One Hundred Years of Solitude - Chapter 14


   “Let no one have any illusions,?she shouted so that Fernanda would hear her. “Amaranta Buendía is leaving this world just as she came into it.
   She did not get up again. Lying on cushions, as if she really were ill, she braided her long hair and rolled it about her ears as death had told her it should be on her bier. Then she asked ?rsula for a mirror and for the first time in more than forty years she saw her face, devastated by age and martyrdom, and she was surprised at how much she resembled the mental image that she had of herself. ?rsula understood by the silence in the bedroom that it had begun to grow dark.
   “Say good-bye to Fernanda,?she begged her. One minute of reconciliation is worth more than a whole life of friendship.?
   “It’s of no use now,?Amaranta replied.
   Meme could not help thinking about her when they turned on the lights on the improvised stage and she began the second part of the program. In the middle of the piece someone whispered the news in her ear and the session stopped. When he arrived home, Aureliano Segundo had to push his way through the crowd to see the corpse of the aged virgin, ugly and discolored, with the black bandage on her hand and wrapped in the magnificent shroud. She was laid out in the parlor beside the box of letters.
   ?rsula did not get up again after the nine nights of mourning for Amaranta, Santa Sofía de la Piedad took care of her. She took her meals to her bedroom and annatto water for her to wash in and she kept her up to date on everything that happened in Macondo. Aureliano Segundo visited her frequently and he brought her clothing which she would place beside the bed along with the things most indispensable for daily life, so that in a short time she had built up a world within reach of her hand. She managed to arouse a great love in little Amaranta ?rsula, who was just like her, and whom she taught how to read. Her lucidity, the ability to be sufficient un herself made one think that she was naturally conquered by the weight of her hundred years, but even though it was obvious that she was having trouble seeing, no one suspected that she was totally blind. She had so much time at her disposal then and so much interior silence to watch over the life of the house that she was the first to notice Meme’s silent tribulation.