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The Attendant’s Confession – Brazil
J. M. Machado De Assis (1839-1908)
Born at Rio de Janeiro of poor parents, Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis began his literary career at an early age, although it was not for some years that he succeeded in establishing a reputation. Long before his death he was regarded as the chief exponent of modern Brazilian literature. About 1880 he first became generally known, and until the end of his life he wrote industriously. He is best known for his rather pessimistic but finely conceived and well- written psychological novels and short stories.

The Attendant’s Confession – The Attendant’s Confession is one of his characteristic tales. The present version, translated by Isaac Goldberg (and revised for this collection), is reprinted by permission of the translator and publisher, from the volume, Brazilian Tales, translated by Isaac Goldberg. Copyright, 1921, by George Allen and Unwin.
The Attendant’s Confession
So you really think that what happened to me in i860 is worth while writing down? Very well. I’ll tell you the story, but on the condition that you don’t divulge it before my death. You’ll not have long to wait—a week at most; I am a marked man.

I could have told you the story of my whole life, which holds many other interesting details: but that would require time, courage and paper. There is plenty of paper, to be sure, but my courage is at low ebb, and as for the time that is yet left me, it may be compared to the life of a candle-flame. Soon to-morrow’s sun will rise—a demon sun as impenetrable as life itself. So good-bye, my dear sir; read this and bear me no ill will; pardon me those things that will appear evil to you and do not too much complain if there rises a disagreeable odor which is not exactly that of the rose. You asked me for a human document. Here it is. Ask me for neither the empire of the Great Mogul nor a photograph of the Maccabees; but request, if you will, my dead man’s shoes, and I’ll will them to you and none other.

The Attendant`s Confession part 9

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During this time there was much talk of the colonel. People came and told me tales about him, but without observing the priest`s moderation. I defended the memory of the colonel. I recalled his...

The Attendant`s Confession part 8

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“How much was he worth?” my brother asked me.“I don`t know, but I know that he was very wealthy.”“Really, he`s proved that he was a very true friend to you.”“He certainly was—he was.”Thus, by...

The Attendant`s Confession part 7

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We went out. Once in the street the passing from semi-obscurity to day-light dazed me and I staggered. I began to fear that it would no longer be possible for me to conceal the...

The Attendant`s Confession part 6

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Before daybreak I bandaged the wounds that I had received in the lace. Then only did I pluck up enough courage to return to the other loom. Twice I started, only to turn back;...

The Attendant`s Confession part 5

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It seemed to me that I saw faces grinning on the walls; I heard muffled voices. The cries of the victim, the shrieks before the struggle and during its wild moments, continued to reverberate...

The Attendant`s Confession part 4

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Very probably my chance was approaching. The colonel was rapidly getting worse. He made his will, the notary receiving almost as many insults as did I. The invalid`s treatment became more strict; short in-tervals...

The Attendant`s Confession part 3

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But that came soon enough. One day, when I was a trifle late in giving him a massage, he took his cane and struck me with it two or three times. That was the...

The Attendant`s Confession part 2

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Arriving there, I heard bad reports concerning the colonel. He was pictured to me as a disagreeable, harsh, exacting fellow; nobody could endure him, not even his own friends. He had used more attendants...

The Attendant`s Confession part 1

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BrazilJ. M. Machado De Assis (1839-1908)Born at Rio de Janeiro of poor parents, Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis began his literary career at an early age, although it was not for some years that...

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