Sunday, March 22, 2015

For Whom The Bell Tolls Excerpt 2-3

Continuation of Pilar's story from Excerpt 2-2 (Chapter 10)

     “After Don Benito no one would come out. There was no noise now in the plaza as all were waiting to see who it was that would come out. Then a drunkard shouted in a great voice, ‘Qué salga el toro! Let the bull out!’
     “Then some one from by the windows of the Ayuntamiento yelled, ‘They won’t move! They are all praying!’
     “Another drunkard shouted, ‘Pull them out. Come on, pull them out. The time for praying is finished.’
     “But none came out and then I saw a man coming out of the door.
     “It was Don Federico Gonzalez, who owned the mill and feed store and was a fascist of the first order. He was tall and thin and his hair was brushed over the top of his head from one side to the other to cover a baldness and he wore a nightshirt that was tucked into his trousers. He was barefooted as when he had been taken from his home and he walked ahead of Pablo holding his hands above his head, and Pablo walked behind him with the barrels of his shotgun pressing against the back of Don Federico Gonzalez until Don Federico entered the double line. But when Pablo left him and returned to the door of the Ayuntamiento, Don Federico could not walk forward, and stood there, his eyes turned up to heaven and his hands reaching up as though they would grasp the sky.
     “‘He has no legs to walk,’ some one said.
     “‘What’s the matter, Don Federico? Can’t you walk?’ some one shouted to him. But Don Federico stood there with his hands up and only his lips were moving.
     “‘Get on,’ Pablo shouted to him from the steps. ‘Walk.’
     “Don Federico stood there and could not move. One of the drunkards poked him in the backside with a flail handle and Don Federico gave a quick jump as a balky horse might, but still stood in the same place, his hands up, and his eyes up toward the sky.
     “Then the peasant who stood beside me said, ‘This is shameful. I have nothing against him but such a spectacle must terminate.’ So he walked down the line and pushed through to where Don Federico was standing and said, ‘With your permission,’ and hit him a great blow alongside of the head with a club.
     “Then Don Federico dropped his hands and put them over the top of his head where the bald place was and with his head bent and covered by his hands, the thin long hairs that covered the bald place escaping through his fingers, he ran fast through the double line With flails falling on his back and shoulders until he fell and those at the end of the line picked him up and swung him over the cliff. Never did he open his mouth from the moment he came out pushed by the shotgun of Pablo. His only difficulty was to move forward. It was as though he had no command of his legs.
     “After Don Federico, I saw there was a concentration of the hardest men at the end of the lines by the edge of the cliff and I left there and I went to the Arcade of the Ayuntamiento and pushed aside two drunkards and looked in the window. In the big room of the Ayuntamiento they were all kneeling in a half circle praying and the priest was kneeling and praying with them. Pablo and one named Cuatro Dedos, Four Fingers, a cobbler, who was much with Pablo then, and two others were standing with shotguns and Pablo said to the priest, ‘Who goes now?’ and the priest went on praying and did not answer him.
     “‘Listen, you,’ Pablo said to the priest in his hoarse voice, ‘who goes now? Who is ready now?’
     “The priest would not speak to Pablo and acted as though he were not there and I could see Pablo was becoming very angry.
     “‘Let us all go together,’ Don Ricardo Montalvo, who was a land owner, said to Pablo, raising his head and stopping praying to speak.
     “‘Qué va,’ said Pablo. ‘One at a time as you are ready.’
     “‘Then I go now,’ Don Ricardo said. ‘I’ll never be any more ready.’ The priest blessed him as he spoke and blessed him again as he stood up, without interrupting his praying, and held up a crucifix for Don Ricardo to kiss and Don Ricardo kissed it and then turned and said to Pablo, ‘Nor ever again as ready. You Cabron of the bad milk. Let us go.’
     “Don Ricardo was a short man with gray hair and a thick neck and he had a shirt on with no collar. He was bow-legged from much horseback riding. ‘Good-by,’ he said to all those who were kneeling. ‘Don’t be sad. To die is nothing. The only bad thing is to die at the hands of this canalla. Don’t touch me,’ he said to Pablo. ‘Don’t touch me with your shotgun.’
     “He walked out of the front of the Ayuntamiento with his gray hair and his small gray eyes and his thick neck looking very short and angry. He looked at the double line of peasants and he spat on the ground. He could spit actual saliva which, in such a circumstance, as you should know, Inglés, is very rare and he said, ‘Arriba Espana! Down with the miscalled Republic and I obscenity in the milk of your fathers.’
     “So they clubbed him to death very quickly because of the insult, beating him as soon as he reached the first of the men, beating him as he tried to walk with his head up, beating him until he fell and chopping at him with reaping hooks and the sickles, and many men bore him to the edge of the cliff to throw him over and there was blood now on their hands and on their clothing, and now began to be the feeling that these who came out were truly enemies and should be killed.
     “Until Don Ricardo came out with that fierceness and calling those insults, many in the line would have given much, I am sure, never to have been in the line. And if any one had shouted from the line, ‘Come, let us pardon the rest of them. Now they have had their lesson,’ I am sure most would have agreed.
     “But Don Ricardo with all his bravery did a great disservice to the others. For he aroused the men in the line and where, before, they were performing a duty and with no great taste for it, now they were angry, and the difference was apparent.
