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The Hand and the Glove

The Hand and the Glove

A NOVEL BY Machado de Assis
Translated by ALBERT I. BAGBY
with a Foreword by Helen Caldwell
Copyright Date: 1970
Pages: 144
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt130jrzp
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  • Book Info
    The Hand and the Glove
    Book Description:

    The later novels of Machado de Assis -- notablyDom CasmurroandEsau and Jacob-- are well known in this country, but the earlier novels have never been translated. Here, inThe Hand and the Glove(the Brazilian master's second novel), rendered in English for the first time by Albert I. Bagby, Jr., readers will find a younger, gentler Assis, writing a romantic comedy that is yet permeated with the lively wit characteristic of his later works.

    The story is a simple one-of love lost and love found. Of love lost by Estêvão, amiable but vacillating, who is bemused by his own romantic posturing, and by Jorge, superficial and calculating. Of love found by Luis Alves, whose self-possession and determination seem destined to carry him far. The love of all three men is the proud and beautiful Guiomar, sure of her own heart but unsure, until faced by rival claims, of where to bestow it -- a foreshadowing of Capitú, the intriguing heroine ofDom Casmurro.

    "English-speaking readers," says Helen Caldwell in the Foreword, "who are already acquainted with Machado de Assis will welcome this latest addition to the translated novels. True, it is a period piece; but its quaintness is a charm to carry us back to the Rio de Janeiro of the 1850s -- to vanished courtly elegance arid attitudes.... Now, we too can know what drew [Assis] back to this early tale, for The Hand and the Glove recreates in English the elegant background, the charming heroine, the comedy, and the light-hearted ebullience of the Portuguese original."

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6190-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. v-vi)
    HELEN CALDWELL

    For a long time it has been the custom to call Machado de Assis a pessimist. Here, however, inThe Hand and the Glove,Mr. Bagby presents to us the Brazilian master’s indubitably comic novel with its indubitably happy ending, A Mao e a Luva.

    A Mão e a Luvais a romantic comedy, even though it pokes fun at romance, at the romantic movement, and at the romantic hero whether he be out of Goethe or out of Stendhal. In this, Assis’ second novel, we do not find the mature artist of his “great” novels. We do find a...

  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-xx)
    ALBERT I. BAGBY JR.

    Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis was born on June 21, 1839, in a poor neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro called the Morro do’ Livramento. He was amestico,which in Brazil means Hof mixed blood.” His father, Francisco Jose de Assis, was a mulatto and his mother, Maria Leopoldina Machado, a washerwoman of Portuguese extraction. In 1849, Machado’s mother died of tuberculosis, and it is now known that his father remarried-a mulatto, Maria Ines-in 1854.¹ Thus it was that Assis received his first real teaching and training from his stepmother.

    The boy’s childhood was spent in that area of Rio...

  4. Bibliography
    (pp. xxi-2)
  5. Foreword of 1874
    (pp. 3-3)
    M. de A.

    This novel, subject to the requirements of daily publication, came from the author's hands chapter by chapter. Naturally, the narration and style suffered with this method of composition, a bit outside the author’s habits. Had he written it under different conditions, he would have given it more extensive development, and a bit more coloring to the characters, which are only outlined here. I ought to say that the drawing of such characters–that of Guiomar, especially–was my principal objective, if not my exclusive one, the action serving only as a canvas upon which I cast the contour of the...

  6. Foreword of 1907
    (pp. 4-4)
    M. de A.

    The thirty and some-odd years that have passed between the first appearance of this novel and its reprinting, now underway, should explain the differences in composition and style of the author. If the author would not have given it the same form now, it is certain he did so earlier; and, after all, all of it serves to define the same person.

    It hadn’t been on the market for a long time. The author accepted advice in trusting the reprinting to the editor of other books of his. He didn’t alter it at all; he only amended typographical mistakes, made...

  7. 1 The End of the Letter
    (pp. 5-11)

    “But what do you plan to do now?”

    “Die."

    “Die? What an idea! Forget it, Estêvaõ. One doesn’t die for so little....”

    “One does. If you haven’t suffered such pains you cannot possibly evaluate them. The blow was deep and my heart is weak. However grotesque the idea of death may seem, the idea of living is much, much worse. Ah, you cannot imagine what this is like!”

    “Yes, I can: a frustrating love affair. . . .”

    “Luis!”

    “And if in every case of a frustrating love affair a man died, mankind would be greatly reduced, and Malthus’ teaching...

