"You must have been in a motor-car," he said.
The back of the collar and the upper part of the shoulders were gray with dust.
"Well, well," he said. "I knew you were in a motor-car from the way the dust was." So I gave him two copper
At the end of the street I saw the cathedral and walked up toward it. The first time I ever saw it I thought the
facade was ugly but I liked it now. I went inside. It was dim and dark and the pillars went high up, and there were
people praying, and it smelt of incense, and there were some wonderful big windows. I knelt and started to pray and
prayed for everybody I thought of, Brett and Mike and Bill and Robert Cohn and myself, and all the bull-fighters,
separately for the ones I liked, and lumping all the rest, then I prayed for myself again, and while I was praying for
myself I found I was getting sleepy, so I prayed that the bull-fights would be good, and that it would be a fine fiesta,
and that we would get some fishing. I wondered if there was anything else I might pray foi and I thought I would
like to have some money, so I prayed that I would make a lot of money, and then I started to think how I would
make it, and thinking of making money reminded me of the count, and I started wondering about where he was, and
regretting I hadn't seen him since that night in Montmartre, and about something funny Brett told me about him, and
as all the time I was kneeling with my forehead on the wood in front of me, and was thinking of myself as praying, I
was a little ashamed, and regretted that I was such a rotten Catholic, but realized there was nothing I could do about
it, at least for a while, and maybe never, but that anyway it was a grand religion, and I only wished I felt religious
and maybe I would the next time; and then I was out in the hot sun on the steps of the cathedral, and the forefingers
and the thumb of my right hand were still damp, and I felt them dry in the sun. The sunlight was hot and hard, and I
crossed over beside some buildings, and walked back along sidestreets to the hotel.
At dinner that night we found that Robert Cohn had taken a bath, had had a shave and a haircut and a shampoo,
and something put on his hair afterward to make it stay down. He was nervous, and I did not try to help him any.
The train was due in at nine o'clock from San Sebastian, and, if Brett and Mike were coming, they would be on it.
At twenty minutes to nine we were not half through dinner. Robert Cohn got up from the table and said he would go
to the station. I said I would go with him, just to devil him. Bill said he would be damned if he would leave his
dinner. I said we would be right back.
We walked to the station. I was enjoying Cohn's nervousness. I hoped Brett would be on the train. At the
station the train was late, and we sat on a baggage-truck and waited outside in the dark. I have never seen a man in
civil life as nervous as Robert Cohn--nor as eager. I was enjoying it. It was lousy to enjoy it, but I felt lousy. Cohn
had a wonderful quality of bringing out the worst in anybody.
After a while we heard the train-whistle way off below on the other side of the plateau, and then we saw the
headlight coming up the hill. We went inside the station and stood with a crowd of people just back of the gates, and
the train came in and stopped, and everybody started coming out through the gates.
They were not in the crowd. We waited till everybody had gone through and out of the station and gotten into
buses, or taken cabs, or were walking with their friends or relatives through the dark into the town.
"I knew they wouldn't come," Robert said. We were going back to the hotel.
"I thought they might," I said.
Bill was eating fruit when we came in and finishing a bottle of wine.
"Didn't come, eh?"
"Do you mind if I give you that hundred pesetas in the morning, Cohn?" Bill asked. "I haven't changed any
money here yet."
"Oh, forget about it," Robert Cohn said. "Let's bet on something else. Can you bet on bull-fights?"
"You could," Bill said, "but you don't need to."
"It would be like betting on the war," I said. "You don't need any economic interest."
"I'm very curious to see them," Robert said.
Montoya came up to our table. He had a telegram in his hand. "It's for you." He handed it to me.
It read: "Stopped night San Sebastian."
"It's from them," I said. I put it in my pocket. Ordinarily I should have handed it over.
"They've stopped over in San Sebastian," I said. "Send their regards to you."
Why I felt that impulse to devil him I do not know. Of course I do know. I was blind, unforgivingly jealous of
what had happened to him. The fact that I took it as a matter of course did not alter that any. I certainly did hate him.
I do not think I ever really hated him until he had that little spell of superiority at lunch--that and when he went
through all that barbering. So I put the telegram in my pocket. The telegram came to me, anyway.
