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Chapter 10

YEARS LATER on his deathbed Aureli-ano Segun-do would remember the rainy afternoon in June when he went into the bedroom to meet his first son. Even though the child was languid and weepy, with no mark of a Buendía, he did not have to think twice about naming him.
"We'll call him José Arcadio," he said.
Fernanda del Carpio, the beautiful woman he had married the year before, agreed. úrsula, on the other hand, could not conceal a vague feeling of doubt. Throughout the long history of the family the insistent repetition of names had made her draw some conclusions that seemed to be certain. While the Aureli-anos were withdrawn, but with lucid minds, the José Arcadios were impulsive and enterprising, but they were marked with a tragic sign. The only cases that were impossible to classify were those of José Arcadio Segun-do and Aureli-ano Segun-do. They were so much alike and so mischievous during childhood that not even Santa Sofía de la Piedad could tell them apart. On the day of their christening Amaranta put bracelets on them with their respective names dressed them in different colored clothing marked with each one's initials, but when they began to go to school they decided to exchange clothing and bracelets and call each other by opposite names. The teacher, Melchor Escalona, used to knowing José Arcadio Segun-do by his green shirt, went out of his mind when he discovered that the latter was wearing Aureli-ano Segun-do's bracelet and that the otone said, nevertheless, that his name was Aureli-ano Segun-do in spite of the fact that he was wearing the white shirt and the bracelet with José Arcadio Segun-do's name. -From then on he was never sure who was who. Even when they grew up and life made them different. úrsula still wondered if they themselves might not have made a mistake in some moment of their intricate game of confusion had become changed forever. Until the beginning of adolescence they were two synchronized machines. They would wake up at the same time, have the urge to go to the bathroom at the same time, suffer the same upsets in health, and they even dreamed about the same things. In the house, where it was thought that they coordinated their actions with a simple desire to confuse, no one realized what really was happening until one day when Santa Sofía de la Piedad gave one of them a glass of lemonade and as soon as he tasted it the other one said that it needed sugar. Santa Sofía de la Piedad, who had indeed forgotten to put sugar in the lemonade, told úrsula about it. "That's what they're all like," she said without surprise. "crazy from birth." In time things became less disordered. The one who came out of the game of confusion with the name Aureli-ano Segun-do grew to monumental size like his grandfathers, the one who kept the name of José Arcadio Segun-do grew to be bony like the colonel, and the only thing they had in common was the family's solitary air. Perhaps it was that crossing of stature, names, and character that made úrsula suspect that they had been shuffled like a deck of cards since childhood.
The decisive difference was revealed in the midst of the war, when José Arcadio Segun-do asked Colonel Geri-neldo Márquez to let him see an execution. Against úrsula's better judgment his wishes were satisfied. Aureli-ano Segun-do, on the other hand, shuddered at the mere idea of witnessing an execution. He preferred to stay home. At the age of twelve he asked úrsula what was in the locked room. "Papers," she answered. "Melquíades' books and the strange things that he wrote in his last years." Instead of calming him, the answer increased his curiosity. He demanded so much, promised with such insistence that he would not mistreat the things, that úrsula, gave him the keys. No one had gone into the room again since they had taken Melquíades' body out and had put on the door a padlock whose parts had become fused together with rust. But when Aureli-ano Segun-do opened the windows a familiar light entered that seemed accustomed to lighting the room every day and there was not the slightest trace of dust or cobwebs, with everything swept and clean, better swept and cleaner than on the day of the burial, and the ink had not dried up in the inkwell nor had oxidation diminished the shine of the metals nor had the embers gone out under the water pipe where José Arcadio Buendía had vaporized mercury. On the shelves were the books bound in a cardboard--like material, pale, like tanned human skin, and the manuscripts were intact. In spite of the room's having been shut up for many years, the air seemed fresher than in the rest of the house. Everything was so recent that several weeks later, when úrsula went into the room a pail of water and a brush to wash the floor, there was nothing for her to do. Aureli-ano Segun-do was deep in the reading of a book. Although it had no cover and the title did not appear anywhere, the boy enjoyed the story a woman who sat at a table and ate nothing but kernels of rice, which she picked up with a pin, and the story of the fisherman who borrowed a weight for his net from a neighbor and when he gave him a fish in payment later it had a diamond in its stomach, and the one about the lamp that fulfilled wishes and about flying carpets. Surprised, he asked úrsula if all that was true and she answered him that it was, that many years ago the gypsies had brought magic lamps and flying mats to Macon-do.
