For Whom the Bell Tolls Chapter 2

They had come through the heavy timber to the cup-shaped upper end of the little valley and he saw where the camp must be under the rim-rock that rose ahead of them through the trees.

That was the camp all right and it was a good camp. You did not see it at all until you were up to it and Robert Jordan knew it could not be spotted from the air. Nothing would show from above. It was as well hidden as a bear’s den. But it seemed to be little better guarded. He looked at it carefully as they came up.

There was a large cave in the rim-rock formation and beside the opening a man sat with his back against the rock, his legs stretched out on the ground and his carbine leaning against the rock. He was cutting away on a stick with a knife and he stared at them as they came up, then went on whittling.

“Hola,” said the seated man. “What is this that comes?”

“The old man and a dynamiter,” Pablo told him and lowered the pack inside the entrance to the cave. Anselmo lowered his pack, too, and Robert Jordan unslung the rifle and leaned it against the rock.

“Don’t leave it so close to the cave,” the whittling man, who had blue eyes in a dark, good-looking lazy gypsy face, the color of smoked leather, said. “There’s a fire in there.”

“Get up and put it away thyself,” Pablo said. “Put it by that tree.”

The gypsy did not move but said something unprintable, then, “Leave it there. Blow thyself up,” he said lazily. “Twill cure thy diseases.”

“What do you make?” Robert Jordan sat down by the gypsy. The gypsy showed him. It was a figure four trap and he was whittling the crossbar for it.

“For foxes,” he said. “With a log for a dead-fall. It breaks their backs.” He grinned at Jordan. “Like this, see?” He made a motion of the framework of the trap collapsing, the log falling, then shook his head, drew in his hand, and spread his arms to show the fox with a broken back. “Very practical,” he explained.

“He catches rabbits,” Anselmo said. “He is a gypsy. So if he catches rabbits he says it is foxes. If he catches a fox he would say it was an elephant.”

“And if I catch an elephant?” the gypsy asked and showed his white teeth again and winked at Robert Jordan.

“You’d say it was a tank,” Anselmo told him.

“I’ll get a tank,” the gypsy told him. “I will get a tank. And you can say it is what you please.”

“Gypsies talk much and kill little,” Anselmo told him.

The gypsy winked at Robert Jordan and went on whittling.

Pablo had gone in out of sight in the cave. Robert Jordan hoped he had gone for food. He sat on the ground by the gypsy and the afternoon sunlight came down through the tree tops and was warm on his outstretched legs. He could smell food now in the cave, the smell of oil and of onions and of meat frying and his stomach moved with hunger inside of him.

“We can get a tank,” he said to the gypsy. “It is not too difficult.”

“With this?” the gypsy pointed toward the two sacks.

“Yes,” Robert Jordan told him. “I will teach you. You make a trap. It is not too difficult.”

“You and me?”

“Sure,” said Robert Jordan. “Why not?”

“Hey,” the gypsy said to Anselmo. “Move those two sacks to where they will be safe, will you? They’re valuable.”

Anselmo grunted. “I am going for wine,” he told Robert Jordan. Robert Jordan got up and lifted the sacks away from the cave entrance and leaned them, one on each side of a tree trunk. He knew what was in them and he never liked to see them close together.

“Bring a cup for me,” the gypsy told him.

“Is there wine?” Robert Jordan asked, sitting down again by the gypsy.

“Wine? Why not? A whole skinful. Half a skinful, anyway.”

“And what to eat?”

“Everything, man,” the gypsy said. “We eat like generals.”

“And what do gypsies do in the war?” Robert Jordan asked him.

“They keep on being gypsies.”

“That’s a good job.”

“The best,” the gypsy said. “How do they call thee?”

“Roberto. And thee?”

“Rafael. And this of the tank is serious?”

“Surely. Why not?”

Anselmo came out of the mouth of the cave with a deep stone basin full of red wine and with his fingers through the handles of three cups. “Look,” he said. “They have cups and all.” Pablo came out behind them.

“There is food soon,” he said. “Do you have tobacco?”

