Chapter 10 Summary

Robert Jordan, Pilar, and Maria stop to rest and to see El Sordo. Robert Jordan asks Pilar if she ever goes to Segovia; Pilar replies that she is too ugly to go there. The others protest, but she insists and asks them to think what it is like to be an ugly woman who feels beautiful inside. She has had many men, she says, but eventually they all see her ugliness.

The conversation changes and they talk of the revolution. Robert Jordan asks Pilar where she was at the start of the movement. Pilar tells him that she was in her town. Robert Jordan asks if that was Avila, since that is where Pablo had said he was from. Pilar says that Pablo lies, that he is from a small town. Pilar is hesitant to talk about what happened there because of its brutality, but Robert Jordan and Maria insist.

The insurrectionists had surrounded the barracks where several Fascists were hiding. Pablo placed dynamite against one wall and gave the Fascists an ultimatum. They refused, and he blew up the building. Two were killed and others wounded or surrendered. Pablo took the four surrendered Fascist guards and had them line up against another wall. He shot them in the back of the head one by one.

When the Republicans won the town, the remaining Fascists were placed in a church along with a priest to give them their last rites. One at a time, the Fascists were brought out and made to run a gauntlet. At first the Republicans were reluctant to beat the Fascists, but by the third one they had become brutal. Using bats and sticks, they beat the men as they ran and eventually threw them off the edge of a cliff. After a while, the Republicans stormed the building, killing the Fascists with bats, sickles, and pitchforks. They hauled the dead and mutilated bodies out into the plaza to throw over the cliff. By this time, many of the Republicans were drunk. Pilar says that she became sickened by the actions of the drunken men. The next time a village is taken, she says, the drunk should be rounded up and disposed of first.

Maria is sickened by this tale and does not want to hear any more. Pilar says she will not tell her about the retaking of the town by the Fascists a few days later because it was even more brutal. Robert Jordan wants to hear but can get Pilar to promise only that she will tell him about it later when Maria cannot hear. Maria laments that there do not seem to be any pleasant things to speak of.