     “‘Let the priest out and the thing will go faster,’ some one shouted.
     “‘Let out the priest.’
     “‘We’ve had three thieves, let us have the priest.’
     (omitted 154 words here)
     “It was then that we saw a disgraceful sight, for the man who walked out of the doorway of the Ayuntamiento was Don Faustino Rivero, the oldest son of his father, Don Celestino Rivero, a land owner. He was tall and his hair was yellow and it was freshly combed back from his forehead for he always carried a comb in his pocket and he had combed his hair now before coming out. He was a great annoyer of girls, and he was a coward, and he had always wished to be an amateur bullfighter. He went much with gypsies and with builfighters and with bull raisers and delighted to wear the Andalucian costume, but he had no courage and was considered a joke. One time he was announced to appear in an amateur benefit fight for the old people’s home in Avila and to kill a bull from on horseback in the Andalucian style, which he had spent much time practicing, and when he had seen the size of the bull that had been substituted for him in place of the little one, weak in the legs, he had picked out himself, he had said he was sick and, some said, put three fingers down his throat to make himself vomit.
     “When the lines saw him, they commenced to shout, ‘Hola, Don Faustino. Take care not to vomit.’
     “‘Listen to me, Don Faustino. There are beautiful girls over the cliff.’
     “‘Don Faustino. Wait a minute and we will bring out a bull bigger than the other.’
     “And another shouted, ‘Listen to me, Don Faustino. Hast thou ever heard speak of death?’
     “Don Faustino stood there, still acting brave. He was still under the impulse that had made him announce to the others that he was going out. It was the same impulse that had made him announce himself for the bullfight. That had made him believe and hope that he could be an amateur matador. Now he was inspired by the example of Don Ricardo and he stood there looking both handsome and brave and he made his face scornful. But he could not speak.
     “‘Come, Don Faustino,’ some one called from the line. ‘Come, Don Faustino. Here is the biggest bull of all.’
     “Don Faustino stood looking out and I think as he looked, that there was no pity for him on either side of the line. Still he looked both handsome and superb; but time was shortening and there was only one direction to go.
     “‘Don Faustino,’ some one called. ‘What are you waiting for, Don Faustino?’
     “‘He is preparing to vomit,’ some one said and the lines laughed.
     “‘Don Faustino,’ a peasant called. ‘Vomit if it will give thee pleasure. To me it is all the same.’
     “Then, as we watched, Don Faustino looked along the lines and across the square to the cliff and then when he saw the cliff and the emptiness beyond, he turned quickly and ducked back toward the entrance of the Ayuntamiento.
     “All the lines roared and some one shouted in a high voice, ‘Where do you go, Don Faustino? Where do you go?’
     “‘He goes to throw up,’ shouted another and they all laughed again.
     “Then we saw Don Faustino coming out again with Pablo behind him with the shotgun. All of his style was gone now. The sight of the lines had taken away his type and his style and he came out now with Pablo behind him as though Pablo were cleaning a Street and Don Faustino was what he was pushing ahead of him. Don Faustino came out now and he was crossing himself and praying and then he put his hands in front of his eyes and walked down the steps toward the lines.
     “‘Leave him alone,’ some one shouted. ‘Don’t touch him.’
     “The lines understood and no one made a move to touch Don Faustino and, with his hands shaking and held in front of his eyes, and with his mouth moving, he walked along between the lines.
     “No one said anything and no one touched him and, when he was halfway through the lines, he could go no farther and fell to his knees.
     “No one struck him. I was walking along parallel to the line to see what happened to him and a peasant leaned down and lifted him to his feet and said, ‘Get up, Don Faustino, and keep walking. The bull has not yet come out.’
     “Don Faustino could not walk alone and the peasant in a black smock helped him on one side and another peasant in a black smock and herdsman’s boots helped him on the other, supporting him by the arms and Don Faustino walking along between the lines with his hands over his eyes, his lips never quiet, and his yellow hair slicked on his head and shining in the sun, and as he passed the peasants would say, ‘Don Faustino, buen provecho. Don Faustino, that you should have a good appetite,’ and others said, ‘Don Faustino, a sus ordenes. Don Faustino at your orders,’ and one, who had failed at bullfighting himself, said, ‘Don Faustino. Matador, a sus ordenes,’ and another said, ‘Don Faustino, there are beautiful girls in heaven, Don Faustino.’ And they walked Don Faustino through the lines, holding him close on either side, holding him up as he walked, with him with his hands over his eyes. But he must have looked through his fingers, because when they came to the edge of the cliff with him, he knelt again, throwing himself down and clutching the ground and holding to the grass, saying, ‘No. No. No. Please. NO. Please. Please. No. No.’
     “Then the peasants who were with him and the others, the hard ones of the end of the line, squatted quickly behind him as he knelt, and gave him a rushing push and he was over the edge without ever having been beaten and you heard him crying loud and high as he fell.
     “It was then I knew that the lines had become cruel and it was first the insults of Don Ricardo and second the cowardice of Don Faustino that had made them so.
(To be continued in Excerpt 2-4)

