Study Guide

For Whom the Bell Tolls

For Whom the Bell Tolls Summary

The book begins with Robert Jordan surveying an area of mountain terrain behind fascist lines. He's a young (or youngish) American volunteer fighting for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. (The Republicans are the good guys, fighting for freedom, democracy, and the common people.)

A flashback informs us he's been ordered to blow up a nearby bridge in three days' time as part of a surprise attack on fascist forces there. (The fascists are the bad guys, who prefer military dictators and wealthy landowners to the common people.) The Fascists must not be allowed to get reinforcements over the bridge, and so Robert Jordan (with two big packs of explosives) has been tasked with destroying it. But he'll need to recruit some men to help him out, as there are two manned sentry posts on either side of the bridge.

His guide in the area is Anselmo, who introduces him to Pablo, a grizzled guerrilla leader who's basically the boss in these parts. Pablo's not that eager to help Robert Jordan in his bridge-blowing extravaganza, and doesn't seem quite trustworthy. But eventually agrees, and leads Robert Jordan back to his cave hideout. There Robert Jordan meets some of Pablo's band, notably Maria; they're instantly interested in each other. He also meets Pilar, Pablo's imposing wife.

A confrontation between Robert Jordan and Pablo ensues later that night, when Pablo announces that he won't let Robert Jordan blow up the bridge because he wants to play it safe. Unfortunately for Pablo, however, Pilar has other ideas, and when she declares that she's for the operation, everyone else falls in with her. Pablo's no longer in charge. Later that night, Robert Jordan, who's sleeping outside, is awakened by Maria. They sleep together.

Day Two. Robert Jordan wakes to the sound of planes. Lots of fascist planes. It seems the fascists might be ready for the attack. Robert Jordan, Pilar, and Maria leave the camp to visit El Sordo, the leader of another band that's worked with Pablo's. On the way, Pilar tells the long and bloody tale of what happened in her town when the war began (one of the most famous parts of the book).

They arrive at El Sordo's camp, and El Sordo agrees that his band will help in the attack, though he's not very happy about it. There's a hitch: to escape after the attack, everyone will need horses, and the two bands don't have enough horses for everyone. So El Sordo promises that he will steal some extra horses that evening. After leaving El Sordo's, Robert and Maria spend the afternoon having "earth-moving" sex and decide they're really in love with each other.

It starts to snow as evening approaches. Back home at the cave, Pablo's apparently drunk. Another confrontation between Robert Jordan and Pablo ensues. It looks like there might be a showdown, but Pablo just retorts and leaves. Before too long he comes back and announces that his heart changed with the weather – he wants to help with the bridge now. Later in the night the snow stops, which is bad news: El Sordo's horse-thieves will leave snow tracks back to their hideout. Robert Jordan goes to sleep, and Maria joins.

Day Three. Robert Jordan awakens to the sound of a mounted fascist patrol officer approaching. Though he hasn't even had a chance to get dressed, Robert Jordan shoots the intruder. Robert Jordan and several others set up a machine gun nearby and lie in wait for any patrol that might come too near the cave. A patrol does show up, but they have another destination: El Sordo's. El Sordo and his party are all killed.

Later that night, after observing a lot of fascist movement in the area, it's clear to Robert Jordan the fascists are prepared for the Republican attack, and he decides to warn the Republican general. He sends Andrés, a younger member of the band, with a dispatch to deliver across Republican lines.

Robert Jordan is awakened at two in the morning by Pilar. Turns out Pablo's run off with the detonators for the explosives in a last ditch effort to sabotage the bridge attack. Without detonators, and without El Sordo, the mission now looks doomed. Still, Robert Jordan manages to have sex with Maria on last time. Then (still before sunrise), it's time to go.

Surprise, surprise, Pablo returns. He's had a real change of heart this time, and he's brought a band of five men and their horses. Unfortunately, his climactic realization occurred after he'd thrown the detonators in the river, but the dynamite can also be triggered with grenades. The band all ride off to the bridge area, leaving their horses hidden in the woods nearby. They prepare for battle, but it's unclear whether the dispatch will reach the Republicans and the attack will be canceled.

It does reach them, but too late: the attack isn't canceled. As Republican bombs begin to fall nearby, everyone moves into action. The sentry posts are taken and the bridge is blown, but several people are lost, and Pablo kills the men he brought to make sure there are enough horses for his own group.

The depleted band flees on the horses, but as they escape amidst enemy fire, Robert Jordan's horse is toppled by a tank blast, and his leg is broken. Recognizing he would slow down his friends and compromise their escape, he makes them leave him, including Maria, who must be dragged away. Left alone to face death, in the hopes that he might buy his comrades more time, he lies in wait for the approaching fascists. There the book ends.

  • Chapter 1

    • A man is lying on a pine-needled forest floor (note those pine needles – they show up again and again). He's on a mountainside, and looking further down the slope, which is steep, he can see a road running through a pass.
    • Beside the road is a stream, and farther down the pass he sees a mill by the road and stream. (Psst…This geography is actually important: this is going to be the site of a military operation. So make a good mental picture.)
    • The man asks about the mill, which he does not remember from the last time he was here. He is answered by an old man in peasant dress. They discuss more of the local geography. Though it can't be seen from where they are, further past the mill the terrain drops steeply into a gorge; the road leads to and runs over a bridge that spans the gorge.
    • The "young man" (that's all we're given to tell them apart for the moment) asks what posts there are near the bridge.
    • The old man answers that there's a post at the mill, though no sentries are visible, and a post further on, below the bridge, at a roadmender's hut. There are also two sentries, one at either end of the bridge.
    • The young man says they'll need some men, and the old man says there are many men to be found in the hills, though they're in small bands.
    • The old man wants to know if they should go to study the bridge, but the young man doesn't want to yet. Instead, he wants to hide the explosive he has (!) in a safe place within a half hour of the bridge. The old man says it will be easy to find the place, after a bit of vigorous climbing. His name's Anselmo, he says, so we can stop this "old man" business.
    • Each picking up a heavy pack (that's where the explosives are), they start to climb. It isn't easy. After going some way, they reach a ledge, where Anselmo suggests they stop, so that he can go off and inform "them" (we don't know who); otherwise they might be shot.
    • Before Anselmo leaves, the young man also tells Anselmo his name is "Roberto." (Note: If you find it odd that Anselmo uses "thee," this is because Hemingway is trying to translate Spanish into English somewhat directly. "Thee" is the formal form of "you.")
    • We're left alone with the young man and his thoughts. His full name is Robert Jordan. He's hungry, and worried. He's usually hungry (you'll notice this, too), but it's rare for him to be worried, because he doesn't care what happens to himself – caring about that makes it hard to do your work.
    • It's not his operation he's worried about, either: he's blown up many bridges before, and knows what he's doing (so that's what that bridge business is all about).
    • Thinking about blowing the bridge leads to a flashback.
    • The flashback: It's two nights ago, and Roberto is talking to a guy named Golz. Golz is a big deal: he's a general (a "Comrade General," too – that is, a Communist).
    • Golz is going to be leading an attack, and the bridge must be blown right as the attack starts, and not before. Otherwise, it might be repaired, and the purpose is to prevent enemy reinforcements from coming up the road.
    • Golz will give Robert Jordan a date and time for the attack, but it's only provisional: attacks never go exactly as planned. What really matters is being prepared for whenever the attack might start. How to tell when the attack starts? Easy. There will be bombs.
    • The larger goal of the attack, Golz says, is to take Segovia, and La Granja en route. When Golz prepares to go into more detail, Robert Jordan tells him he'd rather not know, in case he gets caught. (Note: Segovia is a city about 60 miles North of Madrid, which the Republicans had lost to the fascists in 1936).
    • Golz and Robert Jordan begin to joke about how silly each of their names sound in Spanish.
    • Having a drink, Golz asks Robert Jordan whether he has any girls, and he says no – he doesn't have time for them. (That's what he thinks…)
    • That was the last time Robert Jordan had seen Golz. Flashback over.
    • Anselmo returns with another guy, who's carrying a carbine. He's not a very pretty fellow, nor a very friendly one. Robert Jordan doesn't like the look of him.
    • The new guy asks for proof of Robert Jordan's loyalty, so he shows him two seals (he can't read the letter Robert Jordan gives him first).
    • Anselmo mentions that there is dynamite in the packs, which gets carbine guy excited. Robert Jordan tells him it is not for his use.
    • Carbine's guy's name is Pablo, though he's got too much attitude to say so himself – Anselmo tells Robert Jordan.
    • Robert Jordan tells Pablo that he's heard he's an excellent guerilla leader. Pablo doesn't go for the flattery, and asks what Robert Jordan has been sent to do.
    • Blow up a bridge, he says, though he doesn't say which one. Pablo's peeved: no one blows up bridges in this area without him knowing about it. These are his parts.
    • Robert Jordan doesn't tell him any more, and Pablo responds by refusing to help them carry the sacks. Anselmo tongue-lashes him in an old Spanish dialect.
    • Pablo's beef: it's because his band operates in a different place than they hide that they haven't yet been caught. But if there is a disturbance in the area (and blowing up a bridge definitely counts), he and his band will be hunted out of the mountains.
    • Nonetheless, Pablo agrees to take the pack, and they go off. Robert Jordan thinks to himself that Pablo has a certain sadness about him, which is bad: it's the kind of sadness you see in someone about to sell-out.
    • They come upon a meadow where Pablo keeps five horses in a corral, and Pablo has them stop to admire the horses. Pablo loves his horses. He's taken them all from fascists.
    • Pablo tests Robert Jordan by asking him to spot a defect, which Robert Jordan does.
    • Two of the horses had been acquired by killing a pair of the guardia civil (civil guard). Robert Jordan asks whether Pablo has killed many, and he has killed several.
    • Anselmo says that it was Pablo blew up the train at Arevalo, which prompts Pablo to ask Robert Jordan if he knew the foreigner who was with them at the train.
    • Robert Jordan does – his name is Kashkin. Or was. He died in April. Pablo points out that that's what awaits them all.
    • Anselmo is disgusted with Pablo. But Pablo says he is tired of being hunted, and knows that Robert Jordan's operation will bring him trouble.
    • Pablo claims his duty is to those with him, and to himself. Anselmo agrees, kind of: all he cares about is himself and his horses. Since getting his horses, Pablo hasn't been the same.
    • Robert Jordan is not pleased. Spaniards are wonderful "when they are good," he thinks, but "when they go bad there is no people that is worse." And it looks like Pablo's gone bad.
    • The problem with Pablo, thinks the great and wise Robert Jordan, is that his horses have made him "want to enjoy life." So now he's afraid to lose his life.
    • After making a French joke to himself, Robert Jordan thinks that it's important not to be gloomy. Much better to be cheerful. But there aren't very happy folks left. Oh well. Now Robert Jordan is really hungry.
  • Chapter 2

    • The trio of Pablo, Anselmo, and Robert Jordan arrive at Pablo's camp: a cave. It's well-concealed, as it's hard to see unless you're right in front of it.
    • There's a man sitting in front of the cave, whittling. He wants to know who Pablo's bringing to camp.
    • Pablo tells him it's "the old man" and a "dynamiter." The man, who's apparently a gypsy, doesn't want the dynamite in the cave. So it's left outside.
    • Robert Jordan asks what the gypsy is making, and he says it's a fox track. Anselmo says that it's actually a trap for rabbits. Gypsies "talk much and kill little."
    • Robert Jordan smells food in the cave and gets excited.
    • Robert Jordan and the gypsy strike up a conversation, while Anselmo goes into the cave for booze. Pablo's band eats like generals, the gypsy says. (His name is Rafael.)
    • Pablo and Anselmo come out of the cave bearing wine in a basin with cups. Pablo asks for tobacco, and Robert Jordan obliges with some cigarettes from the dynamite pack (just what else does he have in there?). Pablo is reminded of Kashkin's cigarettes – which were also bad.
    • Wine time. They all dip into the bowl, and clink their cups together. Robert Jordan likes the wine.
    • Pablo wants to know more about Kashkin – how he died. He was captured and committed suicide, says Robert Jordan, who holds back the more particular details of how he did the job.
    • Pablo notes that he was "rare" (in Spanish, this means "strange") but brave. Pablo, Anselmo, and Rafael were all present with him to blow up the train.
    • Meanwhile, Robert Jordan's thinking that Kashkin must have been jumpy even back then. (Hmm…) He says Kashkin was a little crazy.
    • Pablo asks Robert Jordan if he would accept being left behind if wounded in an operation like the bridge operation. That's friendly…
    • At this moment, a girl comes out of the cave carrying the food on a platter. Robert Jordan looks at her closely, and finds her beautiful – except for her hair, which is short and cropped. (No time for girls, eh?) The girl notices, and laughingly tells him that she got her hair cut in Valladolid, but it's growing back out.
    • The girl sits across from Robert Jordan, and he feels a thickness in his throat every time he looks at her. All of them eat out of the platter together. The food is good. Wine does not help Robert Jordan with the thickness in his throat.
    • The girl says her name is Maria; Robert Jordan introduces himself to her as Roberto.
    • Maria has been in the mountains for three months. In fact, she was on the train that Pablo and company blew up. It was coming from a prison at Valladolid. They talk a bit about Kashkin.
    • Robert Jordan realizes that it's hard for him to look at her because his voice always changes. Apparently, he's violating one of the rules for getting on well with the Spanish – leaving their women alone. But he doesn't care.
    • Robert Jordan compliments her on her face, and asks whose woman she is. Way to be direct, RJ. Not Pablo's – she laughs at that idea. Not Rafael's either. She's no one's woman, and she is not Robert Jordan's either, she says.
    • He plays the tough guy, and says he has no time for women. But that thick throat is giving him trouble speaking.
    • Maria blushes, and goes back into the cave. Robert Jordan immediately recovers his voice.
    • More serious talk. Anselmo says Pablo hasn't done anything since the last raid when he got the horses.
    • Robert Jordan learns from Anselmo that there are seven in Pablo's band, plus two women. The other's Pablo's woman (the "mujer of Pablo"), who is largely responsible for the cooking. Rafael says the mujer is much braver than Pablo. But "barbarous."
    • Anselmo and Rafael talk about Pablo. He used to be brave apparently, killing lots of people, but has since gone "flaccid." Rafael suggests it's because he killed so many at first. Anselmo suggests it may also be because he's grown rich, and now drinks a lot.
    • Robert Jordan, in a food coma, starts to get comfortable and sleepy on the floor. He asks where the others are, and learns there are two in the cave, and two on guard above with "the gun," and one on guard below.
    • The gun? It's a machine gun, which Robert Jordan is then told a lot about.
    • A bit more from Rafael about how barbarous the mujer of Pablo is. She also reads palms, apparently. Robert Jordan wants to meet this woman, if only to get it over with.
    • One last detail about the mujer: she's very fond of Maria, and takes care of her like a mother.
    • Rafael gives some background on Maria. She was "very strange" after the train (she was on a train that blew up), though she was better today. It was only on account of Pablo's woman that they saved her.
    • At the train, Pablo's band was joined by El Sordo, and two others. He says El Sordo will be by later that evening.
    • As Rafael describes the train scene in more detail, a voice booms out that the train is the "only good thing we have done."
    • Enter, after much anticipation, the mujer of Pablo. She's got quite an entrance: "What are you doing now, you lazy drunken obscene unsayable son of an unnameable unmarried gypsy obscenity?" Wow. (Hemingway is censoring the swearwords as he writes them in English.)
    • After ordering Rafael to sentry duty, the mujer turns to Robert Jordan with a smile and a firm handshake. She asks what he's there to do, and when he tells her "a bridge," she's a bit dismissive. She really wants to blow up another train.
    • The mujer of Pablo also wants to get out of their current encampment. Food's a problem, because there are too many men in the hills, and she's getting sick of the place.
    • The mujer of Pablo doesn't think much of Pablo – she calls him a rotten drunkard as she spots him through the trees. She likes Robert Jordan, though, and says she's glad he came.
    • The mujer warns Robert Jordan of two things: first, that Pablo's gone rotten, and second, that he needs to be careful with Maria. Maria seems to be quite taken with him.
    • Maria in particular needs to get out of here, the mujer thinks. Robert Jordan suggests that he and Anselmo take her after the operation is over. The woman likes that idea, though she doesn't like it when he adds that he'll do that "if they survive" the bridge operation.
    • She asks to see his palm, and reads it. She won't say what she sees, though it doesn't seem good. Robert Jordan says he doesn't believe in that kind of thinking, but she still won't tell him what she saw.
    • They talk about the forces at their disposal. The woman says that five men are good, but that Rafael is worthless and Pablo is no longer trustworthy. El Sordo has eight good men, and also a bit of dynamite. He will come later tonight, she says. More men could be recruited, but she doubts many will want to come.
    • Jordan and the mujer get along well. He asks once more for her to tell him what she saw in his hand, but she refuses, then says that she saw nothing.
    • Robert Jordan rouses Anselmo and the two of them go to look at the bridge.
  • Chapter 3

