For Whom the Bell Tolls Chapter 35

Robert Jordan lay in the robe beside the girl Maria who was still sleeping. He lay on his side turned away from the girl and he felt her long body against his back and the touch of it now was just an irony. You, you, he raged at himself. Yes, you. You told yourself the first time you saw him that when he would be friendly would be when the treachery would come. You damned fool. You utter blasted damned fool. Chuck all that. That’s not what you have to do now.

What are the chances that he hid them or threw them away? Not so good. Besides you’d never find them in the dark. He would have kept them. He took some dynamite, too. Oh, the dirty, vile, treacherous sod. The dirty rotten crut. Why couldn’t he have just mucked off and not have taken the exploder and the detonators? Why was I such an utter goddamned fool as to leave them with that bloody woman? The smart, treacherous ugly bastard. The dirty cabrĂ³n.

Cut it out and take it easy, he told himself. You had to take chances and that was the best there was. You’re just mucked, he told himself. You’re mucked for good and higher than a kite. Keep your damned head and get the anger out and stop this cheap lamenting like a damned wailing wall. It’s gone. God damn you, it’s gone. Oh damn the dirty swine to hell. You can muck your way out of it. You’ve got to, you know you’ve got to blow it if you have to stand there and—cut Out that stuff, too. Why don’t you ask your grandfather?

Oh, muck my grandfather and muck this whole treacherous muckfaced mucking country and every mucking Spaniard in it on either side and to hell forever. Muck them to hell together, Largo, Prieto, Asensio, Miaja, Rojo, all of them. Muck every one of them to death to hell. Muck the whole treachery-ridden country. Muck their egotism and their selfishness and their selfishness and their egotism and their conceit and their treachery. Muck them to hell and always. Muck them before we die for them. Muck them after we die for them. Muck them to death and hell. God muck Pablo. Pablo is all of them. God pity the Spanish people. Any leader they have will muck them. One good man, Pablo Iglesias, in two thousand years and everybody else mucking them. How do we know how he would have stood up in this war? I remember when I thought Largo was O.K. Durruti was good and his own people shot him there at the Puente de los Franceses. Shot him because he wanted them to attack. Shot him in the glorious discipline of indiscipline. The cowardly swine. Oh muck them all to hell and be damned. And that Pablo that just mucked off with my exploder and my box of detonators. Oh muck him to deepest hell. But no. He’s mucked us instead. They always muck you instead, from Cortez and Menendez de Avila down to Miaja. Look at what Miaja did to Kleber. The bald egotistical swine. The stupid egg-headed bastard. Muck all the insane, egotistical, treacherous swine that have always governed Spain and ruled her armies. Muck everybody but the people and then be damned careful what they turn into when they have power.

His rage began to thin as he exaggerated more and more and spread his scorn and contempt so widely and unjustly that he could no longer believe in it himself. If that were true what are you here for? It’s not true and you know it. Look at all the good ones. Look at all the fine ones. He could not bear to be unjust. He hated injustice as he hated cruelty and he lay in his rage that blinded his mind until gradually the anger died down and the red, black, blinding, killing anger was all gone and his mind now as quiet, empty-calm and sharp, cold-seeing as a man is after he has had sexual intercourse with a woman that he does not love.

“And you, you poor rabbit,” he leaned over and said to Maria, who smiled in her sleep and moved close against him. “I would have struck thee there awhile back if thou had spoken. What an animal a man is in a rage.”

He lay close to the girl now with his arms around her and his chin on her shoulder and lying there he figured out exactly what he would have to do and how he would have to do it.

And it isn’t so bad, he thought. It really isn’t so bad at all. I don’t know whether any one has ever done it before. But there will always be people who will do it from now on, given a similar jam. If we do it and if they hear about it. If they hear about it, yes. If they do not just wonder how it was we did it. We are too short of people but there is no sense to worry about that. I will do the bridge with what we have. God, I’m glad I got over being angry. It was like not being able to breathe in a storm. That being angry is another damned luxury you can’t afford.

“It’s all figured out, guapa,” he said softly against Maria’s shoulder. “You haven’t been bothered by any of it. You have not known about it. We’ll be killed but we’ll blow the bridge. You have not had to worry about it. That isn’t much of a wedding present. But is not a good night’s sleep supposed to be priceless? You had a good night’s sleep. See if you can wear that like a ring on your finger. Sleep, guapa. Sleep well, my beloved. I do not wake thee. That is all I can do for thee now.”

He lay there holding her very lightly, feeling her breathe and feeling her heart beat, and keeping track of the time on his wrist watch.