Chapter 34 Summary
Andres passes the Fascist post guarding the crests of the hills on his way to deliver Robert Jordan’s message to Golz containing his advice to cancel the attack. He skillfully maneuvers through the trip wires that could set off guns. He sees the run-down condition of the farm on which the post is set. Unlike the guerrilla fighters, the Fascists do not need the ruined hay and grain. He thinks this will be changed in the morning.
Andres had been glad to take the message because it got him away from camp. He knows he should be back in time for the attack, but he is not sure he wants to go back. Revenge for the death of El Sordo should provide an incentive, but Andres thinks the leader’s death really had nothing to do with them. Andres thinks his reaction to being given the message was similar to the times in his youth when he would be involved in the sport of bull-baiting and he would awaken to find it raining and the bull-baiting cancelled.
Andres had been very brace in those days. He had patiently waited until the bull charged, then he would grab him by the tail and pull him away from the other baiters. He had often been the first of the crowd to engage the bull, biting its ear and bringing it down. The others had joked and teased him, but he knew they had great respect for his bull-baiting abilities. Therefore, every year he had to repeat the same ear-biting stunt. Each time he would feel ashamed, empty, proud, and happy all at the same time. He would not miss it for anything, but he was always relieved when it was cancelled due to rain.
There is no question that he must go back and participate in the attack, Andres thinks. The others are all committed to it, and he cannot let them down. He cannot let the “accident” of being given a message to deliver provide an excuse to miss it. He sees a nest of partridges fly up. If it were not for the war, he thinks, he would come back and gather the eggs and raise the partridges for his own use. If it were not for the war, he would go with his brother Eladio to catch crayfish. If it were not for his father’s joining up with the Republicans, Andres would have been with the Fascists because it is easier to live under a regime than to fight it. Although he truly believes in the cause, it is a great responsibility. He would rather just concentrate on the small, daily things of life. He goes forward, knowing there will be an armed spot at the top of the hill where he will be challenged.