For Whom the Bell Tolls Chapter 13

They were walking through the heather of the mountain meadow and Robert Jordan felt the brushing of the heather against his legs, felt the weight of his pistol in its holster against his thigh, felt the sun on his head, felt the breeze from the snow of the mountain peaks cool on his back and, in his hand, he felt the girl’s hand firm and strong, the fingers locked in his. From it, from the palm of her hand against the palm of his, from their fingers locked together, and from her wrist across his wrist something came from her hand, her fingers and her wrist to his that was as fresh as the first light air that moving toward you over the sea barely wrinkles the glassy surface of a calm, as light as a feather moved across one’s lip, or a leaf falling when there is no breeze; so light that it could be felt with the touch of their fingers alone, but that was so strengthened, so intensified, and made so urgent, so aching and so strong by the hard pressure of their fingers and the close pressed palm and wrist, that it was as though a current moved up his arm and filled his whole body with an aching hollowness of wanting. With the sun shining on her hair, tawny as wheat, and on her gold-brown smooth-lovely face and on the curve of her throat he bent her head back and held her to him and kissed her. He felt her trembling as he kissed her and he held the length of her body tight to him and felt her breasts against his chest through the two khaki shirts, he felt them small and firm and he reached and undid the buttons on her shirt and bent and kissed her and she stood shivering, holding her head back, his arm behind her. Then she dropped her chin to his head and then he felt her hands holding his head and rocking it against her. He straightened and with his two arms around her held her so tightly that she was lifted off the ground, tight against him, and he felt her trembling and then her lips were on his throat, and then he put her down and said, “Maria, oh, my Maria.”

Then he said, “Where should we go?”

She did not say anything but slipped her hand inside of his shirt and he felt her undoing the shirt buttons and she said, “You, too. I want to kiss, too.”

“No, little rabbit.”

“Yes. Yes. Everything as you.”

“Nay. That is an impossibility.”

“Well, then. Oh, then. Oh, then. Oh.”

Then there was the smell of heather crushed and the roughness of the bent stalks under her head and the sun bright on her closed eyes and all his life he would remember the curve of her throat with her head pushed back into the heather roots and her lips that moved smally and by themselves and the fluttering of the lashes on the eyes tight closed against the sun and against everything, and for her everything was red, orange, gold-red from the sun on the closed eyes, and it all was that color, all of it, the filling, the possessing, the having, all of that color, all in a blindness of that color. For him it was a dark passage which led to nowhere, then to nowhere, then again to nowhere, once again to nowhere, always and forever to nowhere, heavy on the elbows in the earth to nowhere, dark, never any end to nowhere, hung on all time always to unknowing nowhere, this time and again for always to nowhere, now not to be borne once again always and to nowhere, now beyond all bearing up, up, up and into nowhere, suddenly, scaldingly, holdingly all nowhere gone and time absolutely still and they were both there, time having stopped and he felt the earth move out and away from under them.

Then he was lying on his side, his head deep in the heather, smelling it and the smell of the roots and the earth and the sun came through it and it was scratchy on his bare shoulders and along his flanks and the girl was lying opposite him with her eyes still shut and then she opened them and smiled at him and he said very tiredly and from a great but friendly distance, “Hello, rabbit.” And she smiled and from no distance said, “Hello, my Inglés.”

“I’m not an Inglés,” he said very lazily.

“Oh yes, you are,” she said. “You’re my Inglés,” and reached and took hold of both his ears and kissed him on the forehead.

“There,” she said. “How is that? Do I kiss thee better?”

Then they were walking along the stream together and he said, “Maria, I love thee and thou art so lovely and so wonderful and so beautiful and it does such things to me to be with thee that I feel as though I wanted to die when I am loving thee.”

“Oh,” she said. “I die each time. Do you not die?”

“No. Almost. But did thee feel the earth move?”

“Yes. As I died. Put thy arm around me, please.”

“No. I have thy hand. Thy hand is enough.”

He looked at her and across the meadow where a hawk was hunting and the big afternoon clouds were coming now over the mountains.

“And it is not thus for thee with others?” Maria asked him, they now walking hand in hand.

“No. Truly.”

“Thou hast loved many others.”

“Some. But not as thee.”

“And it was not thus? Truly?”

“It was a pleasure but it was not thus.”

