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Title: Tarred with the Same Brush
Author: Le Comte de Janzé
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Title: Tarred with the Same Brush
Author: Le Comte de Janzé

*

Duckworth
3 Henrietta Street, London
First Published 1929




For
       DELECIA        
                  in 1929




Contents

Introduction
Book I.  Around the Camp Fire
Book II. Friends and Enemies
         They (a sequence to Vertical Land)




Introduction

_Another book about Kenya!_

It is quite a mania for the moment. . . . When
I went into my bookshop the other day to try
and get through the majority of my Christmas
shopping without financial disaster I was literally
assailed with offers of books about Kenya.
. . . Novels whose plots developed beneath the
shadowy blue gums . . . essays grown in turgid
swamps . . . adventures on the highest Kenya
mountains . . . linguistic efforts of homesick
missionaries . . . etc., etc. . . .

Every shelf had a few, every department had
dozens . . . and now here am I in my presumptuous
confidence trying to put over one more.  But
there is a reason for this book.  Not that there
were less good reasons for the hundred authors
who have already proved their worth on the
Kenya trail--(besides all reasons are both good
and bad).--My reasons are really my friends,
those who encouraged me when I launched out
"Vertical Land,"--and who now say that the
picture was incomplete, that "Vertical Land"
may have given the atmosphere but it lacked
those few furnishings necessary to our obvious
minds.  So I sat down again and tried to show
how we live . . . whom we live with . . . not meaning
humans as much as animals . . . animals, wild and
domesticated, who always seemed to understand;
so patient, to put up with all us exaggerated
hurrying humans, who, only in despair, move
aside when we clutch their plains with our
ploughs and desecrate their forests with our
axes and our saws . . . animals who give us our
food, our clothing . . . who show us the roads
up mountains and through the passes; animals
who warn us of danger when the mountains slide
and the volcanoes erupt; animals, who give us
even our pleasure when we go out with our
high-powered rifles to shoot them from a comfortable
distance or from behind a rock or tree.

Animals who ought, my friends, to crush us
out of existence and thus leave, at least, one land
unashamed.

Yes, I am putting up a big bluff of loving you
so, but I have shot you, tortured you, driven you
to despair and killed you, when I had no reason
but to let you live.--I get sentimental over you
but I, also, am one of your executioners.  Give
a human a means of destruction and you make
him a murderer.

Why should laws prevent you from going
hunting another man with a gun when it lets
you massacre the innocent?

Besides, it's five times more of a thrill to hunt
the gent waiting for you behind a rock with a
high-powered rifle than any big game hunting in
the world.--I have tried both . . . most of us have;
. . . but if I shoot the guy who takes my wife or
cheats my children out of their own, I may swing
for it--whereas if I shoot the right-sized head of
so-called game, I shall be an honoured member of
the "Shikar Club," or a "Fellow of the Zoological
Society."

And _thus_ have I tried to furnish the atmosphere
which seemed too nude to those kind friends who
encouraged me when "Vertical Land" was only
a hesitant infant, greatly suffering from inhibitions
and other Freudian complexes.

If some of the stories seem a bit "tall," I beg
those who may read this book to _believe_ that truth
is stranger than any fiction, especially in the land
of the Vertical Sun. . . .

These stories have naught to do with any living
humans . . . they are just "furnishings" to the
crude air of the cruellest continent that ever
endured above the raging seas. . . . The truth? . . .
I would never dare even to murmur it behind
closed shutters on a cold winter's night . . . as
someone would be sure to say that I had been
drinking . . . and that to me . . . a near abstainer!
too cruel to bear . . . it might be. . . .

So go your way, untrue stories of mine. . . .

Good hunting!
Paris.--_July_, 1929.




Book I

Around the Camp Fire


  I. Around the Camp Fire
 II. Tiny's Story
          A Life of Toil
III. Sarah-Jane Pollock's Story
          A Broken Engagement
 IV. Charlie Pollock's Story
          The Romance of Tsing-Laô
  V. Rhodda Dane's Story
          The Stalwart O'Pooles
 VI. Scudder Dane's Story
          The Death of Mirza Khan
VII. George White's Story
          Law and the Western Man




I

_Around the Camp Fire._

"There was a young lady from Nyeri! . . ."

"Please George . . . those are really too
threadbare."

We had been out on Safari, white hunting for
an American party; two men about thirty-five
and their wives . . . young . . . vivacious . . .
typically American.

After a month of it we had about run out of
Safari stories and were sitting around the camp
fire, quite disconsolately wondering what to talk
about when George started his limerick. . . .
All the colony knows George White's limericks
. . . but we only repeat them in the bar between
7 and 8 p.m. . . . after dark, anyway.  In fact
they are not good limericks either; so I had no
remorse at quashing them at birth. . . .

We all lapsed into silence again until Rhodda
Dane, the eldest of the girls, suggested:

"Let's each tell a story . . . we did that on a
camping trip I was on in Wyoming a few years
ago. . . ."

Scudder Dane, her husband, frowns . . . he
is her third effort in matrimony and that particular
trip was evidently not taken with him.  Nevertheless,
the suggestion was carried by a huge
majority . . . unanimity I think it is called.

"Who is to begin?"--from Sarah-Jane, the
newly wed . . . her husband, Charlie Pollock,
beams adoringly behind his glasses.  No one has
an offer to make.  "Well," says Sarah-Jane--"considering 
you proposed it, Rhodda, you ought
to begin."  We all wrangle back and forth until
Charlie proposes a round of "cold hands" at
poker; each to take their choice according to
their score.

We get out the cards and breathless silence
ensues until the first deal is on. . . . We then
stand in the order: Rhodda, myself, Charlie,
George, Scudder and Sarah-Jane.  Around goes
the deal, positions altering and excitement rising
every moment . . . at last Scudder who holds
the account announces the final score.

George, now first, is followed in the order by
Scudder, Rhodda, Charlie, Sarah-Jane and last
myself.  They naturally choose the order in
which they fall for their turn of story telling;
losers first; thus I am condemned to be the
beginner.  I stare around. . . . "What is it to
be about?"

"Anything you like except shooting"--pipes
in Sarah-Jane before anyone can answer--"we
know all your shooting stories, the good and the
bad . . . mostly bad. . . ."

"Tell us some story of this country . . . we
have seen so little of it . . . how the settlers
live, what they have to face and all that"--drawls
serious-minded Scudder.

At that moment I remember a story I heard
in the Trocadero bar the other day.  An old settler
was telling it . . . a story of the early days of
British East . . . when the railway was just finished
and Muthaiga beginning its wickedly prosperous
career.  I know none of the people, now vanished
from the country, not even their names, but the
story had stuck in my mind as so typically a form
of Africa's sense of humour applied to our poor
little endeavours. . . . So I began:




II

_A Life of Toil._

Once upon a time Kenya was not Kenya but
British East Africa . . . in those days men were
supermen and women were queens . . . so says
every 'oldest settler' I have ever met.  Across
the breadth of this country they reigned . . .
they loved . . . they played. . . . But in a
short while the continent surged and all their
human made constructions crumbled about their
heads leaving them bewildered and ashamed. . . .

Africa smiled and smilingly went back to sleep
again until other presumptuous humans dared
to interrupt her repose, but this is the story of
"their" buildings which crumbled, leaving only
whole the nimble-witted one who unresistingly
slithered out of every situation, hide so well oiled
that no two crunching stones existed that could
pinch him much.


    _The first act takes place somewhere near
    Londiani and the Mau Forest._


We see in the opening scene George Culwell,
pipe in mouth, content, resting his arms on the
top rung of the posts and rails; his grey-blue
eyes roam from the red-brown hill, speckled
regularly like an Indian print handkerchief with
the coffee bushes, to the green leafy gorge below;
a murmuring brook in the shadow of the slowly
nodding banana leaves.

Evening comes and the lusty Kikuyus
tramp up the hill towards him, their over-burdened
women staggering, slipping, under woven sacks
of fresh green mealies.

The last glint of a setting sun livens his still
figure; his rounded, tanned face and silver hair
seem to smile on life, a smile of contentment, a
smile of achievement. . . . The bananas, the
coffee beans, the grass, the water are his.  The
natives nearly so; they are squatters, happy on
the tiny patches of ground he has allotted them
on the shadowy side of the gorge.  The smoke
curls up from their conical roofs dimming the
contours, stinging the eyes with a scent of
eucalyptus and herbs.

He has peace and happiness alone on his land,
in his bachelor establishment, and his mind looks
back with indulgence on those hectic years of
youth and maturity, years of restlessness.  His
mind wanders over land and sea: what is Nellie
doing?  Nellie, his wife, that quick scintillating
beauty of twenty years ago.  And yet he does not
wish them back, those years of stress when heart
torn he tried to keep her, keep her for his very
own, and lost.  "She must be forty-five now;
ten years younger than I.  I wonder where she is,
how she lives.  I cannot spare much to give her
in her freedom as the farm must prosper, must
grow, absorbing the neighbouring coffee shambas.
Yes, she is alone, alone in London, an oldish
trying-to-stay-young woman on a pittance; I
wonder what she does with herself?  If she has
settled down?"  His mind recoils from these
idle speculations.  They are separated, have been
for years.  He never got divorce . . . safer from
others that way. . . . Perhaps?

The sun sets, his cigarette glows, and his steps
crunch slowly up the sandy walk; three steps up,
two strides across the verandah and settling himself
for the evening Scotch and soda in front of a
crackling fire in a deep leather chair he is peacefully
content.

At the same hour, in the Northern frontier
province, on the bank of the Uaso Njiro, the
second scene takes place.

There the water flows well over the cool sands
in the dry season.  The banks, high and abrupt,
are unvisited by dangerous game, three great trees
entwine their trunks and branches making an
enormous bower; the earth beneath is bare; no
ticks by day, no mosquitoes by night.  My
favourite camping ground in the North.  To-night
a Safari has taken possession of this haven, a fire
glints rising and falling; at one side a table is
set, three chairs around.  At the back of the
clearing a tent unseen but for a white flap, folded
back, catching the memories of the fire.  "Bwana
Choucoula Tiare."  From the side of the fire a
figure rises previously invisible.  Short but lithe
and athletic, with crisp curly hair, shining eyes
and dark sun-baked skin, V. J. Lloyd, the white
hunter; hunter of elephants, hunter of Havashi.
From the tent comes a woman, a girl in her prime.
With lure and poise soignée even in the wilds.
Out of the darkness another figure joins them,
rather arrogant in its bearing: of good height
and breadth but somehow young without youth,
worn by tireless restlessness and lack of purpose.
As they seat themselves, by candle light their
faces show up.  Each typical of its kind: soldier,
wanderess, adventurer, bearer of ill-tidings and
smutty stories.  Arrow Davies has by far the
finest chin of the three, her eyes are straight, her
lips are cold and determined, remorseless at times.

Lloyd is a soldier by temperament; that
temperament which bids him go forth, go forth
after elephant or Havashi.  He is uncivilized;
dispossessed in cities, he is bewildered by the
other two, fascinated by their manœuvres and
counter manœuvres, but despising them.

Lord Raichecourt, Phil to his friends, has
retained the old Norman title and the name
of his ancestors who hewed and hacked at
Hastings, also a certain Norman disregard for
truth; a crafty boastfulness, which uses a small
fact to build a big case, and over and above
everything, a great acquisitiveness which knows
only a law of arrogant shouting denial when
found out.

Dinner served, the silent moving boys fade
away through the blue shadows.

They talk of the day's work.  Two curved
ivory tusks lie in Arrow's tent under her bed.
They fight it over again and once again, Phil
laying down the law to the hero of a hundred
elephant fights.

Then Lloyd goes off to bed leaving the two
civilized ones alone with each other across the
table.

"What are you going to do now, Phil?  You
can't very well go back after that row at home."

"Oh I don't intend to, at least this year; besides
everyone said I was in the right, at least
everyone who counts.  I am going into business
with a fellow up in the Sissal district, help him
with the financial end of it."

"May the good Lord help the poor man; I
suppose it's another of your 'I bring the brains,
you give the capital' schemes."

"Well, more or less.  You know I tried to
get in with George Culwell but he wanted me to
sit on one of his coffee shambas and sweat in the
sun for thirty quid a month; likely wasn't it!"

"I got a letter from Nellie Culwell by the last
mail.  Did you ever meet her, Phil?  She is George
Culwell's wife, at least they haven't been divorced."

"Know her? why I have known her for years.
Just before I left London I . . . we . . . I
think she liked me a lot. . . ."

"Shut up! don't be more of a bounder than
you are naturally; she's old enough to be your
mother. . . ."

The talk went on back and forth, till they returned
to the eternal subject--eternal between
those two--"what was Arrow going to do when
they got back?"  Her money was nearly out
and everything was gone.  Then Phil showed his
genius.  He had waited long enough for her to
get worried and desperate and now he unfolded
his scheme.

As he turned the leaves of his mind, she lost
her listlessness and tiredness; here was something
her will could work on.

A selfish man, rich, and alone in this country,
married but . . . well, Nellie was away and she
had Lewisham to look after her anyway, had been
doing so for five years.

Her eyes glistened and that firm chin grew
firmer.  The blood coursing through her brain
tinted her cheeks; she was a young girl again.

"And," he finished, "if you bring this off
you will be able to give me a good job and a loan
when I want it."

Silently they sat for some moments, then she
rose and walked down the steps towards the river.
He followed; on the bottom step she stopped,
and, turning, clasped her arms about him. . . .

"Phil, you're mine, you'll always be mine?"

"I'll always come to you when I want you, but
there is only one way of holding me."

Their lips are closed and a crashing cloudburst
drove them back to the tents, the fire
dying in a hissing spluttering cadence.


_Simultaneously in London._  As the rain drops fall
in the gutter overhead, a little tinkle resounds
through the dim room.  By the fire, on the floor,
face in arms resting on the seat of a chair, a figure
is crumpled up.

The sobs have died, now and then the shoulders
heave, the table lamp throwing a shaft of light
to the darker roots of her discoloured hair.  One
hand, beautifully manicured, with a single emerald
ring, hangs over the side of the chair in the full
light.  Worn hand of a woman who has never
worked but who has lived too well.

Half an hour ago when he went out slamming
the door she had sunk thus, bewildered; coursing
thoughts, trembling distended lips.

She had lost him!  And now? and now she
will have to give up her flat, give up her friends,
give up everything.  She had better go back to
Kenya, to George.

After all these years he is still her husband and
will have to help her!  She lifted her face.  No
powder would ever mend that face again.  By
will power, she has kept herself young . . . till
now. . . . Now her last rich lover has gone,
slamming the door behind him; Nellie Culwell,
an old woman, lifts her face and prays for courage.
Courage to give up, go to Kenya, mend George's
socks, cook his food and earn the right to die.
Besides it won't be so bad; Arrow, her playmate,
her friend, is out there and will see her through
. . . through the glare of the vertical sun.


    _Six weeks go by and the second act takes place.--Culwell 
    is now in Nairobi._


As you know The Standard Bank of South
Africa stands on the corner of VIth Avenue; solid
in its loneliness, it takes the whole block.

That evening in one of the private offices after
closing hours, two men sit across a table in the
light of a lamp; a handful of raw coffee beans
nuzzle each other on the green cloth.

"That's my last figure, I won't take a cent
less."

"All right," said the buyer, ending this long
haggling--"but you're a hard man to deal with,
Culwell."

"I have to be.  As soon as my divorce is through
and all correct, I shall marry again, and then I
will get what I have waited for these years, power
and enjoyment.  I thought I was going on as I
was three months ago for ever; to leave all to
whom? to what?  Well, now I know!  I was
vegetating, letting myself go, getting to be an old
man.  As Arrow says, I'm only fifty-five.  Still
got plenty of life and joy in me.  All I needed was
youth around me.  Now I've got Arrow all
seems bright, I'm eager to live again."

The buyer watched him strut out towards his
Indian summer.

Next day in Nairobi station, that draughty
hall, the sea of faces, the vivid colours blend
and dull in her throbbing eyes.  In all that bustle
and confusion; people seeing other people, people
who are going to rest, people who are going home--in 
that sea of faces white, red, yellow, brown to
black, two splodges have relief and form, two
mouths, two pairs of eyes; George's, gross yearning
of age losing its self-restraint; Phil's, cool
white teeth, that mouth that makes her head reel,
cold obstinate eyes which command her.  And
then the train moves out and slowly on.  That
throbbing in her eyes before the brain, is it hers,
is it the train's life, or some outgrowth of Africa,
of the tom toms?

Those tense words at the house, that look of
command in the sea of faces.  She must, she must!
She wants it, her will has decided. . . . How
can she tell Nellie, poor Nellie, her friend; the
Nellie she wrote to in love and friendship for years;
the Nellie she is going down to meet.  Things
were easier until she had to face this.  The light
dims in the coupé; far west a red sun is cut in
half by a range of hills . . . why is it a red sunset,
they are never red here, what's happening--are
her eyes going, is it a touch of sun?  She shivers
and turns on to her cot, too feverish to eat, too
feverish to sleep, only dreaming suffering, suffering
dreaming for him.

That evening on the surging ship, Nellie is
packing in her tiny congested cabin.  She is a
comely old woman, her silver hair and tweed
skirt suit her.  She is glad she has wired Arrow to
meet her at Mombasa.  All the way out she has
been wondering what George will say when he
sees her walk up those three steps to the verandah;
she wonders if they're the same three steps she
flew down ten years ago . . . with her lover ten
years ago. . . . She packs, patting the neatly-pleated
_crêpe de Chine_ blouses, filling in corners
with woollen stockings and of lisle thread.  She
had never worn them before this last month.
And here in a flat box the last dozen of those
44-fin, cobwebs of silk, flesh-coloured, for Arrow
who is still young.  To-morrow she lands.  What
changes there must be to see and feel.

Phil Raichecourt is smoking in the most
comfortable chair of the members' room at
Muthaiga.  A whisky at his elbow, legs crossed
in thought, he caresses the flapping silky ear of a
much-forbidden-to-enter dog.

His office on George Culwell's estate is cool
all day; the chintzes are pleasing, Arrow has an
agreeable taste; it was quite an inspiration to have
an ice box put in between the windows--it looks
important, a safe with managerial papers, perhaps
some of those mysterious land titles of the
mountains of the Moon Culwell is so close about.
Comfort, rest, luxury.  His car waiting in the
evening to purr him lazily up to this, his favourite
place, to complacently enjoy his triumph.

Why only this morning Charlie Ware, the
bookie, called him up to ask if he'd like a flutter
on Aintree--Charlie who always wanted cash on
order in the past.--"Anything you say, me Lord,
I've plenty of place in my book for you."

Life is grand, drinks are good, achievement is
better.  There is a little ennui about Arrow.  But
they'll soon be married and George will keep a
severe eye on her.  A smile spreads, an idea.
Government House would like him to stay and
Government House does not receive divorcés.--Besides, 
who cares?  Arrow!  Golden Arrow!  A
fast train from Paris to London and back, commuting,
that's all: the best way to get somewhere. . . .

