To Avoid Being Tortured

“Are you a Communist?”

“No I am an anti-fascist.”

“For a long time?”

“Since I have understood fascism.”

“How long is that?”

“For nearly ten years.”

“That is not much time,” the woman said. “I have been a Republican for twenty years.”

“My father was also a Republican all his life.  Also my grandfather,” Robert Jordan said.

“In what country?”

“The United States.”

“Did they shoot them?” the woman asked.

Qué va,” Maria said. “The United States is a country of Republicans.  They don’t shoot you for being a Republican there.”

“All the same it is a good thing to have a grandfather who was a Republican,” the woman said.  “It shows good blood.”

“My grandfather was on the Republican national committee,” Robert Jordan said.  That impressed even Maria.

“And is thy father still active in the Republic?” Pilar asked.

“No. He is dead.”

“Can one ask how he died?”

“He shot himself.”

“To avoid being tortured?” the woman asked.

“Yes,” Robert Jordan said. “To avoid being tortured.”


— Ernest Hemingway, For Whom The Bell Tolls


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