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May 25, 2010



I've always wondered what that sentry actually shouted - "pan tostada con mantequilla" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.


Good point that, especially since I've never ever seen anybody eating such a thing or offering it for somebody else to it.

john b

It's a while since I read HtC, but wasn't Orwell with the POUM's international brigade at the time, hence, lots of homesick Brits and Yanks? So the Fascists could have been announcing it in English...?


You've never seen someone eating hot buttered toast?


...in Spain, among Spaniards.


When I was staying in hostales in Spain I used to eat tostadas for breakfast - they were served in bars & consisted of a pan split & toasted, and smeared with something that might have been butter or might not. So not totally unknown, but it doesn't strike me as a Spanish delicacy.


Was the claim actually being made from Orwell's side or the fascists?


"...The man who did the shouting at the P.S.U.C. post down on our right was an artist at the
job. Sometimes, instead of shouting revolutionary slogans he simply told the
Fascists how much better we were fed than they were. His account of the Government rations was apt to be a little imaginative.' Buttered toast!'--you could hear his voice echoing across the lonely valley--'We're just sitting down
to buttered toast over here! Lovely slices of buttered toast!' I do not doubt that, like the rest of us, he had not seen butter for weeks or months past, but in the icy night the news of buttered toast probably set many a Fascist mouth
watering. It even made mine water, though I knew he was lying..."


Lovely slices? Those Fascists wouldn't have known a slice of bread if it had walked up and bit them. (See above re the pan, which literally means 'bread' but, in 1979 at least, meant bread in exactly one form - something like a demi-baguette but a bit smaller and less crusty, about 8-10 inches long and pointed at the ends. Very nice, too, although after a few weeks you did start to miss other forms of bread - not least the kind you can make slices of toast with.)

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