Robert Jordan went over to the packs and opening one, felt inside an inner pocket and brought out one of the flat boxes of Russian cigarettes he had gotten at Golz’s headquarters. He ran his thumbnail around the edge of the box and, opening the lid, handed them to Pablo who took half a dozen. Pablo, holding them in one of his huge hands, picked one up and looked at it against the light. They were long narrow cigarettes with pasteboard cylinders for mouthpieces.

“Much air and little tobacco,” he said. “I know these. The other with the rare name had them.”

“Kashkin,” Robert Jordan said and offered the cigarettes to the gypsy and Anselmo, who each took one.

“Take more,” he said and they each took another. He gave them each four more, they making a double nod with the hand holding the cigarettes so that the cigarette dipped its end as a man salutes with a sword, to thank him.

“Yes,” Pablo said. “It was a rare name.”

“Here is the wine.” Anselmo dipped a cup out of the bowl and handed it to Robert Jordan, then dipped for himself and the gypsy.

“Is there no wine for me?” Pablo asked. They were all sitting together by the cave entrance.

Anselmo handed him his cup and went into the cave for another. Coming out he leaned over the bowl and dipped the cup full and they all touched cup edges.

The wine was good, tasting faintly resinous from the wineskin, but excellent, light and clean on his tongue. Robert Jordan drank it slowly, feeling it spread warmly through his tiredness.

“The food comes shortly,” Pablo said. “And this foreigner with the rare name, how did he die?”

“He was captured and he killed himself.”

“How did that happen?”

“He was wounded and he did not wish to be a prisoner.”

“What were the details?”

“I don’t know,” he lied. He knew the details very well and he knew they would not make good talking now.

“He made us promise to shoot him in case he were wounded at the business of the train and should be unable to get away,” Pablo said. “He spoke in a very rare manner.”

He must have been jumpy even then, Robert Jordan thought. Poor old Kashkin.

“He had a prejudice against killing himself,” Pablo said. “He told me that. Also he had a great fear of being tortured.”

“Did he tell you that, too?” Robert Jordan asked him.

“Yes,” the gypsy said. “He spoke like that to all of us.”

“Were you at the train, too?”

“Yes. All of us were at the train.”

“He spoke in a very rare manner,” Pablo said. “But he was very brave.”

Poor old Kashkin, Robert Jordan thought. He must have been doing more harm than good around here. I wish I would have known he was that jumpy as far back as then. They should have Pulled him out. You can’t have people around doing this sort of Work and talking like that. That is no way to talk. Even if they accomplish their mission they are doing more harm than good, talking that sort of stuff.

“He was a little strange,” Robert Jordan said. “I think he was a little crazy.”

“But very dexterous at producing explosions,” the gypsy said. “And very brave.”

“But crazy,” Robert Jordan said. “In this you have to have very much head and be very cold in the head. That was no way to talk.”

“And you,” Pablo said. “If you are wounded in such a thing as this bridge, you would be willing to be left behind?”

“Listen,” Robert Jordan said and, leaning forward, he dipped himself another cup of the wine. “Listen to me clearly. If ever I should have any little favors to ask of any man, I will ask him at the time.”

“Good,” said the gypsy approvingly. “In this way speak the good ones. Ah! Here it comes.”

“You have eaten,” said Pablo.

“And I can eat twice more,” the gypsy told him. “Look now who brings it.”

The girl stooped as she came out of the cave mouth carrying the big iron cooking platter and Robert Jordan saw her face turned at an angle and at the same time saw the strange thing about her. She smiled and said, “Hola, Comrade,” and Robert Jordan said, “ Salud,” and was careful not to stare and not to look away. She set down the flat iron platter in front of him and he noticed her handsome brown hands. Now she looked him full in the face and smiled. Her teeth were white in her brown face and her skin and her eyes were the same golden tawny brown. She had high cheekbones, merry eyes and a straight mouth with full lips. Her hair was the golden brown of a grain field that has been burned dark in the sun but it was cut short all over her head so that it was but little longer than the fur on a beaver pelt. She smiled in Robert Jordan’s face and put her brown hand up and ran it over her head, flattening the hair which rose again as her hand passed. She has a beautiful face, Robert Jordan thought. She’d be beautiful if they hadn’t cropped her hair.

“That is the way I comb it,” she said to Robert Jordan and laughed. “Go ahead and eat. Don’t stare at me. They gave me this haircut in Valladolid. It’s almost grown out now.”

