Dom Casmurro Chapter 64


As I reread the last chapter, there comes to me a notion and a scruple. The scruple is this: whether to put an idea on paper, for there is nothing more banal on earth, though it be the banality of the sun and the moon which the heavens give us every day and every month. I turned away from the manuscript and looked at the walls. You know that this house in Engenho Novo, in its dimensions, arrangement and decoration, is the reproduction of my old house in Rua de Matacavalos. And, as I mentioned in Chapter 2, my purpose in re-creating the other house was to link together the two ends of my life, which, by the way, I have not managed to achieve. Well, the same thing happened to that dream at the seminary, no matter how much I tried to sleep and succeeded. From this I conclude that one of the offices of man is to close his eyes and keep them tight shut to see if the dream that was interrupted when the night was young will continue through the dead hours. This is the banal yet novel notion I hesitate to write here, and it is only provisionally that I do this now.

I went to the window to ask of Night the reason why dreams must be so tenuous that they cease and melt away at the slightest opening of the eyes or turning of the body and do not endure. Night did not answer me straight away. She was deliciously beautiful; low hills were pale with moonlight, and the space faded into silence. As I insisted, she made known to me that dreams were no longer under her jurisdiction. When they dwelled on the island that Lucian had given them, where she had her palace and from whence she sent them forth with diverse aspects, she might have given me possible explanations. But time had changed everything. The ancient dreams had been pensioned off, and the modern ones dwelled inside a person’s brain. And these, though they tried to imitate the former, could not do so: the Isle of Dreams, like the Isle of Love and all the islands of all the seas, are now the object of the ambition and rivalry of Europe and the United States.

It was an allusion to the Philippines. Since I have no love of politics, and still less international politics, I shut the window and returned to finish this chapter before going to bed. I no longer ask for Lucian’s dreams, nor for the others, children of memory or digestion. I am content with a quiet, peaceful sleep. In the morning, when it is cool, I will continue with the rest of my story.