Dom Casmurro Chapter 134


The idea finally emerged from my brain. It was night, and no matter how hard I tried to shake it off it would not let me sleep. Nevertheless, no other night passed so quickly; dawn broke when I thought it was still one or two o’clock. I went out, hoping to leave the idea at home, but it came with me. Outside it remained as sinister as ever, with the same fluttering wings, and though it could fly it was as if rooted to the spot. It settled before my eyes, not obscuring external things but making them less vivid, less substantial.

I do not remember the rest of the day. I know that I wrote some letters and bought a substance, which I shall not name so as not to arouse the desire to try it. The pharmacy went out of business, it is true, but the owner became a banker and the bank is thriving. When I found myself with death in my pocket I felt as happy as if I had just won first prize in the lottery, or more so because prize money gets spent whereas death never gets spent. I went to my mother’s house, ostensibly on a visit, in fact to say goodbye. Whether it was true or an illusion, everything seemed to be better that day: my mother less unhappy, Uncle Cosme forgetful of his heart and Cousin Justina of her tongue. I spent an hour at peace. I decided to give up the idea. What did I need to live? Never again to leave that house or to stretch that hour to eternity.