“And then the earth moved. The earth never moved before?”

“Nay. Truly never.”

“Ay,” she said. “And this we have for one day.”

He said nothing.

“But we have had it now at least,” Maria said. “And do you like me too? Do I please thee? I will look better later.”

“Thou art very beautiful now.”

“Nay,” she said. “But stroke thy hand across my head.”

He did that feeling her cropped hair soft and flattening and then rising between his fingers and he put both hands on her head and turned her face up to his and kissed her.

“I like to kiss very much,” she said. “But I do not do it well.”

“Thou hast no need to kiss.”

“Yes, I have. If I am to be thy woman I should please thee in all ways.”

“You please me enough. I would not be more pleased. There is no thing I could do if I were more pleased.”

“But you will see,” she said very happily. “My hair amuses thee now because it is odd. But every day it is growing. It will be long and then I will not look ugly and perhaps you will love me very much.”

“Thou hast a lovely body,” he said. “The loveliest in the world.”

“It is only young and thin.”

“No. In a fine body there is magic. I do not know what makes it in one and not in another. But thou hast it.”

“For thee,” she said.


“Yes. For thee and for thee always and only for thee. But it is littie to bring thee. I would learn to take good care of thee. But tell me truly. Did the earth never move for thee before?”

“Never,” he said truly.

“Now am I happy,” she said. “Now am I truly happy.

“You are thinking of something else now?” she asked him.

“Yes. My work.”

“I wish we had horses to ride,” Maria said. “In my happiness I would like to be on a good horse and ride fast with thee riding fast beside me and we would ride faster and faster, galloping, and never pass my happiness.”

“We could take thy happiness in a plane,” he said absently.

“And go over and over in the sky like the little pursuit planes shining in the sun,” she said. “Rolling it in loops and in dives. Qué bueno!” she laughed. “My happiness would not even notice it.”

“Thy happiness has a good stomach,” he said half hearing what she said.

Because now he was not there. He was walking beside her but his mind was thinking of the problem of the bridge now and it was all clear and hard and sharp as when a camera lens is brought into focus. He saw the two posts and Anselmo and the gypsy watching. He saw the road empty and he saw movement on it. He saw where he would place the two automatic rifles to get the most level field of fire, and who will serve them, he thought, me at the end, but who at the start? He placed the charges, wedged and lashed them, sunk his caps and crimped them, ran his wires, hooked them up and got back to where he had placed the old box of the exploder and then he started to think of all the things that could have happened and that might go wrong. Stop it, he told himself. You have made love to this girl and now your head is clear, properly clear, and you start to worry. It is one thing to think you must do and it is another thing to worry. Don’t worry. You mustn’t worry. You know the things that you may have to do and you know what may happen. Certainly it may happen.

You went into it knowing what you were fighting for. You were fighting against exactly what you were doing and being forced into doing to have any chance of winning. So now he was compelled to use these people whom he liked as you should use troops toward whom you have no feeling at all if you were to be successful. Pablo was evidently the smartest. He knew how bad it was instantly. The woman was all for it, and still was; but the realization of what it really consisted in had overcome her steadily and it had done plenty to her already. Sordo recognized it instantly and would do it but he did not like it any more than he, Robert Jordan, liked it.

So you say that it is not that which will happen to yourself but that which may happen to the woman and the girl and to the others that you think of. All right. What would have happened to them if you had not come? What happened to them and what passed with them before you were ever here? You must not think in that way. You have no responsibility for them except in action. The orders do not come from you. They come from Golz. And who is Golz? A good general. The best you’ve ever served under. But should a man carry out impossible orders knowing what they lead to? Even though they come from Golz, who is the party as well as the army? Yes. He should carry them out because it is only in the performing of them that they can prove to be impossible. How do you know they are impossible until you have tried them? If every one said orders were impossible to carry out when they were received where Would you be? Where would we all be if you just said, “Impossible,” when orders came?

He had seen enough of commanders to whom all orders were impossible. That swine Gomez in Estremadura. He had seen enough attacks when the flanks did not advance because it was impossible. No, he would carry out the orders and it was bad luck that you liked the people you must do it with.

In all the work that they, the partizans, did, they brought added danger and bad luck to the people that sheltered them and worked with them. For what? So that, eventually, there should be no more danger and so that the country should be a good place to live in. That was true no matter how trite it sounded.

