One Hundred Years of Solitude - Chapter 9


   “You can’t come in, colonel,?she told him. “You may be in command of your war, but I’m in command of my house.?
   Colonel Aureliano Buendía did not show any sign of anger, but his spirit only calmed down when his bodyguard had sacked the widow’s house and reduced it to ashes. “Watch out for your heart, Aureliano,?Colonel Gerineldo Márquez would say to him then. “You’re rotting alive.?About that time he called together a second assembly of the principal rebel commanders. He found all types: idealists, ambitious people, adventurers, those with social resentments, even common criminals. There was even a former Conservative functionary who had taken refuge in the revolt to escape a judgment for misappropriation of funds. Many of them did not even know why they were fighting in the midst of that motley crowd, whose differences of values were on the verge of causing an internal explosion, one gloomy authority stood out: General Te6filo Vargas. He was a full-blooded Indian, untamed, illiterate, and endowed with quiet wiles and a messianic vocation that aroused a demented fanaticism in his men. Colonel Aureliano Buendía called the meeting with the aim of unifying the rebel command against the maneuvers of the politicians. General Teófilo Vargas came forward with his intentions: in a few hours he shattered the coalition of better-qualified commanders and took charge of the main command. “He’s a wild beast worth watching,?Colonel Aureliano Buendía told his officers. “That man is more dangerous to us than the Minister of War.?Then a very young captain who had always been outstanding for his timidity raised a cautious index finger.
   “It’s quite simple, colonel,?he proposed. “He has to be killed.?
   Colonel Aureliano Buendía was not alarmed by the coldness of the proposition but by the way in which, by a fraction of a second, it had anticipated his own thoughts.