One Hundred Years of Solitude - Chapter 19


   A year after her return, although she had not succeeded in making any friends or giving any parties, Amaranta ?rsula still believed that it was possible to rescue the community which had been singled out by misfortune. Gaston, her husband, took care not to antagonize her, although since that fatal noon when he got off the train he realized that his wife’s determination had been provoked by a nostalgic mirage. Certain that she would be defeated by the realities, he did not even take the trouble to put his velocipede together, but he set about hunting for the largest eggs among the spider webs that the masons had knocked down, and he would open them with his fingernails and spend hours looking through a magnifying glass at the tiny spiders that emerged. Later on, thinking that Amaranta ?rsula was continuing with her repairs so that her hands would not be idle, he decided to assemble the handsome bicycle, on which the front wheel was much larger than the rear one, and he dedicated himself to the capture and curing of every native insect he could find in the region, which he sent in jam jars to his former professor of natural history at the University of Liège where he had done advanced work in entomology, although his main vocation was that of aviator. When he rode the bicycle he would wear acrobat’s tights, gaudy socks, and a Sherlock Holmes cap, but when he was on foot he would dress in a spotless natural linen suit, white shoes, a silk bow tie, a straw boater, and he would carry a willow stick in his hand. His pale eyes accentuated his look of a sailor and his small mustache looked like the fur of a squirrel. Although he was at least fifteen years older than his wife, his alert determination to make her happy and his qualities as a good lover compensated for the difference. Actually, those who saw that man in his forties with careful habits, with the leash around his neck and his circus bicycle, would not have thought that he had made a pact of unbridled love with his wife and that they both gave in to the reciprocal drive in the least adequate of places and wherever the spirit moved them, as they had done since they had began to keep company, and with a passion that the passage of time and the more and more unusual circumstances deepened and enriched. Gaston was not only a fierce lover, with endless wisdom and imagination, but he was also, perhaps, the first man in the history of the species who had made an emergency landing and had come close to killing himself and his sweetheart simply to make love in a field of violets.