Chapter 15 Summary
Back at camp, neither Debba nor the Widow wish to wash off the dirt of the journey. They are afraid of Mwindi, who fills the tub, and of the tub itself. They had dropped off the Masai at the Manyattas. Hemingway tells the Widow to leave, but he is protecting her and is not sure if she has a right to be there. The Informer has arrived and stolen a bottle of lion fat, though both Debba and Hemingway know that it is adulterated with eland fat. They laugh about this. Because they cannot speak each other’s language, they converse in a limited way in Spanish. They had been sleeping when the Widow, who was standing guard, coughed to alert them to the theft.
Hemingway calls Msembi, who is serving as a mess steward. Hemingway considers that they are all servants in some way. Since Mary is gone, however, he is no longer her servant. He has stopped taking photographs, so he is not Look magazine’s servant. The only laws are tribal laws, and Hemingway is considered an elder. Hemingway tells Msembi to serve dinner in half an hour for Debba, the Widow, and himself. He is delighted with the order, as is Debba, but the Widow is not so sure.
Keiti asks if he might speak to Hemingway. Though Hemingway tells him no, Keiti speaks anyway. He says that Hemingway has no right to take the young girl violently. In an aside, Hemingway comments that there was no violence involved. But Keiti fears that Hemingway’s having sex with Debba could cause great trouble. Hemingway asks if he speaks for all the elders. When Keiti replies that he is the eldest, Hemingway tells him to tell his son, who is older than Hemingway, to bring the hunting car. Keiti says that Mthuka is not there; Hemingway points out to Keiti that he has no authority over his own children, let alone anyone else. Hemingway says he will drive the car himself. Keiti tells him to take the young girl home to her family. Hemingway says he will take Debba, the Widow, and the Informer back to the Shamba. Mwindi is standing there, listening, as is Msembi, who is in love with Debba. He says that Hemingway can keep the Widow since she has a son, and he can protect her officially. Both Keiti and Mwindi agree with this. Hemingway says that this was the beginning of the end of the day in his life that offered the most chances of happiness.