One Hundred Years of Solitude - Chapter 6


   “Don’t be simple, Crespi.?She smiled. “I wouldn’t marry you even if I were dead.?
   Pietro Crespi lost control of himself. He wept shamelessly, almost breaking his fingers with desperation, but he could not break her down. “Don’t waste your time,?was all that Amaranta said. “If you really love me so much, don’t set foot in this house again.??rsula thought she would go mad with shame. Pietro Crespi exhausted all manner of pleas. He went through incredible extremes of humiliation. He wept one whole afternoon in ?rsula’s lap and she would have sold her soul in order to comfort him. On rainy nights he could be seen prowling about the house with an umbrella, waiting for a light in Amaranta’s bedroom. He was never better dressed than at that time. His august head of a tormented emperor had acquired a strange air of grandeur. He begged Amaranta’s friends, the ones who sewed with her on the porch, to try to persuade her. He neglected his business. He would spend the day in the rear of the store writing wild notes, which he would send to Amaranta with flower petals and dried butterflies, and which she would return unopened. He would shut himself up for hours on end to play the zither. One night he sang. Macondo woke up in a kind of angelic stupor that was caused by a zither that deserved more than this world and a voice that led one to believe that no other person on earth could feel such love. Pietro Crespi then saw the lights go on in every window in town except that of Amaranta. On November second, All Souls?Day, his brother opened the store and found all the lamps lighted, all the music boxes opened, and all the docks striking an interminable hour, and in the midst of that mad concert he found Pietro Crespi at the desk in the rear with his wrists cut by a razor and his hands thrust into a basin of benzoin.
   ?rsula decreed that the wake would be in her house. Father Nicanor was against a religious ceremony and burial in consecrated ground. ?rsula stood up to him. “In a way that neither you nor I can understand, that man was a saint,?she said. “So I am going to bury him, against your wishes, beside Melquíades?grave.?She did it with the support of the whole town and with a magnificent funeral. Amaranta did not leave her bedroom. From her bed she heard ?rsula’s weeping, the steps and whispers of the multitude that invaded the house, the wailing of the mourners, and then a deep silence that smelled of trampled flowers. For a long time she kept on smelling Pietro Crespi’s lavender breath at dusk, but she had the strength not to succumb to delirium. ?rsula abandoned her. She did not even raise her eyes to pity her on the afternoon when Amaranta went into the kitchen and put her hand into the coals of the stove until it hurt her so much that she felt no more pain but instead smelled the pestilence of her own singed flesh. It was a stupid cure for her remorse. For several days she went about the house with her hand in a pot of egg whites, and when the burns healed it appeared as if the whites had also scarred over the sores on her heart. The only external trace that the tragedy left was the bandage of black gauze that she put on her burned hand and that she wore until her death.