One Hundred Years of Solitude - Chapter 7


   “How wonderful!?he exclaimed. “We have a telegraph office in Macondo now.?
   His reply was definitive. In three months he expected to establish his headquarters in Macondo. If he did not find Colonel Gerineldo Márquez alive at that time he would shoot out of hand all of the officers he held prisoner at that moment starting with the generals, and he would give orders to his subordinates to do the same for the rest of the war. Three months later, when he entered Macondo in triumph, the first embrace he received on the swamp road was that of Colonel Gerineldo Márquez.
   The house was full of children. ?rsula had taken in Santa Sofía de la Piedad with her older daughter and a pair of twins, who had been born five months after Arcadio had been shot. Contrary to the victim’s last wishes, she baptized the girl with the name of Remedios. I’m sure that was what Arcadio meant,?she alleged. “We won’t call her ?rsula, because a person suffers too much with that name.?The twins were named Jos?Arcadio Segundo and Aureliano Segundo. Amaranta took care of them all. She put small wooden chairs in the living room and established a nursery with other children from neighboring families. When Colonel Aureliano Buendía returned in the midst of exploding rockets and ringing bells, a children’s chorus welcomed him to the house. Aureliano Jos? tall like his grandfather, dressed as a revolutionary officer, gave him military honors.
   Not all the news was good. A year after the flight of Colonel Aureliano Buendía, Jos?Arcadio and Rebeca went to live in the house Arcadio had built. No one knew about his intervention to halt the execution. In the new house, located on the best corner of the square, in the shade of an almond tree that was honored by three nests of redbreasts, with a large door for visitors and four windows for light, they set up a hospitable home. Rebeca’s old friends, among them four of the Moscote sisters who were still single, once more took up the sessions of embroidery that had been interrupted years before on the porch with the begonias. Jos?Arcadio continued to profit from the usurped lands, the title to which was recognized by the Conservative government. Every afternoon he could be seen returning on horseback, with his hunting dogs and his double-barreled shotgun and a string of rabbits hanging from his saddle. One September afternoon, with the threat of a storm, he returned home earlier than usual. He greeted Rebeca in the dining room, tied the dogs up in the courtyard, hung the rabbits up in the kitchen to be salted later, and went to the bedroom to change his clothes. Rebeca later declared that when her husband went into the bedroom she was locked in the bathroom and did not hear anything. It was a difficult version to believe, but there was no other more plausible, and no one could think of any motive for Rebeca to murder the man who had made her happy. That was perhaps the only mystery that was never cleared up in Macondo. As soon as Jos?Arcadio closed the bedroom door the sound of a pistol shot echoed through the house. A trickle of blood came out under the door, crossed the living room, went out into the street, continued on in a straight line across the uneven terraces, went down steps and climbed over curbs, passed along the Street of the Turks, turned a corner to the right and another to the left, made a right angle at the Buendía house, went in under the closed door, crossed through the parlor, hugging the walls so as not to stain the rugs, went on to the other living room, made a wide curve to avoid the dining-room table, went along the porch with the begonias, and passed without being seen under Amaranta’s chair as she gave an arithmetic lesson to Aureliano Jos?, and went through the pantry and came out in the kitchen, where ?rsula was getting ready to crack thirty-six eggs to make bread.