Dom Casmurro Chapter 47


‘Good, that’s all over,’ I said finally. ‘But just tell me one thing: why did you ask me if I was afraid of being beaten?’

‘No real reason,’ answered Capitu, after a moment’s hesitation.

‘Why bring that up again?’

‘But tell me. Was it on account of the seminary?’

‘Yes. I heard that they beat boys there … No? I don’t believe it either.’

Her explanation satisfied me; there could be no other. If, as I think, Capitu was not telling the truth, I have to admit that it was because it was impossible for her to do so. It was like the lies told by maids who hastily inform visitors that ‘The mistress has gone out’, whenever the mistress does not want to speak to anyone. This complicity has its own special attraction: sinning together momentarily brings all people to the same level, and then there is the pleasure of seeing the disappointed faces of the visitors and their frustrated retreat … The truth did not appear; it remained at home, in Capitu’s heart, whispering repentance. And I withdrew, neither sad nor angry; I found the maid both polite and attractive, more so even than the mistress.

The swallows now came flying in the opposite direction, or perhaps they weren’t the same ones. We it was who were the same; there we were, sharing our illusions, our fears, and already beginning to share our memories.