Dom Casmurro Chapter 14


Everything I described at the end of the last chapter was the work of an instant. What followed was even faster. I leaped forward, and before she could rub them out I read these two names scratched on the wall like this:



I turned to face her. Capitu had her eyes fixed on the ground. She soon looked up, raising them slowly, and we stood there gazing at each other … A declaration between two children, which I will not attempt to describe. In fact we neither of us said a word; the wall spoke for us. We remained motionless, only our hands moved out to touch, to clasp, to join together. I did not note the exact time of that gesture. I ought to have noted it; I feel the lack of a statement written that very night, which I would reproduce here with all its spelling mistakes, though it would have none, such being the difference between the student and the adolescent. I knew the rules of grammar but had no awareness of those of love: of Latin I had had orgies, of women I was still virgin.

We did not release our hands, nor drop them through weariness or lack of attention. Our eyes met, then strayed away only to return and meet again. The future priest stood before her as before the altar, one cheek being the Epistle, the other the evangel; her mouth could have been the chalice, her lips the paten. All we needed was to say the new mass, in a Latin which no one learns but which is the catholic language of mankind. Do not condemn this as sacrilege, my devout lady reader; the purity of the intention redeems any impropriety in the style. We stood there and heaven was within us. Our hands fused us together, making two creatures one – one single, celestial being. Infinity spoke through our eyes, but words made no attempt to pass our lips – they returned to our hearts as silently as they had issued forth …