Dom Casmurro Chapter 144


So may the eyes of all the friends I leave in this world weep for me, but I doubt it. I have become a recluse. I live far from town and rarely go out. Not that I have been successful in attempting to link the two extremities of my life. This house in Engenho Novo, though built in imitation of the one in Matacavalos, serves only to remind me of it and then more in the sense of comparison and reflection than sentiment. I’ve said this before.

I may well be asked why it was, owning the old house itself in the same old street, that I didn’t prevent it being demolished but came and made this copy. This question should have been asked at the beginning; nevertheless, here is the answer. The reason is that shortly after my mother died I thought of moving there, but going there first on a long visit of inspection I found that the house no longer knew me. In the garden, to the Californian pepper, the cherry tree, the well with its old bucket and the wash-house, I was a complete stranger. The oak was just as I had left it at the bottom of the garden, except that the trunk, instead of being straight as before, was now bent like a question mark, in natural astonishment at my intrusion. I gazed round, seeking some familiar vestige of the past, but there was none. On the contrary, the branches began to murmur something I did not at first understand, though I think it was a hymn to the morning. And accompanying this sweet harmonious music I heard, too, the grunting of the pigs, in a kind of mocking but meaningful counterpoint.

Everything was strange and hostile. I allowed the house to be demolished and later, when I moved to Engenho Novo, gave instructions to the architect to make this copy, as I have already mentioned.