  8. 2 A Robe
    (pp. 11-18)

    After Estêvão had been in Sao Paulo for a month, his flaming emotion was dead and buried; and he was hailing his recovery with two or three young ladies from the capital, alternately–all of them for diversion. It is certain that two years later, when he received his bachelor’s degree, there remained no thoughts of the romance of Invalidos Street. Furthermore, the beautiful Guiomar had long since left the school and gone to live with her godmother. He had not even seen her the first time he returned to Rio. Now he was returning, a graduate in law and social...

  9. 3 Next to the Fence
    (pp. 18-24)

    The first thing Estêvaõ was able to discover was that the neighbor was young. Through each opening in the trees, he could see her form, as precise and chaste as an antique piece of sculpture. He could see her milk-colored face, against which her dark-colored hair stood out, not perfectly combed but loosely tied at the top of her head with that early-morning negligence which makes beautiful women even more beautiful. The robe of white muslin, exquisitely embroidered, did not readily reveal the gracefulness of the figure, which seemed and was elegant, of that natural elegance which has been enhanced...

  10. 4 Latet Anguis
    (pp. 24-29)

    The baroness’ walk lasted a little over half an hour. The sun was beginning to get hot, and in spite of the estate’s being well shaded, the heat was forcing the good lady to seek shelter. Guiomar offered her arm, and the two, continuing along the same path, returned to the house.

    “It seems very late, Guiomar,” the baroness said after a few moments.

    “It is,madrinha.I took longer than usual today because I ran into someone here at the estate.”

    “You saw someone?”

    “A man.”

    “Some thief?” the baroness asked, coming to a stop.

    “No, ma’am,” answered Guiomar,...

  11. 5 Childhood
    (pp. 29-34)

    Guiomar had been born in humble circumstances; she was the daughter of a humble public official who worked for some branch of the government, an honest man who died when she was only seven years old, leaving the responsibility of educating and supporting her to his widow. The widow was an energetic woman with a decisive mind; she wiped away her tears with the sleeve of her modest dress, looked at the situation realistically, and decided to fight the battle to victory.

    Guiomar’s godmother didn’t fail her in that difficult period and looked after both of them in the way...

  12. 6 The Postscript
    (pp. 34-39)

    Luis Alves’ advice on that fatal night two years back no doubt was fitting and should have remained on Estêvão’s mind. It was not wise to reread the letter, because of the danger of finding a postscript. Estêvão’s was curious about epistles; it was unthinkable that he not open that one. There was the postscript at the end.

    To return to normal language, Estêvaõ left Luis Alves’ garden with his heart half-inclined to love again the woman who had once caused him so much suffering. One might conclude here that he had not really ceased to love her. It is...

  13. 7 A Rival
    (pp. 39-44)

    It wasn’t the first time Mrs. Oswald had made reference to something that didn’t please Guiomar, nor the first time the latter had answered her with the dryness that the reader observed mthe last chapter. The good Englishwoman remained serious and silent some two or three minutes, looking at Guiomar, apparently trying to guess her thoughts, but in reality, not knowing how to get out of the situation. The girl broke the silence:

    “All right,” she said, smiling. “I see no reason for you to get angry with me.”

    “I am not angry,” retorted Mrs. Oswald immediately. “Why do you...

  14. 8 The Blow
    (pp. 44-49)

    One morning Estevao awoke determined to deliver the decisive blow. Weak hearts have these sudden bursts of energy, and it is a common thing for timid souls to delude themselves. He confessed to himself that he had done nothing and that the situation required that something be done.

    Never have circumstances been more appropriate than today, he thought. Guiomar·treats me with an affability which is a good sign. Furthermore, there is a noble spirit within her; she will certainly recognize that a discreet and respectful sentiment such as mine is worth a little more than drawing-room flattery.

    The resolution was...

  15. 9 Conspiracy
    (pp. 50-56)

    When the two speakers from the fence approached her, the baroness grew more worried and perplexed. Guiomar was smiling and in a good mood; but Estevao was disguising his downtrodden state so poorly that one of two things was surely the case: either she had just told him her feelings once and for all, or this was simply a serious mood he was in and one which he either couldn’t or didn’t want to hide from alien eyes. The baroness thought the latter. However, she concluded that it was of the utmost importance that she attempt something in favor of...

  16. 10 The Revelation
    (pp. 56-66)

    A half-hour later when Guiomar opened the book to continue her reading, she saw jorge’s letter. It wasn’t in an envelope; it was just a small, simple, folded piece of paper which savored of love. Guiomar’s mind was so far removed from thoughts of love that she suspected nothing and opened it casually. The first word written was her name; the last was jorge’s.

    Guiomar’s first gesture was of panic. If he could have seen her through the keyhole and observed the expression on her face, it is very probable that all the love he now nourished would have transformed...