For Whom The Bell Tolls Excerpt 2-2

Continuation of Pilar's story from Excerpt 2-1 (Chapter 10)

     “The town is built on the high bank above the river and there is a square there with a fountain and there are benches and there are big trees that give a shade for the benches. The balconies of the houses look out on the plaza. Six streets enter on the plaza and there is an arcade from the houses that goes around the plaza so that one can walk in the shade of the arcade when the sun is hot. On three sides of the plaza is the arcade and on the fourth side is the walk shaded by the trees beside the edge of the cliff with, far below, the river. It is three hundred feet down to the river.
     “Pablo organized it all as he did the attack on the barracks. First he had the entrances to the streets blocked off with carts as though to organize the plaze for a capea. For an amateur bullfight. The fascists were all held in the Ayuntamiento, the city hall, which was the largest building on one side of the plaza. It was there the clock was set in the wall and it was in the buildings under the arcade that the club of the fascists was. And under the arcade on the sidewalk in front of their club was where they had their chairs and tables for their club. It was there, before the movement, that they were accustomed to take the apéritifs. The chairs and the tables were of wicker. It looked like a café but was more elegant.”
     “But was there no fighting to take them?” [asked Robert Jordan.]
     “Pablo had them seized in the night before he assaulted the barracks. But he had already surrounded the barracks. They were all seized in their homes at the same hour the attack started. That was intelligent. Pablo is an organizer. Otherwise he would have had people attacking him at his flanks and at his rear while he was assaulting the barracks of the guardia civil.
     “Pablo is very intelligent but very brutal. He had this of the village well planned and well ordered. Listen. After the assault was successful, and the last four guards had surrendered, and he had shot them against the wall, and we had drunk coffee at the café that always opened earliest in the morning by the corner from which the early bus left, he proceeded to the organization of the plaza. Carts were piled exactly as for a capea except that the side toward the river was not enclosed. That was left open. Then Pablo ordered the priest to confess the fascists and give them the necessary sacraments.”
     “Where was this done?”
     “In the Ayuntamiento, as I said. There was a great crowd outside and while this was going on inside with the priest, there was some levity outside and shouting of obscenities, but most of the people were very serious and respectful. Those who made jokes were those who were already drunk from the celebration of the taking of the barracks and there were useless characters who would have been drunk at any time.
     “While the priest was engaged in these duties, Pablo organized those in the plaza into two lines.
     “He placed them in two lines as you would place men for a rope pulling contest, or as they stand in a city to watch the ending of a bicycle road race with just room for the cyclists to pass between, or as men stood to allow the passage of a holy image in a procession. Two meters was left between the lines and they extended from the door of the Ayuntamiento clear across the plaza to the edge of the cliff. So that, from the doorway of the Ayuntamiento, looking across the plaza, one coming out would see two solid lines of people waiting.
     “They were armed with flails such as are used to beat out the grain and they were a good flail’s length apart. All did not have flails, as enough flails could not be obtained. But most had flails obtained from the store of Don Guillermo Martin, who was a fascist and sold all sorts of agricultural implements. And those who did not have flails had heavy herdsman’s clubs, or ox-goads, and some had wooden pitchforks; those with wooden tines that are used to fork the chaff and straw into the air after the flailing. Some had sickles and reaping hooks but these Pablo placed at the far end where the lines reached the edge of the cliff.
     (omitted 1,388 words here)
     “.... and then I heard a shout and some one said ‘Here comes the first one,’ and it was Don Benito Garcia, the Mayor, and he came out bareheaded walking slowly from the door and down the porch and nothing happened; and he walked between the line of men with the flails and nothing happened. He passed two men, four men, eight men, ten men and nothing happened and he was walking between that line of men, his head up, his fat face gray, his eyes looking ahead and then flickering from side to side and walking steadily. And nothing happened.
     “From a balcony some one cried out, ‘Qué pasa, cobardes? What is the matter, cowards?’ and still Don Benito walked along between the men and nothing happened. Then I saw a man three men down from where I was standing and his face was working and he was biting his lips and his hands were white on his flail. I saw him looking toward Don Benito, watching him come on. And still nothing happened. Then, just before Don Benito came abreast of this man, the man raised his flail high so that it struck the man beside him and smashed a blow at Don Benito that hit him on the side of the head and Don Benito looked at him and the man struck again and shouted, ‘That for you, Cabron,’ and the blow hit Don Benito in the face and he raised his hands to his face and they beat him until he fell and the man who had struck him first called to others to help him and he pulled on the collar of Don Benito’s shirt and others took hold of his arms and with his face in the dust of the plaza, they dragged him over the walk to the edge of the cliff and threw him over and into the river. And the man who hit him first was kneeling by the edge of the cliff looking over after him and saying, ‘The Cabron! The Cabron! Oh, the Cabron!’ He was a tenant of Don Benito and they had never gotten along together. There had been a dispute about a piece of land by the river that Don Benito had taken from this man and let to another and this man had long hated him. This man did not join the line again but sat by the cliff looking down where Don Benito had fallen.
(To be continued in Excerpt 2-3)