If the Republic lost it would be impossible for those who believed in it to live in Spain. But would it? Yes, he knew that it would be, from the things that happened in the parts the fascists had already taken.

Pablo was a swine but the others were fine people and was it not a betrayal of them all to get them to do this? Perhaps it was. But if they did not do it two squadrons of cavalry would come and hunt them out of these hills in a week.

No. There was nothing to be gained by leaving them alone. Except that all people should be left alone and you should interfere with no one. So he believed that, did he? Yes, he believed that. And what about a planned society and the rest of it? That was for the others to do. He had something else to do after this war. He fought now in this war because it had started in a country that he loved and he believed in the Republic and that if it were destroyed life would be unbearable for all those people who believed in it. He was under Communist discipline for the duration of the war. Here in Spain the Communists offered the best discipline and the soundest and sanest for the prosecution of the war. He accepted their discipline for the duration of the war because, in the conduct of the war, they were the only party whose program and whose discipline he could respect.

What were his politics then? He had none now, he told himself. But do not tell any one else that, he thought. Don’t ever admit that. And what are you going to do afterwards? I am going back and earn my living teaching Spanish as before, and I am going to write a true book. I’ll bet, he said. I’ll bet that will be easy.

He would have to talk with Pablo about politics. It would certainly be interesting to see what his political development had been. The classical move from left to right, probably; like old Lerroux. Pablo was quite a lot like Lerroux. Prieto was as bad. Pablo and Prieto had about an equal faith in the ultimate victory. They all had the politics of horse thieves. He believed in the Republic as a form of government but the Republic would have to get rid of all of that bunch of horse thieves that brought it to the pass it was in when the rebellion started. Was there ever a people whose leaders were as truly their enemies as this one?

Enemies of the people. That was a phrase he might omit. That was a catch phrase he would skip. That was one thing that sleeping with Maria had done. He had gotten to be as bigoted and hidebound about his politics as a hard-shelled Baptist and phrases like enemies of the people came into his mind without his much criticizing them in any way. Any sort of clichés both revolutionary and patriotic. His mind employed them without criticism. Of course they were true but it was too easy to be nimble about using them. But since last night and this afternoon his mind was much clearer and cleaner on that business. Bigotry is an odd thing. To be bigoted you have to be absolutely sure that you are right and nothing makes that surety and righteousness like continence. Continence is the foe of heresy.

How would that premise stand up if he examined it? That was probably why the Communists were always cracking down on Bohemianism. When you were drunk or when you committed either fornication or adultery you recognized your own personal fallibility of that so mutable substitute for the apostles’ creed, the party line. Down with Bohemianism, the sin of Mayakovsky.

But Mayakovsky was a saint again. That was because he was safely dead. You’ll be safely dead yourself, he told himself. Now stop thinking that sort of thing. Think about Maria.

Maria was very hard on his bigotry. So far she had not affected his resolution but he would much prefer not to die. He would abandon a hero’s or a martyr’s end gladly. He did not want to make a Thermopylae, nor be Horatius at any bridge, nor be the Dutch boy With his finger in that dyke. No. He would like to spend some time With Maria. That was the simplest expression of it. He would like to spend a long, long time with her.

He did not believe there was ever going to be any such thing as a long time any more but if there ever was such a thing he would like to spend it with her. We could go into the hotel and register as Doctor and Mrs. Livingstone I presume, he thought.

Why not marry her? Sure, he thought. I will marry her. Then we will be Mt and Mrs. Robert Jordan of Sun Valley, Idaho. Or Corpus Christi, Texas, or Butte, Montana.

Spanish girls make wonderful wives. I’ve never had one so I know. And when I get my job back at the university she can be an instructor’s wife and when undergraduates who take Spanish IV come in to smoke pipes in the evening and have those so valuable informal discussions about Quevedo, Lope de Vega, Galdós and the other always admirable dead, Maria can tell them about how some of the blue-shirted crusaders for the true faith sat on her head while others twisted her arms and pulled her skirts up and stuffed them in her mouth.

I wonder how they will like Maria in Missoula, Montana? That is if I can get a job back in Missoula. I suppose that I am ticketed as a Red there now for good and will be on the general blacklist. Though you never know. You never can tell. They’ve no proof of what you do, and as a matter of fact they would never believe it if you told them, and my passport was valid for Spain before they issued the restrictions.

