Dom Casmurro Chapter 143


That was not José Dias’s last superlative. There were others which it is not worth recording here, until we come to the last, the best of all, the sweetest, the one that transformed death into a breath of life. He was then living with me. Although my mother had left him a small legacy, he came to tell me that with it or without it he would not be separated from me. Perhaps he hoped to see me buried. He corresponded with Capitu, whom he asked to send a portrait of Ezequiel, but she delayed sending it from one post to the next until he gave up asking, wanting only to be remembered to him. He asked her to tell Ezequiel of his father’s and grandfather’s old friend, ‘destined by heaven to love all of that blood’. Thus he paved the way to accepting the cares of the third generation, but his own death came before that of Ezequiel. He fell ill suddenly, and I ordered a homoeopathic doctor to be sent for.

‘No, Bentinho,’ he said. ‘An allopath will do. Any school will do to die in. In any case those were just the ideas of my youth, which time has changed. I’ve come round to the faith of my parents. Allopathy is the Catholicism of medicine …’

He died peacefully after a short agony. A little before, on hearing that the sky was beautiful, he asked us to open the window.

‘No, the air might be bad for you.’

‘Bad? Never! Air is life.’

We opened the window. Outside the sky was a bright blue. José Dias raised himself up and looked out. After a few moments his head dropped and he murmured, ‘It’s the loveliest day!’ Those were the last words he spoke in this world. Poor José Dias! Why should I deny that I wept for him?