    • Cut to the bridge: Robert Jordan and Anselmo are about fifty yards from it. It's late afternoon, and the sun is setting.
    • Robert Jordan sketches the bridge, and concludes it will be easy to blow up with half a dozen charges or so.
    • There are sentry boxes around the bridge, and Anselmo points to one facing them further up the road. Robert Jordan investigates it with binoculars. The other sentry box is on the other side of the bridge, and they can't see into it from their spot.
    • There's a third post, Anselmo tells Robert Jordan, five hundred meters below the turn in the road at the other end of the bridge, in a roadmender's hut. Eight men there.
    • While they wait, three planes pass overhead in V formation. Anselmo asks whether they are "theirs," and Robert Jordan agrees they probably are. But upon observation, he sees they're not – they're fascist planes.
    • They talk about winning the war, and Anselmo says that afterwards Robert Jordan must come to hunt animals with him. Robert Jordan's not so enthusiastic; he doesn't like to kill animals, whereas Anselmo confesses it is his favorite thing to do.
    • Anselmo replies that he does not like to kill men. Robert Jordan agrees that nobody does, except someone who's sick in the head. A conversation about killing follows. Both agree it's not good, but necessary in a war.
    • Anselmo, when asked by Jordan, says that he has killed several times, but not with pleasure. He believes it is always a sin to kill a man – men are utterly unlike animals. Even fascists. He hopes that, if he lives long enough, he can live without doing harm to anyone, and his sins can be forgiven.
    • We learn that Anselmo's given up his religion, though he still believes in sin, apparently. (Note: the Catholic Church of Spain had sided with the fascists, which led many Republicans to abandon it.) If Anselmo had his druthers, the fascists wouldn't be killed, but made to work, so they could understand the common people.
    • Anselmo notes that there are many who enjoy killing. Pablo's one of them.
    • Promising Robert Jordan that he will follow his orders, Anselmo also admits that he needs orders because they keep him from running. Robert Jordan feels a wave of resentment for his orders, because they might lead both him and Anselmo to their deaths.
    • The two of them walk back to camp, where they are greeted by a very foul-mouthed sentry, who demands a password for them to go through. He's forgotten the first half, however. Not much of a sentry.
    • Agustín's the name of the potty-mouth. He asks whether what he's heard about the bridge is true: "Then we'll blow up an obscene bridge and then have to obscenely well obscenity ourselves off out of these mountains?" Robert Jordan refuses to give him an answer.
    • Agustín tells Robert Jordan to look after his explosive.
    • Anselmo and Robert Jordan continue past, and Anselmo tells Robert Jordan that Agustín , in spite of his "color," is a very good and serious man. He can be trusted, as can the mujer. Pablo cannot. Somebody trustworthy should guard the explosive at all times.
    • El Sordo, says Anselmo, is good, as good as Pablo's bad. Pablo, he's now convinced, is most definitely bad.
  • Chapter 4

    • Robert Jordan and Anselmo return to the cave, and Robert Jordan goes to the dynamite packs immediately. He takes out cigarettes and a flask (his two best friends). After thinking about it, he picks up both packs and goes into the cave.
    • Around a table sit Pablo, Rafael, and three new men. One's older and has a flat-face, the other two are twenty-something brothers. Pablo's wife and Maria are near a fire in another corner of the cave.
    • Pablo doesn't like the dynamite in the cave, but Robert Jordan points out it's not near the fire.
    • Robert Jordan, taking a cigarette, can tell they've all been talking about him. The situation is tense.
    • As any real man does in tense situations, Robert Jordan has a drink. That's absinthe he's got in his flask. Real wormwood and all. He dilutes it with a bit of water in a glass.
    • Oh, the tension builds. Pablo wants to do another train. They all did the last train. Why can't they do another train? No train until after the bridge, says Robert Jordan.
    • Pablo drops the bomb: he and his people aren't going to help with the bridge. Fine, just fine. Robert Jordan and Anselmo will do it by themselves, without this "coward."
    • Pablo says no bridge will be blown up. Period.
    • Not if Pablo's wife has anything to say about it. She's all for the bridge, and against Pablo. Drama!
    • Flat-face agrees, as do the two brothers and Rafael – they're all with the mujer. Jordan readies his hand on his pistol in case Pablo tries anything.
    • Pablo says the bridge will be the end of them all; the mujer calls him a coward. He retorts that she's just foolish, and he's the only one who sees how bad the bridge affair will be.
    • Thinking to himself, Robert Jordan agrees with Pablo – only he and Pablo see how dangerous the bridge will be. Grim foreshadowing?
    • Pablo contends that the bridge plan merely serves the foreigners, and that he is for the safety of all.
    • The mujer retorts that there can't be any safety in an already dangerous situation. To illustrate her point, she compares Pablo's talk to that of some bullfighters she knew. From the story, we learn that her name is Pilar (though the narrator continues to refer to her as "the woman of Pablo"). To top it off she calls Pablo a drunkard again.
    • Pablo's wife asks him if he still believes he commands. He does.
    • She says that's a joke. He threatens to kill her and Robert Jordan, and she dares him to try it; Robert Jordan's gun is ready. As happens whenever things begin to look remotely unsavory, the mujer orders Maria to leave.
    • The whole little power play repeats itself. This time Pablo concedes. Saying one last time that he's not stupid, he asks for supper. His wife calls back Maria, who serves food.
    • Now that that's settled, Robert Jordan shows his sketch of the bridge to the whole band (except Pablo, who's sulking), and talks about the plan.
    • We learn the names of flat-face (Primitivo), and one of the brothers (Andrés), though not the other one.
    • Maria rests her hand on Robert Jordan's shoulder.
    • Pilar and Pablo have one last mouth-off, which leaves Pilar enraged. As she simmers, Pilar's rage turns into an enervating (weakening, energy-sapping) sorrow, but she resolves in her thoughts not to let it affect her.
  • Chapter 5

    • It's night now, and the stars are out. Robert Jordan leaves the cave, and finds Rafael outside singing a song with his guitar. Not that anyone really appreciates it – Pablo and Pilar call out "shut up" from the cave.
    • Rafael, who's somewhat tipsy, walks over to Robert Jordan and asks why he didn't kill Pablo. He'll have to do it sooner or later, and it's what all of them wanted anyway.
    • Robert Jordan admits to having considered it, but rejected the idea.
    • Rafael's irked, and says he's "young" and without understanding, and should do it now. But Robert Jordan says that such an unprovoked killing would be repugnant.
    • So go make trouble! suggests Rafael. Robert Jordan's not having any of it.
    • Pablo then comes out of the cave, and stands by them, smoking a cigarette. He says his wife's a good woman, and tells Robert Jordan it's good that he's come, in spite of their arguments. Then he goes to corral his horses.
    • Rafael wants to follow him, to kill him or at least make sure he doesn't flee on a horse. Robert Jordan sends him off to Agustín , to tell him what's happened and make sure Pablo doesn't try to leave. He'll follow Pablo himself.
    • Walking towards the meadow (where the horses are) and sitting under a tree, Robert Jordan thinks. Should he have killed Pablo? He doesn't know. He doesn't like the idea of a stranger killing a member of an established group. He doesn't know how Pilar would have reacted. He trusts Pilar absolutely, he thinks, but does not know how she would have reacted. If Pablo were to be killed – and it would be best if he were – it should be by someone in the band.
    • Thinking of the band, he concludes that only Pilar and Anselmo really care about the Republican effort, and that Pilar's all that's holding the group together.
    • As Robert Jordan's eyes adjust to the starlight, he sees Pablo caressing a horse and feeding it. He's speaking to it, but Robert Jordan can't make out what he's saying.
    • Pablo is in fact telling the horse, his "big good little pony" and that, basically, it's his only friend.
    • Robert Jordan, convinced that Pablo is not going to try anything, returns to the cave.
  • Chapter 6

    • Robert Jordan is back in the cave, where Pilar and Maria are doing the dishes.
    • El Sordo has not come, which is odd. Pilar says they must go to see him tomorrow. Maria wants to go too.
    • Pilar asks Robert Jordan how he finds Maria. She's just guh-reat! Beautiful and intelligent, he says. (About the latter, Maria giggles and Pilar shakes her head).
    • They share some jokes. Apparently Robert Jordan's too much of a stiff to appreciate jokes at the expense of the Republic, whereas Pilar is happy to compare the colors of its flag to less-than-pleasant bodily fluids.
    • Maria asks if Robert Jordan is a communist, and he responds that he is not; he is an anti-fascist and a Republican. Pilar is also a Republican.
    • Maria's father was killed for being a Republican, she says. Robert Jordan notes that his father was too, and his grandfather was on the Republican National Committee. When Maria asks if his father was also killed for being a Republican, he responds that he killed himself, to "avoid being tortured." Maria wishes her father had that opportunity.
    • Robert Jordan asks to change the subject, but Maria, amazed at how much they have in common, excitedly exclaims that she and Robert Jordan are "the same."
    • Robert Jordan caresses her head and, when she asks him to repeat it, he promises to do it later.
    • Asking Maria to leave, Robert Jordan talks to Pilar. He asks whether Rafael was right in what he said.
    • Before he can even get out what Rafael actually said, Pilar says that he was not, and that he, Robert Jordan, had judged correctly.
    • When he asks about whether "it" might need to be done in the future, Pilar promises it will not.
    • Robert Jordan goes to sleep outside, Pilar having agreed to sleep with his packs (of dynamite).
  • Chapter 7

    • Robert Jordan awakes during the night in his robe (basically a sleeping bag) on the forest floor. He is tired, and enjoys the feeling of preparing to go back to sleep.
    • He doesn't get very far, as he feels a hand on his shoulder. It's Maria, who he instructs to get in his sleeping bag. "It's cold." (Yeah, RJ, uh huh). He calls her "little rabbit" (and will continue to do so for the rest of the book).
    • Maria's hesitant, claiming she's afraid, but she comes in. Robert Jordan puts the pistol he was fiddling with behind his head.
    • He tries to kiss her, but she has her head turned away, claiming she is ashamed. She worries he does not love her, but he tells her he does. She says she certainly loves him.
    • Maria doesn't know how to kiss, and Robert Jordan says they needn't do anything. Except remove her clothes, as she "has many" and they are bothersome. So off they go.
    • Maria asks if she can go with Robert Jordan (after the bridge) and be his woman. He says she can go, but that he will take her to a home. She insists that she will stay and be his woman.
    • When Robert Jordan asks Maria if she's ever loved before (physically, presumably), she says no, but that things "have been done to her." She worries that Robert Jordan does not love her now, but he affirms he does.
    • Maria begins to recall her rape experience, and Robert Jordan says that no one has done anything to her.
    • After a first try on the cheek, they kiss on the lips, and Robert Jordan feels "happier than he's ever been."
    • Robert Jordan notices that Maria came barefoot, and she confesses to having known she was coming to bed with him, even though she was afraid. They check the time. It's one o'clock. Plenty of time…
    • Robert Jordan asks Maria if she wants (you know). And she says she wants everything, hoping that if she makes love to Robert Jordan her past experiences will be erased. Pilar has told her they will be, and Robert Jordan says she is wise.
    • Pilar has also instructed Maria to tell Robert Jordan that she is disease-free.
    • Maria says that after she was raped, she wanted to die, but that Pilar had said if she loved someone else that would take it away.
    • Is she Robert Jordan's woman? she wants to know. He says she is his woman now, but that given what he does he cannot have a woman. Maria seems OK with being his woman now. She asks, fiercely, that they quickly get to doing "what it is they do." And they do.
  • Chapter 8

    • Robert Jordan wakes up at first daylight, finding himself bereft of Maria (that is, she's gone). He sees Pablo going into the cave – presumably (he thinks) from corralling the horses. He goes back to sleep.
    • He wakes up again to the sound of airplane motors. A fascist patrol of three planes passes overhead, heading in the direction from which he and Anselmo had come the day before. Then come nine more. Then some bombers. Then more bombers.
    • The planes keep coming. Robert Jordan slips on his clothes and goes to the mouth of the cave to avoid being seen.
    • Pablo says he has never seen so many bombers, and Robert Jordan starts to worry. The planes must be crossing Republican lines…will they start to bomb? No sound of bombs. They must be passing to a further target...
    • Still no sound of bombs.
    • Robert Jordan asks Anselmo to set up somewhere on the road where he can remain hidden and keep track of all the enemy vehicles, troops, and weapons that pass on it. Anselmo can't write, so Robert Jordan teaches him a symbol and counting system to keep track of what he sees.
    • Rafael is to go with Anselmo, Robert Jordan tells Anselmo, so as to find the spot and be able to lead someone else there when it is time to relieve Anselmo.
    • Summoning Rafael, Robert Jordan gives him those instructions, and tells him that, after leaving Anselmo, he is to watch the bridge. He needs to find out how many sentries there are, and how often they relieve each other.
    • Robert Jordan himself will go visit El Sordo.
    • Pilar comes with the morning coffee, and asks where the planes are going. Robert Jordan tells her his thoughts.
    • Pilar then asks Fernando, a man we haven't yet met (the last band member), what movement there was in La Granja. He was there the night before.
    • Fernando only heard rumors in La Granja. Nothing about planes, but people were talking about the Republic preparing a "big offensive." A rumor is also circulating that the Republicans might try to blow up some bridges. And he's not joking. Fernando never jokes.
    • Another unpleasant rumor: fascist troops might be sent to clean out the mountains. (Gulp.)
    • Anselmo and Rafael get sent off by Robert Jordan.
    • Robert Jordan's "woman for now" comes out with breakfast and serves him. When he looks at her, she starts to shake. She seems happy to touch him, though.
    • Pilar asks whether Fernando likes the breakfast stew. He does, because it's just like it always is. Pilar is disgusted. Fernando's a "monument to the usual."
    • The exasperated Pilar wonders whether there are people like Fernando anywhere besides Spain. Robert Jordan and Fernando both agree there's nowhere quite like Spain, and Fernando, who has never been anywhere else, says he never wants to go anywhere else.
    • Maria asks Fernando to tell her about his time in Valencia. He doesn't like Valencia.
    • That gets Pilar's goat too. She loves Valencia, because she and a former boyfriend named Finito (a bullfighter) went there once and had the time of her life. Delicious food, making love in the afternoon, drinking cold beer.
    • Pilar jabs at Pablo that they've never been to Valencia. Pablo says they've done other things: did Pilar ever blow up a train with Finito? Apparently not. But Pilar demands that no one trash-talk Valencia.
    • Just then they hear the sound of the planes returning.
  • Chapter 9