There is one sacrosanct institution at Muthaiga:
the "Squash Court ladder,"--you begin at the
bottom and play your betters, climbing rung by
rung till you find your place, to defend your rung
or to be ousted or oust the rung just ahead of you.

At the top of the ladder seemingly inaccessible
the champion has sat for two seasons.  He is
curiously unpopular though a great athlete.
Why?  I can't quite make out.  Generally in
Anglo-Saxon countries a good player is always
popular and much received.  I think it may come
from being too good all round, rather the professional
touch--too efficient and biting in business.
Also South Africa is anathema to Kenya.

To-night the best beloved of white hunters
has challenged the champion; twice before Lloyd
has claimed the second place to be beaten away
from the last rung; he will try to-night for the
last time he says.  His Safari with Arrow and
Phil has made him fitter than ever before.

Half the Club is on the balcony, white clad boys
pass from the bar up the stairs and then down,
carrying full glasses and trays full of emptied
bottles--corpses.

The Game Department, large and still, smiles
behind his glasses--his low, deep voice calls:
"Who'll win . . . who'll take my bet? . . . To-day
is Doomsday."

The ball rattles, the train rattles . . . the dinner
bugle cries on shipboard . . . George's car purrs
up the hill.

Phil is smilingly asleep in the arm-chair, his
fallen glass spreads a frothy mess across the
carpet, his cigarette burning a hole in the
arm of his chair.


    _A year later the third act takes place.  The
    first scene is set in a typical settler's house._


Before the fire, in a low dark room, this evening
George Culwell lights his pipe from the embers of
the fire.  As his Boer wife stamps in he hoists
himself up with difficulty from the hard stool he
had been slumped down upon . . . he is an old
man.  When Arrow jilted him he entirely went to
pieces and was easy game for Greta Japp when she
singled him out as the richest unmarried man in
the Colony.  She is a buxom wench of five-and-thirty;
she runs his coffee shambas, rules his
house . . . a born bully.

"My darling, you come home late to-day?"

"Shut oop! . . . Can't you even keep de
mout' still eef you must such a no goot man be!
I haf work for you all day my handts to de bone.
. . . All you do is smoke and enchoy yourself.
. . . Shut oop I say, or I hit you again . . .
remember last week and what I gave you for
your bains. . . ."

He shudders and shakily sits down again on
the hard stool.  Gone are his good chairs . . .
gone his comforts . . . he is just a low-white
ready to be beaten up by the Boer wife with arms
like other people's thighs . . . and all this
because he lost his grip when Arrow jilted him
to try and marry Phil.  Where are they all now?
He doesn't know . . . he doesn't care . . . all
he wants is to die . . . die quickly. . . . Greta
slams a door shut and he starts again, a hand
thrown up to protect his head from the bangs
or pushes he has learned to expect from this
dragon.


    _Scene the second takes place in Southern Sudan--Mongala 
    Province._


Just as the sun rises behind the Nagashot hills,
the small Safari comes to a halt beneath some
thorn trees; a giant spreading "Rhino tree"
affording better cover, they move over and crouch
beneath its protecting foliage. . . . A year
has gone by and V. J. Lloyd in much the same place
is much the same sun-baked, curly-haired alert
hunter of previous days.  He has been following
three old bull elephants all the way from the
Kinetti River; eighty miles without the chance
of a shot; four days and nights of the hardest
marching alternating with soul harrowing waits
beneath the scantiest foliage and the hottest sun
this earth has ever seen.

A day more and he will give it up.  If
nothing materialises within the next twelve
hours, he'll turn back.  Forty miles north is
Abyssinia, and his Safari is not big enough to
fight its way out if embroiled with a Havash
raid.

As the sun tops the range behind Nagashot,
Lloyd steps out again in the branch-strewn path
left by the three retreating monsters.  The wind
is right, so he hurries on with his gunbearer and
a porter. . . . After about half an hour he
comes upon much fresher signs of the animals
and soon he catches sight of three great grey
backs ponderously striding towards the hills.
The vegetation is thickening so he throws caution
to the winds . . . makes a dash across an open
space and runs to cut them off by the edge of
the forest some five hundred yards away.  Getting
there in time he posts himself in the thick underbrush
twenty paces from the elephants' trail.
The wind luckily still drives from them towards
him. . . . He has not long to wait.  The 470
double-barrelled express is across his knee, a
second loaded by his side in the gunbearer's
hand.

The monsters unwittingly slow up as they
approach the forest.  Crash!  Bang!--Down
falls the first like a stricken tree; the other two
wheel this way and that not knowing where the
enemy lurks; crash! bang! again and the second
one sags to his knees;--the other crashes off
towards the plain, trees falling like rotten sticks
before his charge.

Lloyd crawls out of his underbrush heaving a
sigh of relief--"Thank God that is over,"--eighty 
pounders both or he is much mistaken,
320 pounds of ivory,--much needed in cash just
now.  As he bends to cut off the first tail, a howl
from the porter, a cry from the gunbearer make
him wheel unarmed within ten paces of a maddened
cow elephant.  He has a vision of the snake-like
trunk which catches him by the neck; there is a
crack, and a lifeless thing is thrown head first
over a thorn tree, the body coming down with a
sickening thud.  The gunbearer fires and fires;
at last the cow wheels off to join her herd . . . the
herd those three sage old bulls had travelled so
far to meet. . . . The cow herd of the Kideppo
country.

A little later the Safari comes up . . . the
gunbearer takes charge . . . his master is buried
under a loose pile of stones.  They then divide
up the Safari kit . . . all but the rifles, ammunition
and ivory.

Next morning the gunbearer sets off with ten
men for the long trip to the rail head to report . . .
another "Musungu" killed by a "tembo" . . .
and, here is the ivory and the guns--to show that
he was a good gunbearer and much deserving of
great baksheesh.  In different huts and villages a
score or so of natives make merry on the untold
wealth which has become theirs at the Bwana's
death.  A little talk in Muthaiga bar, then
nothing . . . not even a heap of loose stones;
the hyenas and the jackals have disposed of that
long ago. . . . Just nothing . . . or rather
everything . . . the African soil. . . .


    _The last scene of this little tale is set about the
    same epoch in London town._


There falls the ordinary miserable rain which
the natives of the country call Scotch mist.
Shining umbrellas like dark toadstools hurry
about, glistening, brownish, greyish, through the
toneless streets.  Citywards the bustle grows and
the dripping toadstools catch and rip. . . .
Mumbled excuses or curses fuse and flow.

In the dark Court House the faces alone give a
little light to the dull surroundings. . . . Very
tall, very slim, very well brushed, the young
man answers counsel's questions with precise
over-bored voice . . . he is defendant in a most
notorious case . . . most unsavoury will say the
press. . . .

Arrow is suing Phil for breach of promise and
for getting money under false pretences.  She has
brought dozens of witnesses.  While she was
taking the stand Phil unhearingly stared at the
ceiling . . . in fact he had been trying to make
up his mind if he would order a new Bentley six
. . . or rather hang on to the Rolls until after his
return from the South.  While the judge is
summing up he talks with Mr. Gregory Jones,
K.C., who is conducting the case for him.

At last the verdict . . . against him--a thousand
and costs. . . .

"But, My Lord . . . I beg to remark that
my client is entirely without means . . . destitute
. . . on the verge of bankruptcy. . . ."

"Jail is where he ought to be"--answers the
judge.  The advocate bends to whisper in Phil's
ear; then a solicitor's clerk hastily leaves the
Court . . . in a minute he is back. . . .

"My Lord . . . an anonymous friend will
deposit the sum necessary for my client's responsibilities."

"All right . . . next case. . . ."

Phil yawns and lounges out of Court . . .
on the steps he turns to shake hands with the
lawyer. . . . A Rolls skims up to the door . . .
to come to a rest its motor idling . . . not a
sound . . . his Rolls . . . I mean Nellie's Rolls.
Lewisham died while she was returning to Kenya;
he had clean forgotten to change his will so she is
now colossally wealthy.  Phil steps in and Nellie's
hand creeps into his under the cover. . . .

"Did they worry you, my darling?"

"Oh, a damned nuisance and the judge's
wig would not stay on straight."

"And what would my darling like to make
him happy again?"  The auburn curls glint
metallically in the light from a street lamp;
Shluggars in Bond Street rather overdid the henna
dope this morning . . . she leans closer to him . . .
holding her boy lover pressed to her worn heart.

"I think I shall order that green Bentley I
saw yesterday . . . and I want a transfer to my
bank to-morrow as now they cannot put an opposition
to it."

She squeezes his hand and the car slides along
Piccadilly to turn into Bolton Street, then up
Curzon Street to stop at last at one of those grim
stone mansions that make Mayfair the dreariest
town in the world on the outside and the cosiest
on the inside.

Nellie hesitates at the foot of the stairs. . . .

"His Lordship and I will leave to-morrow for
France.  Will you call up Imperial Airways and
order a plane for 2 p.m."

"Yes, Madam."


Phil upstairs in the room slicks his hair before
he sits down at a desk, opens a drawer, taking
out his stockbroker's book. . . . General motors,
American Tel. and Tel.--St. Gobain--Suez--Wagon-lits. 
. . . Deutsche Algemeine Elektrische
Gesellschaft--Siemmens . . . and nearer
home . . . B.S.A.; Shell Trans.; Daily Sketch
Deb.; Guinness . . . and others. . . . Well, anyway
Nellie knows something about stock, and once all
these are safe in his bank and he himself safe on
the other side . . . there will be less difficulty
answering questions about marriage and such.
. . . Nothing doing; it would spoil his market.

"I'll be down in a second"--he yawns behind
her back . . . fixing his tie he follows . . .
should he worry . . . I should say not . . .
his feet are still good and he's so constructed that
it is the only way he falls. . . .

And so finishes my story . . . by the survival
of the one. . . .

.    .    .    .    .    .

"Well, he sure is a giddy little worker, your
friend the Lord. . . . What has happened to
him now?"--said Rhodda.

"Funnily enough he is the only one I ever have
heard of and met in the whole crowd.  The last
time I was home, I went to Deauville for a weekend
and every one was talking about Lord
Raichecourt's new yacht, the 'Flame'; he had
just arrived on her with his newly-wed American
wife.  Had crossed to Europe aboard her; 1,800
tons propelled by the ultra-expensive, ultra-complicated
Diesel Motors. . . . Yes, the largest
motor yacht in the world . . . his yacht . . .
his money . . . some quick work that."

Then Sarah-Jane. . . .

"Don't you remember them? we saw them at
the Plaza roof, six months ago, Rhodda.  She
was Anna-Calinda Brassey, the girl with google
eyes and large ankles."

"Well, I bet Phil got real money," said
George. . . .

"He certainly did . . . her father is the guy
who was behind the Teapot Dome business and
his name has never even been mentioned so he
must be *The* Eldorado."

"Long live Lady Raichecourt," calls Sarah-Jane--"that
the bold bad gold-digger may never
be loose on our poor world again."

And so to bed.




III

_A Broken Engagement._

Sarah-Jane settled and unsettled herself in the
deep chair, the embers of the fire throwing red
glints on to our faces all intent around . . . her
reputation for sprightliness and changes of mood
made us over-anxious about our nightly diet.
The stars overhead climbed the arch . . . the
moon unfelt as yet was only a glowing in the
east. . . . Somewhere, miles away behind the
leagues of thorn trees a jackal yelped . . . very
distant hyenas moaned, sounding tenuous echoes
from mountain range to mountain range.

"You remember Jerry?  Rhodda! the tall
Harvard graduate who came out to Kenya to
live after a row with his father and a general dislike
for business. . . . Well, just before we left
Paris for Marseilles, I met him in the Ritz bar
and he was so mournful that I took charge of him.
. . . Charlie was with you all in London, I was
lonely, and poor Jerry just plain pitiful so we
went the rounds together at night. . . .

Poor Jerry had a most mournful story, his heart
quite broken.  He had come out toward the end
of 1923, and after six months' change, which
consisted of doing about what we have been doing
ourselves, decided that Kenya was good enough
for him and that the old man back home could
go to hell with his office, his rules and his grouch.

Jerry had a certain amount of capital and an
unbending American energy, very similar to his
father's (that's why they didn't pull together).
He was a born business man, the boy Jerry, and
the beginning of the year 1925 found him in
Mombasa, a bungalow built on the Mainland, a
trim boat rowed by stalwart blacks and a cool
shady office, perhaps the only one in Mombasa
town.

Now back home Jerry had left a girl . . . it
had been more or less of a boy and girl affair . . .
he was at college, she was at finishing school.
They loved and vowed devotion eternal, had even
exchanged nonentities; she had his fraternity
ring and he a college pin of hers. . . .

All the time since he had been far away, she
had written with mournful regularity. . . . He
had answered by fits and starts, keeping sentimental
memories awake when nothing else was on his mind. . . .

Her letters spoke of life back home . . . a
cheery life made up of everyday little ironies and
mishaps; of dancing sometimes, but only when
heavily chaperoned. . . . She was well brought up
in the Victorian sense of the word and her mind
had been moulded into the desired shape as
much by her mother's straight-laced ideas as by
the environment and heredity of an unrelieved
line and group of New England homes.  She
had been sent to school quite late when her very
soul was already hardened and tested by the
prejudices of that caste to which she and her
family belonged.

Now once again at home, she fretted but she
obeyed and in her letters (her only indiscretion)
she managed to put some of that hunger for the
unknown and that waywardness which is so fatal
to male hearts.  Bit by bit their letters from being
a fresh boy and girl affair had let pass through
their stumbling worlds a certain hint of passion,
a certain promise of fulfilment.  Most unconventional
. . . most scandalous . . . she suffered
from her own exuberance in the written word and
yet write she did. . . .

Jerry, now very nearly opulent, anyway independent
of father back home and with more leisure
on his hands, began to write oftener than before.
And one night, after suffering from repression for
entirely too many months, let go with true New
England deliberateness and Yankee organising
powers, asking her to come out and marry him
at the beginning of the winter.  In the same mail
travelled a long and careful letter to her mother in
which he painted Kenya as a land to be conquered
for the Whites; spoke of the hardships and back-breaking
toil of their common ancestors conquering
the western plains behind their covered
wagons.  First the horseman, then the wagon,
at last the plough.

Certainly the stars were very eloquent that
night and Jerry had seen about enough of the
wild young set of the Colony to want his wife to
be quite different.

Days passed, so did other letters. . . . His family
was of the same stock as hers, his banker sent
back glowing reports; so that at the end of months,
in New York harbour the girl and her mother
stepped on board the "Asia" of the Fabre Line;
destined direct to Marseilles and from there on
toward Mombasa by the Messageries Maritimes.
. . . At identically the same second as the girl and
her mother passed the statue of Liberty in the
harbour of New York, Raymond the magnificent
was piloting his big motor boat out of Mombasa
harbour.  In the bows Norma Hethelwhaith, the
actress, smiled at him from under her parasol,
her bare legs and feet stretched invitingly towards
him from the mist of a flowered chiffon dress and
most fluffy and belaced undies, just perceived. . . .
She was and still is a marvel of beauty, dear
Norma, but her morals are of the volcanic kind. . . .
She had collected Raymond at the Club the night
before and had made him take her out for a picnic
in his motor launch at an hour that would assure
their return by moonlight.

Jerry in his bungalow sat before the neatly
spread table, tired after a long hot day, thinking
with complacency of his well-directed manœuvres
that had launched his future in this way. . . . In
two months' time he would be married and, that
side of life attended to, would be able to devote
a peaceful dreamless mind to the great art of
making a shilling grow where a cent did just as
well before.

In his visions were more concrete things than
dreams, there was no inkling of doom or tragedy
by sea venture, and yet at that very second were
happening on the salty brine the very actions
which were to turn him from a self-complacent,
head-strong, narrow-minded, not grown up
enough New Englander into the suffering,
charming, delightful human being I took about
with me in Paris.  You needn't scowl, Charles;
if _you_ have been half as faithful as I have--_I_ am
the lucky one.

Two months went by.  Norma went back to
her motherland to stagger the play-goers by her
acting on the stage and the morning papers by
her acting in her home.--Raymond, Raymond
the Magnificent, with a rather sour taste in his
mouth and a curious clutch around his heart,
that seems to dwell with all those who have met
Norma in a generous mood, went off to the Lado
Enclave to shoot elephant.  Jerry, with an eye to
first impressions, borrowed Raymond's launch
and drove it around and about Kilindini harbour
so as to acquire the necessary touch to bring it
up with just the right swagger to the quay
side.  On this morning he has left his office in
charge of his head Goanese clerk and fretfully
paces the verandah cursing the pilot who is
taking such a time to bring the Messageries boat
into port.  At the foot of the steps cut out of the
coral at the bottom of his garden is a miniature
wharf, and dangling idly at the end of a brand-new,
snow-white painter is his launch, or rather
Raymond's launch. . . . The brasses have been
shined until at least fifty shillings' worth of
brass must have been scoured off the fittings.

In white duck shorts and orange shirt piped
with white, his boatman is sitting on the bow, or
rather on his heels which connect him to the bow;
the jet-black Swahili boatman, very contemptuous
of his newfangled boat. . . . Wasn't the
Bwana quite contented with the row boat and in
that he, Mustapha Ali, had six stalwart underlings
to slash and vituperate with sibilant tongue? . . .
In this fiendish contraption he, Mustapha Ali,
must bend over stinking oil and hot iron; he,
Mustapha Ali, head boatman to the great Bwana
"Meredadi."

So quite evidently no one had much peace of
mind on that morning, even the pilot high above
the sea on the liner's bridge cursed in fluid
Gaelic at the stupidity of the quarter-master at
the wheel; they neither understood each other's
mother-tongue and the interpreter was more than
hesitant.

The girl, "Rosemary,"--we can name her now--was 
trying to soothe a raging mother covered
with prickly heat. . . . A most unsuccessful
arrival, a most terribly shy and nervous fiancée . . .
a cross boatman, a furious mother and a nerve-racked
young man who waits to make a good
impression. . . . All the elements of a tragedy.

But all turned out satisfactorily except for
Mustapha Ali who got his big toe pinched
trying to save his boat's paint when the Bwana
brought her up to the gangway of the liner in
what he thought was true navy "style."

Then ensued days of bliss . . . days of repose
under the slowly nodding banana leaves, a
careful attendant chaperone sighing dreamlessly
asleep in a deep deck-chair. . . . Mornings of long
swims among the eddies of the creek. . . . Light
fishes on brown earthenware dishes, pawpaws
trimmed with limes . . . all the discoveries of the
tropics.

Dust, bazaar dust, framing darker faces;
turbans, vivid orange to darkest sable.

To Rosemary every discovery was a step on
the road of her love, her shyness lending a
greater intenseness to her otherwise very middle-class
passions.  While her mother, comfortably
aware of perfect servants and luscious meals,
unbent to the extent of nearly beaming on her
future son-in-law.

Days passed, nights flew . . . the "young
people" as she termed them were getting to
know each other, the wedding was set-for in a
month's time, friends were being invited.

All these pre-nuptial festivities were to culminate
in an all-day picnic party along the shores
around and about the creeks and islands.  Rosemary,
her mother, two of his married friends,
the commissioner and himself. . . . Just a little
party of eight Europeans and two black servants.

