Fermina's return home to Urbino's memory of his father
Florentino receives unexpected word of Fermina's return. The wind is so strong that the schooner on which she is traveling is blown back to port, and, after a night of terrible seasickness, the schooner sets sail again. This time, it successfully
returns to the City of the Viceroys during a downpour of rain. Fermina is so drenched—and so matured—upon her arrival that Florentino does not recognize her. At seventeen, Fermina is given the responsibility of running the household, and th
ough she revels in her authority, she is depressed to be home again.
Fermina and Florentino had not agreed upon a means of communication after her return, and Florentino is not sure Fermina has truly returned until he sees her crossing though the plaza with her servant, Gala Placidia. He follows after her, dazzled by her maturity, and nervously approaches her in the Arcade of the Scribes, a dingy marketplace. She has just bought special ink with which to write him, and percale for their marriage sheets. He remarks that the Arcade is no place for a "crowned goddess."
Upon seeing him, she is filled with disenchanment, and chastizes herself for having been foolish enough to love him. She wipes him from her memory then, and asks him to "forget it."