Dom Casmurro Chapter 76


After a while I felt calmer but still depressed. Stretched out on the bed, gazing at the ceiling, I remembered my mother’s warning that I should never lie down after dinner to avoid indigestion. I leaped to my feet but did not leave the room. Capitu was not laughing so much now and spoke in a lower voice, but even that did not move me.

I missed supper and slept badly. The next morning I felt no better but I felt different. My grief was now mixed with the fear that I had perhaps reacted too strongly and had not given the matter due consideration. As I still had a slight headache I pretended it was worse than it actually was in order not to go to the seminary and so be able to speak to Capitu. She might be angry with me, not love me any more and prefer the horseman. I wanted to clear matters up, hear what she had to say and pass judgement: it could be she had an excuse and an explanation.

She had both. When she learned the cause of my shutting myself away the day before, she declared she felt herself grossly insulted, that it was difficult to believe that after our exchange of vows I could consider her to be so fickle as to think that … At this point she burst into tears and made as if to leave, but I prevented her, seizing her hands and kissing them with such warmth and ardour that I felt them tremble. She wiped her eyes with her fingers, and I kissed them again for themselves and for the tears. She gave a sigh and shook her head. She confessed that she did not know the young man, that he was merely one of those who used to pass by in the afternoon on horseback or on foot. If she had looked at him, that itself was proof that there was nothing between them; if there had been, the normal thing to have done would have been to dissemble.

‘And what could there be between us if he’s getting married?’ she concluded.

‘Getting married?’

He was getting married, and she told me to whom – a girl from the Rua dos Barbados. This reason convinced me more than any other, and she saw this from my manner. It did not prevent her from saying that to avoid any future misunderstanding she would never again stand by the window.

‘No, no, no! I don’t want you to do that!’

She agreed to withdraw her promise but made another, which was that at the first shadow of suspicion on my part everything would be finished between us. I took heed of her threat and swore she would never have to fulfil it. It was the first and last time I would ever doubt her.