She sat down opposite him and looked at him. He looked back at her and she smiled and folded her hands together over her knees. Her legs slanted long and clean from the open cuffs of the trousers as she sat with her hands across her knees and he could see the shape of her small up-tilted breasts under the gray shirt. Every time Robert Jordan looked at her he could feel a thickness in his throat.

“There are no plates,” Anselmo said. “Use your own knife.” The girl had leaned four forks, tines down, against the sides of the iron dish.

They were all eating out of the platter, not speaking, as is the Spanish custom. It was rabbit cooked with onions and green peppers and there were chick peas in the red wine sauce. It was well cooked, the rabbit meat flaked off the bones, and the sauce was delicious. Robert Jordan drank another cup of wine while he ate. The girl watched him all through the meal. Every one else was watching his food and eating. Robert Jordan wiped up the last of the sauce in front of him with a piece of bread, piled the rabbit bones to one side, wiped the spot where they had been for sauce, then wiped his fork clean with the bread, wiped his knife and put it away and ate the bread. He leaned over and dipped his cup full of wine and the girl still watched him.

Robert Jordan drank half the cup of wine but the thickness still came in his throat when he spoke to the girl.

“How art thou called?” he asked. Pablo looked at him quickly when he heard the tone of his voice. Then he got up and walked away.

“Maria. And thee?”

“Roberto. Have you been long in the mountains?”

“Three months.”

“Three months?” He looked at her hair, that was as thick and short and rippling when she passed her hand over it, now in embarrassment, as a grain field in the wind on a hillside. “It was shaved,” she said. “They shaved it regularly in the prison at Valladolid. It has taken three months to grow to this. I was on the train. They were taking me to the south. Many of the prisoners were caught after the train was blown up but I was not. I came With these.”

“I found her hidden in the rocks,” the gypsy said. “It was when we were leaving. Man, but this one was ugly. We took her along but many times I thought we would have to leave her.”

“And the other one who was with them at the train?” asked Maria. “The other blond one. The foreigner. Where is he?”

“Dead,” Robert Jordan said. “In April.”

“In April? The train was in April.”

“Yes,” Robert Jordan said. “He died ten days after the train.”

“Poor man,” she said. “He was very brave. And you do that same business?”


“You have done trains, too?”

“Yes. Three trains.”


“In Estremadura,” he said. “I was in Estremadura before I came here. We do very much in Estremadura. There are many of us working in Estremadura.”

“And why do you come to these mountains now?”

“I take the place of the other blond one. Also I know this country from before the movement.”

“You know it well?”

“No, not really well. But I learn fast. I have a good map and I have a good guide.”

“The old man,” she nodded. “The old man is very good.”

“Thank you,” Anselmo said to her and Robert Jordan realized suddenly that he and the girl were not alone and he realized too that it was hard for him to look at her because it made his voice change so. He was violating the second rule of the two rules for getting on well with people that speak Spanish; give the men tobacco and leave the women alone; and he realized, very suddenly, that he did not care. There were so many things that he had not to care about, why should he care about that?

“You have a very beautiful face,” he said to Maria. “I wish I would have had the luck to see you before your hair was cut.”

“It will grow out,” she said. “In six months it will be long enough.”

“You should have seen her when we brought her from the train. She was so ugly it would make you sick.”

“Whose woman are you?” Robert Jordan asked, trying not to pull out of it. “Are you Pablo’s?”

She looked at him and laughed, then slapped him on the knee.

“Of Pablo? You have seen Pablo?”

“Well, then, of Rafael. I have seen Rafael.”

“Of Rafael neither.”

“Of no one,” the gypsy said. “This is a very strange woman. Is of no one. But she cooks well.”

“Really of no one?” Robert Jordan asked her.

“Of no one. No one. Neither in joke nor in seriousness. Nor of thee either.”

“No?” Robert Jordan said and he could feel the thickness coming in his throat again. “Good. I have no time for any woman. That is true.”

“Not fifteen minutes?” the gypsy asked teasingly. “Not a quarter of an hour?” Robert Jordan did not answer. He looked at the girl, Maria, and his throat felt too thick for him to trust himself to speak.

