Chapter 9 Summary
Hemingway checks to see if Mary is awake, but she is still sleeping heavily. Hemingway tells G.C. that he will let her sleep; they can wait until 9:30 to leave. The two men pass the time by reading. Hemingway’s book is about birds, and it makes him realize how much he has missed by ignoring birds. In a general way, he comes to the conclusion that people do not deserve to live in a world if they do not see it. Hemingway believes that he and G.C. drink to dull their highly sensitive receptivity, which could become unbearable if it were always kept at the same level.
Mary wakes up feeling awful. She is still bitter at Hemingway for shooting at her lion first, as she believes. Keiti tells Hemingway that the game Scouts are planning a really big Ngoma (dance) and warns him that the entire Shamba is coming and they are short on soft drinks. Hemingway plans to go to the village to get party supplies.
In the village, Hemingway goes to visit Mr. Singh to order the drinks while Mthuka fills up the car with petrol. Mr. Singh does not have enough beer on hand, but he orders more. Three Masai elders come in, and Hemingway buys them beer and tells them about Mary’s killing the lion. They all drink to Mary and the lion.
Mr. Singh invites Hemingway to eat with him and tries to tell him something that Hemingway cannot understand. They find a mission-educated boy to translate. Mr. Singh tells Hemingway that the Masai chiefs take advantage of Hemingway by coming to Singh’s store so he can buy them beer. Hemingway points out that they are elders, not chiefs, and he is an American, not a European as Mr. Singh calls him.
The interpreter asks Hemingway why he does the work of a Game Ranger if he is rich enough to own eight aircraft. Hemingway explains that it is a kind of pilgrimage. The interpreter says he would like to be a game scout and work for Hemingway. The Masai return, quite drunk, with two new friends. Hemingway reflects how the Masai have been degraded by alcohol. The Masai ask Hemingway if his tribe has left the killing of lions to women. Hemingway replies yes, just as the Masai have left the drinking to young warriors who have never killed a lion. The interpreter begs to work for Hemingway, but he has no work for him.
The supplies bought, the men head back and give four Masai women a ride. One of the women is a beauty and is known to have slept with both Ngui and Mthuka. The men drop the women off on the way and return to camp.