"What's happening," she sighed, "is that the world is slowly coming to an end and those things don't come here any more."
When he finished the book, in which many of the stories had no endings because there were pages missing, Aureli-ano Segun-do set about deciphering the manuscripts. It was impossible. The letters looked like clothes hung out to dry on a line and they looked more like musical notation than writing. One hot noontime, while he was poring over the, manuscripts, he sensed that he was not alone in the room. Against the light from the window, sitting with his hands on his knees, was Melquíades. He was under forty years of age. He was wearing the same old-fashioned vest and the hat that looked like a raven's wings, and across his pale temples there flowed the grease from his hair that had been melted by the heat, just as Aureli-ano and José Arcadio had seen him when they were children. Aureli-ano Segun-do recognized him at once, because that hereditary memory had been transmitted from generation to generation and had come to through the memory of his grandfather.
"Hello," Aureli-ano Segun-do said.
From then on, for several years, they saw each other almost every afternoon. Melquíades talked to him about the world, tried to infuse him with his old wisdom, but he refused to translate the manuscripts. "No one must know their meaning until he has reached one hundred years of age," he explained. Aureli-ano kept those meetings secret forever. On one occasion he felt that his private world had fallen apart because úrsula came in when Melquíades was in the room. But she did not see him.
"Who were you talking to?" she asked him.
"Nobody," Aureli-ano Segun-do said.
"That's what your great-grandfather did," úrsula, said. "He used to talk to himself too."
José Arcadio Segun-do, in the meantime, had satisfied his wish to see a shooting. For the rest of his life he would remember the livid flash of the six simultaneous shots-and the echo of the discharge as it broke against the hills and the sad smile and perplexed eyes of the man being shot, who stood erect while his shirt became soaked with blood, and who was still smiling even when they untied him from the post and put him in a box filled with quicklime. "He's alive," he thought. "They're going to bury him alive." It made such an impression on him that from then on he detested military practices and war, not because of the executions but because of the horrifying custom of burying the victims alive. No one knew then exactly when he began to ring the bells in the church tower and assist Father Antonio Isabel, the successor to "The Pup," at mass, and take can of the fighting cocks in the courtyard of the parish house. When Colonel Geri-neldo Márquez found out he scolded him strongly for learning occupations repudiated by the Liberals. "The fact is," he answered, "I think I've turned out to be a Conservative." He believed it as if it had been determined by fate. Colonel Geri-neldo Márquez, scandalized, told úrsula about it.
"I go Tuesday nights," he confessed. "if you promise not to tell anyone I'll take you next Tuesday."