The time for getting back will not be until the fall of thirtyseven. I left in the summer of thirty-six and though the leave is for a year you do not need to be back until the fall term opens in the following year. There is a lot of time between now and the fall term. There is a lot of time between now and day after tomorrow if you want to put it that way. No. I think there is no need to worry about the university. Just you turn up there in the fall and it will be all right. Just try and turn up there.

But it has been a strange life for a long time now. Damned if it hasn’t. Spain was your work and your job, so being in Spain was natural and sound. You had worked summers on engineering projects and in the forest service building roads and in the park and learned to handle powder, so the demolition was a sound and normal job too. Always a little hasty, but sound.

Once you accept the idea of demolition as a problem it is only a problem. But there was plenty that was not so good that went with it although God knows you took it easily enough. There was the constant attempt to approximate the conditions of successful assassination that accompanied the demolition. Did big words make it more defensible? Did they make killing any more palatable? You took to it a little too readily if you ask me, he told himself. And what you will be like or just exactly what you will be suited for when you leave the service of the Republic is, to me, he thought, extremely doubtful. But my guess is you will get rid of all that by writing about it, he said. Once you write it down it is all gone. It will be a good book if you can write it. Much better than the other.

But in the meantime all the life you have or ever will have is today, tonight, tomorrow, today, tonight, tomorrow, over and over again (I hope), he thought and so you had better take what time there is and be very thankful for it. If the bridge goes bad. It does not look too good just now.

But Maria has been good. Has she not? Oh, has she not, he thought. Maybe that is what I am to get now from life. Maybe that is my life and instead of it being threescore years and ten it is fortyeight hours or just threescore hours and ten or twelve rather. Twenty-four hours in a day would be threescore and twelve for the three full days.

I suppose it is possible to live as full a life in seventy hours as in seventy years; granted that your life has been full up to the time that the seventy hours start and that you have reached a certain age.

What nonsense, he thought. What rot you get to thinking by yourself. That is really nonsense. And maybe it isn’t nonsense too. Well, we will see. The last time I slept with a girl was in Madrid. No it wasn’t. It was in the Escorial and, except that I woke in the night and thought it was some one else and was excited until I realized who it really was, it was just dragging ashes; except that it was pleasant enough. And the time before that was in Madrid and except for some lying and pretending I did to myself as to identity while things were going on, it was the same or something less. So I am no romantic glorifier of the Spanish Woman nor did I ever think of a casual piece as anything much other than a casual piece in any country. But when I am with Maria I love her so that I feel, literally, as though I would die and I never believed in that nor thought that it could happen.

So if your life trades its seventy years for seventy hours I have that value now and I am lucky enough to know it. And if there is not any such thing as a long time, nor the rest of your lives, nor from now on, but there is only now, why then now is the thing to praise and I am very happy with it. Now, ahora, maintenant, heute. Now, it has a funny sound to be a whole world and your life. Esta noche, tonight, ce soir, heute abend. Life and wife, Vie and Mari. No it didn’t work out. The French turned it into husband. There was now and frau; but that did not prove anything either. Take dead, mort, muerto, and todt. Todt was the deadest of them all. War, guerre, guerra, and krieg. Krieg was the most like war, or was it? Or was it only that he knew German the least well? Sweetheart, chérie, prenda, and schatz. He would trade them all for Maria. There was a name.

Well, they would all be doing it together and it would not be long now. It certainly looked worse all the time. It was just something that you could not bring off in the morning. In an impossible situation you hang on until night to get away. You try to last out until night to get back in. You are all right, maybe, if you can stick it out until dark and then get in. So what if you start this sticking it out at daylight? How about that? And that poor bloody Sordo abandoning his pidgin Spanish to explain it to him so carefully. As though he had not thought about that whenever he had done any particularly bad thinking ever since Golz had first mentioned it. As though he hadn’t been living with that like a lump of undigested dough in the pit of his stomach ever since the night before the night before last.

What a business. You go along your whole life and they seem as though they mean something and they always end up not meaning anything. There was never any of what this is. You think that is one thing that you will never have. And then, on a lousy show like this, co-ordinating two chicken-crut guerilla bands to help you blow a bridge under impossible conditions, to abort a counteroffensive that will probably already be started, you run into a girl like this Maria. Sure. That is what you would do. You ran into her rather late, that was all.

