Chapter 28 Summary
Robert Jordan and Primitivo hear gunfire after the planes go away the first time. Robert Jordan tells himself that the planes most likely bombed the hilltop but did not kill anyone. He repeats this thought to Primitivo. When the gunfire stops, he feels a hollowness in his chest. When the sound of grenades reaches him, he feels some relief. When the silence returns and continues, however, he knows it is all over for El Sordo and his men.
Maria comes up from the camp bringing stew, bread, and wine. She asks what the planes did, and Robert Jordan tells her that it is over. Primitivo says that he cannot eat, but Robert Jordan tells him to eat anyway. He tells Maria that she may stay with him now, but she says that she must return to Pilar, who is giving her instruction. She asks Primitivo if he needs anything from the camp; he does not. He expresses his frustration at not being allowed to go to El Sordo’s aid, but Robert Jordan tells him there was no choice so there is no reason to speak of it.
Maria climbs down the rocks to the camp below as Robert Jordan watches her. An hour later he sees Lieutenant Berrenda and his men riding their horses down the hillside. He notices a bundle with bulges like peas in a pod. He also sees El Sordo’s gun.
Lieutenant Berrenda regrets having to take the heads of the guerrillas. He feels it is a barbarous act, but it had to be done to prove to his superiors that El Sordo was killed. He thinks of his friend Julian, who now lies dead across the back of one of the horses. He begins to pray.
Anselmo also sees the horsemen ride past his spot. He recognizes El Sordo’s gun but he cannot figure out what is in the oddly shaped bundle. When he rides through the hilltop where El Sordo met his death, he finds the decapitated bodies and realizes what the bundle contained. He begins to pray, something that he has not done since the movement first began. He rides down into the camp and is stopped by Fernando, who confirms the deaths of El Sordo and his men. Fernando calls the Fascists barbarians. Anselmo says that they must defeat the barbarians, take away all the artillery, and teach them dignity. Fernando agrees. Anselmo leaves him and goes down to the cave.