"Well," I said. "We ought to pull out on the noon bus for Burguete. They can follow us if they get in
There were only two trains up from San Sebastian, an early morning train and the one we had just met.
"That sounds like a good idea," Cohn said.
"The sooner we get on the stream the better."
"It's all one to me when we start," Bill said. "The sooner the better."
We sat in the Irufla for a while and had coffee and then took a little walk out to the bull-ring and across the
field and under the trees at the edge of the cliff and looked down at the river in the dark, and I turned in early. Bill
and Cohn stayed out in the café quite late, I believe, because I was asleep when they came in.
In the morning I bought three tickets for the bus to Burguete. It was scheduled to leave at two o'clock. There
was nothing earlier. I was sitting over at the Irufla reading the papers when I saw Robert Cohn coming across the
square. He came up to the table and sat down in one of the wicker chairs.
"This is a comfortable café," he said. "Did you have a good night, Jake?"
"I slept like a log."
"I didn't sleep very well. Bill and I were out late, too."
"Where were you?"
"Here. And after it shut we went over to that other café. The old man there speaks German and English."
"The Café Suizo."
"That's it. He seems like a nice old fellow. I think it's a better café than this one."
"It's not so good in the daytime," I said. "Too hot. By the way, I got the bus tickets."
"I'm not going up to-day. You and Bill go on ahead."
"I've got your ticket."
"Give it to me. I'll get the money back."
"It's five pesetas."
Robert Cohn took out a silver five-peseta piece and gave it to me.
"I ought to stay," he said. "You see I'm afraid there's some sort of misunderstanding."
"Why," I said. "They may not come here for three or four days now if they start on parties at San Sebastian."
"That's just it," said Robert. "I'm afraid they expected to meet me at San Sebastian, and that's why they
"What makes you think that?"
"Well, I wrote suggesting it to Brett."
"Why in hell didn't you stay there and meet them, then?" I started to say, but I stopped. I thought that idea
would come to him by itself, but I do not believe it ever did.
He was being confidential now and it was giving him pleasure to be able to talk with the understanding that I
knew there was something between him and Brett.
"Well, Bill and I will go up right after lunch," I said.
"I wish I could go. We've been looking forward to this fishing all winter." He was being sentimental about it.
"But I ought to stay. I really ought. As soon as they come I'll bring them right up."
"Let's find Bill."
"I want to go over to the barber-shop."
"See you at lunch."
I found Bill up in his room. He was shaving.
"Oh, yes, he told me all about it last night," Bill said. "He's a great little confider. He said he had a date with
Brett at San Sebastian."
"The lying bastard!"
"Oh, no," said Bill. "Don't get sore. Don't get sore at this stage of the trip. How did you ever happen to know
this fellow anyway?"
"Don't rub it in."
Bill looked around, half-shaved, and then went on talking into the mirror while he lathered his face.
"Didn't you send him with a letter to me in New York last winter? Thank God, I'm a travelling man. Haven't
you got some more Jewish friends you could bring along?" He rubbed his chin with his thumb, looked at it, and then
started scraping again.
"You've got some fine ones yourself."
"Oh, yes. I've got some darbs. But not alongside of this Robert Cohn. The funny thing is he's nice, too. I like
him. But he's just so awful."
"He can be damn nice."
"I know it. That's the terrible part."
"Yes. Go on and laugh," said Bill. "You weren't out with him last night until two o'clock."
"Was he very bad?"
"Awful. What's all this about him and Brett, anyway? Did she ever have anything to do with him?"
He raised his chin up and pulled it from side to side.
"Sure. She went down to San Sebastian with him."
"What a damn-fool thing to do. Why did she do that?"
"She wanted to get out of town and she can't go anywhere alone. She said she thought it would be good for
"What bloody-fool things people do. Why didn't she go off with some of her own people? Or you?"--he
slurred that over--"or me? Why not me?" He looked at his face carefully in the glass, put a big dab of lather on each
cheek-bone. "It's an honest face. It's a face any woman would be safe with."
"She'd never seen it."
"She should have. All women should see it. It's a face that ought to be thrown on every screen in the country.
Every woman ought to be given a copy of this face as she leaves the altar. Mothers should tell their daughters about
this face. My son"--he pointed the razor at me--"go west with this face and grow up with the country."