So a woman like that Pilar practically pushed this girl into your sleeping bag and what happens? Yes, what happens? What happens? You tell me what happens, please. Yes. That is just what happens. That is exactly what happens.

Don’t lie to yourself about Pilar pushing her into your sleeping robe and try to make it nothing or to make it lousy. You were gone when you first saw her. When she first opened her mouth and spoke to you it was there already and you know it. Since you have it and you never thought you would have it, there is no sense throwing dirt at it, when you know what it is and you know it came the first time you looked at her as she came out bent over carrying that iron cooking platter.

It hit you then and you know it and so why lie about it? You went all strange inside every time you looked at her and every time she looked at you. So why don’t you admit it? All right, I’ll admit it. And as for Pilar pushing her onto you, all Pilar did was be an intelligent woman. She had taken good care of the girl and she saw what was coming the minute the girl came back into the cave with the cooking dish.

So she made things easier. She made things easier so that there was last night and this afternoon. She is a damned sight more civilized than you are and she knows what time is all about. Yes, he said to himself, I think we can admit that she has certain notions about the value of time. She took a beating and all because she did not want other people losing what she’d lost and then the idea of admitting it was lost was too big a thing to swallow. So she took a beating back there on the hill and I guess we did not make it any easier for her.

Well, so that is what happens and what has happened and you might as well admit it and now you will never have two whole nights with her. Not a lifetime, not to live together, not to have what people were always supposed to have, not at all. One night that is past, once one afternoon, one night to come; maybe. No, sir.

Not time, not happiness, not fun, not children, not a house, not a bathroom, not a clean pair of pajamas, not the morning paper, not to wake up together, not to wake and know she’s there and that you’re not alone. No. None of that. But why, when this is all you are going to get in life of what you want; when you have found it; why not just one night in a bed with sheets?

You ask for the impossible. You ask for the ruddy impossible. So if you love this girl as much as you say you do, you had better love her very hard and make up in intensity what the relation will lack in duration and in continuity. Do you hear that? In the old days people devoted a lifetime to it. And now when you have found it if you get two nights you wonder where all the luck came from. Two nights. Two nights to love, honor and cherish. For better and for worse. In sickness and in death. No that wasn’t it. In sickness and in health. Till death do us part. In two nights. Much more than likely. Much more than likely and now lay off that sort of thinking. You can stop that now. That’s not good for you. Do nothing that is not good for you. Sure that’s it.

This was what Golz had talked about. The longer he was around, the smarter Golz seemed. So this was what he was asking about; the compensation of irregular service. Had Golz had this and was it the urgency and the lack of time and the circumstances that made it? Was this something that happened to every one given comparable circumstances? And did he only think it was something special because it was happening to him? Had Golz slept around in a hurry when he was commanding irregular cavalry in the Red Army and had the combination of the circumstances and the rest of it made the girls seem the way Maria was?

Probably Golz knew all about this too and wanted to make the point that you must make your whole life in the two nights that are given to you; that living as we do now you must concentrate all of that which you should always have into the short time that you can have it.

It was a good system of belief. But he did not believe that Maria had only been made by the circumstances. Unless, of course, she is a reaction from her own circumstance as well as his. Her one circumstance is not so good, he thought. No, not so good.

If this was how it was then this was how it was. But there was no law that made him say he liked it. I did not know that I could ever feel what I have felt, he thought. Nor that this could happen to me. I would like to have it for my whole life. You will, the other part of him said. You will. You have it now and that is all your whole life is; now. There is nothing else than now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there any tomorrow. How old must you be before you know that? There is only now, and if now is only two days, then two days is your life and everything in it will be in proportion. This is how you live a life in two days. And if you stop complaining and asking for what you never will get, you will have a good life. A good life is not measured by any biblical span.

So now do not worry, take what you have, and do your work and you will have a long life and a very merry one. Hasn’t it been merry lately? What are you complaining about? That’s the thing about this sort of work, he told himself, and was very pleased with the thought, it isn’t so much what you learn as it is the people you meet. He was pleased then because he was joking and he came back to the girl.

“I love you, rabbit,” he said to the girl. “What was it you were saying?”

