Chapter 3 Summary

Robert Jordan and Anselmo climb down the mountain to within fifty yards of the bridge they are to dynamite. It is a wide, metal bridge crossing a deep gorge. Robert Jordan sees that it will not be difficult to demolish the bridge and quickly makes sketches of the situation. While Robert Jordan is sketching, Anselmo is observing the sentries. He points out the single sentry to Robert Jordan. The sentry box on the opposite end of the bridge is too far for them to see. There is another post five hundred meters below the turn of the stream. Anselmo says there are seven men and a corporal, according to the gypsy.

They see airplanes flying overhead as they prepare to go. They cannot determine on whose side the airplanes are on. Both Robert Jordan and Anselmo say they think they are on the side of the Republicans. However, looking more closely, Robert Jordan sees that they are the wrong shape and that they belong to the Fascists. But he does not say this to Anselmo. It is better for them to act like the planes belong to them.

Going back to the camp, the two men begin to talk about hunting. Anselmo invites Robert Jordan back after the war to hunt with him. Robert Jordan says that he does not like to hunt animals, but he is comfortable killing men if they are enemies during wartime. Anselmo says that he feels the opposite, that the killing of men, even in a time of war, is a sin. However, he believes that the sins he commits in this war will be forgiven. When Robert Jordan asks by whom they will be forgiven, Anselmo says that he does not know. He no longer believes in God, since no God would allow the atrocities he has seen. He misses believing in God, but he only believes in man. Robert Jordan suggests that he may then forgive himself for the sin of killing human beings.

As they approach the camp, they are stopped by a guard named Agustin. Although Agustin knows Anselmo, still he must do his job. He asks the two men if it is true that they are going to blow up a bridge. Every other word he speaks is an obscenity or an “unprintable” word. As Robert Jordan and Anselmo leave the guard to go up the mountain, Anselmo assures the American that Agustin is a good man despite his vulgar language. He has confidence in him, though he does not trust Pablo, whom he calls bad. The Republican leader El Sordo, Anselmo says, is as good as Pablo is bad. Robert Jordan agrees that Pablo is bad and asks if it is advisable to go to another location. Anselmo says that this country is Pablo’s, so he would know where they went. He tells Robert Jordan that they should move with caution.