Chapter 4 Summary

Hemingway and Mary drive out to meet the plane, which is piloted by Willie. Willie and Hemingway speak of a coming boxing match in which Hemingway will be the main event. They make plans to check the possible damage by the elephants.

Mary tells Willie of Hemingway’s made-up religion, which he uses as an all-purpose excuse. The local people are also taking up this religion and copying many of Hemingway’s habits.

Willie asks about the landscape in the area, especially the mountains. Talk turns to the recent conquest of Mount Everest. Hemingway and Willie go up in the plane to survey the village but see no signs of damage. They return to camp, and Willie suggests taking Mary up in the plane that afternoon. They fly over the animal herds in the area. Willie apologizes to Mary for such a dull flight, but he is trying not to disturb Hemingway and his partner G.C.’s “stock.” As Willie leaves, Mary expresses her love for Africa.

In bed that night, Mary thinks that Willie must have a good wife; a bad wife shows in a man’s personality. Hemingway asks about a bad husband, but Mary tells him it does not show in the wife as quickly because women are braver and more loyal. When Mary falls asleep, Hemingway gets up to sit by the fire and drink. He worries that, if the Mau Mau attack, he will have limited authority and backing because he is only the acting game ranger.

G.C. shows up the next morning at breakfast. He asks Hemingway about his preparations in case of attack. Mary arrives to greet G.C. and attacks Hemingway for being bad about the natives. The Informer also arrives to tell them that Arap Meina has told people in the village everything that is going on in Hemingway’s camp, specifically about Mary’s quest to kill the lion before Christmas.

That evening it begins to rain. Hemingway observes Mary and wonders what a six-week rain would do to her spirit. He and Mary talk about writing and the danger of writing in the first-person point of view in fiction, with the probability that people would accuse the author of not doing what he wrote about. That night Hemingway is bothered by nightmares. He takes a drink of gin, and Mary awakens and asks for a drink as well. She also has been having nightmares. Mary eventually goes back to sleep, but Hemingway stays awake.