Dom Casmurro Chapter 24


José Dias treated me with the tenderness of a mother and the attentiveness of a servant. The first thing he did when I began to be allowed out was to dispense with my attendant page. He himself became my page and accompanied me in the street. He also looked after me at home, taking care of my books, my shoes, my personal hygiene and my speech. When I was eight and my plural endings were wrong, he would correct them, half seriously to give authority to his instruction and half jokingly to excuse his interruption. In this way he helped my primary teacher. Later, when Father Cabral taught me Latin, doctrine and sacred history, he would sit in on the lessons, make observations of an ecclesiastical nature and at the end ask the priest, ‘Isn’t it true that our young friend is getting along fast?’ He would call me a prodigy and would tell my mother that in the past he had known many intelligent boys but that I surpassed them all, even without taking into account that for my age I possessed a number of solid moral qualities. And though I was unable fully to appreciate these final words of praise, I was pleased by them. Praise is always praise.