One Hundred Years of Solitude - Chapter 9


   Colonel Aureliano Buendía left his room in December and it was sufficient for him to look at the porch in order not to think about war again. With a vitality that seemed impossible at her age, ?rsula had rejuvenated the house again. “Now they’re going to see who I am,?she said when she saw that her son was going to live. “There won’t be a better, more open house in all the world than this madhouse.?She had it washed and painted, changed the furniture, restored the garden and planted new flowers, and opened doors and windows so that the dazzling light of summer would penetrate even into the bedrooms. She decreed an end to the numerous superimposed periods of mourning and she herself exchanged her rigorous old gowns for youthful clothing. The music of the pianola again made the house merry. When she heard it, Amaranta thought of Pietro Crespi, his evening gardenia, and his smell of lavender, and in the depths of her withered heart a clean rancor flourished, purified by time. One afternoon when she was trying to put the parlor in order, ?rsula asked for the help of the soldiers who were guarding the house. The young commander of the guard gave them permission. Little by little, ?rsula began assigning them new chores. She invited them to eat, gave them clothing and shoes, and taught them how to read and write. When the government withdrew the guard, one of them continued living in the house and was in her service for many years. On New Year’s Day, driven mad by rebuffs from Remedios the Beauty, the young commander of the guard was found dead under her window.