Dom Casmurro Chapter 57


It wasn’t just the seminarists who rose out of those old pages of the Panegyric. The book also brought back vanished sensations, so many and so varied I cannot describe them all without stealing space from the rest of the story. One of them, one of the first, I would have liked to set down in Latin – not that the subject cannot be expressed with propriety in our language, which is chaste for the chaste as it may be lewd for the lewd. Yes, most chaste lady reader, as my late-lamented José Dias would have said, you can read the chapter right to the end without fear of being shocked or offended.

In fact I will save the story for another chapter. No matter how discreet and respectable it proves to be in the telling, there is something less than austere about it, demanding a few lines of repose and preparation. Let this chapter serve as preparation – and preparation is important, dear reader. For when the heart anticipates what is to come – the significance and abundance of events – it will be strong and ready, and the evil will be lessened. If it is not lessened by this, then it never will be. And you may see a trick or two of mine, for in reading what you are about to read, it is probable you will find it less crude than you had expected.