Dom Casmurro Chapter 99


My mother, when I returned home a graduate, was almost beside herself with joy. I can still hear José Dias’s voice quoting St John’s Gospel when he saw us clasped in each other’s arms: ‘Woman, behold thy son! Son, behold thy mother!’

Through her tears, my mother said, ‘Brother Cosme, don’t you think he’s the image of his father?’

‘Yes, he has something of him – the eyes, the shape of his face. He’s a modern version of his father.’ Then, jokingly, he added, ‘Tell me now, Sister Glória, wasn’t it a good thing he didn’t insist on being a priest? Can you imagine this idle fellow making a good priest?’

‘How is my substitute getting on?’

‘He’s doing all right. He’ll be ordained in a year’s time,’ replied Uncle Cosme. ‘You ought to go to his ordination, and so should I if this heart of mine permits. It would be a good thing if you could participate with him and receive his consecration as if it were your own.’

‘That’s right,’ cried my mother. ‘But just look at him, Brother Cosme. Just look and see if he isn’t the image of my dear dead husband. Look at me, Bentinho; look straight at me. I always thought you looked like him, but now even more so. The moustache alters it a little …’

‘Yes, Sister Glória, the moustache does really … But he’s very like him.’

My mother kissed me with a tenderness I cannot describe. To please her, Uncle Cosme began addressing me as Doctor, José Dias, too, then everyone at home, Cousin Justina, the slaves, visitors, Pádua and even his daughter, who herself insisted on using the title.