    • Standing in the mouth of the cave, the band watches the planes. Three pass very low, and they drop the blanket at the cave mouth to conceal themselves. No more planes pass.
    • Back outside the cave, Pilar, Robert Jordan, and Maria get ready to see El Sordo. They decide to walk rather than take Pablo's horses. Pilar makes it clear that Pablo is not invited.
    • Straight up, Pilar asks Robert Jordan whether he had sex with Maria. Maria hasn't told her anything, and he won't either, so Pilar loudly concludes that it's obvious they did.
    • Maria will go with him, she says. When he insists he can't take a woman with him, Pilar says he can't take much more with him where "he's going." That doesn't sound good.
    • Pilar confesses she is feeling a "sadness." Maybe it came from hurting Pablo with that story about Valencia.
    • Robert Jordan asks her how she came to be with Pablo, and she responds that "he was something" once.
    • Robert Jordan doesn't like Pablo, and Pilar says Pablo doesn't like him either. She slept with him the preceding night, and asked why he did not kill Robert Jordan; Pablo said he was a good boy. He also acknowledged that Pilar was in command. She awakened later to find him crying because the band had left him. She'd reassured him that she was his woman, and they were still all with him.
    • Her sadness, Pilar says, is unlike Pablo's because it does not weaken her resolution. She has a faith in the Republic rather like religious faith.
    • Robert Jordan says he has the same faith, though he thinks to himself that he's not sure he does. He does tell Pilar truthfully that he is not afraid of dying or of capture, only of not doing his duty.
    • Pilar says he's "cold," but he says he just cares about his work. He likes drinking and women just fine, but not to interfere with work. He hasn't found a woman who moves him much.
    • Pilar points out that he cares for Maria, and he admits he does, "suddenly and very much."
    • Pilar says she will leave him alone with Maria after they meet El Sordo, telling him this is important, as there is not much time. She smiles at him and encourages him to take advantage of the opportunity. He tells Pilar he also cares for her very much, and she's touched.
    • Apparently inspired, Robert Jordan goes into the cave and kisses Maria, who is quite appreciative. Fernando, still in there, walks out, and goes to relieve Primitivo on sentry.
    • Agustín , meanwhile, has arrived, and chats with Pilar, who tells him he is to guard the two sacks in the cave. The two formidable foul-mouths get into a swearing match, which they laugh at.
    • Turning serious, Agustín says he's sure something's going on, given all the planes. The fascists must know about the attack.
    • Pablo, he says, is very smart, even though a coward, while Pilar, though brave, is not. They'll need Pablo to plan their tactics and retreat.
    • Pilar asks Agustín what he thinks of the bridge plan, and he says he believes it is necessary. If Pablo doesn't see that, it's because he's blinded by fear. But it's important to keep him alive, because they'll need him.
    • With that, Pilar calls Robert Jordan. Time to go.
  • Chapter 10

    • Having walked a ways, Pilar, Maria, and Robert Jordan stop for a rest by a stream, at Pilar's request. Robert Jordan wants to keep going, being in a hurry, but Pilar insists on bathing her feet, and wants to talk.
    • Pilar begins to talk about her ugliness, which always troubles her. She knows herself to be very ugly, but she knows just as strongly that she is beautiful inside.
    • Both Maria and Robert Jordan tell Pilar that she is not ugly, but she will not believe them.
    • In spite of being ugly, she says, she's had many lovers, who are convinced by the force of her own belief that inside she is beautiful. But in the end, they always discover she is ugly, and then abandon her. Then she loses confidence, and the cycle starts over again.
    • Robert Jordan wants to talk about something else, and asks Pilar where she was at the start of the movement. She replies that she was in her "town," a small town. He wants to know how the movement started in that town, but Pilar says it would give Maria nightmares.
    • Although she does not want to, after pressure from Robert Jordan and Maria, Pilar concedes, and, smoking a cigarette, begins her tale.
    • Pilar's Story: Early one morning, the guardia civil, who had a barracks in the town, surrendered. Pablo had surrounded the barracks during the night, cut off its communications, and, after calling the guards to surrender, blown the wall open at daybreak. Fighting broke out, and two men were killed, four wounded, and four came out to surrender.
    • Pablo's men shoot the wounded. He then stands the four remaining civiles (civil guards) against a wall. Brandishing the pistol with which the commanding officer had killed himself, Pablo demands that one of the guards tell him how it works – so he can shoot them with it.
    • One of them gives him instructions, and, having them drop to their knees, he shoots each in the back of the head.
    • Pablo gives the pistol to Pilar, who feels weak in the stomach. The sun rises, and they go to the village square to get coffee.
    • Later that morning, the other fascists are to be killed in the town square. The setup: the town plaza is, on one of its sides, positioned over a cliff, with a three-hundred foot drop to a river running below. Pablo had blocked off the streets leading into the plaza, after gathering the peasants of the town there.
    • The town's fascists, numbering more than twenty, had been seized from their homes in the night while Pablo assaulted the barracks. They're being kept in the city hall, or Ayuntamiento, of the town, which is at the other end of the plaza from the cliff.
    • A priest inside is leading prayer and offering confessions to the fascists, inside the Ayuntamiento. A large crowd of townsmen (peasants) is gathered outside the city hall, a few already drunk and shouting obscenities, but most of them serious and respectful.
    • Pablo organizes the crowd into two lines, running from the city hall door to the cliff. All the people are armed with flails (used to beat out grain), mostly obtained from the store of Don Guillermo Martin. Others have sickles, and are placed near the cliff.
    • Pilar, in the lines, talks with some of the men. Many of them are nervous, having never killed before. When asked, she says that the killing is being done this way to save bullets, and so that each townsman can share in the responsibility.
    • After a bit of time passes, the first fascist emerges – Don Benito Garcia, the mayor. He begins to walk through the line.
    • At first nothing happens. But when he reaches one man three down from Pilar, a former tenant of his who has long hated him, the man beats him, calling him obscenities. Some others, spurred on, join in, and hurl him off the cliff.
    • A second man steps out: Don Federico Gonzalez, whose legs aren't obeying him. He can't move forward, and some of the drunkards begin to poke him.
    • A peasant, finding the spectacle shameful, strikes him on the head, asking his permission first. Then Don Federico begins to run, falling near the end of the line before he's thrown off the cliff. Pilar notices that the toughest men have taken up a position near the end of the lines.
    • Pablo calls into the city hall for another, and it's the defiant Don Ricardo, who swears at Pablo as he walks past him. Heading towards the line, he insults the Republic and swears at the peasants gathered there.
    • Enraged, the peasants beat him to death, chopping at him with viciously with sickles as he walks. The bloody mess of Don Ricardo is then tossed over the edge.
    • Prior to Don Ricardo, we learn from Pilar, the ordeal might have been sufficiently hard for the peasants that they would have asked for a pardon for the rest of the fascists – but not after him. Now they're an angry mob.
    • Next, the foppish Don Faustino emerges, acting brave. He's only acting – as Pilar explains, he was a running joke in the town, pursuing girls relentlessly and boasting, yet always chickening out it when it came time to make good on his claims. Faustino is taunted viciously by the crowd.
    • Upon seeing the cliff, Faustino abandons his put-on bravery and runs back into the city hall. Pablo forces him out with a shotgun at his back. Pathetically he walks through the line, but the crowd doesn't touch him.
    • Halfway through, he falls on his knees, and a peasant picks him up and leads him to the edge; others also take hold of him. At the edge, kneeling again, he begs not to be thrown down, at which point the peasants push him over. Faustino screams loudly as he falls.
    • Enjoying themselves now, some of the peasants laugh and begin to throw back booze.
    • As the crowd waits, Don Guillermo emerges. He is a serious man, not at all hated by the townspeople. Were it not for Ricardo and Faustino, and the alcohol, Pilar relates, the people would have wanted to spare Guillermo. But now the peasants have become cruel.
    • Pausing in her story, Pilar asks Robert Jordan if he has experienced similar alcohol induced cruelty, and he tells her of a lynching he witnessed as a child in Ohio.
    • Continuing her story, Pilar returns to poor Don Guillermo. As the crowd taunts him, his wife, watching from the balcony of their house in the plaza, begins to cry out his name, weeping. A drunkard mockingly imitates his wife's cries. As Guillermo rushes toward him in tears, he is beaten by the drunkards.
    • After this, many men leave the lines, disgusted, and Pilar herself feels great disgust at what had been done, and at the drunkards.
    • Not everyone feels that way. Two drunkards, meanwhile, make quite a spectacle in the square, crying "Viva la Anarquia" and "viva la Libertad," and kissing a black and red (anarchist) flag.
    • Another man is then pushed out from the city hall, who Pilar cannot see at first because of the crowd. To get a view, she takes a café chair and stands on it.
    • There's Don Anastasio, the fattest man in town. The lines break, and the crowd rushes without any organization toward Don Anastasio, who dies as his head is beaten against the stone flags in the arcade.
    • The crowd, riled up and pressing towards the city hall, demands that it be opened. From her chair, Pilar sees into the building, where Pablo and several guards sit easily, holding their guns. Pablo talks to the priest, but he pays no attention. A drunken man gets up on the chair with Pilar.
    • In the square, a very far-gone drunkard tries to set fire to Don Anastasio's corpse by pouring alcohol over it and throwing matches at it, but he fails because of the wind.
    • Pilar turns once more to the window, and sees a man inside who wants to be let out. Pablo refuses, nodding towards the door. The door is locked, and Pablo shows him the key. It dawns on the fascists that the door is locked, and that there is a crowd outside. Now they realize what is going to happen.
    • Pablo, after tapping the priest and being ignored again, tosses the key to a guard, who opens the door. The crowd rushes in.
    • At this point, Pilar and the drunkard sharing the chair with her, who's very excited, begin to struggle for the chair. Pilar hits him in the balls, which he claims she "has no right to do." (Irony?)
    • Pilar recovers her view in time to see the priest scampering about to escape pursuers. He is caught by the robe and chopped at with sickles by several peasants, screaming.
    • Then the chair breaks, and Pilar can no longer see through the window. She doesn't want to.
    • By this time, another drunkard has succeeded in lighting Don Anastasio on fire. Yet another drunkard starts a fight with him. Don Anastasio is picked up and put on a cart where the corpses from the city hall are being stacked.
    • Because too many are drunk, the meeting for the "newly liberated" town is canceled.
    • Pilar has dinner with Pablo, feeling disgusted and ashamed. He asks her whether she liked the killing. She says no, except for Faustino.
    • Pablo liked all of it.
    • All except the priest, that is. The priest, whose death Pablo had been anticipating all day, disappointed him because he did not die well.
    • Robert Jordan, back in the present, tells Pilar that it's time to go.
    • But she's not finished: Apparently, Pablo didn't want to have sex with her that night, because he felt it would be in bad taste. Pilar does not reproach him, and looks through her window at the square, where she sees Don Guillermo's wife sobbing, alone on her balcony.
    • Pilar thought that was the worst day of her life at the time. But that would come three days later, when the fascists took the town. Maria does not want to hear about that. Robert Jordan does, but Pilar won't tell him at present.
    • To comfort Maria, Pilar tells her that she will have the afternoon with Robert Jordan. Maria wants it to come right away. It will, Pilar says, and it will be gone just as quickly.
  • Chapter 11

    • Maria, Robert Jordan, and Pilar arrive at the top of a rock formation, where they meet a boy with a carbine, Joaquin. He recognizes Pilar and asks who Robert Jordan is; he is told that he is the "dynamiter."
    • Joaquin will take them to El Sordo. He asks Maria whether he should carry her, as he carried her away from the train, when she could not walk.
    • Before the movement, Joaquin says, he was a shoe-shiner. He wanted to be a bullfighter, but ultimately was too afraid. His town was Valladolid, but in September the fascists took it and shot his father, mother, and sister.
    • Robert Jordan begins to reflect on the losses so many people have suffered in the war, and how frequent they are. He also thinks of Pilar's story, and is impressed by how well Pilar told it. It's got to be written down.
    • It is the peasants, he thinks, who have to suffer in the war, not the "partisans" like himself. They move from place to place according to their mission; the peasants stay in place, and suffer as towns are taken.
    • Pilar must finish her story, he decides.
    • Then he starts to think about Maria, and how lovely she is, and how good the past night had been. He begins to wonder whether it was all a dream, since such things simply don't happen except in dreams. He's had plenty of dreams like that, though – with movie stars like Gretta Garbo.
    • To make sure it wasn't a dream, he touches Maria. That gets a smile. Nope, wasn't a dream.
    • Joaquin, asked by Pilar, talks about the shooting of his family. Affected by speaking of it, he starts to cry.
    • Maria kisses Joaquin, and says that she is his sister, and that they are all one family. Even Robert Jordan. But Joaquin is ashamed.
    • Pilar jokingly says she wants to kiss him, trying to perk him up. Joaquin avoids her.
    • Miffed, Pilar starts to mock him, and Maria grows angry with Pilar. Pilar responds that she is tired of being ugly – she can tell that's why Joaquin turned away, though he denies this.
    • In the midst of these antics, El Sordo arrives. He's a good host, and offers a drink of whiskey.
    • Speaking in broken sentences, he asks Robert Jordan about the operation, which the start to discuss, sitting on a log in front of El Sordo's cave. Maria is told to go away, and leaves with Joaquin.
    • El Sordo, who got the whiskey in La Granja, also got some information there. There's a lot of movement throughout the territory. He believes the Republicans are preparing something, and the fascists know and are preparing as well. He wants to blow up the bridge right away, but, as we know, that won't work.
    • Sordo doesn't like the way all this looks, but agrees to help. His group of eight will take one of the two posts.
    • Together, the two bands make seventeen. Horses would be needed for a secure retreat, but there are only nine between the two groups. It's doubtful they'll be able to get more, Sordo says.
    • After talking a bit about supplies, El Sordo agrees to stop by that night and talk more about plans.
    • Pilar strikes up a conversation with El Sordo, and at that point he drops out of his pidgin Spanish. She wants to know where they should go after the attack; the fascists will most definitely clean up afterwards.
    • El Sordo suggests Gredos, which will be safest, though it will be very hard to get there. Pilar wants to go into the Republic. When Robert Jordan suggests they would be much more useful in Gredos, both Pilar and El Sordo grow sullen.
    • They turn to discussing Kashkin and Pilar asks whether Robert Jordan's nerves are better than his (which wouldn't be saying much, from what we know). He affirms they are.
    • At this point, Robert Jordan spills the beans about what actually happened to Kashkin: he killed him (gasp!). Kashkin had been too badly wounded after a train raid to be moved.
    • When Jordan suggests that Pilar go to Gredos again, she lets loose a torrent of obscenities. How dare he tell them where they will die?
    • El Sordo tries to calm her, but Pilar, enraged, tells Robert Jordan to mind his business and go back to the Republic with his "whore."
    • Maria hears this as she's returning, but just tries to clam Pilar down. It works. Pilar admits she just wants to go to the Republic. Maria suggests they all go, and Robert Jordan jokes that they should, since Pilar "seems not to love the Gredos" (now there's an understatement). Pilar asks for a drink.
    • Maria is told to run off again – this is becoming a recurring theme whenever any serious conversation is about to happen. El Sordo points out that retreating during the day will be very hard. Their chances are not good.
    • Fortunately, before they get any gloomier, they decide to eat.
  • Chapter 12

