Dom Casmurro Chapter 83


Gurgel returned to the room to tell Capitu that his daughter was asking for her. I jumped to my feet hastily, in such confusion that I could not meet his eye. Capitu, by contrast, stood up casually and asked if the fever was any worse.

‘No,’ he said.

No sudden start, nothing at all, no furtive manner on the part of Capitu. Turning to me she said goodbye and asked me to give her regards to my mother and Cousin Justina. Then she gave me her hand and went out into the corridor. I was overcome with envy. How was it that Capitu could keep herself under control so easily and I not at all?

‘She’s quite a young lady,’ said Gurgel, who was also looking at her.

I murmured my agreement. It was true she was growing up fast, her figure filling out and acquiring vigour and strength. It was the same, too, with her mental and spiritual faculties. In every possible way, inside and out, from head to foot, she was a woman. This sudden blossoming was all the more noticeable now that I saw her only at intervals of several days. Each time I came home I found her taller, her figure fuller, while her eyes had a new expression and her mouth a new authority. Gurgel turned to the wall, on which was hanging a portrait of a girl, and asked me whether I thought Capitu looked like the painting. It has been one of my habits in life always to agree with the likely opinion of my interlocutor, provided that the subject is neither offensive nor annoying, nor a case of imposition. Before actually examining it to see whether there was in fact any resemblance between Capitu and the portrait, I had already said yes. Then he told me that it was a portrait of his wife and that people who had known her said the same thing. He, too, thought they were very alike, especially the forehead and the eyes. As for her temperament, it was identical: they were like sisters.

‘Even her friendship for Sanchinha: her own mother wasn’t more of a friend … You find these strange likenesses in life.’