He ducked down to the bowl, rinsed his face with cold water, put on some alcohol, and then looked at himself
carefully in the glass, pulling down his long upper lip.
My God. he said, isn't it an awful face?
He looked in the glass.
"And as for this Robert Cohn," Bill said, "he makes me sick, and he can go to hell, and I'm damn glad he's
staying here so we won't have him fishing with us."
"You're damn right."
"We're going trout-fishing. We're going trout-fishing in the Irati River, and we're going to get tight now at
lunch on the wine of the country, and then take a swell bus ride."
"Come on. Let's go over to the Irufla and start," I said.
It was baking hot in the square when we came out after lunch with our bags and the rod-case to go to Burguete.
People were on top of the bus, and others were climbing up a ladder. Bill went up and Robert sat beside Bill to save
a place for me, and I went back in the hotel to get a couple of bottles of wine to take with us. When I came out the
bus was crowded. Men and women were sitting on all the baggage and boxes on top, and the women all had their
fans going in the sun. It certainiy was hot. Robert climbed down and I fitted into the place he had saved on the one
wooden seat that ran across the top.
Robert Cohn stood in the shade of the arcade waiting for us to start. A Basque with a big leather wine-bag in
his lap lay across the top of the bus in front of our seat, leaning back against our legs. He offered the wine-skin to
Bill and to me, and when I tipped it up to drink he imitated the sound of a klaxon motor-horn so well and so
suddenly that I spilled some of the wine, and everybody laughed. He apologized and made me take another drink.
He made the klaxon again a little later, and it fooled me the second time. He was very good at it. The Basques liked
it. The man next to Bill was talking to him in Spanish and Bill was not getting it, so he offered the man one of the
bottles of wine. The man waved it away. He said it was too hot and he had drunk too much at lunch. When Bill
offered the bottle the second time he took a long drink, and then the bottle went all over that part of the bus. Every
one took a drink very politely, and then they made us cork it up and put it away. They all wanted us to drink from
their leather wine-bottles. They were peasants going up into the hills.
Finally, after a couple more false klaxons, the bus started, and Robert Cohn waved good-by to us, and all the
Basques waved goodby to him. As soon as we started out on the road outside of town it was cool. It felt nice riding
high up and close under the trees. The bus went quite fast and made a good breeze, and as we went out along the
road with the dust powdering the trees and down the hill, we had a fine view, back through the trees, of the town
rising up from the bluff above the river. The Basque lying against my knees pointed out the view with the neck of
the wine-bottle, and winked at us. He nodded his head.
"Pretty nice, eh?"
"These Basques are swell people," Bill said.
The Basque lying against my legs was tanned the color of saddleleather. He wore a black smock like all the
rest. There were wrinkles in his tanned neck. He turned around and offered his wine-bag to Bill. Bill handed him
one of our bottles. The Basque wagged a forefinger at him and handed the bottle back, slapping in the cork with the
palm of his hand. He shoved the wine-bag up.
"Arriba! Arriba!" he said. "Lift it up."
Bill raised the wine-skin and let the stream of wine spurt out and into his mouth, his head tipped back. When
he stopped drinking and tipped the leather bottle down a few drops ran down his chin.
"No! No!" several Basques said. "Not like that." One snatched the bottle away from the owner, who was
himself about to give a demonstration. He was a young fellow and he held the wine-bottle at full arms' length and
raised it high up, squeezing the leather bag with his hand so the stream of wine hissed into his mouth. He held the
bag out there, the wine making a flat, hard trajectory into his mouth, and he kept on swallowing smoothly and
"Hey!" the owner of the bottle shouted. "Whose wine is that?"
The drinker waggled his little finger at him and smiled at us with his eyes. Then he bit the stream off sharp,
made a quick lift with the wine-bag and lowered it down to the owner. He winked at us. The owner shook the
We passed through a town and stopped in front of the posada, and the driver took on several packages. Then
we started on again, and outside the town the road commenced to mount. We were going through farming country
with rocky hills that sloped down into the fields. The grain-fields went up the hillsides. Now as we went higher
there was a wind blowing the grain. The road was white and dusty, and the dust rose under the wheels and hung in
the air behind us. The road climbed up into the hills and left the rich grain-fields below. Now there were only
patches of grain on the bare hillsides and on each side of the water-courses. We turned sharply out to the side of the
road to give room to pass to a long string of six mules, following one after the other, hauling a high-hooded wagon
loaded with freight. The wagon and the mules were covered with dust. Close behind was another string of mules and
another wagon. This was loaded with lumber, and the arriero driving the mules leaned back and put on the thick
wooden brakes as we passed. Up here the country was quite barren and the hills were rocky and hard-baked clay
furrowed by the rain.