    • When they're finished eating, Maria, Pilar, and Robert Jordan leave El Sordo's, bidding goodbye until that night. Pilar and El Sordo are very serious as they part.
    • As they walk, in full silence, Pilar starts looking very tired, sweating heavily and panting. After turning down a rest once, she sits down at Maria's urging.
    • Pilar confesses that today she is in quite a temper. Maria puts her head in Pilar's lap. Pilar responds by telling Robert Jordan that he can have her shortly.
    • Maria asks Pilar not to speak so, and Pilar tells Maria that she is very jealous. Maria is for Robert Jordan, she says, but she is jealous, because she cares for Maria very much (though not in any "perverted" way, as she puts it).
    • Speaking truthfully, Pilar says Robert Jordan pleases her, and that she wishes she could take him from Maria, and Maria from him, both for herself. But she promises them that she will leave them alone with each other soon.
    • Although she is "gross," Pilar says she is also delicate. She was angry at Joaquin because she felt ugly in front of him. And she is jealous of Maria's age (nineteen), though Maria will not always be nineteen.
    • Maria and Robert Jordan try to convince Pilar to go to camp all together, but she leaves. Maria asks Robert Jordan to let her go.
  • Chapter 13

    • Maria and Robert Jordan are walking together in a field of heathers (can't you just hear the soundtrack?). Robert Jordan embraces and kisses her. Maria begins to undo his shirt, and the inevitable happens right there in the field.
    • If the last night was really good, this is amazing. Time stops, Robert Jordan feels as if it is a "dark passage leading to nowhere" (and repeats "nowhere" eleven times…so he really means it), and the earth moves. We'll let you decide if they just experienced a small earthquake or if it was something else.
    • It's over, and they're walking along a stream. Robert Jordan tells Maria he loves her, and feels as though he wants to die when he makes love to her; Maria says she actually dies each time. They both felt that the earth moved.
    • Has Robert Jordan loved others? Maria wants to know. He says he has, but none like her – the earth never moved before.
    • Maria laments that she does not kiss well, and that her hair is not yet beautiful. That's OK, says Robert Jordan. She has the loveliest body in the world.
    • As Maria begins to say sweet nothings and talk about how happy she is, Robert Jordan's mind wanders and we get stuck in his head for a while.
    • He's going to blow up the bridge. He may die. But he knew this before, Robert Jordan tells himself.
    • Their situation is grim – Pablo was right. Now Pilar and El Sordo have both seen it; they are both still willing to go through, but are shaken. Robert Jordan feels guilty that he has to use these people who he likes in such a way. Who wants to be responsible for the death of their friends?
    • Robert Jordan starts to wonder whether the mission is impossible, but chastises himself. That's a way to make sure it will fail. He has to follow those orders. He and the other partisans are fighting for Spain. If the Republic loses, all of the people who believe in it won't be able to live in Spain anymore.
    • As he starts to think about himself and his politics, we get a few more details about Robert Jordan: he was a Spanish teacher, and he wants to write a book.
    • And Robert Jordan's thoughts turn to Maria again. Being "incontinent" with Maria has made him a whole lot less sure of things he thought he was sure of. It's hard to be blindly dedicated to the cause, and believe you're 100% right, if you love someone.
    • How about living with Maria back in Idaho or Montana? Robert Jordan likes that idea.
    • Then it's back to thinking about his line of work: blowing things up. Is it ethical? It's about killing, after all.
    • Back to Maria. Robert Jordan's got so little time with her. But does it really matter how much time you have? Can't you live your whole life in three days, he wonders? That feels right. The present and future aren't life, really. There is only the NOW.
    • Robert Jordan never thought something like this Maria business could happen. But here it is – he's just come to love late. He loved her from the moment he saw her. And Pilar helped, by practically pushing her into his bedroll. That Pilar appreciates the importance of enjoying the limited time one has.
    • Robert Jordan remembers that conversation he had with Golz about girls. Whoops. Made a mistake there didn't he?
    • After reaching the conclusion that a good life is not determined by its span, the deeply philosophical Robert Jordan drops out of the zone and starts paying attention to Maria again.
    • She's eagerly telling him all the things she wants to do to take care of him, since that's what "being his woman means." She'll even clean his pistol, and shoot him, if he needs to be shot, to save him from the enemy.
    • After playing at that game for a while, they decide that having sex with him is all Robert Jordan really needs Maria to do.
    • They come upon Pilar, who is sitting in the meadow near the horses, apparently sleeping.
    • Pilar starts to pry, asking to know "how it was." Maria says no, and Pilar becomes angry and insistent, ignoring Robert Jordan's demands that she leave Maria alone.
    • To shut Pilar up, Maria finally tells her that the earth moved. Pilar is satisfied, and suddenly becomes warm and friendly. Pilar thought that sort of thing only happened to gypsies.
    • Supposedly, Pilar knows all about this "earth moving" business. She says it never happens more than three times in a lifetime.
    • Robert Jordan wants to know what nonsense she's peddling, and she denies that it's nonsense. He doesn't really believe her.
    • He irritably tells Pilar he is tired of mysteries, and that she should leave Maria alone.
    • She asks if the earth really moved, smiling. When he says yes, exasperated, she laughs.
    • Pilar says it's going to snow. Robert Jordan is incredulous (doesn't believe her). She insists.
    • Looking at the sky, he sees: it's going to snow.
  • Chapter 14

    • The three reach the cave, where most of the others are gathered; it's already snowing. Robert Jordan is not happy: all of his beautiful plans!
    • Pablo, predictably, is happy, and won't let them hear the end of it. He also appears to be drunk.
    • Neither Anselmo nor Rafael have returned.
    • Robert Jordan begins to have murderous thoughts about Pablo, who is growing more and more irritating. He starts speaking to himself in English to vent.
    • Pablo goes on, and talks about the snow storm. It's a big one. Robert Jordan's anger begins to die down as he grows interested in the snowstorm.
    • Asked by Robert Jordan, Pablo talks a bit about his past. He was a horse contractor in Zaragoza, where he met Pilar, who was still with Finito the bullfighter.
    • One of the other men pipes up that Finito wasn't much of a matador. Way to set off Pilar again. An argument ensues about the merits and demerits of Finito, with Pilar keen to defend him.
    • What's remarkable about Finito is how much he made with what little he had: a short stature, a great fear of bulls, and tuberculosis to boot. He still managed to be terrific in the ring.
    • Pilar describes the last great triumph of Finito in the ring, and the party which followed it. It wasn't so great for Finito: during the meal, he was unable to eat and began coughing up blood. Then, when the bull's head was presented to him, he freaked out and stormed away. After that, he didn't live much longer.
    • Pilar remembers Finito on his deathbed. It makes her feel sad once more.
    • She thinks of her lost Finito, and her lost Pablo (since Pablo is a shell of what he once was). She's endured, but for what purpose?
    • At that moment, Rafael comes in and gives a report on the sentries.
    • Anselmo is still out in the snow, and Robert Jordan wants to get him.
    • Rafael, back to being useless again, wants to stay and eat, so Fernando takes Robert Jordan after receiving directions from Rafael.
  • Chapter 15

    • Poor little old Anselmo is crouched in a tree trunk, spying, and freezing in the snow. He's worried he might freeze to death, but he's got orders to stay there until relieved.
    • As he watches, a camouflaged Rolls-Royce (that's a fancy car) with General Staff officers passes by (he doesn't recognize it as such). Anselmo notes it down. But he hasn't been keeping track of what kind of cars pass. If he had, he might have noticed lots of really important people have passed by.
    • Anselmo is miserable, and contemplates leaving, in spite of his orders. After all, you're useless if you're dead.
    • He thinks of those fascists nice and warm in the sawmill. They're warm, he's cold. But they'll be dead soon. Anselmo is sad – at core, those men aren't fascists, just poor men like himself. The only difference is the orders they follow.
    • He thinks of a particularly grisly raid in a town called Otero. Pablo had thrown grenades into a soldiers' cabin while they were sleeping. He'd knifed someone to death.
    • Anselmo wants to go back his house, and be done with the war. Only he has no house to return to.
    • Cut to the sawmill. The soldiers inside are complaining about the absurdity of it snowing in May – only in Spain, they say.
    • Back to Anselmo. Anselmo hopes he does not have to kill in the upcoming attack. More about how killing is always bad. Noble, but we've heard that all before.
    • Anselmo's lonely. No wife or kids (his wife died). All he's got is the Republic. Not even God anymore.
    • Robert Jordan shows up and greets Anselmo warmly – by giving him a shot of absinthe. Fernando, whom Robert Jordan has decided to refer to (mentally) as the "cigar store Indian," doesn't want any.
    • Robert Jordan is very happy to see Anselmo – he's a good man, and so dependable – and they walk off, joking, arm-in-arm. Anselmo's happy too.
    • As they walk off, Robert Jordan, who really is in a remarkably better mood than he was last chapter, thinks to himself how remarkable it is that Anselmo stayed in the snow. Maybe the Cigar Store Indian would have too. That thought perks him up.
  • Chapter 16

    • Upon returning to the cave, Robert Jordan is informed that El Sordo had dropped by in the meantime and left to engage in horse thievery. He's also left a bottle of whiskey.
    • Pablo still can't get over how great it is that it's snowing.
    • Maria starts attending to the wet and bedraggled Robert Jordan.
    • Among other things, she brings him the whiskey which El Sordo had left behind. Robert Jordan, proving once again that the surest way to a man's heart is through his stomach, admires El Sordo's thoughtfulness in bringing him whiskey.
    • Maria volunteers to serve Robert Jordan dinner, but he wants to wait until she eats, since that's what they do in his country. Pablo, seizing the opportunity to be obnoxious about something else, starts making fun of Montana (Robert Jordan's "country"). The men wear skirts there, he insists.
    • Primitivo, making himself remotely noticeable for the first time, tries to soften the situation by asking other questions about Montana – first about farming, then about the politics.
    • A conversation strikes up between Robert Jordan and several of the others on politics in the U.S.
    • They don't seem to know very much. "Is it Communist?" Um, no. Robert Jordan does say, interestingly, that there are many fascists in the U.S., although they don't know it yet.
    • Andrés points out there were many fascists in Pablo's village. Robert Jordan says he heard the story.
    • Pablo was barbarous back then, Pablo himself says. Pilar prefers him barbarous to drunk.
    • Pablo is certainly more drunk than barbarous now. He starts tearfully lamenting all the people he's killed, wishing he could restore them back to life.
    • Agustín , trying to distract attention from the pitiful and irritating Pablo, asks how Robert Jordan first came to Spain.
    • He came twelve years ago, to study Spanish language and culture, since he teaches Spanish.
    • This revelation gets mixed reactions, none of them too intelligent. Pablo can't understand how someone without a beard can be a professor. Fernando can't understand why somebody who speaks English would teach Spanish.
    • Agustín starts to feel as if he's in an insane asylum.
    • Pablo gets more and more irritating, so Robert Jordan decides it's time to blow his cover: he announces to everyone that he doesn't think Pablo's drunk. Then tells Pablo to his face. Pablo denies it.
    • Awkward silence. That snow falling outside sure is loud.
    • Now Robert Jordan wants to put an end to this endless nonsense, by putting an end to Pablo. It looks like he just might.
    • Pablo calls him on it. He won't let himself be provoked, and says Robert Jordan doesn't have the balls to just "assassinate" him.
    • So instead, Pablo toasts to "Don Roberto," and Robert Jordan awkwardly meets his toast. They'll be friends now. (?)
    • Agustín is growing more convinced that this is an insane asylum, and starts venting. Pablo makes him angrier by calling him "Negro."
    • Agustin slaps Pablo on the face, hard. Pablo says this won't provoke him either.
    • Agustín slaps him again. Robert Jordan gets ready with his pistol.
    • Nothing happens.
    • Pablo announces once more that no one has the balls to kill him. Helping himself to wine, he asks Robert Jordan to tell the rest of the band just how they'll escape.
    • Pablo's own opinion is that they're all just "illusioned people" led by "a woman with her brains between her thighs and a foreigner who comes to destroy you."
    • Having succeeded marvelously infuriating everybody, Pablo leaves to go to his horses, pointing out as he leaves that it's still snowing.
  • Chapter 17

    • Now that Pablo's gone, everybody can talk about him behind his back. So they do.
    • Pilar thinks he might do anything. Like toss a bomb in the cave. She's all for killing him now.
    • Agustín , Primitivo, Andrés, and Eladio are too. As is Rafael. (Who's Eladio? The hitherto nameless brother of Andrés who hasn't done a single notable thing since he was introduced.)
    • Problem: Fernando doesn't like it. He wants to hold Pablo prisoner. But that would require somebody to guard him…
    • OK. Fernando gives up. Pablo should be eliminated. Only he says that in such a long-winded and roundabout that Pilar says he has made a whole bureaucracy with his mouth.
    • Robert Jordan says he'll do it tonight.
    • Just after, Pablo sticks his grinning mug through the cave opening and asks for wine.
    • Awkward silence.
    • Agustín, who can't stand awkward silences, breaks it. He's working himself up into a frenzy to kill Pablo, Robert Jordan thinks.
    • Just in the nick of time, Robert Jordan remembers something important. What's in his two big sacks? Dynamite! It wouldn't be wise to start a shooting match in the cave. Pablo must have realized this – hence his confidence.
    • Robert Jordan calls Agustín over and quietly tells him the difficulty he's just brilliantly perceived. Nope, Agustín hadn't thought of it.
    • Time to change tactics. Agustín gets all chummy, Pablo responds in kind, and Robert Jordan plays along.
    • Pablo says that the wind is changing, and that "we will have good weather for it."
    • We? Pilar is aghast. Pablo, grinning and drinking some more, informs her that he's actually changed his mind and wants to do the bridge. The weather did it.
    • Everyone is stunned. Pablo clarifies that before he was drunk, and now he's not.
    • Agustín says he still doesn't trust Pablo, but Pablo says they'll need him to get them to Gredos. How does he know about that?
    • Pablo promises he's sincere when Fernando asks him.
    • Agustín says he's leaving the insane asylum before he goes crazy.
  • Chapter 18