  17. 11 Luis Alves
    (pp. 66-72)

    For one entire, long week Estêvão didn’t appear at the office where he worked with Luis Alves; he didn’t appear in Botafogo either. During all this time no one saw him at the places he regularly frequented. There were six days, I won't say of seclusion, but of complete isolation, because even the few times he went out, he did so only at times and in directions which kept him from seeing or being seen by anyone.

    These were the days of that cruel and unfortunate debate, a grave and serious problem indeed, the problem of Ouvidor Street and Jose...

  18. 12 The Trip
    (pp. 72-77)

    Luis Alves had hardly returned to the reading of his tracts when his servant came in and handed him a calling card.

    “Have him come in,” said the lawyer, reading the name of the baroness’ nephew.

    And immediately the slow and measured step of the young man could be heard in the hallway; in no time he was at the office door, extending a formal but gracious greeting.

    “Have I come at the wrong time, Doctor?” Jorge asked.

    “For heaven’s sake,” exclaimed the lawyer, rising and going to the door to meet him. “There’s never any wrong time for you,...

  19. 13 Explanations
    (pp. 77-82)

    Luis Alves had grasped the entire significance of the expression in Guiomar's eyes; nevertheless, he was a cold and resolute man. He bowed with grace and gentility, and said to her as politely as was possible for one so strong and austere:

    “you feel I was a little daring, don’t you? I was merely sincere; and even if your refinement condemns me, I am sure your heart forgives....”

    Guiomar had pulled herself together.

    “You are mistaken,” she said. I don’t condemn you, for the simple reason that I didn’t understand you.”

    “All the better,” replied Luis Alves without batting an...

  20. 14 Ex-Abrupto
    (pp. 83-88)

    The reader has already become aware that the trip to Cantagalo was almost exclusively Guiomar’s doing. The baroness had fought it at first, as she had on other occasions, and thecomendadorno longer had much hope of seeing her on his farm. But Guiomar’s vote was decisive. She strengthened thecomendador’s arguments with her own, alleging not only the obligation her godmother had of keeping her word, but in addition, the advantages that those three months of country life would have for her, far from the agitation of the city. Summing it up, she pointed to her own desire...

  21. 15 The Trouble with Go-Betweens
    (pp. 88-93)

    For three days Luis Alves kept himself from going to the baroness’ house, and was, as a matter of fact, about to die over it. This absence, however, entered into his plan; it was one of the instructions which he himself had given his heart; there was no way but to observe them.

    On the fourth day he received a note from the baroness congratulating him on being elected. The mail from the north had arrived and with it the news of the election victory. Luis Alves was a representative; he was finally going to have a hand in the...

  22. 16 The Confession
    (pp. 93-99)

    On the same night that Jorge, yielding to Mrs. Oswald’s suggestions, was attempting the last recourse which from her point of view existed, Luis Alves was at home seated comfortably in a leather armchair in front of the window, his eyes on the sea and his thoughts on his two recently won elections. The clock was striking midnight; someone got out of a carriage and was knocking at his door.

    It was Estêvaõ.

    Naturally, Luis Alves was surprised to see him there at that hour, but Estêvaõ explained everything to him.

    “I’ve come to spend a half hour with you,...

  23. 17 The Letter
    (pp. 99-105)

    He didn’t have to reread the paper to understand it; but eyes in love take delight in love letters. The paper contained only the following–Ask for my hand–written in the center of the page, in a fine, elegant, and feminine handwriting. Luis Alves looked at the note for a while, first as a man in love, then as a mere observer. The handwriting wasn’t shaky, but seemed to have been cast upon the paper in a moment of agitation.

    From this observation Luis Alves passed on to a very natural reflection. That note, hardly advisable in any other...

  24. 18 The Choice
    (pp. 105-112)

    Mrs. Oswald had said too much. The baroness had not told her to tell her goddaughter why she was being called. As it turned out, however, that was not the only indiscretion. Mrs. Oswald, instead of stepping out of the way and leaving the discussion of the subject to Guiomar and the baroness, yielded to curiosity and accompanied the girl.

    The baroness was seated between two windows with the letter open in her hands, so intent in rereading it that she didn’t hear the footsteps of Guiomar and Mrs. Oswald.

    “Did my godmother call me?” Guiomar asked, stopping in front...

  25. Conclusion
    (pp. 112-118)

    The wedding date having been set for two months thereafter, the entire interval was spent by the couple in that delectable type of living which is no longer the furtive language of mere courtship, neither yet is it conjugal intimacy, but an intermediate and mutual state in which the hearts can overflow freely into each other. These two had none of Estêvaõ’s ecstatic and romantic love, but they loved sincerely, she even more than he, and one was as happy as the other.

    The people who knew them commented in every way and manner about that unexpected affair, and more...

  26. Back Matter
    (pp. 119-119)