We came around a curve into a town, and on both sides opened out a sudden green valley. A stream went
through the centre of the town and fields of grapes touched the houses.
The bus stopped in front of a posada and many of the passengers got down, and a lot of the baggage was
unstrapped from the roof from under the big tarpaulins and lifted down. Bill and I got down and went into the
posada. There was a low, dark room with saddles and harness, and hay-forks made of white wood, and clusters of
canvas rope-soled shoes and hams and slabs of bacon and white garlics and long sausages hanging from the roof. It
was cool and dusky, and we stood in front of a long wooden counter with two women behind it serving drinks.
Behind them were shelves stacked with supplies and goods.
We each had an aguardiente and paid forty centimes for the two drinks. I gave the woman fifty centimes to
make a tip, and she gave me back the copper piece, thinking I had misunderstood the price.
Two of our Basques came in and insisted on buying a drink. So they bought a drink and then we bought a
drink, and then they slapped us on the back and bought another drink. Then we bought, and then we all went out
into the sunlight and the heat, and climbed back on top of the bus. There was plenty of room now for every one to
sit on the seat, and the Basque who had been lying on the tin roof now sat between us. The woman who had been
serving drinks came out wiping her hands on her apron and talked to somebody inside the bus. Then the driver came
out swinging two flat leather mailpouches and climbed up, and everybody waving we started off.
The road left the green valley at once, and we were up in the hills again. Bill and the wine-bottle Basque were
having a conversation. A man leaned over from the other side of the seat and asked in English: "You're Americans?"
"I been there," he said. "Forty years ago."
He was an old man, as brown as the others, with the stubble of a white beard.
"How was it?"
"What you say?"
"How was America?"
"Oh, I was in California. It was fine."
"Why did you leave?"
"What you say?"
"Why did you come back here?"
"Oh! I come back to get married. I was going to go back but my wife she don't like to travel. Where you
"I been there," he said. "I been in Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City."
He named them carefully.
"How long were you over?"
"Fifteen years. Then I come back and got married."
"Have a drink?"
"All right," he said. "You can't get this in America, eh?"
"There's plenty if you can pay for it."
"What you come over here for?"
"We're going to the fiesta at Pamplona."
"You like the bull-fights?"
"Sure. Don't you?"
"Yes," he said. "I guess I like them."
Then after a little:
"Where you go now?"
"Up to Burguete to fish."
"Well," he said, "I hope you catch something."
He shook hands and turned around to the back seat again. The other Basques had been impressed. He sat back
comfortably and smiled at me when I turned around to look at the country. But the effort of talking American
seemed to have tired him. He did not say anything after that.
The bus climbed steadily up the road. The country was barren and rocks stuck up through the clay. There was
no grass beside the road. Looking back we could see the country spread out below. Far back the fields were squares
of green and brown on the hillsides. Making the horizon were the brown mountains. They were strangely shaped. As
we climbed higher the horizon kept changing. As the bus ground slowly up the road we could see other mountains
coming up in the south. Then the road came over the crest, flattened out, and went into a forest. It was a forest of
cork oaks, and the sun came through the trees in patches, and there were cattle grazing back in the trees. We went
through the forest and the road came out and turned along a rise of land, and out ahead of us was a rolling green
plain, with dark mountains beyond it. These were not like the brown, heat-baked mountains we had left behind.
These were wooded and there were clouds coming down from them. The green plain stretched off. It was cut by
fences and the white of the road showed through the trunks of a double line of trees that crossed the plain toward the
north. As we came to the edge of the rise we saw the red roofs and white houses of Burguete ahead strung out on the
plain, and away off on the shoulder of the first dark mountain was the gray metal-sheathed roof of the monastery of
"There's Roncevaux," I said.
"Way off there where the mountain starts."
"It's cold up here," Bill said.
"It's high," I said. "It must be twelve hundred metres."