Indeed, on the following Tuesday Petronio came down out of the tower with a wooden stool which until then no one had known the use of, and he took José Arcadio Segun-do to a nearby pasture. The boy became so taken with those nocturnal raids that it was a long time before he was seen at Catarino's. He became a cockfight man. "Take those creatures somewhere else," úrsula ordered him the first time she saw him come in with his fine fighting birds. "Roosters have already brought too much bitterness to this house for you to bring us any more." José Arcadio Segun-do took them away without any argument, but he continued breeding them at the house of Pilar Ternera, his grandmother, who gave him everything he needed in exchange for having him in her house. He soon displayed in the cockpit the wisdom that Father Antonio Isabel had given him, and he made enough money not only to enrich his brood but also to look for a man's satisfactions. úrsula compared him with his brother at that time and could not understand how the twins, who looked like the same person in childhood, had ended up so differently. Her perplexity did not last very long, for quite soon Aureli-ano Segun-do began to show signs of laziness and dissipation. While he was shut up in Melquíades' room he was drawn into himself the way Colonel Aureli-ano Buendía had been in his youth. But a short time after the Treaty of Neerlandia, a piece of chance took him out of his withdrawn self and made him face the reality of the world. A young woman who was selling numbers for the raffle of an accordion greeted him with a great deal of familiarity. Aureli-ano Segun-do was not surprised, for he was frequently confused with his brother. But he did not clear up the mistake, not even when the girl tried to soften his heart with sobs, and she ended taking him to her room. She liked him so much from that first meeting that she fixed things so that he would win the accordion in the raffle. At the end of two weeks Aureli-ano Segun-do realized that the woman had been going to bed alternately with him and his brother, thinking that they were the same man, and instead of making things clear, he arranged to prolong the situation. He did not return to Melquíades' room. He would spend his afternoons in the courtyard, learning to play the accordion by ear over the protests úrsula, who at that time had forbidden music in the house because the mourning and who, in addition, despised the accordion as an instrument worthy only of the vagabond heirs Francisco the Man. Nevertheless, Aureli-ano Segun-do became a virtuoso on the accordion and he still was after he had married and had children and was one of the most respected men in Macon-do.
For almost two months he shared the woman with his brother. He would watch him, mix up his plans, and when he was sure that José Arcadio Segun-do was not going to visit their common mistress that night, he would go and sleep with her. One morning he found that he was sick. Two days later he found his brother clinging to a beam in the bathroom, soaked in sweat and with tears pouring down, and then he understood. His brother confessed to him that the woman had sent him away because he had given her what she called a low-life sickness. He also told him how Pilar Ternera had tried to cure him. Aureli-ano Segun-do submitted secretly to the burning baths of permanganate and to diuretic waters, and both were cured separately after three months of secret suffering. José Arcadio Segun-do did not see the woman again. Aureli-ano Segun-do obtained her pardon and stayed with her until his death.
Her name was Petra Cotes. She had arrived in Macon-do in the middle of the war a chalice husband who lived off raffles, and when the man died she kept up the business. She was a clean young mulatto woman with yellow almond-shaped eyes that gave face the ferocity of a panther, but she had a generous heart and a magnificent vocation for love. When úrsula realized that José Arcadio Segun-do was a cockfight man and that Aureli-ano Segun-do played the accordion at his concubine's noisy parties, she thought she would go mad with the combination. It was as if the defects of the family and none of the virtues had been concentrated in both. Then she decided that no one again would be called Aureli-ano or José Arcadio. Yet when Aureli-ano Segun-do had his first son she did not dare go against his will.

"All right," úrsula said, "but on one condition: I will bring him up."
Although she was already a hundred years old and on the point of going blind from cataracts, she still had physical dynamism, her integrity of character, and her mental balance intact. No one would be better able than she to shape the virtuous man who would restore the prestige of the family, a man who would never have heard talk of war, fighting cocks, bad women, or wild undertakings, four calamities that, according to what úrsula thought, had determined the downfall. of their line. "This one will be a priest," she promised solemnly. "And if God gives me life he'll be Pope someday." They all laughed when they heard her, not only in the bedroom but all through the house, where Aureli-ano Segun-do's rowdy friends were gathered. The war, relegated to the attic of bad memories, was momentarily recalled with the popping of champagne bottles.
"To the health of the Pope," Aureli-ano Segun-do toasted.
