In the hours before dawn, Jordan becomes extremely angry first with Pablo who has left with the detonators, and then with the Spanish people as a whole. "Muck" this and "muck" that, he exclaims to himself over and over and over again. "Muck" everything that could possibly be wrong with a society. Then after his anger subsides somewhat he knows what he must do to accomplish the mission: "God, I'm glad I got over being angry. It was like not being able to breathe in a storm" (371). He considers anger a luxury that he cannot afford. He is confident that he has found a way to do it that differs from the methods used in the past. He whispers to Maria that they will die but that he has found a way to blow up the bridge. His wedding present to her is a priceless good night's sleep.
At first, Jordan rages at length about the inadequacies of the Spanish people but then finds a way to help them by being loyal to the Cause. Although he knows it will mean their death, Jordan nevertheless feels that by carrying out his orders, he is doing the right thing. Time continues to run out as he lies quietly waiting the dawn as Maria sleeps in peace next to him. His overabundant use of the word "muck" is a sign of the times the novel was published (1940). Today, we can be sure the word in question would have a different first letter.