Chapter 25 Summary
As they listen to the attack on El Sordo’s camp, Primitivo does not understand why Robert Jordan has commanded them to remain where they are. The American tells him to stay with the gun and not to fire unless the troops come straight toward them. Primitivo tries to argue in favor of aiding El Sordo. Robert Jordan brushes him off and says he will explain his decision later. He tells Anselmo to stay with Agustin and the gun, holding its legs should Agustin need to fire. Anselmo agrees and asks about his mission to La Granja. Robert Jordan tells him it will wait until later.
Primitivo cries out again against the attack on El Sordo. Robert Jordan insists that they will do nothing. He has expected this attack since the morning. El Sordo’s men went to steal horses, and the Fascists followed their tracks in the snow. When Primitivo pleads to go to their aid, Robert Jordan says they are lost and it would be a mistake to divide the force they have remaining. Primitivo asks if he can go up with someone else and the small machine gun. Robert Jordan says it will be useless. The sound of firing doubles in intensity, and Primitivo is beside himself with frustration.
Pilar climbs up to the men. Robert Jordan tells her what is happening in El Sordo’s camp. Pilar expresses pity for the men. She says Rafael told her there were massive cavalry troops but she dismissed his tale as an exaggeration. Robert Jordan asks if she has packed; she has. He tells her that Pablo is about forty minutes ahead of the cavalry. Pilar expresses her conviction that he will not be seen. Robert Jordan tells Pilar that Primitivo wanted to go up to help El Sordo. Pilar tells Primitivo that he is crazy, that he would only die quickly with them. She is contemptuous of the men’s exaggeration of the importance of the passing of the cavalry. She says the impression of so little an event is the product of inaction.
Robert Jordan hears an airplane overhead. It is moving in the direction of El Sordo’s camp. They all keep down as they watch the plane circle twice and then fly off toward Segovia. Pilar apologizes to Primitivo for belittling him in his fear. Robert Jordan tells Pilar to keep Maria in the cave. She agrees and says she will send Rafael to find some mushrooms to cook with his hares. They listen as the sound of gunfire decreases. Robert Jordan says that it is not over but El Sordo and his men are surrounded. He asks Pilar if she brought him the documentation carried by the soldier they killed that morning. She says she forgot it but will send it with Maria.