“I was saying,” she told him, “that you must not worry about your work because I will not bother you nor interfere. If there is anything I can do you will tell me.”

“There’s nothing,” he said. “It is really very simple.”

“I will learn from Pilar what I should do to take care of a man well and those things I will do,” Maria said. “Then, as I learn, I will discover things for myself and other things you can tell me.”

“There is nothing to do.”

“Qué va, man, there is nothing! Thy sleeping robe, this morning, should have been shaken and aired and hung somewhere in the sun. Then, before the dew comes, it should be taken into shelter.”

“Go on, rabbit.”

“Thy socks should be washed and dried. I would see thee had two pair.”

“What else?”

“If thou would show me I would clean and oil thy pistol.”

“Kiss me,” Robert Jordan said.

“Nay, this is serious. Wilt thou show me about the pistol? Pilar has rags and oil. There is a cleaning rod inside the cave that should fit it.”

“Sure. I’ll show you.”

“Then,” Maria said. “If you will teach me to shoot it either one of us could shoot the other and himself, or herself, if one were wounded and it were necessary to avoid capture.”

“Very interesting,” Robert Jordan said. “Do you have many ideas like that?”

“Not many,” Maria said. “But it is a good one. Pilar gave me this and showed me how to use it,” she opened the breast pocket of her shirt and took out a cut-down leather holder such as pocket combs are carried in and, removing a wide rubber band that closed both ends, took out a Gem type, single-edged razor blade. “I keep this always,” she explained. “Pilar says you must make the cut here just below the ear and draw it toward here.” She showed him with her finger. “She says there is a big artery there and that drawing the blade from there you cannot miss it. Also, she says there is no pain and you must simply press firmly below the ear and draw it downward. She says it is nothing and that they cannot stop it if it is done.”

“That’s right,” said Robert Jordan. “That’s the carotid artery.”

So she goes around with that all the time, he thought, as a definitely accepted and properly organized possibility.

“But I would rather have thee shoot me,” Maria said. “Promise if there is ever any need that thou wilt shoot me.”

“Sure,” Robert Jordan said. “I promise.”

“Thank thee very much,” Maria told him. “I know it is not easy to do.”

“That’s all right,” Robert Jordan said.

You forget all this, he thought. You forget about the beauties of a civil war when you keep your mind too much on your work. You have forgotten this. Well, you are supposed to. Kashkin couldn’t forget it and it spoiled his work. Or do you think the old boy had a hunch? It was very strange because he had experienced absolutely no emotion about the shooting of Kashkin. He expected that at some time he might have it. But so far there had been absolutely none.

“But there are other things I can do for thee,” Maria told him, walking close beside him, now, very serious and womanly.

“Besides shoot me?”

“Yes. I can roll cigarettes for thee when thou hast no more of those with tubes. Pilar has taught me to roll them very well, tight and neat and not spilling.”

“Excellent,” said Robert Jordan. “Do you lick them yourself?”

“Yes,” the girl said, “and when thou art wounded I will care for thee and dress thy wound and wash thee and feed thee—”

“Maybe I won’t be wounded,” Robert Jordan said.

“Then when you are sick I will care for thee and make thee soups and clean thee and do all for thee. And I will read to thee.”

“Maybe I won’t get sick.”

“Then I will bring thee coffee in the morning when thou wakest—”

“Maybe I don’t like coffee,” Robert Jordan told her.

“Nay, but you do,” the girl said happily. “This morning you took two cups.”

“Suppose I get tired of coffee and there’s no need to shoot me and I’m neither wounded nor sick and I give up smoking and have only one pair of socks and hang up my robe myself. What then, rabbit?” he patted her on the back. “What then?”

“Then,” said Maria, “I will borrow the scissors of Pilar and cut thy hair.”

“I don’t like to have my hair cut.”

“Neither do I,” said Maria. “And I like thy hair as it is. So. If there is nothing to do for thee, I will sit by thee and watch thee and in the nights we will make love.”

“Good,” Robert Jordan said. “The last project is very sensible.”

“To me it seems the same,” Maria smiled. “Oh, Inglés,” she said.

“My name is Roberto.”

“Nay. But I call thee Inglés as Pilar does.”

“Still it is Roberto.”