For Whom The Bell Tolls Excerpt 2-1

Pilar's story from Chapter 10

     “Where were you at the start of the movement?” [asked Robert Jordan.]
     “In my town.” [Pilar said.]
     “Qué va, Avila.”
     “Pablo said he was from Avila.”
     “He lies. He wanted to take a big city for his town. It was this town,” and she named a town.
     “And what happened?”
     “Much,” the woman said. “Much. And all of it ugly. Even that which was glorious.”
     “Tell me about it,” Robert Jordan said.
     “It is brutal,” the woman said. “I do not like to tell it before the girl.”
     “Tell it,” said Robert Jordan. “And if it is not for her, that she should not listen.”
     “I can hear it,” Maria said. She put her hand on Robert Jordan’s. “There is nothing that I cannot hear.”
     “It isn’t whether you can hear it,” Pilar said. “It is whether I should tell it to thee and make thee bad dreams.”
     “I will not get bad dreams from a story,” Maria told her. “You think after all that has happened with us I should get bad dreams from a story?”
     “Maybe it will give the Inglés bad dreams.”
     “Try it and see.”
     “No, Inglés, I am not joking. Didst thou see the start of the movement in any small town?”
     “No,” Robert Jordan said.
     “Then thou hast seen nothing. Thou hast seen the ruin that now is Pablo, but you should have seen Pablo on that day.”
     “Tell it.”
     “Nay. I do not want to.”
     “Tell it.”
     “All right, then. I will tell it truly as it was. But thee, guapa, if it reaches a point that it molests thee, tell me.”
     “I will not listen to it if it molests me,” Maria told her. “It cannot be worse than many things.”
     “I believe it can,” the woman said. “Give me another cigarette, Inglés, and vamonos.”
     The girl leaned back against the heather on the bank of the stream and Robert Jordan stretched himself out, his shoulders against the ground and his head against a clump of the heather. He reached out and found Maria’s hand and held it in his, rubbing their two hands against the heather until she opened her hand and laid it flat on top of his as they listened.
     “It was early in the morning when the civiles surrendered at the barracks,” Pilar began.
     “You had assaulted the barracks?” Robert Jordan asked.
     “Pablo had surrounded it in the dark, cut the telephone wires, placed dynamite under one wall and called on the guardia civil to surrender. They would not. And at daylight he blew the wall open. There was fighting. Two civiles were killed. Four were wounded and four surrendered.
     “We all lay on roofs and on the ground and at the edge of walls and of buildings in the early morning light and the dust cloud of the explosion had not yet settled, for it rose high in the air and there was no wind to carry it, and all of us were firing into the broken side of the building, loading and firing into the smoke, and from within there was still the flashing of rifles and then there was a shout from in the smoke not to fire more, and out came the four civiles with their hands up. A big part of the roof had fallen in and the wall was gone and they came out to surrender.
     “‘Are there more inside?’ Pablo shouted.
     “‘There are wounded.’
     “‘Guard these,’ Pablo said to four who had come up from where we were firing. ‘Stand there. Against the wall,’ he told the civiles. The four civiles stood against the wall, dirty, dusty, smoke-grimed, with the four who were guarding them pointing their guns at them and Pablo and the others went in to finish the wounded.
     “After they had done this and there was no longer any noise of the wounded, neither groaning, nor crying out, nor the noise of shooting in the barracks, Pablo and the others came out and Pablo had his shotgun over his back and was carrying in his hand a Mauser pistol.
     “‘Look, Pilar,’ he said. ‘This was in the hand of the officer who killed himself. Never have I fired a pistol. You,’ he said to one of the guards, ‘show me how it works. No. Don’t show me. Tell me.’
     “The four civiles had stood against the wall, sweating and saying nothing while the shooting had gone on inside the barracks. They were all tall men with the faces of guardias civiles, which is the same model of face as mine is. Except that their faces were covered with the small stubble of this their last morning of not yet being shaved and they stood there against the wall and said nothing.
     “‘You,’ said Pablo to the one who stood nearest him. ‘Tell me how it works.’
     “‘Pull the small lever down,’ the man said in a very dry voice. ‘Pull the receiver back and let it snap forward.’
     “‘What is the receiver?’ asked Pablo, and he looked at the four civiles. ‘What is the receiver?’