On this day of doom they met just after sunrise
at the embarkment pier of Kilindini harbour;
the launch in her now usual garb of brilliantly
shiny brass and smart flapping ensign.

Rosemary, flushed with the joy and excitement
of it all, her mother beaming though rather disapproving;
her New England spirit revolting
at these expressions of joy not sufficiently
tempered by prayer.  The other young matrons all smiles
and laughter at the idea of getting away, if only
for a single day, from the too easy that it becomes
enervating job of keeping house in Africa.  The
commissioner lent just that little official touch that
gave the party the seriousness and dignity compatible
with Rosemary's mother's enjoyment.

The boat passes out of harbour, round the
reef, the sun already climbing steadily out of an
eastern sea . . . the rippleless surface giving a
sense of the immense depth down to the beds
where myriads of coral creatures worked ceaselessly
to obstruct the man-made channel.  A
charge of dynamite wrecking a hundred years of
toil to be immediately replaced by a thousand
years' work of spikes and branches sliding into
the vacated lot.

A shadow, way down in the depths, with spots
of gold; the ladies shivered as the eight-foot tiger
shark lazily rolled and surged on . . . a trace of
bubbles accompanying him out to sea leaving
the launch far in his wake.  Then the turbulence
of the open water hid the flowery bottom, and all
ensconced themselves in deep comfort, protecting
smarting eyes and sun-kissed skin from the already
mounting radiancy of the morning light.

Heading south they passed out of view of
houses, walls and European life . . . here and there
a half-seen hut huddles at the foot of a nodding
coco-nut stem, or a palm bent under the weight
of a climbing native. . . . Here they hug the
shore, now they shoot up a creek between an
island and the mainland, then steer out to sea
to avoid a hungry shoal, surf-coated and angry
amid the breaking waves. . . .

Soon, even the uninitiated tired of the vivid
hues and forceful scapes; noddingly they dozed
each in their dreams while the young couple
exchanged sweet pleasantnesses in true Victorian
style. . . .

The freshness of all this endeavour thrilled
Jerry to his very heart; to that cold New England
heart which thought of marriage as only a good
outlet for restless vitality, too easily turning to
nervosity if not somehow physically appeased.

The cold heart opened, he thought he really
loved this girl. . . . She looked down into his eyes
with trust and a deep feeling of admiration. . . .
How far away was cold Sharon and colder Pomfret,
how farther still the Sunday-school class and the
village choir . . . the communal prayers, the
village sewing parties. . . . Here was her man, her
lover to be, her God to-day.

Soon they crept up a last inlet, yard by yard,
the overhanging banks leaned nearer to each
other . . . the hibiscus, the tamaris, the mangrove;
vines, creepers, hanging flowers and passionate
leaves trailing overhead from branch to stem,
from earth to heaven and back again. . . .

The party was awed by the brooding calm.
Overhead a vertical sun beat through the leaves
and branches, sending dire shafts of light to the
very depths of their brains. . . .

Sun paralysed, heat languid, they slowly got out
of the boat and lay about under the thick
shade of some giant tree; some food, some drink,
few words--the hours slipped by like an unfelt
breeze.  A day of sublime happiness and content;
the two fiancés, lovers in mind already, clung to
each other.  Rosemary's mother basked in this
atmosphere of completeness and the young
couples smiled up into each other's eyes seeking
undiscovered corners and nooks in which to
brood.

Soon it was late and they moved regretfully to
return, feeling that never again there would be
such a day of happiness.

As they nosed out to sea the launch heaved and
showers of diamonds flew into the air, the wind
had freshened and all were seeking shelter. . . .
Jerry drew a light coat from a locker and wrapped
it carefully about his queen . . . the boat pitched
and tossed, gone was the content and comfort . . .
not bad enough to make any disaster but uncomfortable
enough to chase away all the clinging love
and sensuousness of the everglades.

Rosemary's mother drew herself up primly on
her deck chair; the girl moved a little away
from Jerry's side holding the coat to her shoulders; the
young couples took to talking golf and home-leave.
. . . Jerry steered the boat.

"Darling, what is this?"--A dangling female
garment of pink silk fluttered in her hand.--"It 
was in your pocket."

Norma Hethelwhaith had well calculated her
hour; the night had been sultry and Raymond
left his coat in the locker.

"What is the meaning of this?"  The irate
mother snatched the gossamer silk that had once
clad Norma's silver skin.

Jerry was blinded with horror . . . all his New
England prejudices coming to the fore.  Rosemary
wept--her mother ranted and prayed--it was
useless trying to explain . . . he was condemned . . .
circumstantial evidence . . . but evidence all the
same.

What a return after such a day!


They sailed about a week later, and now, home
in the United States, in the Claboard house, Rosemary
knits and sews while her mother reads the
Bible--a chapter to every day.  The girl steels
her heart until it needs no steeling any more,
while her mother unconsciously realises that she
has been sent the uncalculable gift of an unpaid
servant who must be worthy of her ideal until she
also departs to the land where morals are no
more.

Jerry, desperate, left everything and tried to
follow, but at each step he found an obstacle, at
each corner a defence, many of which were as
much made by his own guilty mind.  Guilty of
the misdoings of his friend, Raymond the
Magnificent.

What happened then? . . . He came to Paris and
I met him soon after . . . an absolute wreck, not
amusing at that. . . . Nevertheless, I got him pulled
together and all was well in the land after a few
days.

Life's ironies. . . . Norma Hethelwhaith came
to lunch with me and I told her the sad story and
of her great responsibility. . . .

"Bring him around to tea. . . ."

He wouldn't go. . . . I left a few days afterwards
sending her his address. . . . There was no news
until the last mail when this card arrived--


To Mrs. Charles Pollock.
             On Safari, c/o Safariland, Ltd.
                          Nairobi, Kenya Colony.

Married to-day.  Wish us luck,
                           *Norma* and *Jerry*.


Sarah-Jane leant back in her chair while we
passed the green pasteboard from hand to
hand. . . .

"Most fitting," said Rhodda.  George smiled,
Scudder frowned. . . .

Most fitting for them to do that too.




IV

_The Romance of Tsing-Laô._

Charlie has little of the handsome _savoir faire_
credited to diplomats as a race . . . he is of the new
school, which believes in the hearty handshake and
gruff straightforwardness, more looked for in the
men from the wide open spaces of _God's Own
Country_ than in the diplomatic pawns moved about
the world by the orders of the great trusts which
rule the U.S.A.  "Men behind the throne . . ."
more often plain upstarts, tyrannical, brutal,
like the "Maires du Palais" in "Capetian" days.

So Charlie lit straight into his subject with a
ruthlessness that made us dread dire things for
any hopes we had fostered of sentimental stories,
or love and beauty.


A few years ago, I was coming back from the
Court of Teheran where I had been attached to
the financial mission sent by the States to clear up
the excruciating disorder of that kingdom's exchequer.

Instead of the usual route to Europe, I decided
to work my way to the Persian Gulf and thence
home by means of one of the mail boats which
call at Aden every week.  The route is good as
far as the gulf through Persia and Irak, but once
there, no mode of transport was available for
several weeks ahead.  After ten days of pottering
about, the heat became so unbearable that I
welcomed even the smells and discomfort of an
Arab dhow as a relief and a possible though slow
means of transportation to Aden.  After sundry
bickerings and such, in which my Baluchi servant
played a prominent part, we embarked, myself,
personnel (servant and cook) on the evil smelling,
badly caulked sea-cockle, which was owned and
run by an old pirate by the name of Ibrahim-ben-Cassim.
He was helped or hindered by about a
dozen fellow bandits of mingled parentage and no
heritage but sundry ills and diseases not on the
books of ordinary pharmacopœia.  One other
passenger shared the poop with us . . . he was
already installed when we came aboard and did
not appear during the first day. . . . Only when the
sun was setting . . . sinking with a flash in the
west did the other cabin door swing open.  With
a slow rustle of heavy silks, a great towering figure
emerged into the light.  We could hardly believe
our eyes;--yet the long black pigtail, the gold-rimmed
glasses, the mandarin's button, the gold-cases
on the enormous nails. . . . A figure out of
the past, out of the China of the days of the
Empress dowager.  Catching our eyes upon him,
he bowed and greeted us in a stilted English.  Uncomfortably
the Anglo-Saxon words cracked and
jammed in the ceremonious phrases of the
courteous flow of epithets which is a privilege of the
great dignitaries of the Middle Kingdom.

The space on a dhow is more than limited so
we were much thrown together; more so even
by the storm which wracked us on the fifth day
of our wanderings.  At times, through the
courteous phrases, crept a hollow longing, a heart
strain towards desire unsatisfied. . . . Never daring
to question, we kept our lips occupied with the
flowing phrases that coat the vulgar passions of
the human soul.

Bit by bit he felt me less the foreign devil, the
barbarian from the West, and spoke of his palace
by the Yellow River; of the lotus flowers floating
dreamless among the reflections of the overhanging
trees; of the rustles of silk and long-drawn
incantations in his court house, until with
one quick twirk of a broad-bladed sword the
executioner severed any further communication
of the supplicant's mouth from its bowed
knees. . . .

One night when thunder was across the sea
and a lead-like calm held each salty atom immobile
against its brother, he spoke of his quest.
The quest which had taken him from his home ten
years ago.  When in a silver coffin, well spiced,
the body of his eldest son was returned from the
lands of the setting sun.  The heir who was to
carry on the traditional worship of the ancestors
when he should fall on his way to untroubled
knowledge.

In a Chicago university his son had lived . . . he
had prospered, the foreigners had liked his long
dreamy eyes and golden face. . . . One of their
daughters had looked on him with friendship,
with love his son had said, and one night when he
sought some jade ornament with her in Chinatown,
two quick shots had split the night, two
darts of flame.  A reek of burnt hair and his
son had been found dying in the alley-way . . . the
girl kidnapped, gone from his side. . . . "And tell
the Earnest-Follower-of-Great-Learning that I
depart, my work stillborn, that our honour is
at stake until we return the woman to her
hearth. . . ."

The fruitless search of the police had spoiled
the trails; she had vanished. . . . The stricken
family had dully lost all hope. . . . His son had
been returned, embalmed, to the temple of his
ancestors and he, Tsing-Laô, Mandarin of the
great Court, had bowed his head on the steps of
his Emperor, had broken his mind to learn the
speech of the barbarians; and had then departed
on the quest, on the trail of his honour. . . . From
San Francisco it had led back to the "Middle
Kingdom" through the many fluttering-flag-bedecked-gates
of Canton.

The white girl of pale gold and paler eyes had
been the slave of a great Prince in revolt against
his Emperor. . . . He carried her in a litter of
lacquer with curtains of gold. . . .

In his war against the Son of Heaven he had
fared now well, now ill, gradually gathering into
his hand the lands of Genghis-Khan in the Gobi
desert. . . . After years spent following the young
conqueror about those steppes, Tsing-Laô rejoiced
when at last they rested and in the palace
of straw.  He, Tsing-Laô, Mandarin of the first
degree, prostrated himself at the usurper's feet. . . .
He, servant of the throne, had offered to betray
his Emperor to this upstart for the price of the
blonde child from the West. . . . And . . . through
the polite phrases and great compliments there
flowed into his mind the greater certainty that his
goal was not yet attained. . . . His wandering
body again took the trail behind the God of Lust
who had made the captain of the Prince's bodyguard
forsake his trust, hurrying on his sturdy
steppe pony, fleeing towards his Turkoman home;
before him on the saddle travelled the cold
frigid girl whose trail was blood.

Through Thibet into Nepal, then turning back,
away from the white faces of India . . . through the
icy spaces of the roof of the world he had followed;
and always there was a trail of blood. . . . Blood of
those who would ravish her, blood of those who
would defend her possession. . . . Changing hands
from time to time her beauty unsullied, so told
the tales, though her heart had become black with
handling, roughness, and coarse mouths of the
hillmen . . . still years and years he followed.

Revolution in the Middle Kingdom burned his
home . . . his Emperor was now a shivering
child among alien protectors. . . .

While the white nations fought for a stranglehold
on each other's necks, Tsing-Laô followed,
now in Russian camps, now in British outposts,
serving each in turn, selling to the Turks, buying
from the Arabs, to follow on the trail.

Then he heard that the great horde had
gathered and thrown the white men from the
shores of the Empire; and now also his quest
was at an end.  Twelve years of hunger for his
home and the temple of his ancestors.

I dared not question . . . how was the trail at
an end.  I respectfully listened, and once, tapping
a thoughtful finger on the great chest which
supported his shrine, he mused, and half-spoken
words fell:

"I would that thou seest, my son, the woman
whom I return to her ancestors."  He lifted the
fringed carpet and he lifted the heavy lid--"Look, 
my son, and go away with lust in thy
heart."  In folds and folds of silk was wrapped
the body of a woman fair as the fairest Norsemen.
Parting aside the heavy silks he showed me the
jewelled knife in her side just below the blond,
red-tipped breast.  By some miracle the mummy
lived and the flesh quivered unattainably
beautiful.

"I came to the last door three moons ago;
having followed her down the Tigris on one of the
flat boats your soldiers use to bring the grain for
the horses. . . . I knew that my journey's end was
near and I burned incense to the Gods, to the
ancestors who carry back into the halls of the
universe our most respected race.

"At nightfall the boat drew to the bank and
I walked down a plank to the shore, then towards
the twinkling lights of a Nomad encampment.
As I walked the shadows became distinct and the
strumming of an Arab guitar rose and fell. . . . In
an open space, her silver bangles jingling; around
and around to a crescendo; the woman, the
quest. . . . 'My honour.' . . . I sat beside the
evil smelling men of the plains. . . . The camel
dung smouldered and spit, a chibouk gurgled,
the guitars hooted and shuddered, every instant
the savages getting more mesmerized--their lust
showing in their taut fingers around the hilts of
the curved knives. . . . Slowly I rose and, turning
out of camp, walked into the night. . . . A few
moments later there was a flash of light from
the shroud of darkness and she sank to her feet.
A knife shivering buried to the hilt in her golden
skin.

"I bartered for the body and after the due rites
and tolls were paid now travel to the land of the
setting sun to deliver from bondage my honour
that the soul of my child may rest in peace doing
ceremonial duty to the ancestors."

Once again he lifted the lid of the dark chest . . .
once again I gazed on that beautiful mute face
and with a slam he let the dark wood fall, drawing
the cover of blazoned silk across the brooding
surface.

In a silence of heavy suspense seconds ticked
monotonously on; at last with due consideration
for the Task concluded, I bade him good rest and
went to contemplate in the bow of the ship the
pictures that formed . . . pictures of this lonely
old man from an alien land, pursuing through
ten years and more of hardships the means to his
honour's establishment.

The stars overhead glow the brighter for the
great endeavour, and my mind conjures up the
pealing senses of that beautiful body ravished in
every hovel, yet more beautiful for it . . . conjures
up visions and scenes in the near future, those of
a family of hundred per cent. Americans from
Chicago who must greet the yellow man bringing
home a probably now long-forgotten spectre.

A late moon crescent flippantly gilds the eddies
as a slight breeze rises, pushing us through the
dark, thick sea. . . .

A far-away throb cuts in on the night stillness.
. . . Our navigation lights twinkle feebly and
suddenly a shaft of light glows, fingering across
the night. . . . At last it catches us in its beam,
there is a quicker throb through the night and
a thirty-knot destroyer slides up out of the darkness.
An order to heave to, and we veer around
into the wind, our canvases lazily flapping to the
sighs of the night.

A boat lowered, shoulders up to our quarter
and a smart naval voice demands our papers and
our presence for personal inspection by H.M.
Navy.

We line up . . . Arab, Asiatic, European, side
by side. . . . A quick glance, a question, and then
pass on.  At last my turn.

"What are you doing on a dhow? . . ."  I
explain and he passes on. . . . Tsing-Laô he
scrutinises intently, then suddenly demands to
search his cabin.

A knife-like gesture across his mouth and
Tsing-Lao shudders, dropping to the floor.  As
he hits the rough boards of the deck, his skull
cap rolls off carrying with it his magnificent pigtail.

The blue uniformed officer bends and twists off
the hanging moustache. . . .

"I thought so. . . .  Mr. Pierre!!"

The poison had done its work and he was
stretched out for the final departure . . . the
officer telling of his so-called store at Muscat, the
prosperous French trader who disappeared at
times; of the official suspicions and so on. . . .

"Come along and see your mummy now,"--after 
I had told the tale. . . . The head of wax
nodded from side to side on the slightly heaving
deck beside the gleaming breast of wax . . . the
knife still glistening to the hilt . . . and underneath
the pounds and pounds of silver powder held in
small sealed packets.

"For five years we have tried to catch the
cocaine smuggler, but never got the leader,
though we all suspected the most proper, over-prosperous
Mr. Pierre, general trader in Muscat.
Yes; the romance of Tsing-Laô who killed beautiful
women to save his honour while he poisoned
the poor demented natives who carried him
through their starvation to his fortune.

"The smuggler of hell, Chinaman from the
banks of the Seine who built a great fortune,
invested in rentes for his children to live in
comfort and respectability."


All night long I dream dreams of poison, of
flaming swords pursuing me in the hands of
naked Chinese arms . . . a most disturbed night,
but Sarah-Jane swears it is only indigestion from
the Kongoni liver which, she swears, would creep
away if we would only leave it loose. . . . Well,
it can't be helped and I feel awful to-day.




V

_The Stalwart O'Pooles._

Rhodda settled herself in the most comfortable
of the Safari chairs, the privilege of the raconteur
of the evening, hitched her mosquito boots, took out
and filled her long amber cigarette-holder;--a 
match flared and the cigarette glowed, then
dwindled . . . full two minutes passed before
she started. . . .

"I have led an eventful life";--Scudder
looked gloomily into the fire,--"I have had a
successful life."--She smiled into Scudder's
eyes.--"But the story of the rise of Rhodda
Scudder would be better told by one of her
admirers, and more picturesquely so by one of
her enemies; so I think I'll tell you a little nonsense
story already many moons old":--


It was at the time when prohibition was just
beginning to make itself felt . . . prices going up,
qualities going down. . . . I had left New York
in the fall after a particularly hectic time, and
mother who wanted a little quietness after the
season's rush, my sister's coming out year,
suggested that I take her (my sister Jane) with
me to recuperate.  Off we went, speeded by sighs
of relief from the whole family and many objurgations
not to get into trouble again.  After a few
weeks at Palm Beach we got very bored with the
social stunts and moved down to a little inn outside
Miami; ten miles further down Biscayne
Bay,--beyond James Deering's estate and William
Jennings Brian's pious abode . . . beyond that,
nothing . . . nothing but a huge fruit farm, even
the road petered out within a few miles of the
bungalow lent us by the Fruit Company.  I had
shipped my car south; one of those old friendly
Cunningham roadsters. . . . You Europeans don't
appreciate the joy of having custom built cars
instead of the made-by-the-thousand, painted-by-the-million
feeling one gets out of the ordinary
American brand.  Anyway, I loved the old Cunningham
and it kept us linked up with Miami
whenever we felt the urge.  Soon we settled down
to a serious life of fishing. . . . Neither Janie nor
I had ever tried it before; so we were very dubious
. . . but that dear and gallant gentleman, the late
Mr. James Deering, insisted we should try it at
least once and sent us down for a week in his
yacht.