    • Circles. Spinning around in circles. Like a merry-go-round. You get back on and then you're back where you started. That's what's going on with Pablo, Robert Jordan thinks. He's had his fill of circles.
    • With Maria looking over his shoulder, Robert Jordan starts sketching out the technical plans for blowing the bridge.
    • Robert Jordan finishes the sketches. Grr – he is not going to get on that merry-go-round again, he thinks.
    • Pablo says he's planning the retreat, and it's going very well.
    • Agustín taunts Pablo, but it looks like Pablo doesn't want to get on the merry-go-round either.
    • How much simpler the world was before he met any of these people, Robert Jordan thinks. Only two days ago…(cue dream music). It's time for an extended (if somewhat disjointed) flashback:
    • Just two days ago, Robert Jordan wanted to go to Madrid after the operation, buy some books, help himself to a decent hotel room and take a hot bath, get a new bottle of Absinthe, and visit a place called Gaylord's.
    • Gaylord's is the hotel in Madrid that the Russians had taken over. Robert Jordan hadn't liked it when he first went, because it was too luxurious. But he corrupted easily.
    • Gaylord's was the site of Robert Jordan's first great disillusion. There he had met many great Spanish commanders from the ranks of the "native workers and peasants." Only they weren't really workers or peasants, and they spoke Russian. They'd been trained in Russia since 1934.
    • In fact, Robert Jordan had realized that lying was kind of the norm for the Republicans. He thinks of more Republican leaders with fabricated (made-up) identities.
    • Gaylord's had been an important part of Robert Jordan's "education." There he learned that deception was necessary, and accepted it. Somehow, according to him, that also strengthened his belief in what he did hold to be true.
    • Oh, Gaylord's All of that planning of his to go back to Madrid and visit it was before Maria. Robert Jordan thinks. So much has changed in two days.
    • Robert Jordan still has a lot more flashback to get through, so back to it. Where were we? Right, Gaylord's. It was at Gaylord's that Kashkin first introduced Robert Jordan to Karkov.
    • Karkov was the most intelligent man Robert Jordan had ever met. They became friends. Karkov had a good taste in women. Yes, Robert Jordan thinks, it sure would be nice to show off Maria to Karkov.
    • Robert Jordan's mind wanders as he helps himself to more wine. Thinking about Pablo now. How would Pablo fare in the U.S. Civil War? Robert Jordan muses (where did that come from?). U.S. Grant, the great general, was, after all, supposed to be a drunkard.
    • There aren't many Grants in the Spanish Civil War, Robert Jordan thinks. No real military geniuses at all. The best of the Spanish are good at following orders, but not planning. That falls to the Russians. What happens when the Russians leave?
    • Now Robert Jordan thinks back to Gaylord's a third time. Gaylord's had been at the other end of the spectrum from the rigid, "puritanical, religious Communism" he had encountered at other places.
    • Robert Jordan remembers his own feelings when he had been a true believer. That kind of Communism could make you feel an "absolute brotherhood" with the people fighting with you. You were completely committed to the cause, and all you wanted to do was fight for it.
    • Oh, how naïve he had been. Robert Jordan thinks. Though everyone else also seemed to feel similarly at the beginning of the war, that was a different time. Not even Karkov had been cynical about that time.
    • Karkov had been plenty cynical on other occasions, though. Such as when he made a joke about the official propaganda describing a horrific defeat as a "glorious advance." Robert Jordan had gotten all sniffly about that one. That's just how it was all the time at Gaylord's, a good place to lose one's naiveté.
    • Robert Jordan remembers another episode that seemed absurd to him. A British economist had asked him some questions for a news article in the middle of a battle, just after he'd pulled a dead body out of an armored car. Robert Jordan had told him to go off and do something nasty to himself.
    • He'd talked with Karkov about that guy later. Turns out he was a hugely important source of military advice to the Republicans, little by little. At this point our flashback finally becomes somewhat less disjointed, so we shift to present tense.
    • Karkov tells Robert Jordan he's teaching him, little by little (he doesn't specify what).
    • Karkov also thinks it will be necessary for someone to write a great book about the Spanish Civil War, and explain it. (Hmmm…can we think of anyone who might have tried to do that?)
    • Right now, Karkov's too busy to write that book. He's currently at work on a study of a prominent Spanish fascist, who was assassinated. Karkov thought that assassination was a good idea.
    • Robert Jordan wants to know if Karkov believes in political assassination.
    • Karkov says they're "used extensively." But they're not really assassinations, since they destroy the "dregs of humanity" and the "treacherous dogs."
    • He doesn't like the shootings. Robert Jordan doesn't either, though he doesn't "mind them" the way he used to. That, according to Karkov, makes him trustworthy.
    • Karkov starts talking about the present situation of the Republic. It's not good. In their haste to raise an army, the Republicans are conscripting huge numbers of troops without disciplining them or giving them an understanding of the cause. This he finds dangerous and unreliable.
    • Karkov is also unhappy because he's just come back from Valencia, where the government has relocated. It sucks. So does Barcelona, where the anarchists are.
    • They talk a bit more about current affairs involving acronyms that needn't concern us.
    • Flashback ends. He'd learned a lot at Gaylord's Robert Jordan thinks for the twentieth time.
    • Karkov had read Robert Jordan's only book (yes, he wrote a book) about his ten years of travels through Spain.
    • Karkov had really liked it, and told Robert Jordan he had "a rare talent for writing truly." That's why Karkov "has bothered with him."
    • Robert Jordan wants to write a book when he's out of the war. He's learned so much. Everything is just so complicated!
  • Chapter 19

    • Maria, never one to let her man think too much, interrupts Robert Jordan's reverie and asks what he's thinking about. He gives her a low-down.
    • Among other things, he says how much he cared for Kashkin.
    • Pilar points out, rather loudly, that he shot Kashkin. Everybody suddenly takes an interest in the conversation.
    • Rafael says that Kashkin (we already knew he was "jumpy") always said he might have to be shot. Andrés wonders if he foresaw his own end.
    • Robert Jordan doesn't think so. He never goes in for that irrational superstitious kind of stuff.
    • Pilar says Kashkin's death was written all over his face. If Robert Jordan didn't see it, that's because he's just "deaf" (or "blind" or couldn't "smell it" – she can't seem to decide which sense one perceives death with – i.e., which sense the obtuse Robert Jordan lacks completely).
    • Kashkin positively reeked of death, says Pilar (guess she settled on smell). Just like some matador she tells a story about, whose attendant smelled his death right before he died in the ring.
    • Robert Jordan isn't buying this "death has a smell stuff" at all, and puts a few skeptical questions to Pilar.
    • Anselmo pipes up that, although he doesn't usually go in for this kind of thing, Pilar's famous for her death-perception.
    • Fernando, also not quite convinced, wants to know what death smells like. Could he smell it?
    • There's a big opening for Pilar, which she's happy to take. You must learn to recognize the smell of death, she says, and to do that, you need to smell a few really disgusting things and put all the smells together:
    • The first thing you've got to smell is the brass handle of a screwed-tight porthole on a ship (OK, that's not very disgusting, but just wait for it…).
    • The second thing you've got to smell is the breath of one of the bewhiskered old-women who lives by the slaughterhouse and drinks the blood of freshly-slaughtered animals in the morning. You've got to kiss her.
    • After kissing one of the whiskery, blood-drinking women, you've got to smell dead chrysanthemums.
    • Finally, you've got to stick your head in a gunny sack with who-knows-what in it that can be found in the botanical gardens at night. It contains the odor of wet earth, dead flowers, and all the "doings of that night" (by the prostitutes who hang out by the fence of the gardens and do "all that a man wishes").
    • Put all those together, and you've got the smell of death.
    • Robert Jordan says if Kashkin had smelled that way it's good that he shot him.
    • Pilar once again tells him he doesn't understand anything. And asks if it's still snowing.
    • How does she do that? It's not snowing, Robert Jordan sees when he goes to the cave mouth.
    • This is bad news for El Sordo, he realizes. His horse thievery will have left tracks in the snow leading back to his hideout…
  • Chapter 20

    • It's night time, Robert Jordan's outside in his sleeping bag, and you know what that means.
    • He's waiting for Maria.
    • Earlier that evening, he had cut down a small tree, cut it up, and used the branches and trunk to fashion a makeshift bed.
    • Pilar had promised him she would watch the sacks with the explosive during the night.
    • Robert Jordan said goodnight to everyone, and went back outside. Nobody can seem to figure out why he would want to sleep outside in the snow.
    • Anyway, out here on the forest floor, Robert Jordan smells the odor of pine boughs. There's a smell he loves, not any of that gross death stuff. He also likes the smell of bacon, coffee, and cider mills.
    • Somebody makes a sound, as if to come out of the cave, but then whoever it is ducks back in.
    • Robert Jordan is getting impatient. When is that Maria coming?
    • Maria comes. Wearing only her "wedding shirt." She gets into the sleeping bag.
    • They kiss. Off comes the wedding shirt.
    • Maria says that they are one – one body, one heart. Hasn't he felt this too?
    • Yes, he has felt this too.
    • Yet, says the unusually perceptive Maria, they are also different! Who knew? But she wishes they were exactly the same.
    • Robert Jordan says she doesn't mean that.
    • Maria means that. She would like to be him, because she loves him so much.
    • Then presumably they get it on. Or at least that's what we assume from the shift in their dialogue: "Maria." "Yes." "Maria." "Yes." "Maria." "Yes." "Maria." "Oh, yes. Please."
    • "Afterwards," they lie together, and decide that what just happened wasn't quite so amazing as the afternoon's sex in the heathers. But Maria liked it more.
    • They fall asleep. But Robert Jordan wakes up later in the night, and lies there in the sleeping bag thinking.
  • Chapter 21

    • It's morning.
    • The freshly awakened and still undressed Robert Jordan hears a horse approaching. This is awkward.
    • Telling Maria to stay hidden in the robe, he buttons his shirt and grabs his pistol, crouching in the sleeping bag. He aims his pistol at the horseman.
    • The horseman has on a khaki outfit (with beret), and a red device on his chest. Fascist.
    • So Robert Jordan shoots him.
    • It's a direct hit. The newly deceased horseman's body falls off the horse but gets caught in the stirrup, and the horse gallops away dragging it.
    • Robert Jordan takes the opportunity to put on his pants as the rest of the band pours out of the cave. He tells them the horse must be caught, quickly.
    • Pilar says that the utterly worthless Rafael was on sentry duty, which explains why the horse got through.
    • Agustín and Anselmo, at Robert Jordan's urging, run with the machine gun and its accessories to the camp's upper sentry position. They've got to be ready in case more cavalry comes.
    • Primitivo has caught the horse a little ways up from the cave. Robert Jordan, now fully clothed, goes to examine the body. The horseman was part of a patrol. Which will be looking for him right about now.
    • Robert Jordan ducks into the cave for a submachine gun and some ammo.
    • Pablo, who seems to be feeling helpful but really just wants to ride the new horse, takes the horse and says that he will ride it away from the camp to continue the patrolman's tracks. All this after having a bit of wine, of course.
    • Robert Jordan issues the division of labor for the day: While he, Agustín , Primitivo, and Anselmo keep an eye out for cavalry, Andrés is to saddle and hold the horses, Fernando is to bring Robert Jordan's packs, and Pilar and Maria are to get ready for leaving. He also asks Pilar to strip the dead guy of his papers.
    • Pablo rides off, and Robert Jordan starts to walk. He pauses. Maria, approaching, says she wants to come, but he says no.
    • Maria wants him to tell her he loves her.
    • He says not now.
    • As Maria leaves, Primitivo asks how she is in bed. Robert Jordan tells Primitivo to watch his mouth.
  • Chapter 22

    • Robert Jordan, Agustín , Anselmo, and Primitivo are at the sentry post overlooking "the pass." It's time to make a gun emplacement (for the machine gun).
    • Nobody besides Robert Jordan seems to know how to make a gun emplacement. Agustín 's excuse is that the gun came with no instructions.
    • Robert Jordan sets up a proper emplacement, all the while explaining what makes his emplacement so good.
    • Rafael, by the way, who is "on sentry duty," is nowhere to be found.
    • Pablo passes through the pass on the horse.
    • Primitivo brings pine branches to conceal the gun.
    • Robert Jordan thinks once again that El Sordo is screwed.
    • Given that El Sordo is screwed, his own group can't risk a fight today – they can't afford to lose a single member. Not even Eladio, whose name Robert Jordan has forgotten.
    • Rafael shows up with two fat hares as his excuse for having abandoned his post. He'd heard them engaged in a "debauch" and chased them through the snow. For a while.
    • Robert Jordan mad, but his anger starts to dissipate as he hears Rafael's story. And it helps that Rafael flatters his ego by calling him a "phenomenon" for killing the cavalryman when pantless and barely awake.
    • Robert Jordan dispatches Rafael to take the hares to Pilar and bring back some food.
    • Robert Jordan sees two crows circle overhead and land in a pine tree a ways below the position, shortly thereafter joined by a third. He'll keep an eye on them. If they take off, it will let him know something's coming.
    • Thinking to himself, Robert Jordan decides that, when all is said and done, Rafael is still totally worthless.
    • Agustín and Primitivo have spent the last few minutes collecting shrubbery, the better to conceal the gun with. It's now fairly well concealed.
    • Robert Jordan sends Primitivo to a post higher up, from which he can watch the road ahead of the pass. He's to roll a stone down as a warning if anyone's coming, and then indicate the number and the direction they're coming from by raising and lowering his rifle. He's not to shoot anybody.
    • Agustín gets to be the gunner. Robert Jordan tells him he mustn't fire until the enemy comes within fifty meters, and only if he's sure they'll be entering the pass which leads to the cave.
    • This disappoints Agustín a little bit. He'd rather "make a massacre."
    • Robert Jordan does not want to make a massacre. It's important they keep themselves safe until tomorrow. There can be a massacre tomorrow.
    • Anselmo, who had gone to retrieve an axe from the camp, returns with it, and is instructed by Robert Jordan to cut some small trees to further conceal the gun.
    • A plane passes overhead, continuing until it's out of sight. Robert Jordan assures Agustín they can't be seen.
    • Just then, one of the "sentry crows" from the tree flies up.
  • Chapter 23

    • Robert Jordan frantically gestures for Agustín and Anselmo (who's coming back with the trees) to get down. Primitivo sends down a stone and indicates with his rifle that there are four men approaching.
    • Four horsemen ride out of the timber, one ahead and three behind. The one in the lead rides out to where Pablo had circled and stopped.
    • The leader of the four turns toward the gun emplacement and looks almost directly at it.
    • He doesn't seem to see it, and points back into the timber, where Pablo's trail led. He and the others ride off in that direction.
    • Rafael comes toward them with a pair of cloth saddlebags. More gesturing from Robert Jordan, and he ducks.
    • Agustín is all, "But I really wanted to kill them!" but the ever prudent Robert Jordan warns that they don't know if more horsemen might be following them.
    • Sure enough, Primitivo sends down another stone and signals that there are too many to count.
    • On cue, twenty horsemen come to the same spot, and then also leave through the timber, following the first four.
    • By the way, we are informed that the sun is bright, so the snow is quickly melting. That's good news for tomorrow's operation at least.
    • Primitivo signals that no more enemies are coming.
    • Robert Jordan gives Anselmo instructions to do the same thing he did yesterday, namely, go and keep tally of fascist movements on the road. He should wait until the snow is gone, so as not to make tracks.
    • Speaking of tracks, Robert Jordan wonders about Pablo. Will he be caught? Agustín assures him Pablo is very smart and good at looking after himself; he won't get caught. After all, Pablo's managed to avoid getting killed by any of them despite being extremely irritating.
    • Anselmo seems hung up on the idea of going to La Granja (a fascist town nearby) and gathering information. He'll use his "papers" if he needs to.
    • They all start to talk about the war (they're talking a lot, Robert Jordan thinks, because they're all shook up). Robert Jordan says if they don't win the war, all will be lost and it will be "the most grand carajo [like a bummer, but worse]."
    • Anselmo wishes they could win the war without shooting anybody. Agustín would like to swim ten leagues in "a soup made from the cojones [testicles] of all of them [fascists]."
    • Agustín, who was sweating a lot during the encounter with the horsemen, says he wasn't sweating only from fear, but also from bloodlust, which he likens to being a sex-crazed mare in heat.
    • Somehow, that reminds Robert Jordan that he is hungry. He tells Anselmo to get the food which Rafael has brought and send him back for more. Robert Jordan is very hungry.
  • Chapter 24

