Dom Casmurro Chapter 48


‘No!’ I exclaimed suddenly.

‘No what?’

We had sat for a few minutes in silence, during which time I remained deep in thought and ended up having an idea. My exclamation, however, was so loud that I startled Capitu.

‘It doesn’t have to be like that,’ I went on. ‘They say that we aren’t old enough to marry, that we’re just children, whippersnappers – I’ve heard them say whippersnappers. Anyway, two or three years soon pass. Will you swear one thing? Will you swear that you’ll marry nobody but me?’

Capitu swore it without hesitation, and I even saw her cheeks flush with pleasure. She swore twice and then added a third: ‘Even if you marry someone else I shall keep my vow and never marry.’

‘I marry someone else?’

‘Anything can happen, Bentinho. You may find another girl who likes you, fall in love with her and marry her. Who am I to remind you of myself if that happens?’

‘But I’ll swear, too! I swear, Capitu, I swear by God our Father that I shall marry no one but you. Is that sufficient?’

‘It should be,’ she said. ‘I don’t dare to ask more. Yes, you swear … But let’s make a different vow. Let’s swear that we’ll marry each other, come what may.’

You will understand the difference. It was more than the choice of partner, it was a contract of marriage. My friend’s head was able to think clearly and think fast. In actual fact the previous formula was limited, being merely exclusive. We could both end up single, like the sun and the moon, without breaking our vow by the well. This formula was better and had the advantage of strengthening my resolve to oppose my ordination. We swore by the second formula and were so delighted that all our fears vanished. We were religious, and heaven was our witness. I was no longer afraid of the seminary.

‘If they insist, I’ll go. But I’ll pretend it’s just an ordinary school. I won’t take orders.’

Capitu did not like the idea of our separation but ended up accepting this proposal, which was the best. We would not distress my mother, and time would fly by until it was possible for us to marry. Otherwise, any opposition to the seminary would confirm José Dias’s accusation. This reflection was not mine but Capitu’s.