Maria looked at him and laughed, then blushed suddenly but kept on looking at him.

“You are blushing,” Robert Jordan said to her. “Do you blush much?”


“You are blushing now.”

“Then I will go into the cave.”

“Stay here, Maria.”

“No,” she said and did not smile at him. “I will go into the cave now.” She picked up the iron plate they had eaten from and the four forks. She moved awkwardly as a colt moves, but with that same grace as of a young animal.

“Do you want the cups?” she asked.

Robert Jordan was still looking at her and she blushed again.

“Don’t make me do that,” she said. “I do not like to do that.”

“Leave them,” they gypsy said to her. “Here,” he dipped into the stone bowl and handed the full cup to Robert Jordan who Watched the girl duck her head and go into the cave carrying the heavy iron dish.

“Thank you,” Robert Jordan said. His voice was all right again, now that she was gone. “This is the last one. We’ve had enough of this.”

“We will finish the bowl,” the gypsy said. “There is over half a skin. We packed it in on one of the horses.”

“That was the last raid of Pablo,” Anselmo said. “Since then he has done nothing.”

“How many are you?” Robert Jordan asked.

“We are seven and there are two women.”


“Yes. The mujer of Pablo.”

“And she?”

“In the cave. The girl can cook a little. I said she cooks well to please her. But mostly she helps the mujer of Pablo.”

“And how is she, the mujer of Pablo?”

“Something barbarous,” the gypsy grinned. “Something very barbarous. If you think Pablo is ugly you should see his woman. But brave. A hundred times braver than Pablo. But something barbarous.”

“Pablo was brave in the beginning,” Anselmo said. “Pablo was something serious in the beginning.”

“He killed more people than the cholera,” the gypsy said. “At the start of the movement, Pablo killed more people than the typhoid fever.”

“But since a long time he is muy flojo,” Anselmo said. “He is very flaccid. He is very much afraid to die.”

“It is possible that it is because he has killed so many at the beginning,” the gypsy said philosophically. “Pablo killed more than the bubonic plague.”

“That and the riches,” Anselmo said. “Also he drinks very much. Now he would like to retire like a matador de toros. Like a bullfighter. But he cannot retire.”

“If he crosses to the other side of the lines they will take his horses and make him go in the army,” the gypsy said. “In me there is no love for being in the army either.”

“Nor is there in any other gypsy,” Anselmo said.

“Why should there be?” the gypsy asked. “Who wants to be in an army? Do we make the revolution to be in an army? I am willing to fight but not to be in an army.”

“Where are the others?” asked Robert Jordan. He felt comfortable and sleepy now from the wine and lying back on the floor of the forest he saw through the tree tops the small afternoon clouds of the mountains moving slowly in the high Spanish sky.

“There are two asleep in the cave,” the gypsy said. “Two are on guard above where we have the gun. One is on guard below. They are probably all asleep.”

Robert Jordan rolled over on his side.

“What kind of a gun is it?”

“A very rare name,” the gypsy said. “It has gone away from me for the moment. It is a machine gun.”

It must be an automatic rifle, Robert Jordan thought.

“How much does it weigh?” he asked.

“One man can carry it but it is heavy. It has three legs that fold. We got it in the last serious raid. The one before the wine.”

“How many rounds have you for it?”

“An infinity,” the gypsy said. “One whole case of an unbelievable heaviness.”

Sounds like about five hundred rounds, Robert Jordan thought.

“Does it feed from a pan or a belt?”

“From round iron cans on the top of the gun.”

Hell, it’s a Lewis gun, Robert Jordan thought.

“Do you know anything about a machine gun?” he asked the old man.

“Nada,” said Anselmo. “Nothing.”

“And thou?” to the gypsy.

“That they fire with much rapidity and become so hot the barrel burns the hand that touches it,” the gypsy said proudly.

“Every one knows that,” Anselmo said with contempt.

“Perhaps,” the gypsy said. “But he asked me to tell what I know about a máquina and I told him.” Then he added, “Also, unlike an ordinary rifle, they continue to fire as long as you exert pressure on the trigger.”

“Unless they jam, run out of ammunition or get so hot they melt,” Robert Jordan said in English.

“What do you say?” Anselmo asked him.