    • Chow time. Robert Jordan and Agustín are eating hearty meat and cheese sandwiches, and drinking wine.
    • Robert Jordan has cut some onions, and they have a thoughtful conversation about onions, about the dangers of onion breath, and whether or not it is proper to eat onions for breakfast. Agustín does not think it is.
    • Agustín somehow moves from onions to talking about Kashkin. There's a great difference between Robert Jordan and Kashkin, he thinks.
    • Yes, says Robert Jordan. Kashkin's dead.
    • No, seriously. The difference, Robert Jordan says, is that Kashkin suffered greatly, whereas he doesn't suffer so much.
    • Neither does Agustín. Agustín only really suffers "for others."
    • This leads Agustín to talk about Robert Jordan and "the Maria." It's strange, he notes, that, whereas Pilar had zealously guarded the Maria from all of the men before Robert Jordan, she has now simply given her to him.
    • Robert Jordan says that Pilar put her in his care.
    • Which basically means, says Agustín , to "joder [have sex] with her all night." Robert Jordan says yes that's what it means.
    • Agustín wants to know what will happen after they blow the bridge. Robert Jordan says he will bring Maria with him (So that's changed).
    • Agustín feels Robert Jordan should know that he, Agustín, has also cared greatly for Maria. He also says that Robert Jordan better understand that, appearances aside, Maria is no loose woman.
    • Robert Jordan understands, and says he intends to marry Maria.
    • That pleases Agustín, because he says in Spain, a woman doesn't give herself lightly. People kill each other over that sort of thing. So it's good that Robert Jordan's going to marry Maria.
    • Robert Jordan says they have only moved so quickly because of their lack of time. They must live all their lives in a matter of hours (as he realized in his stunning metaphysical reflections on the nature of time the day before).
    • Moved, Agustín offers to help in any way he can. He offers Robert Jordan his unconditional obedience, and promises that if the situation the next day calls for him to die, he will do so gladly.
    • He's sure that any of the other band members would do the same – they're all capital fellows. Except Pablo and Rafael, who are respectively treacherous and worthless. Sordo's band is better still.
    • Just as he's starting to feel chipper, Robert Jordan hears the sound of automatic rifle fire in the distance. Looking at Primitivo, he sees him pointing up the mountain, to the "high country." There's fighting at Sordo's.
    • Agustín wants to go aid them, but Robert Jordan refuses. They must stay put.
  • Chapter 25

    • Robert Jordan goes up to see Primitivo, who's going ballistic.
    • Primitivo says Sordo's being attacked, and wants to know what to do.
    • They're not going to do anything, says Robert Jordan. As he says this, a troop of cavalry appears in the distance, riding up to El Sordo's.
    • Primitivo doesn't like that answer. But Robert Jordan's not budging. He's known this would happen since last night, and there's nothing to be done about it.
    • Up the mountain, he sound of hand grenades now joins that of rifle fire.
    • A tearful Primitivo launches into a stream of obscenities. Which, as if by magic, summon Pilar, who has come up to meet them.
    • Pilar asks if "it has come to Sordo."
    • It has. Sordo is "jodido [screwed, literally]." Nothing to be done, Robert Jordan says.
    • Primitivo is still upset, and Pilar starts to get on his case for being a romantic and having heroic delusions of grandeur. He wouldn't be able to accomplish anything by trying to help Sordo. Except losing his life.
    • At that moment, a plane passes overhead. Pilar gets very nervous – she's afraid of planes.
    • Primitivo makes a nasty remark about her fear of planes, and she apologizes for being rough with him. They are "all in the same caldron."
    • Robert Jordan asks where the others are. All below, out of sight, and ready to go, says Pilar. Except Rafael the useless, who has been sent to gather mushrooms to cook with his hares.
    • The firing above dies off. Robert Jordan tells Pilar that it is not over. The attackers have probably been beaten off, but they've surrounded Sordo, and when the planes come it will be over.
    • Pilar begins to leave, and Robert Jordan asks her for the dead cavalryman's papers. She forgot them, but promises to send Maria with them.
  • Chapter 26

    • It's now three o'clock in the afternoon. Robert Jordan is sitting on the rocks reading the letters of the dead cavalryman. The firing at Sordo's has remained minimal for a while.
    • The boy he killed that morning was from Tafalla in Navarra, twenty-one and unmarried. He was a Carlist (Carlists were a right-wing Catholic political party who sided with the fascists in the Spanish Civil War). Robert Jordan is not happy that he had to kill him.
    • The first letters he had looked at were from the boy's sister, apparently a very serious and religious girl who repeatedly reminded him (with underlining) to keep the Sacred Heart of Jesus over his own heart, as it has been proven to deflect bullets.
    • Another letter is from the boy's fiancée, who is desperately worried about him. Robert Jordan can't bear to read any more.
    • Primitivo asks him what he's reading, and he tells him.
    • Mentally, Robert Jordan is having an unhappy little dialogue with himself about killing.
    • The gist of it is that he doesn't think it's ever right to kill, or that many of the people he's killed are really fascists who deserve to die, but it's necessary to kill them anyway.
    • Robert Jordan tries to figure out how many people he's killed.
    • He urges himself to stop thinking like this. It's not good for his work. But he doesn't have a right to stop thinking about it, he tells himself.
    • Does he have a right to love Maria? he asks. Oh yes.
    • But a thorough-going Communist materialism doesn't allow for love. Guess I was never really a Communist materialist, thinks Robert Jordan.
    • Instead of "dialectical materialism" (a foundational part of Communist theory), Robert Jordan believes in the plain old American values of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
    • He tells himself he must not be duped about his love for Maria. Just because many people don't have anything like it, and might deny such a thing exists, that doesn't mean it's not real. He knows it is.
    • How are things at Sordo's, he wonders? Just then he sees the planes.
  • Chapter 27

    • El Sordo is making his stand on a hilltop. It's not an ideal spot, but this isn't an ideal situation either.
    • As he had walked up with Joaquin and Ignacio, his horse had been hit. So he shot it at the hilltop, and is now using it to fill in a spot in his makeshift fortifications.
    • Five men have reached the hilltop, and three of them are wounded. He himself is wounded in the calf, and in great pain. He'll have to take death as an aspirin, he tells himself.
    • The five men are spread out on a hilltop like a five-pointed star, dug in behind mounds to protect their heads. They are now linking the mounds together with stones and dirt.
    • Joaquin, who is digging vigorously, throws out a slogan he thinks is appropriate to the moment: "Hold out and fortify, and you will win."
    • It's not well received: somebody tells him that is mierda (a slightly more intense word for "crap"). So Joaquin comes up with another. He's a devout follower of La Pasionaria, from whom he gets the slogans.
    • An argument about La Pasionaria (a Republican propagandist) ensues. Nobody besides Joaquin has much respect for her, and one man points out that she's sent her son off to Russia to be safe. Joaquin defends her against the foul (and probably true) accusations.
    • Meanwhile, El Sordo is contemplating the situation. The fascists won't be able to dislodge them from the hill right now – they'd tried earlier, which amounted to an exercise in suicide. But once they get either planes or a mortar, he and his band and done for.
    • One of his men fires at something, attracting Sordo's attention. He says a fascist has tried to reach a boulder on the hilltop.
    • One of the other men curses Pilar for not having brought help, but El Sordo says she wouldn't be able to do anything.
    • El Sordo is starting to wonder if the planes are coming. He fires four times into the body of his dead horse, somewhat irregularly. Then, after waiting a while he fires once more.
    • Someone from behind a rock on the slope calls "Bandidos!" A man's head pops up from the boulder, and, when there is no shot, he ducks again.
    • From below, the fascists call up obscenities. Sordo is pleased. It looks like these people just might be stupid enough to attack.
    • A sniper behind the boulder rises to fire, and hits a rock. Another fascist runs from a group of rocks down the slope to join the sniper behind the boulder. El Sordo is still more pleased.
    • Perspective shifts, and we're now with the fascists on the slope. The man who has just run to the sniper, the commanding officer, asks the sniper whether he "believes it" – just what "it" is remains unclear. The sniper doesn't know. He reports he hasn't seen any movement since the shots.
    • (Presumably, El Sordo's five shots into his horse have made the fascists believe that he and his band have killed themselves.)
    • Another officer comes up to meet them. The first addresses him (his name is Paco), and asks what he thinks. Paco thinks it is a trick.
    • The officer who's not Paco thinks they will look ridiculous if it is not. The other officer thinks that if it is not, they will look ridiculous, laying siege to dead men. To prove his point, he yells out "Bandidos" again, and a few other things. He dares anyone still alive up there to fire, if he's not a coward.
    • Lieutenant Paco Berrendo (we get his rank and last name now) only shakes his head. Turns out this shouting officer, the captain, was the same guy who had ordered the extravagantly successful first assault. Paco had lost his best friend, another lieutenant, in that attack.
    • The captain shouts some more and fires into the horse up there. He's now firmly convinced that they're all dead. So naturally, rather than go up and prove it himself, he orders the sniper to do it.
    • The sniper does not want to go. Lt. Berrendo tells Captain Mora (the dimmer officer's name) that he thinks the sniper is right.
    • In response, Mora stands on the boulder and dares anyone still alive up there to shoot him.
    • El Sordo tries to contain his laughter, which is hard to do.
    • Captain Mora descends from the boulder, eager to see if he has impressed the sniper or the lieutenant. Apparently not. So he calls them idiots and cowards and begins to shout obscenities at the hilltops again. This prompts a brief but illuminating reflection by the narrator on the unique richness of Spanish cursing.
    • Mora wants Berrendo to go up with him, but Berrendo does not want to. So Mora goes up on his own.
    • Lamenting that he only gets one fascist (though at least it's the big cheese), Sordo fires three times.
    • Captain Mora is no more.
    • The soldiers on the slope begin firing at the hilltop and El Sordo calls out to them laughing loudly, mimicking the captain's taunts.
    • El Sordo starts to think of how he might snag the other officer down below (that is, Paco), and doesn't hear that the planes have finally arrived. Joaquin taps him on the shoulder, and points at them.
    • Joaquin helps El Sordo to retrieve the automatic rifle, which they'll fire in a last ditch effort at the planes. The gun is put on Joaquin's shoulders, and Ignacio sets up the tripod for it and steadies it.
    • As the planes approach, Joaquin begins to repeat another slogan from La Pasionaria, but then ditches it and starts saying a Hail Mary.
    • The gun starts to fire, deafening Joaquin. There's an explosion beneath him.
    • Perspective shifts away from Joaquin. The planes bomb the hilltop three times further, and then strafe it with machine guns before leaving.
    • Lieutenant Berrendo leads a patrol up to the hilltop, rolling some grenades ahead of him just in case. No one is alive except Joaquin, who is unconscious. Berrendo, after making the sign of the cross on him, shoots him in the head.
    • Berrendo orders the dead horses to be brought with them and packed off to La Granja, and that the heads of all of the dead men to be taken. He leaves, whispering prayers for his dead friend, before he can see his orders carried out.
  • Chapter 28

    • We're back to Robert Jordan and Primitivo, who are listening to the firing from the hilltop after the planes have left. After it stops, they know Sordo is lost.
    • Maria comes up from the camp with the stew, giving some to Agustín and Eladio (who's replaced Anselmo), and then approaching Primitivo and Robert Jordan.
    • Robert Jordan invites Maria to stay, but she has to return. Pilar is giving her "instruction," she says. She blushes and smiles.
    • Primitivo is still very unhappy that they did not help Sordo.
    • An hour passes. Robert Jordan sees riders coming down the slope of Sordo's hill, followed by riderless horses bearing the burden from the battle. Though he doesn't know it, one of them is carrying the heads.
    • Lt. Berrendo, following the horses with a cavalry column, is thinking to himself about how barbarous that head business was. But it's standard policy for identification. He says a few more prayers.
    • From his own vantage point on the road to La Granja, Anselmo sees the riders, recognizes El Sordo's rifle on one of the horses, and knows what's happened. He prays that he'll comport himself well in battle the next day.
    • Anselmo reaches the camp, where Fernando is on sentry duty. He asks Fernando if he knows of Sordo's fate, and is told that Pablo has already told everyone of it.
  • Chapter 29

    • Anselmo enters the cave to find Robert Jordan and Pablo across from each other at the table, a bowl of wine between them.
    • Pablo is, auspiciously, staring fixedly at the wine bowl.
    • Anselmo reports that he has seen the fascists returning from the hill, and is asked to sit down by Robert Jordan. Pablo is silent. Anselmo catalogs the fascist movement he saw on the road.
    • Robert Jordan wants to send someone through to the Republic with a dispatch to Navacerrada (the HQ). Anselmo tells him that he, Andrés, and Eladio could get there. Andrés would be the best to send.
    • The dispatch, says Robert Jordan, is for the General at the Estado Mayor of the Division. Anselmo gets confused by all those military ranks and titles, so Robert Jordan explains them very slowly.
    • Anselmo goes to get Andrés, while Robert Jordan begins the dispatch.
    • Pablo, breaking his silence, tells Robert Jordan that there is no reason to be disheartened; they can still take the bridge without Sordo. He, Pablo, has confidence in Robert Jordan. To make it extra convincing, he continues to stare into the winebowl and sounds forlorn.
    • Robert Jordan concentrates on writing a report to Golz, describing all he's seen and trying to find some way to convince him to call off the attack.
  • Chapter 30

    • Some time has passed, and Andrés has been gone for three hours (which is how long it should take him to deliver the message). Robert Jordan is walking back down from the upper post where he had been to see Primitivo.
    • He's thinking again, this time about the attack. It's unlikely there will be time to cancel it, as Golz himself does not have the power to do so. It would have been better to send word sooner, but most of the fascist forces Anselmo saw hadn't been moved until dark.
    • The increasingly worried Robert Jordan tells himself a miracle may happen yet. In any case, his responsibility is just to follow orders. Though it sure is disconcerting to think about those heads…
    • All the same, he hasn't done so badly for a Spanish professor from Montana.
    • Thinking back to the heads, Robert Jordan thinks of Indians and scalping, which makes him think of his grandfather (a U.S. military veteran), which makes him think of his grandfather's pistol, which makes him think of his father, who killed himself with the pistol, which makes him think of how he threw the pistol in a lake after his father's funeral.
    • Robert Jordan wishes his grandfather were here instead of him. He wants to talk to him, ask him questions. Now he has a right to have them answered.
    • He's embarrassed by his father, and he's sure his granddad would be too. He thinks his father was a coward, and didn't teach him what his grandfather could have taught him. His grandfather knew the military life, and the people in it.
    • Robert Jordan himself doesn't want to be a soldier. He just wants to win the war.
    • He reassures himself by telling himself not to think. Soon he'll be with Maria.
    • Thinking once more about the attack, Robert Jordan accepts that he will have to blow the bridge. Even if Andrés reaches Golz in time, there's no way it will be called off. He feels much more comfortable now that he feels certain of it.
  • Chapter 31