     “‘The block on top of the action.’
     “Pablo pulled it back, but it stuck. ‘What now?’ he said. ‘It is jammed. You have lied to me.’
     “‘Pull it farther back and let it snap lightly forward,’ the civil said, and I have never heard such a tone of voice. It was grayer than a morning without sunrise.
     “Pablo pulled and let go as the man had told him and the block snapped forward into place and the pistol was cocked with the hammer back. It is an ugly pistol, small in the round handle, large and flat in the barrel, and unwieldy. All this time the civiles had been watching him and they had said nothing.
     “‘What are you going to do with us?’ one asked him.
     “‘Shoot thee,’ Pablo said.
     “‘When?’ the man asked in the same gray voice.
     “‘Now,’ said Pablo.
     “‘Where?’ asked the man.
     “‘Here,’ said Pablo. ‘Here. Now. Here and now. Have you anything to say?’
     “‘Nada,’ said the civil. ‘Nothing. But it is an ugly thing.’
     “‘And you are an ugly thing,’ Pablo said. ‘You murderer of peasants. You who would shoot your own mother.’
     “‘I have never killed any one,’ the civil said. ‘And do not speak of my mother.’
     “‘Show us how to die. You, who have always done the killing.’
     “‘There is no necessity to insult us,’ another civil said. ‘And we know how to die.’
     “‘Kneel down against the wall with your heads against the wall,’ Pablo told them. The civiles looked at one another.
     “‘Kneel, I say,’ Pablo said. ‘Get down and kneel.’
     “‘How does it seem to you, Paco?’ one civil said to the tallest, who had spoken with Pablo about the pistol. He wore a corporal’s stripes on his sleeves and was sweating very much although the early morning was still cool.
     “‘It is as well to kneel,’ he answered. ‘It is of no importance.’
     “‘It is closer to the earth,’ the first one who had spoken said, trying to make a joke, but they were all too grave for a joke and no one smiled.
     “‘Then let us kneel,’ the first civil said, and the four knelt, looking very awkward with their heads against the wall and their hands by their sides, and Pablo passed behind them and shot each in turn in the back of the head with the pistol, going from one to another and putting the barrel of the pistol against the back of their heads, each man slipping down as he fired. I can hear the pistol still, sharp and yet muffled, and see the barrel jerk and the head of the man drop forward. One held his head still when the pistol touched it. One pushed his head forward and pressed his forehead against the stone. One shivered in his whole body and his head was shaking. Only one put his hands in front of his eyes, and he was the last one, and the four bodies were slumped against the wall when Pablo turned away from them and came toward us with the pistol still in his hand.
     “‘Hold this for me, Pilar,’ he said. ‘I do not know how to put down the hammer,’ and he handed me the pistol and stood there looking at the four guards as they lay against the wall of the barracks. All those who were with us stood there too, looking at them, and no one said anything.
     “We had won the town and it was still early in the morning and no one had eaten nor had any one drunk coffee and we looked at each other and we were all powdered with dust from the blowing up of the barracks, as powdered as men are at a threshing, and I stood holding the pistol and it was heavy in my hand and I felt weak in the stomach when I looked at the guards dead there against the wall; they all as gray and as dusty as we were, but each one was now moistening with his blood the dry dirt by the wall where they lay. And as we stood there the sun rose over the far hills and shone now on the road where we stood and on the white wall of the barracks and the dust in the air was golden in that first sun and the peasant who was beside me looked at the wall of the barracks and what lay there and then looked at us and then at the sun and said, ‘Vaya, a day that commences.’
     “‘Now let us go and get coffee,’ I said.
     “‘Good, Pilar, good,’ he said. And we went up into the town to the Plaza, and those were the last people who were shot in the village.”
     “What happened to the others?” Robert Jordan asked. “Were there no other fascists in the village?”
     “Qué va, were there no other fascists? There were more than twenty. But none was shot.”
     “What was done?”
     “Pablo had them beaten to death with flails and thrown from the top of the cliff into the river.”
     “All twenty?”
     “I will tell you. It is not so simple. And in my life never do I wish to see such a scene as the flailing to death in the plaza on the top of the cliff above the river.
(To be continued in Excerpt 2-2)

