Dom Casmurro Chapter 69


One of the actions that best illustrates my essence was the reverence with which I ran to hear mass at Santo Antônio dos Pobres the following Sunday. José Dias wanted to go with me and began to get dressed, but he was so slow with his braces and his buckles that I couldn’t wait for him. I felt the need to avoid any conversation that might distract my thoughts from the purpose for which I went there, which was to reconcile myself with God after what had taken place in Chapter 67. I wanted not only to ask pardon for my sin but to give thanks for my mother’s recovery and, since I am making a clean breast of it, to ask Him to cancel the payment of my promise. Jehovah, though He is divine or, rather, because of this, is a much more human Rothschild, not declaring moratoriums but freely pardoning our debts if the debtor truly wishes to mend his ways and reduce his expenses. I wanted nothing else. From then on I would make no more promises I couldn’t keep, and those I made I would keep promptly.

I heard mass, then addressing God I gave thanks for my mother’s life and restoration to health, begged forgiveness for my sin and release from my debt, and received the priest’s final blessing as a solemn act of reconciliation. When it was over I remembered that the Church has established the confessional as a reliable register office and confession as the most authentic means of settling moral accounts between man and God. But my incorrigible timidity closed this door to me; I was afraid I would not find words with which to reveal my secret to the confessor. How man changes! Today I’m having it published.