    • Robert Jordan and Maria. In "bed," by which we mean sleeping bag. Not clothed.
    • Maria is ashamed. She is in pain (she worries this may be because she was internally damaged when she was raped) and can't have sex.
    • Robert Jordan comforts her, telling her it does not matter; they are together, and simply feeling her by him is enough. He's lying, as he admits to himself.
    • Since they can't have regular sex, Robert Jordan proposes they try something they've never done before: talking to each other. Why don't they talk about Madrid?
    • Maria asks if there's "anything else" she might do for him. (Robert Jordan thinks to Onan, the Biblical figure who "spilled his seed on the ground," thereby outraging God and incurring instant death.)
    • So no, Robert Jordan does not want to get physical right now. Just talk about Madrid.
    • So they dream of Madrid. Of staying in hotels, buying nice clothes for Maria – though Maria wants to keep her wedding shirt – trying whiskey, and more stuff Robert Jordan knows they're never going to do because they're all going to die tomorrow.
    • Talk turns to their love. Maria promises no other man will touch her until she dies. Robert Jordan says he will marry her. Maria's not hugely excited by that – apparently marriage isn't so important to her after all.
    • Maria says that Pilar told her that they will all die tomorrow, and that Robert Jordan knows it.
    • Robert Jordan calls Pilar a "manure-mouthed superstitious bitch," and says Maria shouldn't believe her.
    • They start dreaming of the future again, this time of Maria's hair.
    • From there its back to Madrid, and how they will spend their time there – where they would live, how they'll go to the movies, whether they will have a servant. Pilar's "instruction" had consisted in telling Maria how to be a good wife.
    • Pilar had told Maria that she should tell Robert Jordan what had happened to her if it ever weighed on her, as that might rid her of it.
    • Although Maria says it does not weigh on her now, she begins to tell her story.
    • Maria's father was the mayor of her town, and was killed by the fascists. When they shot him he cried "Viva la Republica." Her mother was shot after him, and cried "Viva my husband who was the Mayor of this village" (she herself was not a Republican).
    • Maria then describes what happened to her. She was taken with other girls and tied up in a long line. When it was noticed that she was the daughter of the mayor, she was chosen as the one to "start with."
    • Maria was taken to a barbershop, where her braids were cut off violently, and she was beaten and mocked. Then she was taken to her father's office, where she was raped on the couch.
    • Robert Jordan feels himself filled with hatred. Both he and Maria feel a sudden and powerful urge to kill fascists. At least they'll do that tomorrow.
    • Pilar had told Maria one last thing, which she has to tell Robert Jordan: it is possible that because of the violence done to her, she cannot have children. She is worried that he will not marry her.
    • Robert Jordan says he would marry her anyway.
    • They go to sleep, bidding each other good night as husband and wife.
    • Still awake and thinking, Robert Jordan thinks of the horrible things done to Maria, and his hatred.
    • He recognizes that the Republicans have also done horrific things to the fascists. But they have an excuse the fascists don't: they are uneducated and don't know better, whereas those who did that to Maria were "the flowers of Spanish chivalry." He thinks about how incomprehensible the Spanish are, at once the finest and worse people in the world.
    • Wondering whether they will die tomorrow, Robert Jordan wishes the last night could have been different. But he was impressed at the valor of Maria's parents in the story.
    • Kissing her, he whispers that he wants to marry her, and is proud of her family.
  • Chapter 32

    • We're at Gaylord's – that place from Robert Jordan's flashback. Karkov has just entered his apartment, which is crowded with people. He greets his wife, and then his mistress.
    • Karkov's mistress wants to go watch the secret offensive the next day. Karkov is taken aback that she knows about it, but she assures him that everyone does. He feels much better.
    • Another man beckons him over, and asks if he's heard the good news: the fascists are fighting among themselves near Segovia, bombing their own troops with planes! (Hmm, that sounds like just about exactly where El Sordo was.) He knows it's true because "Dolores" had brought the news. Dolores's eyes were shining as she spoke – she has a glorious face.
    • To say Karkov is unimpressed – by the news, and Dolores – is an understatement.
    • Karkov goes to a general to ask about the news and discuss the offensive. Karkov mentions that Robert Jordan is there, and he's worried about him. Have they received any report?
    • No report has come in.
    • Leaving the room, Karkov goes to sleep. He's got an early morning the next day.
  • Chapter 33

    • It's two in the morning, and Robert Jordan is awakened by a woman's hand. Maria…
    • Only it's not Maria, it's Pilar. Pablo's gone, she says, and he's taken something. Pilar looks miserable.
    • They go to Pilar's bed in the cave. Robert Jordan's two explosive sacks are both slit. Pablo took a lot: the exploder, the detonators, and the fuse, though most of the actual explosive (dynamite) is still there. Just when we thought things couldn't get much worse…
    • Wasn't Pilar "guarding" the materials, he asks?
    • Yes, she says. Pablo got up, and she awakened, but he said he just had to pee, so she went back to sleep. Awakening again later, she was shocked to see that Pablo had not come back from peeing and that the explosives were gone.
    • This was an hour ago, and Pablo knew how to get past the sentry. There's no hope of catching him.
    • Robert Jordan, figures they'll be able to improvise…somehow. He goes back to bed, taking his explosives with him.
  • Chapter 34

    • It's deep in the night and Andrés is traveling through fascist country with the message to Golz.
    • He feels relieved that he got chosen to take the message: it means he doesn't have to go on the attack. He's reminded of the relief he would feel as a boy when he would wake up and hear rain on the annual bull-baiting day. Rain meant there would be no bull-baiting.
    • Andrés has a flashback. On bull-baiting day, a fierce bull would be released into the town square. He used to look forward to it all year. He was very daring with the bull, and would let it charge him, only to jump away at the last minute. Sometimes he would distract it with a sack, or taunt it by pulling on its horns or tail.
    • Apparently the aim of this rather dubious and barbaric holiday was for the joyful townspeople to celebrate their community by swarming the bull and stabbing it to death with knives.
    • Once, when he and the crowd had jumped upon the bull, he had bitten into the bull's ear and just held on as it bucked. This won him a reputation as the "Bulldog of Villaconejos," and every year afterwards he had to do the same thing.
    • But ultimately Andrés had mixed feelings about bull-baiting. Although "not for anything would he have missed doing it each year," he also "knew there was no better feeling than that one the sound of the rain gave when he knew he would not have to do it."
    • He's conflicted about the bridge affair, too. He can't bear the thought of not going back and leaving his group, and especially his brother, behind. And he'd enjoy killing some fascists.
    • As he climbs a slope leading to the Republican lines, he continues to think. He'd rather be raising chickens than fighting a war when it all comes down to it.
    • But right now Andrés has nothing – except guns. And nothing to give to the world, except excrement. Andrés is very pleased at the thought that he can give his excrement to the world.
  • Chapter 35

    • Robert Jordan is lying in his robe with Maria, who's still asleep. Boy is he mad at himself for letting Pablo get away with that.
    • He curses everything and everyone he can think of in one big mess of profanity.
    • His rage dies down. He's not being fair to anyone (except maybe Pablo), and he hates being unjust. He realizes if Maria had awakened earlier he would have struck her. Robert Jordan doesn't like that.
    • Furthermore, he thinks, being angry is self-indulgent. He can't afford to lose control if they're going to blow up the bridge.
    • Robert Jordan is now convinced they'll all die, but that bridge has to be blown, and somehow they've got to be able to do it, right?
  • Chapter 36

    • Andrés is now at a post – a makeshift rock and earth parapet – on the Republican line. There's a whole mess of wire in front of him.
    • He shouts out, and tells the sentries (whom he can't yet see) not to shoot. He tells them he is alone, and a member of Pablo's guerilla band.
    • The sentries are not convinced. They don't seem to believe he's alone, and they call him a fascist. One of them suggests they should just throw a bomb at him.
    • Andrés tries to get through the wire to approach the post, which is hard, as he's been told to keep his hands above his head holding his rifle. The sentries argue among themselves. One still wants to throw a bomb at him.
    • Figuring out that the bomb enthusiast is an anarchist, Andrés shouts the anarchist slogan "Viva la Libertad," which wins him over instantly. When Andrés reaches the parapet, the man kisses him.
    • Andrés meets the officer in command, and hands over the papers Robert Jordan had given him. Not quite satisfied, the officer asks to know where he was born, and demands that he prove he grew up there by describing some local old man. He does.
    • Now somewhat more satisfied, the officer asks him how things are going, and starts rambling on about how guerillas should just join the army. Andrés tells him they need to get moving.
    • The officer, still not convinced they shouldn't have shot Andrés, takes him to the commander. Andrés notices as he walks that the anarchists just go to the bathroom right there in the open and do not bury their excrement. He is disgusted.
    • (This also marks the second time a chapter on Andrés has ended with thoughts about excrement.)
  • Chapter 37

    • Robert Jordan's still in the robe with the sleeping Maria, watching the time go by on his watch.
    • He holds Maria and starts running his lips over her head and neck. They kiss, and Maria kisses him so intensely that it's clear she wants to do much more than kiss.
    • He asks her about the pain, and she says there is none. She also tells him not to speak.
    • Once more, the ecstasy of sex leads to Robert Jordan repeating the same word over and over again in a nonsensical never-ending sentence. This time, it's "now," as in "Come now, now, for there is no now but now." Total number of "now"s in the sex paragraph: 39.
    • He does a little riff on "one" too, based on an inexcusable error in basic arithmetic: "one and one is one, is one, is one, is one, is still one..." and so on.
    • "Afterwards," Robert Jordan thanks Maria, and they lie together, both happy for being so lucky (in multiple senses). Maria refers to their sexual experiences as "la Gloria." Robert Jordan likes that.
    • He thinks once more how much there is for him to learn. He has only just begun to realize this. He has learned so much since coming upon Pablo's band that he feels as if he has spent all his life there. Anselmo, Agustín, and Maria feel like family now, a family he never had.
    • They get dressed, and Maria rolls up the sleeping robe. They head to the cave to eat. It's ten minutes to three, by Robert Jordan's watch.
  • Chapter 38

    • The band is in the cave, gathered around the fire. The men are bristling with instruments of destruction.
    • Robert Jordan asks whether the band's grenades are good and trustworthy. Eladio, in his glorious debut as a speaking human being, says they are.
    • Asking about another set of explosives shaped like soup tins, Robert Jordan learns they aren't very good.
    • As Robert Jordan starts to plan the operation, he thinks that the whole thing is impossible. Always a good way to start planning something.
    • Robert Jordan cannot bear the thought that trying to accomplish the mission will lead everyone to die a futile (pointless) death. What is he to do?
    • Pilar notices his mounting despair, and goes over to reassure him that they will all be able to do what they are supposed to do.
    • As Pilar prepares to say something else to Robert Jordan, she falls silent and her mouth drops open. Following her gaze to the mouth of the cave, Robert Jordan sees…
    • Surprise! It's Pablo.
    • Good news: Pablo has rounded up five extra men, and their (five) horses. Bad news: Pablo has also thrown the detonation devices into the river. Also in the plus column, though: he's thought of a way to set off the dynamite with grenades.
    • Robert Jordan is quick to point out that he has too.
    • Pilar, still shocked, asks Pablo what's going on.
    • Pablo tells her that he had a moment of weakness, but overcame it. In his heart, he is not a coward. He had hoped at first that by stealing the detonators, he would prevent them from mounting the attack and getting themselves killed, but eventually he realized that they were just dedicated and brainless enough to do it.
    • Pablo's not back for Robert Jordan's sake, that's for sure. But after throwing away the explosive devices, he said, he felt "too lonely." It was "a loneliness that cannot be borne." Whereas yesterday, when he was helping the group, he felt happy.
    • Pablo assures Pilar that the people he has brought are good. And stupid enough not to know quite what they're getting into. Just the kind he likes. Pilar's just happy to have her husband back.
    • Pablo takes a swig from Robert Jordan's bottle, and they're off!
  • Chapter 39

    • The band are climbing up a hill through the dark, loaded with weapons and equipment. Their horses are with them, also loaded.
    • Pablo and Robert Jordan are talking plans. Pablo has told the five men he's brought that they will be successful, and asks that Robert Jordan not say anything that might lead them to recognize they've been fed a bunch of lies. He volunteers to lead those five in an attack on the lower post (the roadmender's hut).
    • Pablo points out that they have only five horses. There are not enough horses in total for everyone to have one, even if a couple of people die in battle. Robert Jordan assumes Pablo means that he will not get a horse.
    • Even so, Pablo has boosted Robert Jordan's spirits. He now feels confident about the operation.
    • He starts thinking about Maria, but decides it would be best not to think about Maria today.
    • Robert Jordan waits until Maria comes up with Pilar and the horses, and tells she's to stay with the horses.
    • Moving up ahead, he sees the group of new guys and their horses gathered in an open place. Pablo introduces them. Pilar recognizes a couple.
    • Pablo tells them all to keep quiet, and to follow him to the place where they will leave the horses.
  • Chapter 40

    • Meanwhile, Andrés has been making slow progress. He had followed the officer he met at the post to the battalion commander, Gomez. Gomez neither wanted to blow him up nor accused him of being a fascist. Instead, Gomez was all ga-ga to meet a real live guerilla, and eagerly offered to take Andrés to HQ on his motorbike.
    • Gomez and Andrés arrive in the town where brigade HQ is located, and stop at a house.
    • Entering the house, they meet a very sleepy and grouchy officer whom Gomez asks to summon the lieutenant-colonel. They're told he's asleep.
    • Gomez demands that that the officer wake him up, but Groucho gives him some attitude and doesn't budge. So Gomez responds as any calm and rational person would: he pulls out his gun and threatens to shoot the guy.
    • It works – Groucho sends an orderly to bring the lieutenant-colonel.
    • Groucho and Gomez occupy themselves with a nasty little interchange until Lieutenant-Colonel Miranda enters. Gomez, whom the colonel knows, hands him the papers and dispatch Andrés brought.
    • Miranda tells Gomez to take Andrés to Navacerrada to see Golz there – he gives them a signed safe conduct pass to take with them.
    • Miranda, despite being awakened at an ungodly hour, is pretty chummy, and offers Andrés food and drink. Andrés doesn't want any. Miranda then recognizes Andrés, whom he'd seen with Anselmo in some city three months ago.
    • Gomez and Andrés leave, and Miranda helps himself to some whiskey. He's very happy it's Golz and not him making the attack.
    • Andrés and Gomez ride on, coming upon a line of empty trucks descending from the mountains.
  • Chapter 41

    • We're back to our group of aspiring bridge-blowers, who have reached the spot where they'll keep the horses. Pablo stops his horse and dismounts, followed by everyone else. They prepare to hobble the horses.
    • Robert Jordan checks up with Agustín to make sure the machine gun is in order, and with Pilar to make sure she knows not to attack the upper post (she's leading the members of Pablo's band in an attack on the saw mill) until the bombs fall. She does.
    • Pablo wants to make sure that Robert Jordan will cover his attack group with the machine guns (there's a little one, too) as they leave the post after assaulting it. He also says again, somewhat oddly, that there are not enough horses.
    • Robert Jordan tries to be all "whatever," and says he'll go on foot. But Pablo tells him softly that there will be a horse for him, and for all of them.
    • Robert Jordan doesn't know exactly what this means, but he has an idea. (We don't get to hear what his idea is.)
    • The two men shake hands. Pablo apologizes for having thrown away the explosives, and says he sees success for the enterprise.
    • Pilar appears beside them and asks if they're now gay.
    • Robert Jordan bids Maria good-bye. But their good-bye kiss is majorly awkward, thanks to Robert Jordan's pack, which slides onto his head and makes it bump into Maria's.
    • Robert Jordan thinks to himself that he hasn't felt that young since he said good-bye to his father on his very first day of school, and has a minor flashback to his youth in Montana.
    • Agustín, Anselmo, and Robert Jordan take off down the hill together. They come to the point where Anselmo and Robert Jordan had watched the terrain that first day; Anselmo has marked it.
    • After setting up the machine gun in a suitable place where it can be well-hidden, Robert Jordan gives Agustín instructions on firing it: he's to fire at anything that comes up on them while he and Anselmo set up the explosives on the bridge. He and Anselmo will take care of the two sentries in the boxes.
    • Leaving Agustín in position, Anselmo and Robert Jordan pick a place to leave the packs of explosives. Wanting to be sure of the plan, and also probably wanting to give the reader a clue about how this whole mess is supposed to work out, Anselmo asks Robert Jordan to review what he's going to do.
    • Anselmo is to cross to the other side of the bridge (through the gorge, not over the bridge – yes, apparently people can walk through the gorge), and, when he hears Robert Jordan fire, to kill his sentry. Then he'll cross back over to retrieve the explosive, and they'll rig the bridge together.
    • Satisfied, and feeling less guilty about the killing he's about to do because he's been ordered to do it by someone else, Anselmo departs.
    • Lying on that pine-needled forest floor and loading his weapon, Robert Jordan waits for daylight.
  • Chapter 42