The guests toasted in a chorus. Then the man of the house played the accordion, fireworks were set off, and drums celebrated the event throughout the town. At dawn the guests, soaked in champagne, sacrificed six cows and put them in the street at the disposal of the crowd. No one was scandalized. Since Aureli-ano Segun-do had taken charge the house those festivities were a common thing, even when there was no motive as proper as the birth of a Pope. In a few years, without effort, simply by luck, he had accumulated one of the largest fortunes in the swamp thanks to the supernatural proliferation of his animals. His mares would bear triplets, his hens laid twice a day, and his hogs fattened with such speed that no one could explain such disorderly fecundity except through the use black magic. "Save something now," úrsula would tell her wild great-grandson. "This luck is not going to last all your life." But Aureli-ano Segun-do paid no attention to her. The more he opened champagne to soak his friends, the more wildly his animals gave birth and the more he was convinced that his lucky star was not a matter of his conduct but an influence of Petra Cotes, his concubine, whose love had the virtue of exasperating nature. So convinced was he that this was the origin of his fortune that he never kept Petra Cotes far away from his breeding grounds and even when he married had children he continued living with her with the consent Fernanda. Solid, monumental like his grandfathers, but with a joie de vivre and an irresistible good humor that they did not have, Aureli-ano Segun-do scarcely had time to look after his animals. All he had to do was to take Petra Cores to his breeding grounds and have her ride across his land in order to have every animal marked with his brand succumb to the irremediable plague of proliferation.
Like all the good things that occurred in his long life, that tremendous fortune had its origins in chance. Until the end of the wars Petra Cotes continued to support herself with the returns from her raffles and Aureli-ano Segun-do was able to sack úrsula's savings from time to time. They were a frivolous couple, with no other worries except going to bed every night, even on forbidden days, and frolicking there until dawn. "That woman has been your ruination," úrsula would shout at her great-grandson when she saw him coming into the house like a sleepwalker. "She's got you so bewitched that one of these days I'm going to see you twisting around with colic and with a toad in your belly." José Arcadio Segun-do, who took a long time to discover that he had been supplanted, was unable to understand his brother's passion. He remembered Petra Cotes as an ordinary woman, rather lazy in bed, and completely lacking in any resources for lovemaking. Deaf to úrsula's clamor and the teasing of his brother, Aureli-ano Segun-do only thought at that time of finding a trade that would allow him to maintain a house for Petra Cotes, and to die her, on top of her and underneath her, during a night of feverish license. When Colonel Aureli-ano Buendía opened up his workshop again, seduced at last by the peaceful charms of old age, Aureli-ano Segun-do thought that it would be good business to devote himself to the manufacture of little gold fishes. He spent many hours in the hot room watching how the hard sheets of metal, worked by the colonel with the inconceivable patience of disillusionment, were slowly being converted into golden scales. The work seemed so laborious to him and the thought of Petra Cotes was so persistent and pressing that after three weeks he disappeared from the workshop. It was during that time that it occurred to Petra Cotes to raffle off rabbits. They reproduced and grew up so fast that there was barely time to sell the tickets for the raffle. At first Aureli-ano Segun-do did not notice the alarming proportions of the proliferation. But one night, when nobody in town wanted to hear about the rabbit raffle any more, he heard a noise by the courtyard door. "Don't get worried," Petra, Cotes said. "It's only the rabbits." They could not sleep, tormented by the uproar of the animals. At dawn Aureli-ano Segun-do opened the door and saw the courtyard paved with rabbits, blue in the glow of dawn. Petra Cotes, dying with laughter, could not resist the temptation of teasing him.
"Those are the ones who were born last night," she aid.
"Oh my God!" he said. "Why don't you raffle off cows?"
A few days later, in an attempt to clean out her courtyard, Petra Cotes exchanged the rabbits for a cow, who two months later gave birth to triplets. That was how things began. Overnight Aureli-ano Segun-do be. came the owner of land and livestock and he barely had time to enlarge his overflowing barns and pigpens. It was a delirious prosperity that even made him laugh, and he could not help doing crazy things to release his good humor. "Cease, cows, life is short," he would shout. úrsula wondered what entanglements he had got into, whether he might be stealing, whether he had become a rustler, and every time she saw him uncorking champagne just for the pleasure of pouring the foam over his head, she would shout at him and scold him for the waste. It annoyed him so much that one day when he awoke in a merry mood, Aureli-ano Segun-do appeared a chest full of money, a can of paste, and a brush, and singing at the top of his lungs the old songs of Francisco the Man, he papered the house inside and out and from top to bottom, with one-peso banknotes. The old mansion, pai............

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