Chapter 16 Summary

As Robert Jordan, Anselmo, and Fernando come into the cave out of the storm, Pilar tells Robert Jordan that El Sordo had been there, bringing him a bottle of whiskey. Robert Jordan ponders the difference between two kinds of Europeans: the French would have stayed to share a first drink, leaving what was left to him; the Spaniards leave the whole bottle when they cannot stay. With much bickering between Maria and Pilar, the women provide warm food and clothes for the three men. Pablo is being insulting. Robert Jordan wants Maria to eat with the men, but she says that she and Pilar will eat afterward.

Pablo asks Robert Jordan about Montana, whether that is the place where men wear skirts. Robert Jordan corrects him, telling him that is Scotland, but Pablo continues to badger him. Primitivo, one of the other men, politely asks him about mountains and farms. Robert Jordan explains the homesteading act, that a farmer can earn free land by living on and improving it. The men want to know if there are large landowners and what danger they pose. Robert Jordan explains that inheritance tax and income tax laws are meant to level the differences in income. Primitivo asks if there will be fighting in Montana between the government and the large landowners, and Robert Jordan says there might be.

Pablo, now significantly drunk, says that he regrets killing the Fascists in his village. If he could, he would go back and raise them from the dead. The talk turns to Robert Jordan’s original purpose in coming to Spain, to learn the language and the country because he is a Spanish instructor in a university. Pablo says he must be a fake professor since he has no beard. He continues badgering Robert Jordan until the American decides he must provoke Pablo into an argument so he can kill him. However, Pablo is not provoked. Agustin tries to provoke him, but Pablo still resists. Agustin slaps then hits him in the mouth. Still he remains calm. He decides to go to check on his horses. Agustin calls him a horse lover and suggests that he go have sex with his horses. Pablo says that his horses have more sense than the men there. They are led by a woman with her brain between her legs, and now a foreigner (Robert Jordan) has come to destroy them. Pilar shouts at him, telling him to get out. He leaves but promises to return shortly.