“Nothing,” Robert Jordan said. “I was only looking into the future in English.”

“That is something truly rare,” the gypsy said. “Looking into the future in Inglés. Can you read in the palm of the hand?”

“No,” Robert Jordan said and he dipped another cup of wine. “But if thou canst I wish thee would read in the palm of my hand and tell me what is going to pass in the next three days.”

“The mujer of Pablo reads in the hands,” the gypsy said. “But she is so irritable and of such a barbarousness that I do not know if she will do it.”

Robert Jordan sat up now and took a swallow of the wine.

“Let us see the mujer of Pablo now,” he said. “If it is that bad let us get it over with.”

“I would not disturb her,” Rafael said. “She has a strong hatred for me.”


“She treats me as a time waster.”

“What injustice,” Anselmo taunted.

“She is against gypsies.”

“What an error,” Anselmo said.

“She has gypsy blood,” Rafael said. “She knows of what she speaks.” He grinned. “But she has a tongue that scalds and that bites like a bull whip. With this tongue she takes the hide from any one. In strips. She is of an unbelievable barbarousness.”

“How does she get along with the girl, Maria?” Robert Jordan asked.

“Good. She likes the girl. But let any one come near her seriously—” He shook his head and clucked with his tongue.

“She is very good with the girl,” Anselmo said. “She takes good care of her.”

“When we picked the girl up at the time of the train she was very strange,” Rafael said. “She would not speak and she cried all the time and if any one touched her she would shiver like a wet dog. Only lately has she been better. Lately she has been much better. Today she was fine. Just now, talking to you, she was very good. We would have left her after the train. Certainly it was not worth being delayed by something so sad and ugly and apparently worthless. But the old woman tied a rope to her and when the girl thought she could not go further, the old woman beat her with the end of the rope to make her go. Then when she could not really go further, the old woman carried her over her shoulder. When the old woman could not carry her, I carried her. We were going up that hill breast high in the gorse and heather. And when I could no longer carry her, Pablo carried her. But what the old woman had to say to us to make us do it!” He shook his head at the memory. “It is true that the girl is long in the legs but is not heavy. The bones are light and she weighs little. But she weighs enough when we had to carry her and stop to fire and then carry her again with the old woman lashing at Pablo with the rope and carrying his rifle, putting it in his hand when he would drop the girl, making him pick her up again and loading the gun for him while she cursed him; taking the shells from his pouches and shoving them down into the magazine and cursing him. The dusk was coming well on then and when the night came it was all right. But it was lucky that they had no cavalry.”

“It must have been very hard at the train,” Anselmo said. “I was not there,” he explained to Robert Jordan. “There was the band of Pablo, of El Sordo, whom we will see tonight, and two other bands of these mountains. I had gone to the other side of the lines.”

“In addition to the blond one with the rare name—” the gypsy said.


“Yes. It is a name I can never dominate. We had two with a machine gun. They were sent also by the army. They could not get the gun away and lost it. Certainly it weighed no more than that girl and if the old woman had been over them they would have gotten it away.” He shook his head remembering, then went on. “Never in my life have I seen such a thing as when the explosion Was produced. The train was coming steadily. We saw it far away. And I had an excitement so great that I cannot tell it. We saw steam from it and then later came the noise of the whistle. Then it came chu-chu-chu-chu-chu-chu steadily larger and larger and then, at the moment of the explosion, the front wheels of the engine rose up and all of the earth seemed to rise in a great cloud of blackness and a roar and the engine rose high in the cloud of dirt and of the Wooden ties rising in the air as in a dream and then it fell onto its side like a great wounded animal and there was an explosion of white steam before the clods of the other explosion had ceased to fall on us and the máquina commenced to speak ta-tat-tat-ta!” went the gypsy shaking his two clenched fists up and down in front of him, thumbs up, on an imaginary machine gun. “Ta! Ta! Tat! Tat! Tat! Ta!” he exulted. “Never in my life have I seen such a thing, with the troops running from the train and the máquina speaking into them and the men falling. It was then that I put my hand on the máquina in my excitement and discovered that the barrel burned and at that moment the old woman slapped me on the side of the face and said, ‘Shoot, you fool! Shoot or I will kick your brains in!’ Then I commenced to shoot but it was very hard to hold my gun steady and the troops were running up the far hill. Later, after we had been down at the train to see what there was to take, an officer forced some troops back toward us at the point of a pistol. He kept waving the pistol and shouting at them and we were all shooting at him but no one hit him. Then some troops lay down and commenced firing and the officer walked up and down behind them with his pistol and still we could not hit him and the máquina could not fire on him because of the position of the train. This officer shot two men as they lay and still they would not get up and he was cursing them and finally they got up, one two and three at a time and came running toward us and the train. Then they lay flat again and fired. Then we left, with the máquina still speaking over us as we left. It was then I found the girl where she had run from the train to the rocks and she ran with us. It was those troops who hunted us until that night.”