His captain and his stewardess bossed us
around . . . made us get up . . . made us don weird
costumes and weirder hats . . . shoved us off in
tiny cockleshells for hours in the blazing sun.
What with luck and their kind care we caught
fish that looked to us enormous and also we got
nicely tanned, but not burnt uncomfortably.  By
the time we returned to Miami, we both had
caught fish fever . . . we told stories of our catches
until our friends of the Fruit Company had to
bring out their own books of records to
temper our enthusiasms.

But it only spurred us on and we hied down to
Miami and, refusing all poor Mr. Deering's offers
of another trip on the yacht, captured or rather
bought for his weight in gold--(also I think the
weight of his yacht was thrown in as a good
balance; rather like the fellow with his sword in
the scales ransoming Rome or Carthage or one of
those places where things happened before the
English thought of spoon, knives and etiquette)
Russian John.

Anyway we nailed _the_ great fisherman of the
coast.  His boat was a distinct antipode of the
elegant highly polished yacht.  Twenty tons instead
of a hundred-and-fifty--rather smelly--one 
had to step over the engine to get to the cabin
Janie and I shared; the kitchen was two by four
and everyone was expected to take their turn at
washing up.  We stayed out of harbour two weeks
at a time and except for the periods of a few days
used for replenishing stores and mending broken
tackle, we spent three months on board that little
boat!  What we didn't learn about sea and fishes
is not in the book of words, I can tell you.

At last time came to get back North . . . we
were feeling so grand that we decided to motor
all the way back to New York.  Needless to say
that during the whole trip we were supplied with
the best liquor in the world.  Florida with its
thousand miles of coastline, its millions of tiny
islands and twisty creeks was the thriving home
of the newly-founded bootleg trade.  A few
days before we were due to leave Janie had the
idea which was to lead us to our Waterloo.  She
thought it would be a grand idea to load the car
with liquor and thus replenish our stock in New
York without having to pay the exorbitant prices
they were asking there.

We consulted John . . . who offered to bring it
in his boat around to a little cove near the bungalow;
but then there was the trouble of getting it
off the boat, up about three hundred yards of
trail, and packed into the car.  While John and
I were discussing this . . . who to get to help . . .
who was to be trusted . . . who not . . . Janie
went to town in the car and an hour later arrived
back jubilant.

"I've found a grand way. . . . I missed a turning
on Flaggler Street and nearly ran down the
cop, who took me up in front of the judge who
fined me $10; only letting me off when I told
him I had to get back at once to pick you up as we
were leaving north to-night.  As I left the
Court House, such a nice young detective came
up and asked me if he could help any with
the car . . . anyway we got talking and he asked if
I was taking any liquor north with me in the car;
I indignantly said 'certainly not.'--'Well Miss,'
said he, 'I could fix it for you if you did . . . they
are very strict now and examine all the cars going
through Jacksonville; but if ye wanted anything
done, my brother is sergeant in the prohibition
force there and I'd give ye a letter to him that'd
get ye through; I'd also phone the posts along the
way up and ye'd not have a mint of trouble getting
tons through if ye wanted it.'--Isn't it wonderful
darling? . . . So he is coming this evening with
two of his boys to help pack the car."--Janie
preened herself like a successful hen ostrich who
has stolen all her neighbour's eggs, and hatched
them successfully.

I was aghast at all this. . . . John looked very
glum. . . .

"Well lady, I'll leave the cases on the beach and
beat it . . . maybe them cops are mean."  And off
he trudged.

I didn't know what to do and went to lie
down and think things over.  Janie sulked
because I was dubious about her nice police boy.
Anyway, it was cast, and sure enough at nightfall
up comes Janie's policeman, and two of his
friends on motor-cycles.  They were very nice
and polite.  Janie greets them with wreaths of
smiles and takes them off to where the cases are
hidden in the little cove below the bungalow.
Back she comes in a minute or so and drives the
car down as near as possible; soon it comes back,
all the cases packed away unseen; and with a smile
on his face the young man hands me a letter with
the Police stamp on the envelope.

"All ye need do, Madam, if ye meet any cops
on the road is to show them the letter and they'll
let ye by;--when ye get in Jacksonville ye'll be
stopped by the police cordon a few miles out
and ye just show the letter and ask to have spache
with Sergeant O'Poole . . . he be me own brother
and will let ye by and fix it for ye farther north . . .
the charge is $200 just for drinks for meself and
the boys."--I paid the toll and bade them good-night
while they wished us a happy journey,
banging off in the night on their motor-cycles.

Janie went to bed triumphant. . . . I was reassured
but not entirely at ease.  Nevertheless, we
started off next day and as the miles went by my
spirits rose . . . so did those in the back of the car
until one of the bottles blew up, and what with the
heat and jolts the car stank like a beer house from
at least a mile away.  Quaking when we were
stopped by some policeman . . . the letter proved a
successful passport; as soon as they saw it they
saluted and wished us a prosperous journey.
At last on the third day as we were nearing
Jacksonville towards evening, a cop stepped out
in front of the car and demanded to examine it;--Janie 
brandished the letter asking for
Sergeant O'Poole.

"All right young lady," says the cop, "if ye
want the sergeant, to the sergeant ye will go,"
and he stood on the step directing us to a small
house on the outskirts of the town.  It  was
evidently the headquarters of the prohibition
agents as there were quantities of cops and detectives
in uniform and out of it hanging around.
Janie marched proudly in brandishing the letter
while I was left outside under guard, at least I
felt I was with all the cops about.  Just as the
strain was beginning to tell, Janie came down with
what was obviously her cop's brother; he smiled
beamingly at us and told the man who had held
us up that it was all right: We were some friends
of Jerry's and he could go back to his beat.

"So ye're friends of the kid . . . and how is he
doing . . . well . . . well . . . glad to be of any
assistance to any lady friends of the brother.
What hotel will ye be stopping at? . . . All right,
I'll send up an officer with a letter that will help
you farther north. . . ."  I tried to put a bill into
his hand. . . .

"No lady, I couldn't take it from a friend of
Jerry's."

All was marvellous, all was divine.  We slept
like logs after our long drive and were only
awakened next morning by a loud knocking on
the door. . . .

"Who is it?"

"The police!"

We slipped on our wraps and unlocked the
door; in trooped Jerry's brother and two plain
clothes detectives.

"Ladies, I arrest you for smuggling liquor and
shall have to take you up to the judge as
soon as you've dressed.  Your car has been taken to the
police station and you will be expected to deposit
bond to the extent of five times the value of the
smuggled merchandise."

Janie's jaw dropped, my eyes goggled . . . we
were entirely sunk . . . caught with the goods.
Janie started to cry and I very nearly did too--at
last a smile spread on Sergeant O'Poole's
face. . . .

"Now . . . now . . . ladies, don't take it so to
heart.  We can perhaps arrange this little business
like gentlemen and ladies."  To his subordinates:

"You two roughnecks go and wait in the
hall! . . . Now, ladies, after a quick inspection
of y'r car I value the liquor smuggled at $3,000
present rates New York.  If ye think it worth
your while to ask me to have that liquor removed
as I might say 'sub rosa,' no fuss, no questions,
it would be an act of charity if you gave me $500;
250 for self and 250 for Jerry, that's the brains
of the family as ye can see for yeselves.  Naturally,
ladies, I am asking you to trust me, but it is the
only way out--otherwise you'll have to put up a
huge bond, pay a big fine, and forfeit your car."
That last finished me and I got to counting
travellers' cheques until I had the right amount.

With the cheques in his fist the good honest
brother to Jerry O'Poole smiled and said:--

"Y'r car will be outside the hotel in an hour,
just as soon as I get these cheques to the bank--and 
if ye take my advice, ladies, get out of town
'pronto,'--no need to hang around and meet
the bunch of crooks that live in these parts; two
nice young ladies like y'rselves are too easy
killin'"--he smiled again and shut the door
behind him. . . . Jerry O'Poole hadn't got the
corner in brains in the O'Poole family, I don't
think.  Within two hours the dust of the
northern suburbs of Jacksonville was rising
behind the good old Cunningham--now riding
lighter by about $3,000 worth of alcohol and
glass, and $500 worth of American Express
paper.  And that's that.

We all broke in--

"But didn't you do anything about it?"

"What was there to do?"

"What happened to the O'Pooles?"

"Oh, a guy tougher than the others had the
same trick palmed off on him and he went back
and shot them up.  The sergeant stayed shot but
Jerry got all right and is now an Inspector of
Customs in New York.  On our return I expect
to wangle the ivory in under the real weight
thanks to his help."

Laughing we picked up our things and all went
to rest.  Some in their tents . . . the old white
hunters such as George and I on our camp beds
with a tent of stars overhead and a smile on our
lips at thoughts of the bonny Corsairs from out
of Erin, the stalwart O'Pooles.




VI

_The Death of Mirza Khan._

When Scudder's turn came he hitched himself up
in his chair; a double Scotch and soda in hand,
and a glowing pipe in mouth, he awed us into
silence.

"You remember, Rhodda, when I met you I
was exchange lecturer at Oxford from Yale.  I
lived the comfortable life of the old English
university until I merged into the British atmosphere
to such an extent that I was nearly adopted
as one of their own.  Nevertheless, foreign pupils
seemed to cluster around me to a greater extent
than any others, especially Indian students;
among them was a brilliant young Mohammedan
Prince, Subital Khan, from the borders of
Afghanistan; he became my friend and one day
when I asked him why he did not mingle with the
Europeans to a greater extent, he took on a
strained look.  I glossed over the ensuing silence
. . . but late that night before the glowing coal
fire he said:--

"'This is why I don't live among the English;
I will tell you the story of my brother "Mirza
Khan." . . .


Mirza Khan straightened his tie in the tall
glass at the bottom of the stairs; his glossy hair,
immaculately parted, shone like polished ebony,
not one thread out of place, not a crinkle or
curve apparent, thanks to an unending supply of
"Staycomb."  The red-faced butler, who can
always give you the latest tips on "the 'orses, me
Lord, and me brother as knows the trainer's
'ousemaid quite intimately I might say, thinks as
there's an 'onest chance for Marybird in the
Doncaster, me Lord."  The red-faced butler, who
used to drink my port and now thrives on Lady
Dundeen's, marches up the stairs and, throwing
open the doors, portily mumbles--"'Is 'Ighness,
Mirza Khan."

Mirza Khan bows over this hand and that.
The men are carefully jolly and forcefully
friendly.  "Old Mirza Khan is a good sort," and
he really can mount you for the International
Tournament.  Look what he did for Coucou
Culbert's team last year.  Yes, a good fellow,
Mirza Khan, but you can't help it, neither can
he. . . . Prince Mirza Khan . . . five-score generations
of fighting Khans from the North; can't
help it, he's a native.

Dora Dundeen smiles benignly on her latest
catch while her shrimp of a brother whispers
inaudibly to his neighbour about it being a bit
hot having these fellows in one's home. . . .
$15,000 a year each and a few brains have made
a successful senior subaltern out of Johnny and a
more successful hostess out of his sister. . . . At
the pace he is going he'll be G.O.C. in India
before he is fifty.

Mirza Khan shivers and turns towards the
fire.  "You must feel the cold of our autumns
after your delicious climate," warbles some
sweet young thing, quite oblivious of the fact that
Mirza Khan's home is perched on a jutting spur
of the Himalayas, where his young eyes were
taught to pick out the eagle's nest, just a patch of
grey on the unending snow.

Yes, he is a great success . . . the most perfect
gentleman Eton and Balliol could have turned
out.  Even his host, old Sir Jones Dundeen, has
taken a liking to him. . . . The girls simply rave
about him and he has an unending supply of
onyx cigarette holders and enamelled cigarette
boxes, much inlaid with stones in the shape of
monograms for the ladies who charm him to
their parties.

During dinner the chatter goes about the place,
the ordinary patter of a Mayfair dinner. . . .
What Edwina, darling Edwina, had on the other
day; what a marvellous bit of luck for dearest
Diana to get that part in the new photo-play
at Wembley; and didn't Mirza Khan think
that poor P. G. was in for a dull winter at Malta
this year.  Prince Mirza Khan talked chattily in
exactly the right pitch of exactly the right people.
He even suggested that they all go with him to
Tallulah's opening night next week. . . .

When the men were alone around the dark
mahogany table, they all gathered near him.
Johnny wanted the latest tip as to the possibilities
for the St. Leger of Mirza Khan's "English
Prince," the king of his racing stable; another
wanted something else; and still another would
like to be asked to Deauville on the yacht.
Besides, Mirza Khan is a jolly good fellow and
one of the pillars of British rule in India.  With
a smile he passes the port. . . . He has drunk
water all evening. . . . "Had to take a long cure
at Vichy last year don't you know . . . had a bad
liver, beastly bore. . . ."  Yes, a bad liver; the
kind of one a true believer, who has never touched
alcohol all his life, might acquire; the liver of
one who does his ecclesiastical calisthenics thrice
a day and fasts the Ramadan duly through.
But better a lie for policy's sake, and the Vichy
excuse is a heaven-sent one among these people
who, when they live past the days when they can
get killed out hunting, terminate their useless
careers with a stroke after too good a luncheon
or in some home for arterial over-pressures.

Soon after they join the ladies the party breaks
up and the couples go to their further delights;
one pair to the Café Anglais to hear the new
French singer--somebody said they were very
bawdy songs--others to join a party at the
Embassy.  Mirza Khan smiles on little Miss Yates
and suggests taking her on to to-night's ball. . . .
Lady Dundeen says she'll come too, but seeing
Miss Yates' grimace, she laughs and orders her
own car.

It is only a step from Chesterfield Street to
Grosvenor Square and yet they take three
quarters of an hour getting there.  Little Miss
Yates likes necking, and necking with a Prince
would have been a supreme joy; so, she suggested
going around the Park.  Around and around the
Park the silent car slipped on the dark road
surface.  Each in their corner--Miss Yates
shaking with ecstasy at the thought of next
second's struggling embrace, of Mirza Khan's
clipped moustache on her soft lips and perhaps--perhaps--she 
might be asked to give up what she
hasn't got. . . . Oh yes, Miss Yates enjoys herself
and only raises her voice in lament when her
honour is once again beyond recall.  But Mirza
Khan sits firmly in his corner and talks about
worldly things, keeping even his hands on the
move to such an extent that poor little Miss Yates'
tremblingly searching hand must needs clutch
itself tightly around her other one to prevent her
screaming with exasperation.

At last, the best things must end and they
turn off and stop by the plush-coloured carpeted
steps leading up to the ball.  Mirza Khan has
behaved like a perfect gentleman of old fashioned
days but little Miss Yates confides to her friends
that she doesn't like him much. . . . "However
well polished they are . . . you know, they are not
quite what one's used to. . . ."--Probably not. . . .
Her usual programme is, first night, dinner . . .
second night, the rest; and at least five taxis in
London town head straight for Hampstead
Heath when she picks them up after midnight.
. . . Yes, she has been most often ravished in
taxi-cabs--quite an art she thinks.  And Mirza
Khan?  Prince Mirza Khan?  No! she doesn't
think he is quite a gentleman. . . . She is disappointed
in him--yes, definitely so.  And, meanwhile,
to know that that cat of a Chatto Weems
says he is the best lover in town and that
just because she is married to a mental defective
and spent the week-end at the same house party
with Mirza Khan. . . . Why? . . . oh why? . . .

Why nothing! . . . By now Mirza Khan is
passing through the portals of his rented house in
Richmond Park.

Next morning he is awakened by the first rays
of dawn filtering through the drawn blinds, and
yawns. . . . A prostrate menial kneels by his bed
with a golden bowl of fresh water held to his
reach.  Mirza Khan makes the sacramental
gestures and climbs out of bed.  Face to the
East, he recites the Litanies--"'God only is
God and Mohamet is His Prophet.'"  The blind
Mullah of his suite moans behind him and in the
growing light bowed figures, previously unseen,
take shape--the courtiers, the parasites of Mirza
Khan, fawn on His most celestial Highness,
raising him God-like above other men.  He,
descendant of The Prophet who made everyone
equal under the spoken rule, basks in the sunshine
of their flattery.

After a more than luxurious bath, he emerges
to be greeted by a series of bows and genuflexions
from his host of courtiers.

He deigns to unbend and, leaning wearily on
the shoulder of his chief counsellor, tells of his
success, and of the night before . . . of how the
noble lady cast covetous glances over her immaculate
tablecloth; of Miss Yates' fresh young charms,
of her long supple limbs powdered and perfumed
to delight his senses. . . . In the midst of the most
rapturous tirade of his monologue, a jeweller is
announced.--Mr. Solomon Brahms is a crafty
seller, well versed in the ways of oriental potentates.
. . . As he spreads his wares before the most
exalted Highness, his sibilant chatter covers
preliminary ground. . . . How His Highness of
Khware has just purchased a ruby without equal
to dangle on State occasions on his most illustrious
brow, though it will be more lazily admired when
shining with sensuous lights from between the
rounded breasts of the new Circassian dancer
His Highness has purchased from the Kurdish
Sultan.

Mirza Khan writhes with spite. . . . What can
a prig like Khware know of beauty? . . . Let them
bring "The Delight of his Nights," that one
may see beauty and love.  The young Jew smiles
behind his glasses and with a quick jerk straightens
his frock coat.--"And does His Highness
Mirza Khan know of Rooma Sahib's quest after
pearls? to make his rope three inches longer he
has spent $50,000. . . ."  Mirza Khan grunts
and tells his treasurer to show the necklace of
emeralds which advances one step every year;
gambling at Deauville and Cannes does not make
the treasurer weep.

The curtains part and "The Delight of his
Nights" swings herself into the room. . . .

"Look what hips!  Look at the breasts that
hold my head between their roundness on turgid
nights. . . . What has Khware to compare? . . .
Look!  Look man, at the silkiness of the
skin. . . ."  Verily the Padisha soaked him good
and true, but isn't it worth all the lakhs of rupees
ever coined in Hind? . . . Never even his ancestor
Kublai Khan laid a languid body on such beauty
and, as for art, Scheherazade would longingly
plagiarise her tales and Shada the Rose learn from
her of further delights of love. . . .

Then Solomon Brahms felt about himself
until between his palms he unfolded a scrap of
paper. . . . Softness of the sea murmuring on a
coral sand beach, sighs of the night air among
the palm fronds. . . . On his hand was *The* pearl.
. . . "The Delight of his Nights'" eyes glistened.
. . . Mirza Khan looked steadily away from his
treasurer. . . .

"And, Highness, this is verily the pearl Maaki
Sahib Bahadur covets for the hilt of his sword to
wear at the next Durbar."

"Give the money" . . . and half a year's taxes
pass from hand to hand.  The courtiers gasp
and exclaim at his largesse.  "The Delight of his
Nights" strokes the pale luscience on the dark
blue velvet. . . .

