted to have it printed but because it would have been a remembrance of my dead friend. I thought of rewriting it but could remember only odd phrases which made no sense when joined together. I also thought of writing out a new one, but that would have been difficult and the discrepancy detected by those who had heard me at the cemetery. As for collecting the pieces of paper thrown into the street, it was too late – they had already been swept up.

I made a list of my mementoes of Escobar – books, a bronze inkwell, an ivory walking-stick, a bird, Capitu’s album, two landscapes of Parana and other things. He also had things of mine. We had always been like that, exchanging keepsakes and presents at birthdays or for no particular reason. My eyes misted over. The newspapers arrived; they gave accounts of the tragedy, Escobar’s death, his studies and business affairs, his personal qualities, the sympathy of his colleagues, and they also mentioned the estate he had left and his wife and daughter. That was on the Monday. On Tuesday his will was opened, and I found myself nominated second executor, the first being his wife. He left me nothing, but the words he wrote in a separate letter were a monument of affection and respect. This time Capitu shed copious tears, but she soon recovered.

Will, inventory, events moved as fast as it takes to write them here. After a little while Sancha left for her relatives’ house in Parana.