Dom Casmurro Chapter 4


José Dias loved superlatives. They served to give grandiosity to his ideas and, when these were lacking, to prolong his sentences. He got up to fetch the backgammon, which was in another room. I hugged the wall and saw him pass by in his starched white trousers, with straps, waistcoat and high collar. He was one of the last to use trouser straps in Rio de Janeiro, perhaps in the world, and he always wore his trousers short so that they could be stretched tight. His black satin tie had a steel hoop inside which immobilized his neck, as was then the fashion. His cotton waistcoat, lightweight for indoor wear, on him seemed to be ceremonial dress. He was thin, frail and balding and must have been about fifty-two years old. He moved with his usual leisurely gait, not in a lethargic or lazy manner but measured and calculated like a syllogism: the premise before the consequence, the consequence before the conclusion. The bitterest of duties!