Dom Casmurro Chapter 74


In the living-room Uncle Cosme and José Dias were talking, the one sitting down, the other walking up and down and halting. Seeing José Dias reminded me of what he had said at the seminary: ‘That girl, if she doesn’t get some young buck in the neighbourhood to marry her …’ It was obviously an allusion to the horseman. This memory exacerbated the impression I had brought with me from the street; could it not have been those words, retained in my subconscious, that had made me see wantonness in her looks? I felt like seizing José Dias by his lapels, dragging him into the corridor and demanding to know whether what he had spoken had been the truth or mere supposition. But José Dias, who had halted on seeing me come in, continued to walk up and down while talking. In my impatience I wanted to go next door, imagining that Capitu, alarmed, would leave the window and soon make an appearance to enquire and explain … The two went on talking until finally Uncle Cosme got up to go and see the invalid, and José Dias came over to me by the window.

A moment before I had been tempted to ask him what there was between Capitu and the young bucks from the neighbourhood, and now, imagining that he was about to tell me just that, I was afraid to hear it. I wanted to prevent him from speaking.

José Dias noticed the strange expression on my face and asked me in a serious voice, ‘What’s the matter, Bentinho?’

So as not to look him in the eye I looked down, and on doing so I noticed that one of the buckles of his trousers was undone. Then, as he insisted on knowing what the matter was, I pointed with my finger. ‘Look at your buckle – you’d better fasten your buckle.’

José Dias bent down, and I ran away.