“No,” she told him. “Now for a whole day it is Inglés. And Inglés, can I help thee with thy work?”

“No. What I do now I do alone and very coldly in my head.”

“Good,” she said. “And when will it be finished?”

“Tonight, with luck.”

“Good,” she said.

Below them was the last woods that led to the camp.

“Who is that?” Robert Jordan asked and pointed.

“Pilar,” the girl said, looking along his arm. “Surely it is Pilar.”

At the lower edge of the meadow where the first trees grew the woman was sitting, her head on her arms. She looked like a dark bundle from where they stood; black against the brown of the tree trunk.

“Come on,” Robert Jordan said and started to run toward her through the knee-high heather. It was heavy and hard to run in and when he had run a little way, he slowed and walked. He could see the woman’s head was on her folded arms and she looked broad and black against the tree trunk. He came up to her and said, “Pilar!” sharply.

The woman raised her head and looked up at him.

“Oh,” she said. “You have terminated already?”

“Art thou ill?” he asked and bent down by her.

“Qué va,” she said. “I was asleep.”

“Pilar,” Maria, who had come up, said and kneeled down by her. “How are you? Are you all right?”

“I’m magnificent,” Pilar said but she did not get up. She looked at the two of them. “Well, Inglés,” she said. “You have been doing manly tricks again?”

“You are all right?” Robert Jordan asked, ignoring the words.

“Why not? I slept. Did you?”


“Well,” Pilar said to the girl. “It seems to agree with you.”

Maria blushed and said nothing.

“Leave her alone,” Robert Jordan said.

“No one spoke to thee,” Pilar told him. “Maria,” she said and her voice was hard. The girl did not look up.

“Maria,” the woman said again. “I said it seems to agree with thee.”

“Oh, leave her alone,” Robert Jordan said again.

“Shut up, you,” Pilar said without looking at him. “Listen, Maria, tell me one thing.”

“No,” Maria said and shook her head.

“Maria,” Pilar said, and her voice was as hard as her face and there was nothing friendly in her face. “Tell me one thing of thy own volition.”

The girl shook her head.

Robert Jordan was thinking, if I did not have to work with this woman and her drunken man and her chicken-crut outfit, I would slap her so hard across the face that—.

“Go ahead and tell me,” Pilar said to the girl.

“No,” Maria said. “No.”

“Leave her alone,” Robert Jordan said and his voice did not sound like his own voice. I’ll slap her anyway and the hell with it, he thought.

Pilar did not even speak to him. It was not like a snake charming a bird, nor a cat with a bird. There was nothing predatory. Nor was there anything perverted about it. There was a spreading, though, as a cobra’s hood spreads. He could feel this. He could feel the menace of the spreading. But the spreading was a domination, not of evil, but of searching. I wish I did not see this, Robert Jordan thought. But it is not a business for slapping.

“Maria,” Pilar said. “I will not touch thee. Tell me now of thy own volition.”

“De tu propia voluntad,” the words were in Spanish.

The girl shook her head.

“Maria,” Pilar said. “Now and of thy own volition. You hear me? Anything at all.”

“No,” the girl said softly. “No and no.”

“Now you will tell me,” Pilar told her. “Anything at all. You will see. Now you will tell me.”

“The earth moved,” Maria said, not looking at the woman. “Truly. It was a thing I cannot tell thee.”

“So,” Pilar said and her voice was warm and friendly and there was no compulsion in it. But Robert Jordan noticed there were small drops of perspiration on her forehead and her lips. “So there was that. So that was it.”

“It is true,” Maria said and bit her lip.

“Of course it is true,” Pilar said kindly. “But do not tell it to your own people for they never will believe you. You have no Cali blood, Inglés?”

She got to her feet, Robert Jordan helping her up.

“No,” he said. “Not that I know of.”

“Nor has the Maria that she knows of,” Pilar said. “Pues es muy raro. It is very strange.”

“But it happened, Pilar,” Maria said.

“Cómo que no, hija?” Pilar said. “Why not, daughter? When I was young the earth moved so that you could feel it all shift in space and were afraid it would go out from under you. It happened every night.”

“You lie,” Maria said.

“Yes,” Pilar said. “I lie. It never moves more than three times in a lifetime. Did it really move?”

“Yes,” the girl said. “Truly.”

