One Hundred Years of Solitude - Chapter 16


   “That’s not true,?Aureliano Segundo interrupted her. “He was already beginning to smell when they brought him here.?
   He had the patience to listen to her for a whole day until he caught her in a slip. Fernanda did not pay him any mind, but she lowered her voice. That night at dinner the exasperating buzzing of the singsong had conquered the sound of the rain. Aureliano, Segundo ate very little, with his head down, and he went to his room early. At breakfast on the following day Fernanda was trembling, with a look of not having slept well, and she seemed completely exhausted by her rancor. Nevertheless, when her husband asked if it was not possible to have a soft-boiled egg, she did not answer simply that they had run out of eggs the week before, but she worked up a violent diatribe against men who spent their time contemplating their navels and then had the gall to ask for larks?livers at the table. Aureliano Segundo took the children to look at the encyclopedia, as always, and Fernanda pretended to straighten out Meme’s room just so that he could listen to her muttering, of course, that it certainly took cheek for him to tell the poor innocents that there was a picture of Colonel Aureliano Buendía in the encyclopedia. During the afternoon, while the children were having their nap, Aureliano Segundo sat on the porch and Fernanda pursued him even there, provoking him, tormenting him, hovering about him with her implacable horsefly buzzing, saying that, of course, while there was nothing to eat except stones, her husband was sitting there like a sultan of Persia, watching it rain, because that was all he was, a slob, a sponge, a good-for-nothing, softer than cotton batting, used to living off women and convinced that he had married Jonah’s wife, who was so content with the story of the whale. Aureliano Segundo listened to her for more than two hours, impassive, as if he were deaf. He did not interrupt her until late in the afternoon, when he could no longer bear the echo of the bass drum that was tormenting his head.