Chapter 21 Summary

Robert Jordan awakens to feel a warm wind blowing. The snow is melting quickly and will most likely be gone by noon. He hears the sound of a horse approaching. He tells Maria to hide under the robe. Robert Jordan sees the horseman coming through the trees and aims his pistol at him. It is not a man he recognizes. He is wearing a khaki beret, a blanket cape, black boots, and a medal on his chest. Robert Jordan aims at the medal and fires. The horse rears, throwing off its rider and dragging him through the snow, leaving a bloody streak behind.

Robert Jordan tells Maria to get dressed quickly as the others come out of the cave. He tells Primitivo to catch the horse and asks who was supposed to be on guard. Pilar tells him it was supposed to be Agustin. Robert Jordan tells Anselmo to take two other men and ride up to where Agustin was told to stand guard. Primitivo brings the horse and the body back to camp.

Robert Jordan feels Maria against his knees, dressing under the robe. He realizes she has no place in his life now.

He knows that the Fascist patrol will miss the dead man and come looking for him, following the tracks to the camp. Hopefully the snow will melt first, or else something will happen to the patrol. He tells Pablo to get down below, then he gets the submachine gun. He tells Pablo he will take it up to Agustin. Pablo is to ride the horse away from the camp to confuse the patrol, should it come. Pablo says it is better not to make more tracks in the snow in case the planes come. Robert Jordan tells Fernando to take care of the bags with the explosives.

Turning, Robert Jordan sees Maria standing with Pilar. She comes running up the trail. She asks Robert Jordan if she can go with him, but he tells her she cannot. She offers to hold the legs of the submachine gun, but again Robert Jordan tells her she cannot go with him. He tells her to stay and take good care of her wedding shirt. She begs him to kiss her, but he refuses. She asks him if he noticed that the medal the Fascist rider wore was a Sacred Heart, which he did. She asks him to tell her that he loves her. He tells her that he will not. He tells her to go back, but she again begs him to let her go with him. She badgers him, but he refuses to give in. Robert Jordan leaves along with Primitivo, who says that if her hair were not so short she would be a pretty girl. Robert Jordan is thinking of something else, however. Primitivo asks how she is in bed, and Robert Jordan tells him to watch his mouth. He ignores him, looking at the position where he means to place the gun.