Summary: Chapter Twenty-one

It is Monday morning. Robert Jordan hears the sound of hoof beats and sees a Fascist soldier on horseback riding toward him. He tells Maria to hide under the robe and then shoots the soldier. Everyone in the camp wakes. Robert Jordan asks who was supposed to be on guard. Pilar says it was Rafael, but Rafael is missing. Robert Jordan yells to the others to set up the machine gun and sends Pablo off with the Fascist soldier’s horse so that the tracks will lead away from the camp. Distracted and busy, Robert Jordan refuses to tell Maria that he loves her.

Summary: Chapter Twenty-two

In the forest, Agustín, Primitivo, and Robert Jordan set up the machine gun and camouflage it with pine branches. Robert Jordan tells the others where to set it up and how to use it. He worries that because the snowstorm has stopped, the tracks that El Sordo made the night before will still be visible.

Rafael finally returns to his post. He was off trapping a pair of hares who were mating in the snow. Robert Jordan is disgusted but not angry. Rafael goes down to give the hares to the camp, and Primitivo mounts the hill a little higher to keep watch. Robert Jordan keeps an eye on two crows in nearby trees and decides that if the crows stay quiet, no one will come. One crow flies away. Robert Jordan discusses the next day’s attack plan with Agustín. An observation plane rumbles overhead, and the second crow flies away.

Summary: Chapter Twenty-three

We do it coldly but they do not, nor ever have. It is their extra sacrament. . . .

See Important Quotations Explained

As Anselmo returns with more tree camouflage, Robert Jordan spots a group of four Fascist cavalrymen following the tracks of the Fascist horse Pablo led away. Robert Jordan insists that the other men—Agustín, Anselmo, and, on the hill above, Primitivo—stay quiet and not fire. The cavalry passes without noticing them. Another, larger group of horsemen also passes without seeing anything.

Anselmo volunteers to sneak to the nearby village of La Granja after the snow melts to find out any information he can. Robert Jordan is nervous and feels that he and the others are talking too much. Agustín talks about the urge to kill that he felt as the cavalry rode by. Robert Jordan acknowledges to himself that he too has felt the excitement of killing. Anselmo says he would rather put prisoners to work than kill them. Anselmo then goes down to the camp to intercept Rafael and bring back breakfast.

Summary: Chapter Twenty-four

Over breakfast, Robert Jordan and Agustín talk about Maria. Agustín confides that he too is in love with her and implores Robert Jordan to take her love seriously. They discuss the dependability of their comrades. Agustín says that El Sordo’s men are very good. Suddenly, Robert Jordan hushes Agustín. He hears noises in the distance and realizes that there is fighting at El Sordo’s. He tells Agustín that they must not go to help but rather stay where they are.