“It must have been something very hard,” Anselmo said. “Of much emotion.”

“It was the only good thing we have done,” said a deep voice. “What are you doing now, you lazy drunken obscene unsayable son of an unnameable unmarried gypsy obscenity? What are you doing?”

Robert Jordan saw a woman of about fifty almost as big as Pablo, almost as wide as she was tall, in black peasant skirt and waist, with heavy wool socks on heavy legs, black rope-soled shoes and a brown face like a model for a granite monument. She had big but nice-looking hands and her thick curly black hair was twisted into a knot on her neck.

“Answer me,” she said to the gypsy, ignoring the others.

“I was talking to these comrades. This one comes as a dynamiter.”

“I know all that,” the mujer of Pablo said. “Get out of here now and relieve Andrés who is on guard at the top.”

“Me voy,” the gypsy said. “I go.” He turned to Robert Jordan. “I will see thee at the hour of eating.”

“Not even in a joke,” said the woman to him. “Three times you have eaten today according to my count. Go now and send me Andrés.

“Hola,” she said to Robert Jordan and put out her hand and smiled. “How are you and how is everything in the Republic?”

“Good,” he said and returned her strong hand grip. “Both with me and with the Republic.”

“I am happy,” she told him. She was looking into his face and smiling and he noticed she had fine gray eyes. “Do you come for us to do another train?”

“No,” said Robert Jordan, trusting her instantly. “For a bridge.”

“No es nada,” she said. “A bridge is nothing. When do we do another train now that we have horses?”

“Later. This bridge is of great importance.”

“The girl told me your comrade who was with us at the train is dead.”


“What a pity. Never have I seen such an explosion. He was a man of talent. He pleased me very much. It is not possible to do another train now? There are many men here now in the hills. Too many. It is already hard to get food. It would be better to get out. And we have horses.”

“We have to do this bridge.”

“Where is it?”

“Quite close.”

“All the better,” the mujer of Pablo said. “Let us blow all the bridges there are here and get out. I am sick of this place. Here is too much concentration of people. No good can come of it. Here is a stagnation that is repugnant.”

She sighted Pablo through the trees.

“Borracho!” she called to him. “Drunkard. Rotten drunkard!” She turned back to Robert Jordan cheerfully. “He’s taken a leather wine bottle to drink alone in the woods,” she said. “He’s drinking all the time. This life is ruining him. Young man, I am very content that you have come.” She clapped him on the back. “Ah,” she said. “You’re bigger than you look,” and ran her hand over his shoulder, feeling the muscle under the flannel shirt. “Good. I am very content that you have come.”

“And I equally.”

“We will understand each other,” she said. “Have a cup of wine.”

“We have already had some,” Robert Jordan said. “But, will you?”

“Not until dinner,” she said. “It gives me heartburn.” Then she sighted Pablo again. “Borracho!” she shouted. “Drunkard!” She turned to Robert Jordan and shook her head. “He was a very good man,” she told him. “But now he is terminated. And listen to me about another thing. Be very good and careful about the girl. The Maria. She has had a bad time. Understandest thou?”

“Yes. Why do you say this?”

“I saw how she was from seeing thee when she came into the cave. I saw her watching thee before she came out.”

“I joked with her a little.”

“She was in a very bad state,” the woman of Pablo said. “Now she is better, she ought to get out of here.”

“Clearly, she can be sent through the lines with Anselmo.”

“You and the Anselmo can take her when this terminates.”