"Let it be mounted on a pin.  I will wear it
in my scarf for the next Council."--They bow
and fall away. . . . "The Delight of his Nights"
will not be so delightful to-night; maybe will bite
and scratch until he will wish that he had bowed
to little Miss Yates' seduction. . . .

At last Mirza Khan is dressed, and, silent as
night, his deep brown Rolls with the gilded
innumerable lamps and whatnots that go to make
this car the most expensive on the market,
parades through the park, three supple councillors
praising his forbearance and his marvellous arts
and graces, while he recounts his plans for
future campaigns and amorous activities among
the élite of Mayfair, not forgetting to mention
each highborn lady of his choice by her own fair
name. . . .

At one, he stops at the Ritz, sends the parasites
home in the Rolls and steps into the hall to meet
Johnny whom he is taking to polo this afternoon.

The party is already assembled and Mirza
Khan bows and shakes the hands in true Oxford
style, deprecatingly defending himself from
the women's compliments and the men's too jolly
jollity.


The sun has gone down behind the hills a full
five hours and Peshawar sleeps but for a few
dampened glows sentry; posts tramp here and
there. . . . The great doors have been slammed
together; bars cross each other in solid weight.

A few dark shapes flit here and there, a lantern
lighting their shuffling feet through the rising
dust. . . . A small door is fixed half open into a
court, leading from the street into a backyard near
the outer wall.  A thin blur of light seems to come
from a corner . . . a smouldering stack of camel
dung smokes the air; the beasts of burden lie
contented for once, munching, their humps balanced
from side to side.

A figure--just a shadow--lanternless, against
all rules and laws of the town, slips noiseless
through the door and across the court . . . careful
not to disturb the cud-chewing animals . . .
careful not to displace the lingering dust.  The
groan of a wood mortar being pulled across a
wood floor hushes any other possible sound made
by the veiled figure. . . . Soon another shape darts
through the door . . . and again another and
another.

Then nothing more catches the human eye
but the blurred shapes of the dozing camels and
the arches around the court.  Even the dungfire
has died and the slight blur from the corner
disappeared. . . .

In a high room above the court, behind the
door to which the wooden mortar is attached, to
make a camouflage of sound, thirty men sit
crosslegged on the mats spread about the floor.
In the centre of the room a low brasero glows and
from time to time a pinch of incense thrown rises
in the hot air.

They await, these thirty head-men. . . . Sheiks
from the plains . . . clan-leaders from the hills . . .
prosperous Mohammedan traders from the city;
all responsible leaders in the army of the Faithful.
. . . Here a Madrassi in well-rolled turban chews
and spits betel nut against the laws of the Prophet.
. . . There a spare wiry chieftain from the
Lower Indus sharpens his curved wavy blade on
the horn of the sole of his foot, while next him,
a towering Inspector of Police thoughtfully
scratches his left breast under the tunic, below
the three lines of medal ribbons.

The heads . . . the elected heads of the faith
throughout the Hind, await the coming of the
anointed; the nominee of the Khalif of all true
believers. . . . From North, East and South they
have come; from across the border and further
still; from the Afghan court as witness the
high fur bonnet of the envoy of its King.

They all start as the door moans anew when
the wood mortar trails across the landing outside.
. . . And then it is closed again. . . . On
the threshold in the subdued light the figure
casts an immense shadow on the wall behind. . . .
A dark green turban above the staring black
eyes. . . . The dark green burnous closed over
the mouth. . . . It is well the Khalif has sent
a Sheriff, a descendant of the Prophet.

With a swift move he throws his burnous from
him and stands shrouded in white below the dark
green turban.

Mirza Khan, faithful servant of the Raj, holds
out the "Firman" cast in hieratic scrolls across
the tough parchment. . . . He is now well indeed
the "Anointed of the Lord"--"Khalif for the
East"--"Commander of the Faithful." . . .
He smiles at the looks of consternation amongst
the chiefs of the Religion. . . . He has waited years
for this moment . . . ten years of rebuffs from the
English . . . ten years of insults from the Faithful,
as one who had forsaken his kind.  Now, the chief
spy of the Lieutenant-of-God-upon-Earth is rewarded.

He unfolds the Firman. . . . It is the command
to arms . . . the Jeddah . . . the Holy War. . . .
War upon Christians . . . war upon Hindus . . .
the war where all will die who do not join in the
worship of the true believers.  The guttural
Arabic words roll out and on . . . to each is
designated a part . . . to each a command . . . to
each a city to conquer, a country to lay waste.  He
of the city will be treasurer of the army . . . he
of the hills will be king of the scouts, of those
who undermine the moral of garrisons, who set
fire to the bridges in front of the fleeing foe . . .
He who knows the ways of the Kristiani will
control the wires over which they talk and
messages flow, and so on and on, until each has
his task and duty.

Then Mirza Khan sweeps the assembly with
glance of sublime command.

"Have any aught to say?" . . . Silence . . .
silence broken only by the deep-drawn breaths of
excitement.  At last the Ambassador of the
Afghan throne rises.--"Khalifa!"--at the much
coveted title Mirza Khan straightens an already
straight back.

"Khalifa! we are here to obey.  As is said
in the Firman, in a month we will return to give
thee our reports and take thy orders.  May
Allah swing the sword of Gabriel on our side on
the great day of thy commanding"--and he bows
to the floor.

In the scarf about Mirza Khan's neck the pearl
pin glistens. . . . "The Delight of his Nights"
never managed to get it. . . .

He picks the green burnous from the floor
and, swinging it about him, fades through the
door. . . . One by one the assembly departs. . . .
Doubt may be in their hearts about the commander
they had thought to despise these years,
but it is the law and the Khalif of the Faithful
has commanded.

Mirza Khan steps through the courtyard,
carefully avoiding the slumbering animals. . . .
He slips out into the alleyway and, hugging the
protecting wall, goes off to the house on the other
side of the city.  In his heart joy throws itself
heavenwards and he has visions of himself a
second Kublai Khan, leading the hordes of the
Faithful across the heart of the Hind. . . . Visions
of trucks full of gems, mountains of gold . . . of
his fellow rulers humbled and ashamed on the
steps of his throne. . . . He goes through the dark,
unconscious of all except his triumph.  The
organization of ten years is going to set in motion
a revolution which will rock the world, and he,
Mirza Khan, will lord it over the millions of the
Hind.

A slight check to his mind as he remembers
the furor of "The Delight of his Nights" at his
departure this evening; the malignity of her
accusations of illicit love in some other house.
. . . She has never been quite the same since
he refused her the great pearl . . . but it is his
talisman which he will wear hanging lily-like on
his brow on the day of his first Durbar.

At that very same second a blinding pain hits
his face and a striped karait flung with deadly
certainty strikes again between his uncovered
eyes.

"So thou comest back from thy gallantries . . .
Knight of my Soul . . . look how thou diest, look,
again the pearl is mine."

"The Delight of his Nights" stoops and, with
a last push at the twisted body, glides away, the
great pearl in her hand.

How is it that by some trivial jealousy or
accident the British Empire is always saved on the
day of its doom?  And Mirza Khan, the great
organiser, the master man of the rising of Islam,
is now only remembered by a handful in the Hind
as a boastful young man and by a score in Mayfair
as little Miss Yates' lover. . . . She tells the story
of her broken heart so prettily behind drooping
eyelids in the shadow of some capriciously
shaped yew.




VII

_Law and the Western Man._

When it at last came to George's turn of story
telling, five previous days of romance each evening
had made us hungry for our nightly constitutional.

Knowing George as I do, I had intimated
that we were not to expect much of a yarn; he is
eloquent enough at times, especially when someone
of a party he is white hunting for wounds an
animal and he (George) has to chase it all over the
landscape; but as a general rule, George is much
happier a listener, briar pipe in mouth and
whisky and soda in hand, than as a raconteur.

So we settled down in our chairs after dinner
quite contentedly full of food and drink.

George shuffled about and around the fire
before settling down--his pipe glowed for a
minute, then he spoke:

"My story is a very human one . . . one
which is very near my personal feelings so you
must be indulgent if I make a mess of it.  It
happened two or three years ago in the Great
Lakes Province, in the sugar swamps":--


That day was like many others, in fact like
three hundred and sixty-five days out of nearly
every year.

The earth steamed, the sun beat, the great
lake lay flat, rippleless like some monster cauldron
of molten lead.

In the sugar factory on the brow of the hill,
John, a pale white man, sat, teeth clenched--eyes
staring--the slow-moving punkah above his head
fanning his greying baldness where little beads
glistened until with a run they collected in the
fringe of hair to trickle finally down his neck.

The murmur and hum of machinery throbbed
through his office . . . his brain, working in lightning
quick darts, began to throb to the same
syncopation.  Somewhere up in the hills a tom-tom
rumbles and calls.  His mind is clear, working
out every detail, probing every incident . . . foreseeing
every accident.  He is entirely responsible
for all this great endeavour; he guides and pulls
and pushes this new industry until it is now
blossoming forth into the regions of immense
dividends, as witness the London board's letter of
congratulations.  Work is so entirely absorbing
that he has given up his afternoon siesta, doesn't
even go home for luncheon with his wife in the
white bungalow, vine covered, sleepy and cool,
built on the rocky peninsula overgrown with
shadowy trees.  No . . . he doesn't even want to
. . . his wife takes his mind from his work. . . .
Why did he marry?  On his last home leave, he
suddenly felt the loneliness of the cane-brakes. . . .
Magnified by distance his feelings became unbearable.
. . . Winifred was so lovely, swooping
across the green lawn after some flashing ball.--He 
was rich, comparatively so anyway; the
parents approved. . . . Win was fascinated by the
romantic side of his life out in the wilds, fighting
nature and humans, building something colossal
where nothing was before.  That was three years
ago . . . the romance has faded and now he
feels her only a drag on his vitality.

These days he never returns until evening
shadows creep from the blue gums across the
tiny patch of grass Win has cultivated with the
help of thousands of gallons of water, hand pulled,
bucket by bucket, from the lake . . . waste of
labour . . . but it amuses her, keeps her occupied
while he is working.

With a shrug of his wide shoulders, he sets
these visions behind him . . . waste of time . . .
yes, that is what she is . . . a waste of time . . .
time . . . minutes . . . hours . . . when every
second is as precious as a cup of water to the
shipwrecked mariner adrift on a raft.  And his
resentment grows until hatred throbs in his
heart to the same syncopated time as the whirling
crunching machinery in the sheds about the
courtyard.

Reaching for his topee he throws off this
obsession and goes the rounds.  His thoroughness
takes him farther than the yards to the storing
sheds; the unending flow of little cars loaded
with cane doesn't seem fast enough, so he follows
the rails winding down the hill to arrive at last
at the plantation where they are cutting this
month.  He curses the foremen and jokes with
the workmen until they laugh, bursting forth into
some wild sensuous Kavirondo chant.  Now the
little stream of cars quickens its pace up the hill.

He turns from the track along a game trail
which leads towards the peninsula. . . . As he is
so near, he had better say a word to Win and
also by his presence remind the lazy house boys
that the Bwana watches even if he is not at home.
. . . His crêpe rubber soles are as noiseless as
felt on the dust of the trail.  The world at rest
sleeps in the noon-day sun.

Win slowly turns over on the bed, pressing
her body closer to her lover's. . . . Her lover, the
beautiful Owen, the blond boy from across the
lake.  His supple, sunburnt body thrills her,
until she feels her veins swell and her temples
beat.  He is as chivalrous as he is beautiful . . .
only a dilettante at his work. . . . Why work
when you have fifteen thousand a year . . . and yet
conscientiously he fills his duties as A.D.C. to the
Governor with a solemn faith which delights her
soul.  They have been lovers for six months . . .
since she went up for the Government House
party during race week.  Under some excuse or
another he has managed to be with her quite
often and now on a month's shooting leave his
camp is pitched on her peninsula.

John, her husband, told him to go up and see
her as often as he could:

"Do her good not to be always alone with
the natives."

So Owen loves Win, and Win loves Owen with
an even mightier passion.  Owen's hands close
on her cold white breasts and his mouth searches
hers; their passion is whole, the crickets chirp
under the floor, their hearts close-pressed throb
until she shudders and lies lifeless on the hard
cord bed, high on thick legs of carved ebony.
The "moucharabieh" shivers in the doorway.
Owen leaps to the door. . . . Not a breath of air
moves on the verandah . . . and yet the moucharabieh
shuddered as if someone had brushed it
with a hesitant finger.  Not a sound . . . yes . . .
a hissing buzzing sound: the swarm of bees in
the roof.  The first time he had lain on this bed
the buzzing of those same bees had made him
shudder, but Win had explained them away and
he had forgotten his premonition in the passion of
her arms and the searching caresses of her mouth;
now again premonition of death hovers around.
He dresses noiselessly and with a light kiss on
her sleeping brow slips away like a shadow.  He
cannot stand very much more of this. . . . Why
can't she just quit and run with him?  It's
ghastly all this furtiveness . . . all this passion and
suspense.  It must end soon.

Back in camp he lies beneath his mosquito net
weaving dreams in which Win and he leap banks
and dikes together, galloping in the driving mist;
to be greeted later in front of the log fire by
his yawning, stretching setters.  She will have
the green room . . . it has not been opened since
his mother's death . . . and soon he is asleep
while the baffled mosquitoes buzz around the net.

He wakes with a start to find John by his
side. . . .

"Get up you lazy hound. . . . I have had another
boy taken by the 'crocks'[1] this morning near the
irrigation ditches.  We must clear them out;
bring your 470; even if you wound them with
that they are bound to die."

    [1] Crocks = crocodiles 

Owen scrambles into his clothes, straps on his
belt full of the long murderous 470 ammunition
and shoulders the heavy rifle. . . . In the excitement
of this new hunt he forgets his fears and
premonitions.

"Don't bring your gunbearer. . . . I have mine,
and the less we are the less noise there'll be and
greater the chance of catching the crocks."--They 
turn and twist along the game trail, the
ground slushy under foot. . . . At a fork in the path
John says:--

"Take to the left. . . . I'll take to the right. . . .
you keep the gunbearer and be careful, not a sound."

The buffalo grass and the reeds wave feathered
fronds high over their heads. . . . Little rattles
mingle with squelches of disturbed slime and
mud.  He must be quiet. . . . Carefully picking
his way from dry tuft to dry tuft, Owen makes
slow progress.  Up goes his rifle . . . a shadow
through the reeds on his right . . . no . . . nothing.

And then suddenly a shriek, another shriek. . . .

"Owen help . . . help . . . the crocks. . . ."
He crashes through the papyrus on his right,
coming to the brim of an irrigation ditch thirty
yards wide; on the other bank behind a tiny sand
hill he catches sight of a waving arm. . . .

"He's got me by a leg . . . quick . . . shoot!"
Owen jumps into the ditch . . . there is a swish,
a swirl, a smothered shriek . . . and John gets up
from behind the sand hill dusting himself.  He
picks up the cowering gunbearer at the fork in
the trail and walks home. . . .

On the porch Win is shaking and trembling. . . .

"What's happened? . . . I heard you cry! . . . ?"

"Not I! your lover . . . he's crocks' meat
now!"

It takes a second to penetrate her mind, then
she throws herself at him, claws outstretched--biting, 
kicking, tearing.

"You murderer!  You murderer!"  He holds
her off until the spasm is finished, then carries her
to the couch in their room. . . . Now only tremulous
murmurs come through her lips. . . . "My
boy. . . . My beautiful boy."

That night they ate dinner in silence and afterwards
he sat in a low wicker chair watching her
undress. . . . At last she is in bed and he composes
himself with a pipe in the deep chair--soon his
head nods and the pipe falls to the floor.--She
waits seconds . . . minutes that seem hours. . . .
At last--stealthily she creeps out of bed and
taking off her nightgown slips through the
moucharabieh, out on to the porch and then down
the path towards the lake. . . . John follows
step by step, a shadow among other shadows in
the trees by the path.

She stands on the end of the little landing
stage--silver figure in the moonlight etched in
staring lines against the dark water beyond. . . .

"Owen my darling."

She dives, slipping into the water with scarcely
a ripple; coming up she swims steadily out.  John
on the jetty leans against a pole awaiting the end.
Twenty yards . . . thirty yards . . . fifty yards . . .
will it never come . . . his hands clench.  There!
A swish, a swirl, a smothered shriek.

John turns round and strides up the walk;
bathed in the light from a burnished moon, he
stoops in their room to pick up and throw her
nightgown into the sandal-wood chest, then goes
through the door, the hanging beads brushing
his face. . . . In his office he lights a lamp and
opens his files . . . adding, subtracting, multiplying
. . . dividing, until a last figure shows this
month's return, three thousand pounds increase.
He locks the papers away and, back in their
room, quickly undresses, to be soon in dreamless
sleep, a smile on his lips . . . a free man again . . .
to work. . . .


Beads of sweat stand out on George's forehead
and his hands shake as he tries to light a cigarette.
. . . I look around the circle of peering eyes
. . . there is a tense silence in the gloom, broken
at last by Sarah-Jane in her lilting voice.

"You aren't half a liar, are you, George?
What an imagination . . . fit for the Grand
Guignol."

"Quite" says George--"didn't know what
I could do until I tried. . . ."

The tenseness is broken and we each go off to
our tents . . . to-morrow we break up, starting back
to civilisation. . . .

The story haunts me.  I had always wondered
what had happened . . . how Win had died. . . .
Before my eyes grow out of the shadows her
long suppleness, her laughing eyes, her cool,
white skin . . . all her sensual attraction for us,
mere men, vulgar beasts.

I can quite imagine George's emotion and the
wherefore of the vividness of the story; he had
been on the promontory too, had known those arms,
those cool white breasts, in the days before
she met the real Owen of the story. . . .

My God, it makes one shiver! . . . another
highball before bed! . . . I wish he hadn't told
that story, and yet I always wondered how she
died . . . dear Win!




Book II

Friends and Enemies


    I. Samson
   II. M'Bogo
  III. Faro
   IV. Fairyfeet
    V. Chui
   VI. Dicker
  VII. Chu-Chu
 VIII. Raymond the Magnificent
   IX. Le Boco
    X. Tony, Son of Man




I

_Samson.  The Coming of Samson_

I was stationed, once upon a time, near Athi-river--Stony
Athi.  It was a desolate spot, dust
blown, cracked by the sun, inhospitable in the
extreme.

By day, the corrugated iron roof of my bungalow
creaked and moaned; by night, the hyenas
howled around the compound--accompanied by
the trebled harmonies of the slinking jackals.
Life was not much fun down there. . . . Little
work, not even enough to keep one's mind
occupied.

Bit by bit, as I got more familiar with the monotonous
landscape, I roamed farther afield exploring
the nooks and crannies in the kopjes along the
river.  The gazelles, the kongonis, the zebra,
got to know my dun-coloured Somali pony and
the herds used to open a few hundred yards,
letting me pass with scarcely a look; they knew
I didn't shoot around there.  Once or twice I
sighted a troop of lions, but never was able to
come within camera distance of them.  My one
ambition was to find out something of their home
life.