For Whom The Bell Tolls Excerpt 1-2

Continued from 1-1 (Chapter 1)

     That was the last he had seen of Golz with his strange white face that never tanned, his hawk eyes, the big nose and thin lips and the shaven head crossed with wrinkles and with scars. Tomorrow night they would be outside the Escorial in the dark along the road; the long lines of trucks loading the infantry in the darkness; the men, heavy loaded, climbing up into the trucks; the machine-gun sections lifting their guns into the trucks; the tanks being run up on the skids onto the long-bodied tank trucks; pulling the Division out to move them in the night for the attack on the pass. He would not think about that. That was not his business. That was Golz’s business. He had only one thing to do and that was what he should think about and he must think it out clearly and take everything as it came along, and not worry. To worry was as bad as to be afraid. It simply made things more difficult.
     He sat now by the stream watching the clear water flowing between the rocks and, across the stream, he noticed there was a thick bed of watercress. He crossed the stream, picked a double handful, washed the muddy roots clean in the current and then sat down again beside his pack and ate the clean, cool green leaves and the crisp, peppery-tasting stalks. He knelt by the stream and, pushing his automatic pistol around on his belt to the small of his back so that it would not be wet, he lowered himself with a hand on each of two boulders and drank from the stream. The water was achingly cold.
     Pushing himself up on his hands he turned his head and saw the old man coming down the ledge. With him was another man, also in a black peasant’s smock and the dark gray trousers that were almost a uniform in that province, wearing rope-soled shoes and with a carbine slung over his back. This man was bareheaded. The two of them came scrambling down the rock like goats.
     They came up to him and Robert Jordan got to his feet.
     “Salud, Camarada,” he said to the man with the carbine and smiled.
     “Salud,” the other said, grudgingly. Robert Jordan looked at the man’s heavy, beardstubbled face. It was almost round and his head was round and set close on his shoulders. His eyes were small and set too wide apart and his ears were small and set close to his head. He was a heavy man about five feet ten inches tall and his hands and feet were large. His nose had been broken and his mouth was cut at one corner and the line of the scar across the upper lip and lower jaw showed through the growth of beard over his face.
     The old man nodded his head at this man and smiled.
     “He is the boss here,” he grinned, then flexed his arms as though to make the muscles    stand out and looked at the man with the carbine in a half-mocking admiration. “A very strong man.”
     “I can see it,” Robert Jordan said and smiled again. He did not like the look of this man and inside himself he was not smiling at all.
     “What have you to justify your identity?” asked the man with the carbine.
     Robert Jordan unpinned a safety pin that ran through his pocket flap and took a folded paper out of the left breast pocket of his flannel shirt and handed it to the man, who opened it, looked at it doubtfully and turned it in his hands.
     So he cannot read, Robert Jordan noted.
     “Look at the seal,” he said.
     The old man pointed to the seal and the man with the carbine studied it, turning it in his fingers.
     “What seal is that?”
     “Have you never seen it?”
     “There are two,” said Robert Jordan. “One is S. I. M., the service of the military intelligence. The other is the General Staff.”
     “Yes, I have seen that seal before. But here no one commands but me,” the other said sullenly. “What have you in the packs?”
     “Dynamite,” the old man said proudly. “Last night we crossed the lines in the dark and all day we have carried this dynamite over the mountain.”
     “I can use dynamite,” said the man with the carbine. He handed back the paper to Robert Jordan and looked him over. “Yes. I have use for dynamite. How much have you brought me?”
     “I have brought you no dynamite,” Robert Jordan said to him evenly. “The dynamite is for another purpose. What is your name?”
     “What is that to you?”
     “He is Pablo,” said the old man. The man with the carbine looked at them both sullenly.
     “Good. I have heard much good of you,” said Robert Jordan.
     “What have you heard of me?” asked Pablo.
     “I have heard that you are an excellent guerilla leader, that you are loyal to the republic and prove your loyalty through your acts, and that you are a man both serious and valiant. I bring you greetings from the General Staff.”
     “Where did you hear all this?” asked Pablo. Robert Jordan registered that he was not taking any of the flattery.
     “I heard it from Buitrago to the Escorial,” he said, naming all the stretch of country on the other side of the lines.
     “I know no one in Buitrago nor in Escorial,” Pablo told him.
     “There are many people on the other side of the mountains who were not there before. Where are you from?”
     “Avila. What are you going to do with the dynamite?”
     “Blow up a bridge.”
     “What bridge?”
     “That is my business.”
     “If it is in this territory, it is my business. You cannot blow bridges close to where you live. You must live in one place and operate in another. I know my business. One who is alive, now, after a year, knows his business.”
     “This is my business,” Robert Jordan said. “We can discuss it together. Do you wish to help us with the sacks?”
     “No,” said Pablo and shook his head.
     The old man turned toward him suddenly and spoke rapidly and furiously in a dialect that Robert Jordan could just follow. It was like reading Quevedo. Anselmo was speaking old Castilian and it went something like this, “Art thou a brute? Yes. Art thou a beast? Yes, many times Hast thou a brain? Nay. None. Now we come for something of  consummate importance and thee, with thy dwelling place to be undisturbed, puts thy fox-hole before the interests of humanity. Before the interests of thy people. I this and that in the this and that of thy father. I this and that and that in thy this. Pick up that bag.”
     Pablo looked down.
     “Every one has to do what he can do according to how it can be truly done,” he said. “I live here and I operate beyond Segovia. If you make a disturbance here, we will be hunted out of these mountains. It is only by doing nothing here that we are able to live in these mountains. It is the principle of the fox.”
     “Yes,” said Anselmo bitterly. “It is the principle of the fox when we need the wolf.”
     “I am more wolf than thee,” Pablo said and Robert Jordan knew that he would pick up the sack.
     “Hi. Ho. . . ,” Anselmo looked at him. “Thou art more wolf than me and I am sixty-eight years old.”
     He spat on the ground and shook his head.
     “You have that many years?” Robert Jordan asked, seeing that now, for the moment, it would be all right and trying to make it go easier.
     “Sixty-eight in the month of July.”
     “If we should ever see that month,” said Pablo. “Let me help you with the pack,” he said to Robert Jordan. “Leave the other to the old man.” He spoke, not sullenly, but almost sadly now. “He is an old man of great strength.”
     “I will carry the pack,” Robert Jordan said.
     “Nay,” said the old man. “Leave it to this other strong man.”
     “I will take it,” Pablo told him, and in his sullenness there was a sadness that was disturbing to Robert Jordan. He knew that sadness and to see it here worried him.
     “Give me the carbine then,” he said and when Pablo handed it to him, he slung it over his back and, with the two men climbing ahead of him, they went heavily, pulling and climbing up the granite shelf and over its upper edge to where there was a green clearing in the forest.

