Chapter 16 Summary
Hemingway has accepted the decision of the elders and has driven Debba, the Widow, and the Informer back to the Shamba along with the cloth for the women’s dresses. He sees the bulge of the bottle of lion fat in the Informer’s shawl but says nothing. He reflects that it is a great satisfaction to have someone, especially a fellow writer, steal from you and think they have escaped detection. While he would never confront a writer, the Informer is a different matter. Keiti despises the Informer, and Hemingway has a great deal of respect for Keiti. He feels bad because Keiti disapproves of him. Msembi also feels bad about it, but neither one says anything.
Msembi offers to fetch the Widow and bring her back, but Hemingway says no. Msembi then suggests that they go to get Debba. There is only a small fine and there is no one in the Shamba qualified to bring them to trial. Hemingway thinks this over but decides against it. He is still not sure why Keiti intervened.
Hemingway reflects on the false belief that Africans do not feel bad about anything and do not show pain. This belief is based on the fact that Africans do not cry. White people have never known hardship, compared to the Africans.
Although the Informer claims to be his brother, Hemingway has never chosen him. However, Hemingway and Msembi are indeed good brothers. This night they both share their sorrow. Nguili comes in and offers to share their sorrow as well, but Hemingway gives him a playful swat on the bottom and sends him off. He then asks Ngui to bring him his spears because he wants to go hunting in the moonlight. His unspoken reason is that this will make him look like a better man than Keiti.
Hemingway walks along the tire tracks, holding the spear by the surgical tape, which keeps his hand from slipping when it gets sweaty. This is the first night he has gone hunting alone with the spear. He is a bit frightened, but this is the payment for the luxury of being alone. He steps carefully to avoid cobra holes.
He had heard hyenas and lions in the camp, but they are silent now. He sees a wildebeest and walks away from it. Observing the night animals, he tries to forget all the nonsense with Keiti and Debba. He hopes he does not run into anything he will have to kill. He walks back and thinks about Mary in Nairobi. He returns to camp, not having hunted after all.