One Hundred Years of Solitude - Chapter 5


   A greater obstacle, as impassable as it was unforeseen, obliged a new and indefinite postponement. One week before the date set for the wedding, little Remedios woke up in the middle of the night soaked in a hot broth which had exploded in her insides with a kind of tearing belch, and she died three days later, poisoned by her own blood, with a pair of twins crossed in her stomach. Amarante suffered a crisis of conscience. She had begged God with such fervor for something fearful to happen so that she would not have to poison Rebeca that she felt guilty of Remedios?death. That was not the obstacle that she had begged for so much. Remedios had brought a breath of merriment to the house. She had settled down with her husband in a room near the workshop, which she decorated with the dolls and toys of her recent childhood, and her merry vitality overflowed the four walls of the bedroom and went like a whirlwind of good health along the porch with the begonias: She would start singing at dawn. She was the only person who dared intervene in the arguments between Rebeca and Amaranta. She plunged into the fatiguing chore of taking care of Jos?Arcadio Buendía. She would bring him his food, she would help him with his daily necessities, wash him with soap and a scrubbing brush, keep his hair and beard free of lice and nits, keep the palm shelter in good condition and reinforce it with waterproof canvas in stormy weather. In her last months she had succeeded in communicating with him in phrases of rudimentary Latin. When the son of Aureliano and Pilar Ternera was born and brought to the house and baptized in an intimate ceremony with the name Aureliano Jos? Remedios decided that he would be considered their oldest child. Her maternal instinct surprised ?rsula. Aureliano, for his part, found in her the justification that he needed to live. He worked all day in his workshop and Remedios would bring him a cup of black coffee in the middle of the morning. They would both visit the Moscotes every night. Aureliano would play endless games of dominoes with his father-in-law while Remedios chatted with her sisters or talked to her mother about more important things. The link with the Buendías consolidated Don Apolinar Moscote’s authority in the town. On frequent trips to the capital of the province he succeeded in getting the government to build a school so that Arcadio, who had inherited the educational enthusiasm of his grandfather, could take charge of it. Through persuasion he managed to get the majority of houses painted blue in time for the date of national independence. At the urging of Father Nicanor, he arranged for the transfer of Catarino’s store to a back street and he closed down several scandalous establishments that prospered in the center of town. Once he returned with six policemen armed with rifles to whom he entrusted the maintenance of order, and no one remembered the original agreement not to have armed men in the town. Aureliano enjoyed his father-in-law’s efficiency. “You’re going to get as fat as he is,?his friends would say to him. But his sedentary life, which accentuated his cheekbones and concentrated the sparkle of his eyes, did not increase his weight or alter the parsimony of his character, but, on the contrary, it hardened on his lips the straight line of solitary meditation and implacable decision. So deep was the affection that he and his wife had succeeded in arousing in both their families that when Remedios announced that she was going to have a child. even Rebeca and Amaranta declared a truce in order to knit items in blue wool if it was to be a boy and in pink wool in case it was a girl. She was the last person Arcadio thought about a few years later when he faced the firing squad.