Monday, March 2, 2015

For Whom The Bell Tolls Excerpt 1-1

One of the most brilliantly plotted antiwar novels, For Whom The Bell Tolls depicts unforgettable characters (Robert Jordan, Pillar, Pablo, Maria, et al.) during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). From Chapter 1 we can see how the plot develops with difficulties and conflicts. Memorable scenes are too numerous to present here, but we will show in this blog a few impressive scenes: (1) Robert Jordan's mission and potential conflict (from Chapter 1), (2) Pillar's story (from Chapter 10), (3) the ending (from Chapter 43).  

From Chapter 1

      He sat by the packs and watched the old man climb the ledge. It was not hard to climb and from the way he found hand-holds without searching for them the young man could see that he had climbed it many times before. Yet whoever was above had been very careful not to leave any trail.
     The young man, whose name was Robert Jordan, was extremely hungry and he was worried. He was often hungry but he was not usually worried because he did not give any importance to what happened to himself and he knew from experience how simple it was to move behind the enemy lines in all this country. It was as simple to move behind them as it was to cross through them, if you had a good guide. It was only giving importance to what happened to you if you were caught that made it difficult; that and deciding whom to trust. You had to trust the people you worked with completely or not at all, and you had to make decisions about the trusting. He was not worried about any of that. But there were other things.
     This Anselmo had been a good guide and he could travel wonderfully in the mountains. Robert Jordan could walk well enough himself and he knew from following him since before daylight that the old man could walk him to death. Robert Jordan trusted the man, Anselmo, so far, in everything except judgment. He had not yet had an opportunity to test his judgment, and, anyway, the judgment was his own responsibility. No, he did not worry about Anselmo and the problem of the bridge was no more difficult than many other problems.He knew how to blow any sort of bridge that you could name and he had blown them of all sizes and constructions. There was enough explosive and all equipment in the two packs to blow this bridge properly even if it were twice as big as Anselmo reported it, as he remembered it when he had walked over it on his way to La Granja on a walking trip in 1933, and as Golz had read him the description of it night before last in that upstairs room in the house outside of the Escorial.
     “To blow the bridge is nothing,” Golz had said, the lamplight on his scarred, shaved head, pointing with a pencil on the big map. “You understand?”
     “Yes, I understand.”
     “Absolutely nothing. Merely to blow the bridge is a failure.”
     “Yes, Comrade General.”
     “To blow the bridge at a stated hour based on the time set for the attack is how it should be done. You see that naturally. That is your right and how it should be done.”
     Golz looked at the pencil, then tapped his teeth with it.
     Robert Jordan had said nothing.
     “You understand that is your right and how it should be done,” Golz went on, looking at him and nodding his head. He tapped on the map now with the pencil. “That is how I should do it. That is what we cannot have.”
     “Why, Comrade General?”
     “Why?” Golz said, angrily. “How many attacks have you seen and you ask me why? What is to guarantee that my orders are not changed? What is to guarantee that the attack is not annulled? What is to guarantee that the attack is not postponed? What is to guarantee that it starts within six hours of when it should start? Has any attack ever been as it should?”
     “It will start on time if it is your attack,” Robert Jordan said.
     “They are never my attacks,” Golz said. “I make them. But they are not mine. The artillery is not mine. I must put in for it. I have never been given what I ask for even when they have it to give. That is the least of it. There are other things. You know how those people are. It is not necessary to go into all of it. Always there is something. Always some one will interfere. So now be sure you understand.”
     “So when is the bridge to be blown?” Robert Jordan had asked.
     “After the attack starts. As soon as the attack has started and not before. So that no reinforcements will come up over that road.” He pointed with his pencil. “I must know that nothing will come up over that road.”
     “And when is the attack?”
     “I will tell you. But you are to use the date and hour only as an indication of a probability. You must be ready for that time. You will blow the bridge after the attack has started. You see?” he indicated with the pencil. “That is the only road on which they can bring up reinforcements. That is the only road on which they can get up tanks, or artillery, or even move a truck toward the pass which I attack. I must know that bridge is gone. Not before, so it can be repaired if the attack is postponed. No. It must go when the attack starts and I must know it is gone. There are only two sentries. The man who will go with you has just come from there. He is a very reliable man, they say. You will see. He has people in the mountains. Get as many men as you need. Use as few as possible, but use enough. I do not have to tell you these things.”
