Chapter 12 Summary

As Robert Jordan, Maria, and Pilar leave El Sordo, they can tell that the leader is anxious to get rid of them. He answers questions politely but obviously is ready for them to go. Pilar asks Santiago about it, but he assures her that it is all right, though it causes him to think too.

They do not speak as they continue walking down the steep trail to their camp. Robert Jordan notices that Pilar is looking pale. He tells her to rest for a minute, but she refuses. Maria also wants her to stop, and eventually she agrees. She apologizes to Maria for the way she spoke to her previously. Maria says that she does not mind what the older woman says when she is angry, and that she is angry often. Pilar, however, says that it is worse than anger. Maria goes to her and puts her head on her lap. Pilar tells Robert Jordan that he can have Maria in a little while, but Maria asks her not to talk like that. Pilar explains that she has never wanted Robert Jordan, but she is still jealous. She truly wants Maria’s happiness, but she is still jealous. She may be an older woman, and an ugly one in her opinion, but she still desires men.

Pilar tells Maria that she (Maria) is meant for Robert Jordan. She says that few women would come out and admit their jealousy, but Maria begs her not to speak of it. Pilar says she will continue to say it until she no longer wishes to say it. Now she no longer wishes to say it, so she stops. She calls Maria a “little rabbit” because she overheard Robert Jordan call her that. Robert Jordan blushes at being caught in this endearment. Pilar asks him why he says nothing, inquiring if the cat or some other animal has got his tongue. Robert Jordan insists not, that he alone has his tongue. Pilar asks him if he likes the taste of it, and Robert Jordan says not much. He tells Pilar that she is a hard woman. She asks him in return if he is complicated. He says that he is not, nor is he simple. Pilar is pleased with him even though she could not take Maria from him.

Pilar says that she is not like herself that day. The bridge has given her a headache. She says that she will go on and leave Maria and Robert Jordan alone. Robert Jordan is worried because she looked so ill previously, but Maria tells him to let her go ahead.