Chapter 39 Summary

The group climbs the hill in the dark, heavy-laden with explosives. Pilar says that the rest of the explosives are in the horses’ saddlebags along with camping gear. The horses can be cut loose if need be. Robert Jordan feels the burden of all the explosives and ammunition he is carrying. Pablo, coming up to him as they climb, tells him that the five additional men think the mission will be successful simply because they have joined it. Pablo suggests that Robert Jordan say nothing to disillusion them. Robert Jordan agrees but says now they must make it successful.

Cynically, Robert Jordan does not believe that Pablo had any serious conversion when he deserted them. He believes that he is still self-serving. Pablo tells him that the five additional men can take the lower post. They may even go further than intended. Robert Jordan does not respond to this. He does not think he will be invited to continue in Pablo’s camp after the bridge has been destroyed. However, Robert Jordan has felt better since Pablo returned with the five men; he sees a possible break in their string of curses. He feels his confidence rise a bit within him. In a moment of self-analysis, he sees that his greatest talent is the ability to ignore the possibilities of bad endings. However, when he must count on others too much, such as now, this talent is weakened or destroyed. Thus he fears he will not survive this day. He thinks of himself, alone, as nothing. With another person, he is everything. He congratulates himself in overcoming his previous despair. For Maria, the best thing he can do is to finish the mission and get out as fast as possible. If he thinks too much about her at this point, he will waver. He tells himself not to think of her at all.

Maria comes up to him. He tells her not to worry, that Rafael will be with her watching the horses. She says that she would rather be with him, but he tells her that she will be most useful with the horses. At this point the five men ride up to the others. Robert Jordan greets them. Pablo introduces him and assumes leadership of the group while they are present. Pilar recognizes some of them but they keep their distance. Pablo then tells everyone to keep their mouths shut and he will lead them to the place where they will leave the horses.