     “And how do I determine that the attack has started?”
     “It is to be made with a full division. There will be an aerial bombardment as preparation. You are not deaf, are you?”
     “Then I may take it that when the planes unload, the attack has started?”
     “You could not always take it like that,” Golz said and shook his head. “But in this case, you may. It is my attack.”
     “I understand it,” Robert Jordan had said. “I do not say I like it very much.”
     “Neither do I like it very much. If you do not want to undertake it, say so now. If you think you cannot do it, say so now.”
     “I will do it,” Robert Jordan had said. “I will do it all right.”
     “That is all I have to know,” Golz said. “That nothing comes up over that bridge. That is absolute.”
     “I understand.”
     “I do not like to ask people to do such things and in such a way,” Golz went on. “I could not order you to do it. I understand what you may be forced to do through my putting such conditions. I explain very carefully so that you understand and that you understand all of the possible difficulties and the importance.”
     “And how will you advance on La Granja if that bridge is blown?”
     “We go forward prepared to repair it after we have stormed the pass. It is a very complicated and beautiful operation. As complicated and as beautiful as always. The plan has been manufactured in Madrid. It is another of Vicente Rojo, the unsuccessful professor’s, masterpieces. I make the attack and I make it, as always, not in sufficient force. It is a very possible operation, in spite of that. I am much happier about it than usual. It can be successful with that bridge eliminated. We can take Segovia. Look, I show you how it goes. You see? It is not the top of the pass where we attack. We hold that. It is much beyond. Look— Here— Like this—”
     “I would rather not know,” Robert Jordan said.
     “Good,” said Golz. “It is less of baggage to carry with you on the other side, yes?”
     “I would always rather not know. Then, no matter what can happen, it was not me that talked.”
     “It is better not to know,” Golz stroked his forehead with the pencil. “Many times I wish I did not know myself. But you do know the one thing you must know about the bridge?”
     “Yes. I know that.”
     “I believe you do,” Golz said. “I will not make you any little speech. Let us now have a drink. So much talking makes me very thirsty, Comrade Hordan. You have a funny name in Spanish, Comrade Hordown.”
     “How do you say Golz in Spanish, Comrade General?”
     “Hotze,” said Golz grinning, making the sound deep in his throat as though hawking with a bad cold. “Hotze,” he croaked. “Comrade Heneral Khotze. If I had known how they pronounced Golz in Spanish I would pick me out a better name before I come to war here. When I think I come to command a division and I can pick out any name I want and I pick out Hotze. Heneral Hotze. Now it is too late to change. How do you like partizan work?” It was the Russian term for guerilla work behind the lines.
     “Very much,” Robert Jordan said. He grinned. “It is very healthy in the open air.”
     “I like it very much when I was your age, too,” Golz said. “They tell me you blow bridges very well. Very scientific. It is only hearsay. I have never seen you do anything myself. Maybe nothing ever happens really. You really blow them?” he was teasing now. “Drink this,” he handed the glass of Spanish brandy to Robert Jordan. “You really blow them?”
     “You better not have any sometimes on this bridge. No, let us not talk any more about this bridge. You understand enough now about that bridge. We are very serious so we can make very strong jokes. Look, do you have many girls on the other side of the lines?”
     “No, there is no time for girls.”
     “I do not agree. The more irregular the service, the more irregular the life. You have very irregular service. Also you need a haircut.”
     “I have my hair cut as it needs it,” Robert Jordan said. He would be damned if he would have his head shaved like Golz. “I have enough to think about without girls,” he said sullenly.
     “What sort of uniform am I supposed to wear?” Robert Jordan asked.
     “None,” Golz said. “Your haircut is all right. I tease you. You are very different from me,” Golz had said and filled up the glasses again.
     “You never think about only girls. I never think at all. Why should I? I am Général Sovietique. I never think. Do not try to trap me into thinking.”
     Some one on his staff, sitting on a chair working over a map on a drawing board, growled at him in the language Robert Jordan did not understand.
     “Shut up,” Golz had said, in English. “I joke if I want. I am so serious is why I can joke. Now drink this and then go. You understand, huh?”
     “Yes,” Robert Jordan had said. “I understand.”
     They had shaken hands and he had saluted and gone out to the staff car where the old man was waiting asleep and in that car they had ridden over the road past Guadarrama, the old man still asleep, and up the Navacerrada road to the Alpine Club hut where he, Robert Jordan, slept for three hours before they started.
(To be continued in Excerpt 1-2)


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