"It's awful cold," Bill said.
The bus levelled down onto the straight line of road that ran to Burguete. We passed a crossroads and crossed
a bridge over a stream. The houses of Burguete were along both sides of the road. There were no side-streets. We
passed the church and the schoolyard, and the bus stopped. We got down and the driver handed down our bags and
the rod-case. A carabineer in his cocked hat and yellow leather cross-straps came up.
"What's in there?" he pointed to the rod-case.
I opened it and showed him. He asked to see our fishing permits and I got them out. He looked at the date and
then waved us on.
"Is that all right?" I asked.
"Yes. Of course."
We went up the street, past the whitewashed stone houses, families sitting in their doorways watching us, to
The fat woman who ran the inn came out from the kitchen and shook hands with us. She took off her
spectacles, wiped them, and put them on again. It was cold in the inn and the wind was starting to blow outside. The
woman sent a girl up-stairs with us to show the room. There were two beds, a washstand, a clothes-chest, and a big,
framed steel-engraving of Nuestra Señora de Roncesvalles. The wind was blowing against the shutters. The room
was on the north side of the inn. We washed, put on sweaters, and came down-stairs into the dining-room. It had a
stone floor, low ceiling, and was oakpanelled. The shutters were all up and it was so cold you could see your breath.
"My God!" said Bill. "It can't be this cold to-morrow. I'm not going to wade a stream in this weather."
There was an upright piano in the far corner of the room beyond the wooden tables and Bill went over and
started to play.
"I got to keep warm," he said.
I went out to find the woman and ask her how much the room and board was. She put her hands under her
apron and looked away from me.
"Why, we only paid that in Pamplona."
She did not say anything, just took off her glasses and wiped them on her apron.
"That's too much," I said. "We didn't pay more than that at a big hotel."
"We've put in a bathroom."
"Haven't you got anything cheaper?"
"Not in the summer. Now is the big season."
We were the only people in the inn. Well, I thought, it's only a few days.
"Is the wine included?"
"Well," I said. "It's all right."
I went back to Bill. He blew his breath at me to show how cold it was, and went on playing. I sat at one of the
tables and looked at the pictures on the wall. There was one panel of rabbits, dead, one of pheasants, also dead, and
one panel of dead ducks. The panels were all dark and smoky-looking. There was a cupboard full of liqueur bottles.
I looked at them all. Bill was still playing. "How about a hot rum punch?" he said. "This isn't going to keep me
I went out and told the woman what a rum punch was and how to make it. In a few minutes a girl brought a
stone pitcher, steaming, into the room. Bill came over from the piano and we drank the hot punch and listened to the
"There isn't too much rum in that."
I went over to the cupboard and brought the rum bottle and poured a half-tumblerful into the pitcher.
"Direct action," said Bill. "It beats legislation."
The girl came in and laid the table for supper.
"It blows like hell up here," Bill said.
The girl brought in a big bowl of hot vegetable soup and the wine. We had fried trout afterward and some sort
of a stew and a big bowl full of wild strawberries. We did not lose money on the wine, and the girl was shy but nice
about bringing it. The old woman looked in once and counted the empty bottles.
After supper we went up-stairs and smoked and read in bed to keep warm. Once in the night I woke and heard
the wind blowing. It felt good to be warm and in bed.
When I woke in the morning I went to the window and looked out. It had cleared and there were no clouds on
the mountains. Outside under the window were some carts and an old diligence, the wood of the roof cracked and
split by the weather. It must have been left from the days before the motor-buses. A goat hopped up on one of the
carts and then to the roof of the diligence. He jerked his head at the other goats below and when I waved at him he
Bill was still sleeping, so I dressed, put on my shoes outside in the hall, and went down-stairs. No one was
stirring down-stairs, so I unbolted the door and went out. It was cool outside in the early morning and the sun had
not yet dried the dew that had come when the wind died down. I hunted around in the shed behind the inn and found
a sort of mattock, and went down toward the stream to try and dig some worms for bait. The stream was clear and
shallow but it did not look trouty. On the grassy bank where it was damp I drove the mattock into the earth and
loosened a chunk of sod. There were worms underneath. They slid out of sight as I lifted the sod and I dug carefully
and got a good many. Digging at the edge of the damp ground I filled two empty tobacco-tins with worms and sifted
dirt onto them. The goats watched me dig.
