One Hundred Years of Solitude - Chapter 16


   She could not have conceived of a more desolate cortege. They had put the coffin in an oxcart over which they built a canopy of banana leaves, but the pressure of the rain was so intense and the streets so muddy that with every step the wheels got stuck and the covering was on the verge of falling apart. The streams of sad water that fell on the coffin were soaking the flag that had been placed on top which was actually the flag stained with blood and gunpowder that had been rejected by more honorable veterans. On the coffin they had also placed the saber with tassels of silver and copper, the same one that Colonel Gerineldo Márquez used to hang on the coat rack in order to go into Amaranta’s sewing room unarmed. Behind the cart, some barefoot and all of them with their pants rolled up, splashing in the mud were the last survivors of the surrender at Neerlandia carrying a drover’s staff in one hand and in the other a wreath of paper flowers that had become discolored in the rain. They appeared like an unreal vision along the street which still bore the name of Colonel Aureliano Buendía and they all looked at the house as they passed and turned the corner at the square, where they had to ask for help to move the cart, which was stuck. ?rsula had herself carried to the door by Santa Sofía de la Piedad. She followed the difficulties of the procession with such attention that no one doubted that she was seeing it, especially because her raised hand of an archangelic messenger was moving with the swaying of the cart.
   “Good-bye, Gerineldo, my son,?she shouted. “Say hello to my people and tell them I’ll see them when it stops raining.?
   Aureliano Segundo helped her back to bed and with the same informality with which he always treated her, he asked her the meaning of her farewell.
   “It’s true,?she said. “I’m only waiting for the rain to stop in order to die.?