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A histria de uma hora Kate Chopin

Como a Sra. Mallard sofria do corao, foi com extremo cuidado e delicadeza que lhe
disseram que o marido havia morrido.
Josephine, sua irm, deu-lhe a notcia em sentenas entrecortadas; uma pista aqui,
outra acol, a verdade insinuando-se entre um vu e outro. Richards, um amigo do
marido, acompanhava toda a cena de perto, ao lado da viva. Fora ele quem, trabalhando
na redao do jornal, recebera as primeiras informaes sobre o acidente ferrovirio,
juntamente com uma lista de vtimas encabeada pelo nome Brently Mallard. No podia
perder tempo: aps certificar-se da veracidade dos fatos atravs de um segundo telegrama,
ele correra para a casa dos Mallard com o intuito de impedir que algum outro amigo
menos carinhoso, ou menos atencioso, se adiantasse na tarefa de transmitir a triste notcia.
Ela no ouviu a histria como muitas mulheres j o fizeram: com uma paralisante
incapacidade de aceitar o seu significado. Caiu em prantos imediatamente, jogando-
se nos braos da irm em sbito e profundo abandono. Quando o turbilho de emoes
se esgotou, subiu para o seu quarto. Queria ficar sozinha; pediu que ningum a seguisse.
A poltrona ampla e confortvel estava de frente para a janela escancarada. Ela afundou
ali, esmagada por uma exausto fsica to intensa que parecia atravessar os limites do
corpo e atingir em cheio a sua alma.
Pelo quadrado aberto diante de si, ela podia ver os topos das rvores em alvoroo com a
chegada da primavera e da vida nova. Um delicioso aroma de chuva impregnava o ar. Na
rua logo abaixo, um mascate anunciava suas mercadorias. Notas de uma msica
que algum cantava chegavam, distantes, aos seus ouvidos. Inmeros pardais gorjeavam
nos beirais dos telhados.
Nesgas de cu azul rasgavam as nuvens que haviam se encontrado e se empilhado, uma
em cima da outra, a oeste de sua janela.
Sentada, a cabea esparramada no encosto da poltrona, ela permanecia
praticamente imvel. Apenas os soluos, que de vez em quando subiam pela garganta e
faziam-na estremecer como uma criana que chora at dormir e continua soluando em
seus sonhos.
Ela era jovem. As linhas do rosto calmo e agradvel denunciavam um qu de represso e
at um certo vigor. Agora, entretanto, os olhos arregalados pareciam embotados. O olhar,
capturado por uma daquelas manchas azuis no cu, no mostrava nenhum
sinal de raciocnio ponderativo. Pelo contrrio, sugeria a suspenso total de pensamento
inteligente.
Havia algo vindo ao seu encontro e ela aguardava por isso, amedrontada. O que seria?
No sabia; era algo muito sutil e impalpvel para ser nomeado. Mas podia senti-lo,
descendo furtivamente do cu, alcanando-a por meio dos sons, dos cheiros e das cores
que tingiam o ar.
Agora o seu peito arfava descompassadamente. Estava comeando a reconhecer
aquela coisa que se aproximava para possu-la, e lutava para afast-la de si com a fora
da sua vontade. Esta, porm, revelava-se to ou mais fraca do que as suas duas mos
brancas e delgadas.
Quando desistiu de lutar, uma pequenina palavra, um sussurro, escapou pelos seus
lbios entreabertos. E ela repetiu, secretamente: Livre, livre, livre! O olhar perdido e
a expresso de terror fugiram dos seus olhos. Eles ficaram alertas e brilhantes. Sua
pulsao aumentou e o sangue passou a circular mais quente, relaxando cada pedacinho
do seu corpo.
No parou para se perguntar se a felicidade que tomava conta do seu ser era
monstruosa ou no. Uma percepo clara e exaltada convenceu-a de que aquela era uma
questo irrelevante.
Sabia que choraria novamente quando visse as mos gentis e ternas incorporadas morte;
quando visse o rosto - outrora amoroso - rgido, cinza e morto. Mas podia entrever, por
detrs de um breve instante de amargura, uma longa sucesso de anos que seriam todos
seus, absolutamente seus. E ento, abriu e estendeu os braos, acolhendo calorosamente
os anos vindouros.
Durante os prximos anos no teria que dedicar a sua vida a ningum; viveria para
si mesma. No teria que se curvar diante de um poder maior do que o seu, naquele jogo
cego e persistente no qual homens e mulheres acreditam ter o direito de impor suas
vontades a uma outra pessoa. Embalada por aquele momento de iluminao, ela podia
enxergar, claramente, que as melhores ou as piores intenes no tornavam tal ato mais
ou menos criminoso.
Mas ela o amara algumas vezes. Poucas vezes. Mas que diferena isso fazia agora? O
que importava o amor, esse mistrio insondvel, diante da conquista de
tamanha autoconfiana? De repente, entendeu que aquele sentimento indito era a coisa
mais forte, mais importante de sua vida!
- Livre! Corpo e mente livres! repetia para si mesma.
Josephine estava ajoelhada atrs da porta trancada, os lbios colados no
buraco da fechadura, suplicando para ser admitida no quarto.
- Louise, abra a porta! Eu lhe imploro, abra a porta. Voc pode passar mal. O que voc
est fazendo, Louise? Pelo amor de Deus, abra esta porta!
- V embora. Eu no estou passando mal!
No; ela estava bebendo do elixir da vida atravs da janela aberta.
Sua imaginao galopava enlouquecida diante da perspectiva de todos os dias que
ainda teria pela frente. Dias de primavera, dias de vero, dias quaisquer todinhos seus.
Ela murmurou uma rpida orao pedindo que a vida fosse longa. E pensar que ontem
mesmo havia percebido, com terror, que a vida poderia ser longa.
Finalmente, ela se levantou e abriu a porta para as importunaes da irm. Havia um
triunfo febril em seus olhos. Sem se dar conta, portou-se como se fosse uma deusa da
Vitria. Passou o brao em torno da cintura da irm e, juntas, desceram as escadas.
Richards aguardava as duas na base da escadaria.
Um barulho de chave girando na fechadura. Algum abria a porta da frente. Era
Bentley Mallard. Suas roupas estavam ligeiramente empoeiradas por causa da viagem.
Carregava com elegncia a pasta e o guarda-chuva. Ele passara longe da cena do acidente,
e sequer ouvira falar de desastres naquele dia. Ficou perplexo com o grito agudo de
Josephine; estranhou os rpidos movimentos de Richards para evitar que sua esposa o
enxergasse. Mas Richards no fora rpido o suficiente.
Quando os mdicos chegaram, informaram-lhes que ela havia morrido de ataque do
corao de felicidade fulminante.

