Dom Casmurro Chapter 60


This is what I did for the Panegyric of St Monica – and more: I put into it not only what it lacked of the saint but also elements that had nothing to do with her. You have seen the sonnet, the stockings, the garters, the seminarist Escobar and various others. You will now see more of what came out of the yellowed pages of the opusculum.

Dear opusculum, you were intrinsically worth nothing, but then what is an old pair of slippers worth? Often there is in a pair of slippers an aroma and, as it were, warmth of two feet. Worn out and tattered, they still remind us that someone put them on in the morning as they got out bed or took them off at night getting into it. And if the comparison is not apt, since slippers are part of a person and have felt the contact of the feet, there are other remembrances, such as the stone from a street, the door of a house, a particular whistle, a pedlar’s cry, for instance, that of the cocada-seller I mentioned in Chapter 18. When I wrote of the cocadas song I was so overcome with nostalgia that I had it transposed by a friend who is a music teacher and thought of appending it to the end of the chapter. If later I changed my mind, it was because another musician to whom I showed it confessed that, frankly, he found nothing in the passage to awaken nostalgia. That the same thing may not happen again, it is best to spare this book’s publisher the expense of the engraving. You see that I have not appended anything, nor will I. I am convinced that it is not enough that street cries, like seminary opuscula, hold within them incidents, persons and sensations: it is necessary to have known them and experienced them at first hand – without that all is mute and colourless.

But let us get on to the rest of what came forth from the yellowed pages.