Chapter 10 Summary

The people from the Shamba begin to arrive for the Ngoma, dressed in their finest. Hemingway returns to the mess tent, where Mary is complaining that he took all the beer. He says he brought one bottle back and asks her how she is feeling. She says she is feeling much better. She and G.C. did not find Hemingway’s bullet when they examined the lion, only G.C.’s. Mary comments that the lion now looks as dignified as when he was alive. She says she is going to the Ngoma with Chungo, one of the game scouts. She tells G.C. all the negative things Chungo has said about him. When G.C. becomes angry and demands that she go to the Ngoma with him instead, she says she made it all up as a joke.

Mary is writing a poem about Africa. She writes it mostly in her head but forgets it by the time she has a chance to write it down. Hemingway comments on what is true in Africa: he says that what is true at first light is a lie by noon. Hemingway and Mary argue about his taking her books and ruining them while he tends to leave his own books in distant places. They stop arguing at lunch according to their unspoken rule. Afterward, Mary takes a nap and Hemingway goes to the Ngoma.

The game scouts wear shorts and have four ostrich plumes in their hair. Only the men are dancing; the women and young girls will dance later. Mary arrives to take photographs and everyone congratulates her on her kill.

Hemingway sits by himself in the shade, drumming. The Informer asks him why he is sad. Hemingway denies this and asks the Informer why he is sad. The Informer says he is being sent away to a region where he can be killed. Hemingway is indifferent, saying that anyone can be killed anywhere. He is more interested in watching Debba dance. He sees that the Informer is truly sick and gives him some penicillin. The Informer asks if he can stay and work for Hemingway. Hemingway is noncommittal.

Tony, a friend of Hemingway’s, arrives. He explains that he cannot dance because this is a Kamba Ngoma and he is a Masai. He is happy that Mary caught her lion. He says that there is a Masai proverb, “It is always very quiet when a great bull dies.” Hemingway says this is true; he has felt very quiet inside all day. They talk about the coming boxing match.

That night at dinner, they eat steak from the lion and discuss whether or not this is barbarous. They talk about Pop, for whom both Mary and Hemingway have a great affection.