"The Story of An Hour"


Kate Chopin (1894)
Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to
break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death.
It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in
half concealing. Her husband's friend Richards was there, too, near her. It was he who
had been in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received,
with Brently Mallard's name leading the list of "killed." He had only taken the time to
assure himself of its truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less
careful, less tender friend in bearing the sad message.
She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability
to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister's
arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She
would have no one follow her.
There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank,
pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into
her soul.
She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver
with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a
peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing
reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.
There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met
and piled one above the other in the west facing her window.
She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except
when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep
continues to sob in its dreams.
She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain
strength. But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder
on one of those patches of blue sky. It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated
a suspension of intelligent thought.
There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it?
She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name. But she felt it, creeping out of
the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air.
Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing
that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will--as
powerless as her two white slender hands would have been. When she abandoned herself
a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under
hte breath: "free, free, free!" The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it
went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing
blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.
She did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her. A clear and
exalted perception enabled her to dismiss the suggestion as trivial. She knew that she
would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had
never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. But she saw beyond that
bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely.
And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome.
There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself.
There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men
and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A
kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon
it in that brief moment of illumination.
And yet she had loved him--sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What
could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion
which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!
"Free! Body and soul free!" she kept whispering.
Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhold, imploring for
admission. "Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door--you will make yourself ill. What
are you doing, Louise? For heaven's sake open the door."
"Go away. I am not making myself ill." No; she was drinking in a very elixir of life
through that open window.
Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days,
and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer that life might
be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.
She arose at length and opened the door to her sister's importunities. There was a feverish
triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She
clasped her sister's waist, and together they descended the stairs. Richards stood waiting
for them at the bottom.
Some one was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered,
a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far
from the scene of the accident, and did not even know there had been one. He stood
amazed at Josephine's piercing cry; at Richards' quick motion to screen him from the view
of his wife.
When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease--of the joy that kills.