    • Andrés and Gomez have made progress toward Navacerrada. They are passing loaded trucks moving up the road.
    • Up ahead, there's been an accident: one truck has smashed into the truck in front of it, and this is stalling the whole line. But on their trusty little motorbike, Gomez and Andrés pass by.
    • Andrés is really impressed by the Republican army. It's BIG. He also really likes the motorcycle ride. It's "mucho, mucho."
    • They come upon a large building with sentries. Stopping there, Gomez asks where General Golz is. Golz isn't there, a sentry says, but at the Comandancia. The sentry isn't friendly: he thinks Gomez is being pesky and asking too many questions.
    • A large staff car comes up toward the building and stops. Out of it steps a large, beret-wearing, French-speaking old man. Yes, he's French, and not just that, he's Comrade Marty, as Gomez recognizes – a legendary international revolutionary. (The narrator also informs us he's bad news).
    • Gomez asks Comrade Marty to tell them where Golz is: they have an urgent dispatch.
    • Comrade Marty wants to know where it came from. Gomez tells him it's from behind fascist lines.
    • Marty, reasoning that if it's behind fascist lines they must be fascists, orders them to be arrested at once. They're to be brought to him when he calls for them. Comrade Marty goes into the house with the dispatch.
    • As they are searched by the guard, Gomez and Andrés learn that Marty is a nutcase and should not be asked anything. Apparently he has "a mania for shooting people," and "kills more than the bubonic plague."
    • Fortunately for the presently unfortunate Gomez and Andrés, the guard doesn't like Marty, and doesn't want him to kill any more Spaniards. He promises to inform the first responsible officer who comes along that they're in the hands of the nutcase.
    • Andrés and Gomez are called in to see Marty. He starts to interrogate them about where they've come from, how they knew Golz was there, etc. But it's clear he's already decided they're fascist liars deserving of judicious death.
    • The narrator gives us a brief foray into Marty's extraordinarily paranoid little brain. Marty does not think that their communications with Golz prove they're not fascists. Oh no. That must mean that Golz is really a traitor. Golz! Can you believe it? Marty himself barely can.
    • Marty orders Gomez and Andrés to be taken away, and they begin shouting smack at him. But Marty doesn't care. He's obviously heard it all before.
    • By the way, the narrator lets us know, Golz and Marty do not get along well at all. Golz never agrees with Marty militarily. He also hates him for being a paranoid maniac who kills his own troops for no reason.
    • Luckily for Andrés and Gomez, Karkov – who is also not a member of the Marty fan club – arrives. He asks if he has heard anything of a message coming from an American (Robert Jordan) behind fascist lines.
    • Nope, says Marty, playing dumb.
    • Karkov doesn't buy it, and demands the dispatch. Seething silently, Marty hands it over.
    • Karkov orders Andrés and Gomez to be released and escorted to Golz's HQ. After which he allows himself one last brief but pleasurable confrontation with Marty. Karkov's going to bring him down, he says.
    • On the road again. Andrés and Gomez take the motorcycle to a point off the road where three staff cars are clustered near a dugout. There they find a chauffeur for one of the cars, who takes the dispatch to Golz's Chief of Staff.
    • The Chief of Staff, in the dugout, makes some calls to find Golz, and finally gets a hold of him.
    • Golz gets the message, but it's too late. He responds simply that "Nous sommes foutus…" For those of you who don't parler francais, that means "we're (fill in the blank with another word starting with "f")'ed.
  • Chapter 43

    • Robert Jordan is lying behind the trunk of a pine tree, watching the sentry nearest him on the bridge and waiting for the sound of bombs. He wonders whether Golz has called off the attack.
    • The sentries are relieved and replaced. The new fellow in Robert Jordan's box is the same one he'd seen two days before. Since he's about to shoot him, Robert Jordan decides it would be better not to look at him.
    • Robert Jordan's thinking is interrupted by the sound of bombs.
    • The sentry in the box stands up at the sound. Robert Jordan, aiming carefully, shoots him right in the chest.
    • He then hears Anselmo's shot from the other end of the bridge – his sentry's out of the ballgame too. The sound of gunfire and grenade explosions carries from above and below: Pablo and Pilar are now attacking the posts. This thing is going down.
    • Robert Jordan grabs his two packs, running onto the bridge. Anselmo runs to him, his face stained with tears shed for the man he just killed.
    • Descending into the framework of the bridge, Robert Jordan begins to rig it with explosives, with Anselmo helping by handing him materials as he calls for them.
    • From the lower post comes the sound of two grenades, followed by silence. From the upper post, there's still a lot of rifle fire.
    • Robert Jordan crosses over to the other side of the bridge to rig it. He's feeling confident in his work now; at least one half of the bridge will certainly be blown.
    • However, the continuous racket of guns and grenades coming from Pilar's post has grown worse.
    • Asking Anselmo for a coil of wire, Robert Jordan wires the second half of the bridge, connecting the grenades with a wire. He connects this in turn to a longer wire, which can be pulled from a safe distance. Pulling the wire hard will pull the rings from the grenades, detonating them and setting off the dynamite in one big explosion. (Aha, so that's how it works.)
    • Robert Jordan's done. He gives the trigger wire to Anselmo and climbs back onto the bridge.
    • Pilar's group, returning, comes into sight. No Eladio.
    • Anselmo and Robert Jordan cross to the side of the bridge nearer Pilar's group, each carrying a bridge-go-boom wire.
    • As Pilar's group approaches, Robert Jordan sees that Fernando is seriously wounded in the groin, only walking because Primitivo and Rafael are supporting him.
    • Robert Jordan has to wire the other half of the bridge with a trigger wire. He tells Anselmo to blow the bridge (with him under it) if any tanks come, then runs to the center of the bridge and gets to work.
    • Fernando tells Primitivo and Rafael that he wants to be left on the bank by the bridge with his rifle – he's too wounded to go anywhere.
    • Fernando asks about Eladio, and they tell him he was shot in the head.
    • Having informed us of Eladio's fate, Rafael and Agustín run back up the slope.
    • Anselmo is behind a stone (to give him cover when the bridge blows), waiting for Robert Jordan to finish wiring his half of the bridge. He's still thinking about that sentry he killed. And poor Fernando, who is visibly in great pain. Anselmo wishes for a quick death. But he himself is not feeling nervous – instead, he's calm, and one and at peace with everything around him.
    • Pilar, Primitivo, and Rafael are gathered up the slope, in a place they hope will keep them safe from the explosion of the bridge. Pilar is impatient for it to blow, and, as is her habit when she's impatient, starts shouting obscenities to the skies (and Anselmo).
    • Firing starts down the road where Pablo was holding the post. It doesn't sound like Pablo's automatic rifle…
    • Robert Jordan finishes the wiring job. Pulling himself up onto the bridge, he walks backward, paying out the wire as he goes.
    • Reaching the road, and just about opposite the stone behind which Anselmo is stationed, Robert Jordan sees a truck coming down the road toward the bridge. That means it's time for the bridge to go bye-bye.
    • Robert Jordan gives the order to Anselmo, and they both pull on their wire. Explosion. A BIG boom.
    • When the steel shards stop falling, Robert Jordan finds himself still alive, and surveys the situation. The bridge is wrecked, and the rather surprised truck has stopped about a hundred yards away. Fernando is still lying against the bank, breathing.
    • Anselmo is dead, impaled by a piece of steel.
    • Taking the two sacks and Anselmo's carbine, Robert Jordan walks up to Pilar, and gives her the news. He tells her to move lower down the slope; he's going down to meet Agustín and cover Pablo.
    • Robert Jordan snaps at Pilar; he's angry at Pablo, whom he blames for Anselmo's death (which wouldn't have happened had they still had the detonators).
    • Pilar points out that by that logic he should be just as angry at the snow.
    • Good point. Robert Jordan's rage bubble pops, and he apologizes.
    • Finding a suitable place from which to shoot across the bridge, Robert Jordan places Rafael (who turns out to be a very good shooter) in a place where he can pick off targets across the bridge. Pilar and Primitivo stay nearby.
    • Robert Jordan goes off to join Agustín. As he sets off, he hears airborne harbingers of Republican doom. That is, fascist planes.
    • So as not to get us too overexcited, the narrative shifts to Maria. Who isn't doing much.
    • Well, actually, Maria, who can hear but can't see anything from where she waits, is worrying about Robert Jordan very intensely.
    • Suddenly, a shout comes to her from Pilar: Robert Jordan is all right. Maria is overjoyed.
    • Robert Jordan reaches Agustín as the fascist planes fly overhead, coming from Segovia. They start to bomb the pass where Golz's forces are collected.
    • As they wait for Pablo and listen to the carnage, Robert Jordan realizes that he still can't quite believe he didn't die when the bridge exploded. Everything around him seems unreal.
    • Finally, Pablo appears on the other side of the gorge, running towards them and firing backwards at regular intervals. Reaching the bridge, he descends into the gorge to cross to the others side.
    • Meanwhile, a small tank has appeared around the corner of the road cross the gorge, firing near the bridge. It's a cautious little tank, and doesn't approach the bridge any closer. But Robert Jordan and Agustín can't do it any damage, so they don't fire at it.
    • Pablo appears on the edge of the gorge and, after gathering the machine gun, they're off running – Robert Jordan first, followed by Agustín and then Pablo. The steep slope is tiring, so it's not long before they lapse into a walk.
    • Pablo informs them that all of his people are dead. Which means they now have enough horses…
    • Robert Jordan tells Pablo of their own losses. Pablo is happy to hear they know have more than enough horses, enough even to carry the blankets.
    • Agustín, who has guessed what Pablo was really shooting at as he headed toward the bridge, blows up at Pablo. Pablo killed his own men. We just knew having all those horses freed up was too convenient…
    • Pablo tells him to shut it. This is war. He did what he had to do.
    • Then they're at the horses, and Maria and Robert Jordan share an embrace. Robert Jordan is delighted to discover that, even in these circumstances, certain parts of him still respond to the touch of a woman.
    • Pilar arrives with the others, and everyone begins to load and mount the horses.
    • They begin to ride through the woods towards the edge of the road, Pablo at the head, followed by Pilar. Robert Jordan tells Maria to overtake Pilar, as the second spot is the safest, but she refuses.
    • Robert Jordan discerns they are about 800 yards above the bridge – which is still in range of the small tank by the bridge. As Pablo leaves the shelter and crosses the road onto an open slope, sure enough, shells begin to fly from the tank.
    • Pablo and most of the others make it across the road through the tank fire, riding up the slope and under the fold of a hill, until they're once more in the safety of the timber.
    • Rafael is riding ahead of Robert Jordan, trying to lead a packhorse behind him. Robert Jordan yells at him to drop the packhorse and cross the road. So off he rides, tank fire raining down every which way, but none of it striking home. Then he's in the clear.
    • Now it's just Robert Jordan who has to make the crossing. He wants to take the pack horse and use it as cover while he crosses. Looking down the road, he scans the other side of the bridge, where there is now a heavy traffic jam.
    • Robert Jordan takes a branch and strikes the pack horse with it, spurring it to move ahead of him. After riding thirty yards further up, he leaves cover and heads into the open.
    • As he rides, Robert Jordan looks down and sees that a much larger tank has now come up behind the smaller one. And it's firing at him.
    • He looks back up. The others are so close, waiting for him...
    • There's an explosion beneath him, and he's suddenly under his horse, trying to get out. He can move, but his left leg can't. When the horse gets up, he can feel that his left thigh bone is completely broken, a shard of it practically poking through his skin.
    • The tank fires again, not hitting him, but bringing the big horse down. Then Agustín and Primitivo have him under the armpits and are dragging him toward the shelter of the timber. They make it, barely.
    • Maria, Pilar, and Pablo are kneeling over Robert Jordan. He tells Maria the leg is broken, though there's no pain, probably because the nerve is smashed. Pilar suggests binding it and carrying him on a horse, but Pablo shakes his head.
    • Robert Jordan asks to speak to Pablo alone. He's not going to be able to go with them, he says. He wants to talk to Maria, to make sure she won't stay with him. Pablo urges him to hurry.
    • Pilar slits Robert Jordan's right trouser leg, revealing the bone fragment jutting up near the surface of his skin. Both Maria and Pilar are over him, their faces contorted, but neither crying.
    • Robert Jordan begins the difficult task of convincing Maria – who's now started to cry – to leave. They've both agreed that they're "one," right? So that means that he'll go with her wherever she goes (even if he's not really going with her wherever she goes). "As long as there is one of us there is both of us," he tells her.
    • Maria still wants to stay with him. He lays on more of the oneness stuff. He is also Maria now, and she must live on for them both.
    • Looking as if she's possibly been won over, Maria stands up, only to drop down beside him again. Then she's back up. He tells Maria there is no goodbye, for they will still be together.
    • Pilar walks Maria toward a horse and helps her into the saddle. Robert Jordan instructs Maria not to turn around.
    • Once Maria's on the horse, Robert Jordan tells them all to go, and Pablo sets Maria's horse off with a strike. Maria tries to slip off but Pablo and Pilar keep her on it. She turns toward Robert Jordan, begging to stay, and he tells her they'll still be together.
    • Then she's gone.
    • Agustín approaches Robert Jordan, and asks if he wants to be shot.
    • Robert Jordan does not. Instead, he asks Agustín to look after Maria. As for himself, he hopes to do what he can with his machine gun and buy them some time as they escape. They say goodbye.
    • Then Robert Jordan is alone, his back propped up against a tree, his position enabling him to survey the activity near the bridge. He's exhausted and empty. He begins to think about dying.
    • Robert Jordan does not want to leave the world. But it has been something worth fighting for, and he has given what he had to its cause. He learned a lot about the world these last few days, and only wishes he could pass it on somehow.
    • He thinks back to Pilar's palm reading that first night, and decides he still thinks it's nonsense.
    • Now for a more pressing question: how's he going to flip himself over onto his stomach with his broken leg? It won't be pleasant. Which means he should have some swigs from the flask first. But alas, there is no flask to be had – he's lost it.
    • Flipping over does prove quite an enterprise, but Robert Jordan succeeds; thankfully, the nerve in the leg does indeed appear smashed, as he feels no pain. He readies his submachine gun, and waits.
    • Robert Jordan starts thinking about dying again. There's nothing to fear, he thinks. The only bad part is the missing. But at least his friends got away.
    • The leg is now starting to hurt badly. He wants those blasted fascists to come sooner.
    • He starts to consider killing himself to put an end to the waiting and the worsening pain, but he decides not to. But he's forced to admit to himself that he's not very good at this dying stuff. Though then again, probably nobody is.
    • The pain grows stronger, and so does his urge to kill himself. But if he waits, and holds the enemy off, perhaps he can make the crucial difference to his friends' getaway. He resigns himself to waiting.
    • Just in time, cavalry ride out of the timber onto the road. A trooper and an officer stop over Robert Jordan's dead gray horse, recognizing it (it had formerly belonged to the patrolman who Robert Jordan killed). Robert Jordan sees them.
    • He calculates that the officer will come within twenty yards as he begins to follow the tracks left by the band. Plenty close.
    • The unsuspecting officer, we learn from the narrator, is Lt. Berrendo. Robert Jordan waits on the (pine-needled) forest floor for Berrendo to enter the sunlit clearing where he'll have a clean shot.
    • His heart beats with anticipation. But we don't get to see what happens, because this book is over.