“For you, Inglés?” Pilar looked at Robert Jordan. “Don’t lie.”

“Yes,” he said. “Truly.”

“Good,” said Pilar. “Good. That is something.”

“What do you mean about the three times?” Maria asked. “Why do you say that?”

“Three times,” said Pilar. “Now you’ve had one.”

“Only three times?”

“For most people, never,” Pilar told her. “You are sure it moved?”

“One could have fallen off,” Maria said.

“I guess it moved, then,” Pilar said. “Come, then, and let us get to camp.”

“What’s this nonsense about three times?” Robert Jordan said to the big woman as they walked through the pines together.

“Nonsense?” she looked at him wryly. “Don’t talk to me of nonsense, little English.”

“Is it a wizardry like the palms of the hands?”

“Nay, it is common and proven knowledge with Gitanos.”

“But we are not Gitanos.”

“Nay. But you have had a little luck. Non-gypsies have a little luck sometimes.”

“You mean it truly about the three times?”

She looked at him again, oddly. “Leave me, Inglés,” she said. “Don’t molest me. You are too young for me to speak to.”

“But, Pilar,” Maria said.

“Shut up,” Pilar told her. “You have had one and there are two more in the world for thee.”

“And you?” Robert Jordan asked her.

“Two,” said Pilar and put up two fingers. “Two. And there will never be a third.”

“Why not?” Maria asked.

“Oh, shut up,” Pilar said. “Shut up. Busnes of thy age bore me.”

“Why not a third?” Robert Jordan asked.

“Oh, shut up, will you?” Pilar said. “Shut up!”

All right, Robert Jordan said to himself. Only I am not having any. I’ve known a lot of gypsies and they are strange enough. But so are we. The difference is we have to make an honest living. Nobody knows what tribes we came from nor what our tribal inheritance is nor what the mysteries were in the woods where the people lived that we came from. All we know is that we do not know. We know nothing about what happens to us in the nights. When it happens in the day though, it is something. Whatever happened, happened and now this woman not only has to make the girl say it when she did not want to; but she has to take it over and make it her own. She has to make it into a gypsy thing. I thought she took a beating up the hill but she was certainly dominating just now back there. If it had been evil she should have been shot. But it wasn’t evil. It was only wanting to keep her hold on life. To keep it through Maria.

When you get through with this war you might take up the study of women, he said to himself. You could start with Pilar. She has put in a pretty complicated day, if you ask me. She never brought in the gypsy stuff before. Except the hand, he thought. Yes, of course the hand. And I don’t think she was faking about the hand. She wouldn’t tell me what she saw, of course. Whatever she saw she believed in herself. But that proves nothing.

“Listen, Pilar,” he said to the woman.

Pilar looked at him and smiled.

“What is it?” she asked.

“Don’t be so mysterious,” Robert Jordan said. “These mysteries tire me very much.”

“So?” Pilar said.

“I do not believe in ogres, soothsayers, fortune tellers, or chicken-crut gypsy witchcraft.”

“Oh,” said Pilar.

“No. And you can leave the girl alone.”

“I will leave the girl alone.”

“And leave the mysteries,” Robert Jordan said. “We have enough work and enough things that will be done without complicating it with chicken-crut. Fewer mysteries and more work.”

“I see,” said Pilar and nodded her head in agreement. “And listen, Inglés,” she said and smiled at him. “Did the earth move?”

“Yes, God damn you. It moved.”

Pilar laughed and laughed and stood looking at Robert Jordan laughing.

“Oh, Inglés. Inglés,” she said laughing. “You are very comical. You must do much work now to regain thy dignity.”

The Hell with you, Robert Jordan thought. But he kept his mouth shut. While they had spoken the sun had clouded over and as he looked back up toward the mountains the sky was now heavy and gray.

“Sure,” Pilar said to him, looking at the sky. “It will snow.”

“Now? Almost in June?”

“Why not? These mountains do not know the names of the months. We are in the moon of May.”

“It can’t be snow,” he said. “It can’t snow.”

“Just the same, Inglés,” she said to him, “it will snow.”

Robert Jordan looked up at the thick gray of the sky with the sun gone faintly yellow, and now as he watched gone completely and the gray becoming uniform so that it was soft and heavy; the gray now cutting off the tops of the mountains.

“Yes,” he said. “I guess you are right.”