His friends left him at the house thinking that they had helped him fulfill his promise to his wife not to die in his concubine's bed. Petra Cotes had shined his patent leather boots that he wanted to wear in his coffin, and she was already looking for someone to take them when they came to tell her that Aureli-ano Segun-do was out of danger. He did recover, indeed, in less than a week, and two weeks later he was celebrating the fact of his survival with unprecedented festivities. He continued living at Petra Cotes's but he would visit Fernanda every day and sometimes he would stay to eat with the family, as if fate had reversed the situation and had made him the husband of his concubine and.

It was a rest for Fernanda. During the boredom of her abandonment her only distractions were the clavichord lessons at siesta time and the letters from her children. In the detailed messages that she sent them every two weeks there was not a single line of truth. She hid her troubles from them. She hid from them the sadness of a house which, in spite of the light on the begonias, in spite of the heaviness at two in the afternoon, in spite of the frequent waves of festivals that came in from the street was more and more like the colonial mansion of her parents. Fernanda would wander alone among the three living ghosts and the dead ghost of José Arcadio Buendía, who at times would come to sit down with an inquisitive attention in the halflight of the parlor while she was playing the clavichord.

Colonel Aureli-ano Buendía was a shadow. Since the last time that he had gone out into the street to propose a war without any future to Colonel Geri-neldo Márquez, he left the workshop only to urinate under the chestnut tree. He did not receive any visits except that of the barber every three weeks, He fed on anything that úrsula brought him once a day, and even though he kept on making little gold fishes with the same passion as before, he stopped selling them when he found out that people were buying them not as pieces of jewelry but as historic relics. He made a bonfire in the courtyard of the dolls of Remedios which had decorated, their bedroom since their wedding. The watchful úrsula realized what her son was doing but she could not stop him.

"You have a heart stone," she told him."It's not a question of a heart," he said. "The room's getting full of moths."The greatest worry that Fernanda had during her years of abandonment was that Meme would come to spend her first vacation and not find Aureli-ano Segun-do at home. His congestion had put an end to that fear. When Meme returned, her parents had made an agreement that not only would the girl think that Aureli-ano Segun-do was still a domesticated husband but also that she would not notice the sadness of the house. Every year for two months Aureli-ano Segun-do played his role of an exemplary husband and he organized parties with ice cream and cookies which the gay and lively school-girl enhanced with the clavichord.