Chapter 29 Summary

Anselmo enters the cave to find Robert Jordan and Pablo sitting at the table and drinking wine. Pilar is keeping Maria at the back of the cave so she will not overhear what the men are saying. Anselmo relates what he saw up on the hilltop: six people dead and decapitated. Robert Jordan just nods; Pablo says nothing. Robert Jordan invites Anselmo to sit with them. He gives him a cup of wine, which burns as it goes down. The second cup goes down more smoothly. Although he wants a third cup, Robert Jordan tells him the remaining wine is for the next day.

Robert Jordan asks Anselmo for a report of what he saw that day. Anselmo gives him a detailed report, mostly from memory, of every vehicle that passed on the road near his post. He tells of seeing the cavalry carrying the bundle of heads as well as El Sordo’s gun.

Robert Jordan asks Anselmo who other than him has crossed the lines to the side of the Republic (they are currently behind enemy lines). Anselmo tells him that Andres and Eladio have, though Andres is the better of the two. Robert Jordan learns that it would take Andres three hours to cross, provided he is not overburdened or stopped. He says he will write a dispatch for Andres to take across the line and deliver to General Golz.

He tells Anselmo that Golz will be at the Estado Mayor of the Division. Such military sounding words confuse Anselmo, and he tells Robert Jordan they are sure to confuse Andres as well. Robert Jordan explains that the Estado Mayor was selected by the General after Robert Jordan left him. All Andres has to do is to ask around and it will be easy for him to find the headquarters.

Robert Jordan tells Anselmo that he will write out the dispatch and stamp it with a seal. He explains that the seal will be honored by the Republicans. He sends Anselmo to fetch Andres so he can explain all this to him. Anselmo reminds him that he will have to explain the plan very carefully to Andres, who understands military terms even less than he does.

As Robert Jordan writes out the dispatch, Pablo tells him not to give up hope. Robert Jordan barely listens. In the dispatch, he is explaining to Golz that the situation has changed and that the attack should be called off. Robert Jordan’s orders were to blow up the bridge after the attack had begun. If the attack does not happen, he will not have to blow up the bridge. When he is finished, he asks Pablo what he was saying. Pablo says only that he has confidence. Silently, Robert Jordan wishes that he did as well.