Chapter 24 Summary
Robert Jordan and the other men eat breakfast as the warm wind continues to melt the snow. The Spanish are amazed that the American eats onions for breakfast. When Agustin asks if this is a common practice in America, Robert Jordan states that it is looked down upon there. Agustin objects to the smell, but Robert Jordan is in a good mood and is indifferent to his opinion. Agustin says there is a big difference between Robert Jordan and Kashkin, and Robert Jordan agrees: he is alive and Kashkin is dead. As soon as he says this, he regrets it. He does not know why he said something so hateful. Aloud, he says that Kashkin suffered much, whereas he is among those who suffer little.
Agustin says that now Robert Jordan has Maria. He tells the American that Pilar has kept the girl away from the other men but has given her to Robert Jordan almost like a gift. Robert Jordan says that she was given into his care. Agustin asks what his plans are for her after the bridge. Robert Jordan says that she will go with him. Agustin confesses that he loves Maria too, though he has never touched her. He begs Robert Jordan not to treat her badly. Seeing that Agustin is serious, Robert Jordan says that he will marry her. Agustin rejects this, that marriage is not possible during this war. But the intention is what is important. Agustin also tells Robert Jordan that it is no light thing that Maria has slept with him. She is not a whore, despite this.
Robert Jordan has Agustin promise that he will give him his confidence and obey him even though his future orders may appear wrong. Agustin promises his obedience because Robert Jordan was correct about the four horsemen. Agustin says that Pilar and the other men are of great value, that they are dependable. He asks Robert Jordan if their mission to blow up the bridge will be bad, to which the American replies that it might be. All of a sudden, he hears something. He hushes Agustin and they hear the sound of automatic rifle fire. Robert Jordan looks up at Primitivo above them. He also has heard it. Robert Jordan tells Agustin that there is fighting at El Sordo’s camp. When Agustin suggests that they go up to help him, Robert Jordan says they will stay where they are.