One Hundred Years of Solitude - Chapter 9


   “Take them to the whores,?he said.
   They were six lawyers in frock coats and top hats who endured the violent November sun with stiff stoicism. ?rsula put them up in her house. They spent the greater part of the day closeted in the bedroom in hermetic conferences and at dusk they asked for an escort and some accordion players and took over Catarino’s store. “Leave them alone,?Colonel Aureliano Buendía ordered. “After all, I know what they want.?At the beginning of December the long-awaited interview, which many had foreseen as an interminable argument, was resolved in less than an hour.
   In the hot parlor, beside the specter of the pianola shrouded in a white sheet, Colonel Aureliano Buendía did not sit down that time inside the chalk circle that his aides had drawn. He sat in a chair between his political advisers and, wrapped in his woolen blanket, he listened in silence to the brief proposals of the emissaries. They asked first that he renounce the revision of property titles in order to get back the support of the Liberal landowners. They asked, secondly, that he renounce the fight against clerical influence in order to obtain the support of the Catholic masses. They asked, finally, that he renounce the aim of equal rights for natural and illegitimate children in order to preserve the integrity of the home.
   “That means,?Colonel Aureliano Buendía said, smiling when the reading was over, “that all we’re fighting for is power.?
   “They’re tactical changes,?one of the delegates replied. “Right now the main thing is to broaden the popular base of the war. Then we’ll have another look.?
   One of Colonel Aureliano Buendía’s political advisers hastened to intervene.
   “It’s a contradiction?he said. “If these changes are good, it means that the Conservative regime is good. If we succeed in broadening the popular base of the war with them, as you people say, it means that the regime his a broad popular base. It means, in short, that for almost twenty years we’ve been fighting against the sentiments of the nation.?