One day, leaving the hillocks along the river, I
branched off across the plains towards a tumbled
pile of rocks and twisted trees, which jutted up
from that flat expanse like a man-made landmark.
My wanderings had never taken me so far, as it
was over ten miles from home across a bare
uninteresting space of pebbles, stones and dust.
Coming up to windward of the shambles I was
within a hundred paces when my pony stopped
with a snort, and, whirling around, left for different
parts as if all the evils of "Shaïtan" were on
his trail.  Why I followed the saddle is one of
those mysteries best left unsolved.  Much engaged
in the arduous task of keeping on, I had
only a fleeting impression of a yellow streak darting
out towards us from behind a rock.

About a mile away the pony, or I, stopped and
we collected ourselves; he was still trembling
and shaking; his instinct had probably saved us
both from a lion's charge--no doubt a lioness
with cubs.

From a position of safety, I spied through field
glasses and located her den.  Then, with infinite
precaution and guile, made a covered approach
from another side.  At a distance of about three
hundred yards the pony balked, and we halted.
Tying him to an exceptionally large stone, I composed
myself to watch.  I was soon discovered,
but was considered harmless at that distance,
though a wary eye was kept on me.

From that day on I was a frequent visitor and,
except for sundry growls, was allowed to approach
to within about fifty yards.  The cubs were still
unseen--too young to come out into the light.
Then I was called away on some duty at the other
end of the district for a week.

When I returned I found my compound
invaded by cars and multitudes of boys and bustle,
. . . an Indian Maharajah's shooting safari had
descended upon my peaceful home and everywhere
reigned signs of activity and luxury.
My neopara had made the visitors at home and
I introduced myself, to be charmingly greeted
by three smiling gentlemen from India: two
young princes and an older A.D.C., Minister,
Vizir, or whatever he might call himself.

After a glorious meal, oh, so different from my
ordinary fare, I was carried out to view the
trophies.  Gazelles, kongonis, even a great
kudu, and two lions' skins pegged out in the
sun.  I inquired anxiously at once as to what
part of the district they had been killed in.

"Oh, quite near, among some kopjes about
ten miles east of the river."

My lions!----

"But didn't you see the cubs?"

"Oh no, they were all alone; the lioness
charged from some rock piles after letting us get
within about fifty yards."

I waited to hear no more but saddled and
galloped out to the shambles. . . . I found the
poor little brutes in a small cave . . . they had
starved for three days, one was already dead. . . .
I brought in the three others.

There was consternation in the safari when I
arrived with the cubs; everyone was ready to do
all they could--but another died that night.
Next day the party left.  The atmosphere was
rather strained, though I suppose it was not entirely
their fault.  It is an unpardonable crime to
shoot females of any species, even lionesses, unless
they have been attacking the herds or the natives.

Thus Samson and Judah came into my house--became 
my children.  They were two round, fat
balls of fluff, ravenous for milk and raw meat.
After a day or so of restlessness they became quite
happy, sleeping together in a basket by night,
rolling off the verandah porch in the sunlight by
day.  They were a hungry pair and kept my
commissariat hard at work providing tinned milk
in sufficient quantities.

The dogs at first growled at their scent,
but soon adopted them as part of the family;
even the monkeys got to be friends, especially
Valentino, the baboon, who elected himself dry
nurse, head keeper in charge, until they became
too much of a handful even for his hearty cuffs
and pinches.  Bit by bit, they grew and prospered,
but that is another story much more serious.


_Puppy days_

"Bwana Nyama ya Simba imequisha."--(Master, 
the lions' meat is finished.)--Oh damn!
I collect my things, take two boys and go trudging
out along the bottom of the draw. . . . Five hundred
yards, I peek over the top--not far enough yet--another 
quarter mile, another look, there they
are . . . about sixty zebra all in a bunch, feeding
down wind towards me, three hundred yards away.
I send the boys farther up to emerge on the flank
of the herd, attracting their attention, while I
creep flat on my tummie from bush to boulder,
from rock to anthill.  At last, near enough, I
draw my precious 256 to the fore.  Crack! an
old stallion rears up and shakes his head, runs
twenty yards to collapse kicking . . . his companions
are a dust cloud on the horizon.  I turn
back leaving the boys to skin the fallen.

I will send out the Scotch cart to bring in the
meat.  As I come up the draw towards the
bungalow I hear Samson calling me. . . ."Sāām-Sn"
. . . just like his name;--he is wandering
through the irises by the river bed; lonely since
Judah left, he clings to me more than before.

He is growing steadily and gaining strength
every day. . . . When he got too active to spend
his hours lying about the garden, I tried taking
him out with me, but, after a very short while,
his poor four-months-old legs got tired and he
simply sat down and cried, until we picked him
up and carried him home--quite a weight!

I call him, and when he sees me he crouches
flat behind a clump of flowers.  We are going
to have our afternoon game.  I sit down on a
bare ant hill, the only vegetation being a low
hedge of carnations planted along the edge of
an irrigation ditch, some four inches deep; this
leads across my front about five yards away; the
carnations are between me and the ditch.  Samson,
to win the game, must get as far as a point opposite
my stance without being seen, or stalk me across
the open from somewhere in my rear without
being found out.

I call "Sāām-Sn" . . . he doesn't answer . . .
it means the game has begun in earnest.  I watch
every inch of the ground, the light is in his
favour, slightly behind him, so that every shiny
leaf is a kaleidoscope dazzling my eyes.  He is
on the move . . . that I'm sure of.  Look at those
wagtails chattering--hopping about, looking up
my way--he can't be as near as that, as there is
an open place in the hedge of carnations where I
can see the ditch to the bottom.  I have watched
it incessantly and have not even seen a shadow
cross it.  And yet the mongoose is darting in
and out around the branch of that overhanging
fig tree; peering this way, then that, but mostly
down at a point very near where Samson will
break to win our game.

I suddenly feel a little, cold, hard hand on my
neck--and the baboon sits by my side; his long
hairy arm creeps around my shoulders; I point
at the hedge and whisper "Sāām-Sn" under my
breath.  He understands, watches a second, and
with a bound leaps to quite a different spot from
the one I have been watching; Samson rises--trying 
to beat him down with his front paws--embraced 
like a furry ball they roll down the
slope to be brought up with an awful squeak by a
cactus bush.  Poor Samson has a long thorn
in his side; Valentino, now all care and worry,
stretches him on the ground and with nimble
fingers unthorns him with a quick twirk.  The
game is finished, and after meat we all go
solemnly to sleep in the porch.  Valentino balanced
against a pillar, one arm outstretched--Samson
lying by my side on the divan, his head in my lap.

A lazy boy pulls a moth-eaten punkah to and
fro, until Morpheus protects him from my shouts
and Valentino's pinches.  Then he departs to
tell rambling tales to his friends all about mad
m'zungus and "nyane kale sana." [1]

    [1] Very bad-tempered monkeys.


_The Garden Home_

Samson is growing every day, his energy and
vitality seem only dampened by the noonday sun.
Most of the other twenty hours he prowls around
intent on mischief and exercise.  He has two
favourite sports--one consists of stalking Fairyfeet
(the greyhound) while she is standing dreamily
gazing across the plains, that being her principal
occupation, an utterly vacant attitude--apathetic
and immobile.  Samson creeps up behind her, as
close as he can, crouching flat to the ground, the
end of his tail showing his excitement as it restlessly
twirks to and fro.  Nearer and nearer, he creeps,
until, just behind her, he rises and slaps her with
his paw, all claws sheathed.  Though twice his
size and weight she goes over like a ninepin and
flees with a frightened yelp.  Samson then sits
on his haunches and literally shakes with delight.
His other occupation is keeping the front garden
void of chickens.  Soon after he came into the
family he discovered chickens--and the possibilities
thereof.

We had to be very severe, and Samson was
well beaten once or twice until he learned that
at the back of the cookhouse the chickens reign
supreme, not to be chased, not to be bothered.
Also, after an especially exciting morning for all,
necessitating the extraction of Samson from a
cave-like retreat in an extremely, to me, aggressive
prickly-ear, he learned that chickens were not
to be killed, even if they roamed from their own
domain.  He carried that chicken tied lovingly
around his neck for two days, being banished, the
while, to the wood shed.  He howled the place
down, no one got a wink of sleep--but he learned.
Now he has devised a new sport--harmless,
indeed even useful.

He goes off for his siesta in some thick bush in
the garden to the front of the house.  It rolls
from the verandah steps with sundry undulations,
patchy with flowers, shrubs, beds and clumps,
until a last grassy slope drowns itself in the brook
two hundred yards away.

The chickens--troublesome creatures, stupid
usefulness--love to wander on forbidden grounds,
picking here and there--to the fury of my
Kikuyu gardeners--at some priceless bulb emerging
in tender green.  Before Samson came many
stones were thrown; now he stalks them, never
giving them a moment of peace until they cross
the theoretical line which separates the garden
from the rest.  Often they leave feather mementos
but none have been hurt as yet, so Samson is
encouraged.  He gauges distance and time, and,
just as some proud rooster finds a chosen tit-bit,
seems to materialise out of the ground, right
under its beak.  There is a terrified squawk and
Samson galumphs after it, towards the cookhouse.
He knows he is no match for them in speed, but
brains and patience give him plenty of excitement.

I have seen him lying, in a patch of speckled
sunlight, so absolutely immobile that he faded
into the background and the chickens would
walk up to him unseeing, or a gambolling dog
trip over him in its stride.

He has already chased home three of the
volatiles this afternoon and is now sitting, on the
top of a polished black rock, licking his paws,
looking for trouble.  The duiker buck coming
up from a drink in a shady pool keeps a wary
eye on him and gives himself plenty of space to
get a good start if Samson should start to get
fresh.

The little antelope, his neat feet dripping from
hoof to knee, trips daintily up the stony path
looking this way and that, mostly keeping a
sharp eye on Samson.  These duikers, never
entirely tame and always very timid, have an
unpleasant habit of running their sharp little
horns into anything soft that is within reach when
they get nerves; one's shins and calves are just
about the right height to be good receivers.  The
duiker stamps his hoof at some noise, Samson
yawns ostensibly on his rock, I whistle, the duiker
turns his head, and then back, Samson is gone in
that fraction of a second; all know that means
more pranks, so the little antelope trots home
quickly to his man-made straw-strewn cave, among
the rocks at the top of the garden.  Later, a disappointed
Samson butts open the door with his
forehead and comes rubbing against my chair--"Sāām-Sn"--he 
calls.  I get up and take him
for the evening inspection, around the high, wire
fence, netted to the height of eight feet to
sturdy posts which keep our pets from wandering,
and intruders without.  It is not much of a defence
against heavier game, so we visit it mornings and
evenings to make all safe and sure.  Samson loves
this walk--he strolls on ahead, whisking his tail.
. . . Only where we cross the brook on a felled log
he lags behind, until he collects courage enough to
scramble across it--hissing at the gurgling eddies
that float past.  We come back by way of the
ford with wide stepping stones; he hasn't quite
got the trick of this yet and I carry him across,
not wanting to have a surly evil-tempered Samson
to dry before the fire, as happens when he tries
to rush the stones by himself or to jump the brook
which is still about a foot too wide for him.  On
the other side we are greeted by the dogs who
have disappeared all the afternoon, probably been
digging up a rock rabbit by the looks of them;--they 
gambol up the hill, Samson trundling, puppy-legged,
with rather a sailor's lurch in the rear.


_Party Manners_

We are all feeling pretty tired and washed out
to-day as we have just had our annual party;--it 
was very hectic.  About twenty people staying
in or about the house, the courtyard at the back
littered with cars; tents before the verandah steps.
It is a Dutch-treat party so the drinks were
rather mixed with fatal results--but we certainly
did bathe in champagne and stout, "black velvet."
It was a good party; all but Samson enjoyed it.
Though he was much petted and spoiled, he got
into disgrace early in the evening being up to
more than his usual mischievous pranks: upsetting
people's glasses; stalking in on unsuspecting
females in scant attire; and, if my head boy hadn't
been quick enough, he might have ruined the
dinner completely.

The table had been laid in state, and, for once,
we had spread a magnificent tablecloth, all necessary
adjuncts upon it, when up strolls Samson,
sees a dangling bit of white, takes a bat . . . the
thing flies from him . . . another bat, but only
thin air resists him; intrigued, he sidles up and
gets a good purchase on a corner of the cloth,
and then proceeds to back away.

I was in my bath when I heard the first crash
. . . a towel, a leap, and I was rescuing the table
fittings.  Ali hanging on like grim death to the
opposite side, while Samson tugged determinedly,
a sparkle of fun in his eyes; a broken plate and
sundry glasses on the floor;--he was thoroughly
enjoying himself.

I chased him out and from the verandah into
the night--a very reluctant Samson.  I left a
boy on guard and, after a quick dressing, followed
by sundry rounds of cocktails, we sat down to
food.  Samson invisible was forgotten and
dinner proceeded happily--all the seating possibilities
of the house had been put into use: chairs,
benches, easy chairs, everything in fact.

As dinner was getting along, things livened up
and a certain amount of noise was produced.
Whether this was a cause to an effect--Lord
knows--but results were forthcoming.  One of
the boys let out a screech and dropped a bowl full
of rather faded mayonnaise down the back of a
charming but mature lady; she screamed too,
and leaping up tripped over Samson's outstretched
paw,--being caught just in time to prevent a
heavy fall.  Samson had been hiding under her
chair and had stretched out a wily paw to try and
trip the boy as he passed around.  He was thrust
out ignominiously with a good kick in the pants.
The good lady took a lot of pacifying, but it was
accomplished and dinner came to an end without
further interruption.

Being the dry season we had coffee on the
verandah, playing the gramophone and plying
the bottles far into the night.  Each did their
stunts of entertainment until no one cared whether
they were good or bad, even if they existed or
were just illusions.  Samson youdeled a bit
around the house and by the time coffee was over
had disappeared.  We went to bed just before
dawn, so no one appeared until after ten a.m.
We were then dragged, pretty ill and bedraggled,
from our chambers by a frantic shout.  The house
awoke, and, draping itself, went to inquire.  The
eldest souse of us all was sitting up in bed wildly
gesticulating and asking us to hold him down as
he was seeing things--that a lion was in bed
with him and that the last time it had only been
lizards and biting fishes, but this time it was lions
and he could feel it too, and would we shoot him
quick.  After a struggle and quite a few scratches
we extracted Samson who had quietly gone to
sleep in the old man's bed.  Being drunk the
night before, he had noticed nothing, but in the
morning Samson, deciding it was time to get up,
had proceeded to crawl out, awaking the old
fellow who, naturally, thought he "had them"
again.

The shouting for help surprised Samson who
stayed to find out about things, and by now was
very reluctant to be kicked out of a warm bed.  It
took all of an hour to fortify our "jittering" guest,
and everybody's nerves were rather on edge; we
didn't like each other's looks much, definitely all
quite soured in mind.

After a cold lunch of brome-seltzer, salad and
"prairie oysters," the party broke up, each driving
off in their own personal particular cloud of dust.

We have been clearing up and tidying all
afternoon; now the sun is going down across
the plain in a glorious haze of sparks shooting
heavenwards like an aurora-borealis, everything
gilt by the light.

Samson, sitting on an anthill, is playing with
an empty bottle of champagne.  He lets it go;
rolling off, it starts down the hill with him in
hot pursuit.  With all care and precaution he
eases it by slow careful pushes until he gets it to a
situation of great altitude again, only to let it go
and begin anew from the bottom of the draw.

With a last shout of light the sun sets . . .
lonely in the sky a cloud catches the last rays of
light . . . shadows darken the gully and creep foot
by foot up the hill . . . climb the verandah steps
one at a time, then, winding around the pillars,
shroud us to the roof in darkness.

Samson now all dignity stalks into the room
and standing before the fire, his tail twitching
like some horizontal pendulum or clockwork
mechanism, in loud and understandable tones he
firmly voices his demand for sardines on toast--he 
is a Sahib . . . and needs his Sundowner too.

Here! Samson Sahib! without heeltaps . . . to
our good hunting on this earth, and better on
another. . . . To drinks without headaches and
women without a sting . . . standing! . . . Samson . . .
to each other--good fellows both . . . we hope. . . .


_The Parting of the  Ways_

Ordered home. . . . Failing in health--miserable 
in mind.

Much as I would greet a home leave of even a
long period, just as much do I resent this ordering
out of the colony.  My heart is out here--with
my house--my boys--my zoo. . . . Not as much
zoo as pets . . . friends, who stand by one and help
in the bad moments of one's life.

But there is no appeal; in two weeks I shall
have to go and go definitely for ever.--I would
much rather die out here as they say I will unless
I return to temperate climes.

A bout of fever that developed into "black
water"; some kind of inside trouble and one's
life is ruined, one's work unavailing.  The buck
and antelope will be easy to house.  Many have
asked me for them and they will be happy as
long as they are not teased, and sufficiently fed.
But Samson--now a full-grown lion with flowing
mane, weighing over three hundred pounds--Samson 
who needs at least one zebra a week to
satisfy those internal gnawings--Samson my best
friend of all--no one would care to take him.  A
dog is allowed one bite, but a lion--a lion who
could fell an ox with a stroke of his paw?  Even
if someone would take him, they wouldn't know
him; he wouldn't know them.  They don't even
allow me to take him to Nairobi when I go,
though he is as obedient as the most faithful
hound.

He has never left the shamba--is lord and
master over all this domain.

All the time I was sick he sat around moping
and insisted on sleeping in my room.  For hours
I could hear him stalking up and down the
verandah, disconsolate and troubled over his
master's continued immobility.  He stood guard
over me--was perfectly amiable and polite about
it all; let the doctor and nurse do their deeds--though 
very suspicious and to them alarmingly
inquisitive at times.  He is so grown up and
dignified--so entirely out of his puppy days;
nearly two years old, and full size, with superb
black mane . . . he knows his hours and stalks off
to the cookhouse for his dinner as accurately to
the minute as a ship's chronometer; treats the
boys with a tall disdain, considering them a boring
necessity for the carrying on of life, but quite
negligible--to be growled sternly at when they
transgress their rights or forget their duties.

One Saïce is his friend, a curious fellow, a
Wakaamba--as wide as he is tall, a great hunter.
Samson sometimes goes off with him to help tree
the monkeys, while the boy shoots them off some
high branch with a small bow and long winged arrows.

But what Samson prefers is going out in the
plains with me, especially since we moved up
into the highlands.  They probably remind him
of his first home, the hot, dusty, pebble-strewn
wastes where he was born; the little oasis along
the stream where he grew up.  Two of my ponies
do not mind him, so, before I was ill, we used to
go for long rides in the early mornings; I in
the lead on the pony at a shuffle, half amble, half
trot (I have heard it called wolf step in
North Western America)--Samson at a loose-jointed
trot.  We go along the trail until the last bridge
over the torrent is crossed and then strike out,
straight ahead, through the long grass.  There,
on some hillock, we stop and survey our lands;
the grazing antelopes move aside to let us pass,
the zebras snort and gallop away through the
shimmering gold staves, like ripe wheat on the
Kansas plain.  The grasses grow shorter and,
further on, we come to open patches where
gazelles graze, heads lowered, still unsuspecting;
one catches a whiff of scent, a sound or sight, and
off they go, leaping high and far--their tiny
hoofs raising little puffs of dust as they take off
at each bound, fluffing tails, black and white.
Some old buck shepherds his family with skilful
thrusts of sharp polished horns.  Then we come
back by way of the downs; the pony scrambling
up a buffalo trail that leads to the forest, far above
on the peaks.  Samson panting, scratching up
impossible ascents.

