Chapter 2 Summary

Robert Jordan and Anselmo, guided by Pablo, approach a cave up in the timber on the mountainside. This cave serves as the camp for the guerrilla insurgents. Outside the cave entrance sits a gypsy man whittling. Pablo introduces him to Jordan as Rafael. The gypsy warns them against putting the two backpacks containing the dynamite inside the cave where there is a fire. Robert Jordan asks the gypsy what he is whittling and is told that it is a trap for foxes (though it is really for rabbits).

The gypsy gives the men some wine, and Robert Jordan can smell food cooking. The gypsy asks what became of the other dynamite expert (Kashkin) from previous expeditions. Robert Jordan tells him that Kashkin was captured following the attack on a train and committed suicide rather than submit to torture.

A young woman named Maria brings food out of the cave. She has extremely short blond hair that she explains was cut off when she was imprisoned three months ago. The gypsy explains that they found her hiding in the rocks following the train explosion during which Kashkin had been captured. She was wild but they could not leave her. Robert Jordan feels a strong attraction to Maria, so much so that he has difficulty speaking. He asks her if she “belongs” to anyone. She says that she does not, nor will she belong to him. Robert Jordan says that he has no time for women. The gypsy teasingly asks him if he cannot spare even fifteen minutes. Maria blushes every time Robert Jordan looks at her, and she asks him to stop.

Robert Jordan asks how many fighters are in the camp. He is told that there are seven men and two women. The other woman “belongs” to Pablo. The gypsy tells Robert Jordan that she is much braver than Pablo is. He also explains that they have a machine gun. The gypsy tells Robert Jordan of the last mission in which Kashkin was killed and Maria rescued. A gypsy woman about fifty years old exits the cave. She is Pilar, Pablo’s woman. She expresses contempt for Pablo. She asks Robert Jordan to take Maria out of the camp when he leaves, to take her to the coast where she can be treated well after her imprisonment.

The gypsy woman takes Robert Jordan’s hand and reads his palm. She looks at him and claims that she saw nothing. Robert Jordan does not believe her and repeatedly asks her what she saw, that he is strong enough to take bad news. She insists that she saw nothing. At last Robert Jordan awakens Anselmo so they can leave.