For Whom the Bell Tolls Chapter 33

It was two o’clock in the morning when Pilar waked him. As her hand touched him he thought, at first, it was Maria and he rolled toward her and said, “Rabbit.” Then the woman’s big hand shook his shoulder and he was suddenly, completely and absolutely awake and his hand was around the butt of the pistol that lay alongside of his bare right leg and all of him was as cocked as the pistol with its safety catch slipped off.

In the dark he saw it was Pilar and he looked at the dial of his wrist watch with the two hands shining in the short angle close to the top and seeing it was only two, he said, “What passes with thee, woman?”

“Pablo is gone,” the big woman said to him.

Robert Jordan put on his trousers and shoes. Maria had not waked.

“When?” he asked.

“It must be an hour.”


“He has taken something of thine,” the woman said miserably.

“So. What?”

“I do not know,” she told him. “Come and see.”

In the dark they walked over to the entrance of the cave, ducked under the blanket and went in. Robert Jordan followed her in the dead-ashes, bad-air and sleeping-men smell of the cave, shining his electric torch so that he would not step on any of those who were sleeping on the floor. Anselmo woke and said, “Is it time?”

“No,” Robert Jordan whispered. “Sleep, old one.”

The two sacks were at the head of Pilar’s bed which was screened off with a hanging blanket from the rest of the cave. The bed smelt stale and sweat-dried and sickly-sweet the way an Indian’s bed does as Robert Jordan knelt on it and shone the torch on the two sacks. There was a long slit from top to bottom in each one. Holding the torch in his left hand, Robert Jordan felt in the first sack with his right hand. This was the one that he carried his robe in and it should not be very full. It was not very full. There was some wire in it still but the square wooden box of the exploder was gone. So was the cigar box with the carefully wrapped and packed detonators. So was the screw-top tin with the fuse and the caps.

Robert Jordan felt in the other sack. It was still full of explosive. There might be one packet missing.

He stood up and turned to the woman. There is a hollow empty feeling that a man can have when he is waked too early in the morning that is almost like the feeling of disaster and he had this multiplied a thousand times.

“And this is what you call guarding one’s materials,” he said.

“I slept with my head against them and one arm touching them,” Pilar told him.

“You slept well.”

“Listen,” the woman said. “He got up in the night and I said, ‘Where do you go, Pablo?’ ‘To urinate, woman,’ he told me and I slept again. When I woke again I did not know what time had passed but I thought, when he was not there, that he had gone down to look at the horses as was his custom. Then,” she finished miserably, “when he did not come I worried and when I worried I felt of the sacks to be sure all was well and there were the slit places and I came to thee.”

“Come on,” Robert Jordan said.

They were outside now and it was still so near the middle of the night that you could not feel the morning coming.

“Can he get out with the horses other ways than by the sentry?”

“Two ways.”

“Who’s at the top?”


Robert Jordan said nothing more until they reached the meadow where the horses were staked out to feed. There were three horses feeding in the meadow. The big bay and the gray were gone.

“How long ago do you think it was he left you?”

“It must have been an hour.”

“Then that is that,” Robert Jordan said. “I go to get what is left of my sacks and go back to bed.”

“I will guard them.”

“Qué va, you will guard them. You’ve guarded them once already.”

“Inglés,” the woman said, “I feel in regard to this as you do. There is nothing I would not do to bring back thy property. You have no need to hurt me. We have both been betrayed by Pablo.”

As she said this Robert Jordan realized that he could not afford the luxury of being bitter, that he could not quarrel with this woman. He had to work with this woman on that day that was already two hours and more gone.

He put his hand on her shoulder. “It is nothing, Pilar,” he told her. “What is gone is of small importance. We shall improvise something that will do as well.”

“But what did he take?”

“Nothing, woman. Some luxuries that one permits oneself.”

“Was it part of thy mechanism for the exploding?”

“Yes. But there are other ways to do the exploding. Tell me, did Pablo not have caps and fuse? Surely they would have equipped him with those?”

“He has taken them,” she said miserably. “I looked at once for them. They are gone, too.”

They walked back through the woods to the entrance of the cave.

“Get some sleep,” he said. “We are better off with Pablo gone.”

“I go to see Eladio.”

“He will have gone another way.”

“I go anyway. I have betrayed thee with my lack of smartness.”

“Nay,” he said. “Get some sleep, woman. We must be under way at four.”

He went into the cave with her and brought out the two sacks, carrying them held together in both arms so that nothing could spill from the slits.

“Let me sew them up.”

“Before we start,” he said softly. “I take them not against you but so that I can sleep.”

“I must have them early to sew them.”

“You shall have them early,” he told her. “Get some sleep, woman.”

“Nay,” she said. “I have failed thee and I have failed the Republic.”

“Get thee some sleep, woman,” he told her gently. “Get thee some sleep.”