I might turn Samson loose.  There are no other
lions on the plain to kill him as wild animals do
those that have been tainted by the hand of
man;--but he has not learnt to hunt and would
probably starve before he found the right way to
kill, or would take to pillaging the cattle, precipitating
for himself an unseemly end.

My successor arrived two days ago and seems
rather nice--knows animals.  Samson quite took
to him, even went to the point of showing him
over the garden.  I wonder if he would take care
of him and adopt him as a brother; it would be
the ideal solution.

Well; as I can't take Samson home with me,
with beef at God knows what a pound, neither
can I turn him loose for fear of his dying of
hunger, I have left him on the shamba with the
new "Muzungu."  I said good-bye to him, and
I think he understood.  When the car drove
across the bridge at the end of the garden, he
climbed up on top of a rock which overlooks the
plain on one side, the house on the other.  He was
there, statue-like, watching . . . the car perhaps.
. . . I looked back, ever so often, at last taking the
field glasses.  Samson was a glistening point of
gold on a black rock; behind, from the hollow
where the house stands invisible, smoke rose, a
grey pillar, to spread like a parasol into the clear
sky.  Then we travelled some more and when we
stopped again I could only see a pillar of smoke
above the dark forest range; cleaving the sky
into two definite parts--the sky above the forest--the 
sky above the plain, and then . . . nothing.
The road only . . . the grey dust road that led me
to Nairobi and the train to Mombasa.


_Mombasa._  Here, I will sit waiting for the boat
which will take me home in a few days.  And
I will rest in the shade of the Club verandah
sipping pink gin--thinking, remembering . . .
mostly Samson, his baby roundness; his affection
which helped us through some hectic months of
puppyhood until he grew to be a real man, fearless,
quiet, understanding, a better friend than
any you could find in most men's lives.

Poor old Samson, I hope you understand--and 
forgive--I, small solace . . . will never
forget.


_Samson's Death_

Two years later.

I went to the zoo in Paris some weeks ago.  I
have a girl friend I am trying to teach a few things
about animals.  She is very eager and excited
about it all, is beginning to classify and arrange
them in her mind.  We go there often, to the
Jardin d'Acclimatation; but were surprised that
day to see big flaming posters on the gates, depicting
a husky lady in pink tights hung all over
with lots of shiny things, facing a roaring lion.
There are no cats at the "Jardin," so we inquired,
to be told that a circus had been allowed to put
up a tent to show their lion-tamer's act within the
precincts of the garden.

I hate trained or performing animals; it has
always made me feel sick and ashamed that this
spectacle should ever be allowed in our, so-called,
civilized countries.

The girl friend insisted and we went.  It was
too early; the show only began at three, so we
managed to bribe the doorkeeper and got into
the back where the animals were kept.  I must
admit that they were well kept; big airy cages,
well cleaned out, plenty of water; but that is
only preventing high-priced material from losing
its value.  There were tigers and leopards,
cheetahs and panthers; also, two cages of lions;--in 
one, two lions, in the other a lion and a lioness.
The lioness was a magnificent beast, very sleek
and supple, but by far the finest of the lot was
one of the pair of lions, a magnificent black-maned
Masaï lion, all shiny and well brushed.  He was
half asleep lying with his head on his paws--at
last he got up and my heart stood still with horror--down 
his right hind quarter ran a jagged scar
Z-shaped.  It couldn't be Samson, but no two
lions could have that same scar!  Samson got
his through falling off the cooking house on to a
jagged petrol tin one day he had been trying
to steal some meat.

I inquired of the attendants; it seemed he had
been bought at Marseilles a few months previously
from a German.  I went back to him and called
"Sāām-Sn"--as in old days--then again. . . .
I must have lost the right pitch . . . at last he
cocked an ear and stalked over very suspicious,
and ready to leap back any second;--then he
sniffed and looked at me most puzzled.  It was
two years since I had seen him; two years in a
lion's life (about twelve years in all) is a long
time.  He thought I was something familiar,
but couldn't make out how and why.  Then
I put my hand through the bars, to hear an
agonized shout from an attendant--"Vous êtes
fou, monsieur, il est três dangereux."  The man
gave in to a tip and I pushed my hand towards
Samson.  Again he came up and put his head
down, sniffed again;--I could hear the attendant's
teeth chattering six feet away;--then quite suddenly
Samson rolled over on his side, his back
against the bars, rubbing his head back and forth.
I scratched him on the forehead and he put out an
immense red tongue and tried to lick my hand.
To be licked by a lion is like being caressed with a
sharp-toothed file.  And so we got to know each
other again, he purring gently under his breath,
stretching his paws, all claws out in delight at
being scratched in the old way;--then, suddenly,
he was back on his feet crouching, growling like
thunder; at his start I had retrieved my hand
and looked for the cause of interruption . . . the
woman in the pink tights.  Samson became a
raving wild beast, his eyes glazed, and he crouched
and roared, cowering back in the cage, while she
searched him out with a whip and, when that didn't
move him, with an iron bar--armed with a sharp
point;--I rose in defence but had to stop or be
ejected.

Every one of those animals hated and feared the
woman;--she, turning to a breathless audience,
explained her courage in going in amongst these
wild, ferocious animals.  The gaping idiots
applauded her bravery and talent.

I stayed for the performance;--it was ghastly.
The animals were made to do all kinds of acrobatic
feats, entirely against their natures.  Cowed
by fear, insane with rage, they were returned to
their cages;--with the help of money I was
able to see Samson again; he was mad, still
quivering, his coat slashed by whip lashes, a
drop of blood here and there, where the iron
point had touched him.  He was utterly unamenable,
even to me.

I came to see him every day for a week--trying
to buy him; but the price was impossible--and
I was entirely stumped.  On my last day, I came
earlier and, unexpectedly, the fiend in pink tights
arrived while Samson and I were having our little
morning party.  She jeered and laughed and
ordered Samson into the cage alone for a new
trick she had invented.  I implored, but of no
avail.  In they went, and I stood at the door
watching the poor old boy, my friend, being
driven to insane madness by human cruelty.
After agonising minutes of cracking whips and
jabbing irons, the woman rested.  I was watching
Samson, panting, crouching in a corner.  Before
I could even shout a warning he sprang;--the
woman had turned her head a second; there was
a crunching sound as one of his paws landed on
the side of her skull, a revolver shot rang out--then 
another.  Somehow I found myself in the
cage, my hand on Samson's shoulder while they
dragged out the remains.

I felt him shudder and he collapsed on my feet,
knocking me over; I got up from under him and
took his great head on my lap;--a trickle of
blood flowed from the side of his jaw on to me,
then down on to the floor; he tried one or two
manful licks and snuggled his great shaggy head
into my lap; he died in my arms--content, I
hope, on the heart of a friend.

My friends . . . if I have any . . . if you read
this, as I write it, in all honesty, remember always
when you go to a trained animal show or if you
are in a position of authority and do not forbid or
help forbid these shows, you are encouraging a
much worse cruelty than the beating of women,
or of children who, one day, may grow up and
hit back.

The animals you torture are in their prime and
rarely will they be able to get their own innings.

Thank God, that day Samson got his kill, or I
might now lie in some grave, my head severed
from my body. . . . Samson saved me as true
friends rarely do.




II

_M'Bogo_

The earth shook and terrified scurrying
creatures crashed into trees, down ravines.  Long pines
rocked and with one last roll shot off into space
and down, down, until they catapulted from
rock to rock, joining the softer more crushed,
more tortured remains of the once warm blooded
lives of the mountain range.

The earth shook and M'Bogo, king of the
Kenya buffaloes, raised his head and sniffed
loudly at this interference of God.  His tribe,
wild-eyed, clustered around him; he sniffed again
and shaking the twisty vines, trailing garland-like
from about his horns, led the way up the
mountain.  Here and there impatiently raising a
contemptuous hoof, he stepped over a fallen tree,
his herd leaving a shining trail on the trunk where
on identically the same spot their hundred hoofs
rubbed the bark from the stem.  With another
resigned shrug M'Bogo resistlessly lowered his
head and pushed on through the clattering
bamboos; on . . . on . . . up . . . up. . . .

The forest cleared and wildly clinging moorlands
climbed towards the eternal snow.  Still
he led on relentlessly, unheeding the lowing and
blowing of his much taxed herd.  At last under
the shadow of a giant heather fifty feet high with
four feet stem, he stopped and lowered his head
to smell the earth.

The earth shook and M'Bogo led on; now
crinkling snow-patches crunched under his wide
splay hoofs; the blinding glare seared his eyes . . .
unwinking he led on . . . now amidst the eternal
snow methodically he plods, his herd strung out
like an irregular chaplet across half a mile in his
rear.  Instinct leads him away from the earth that
moves to the solid rock which from this height
goes far down to the bosom of these fires which
shake the land.  As the snow gets deeper his
herd drop off one by one; theirs is safety, no need
to follow any more, but still he leads on, blinded by
snow, nostrils frozen to insensibility--until, in a
snowdrift, he pulls up, and slowly freezes to death.

He has saved the herd and is thus awarded
immortality.  Death came peacefully, the cold
so intense that it numbed any suffering.

He froze so hard that the old vultures of the
peaks broke their talons and nicked their beaks
on his granite effigy.

The frozen buffalo of Mount Kenya now
snow-covered, watches, across the plains, his heirs
climb up and down his old slopes, every year pushed
further in and up the forest flanks of the range;
more relentlessly pushed by the encroaching
plough than ever by fire . . . lava or earthquake.

M'Bogo, Emperor of the Kenya range, watches
his domain dwindle and his offspring die, a tireless
impotence and fury in his frozen heart.




III

_Faro_

Slowly a dust cloud rises in the east and flows
down the hill through the thorn bush, a rustle of
wind as through dead leaves comes wafting smells
of steaming wool and sultry spices . . . sheep
smells . . . hundreds upon hundreds of sheep.

They check a moment, unwilling to leave even
the scant shade of the thorn trees before facing the
glare of the plain; behind them a voice calls and
the Masaï herder waves a folded green umbrella
clasped close with the Moran fighting spear.
His tall figure, oiled, shines in the searching light;
the sun already bows towards the distant range
of hills, while shadows creep from under the
spreading trees by the waterhole, like frightened
humans driven to caves and huts by the noonday
glare to emerge with the drooping light.

Slowly they cross the plain towards the thick
clumps of foliage, the dark shadows, the cooing
ringdoves which cluster around the waterhole.
The grass stems trampled under foot by the sharp
hooves break off short, leaving a wide bare earth
where the dried stalks rattled an hour ago.  It is
the dry season.  They are bringing down the herds
to the Aberdare foothills where the thick dew will
keep the rams combative and the ewes prolific.
So peaceful scene of the Laikipia plain.

A steinbuck rises under the very feet of the
herd, flying in low-backed, neck-outstretched
defeat; a kongoni sentinel on a broken-down
anthill watches every move on the plain, while
his fellows wander away out of reach of the
tainted air.

Two small groups of zebra join together behind
the sheep herd and in unison clatter off
and up the slopes of the stony kloof.  An old
ostrich industriously dusting himself, shoots up
a snake-like neck to eye his surroundings; he is
off the trail of the herd; living without water he
is getting himself de-loused before his nightly
sitting on the conjugal nest.

The vanguard of the sheep halts . . . then widens
at the fringe of green near the waterhole; some
nibble at the grasses, others, with foot poised on
bark of a trunk, stretch towards a leaning branch,
leaf-covered and tempting; then the following
hundreds push behind and all move in.

Just as suddenly the scene changes and pandemonium
breaks loose, the sheep tread upon each
other, climb each other's backs; the rearguard
scatters charged by the bulk of the herd issuing
from the shades.  The herder runs and cries
trying to turn them; his "toto" till now unseen,
scarce higher than the backs of the sheep, flies
like a black imp to head off some bunch of scattering
woollies. . . .

A snort . . . another snort . . . and from the
shadows with a crash comes an old rhino; he
hesitates a second in the glaring sun, then with
head lowered charges the nearest clump of compact
sheep . . . and whirls to charge again; the
herder yells and throws his umbrella away. . . .
The old rhino catches a glimpse of the flapping
thing and with a swoop in his charge impales it
on a long curved horn.

As suddenly he gets the taint. . . . Man!
Stopping in his stride he pulls up in a cloud of
dust and small stones . . . he sniffs and as suddenly
sees the herder. . . . Then another charge . . .
swiftly the man jumps aside . . . but this Faro
means business and whirls, charging again and
again. . . . The man must run and twist out of
reach of the swinging horn.  Then battle is
joined . . . the man with a spear, the beast with
a horn, in and out, back and around; both are
fit, neither tire. . . . The spear fails to pierce the
hide, glancing off; the horn is not quick enough;
then a stumble and the man is on his back, the
horn transfixing him through the guts, his bones
crushed; but his spear sticks out from the rhino's
side, a foot of steel in between two ribs.

The Faro steps on the man and then goes to
drink; the spear handle breaks off, caught in the
trees.  The blood drips along the steel grooves--drop 
by drop into the pool it dissolves from sight.

The Faro, hard hit, wanders off head down
towards the hills; at sundry thorn trees, he rubs,
trying to pull out the steel, but it only wedges
deeper between the cartilages and soon he disappears
into the hills.

The "toto" pierced with thorns sits shivering
in a tree and at last slips down a branch and
from there to the ground.  Many white shapes
are still . . . woolly shapes crushed into the soft
earth, flecked with red where the horn touched
their hides.

Out in the open, flat on his back, glass-eyed,
belly torn to breast-bone, the dead herder, arms
outstretched, stares at the setting sun.

From across the plain, shadows glide over the
ground towards the carnage, growing bigger and
darker until they hover above the killed.  A
swoop and some big scavenger buries his talons
in a woolly coat, bends, and on a cruel hooked
beak for a second dangles a torn out eye.

The hyena call to each other--and jackals
creep in to hamstring some lost lamb.  All across
the plain crushed corpses lie while live sheep flee
in blind terror--to the hills--to the forest, where
Chui the Leopard sharpens ready claws on the
bark of a favourite tree.  Great "n'goma" for
the meat-eaters.

This and more we see in the terrified eyes and
stuttering words of the "toto" who fell across our
doorstep as the sun rose this morning.  Thirty
miles through the tropical forest . . . the human
who got through . . . the child who now sleeps,
dead to this world on a rug before our smoking
fire.

Pass on . . . another day is born . . . we also
must carry on.




IV

_Fairyfeet_

When Fairyfeet came to us she was the sorriest
looking thoroughbred greyhound I have ever
seen--even Delecia seemed to despair of any
possible spark.

She was utterly apathetic and stupid, didn't
even know enough to come in out of the rain, was
so deaf that the creaking ox-wagon nearly ran over
her one day.  When she followed us over the plain
there didn't seem to be a tick she missed picking
up or a thorn she didn't manage to tread on.

Delecia's patience with animals is something
supernatural, appertaining to the realm of all-knowing
deities.  Day long stupidities and filth
don't seem to daunt her.

She washed Fairyfeet with her own hands,
picked the ticks one by one, fed her piece by piece.
The only result was a somewhat smartened up
Fairyfeet; her coat got shiny but she seemed as
listless as ever.  We tried to interest her in
hunting, taking her out with the Airedale pack
after zebra; she galloped away with long supple
leaps, one to every three of the stockier dogs, like
an arrow of cream across the green plain, but as
soon as she got in the lead she seemed to get
bored and turned back towards home.  On the
way back we used to find her moping along
languidly indolent.  We even tried to bring
her up to the kill in the car, as we are able to
sometimes on the plains . . . she just sniffed the
kicking zebra on the ground and turned away.

Fairyfeet had not even good manners, snarling
and snapping at food time, though each hound
has its own dish--wolfing her food until she made
herself sick.  We quite despaired of her and were
going to take her back to her owner as a hopeless
case the next time we went to Nairobi.

One day Delecia went out on one of the Somali
ponies, waving a gay farewell, whistled Fairy and
rode up the trail towards the hogsback at the top
of the valley.

I was busy about the zoo when a madly careering
boy came tearing down the path--the
memsahib "piga" (hit) by a rhino.  Dashing for
my big rifle and stopping only to throw a blanket
over a pony, I galloped towards the crest. . . .
About a mile away I came upon a big rhino and
half-grown calf; they were tossing about, while
a white shape flashed in and about their legs.
My heart thumping fit to break, I sent a heavy
bullet crashing above the rhino's back; she
departed with a last snort, the calf trotting by her
side, accompanied to the thicker bush by a madly
barking, biting demon of a greyhound.  I found
Delecia safe in the fork of a tree out of reach of
the longest horn.

She had climbed  off the pony to fix a too
tight girth; the rhino had come round a clump
of bushes, the horse bolted and the rhino charged
straight up wind towards Delecia.  In that instant
Fairyfeet was reborn and with a dash that probably
saved Delecia's life swooped like a swallow
just under the rhino's already lowered nose, diverting
her just enough for Delecia to make a dash out
of the way and up the nearest tree.

Apparently Fairy kept the poor rhino in a
fever of excitement and exertion until the shot
scared her back to the reserve where she belongs.

We caught the pony and wandered home
accompanied by a delirious Fairy--capering
like a goat, leaping ahead, dashing back, barking at
swinging monkeys, chasing imagined rats through
the bamboos.

A new dog was born when love made her face
what must have looked to her like a mountain
slide.  Love for Delecia . . . the only love of her
life.  We now have bought Fairy and she never
leaves Delecia's side day or night.

Out of the window, on a shadowed bit of lawn
rolling into the creek I can see them having a
game of tag with the lion cub.  Fairy seems to be
in every place at once, while Delecia is trying to
stalk the lion on hands and knees behind a
flower-bed . . . the tip of the lion's tail twitching
with excitement.

One swoop from the rear and Fairy knocks
him head over heels down the slope only to be
saved from a cold bath in the creek by Delecia's
quick steadying hand.




V

_Chui_

From somewhere above in the shadow the
creepers trail earthwards; orchids blossom pale,
anæmic in the gloom, giant ferns hesitant with
scarce believable languor move in the miasmic
air.  Under foot the humid earth deadens every
sound; a smell of putrifying vegetation and
stagnant waters pervades the air.

Somewhere near, felt but never seen, the
gigantic river flows its way through the tropical
forest towards the blazing sands of its Delta.
In and out amongst the huge trees a trail winds
in its unending monotony.

