Dom Casmurro Chapter 36


I left them on the pretext of going out to play and began thinking again about the events of the morning. After five minutes I remember that I ran next door, seized Capitu, undid her plaits, did them up again, ending in that special way with my lips pressed to hers. Yes, really, that’s what I did … Pure fancy! A flight of the imagination. I never moved from the spot. Much later I slowly made my way to Capitu’s house. When I arrived I found her in the living-room, that same room, sitting on the sofa with a cushion on her lap, quietly sewing. She did not look me in the face but with a timid sideways glance or, if you prefer José Dias’s expression, a sly and cunning one. She stuck the needle in the cloth and rested her hands. Standing the other side of the table, I did not know what to do, and once again the words I had prepared stuck in my mouth. The minutes ticked slowly by until she abandoned her sewing, stood up and waited. I went up to her and asked if her mother had said anything. She said that she hadn’t. As her lips formed the reply I think I felt the urge to draw closer. What is certain is that Capitu retreated a few steps.

It was my opportunity to seize her, pull her to me, kiss her … Another flight of my imagination. My arms hung motionless at my side. I knew nothing of the Scriptures. If I had it is likely that the spirit of Satan would have caused me to give a literal and natural meaning to the Song of Solomon. I should have obeyed the first verse: ‘Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.’ And with regard to my arms, all I needed to do was to fulfil verse 6 of chapter 2: ‘His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.’ There you have the chronology of the action. All that had to be done was to put it into practice; but even if I had known the text

Capitu’s manner was now so withdrawn I suspect I should still have stood there unmoving. It was she, however, who broke the silence.