Robert Jordan felt the ache in his throat and his voice thickening. “That might be done,” he said.

The mujer of Pablo looked at him and shook her head. “Ayee. Ayee,” she said. “Are all men like that?”

“I said nothing. She is beautiful, you know that.”

“No she is not beautiful. But she begins to be beautiful, you mean,” the woman of Pablo said. “Men. It is a shame to us women that we make them. No. In seriousness. Are there not homes to care for such as her under the Republic?”

“Yes,” said Robert Jordan. “Good places. On the coast near Valencia. In other places too. There they will treat her well and she can work with children. There are the children from evacuated villages. They will teach her the work.”

“That is what I want,” the mujer of Pablo said. “Pablo has a sickness for her already. It is another thing which destroys him. It lies on him like a sickness when he sees her. It is best that she goes now.”

“We can take her after this is over.”

“And you will be careful of her now if I trust you? I speak to you as though I knew you for a long time.”

“It is like that,” Robert Jordan said, “when people understand one another.”

“Sit down,” the woman of Pablo said. “I do not ask any promise because what will happen, will happen. Only if you will not take her out, then I ask a promise.”

“Why if I would not take her?”

“Because I do not want her crazy here after you will go. I have had her crazy before and I have enough without that.”

“We will take her after the bridge,” Robert Jordan said. “If we are alive after the bridge, we will take her.”

“I do not like to hear you speak in that manner. That manner of speaking never brings luck.”

“I spoke in that manner only to make a promise,” Robert Jordan said. “I am not of those who speak gloomily.”

“Let me see thy hand,” the woman said. Robert Jordan put his hand out and the woman opened it, held it in her own big hand, rubbed her thumb over it and looked at it, carefully, then dropped it. She stood up. He got up too and she looked at him without smiling.

“What did you see in it?” Robert Jordan asked her. “I don’t believe in it. You won’t scare me.”

“Nothing,” she told him. “I saw nothing in it.”

“Yes you did. I am only curious. I do not believe in such things.”

“In what do you believe?”

“In many things but not in that.”

“In what?”

“In my work.”

“Yes, I saw that.”

“Tell me what else you saw.”

“I saw nothing else,” she said bitterly. “The bridge is very difficult you said?”

“No. I said it is very important.”

“But it can be difficult?”

“Yes. And now I go down to look at it. How many men have you here?”

“Five that are any good. The gypsy is worthless although his intentions are good. He has a good heart. Pablo I no longer trust.”

“How many men has El Sordo that are good?”

“Perhaps eight. We will see tonight. He is coming here. He is a very practical man. He also has some dynamite. Not very much, though. You will speak with him.”

“Have you sent for him?”

“He comes every night. He is a neighbor. Also a friend as well as a comrade.”

“What do you think of him?”

“He is a very good man. Also very practical. In the business of the train he was enormous.”

“And in the other bands?”

“Advising them in time, it should be possible to unite fifty rifles of a certain dependability.”

“How dependable?”

“Dependable within the gravity of the situation.”

“And how many cartridges per rifle?”

“Perhaps twenty. Depending how many they would bring for this business. If they would come for this business. Remember thee that in this of a bridge there is no money and no loot and in thy reservations of talking, much danger, and that afterwards there must be a moving from these mountains. Many will oppose this of the bridge.”


“In this way it is better not to speak of it unnecessarily.”

“I am in accord.”

“Then after thou hast studied thy bridge we will talk tonight with El Sordo.”

“I go down now with Anselmo.”

“Wake him then,” she said. “Do you want a carbine?”

“Thank you,” he told her. “It is good to have but I will not use it. I go to look, not to make disturbances. Thank you for what you have told me. I like very much your way of speaking.”

“I try to speak frankly.”

“Then tell me what you saw in the hand.”

“No,” she said and shook her head. “I saw nothing. Go now to thy bridge. I will look after thy equipment.”

“Cover it and that no one should touch it. It is better there than in the cave.”

“It shall be covered and no one shall touch it,” the woman of Pablo said. “Go now to thy bridge.”

“Anselmo,” Robert Jordan said, putting his hand on the shoulder of the old man who lay sleeping, his head on his arms.

The old man looked up. “Yes,” he said. “Of course. Let us go.”