When I went back into the inn the woman was down in the kitchen, and I asked her to get coffee for us, and
that we wanted a lunch. Bill was awake and sitting on the edge of the bed.
"I saw you out of the window," he said. "Didn't want to interrupt you. What were you doing? Burying your
"You lazy bum!"
"Been working for the common good? Splendid. I want you to do that every morning."
"Come on," I said. "Get up."
"What? Get up? I never get up."
He climbed into bed and pulled the sheet up to his chin.
"Try and argue me into getting up."
I went on looking for the tackle and putting it all together in the tackle-bag.
"Aren't you interested?" Bill asked.
"I'm going down and eat."
"Eat? Why didn't you say eat? I thought you just wanted me to get up for fun. Eat? Fine. Now you're
reasonable. You go out and dig some more worms and I'll be right down."
"Oh, go to hell!"
"Work for the good of all." Bill stepped into his underclothes. "Show irony and pity."
I started out of the room with the tackle-bag, the nets, and the rod-case.
"Hey! come back!"
I put my head in the door.
"Aren't you going to show a little irony and pity?"
I thumbed my nose.
"That's not irony."
As I went down-stairs I heard Bill singing, "Irony and Pity. When you're feeling. . . Oh, Give them Irony and
Give them Pity. Oh, give them Irony. When they're feeling. . . Just a little irony. Just a little pity.. ." He kept on
singing until he came down-stairs. The tune was: "The Bells are Ringing for Me and my Gal." I was reading a
week-old Spanish paper.
"What's all this irony and pity?"
"What? Don't you know about Irony and Pity?"
"No. Who got it up?"
"Everybody. They're mad about it in New York. It's just like the Fratellinis used to be."
The girl came in with the coffee and buttered toast. Or, rather, it was bread toasted and buttered.
"Ask her if she's got any jam," Bill said. "Be ironical with her."
"Have you got any jam?"
"That's not ironical. I wish I could talk Spanish."
The coffee was good and we drank it out of big bowls. The girl brought in a glass dish of raspberry jam.
"Hey! that's not the way," Bill said. "Say something ironical. Make some crack about Primo de Rivera."
"I could ask her what kind of a jam they think they've gotten into in the Riff."
"Poor," said Bill. "Very poor. You can't do it. That's all. You don't understand irony. You have no pity. Say
"Not so bad. That's better. Now why is Cohn pitiful? Be ironic."
He took a big gulp of coffee.
"Aw, hell!" I said. "It's too early in the morning."
"There you go. And you claim you want to be a writei too. You're only a newspaper man. An expatriated
newspaper man. You ought to be ironical the minute you get out of bed. You ought to wake up with your mouth full
"Go on," I said. "Who did you get this stuff from?"
"Everybody. Don't you read? Don't you ever see anybody? You know what you are? You're an expatriate. Why
don't you live in New York? Then you'd know these things. What do you want me to do? Come over here and tell
you every year?"
"Take some more coffee," I said.
"Good. Coffee is good for you. It's the caffeine in it. Caffeine, we are here. Caffeine puts a man on her horse
and a woman in his grave. You know what's the trouble with you? You're an expatriate. One of the worst type.
Haven't you heard that? Nobody that ever left their own country ever wrote anything worth printing. Not even in the
He drank the coffee.
"You're an expatriate. You've lost touch with the soil. You get precious. Fake European standards have ruined
you. You drink yourself to death. You become obsessed by sex. You spend all your time talking, not working. You
are an expatriate, see? You hang around cafés."
"It sounds like a swell life," I said. "When do I work?"
"You don't work. One group claims women support you. Another group claims you're impotent."
"No," I said. "I just had an accident."
"Never mention that," Bill said. "That's the sort of thing that can't be spoken of. That's what you ought to work
up into a mystery. Like Henry's bicycle."
He had been going splendidly, but he stopped. I was afraid he thought he had hurt me with that crack about
being impotent. I wanted to start him again.
"It wasn't a bicycle," I said. "He was riding horseback."
"I heard it was a tricycle."
"Well," I said. "A plane is sort of like a tricycle. The joystick works the same way."
"But you don't pedal it."
"No," I said, "I guess you don't pedal it."
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