Chapter 41 Summary
Above the bridge, Pablo stops and dismounts. He tells Pilar to get the grenade sacks while he hobbles the horses. Robert Jordan asks Pilar once again if she understands that there is to be no attack until she hears the bombs. She becomes irritated and says that she understood him the very first time he told her. Robert Jordan then goes to Pablo to ask if he also understands. Pablo says he knows he is to destroy the post, cut the wire, fall back to the bridge, and cover the bridge until the bridge is destroyed. Robert Jordan will man the machine gun until that time. Pablo says once again that there are not enough horses. As Pilar had with him, Robert Jordan becomes irritated with Pablo for not trusting him to remember. Pablo prepares to go to his point, and Robert Jordan wonders what else he has planned. As they shake hands good-bye, Robert Jordan is surprised that Pablo’s hand is not slimy, as he imagined it to be, but strong and steady. Pablo apologizes for stealing the material. Robert Jordan tells him that at least he has brought what they need.
Robert Jordan goes to say good-bye to Maria. He has an unreal feeling that he has done all this before. As he bends down to kiss Maria good-bye, his pack shifts and pushes his head forward into Maria’s. He tells her not to worry about the gunfire. As he leaves, he feels younger than he has since he was a child. He remembers the first time he left home to go to school. His father had taken him to the train station and was very emotional at their parting. Robert Jordan had been embarrassed. The conductor asked him if he minded going away to school. Robert Jordan did not, but he felt that only at that moment.
Robert Jordan checks on Agustin and Anselmo, who are both ready. The three men go carefully downhill to the spot Robert Jordan and Anselmo had picked out the day he arrived. Below at the post, they see a light from the sentry’s brazier. Robert Jordan reminds Agustin to will keep watch on that sentry while he and Anselmo take care of the other post.
Once again, Robert Jordan feels that all this has happened before, perhaps simply because he has explained it so often to the others. He finds his spot and lies down on the pine needles where he can see the sentries. He waits quietly for the approaching daylight.