The Attendant`s Confession part 6


    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; but it must be done, so I entered. Even then, I did not at first go to the bed. My legs shook, my heart pounded. I thought of flight; but that would have been a confession of the crime. … It was on the contrary very important for me to hide all traces of it. I approached the bed. I looked at the corpse, with its widely distended eyes and its mouth gaping, as if uttering the eternal reproach of the centuries: “Cain, what hast thou done with thy brother?” I discovered on the neck the marks of my nails; I buttoned the shirt to the top, and drew the bed-cover up to the dead man`s chin. Then I called a servant and told him that the colonel had died towards morning; I sent him to notify the vicar and the doctor.

    My immediate departure

    The first idea that came to me was to leave as soon as possible under die pretext that my brother was ill; and in reality I had received, several days before, from Rio, a letter telling me that he was not at all well. But I considered that my immediate departure might arouse suspicion, and I decided to wait. I laid out the corpse myself, with the assistance of an old, near-sighted negro. I remained continually in the room of the dead. I trembled lest something out of the way should be discovered. I wanted to assure myself that no mistrust be read upon the faces of the others; but I did not dare to look any person in the eye.

    Everything made me impatient; the going and coming of those who, on tiptoe, crossed the room; their whisperings; the ceremonies and the prayers of the vicar. … The hour having come, I closed the coffin, but with trembling hands, so trembling that somebody noticed it and commented upon it aloud, compassionately.

    “Poor Procopio! Despite what he has suffered from his master, he is strongly moved.”

    It sounded like irony to me. I was anxious to have it all over with.

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