The Safari has been marching all day one
behind the other in complete listlessness and truly
African patience, the loads growing heavier as
the day lengthens; morning heat, noonday
languor and now evening haze . . . always the
same breathlessness, the same stagnant clinging
of the very air to already non-resilient humans--clogging 
even the mind, blankly erasing all
desire.  Just in another footstep other footsteps
tread, until each tree passed by the first porter is
passed by the last.  From time to time a patch
of relieving light awakens the sleeping caravan
marching the Congo trail.

_Great branches_ cross overhead; no eyes rise
towards their worm-bored, fern-incrusted bark;
feathery billows of maiden-hair fern brush unturned
faces wet with the unhealthy sweat of the
lowland swamps.

_Great branches_, abandoned even by the ape and
monkey tribes to the hordes of microbes, insects,
creepy crawlers who eat their way to heaven in
this giant "culture land."

_Great branches_, from which unseen smaller
branches must grow, ultimately to support that
impenetrable canopy which shrouds the Congo
trail.  Listlessly the Safari wanders on, each man
with the same unthought gesture bows his load
to pass beneath some _Great branches_.

A shadow . . . a dull thud . . . a rustling through
the damp undergrowth . . . a shadow of wind;
and a porter is dead on the path, his head crushed;
untwitching limbs already covered by the minute
scavengers of the forest.  The murderer is away
seeking other sport; his claws scrape up the stem
of a tree . . . soon, outstretched on another _Great
branch_ overhanging a trail, the coal-black leopard,
with moiré silk coat, licks a paw, awaiting somnolently
alert some further vent to his morbid
craving of death.

Swift . . . silent . . . a killer . . . a machine.




VI

_Dicker_

Yesterday I was much taken with my usual
occupation; i.e., strolling up and down Government
Road and Sixth Avenue, with sundry visits
to gossip with Mr. Shaw, then across the road
to Mr. Heyer's, then back again to worry Mr.
Sands--window shopping with a view to possible
free drinks or interesting bits of gossip--"dirt
about one's friends."

The weather was hot and sultry; Mr. Shaw
was not his amiable self and pointedly hinted that
if I didn't need any cartridges this morning I had
better leave him to finish his accounts;--Mr.
Heyer was cruel enough to say that he thought
it was about time I made up my mind about the
purchase of the new 8 m/m Mauser I have been
fingering for a week or so; as for Mr. Sands, he
asked me point blank if I didn't happen to have
my cheque book handy as he would very much like
to see the commission I owe him on the last Gilgil
auction sale.  This is a cruel world, so I recrossed
the road with every intention of annoying the
manager of the Standard Bank of South Africa,
until it was time to get to luncheon at Muthaiga.

I walked through the portals of this noble
institution; backbone of the country, I might say;
as, if it went bust, half the country would accompany
it skywards, what with mortgages and unsecured
loans. . . . And so I walked through into
coolness and poise.

Just as I had isolated one of the "bankboys"
(ushers) and was going to crave an interview--a 
strong hand fell on my shoulder:

"Say, boy! what are you doing here?
How's the farm going?"  The laughing eyes
and bronzed face of Silas D. McNaughton from
Rome, Tennessee, U.S.A., beamed up through
thick-lensed glasses.

Silas D. is not an old friend of mine--but
we "got together," as he puts it, a few months
ago when I found him roaming down Government
Road in search of what he calls a "quick lunch
store."  I took him to the Trocadero and we
were firm friends by the time the clock struck
"half after two."

Later I introduced him to "Dicker", the white
hunter, and no news had come through until this
meeting.  We went off for the usual constitutional
at Muthaiga, my old Buick flapping its
side curtains and taking on a new optimism
at the thought of all the good parties we intend
to "make" out of Silas D.

He was full of his Safari and bubbled over
about it . . . how big his heads . . . how long his
horns . . . how large his feet. . . . At last I got him
into a quiet corner and after half a gin-fizz and
some cut up pieces of tales about Impala by the
dozen, Gnû by the thousand, I asked him how
he liked his white hunter.

"Gee whizz! he's a humdinger."  Apparently
Dicker has lived up to his reputation, and Silas D.
brought forth a story that will make his hometown
reporters weep at not having thought of
it by themselves.

The Safari, after sundry shooting in the Masaï
reserve, had pushed on towards the waterless
country.  There they had met lions; lions by the
dozen . . . by the score . . . by the hundreds. . . .
So many in fact that old Silas D., who is far from
being a murderer, gave up the rifle to devote
himself to kodak art.  After a while this even
palled, so Dicker suggested that he should catch
a lion alive, to kind of liven things up.  Silas D.,
like every true gent from U.S.A., deeply loves a
bet, so he bet Dicker fifty pounds that he (Dicker)
wouldn't catch one.  Next morning they set out
in the car just before sun up and were in the
famous "lion plain" by the time it was light
enough to see clearly.  As soon as they sighted a
group of lions Dicker drove towards them and
after sundry manœuvres separated a cub about
eight months old from his friends. . . . His mother
seemed a bit peeved, but Dicker blew the horn
and she thought better of it, the cub retreating
across the bare tableland.

They chased him just fast enough to get a
good mile or so between him and his family--then 
put on speed and had the cub about beat in
less than three hundred yards.  Dicker stopped
the car short and yelling to Silas D. to bring the
camera, leapt out.  After a few yards' chase and a
brief wrestle, Dicker planted the cub firmly
between his knees, hanging on for all he was
worth by the tufted ears.  The brute writhed and
snarled while Silas D. snapped and snapped;
the torn out shields of the film pack littering the
landscape.

At last Dicker let go and, with a good push,
forwarded the frightened cub beyond claw's
reach.

"And every photo a cinch, my boy. . . . I'm glad
I lost that bet. . . . That Dicker boy of yours is
the greatest sport I've ever met."

After he had cooled down, we went to lunch
and Dicker joined us.  I may as well admit that
we were partners, Dicker and I, in a little Shauri
up in the Sudan; we survived all perils but were
very nearly sunk by the wiles of women folk;--it's 
a great bond in common.

You can be assured that this is not purely
publicity (communicated). . . . Anyway, the least
Dicker can do is to give this book to every Safari
he takes out; illustrating the fact that there is
one shooting story that didn't end in gore and is
strictly true.




VII

_Chu-Chu_

Chu-Chu has been to Nairobi with us, having
never left the Shamba before.  Chu-Chu is a
dog--a nondescript hound much mixed in
pedigree.

One day about a year ago he turned up and
sat on the verandah looking at us so solemnly, so
unblinkingly;--we asked whom he belonged to;--one 
of the herders owned him; he and his
brother were orphans; a leopard killed their
mother and they were brought up by hand.
Chu-Chu was returned to his master--but every
following day found him on the same spot at
coffee time, so at last his owner hinted that we
had better buy him as he would not stay near
his hut.

Thus we bought Chu-Chu or Chui--"Leopard"--as 
we called him after his mother's
last resting place.  Chu-Chu was bathed, combed
and brushed . . . becoming another tortured
cleansed member of the family.

A most astonishing sight; he must have
Airedale, woolly sheep dog, Bedlington, and any
other ancestor you would care to name.

Go out hunting, you cannot lose him, neither
can you keep him at home; no collar or chain
will hold him--there's no door or window he
cannot get through.  But always such dignity;
he might be an archbishop at his Mass or a
Hebrew money-lender in his counting house.

Chu-Chu was a good family man and every
day after lunch he trotted up the trail winding
through the cedar forest to his old home--he was
visiting his brother; after a short while he would
drift away;--it would need the stealth and genius
of an Indian tracker to trail him, he was about his
personal business; but just before sundown he
would reappear--sitting statue-like on the verandah,
looking far away across the plain at the sun
dipping behind the mountain range.  As the
lights are lit, he comes into the house and goes to
sleep so near the fire that his coat always smells
of wood smoke.

We decided to take Chu-Chu to Nairobi to
show him the "great white lights"--he was
quite polite about it all but very bored and insisted
on sleeping in the car.  He never showed any
surprise even at the railway station where we met
some European arrivals--he simply sat and
looked on in perfect dignity.

Chu-Chu came back from Nairobi with us
last week; as soon as the car stopped, he stepped
down and trotted off to his family duties.  We
were very surprised to see him back a few minutes
later, sitting on the verandah, looking up anxiously
into our faces.  He whined and stalked out towards
the mountain trail, waited, whined again,
looking back.  Just then the house boy came in
and said Chu-Chu's brother had been killed the
day before by a leopard.

I took a rifle and followed Chu-Chu up the trail
as far as the herder's hut, then winding every step
steeper along a bushbuck trail until he stopped in
a little glade all overgrown with giant nettles;
in a corner we found the remains of his brother
piled near some thorny cactus.

Leopards come back to their kills; so I built
a small boma with a single opening, fixing the
rifle so as to make a gun trap;--when it was
finished Chu-Chu wagged his tail and trotted
home before me.

During the night there was a crash of a shot
and this morning Chu-Chu was waiting for me
by the verandah steps.

We climbed the hill and found the leopard
shot through the neck, dead in the clearing.
Chu-Chu sat stolidly while the great cat was
skinned.

The spotted hide is now drying slowly in the
midday heat; Chu-Chu is lying on the porch,
his eyes closed to the glaring sun.  He has never
been to the herder's hut since the morning we
brought his leopard skin home.

When it is dry I will put it on his bench by the
fire that he may lie on it in deep content.

Chu-Chu is my friend and we understand each
other.




VIII

_Raymond the Magnificent_

This is another George story. . . . George. . . .
George White--the white hunter who blossoms
forth in most of my tales--is such a fascinating
personality, to me at least, that he seems always to
crop up when I think, write or say anything
about Kenya. . . .

Well; once upon a time, George was plain
Mr. White, very callow, very pink and white,
very well groomed; with not an idea in his head,
not an action in his past except sundry canings,
dealt by irate prefects for the ordinary offences.
. . . George of those days is the antithesis of the
famous George White "Hunter"--of the years
of plenty. . . . Riches without counting say the
income tax receivers and the game department;
riches gleaned off many hundred elephants
poached or ivory bought--"toasted" (he would
term it) out of the natives. . . . He is the hunter
loved by Indian Princes and superfluously rich
millionaires, and yet he has kept, more than any
other of the successful colonists, that pristine youth
that allows him to tell a tale against himself--such 
as this one:--

This is Mr. White's tale; callow, shallow, Mr.
White just arrived out from England with a very
limited letter of credit and orders to make it last
until the scandal of the policeman's helmet had
blown over at home.

Mr. White, very serious and dignified, steps
off the boat and into the train at Mombasa to be
whisked Nairobi-wards at a leisurely rate of
miles. . . . In those days our trains had not caught
the undignified precipitancy of the younger age.
. . . George pondered, or rather dear Mr. White
pondered, as far as it was possible for him to
ponder, as to the possibilities of Nairobi for
a rag and where he'd go and so on and so
forth. . . .

Several letters reposed in the bottom of his
attaché case . . . letters to the influential of the
land, to the Governor and Commissioners, but at
Mr. White's age Governors and such are definitely
wearisome and to be avoided, so he stepped on to
Nairobi platform with open mind and thinly-coated wallet.

Hardly had he used a few halting, broken words
of Swahili than a hearty hand-clap shook him to
the roots of his polished hair and manicured nails.
(You see how different George was then--he has
not met a manicure for the last ten years.)

"Hello, old fellow, never thought we'd see
you out here."--The towering shoulders, curly,
black hair and quick eyes of a hunter. . . .

"Oh sir!" . . .

"Now! now!  No sirs out here!  We don't
do it!  Call me Raymond!  What's your Christian
name?  George!  Well, George, you come up
to my bungalow, I won't hear of you staying at
the hotel--certainly not!"  And our Raymond,
Raymond the Magnificent as we like to think of
him, carried the now baptized George off to a
low-verandahed bungalow, covered with the
most magnificent Bougainvillea anyone has ever
seen.

George had met Raymond at one of his
(George's) father's shoots just after the war. . . .
All this makes George very young as he was then
proudly carrying Raymond's second gun, but
even this does not make Raymond sufficiently old
to recede into the "Oldest settler" class.
Already in those days Raymond had been
baptized "the Magnificent"--and not without
due cause--he was at the same time, the most
hated and most loved man in Kenya, he had the
genius of doing things well . . . _magnificently_;
but one could not get away from certain such small
facts as his great lack of enthusiasm for the sound
of gun fire . . . his distinct ability with foolish
young married women and his easy high-handed
way with natives which had earned him the name
of "Bwana Kiboko Sana" . . . and yet why he
keeps his boys, _God only_ knows! no one else could
or can find a reason.  Nevertheless, Raymond is
certainly "Raymond the Magnificent"--and
lives up to it. . . . Women that come his way
fall, husbands rage, but somehow or other
nothing has broken badly for him since the
beginning of his career;--he suffers from an
incomprehensible immunity that is unique of its
kind. . . .

So you see Raymond strutting out magnificently
through the dust, under the pouring sun, with
little, callow, simple-minded George tagging along
behind.

Once in the bungalow, and after a drink which
rather went to his head, being unused to all
this excitement, George was installed in a
splendid room looking straight out of the balcony
across the plains down towards the game reserve.
. . . Obviously this was Raymond's own room!
George expostulated, to be shut up with a large
and generous gesture.

"Come, my dear fellow, am I not allowed to
give hospitality in my own home? . . ."  The
squashed George gave up and ensconced himself
in due happiness.

For two weeks Raymond took him about,
introducing him to everyone, pushing the art of
being a perfect host to the extent of calling him
himself every morning to inquire if he had slept
well and had all he needed.

One evening Raymond came in first, and when
George returned he found all his things packed
and piled up on the balcony in neat order . . . his
boy sitting on the top of it all.  Raymond greeted
him airily. . . .

"Had all your things ready and took a room
for you at the Club."

Aghast, poor young Mr. White gazed at the
heap. . . .

"But Raymond, I thought you wanted me
to stay."

"You poor young fool . . . you don't think I
had you here for the pleasure of hearing your
sweet burbling tones, do you? . . . Harrison
Kay was in town and he's already missed me twice
at a hundred yards.--He has sworn to get me
next time, so I thought you'd be good bait. . . .
He'd never think of looking for me in the back
room. . . . Now, now . . . no ill feelings meant,
youngster. . . . You clear out, and learn from me
that when a man is gunning for the fellow that
has looked upon his wife with untimid knowledge,
the best thing is to find a goat."

George left then and there.  Shortly after the
episode he took up big game hunting as a profession;
much safer he says.  But he likes to tell
this, the tale of the first great thrill Africa ever
gave him.




IX

_Le Boco_

Le Boco!  Le Boco!--I call, as a Chrysler tears
down Government Road.--An arm waves . . .
grindings of brakes, bits torn from the King's
highway and then . . . a halt.

The lanky figure climbs out, six foot and some
of sunburn . . . twenty-six years of vitality . . .
close-cut, curly, black hair, twinkling eyes and
flashing white teeth. . . . Le Boco. . . . White
hunter . . . elephant poacher . . . wanted in every
African Colony for his quick selective shooting
of wise old "Bull-a-phants."--Here alone is he
safe as there are few shootable elephants left in
Kenya . . . not worth poaching anyway . . . besides,
he has a hankering for a game ranger's job.

"Well, Le Boco--what about a drink?"

"Goot. . . . We make de club and a 'bottle'
wit orange juice."

I climb into the battered, weather-baked car
and we clatter up to Muthaiga.  Now, in the
bar, on our old friend the green settee, we are
happily ensconced.

"Where have you been all this time?"

"In de Congo wit a dam-fool camera-man, who
want to take de nature in all its glory,"--says he.

"Well, got any good pictures . . . was the fellow
pleasant?"

"Not so mooch . . . de fellow and I, very quick
ve have a big argument and then ve're not quite
such goot friends."

"Why Le Boco?  Did you frighten him with
any of your crazy stunts or what . . . ?"

"Oh, just a leetle argument vun morning and
den ve disagree."

I have to drag it from him . . . like most of his
kind he doesn't talk about himself; besides, he
knows he is quite advertised enough by his
perfectly marvellous good looks.

Here is the story:

Vun morning de camera-man and I, ve set
out very early to catch de old "buff" before he
makes to his bed in de forest.  After some walk
ve findt goot place, and de camera-man, he climb
a torn tree, hoist de moving-picture-machine to
de branch; den ve use de "panga" and make a
clean vindow along towards de trail de buff make
to de water.

I send de boy along and sit down wit my back
to de tree to vait and look.  By and by de buff he
coome bye, but not so near; so de man oop de tree
curse and grind de camera on de long focus lens,
so de pictures dey will probably all be moved.

Den all at last I hear a squeak above and he
waves de arms . . . and so on de path straight for
de tree he comes an old buff . . . de king of de
buffs--wit horns at least two meetres on each
side . . . de camera-man he grinds and grinds. . . .
Aboot twenty meetres away de old buff he catches
de eye on me at de foot of de tree . . . he stops and
looks . . . looks some more . . . den shakes de
head and scratches de ground wit de foot, getting
his-self dam cross . . . I put de rifle towards de
front, and de man in de tree says:

"Vait, don't shoot, dis is *Real* picture." . . .

De old buff he gets his-self more cross . . . blows
through de nose on de ground, making de dust
fly; den he tink he has quite 'nough and coomes
very fast for me.

De man above yells--

"Don't shoot." . . .

I shoot! . . . De buffalo he die quite quick and
de man toombles out of de tree wit de camera on
toop of him.

Ven de man he gets his-self from de torns and
de dust, he curses me saying I ruin de picture.

"So." . . . I say--" yes, maybe perhaps it
make mooch better picture if de buff he make me
go oop in de air--but what you tink you get for
hundrett twenty quidt a montt?  Not only de
Safari but nice picture of me going oop in de air!"

So ve have great fight . . . but de buff he is
dead; also it is very hot, and de camera-man he
have his picture-machine hit him already in de
back so he get tired before I do and ve all
stoop.

But dat Safari he is de failure and ve coome
home; de camera-man he had a bad sower in de
stomach at not seeing me go oop in de air with de
long buff horn through de pants; most disappoint
I say . . . so dere!!--let's take anodder bottle
wit orange juice, boot make less orange juice dis
time as Ali he has made him drowndt last vun.

And so . . . "Bruderschaft" . . . also to all de
friends wit de long horns and sharp teeth.




X

_Tony, Son of Man_

October is generally a dead month in Nairobi.
When I came down, suddenly on an urgent business
command, I boredly resigned myself to a
very dull time.  Nevertheless, at cocktail hour I
wandered into Muthaiga bar and lapsed into the
_Field_ all slumped down on the green settee--someone 
was sure to turn up.  Just as I was
getting down to the meat of the journal, accounts
of cubbing and such on a well-known Down, a
painfully hearty thump shook me to the core.

"Well, Tiny, old man, it's years since we
saw you."

"Tony!  I thought you had gone home."

"Had to put it off as the Legislative Council
needs my presence until the new year."

"Rotten luck; I'm all sympathy."

And then on all and about the things we talk
about: what Samson, the lion cub, has been doing:
of how the Valley crowd have just staged a new
elopement, and Kipipiri, oh greatest wonder, have
made their saw-mill saw and their wagons deliver
somewhere near the promised date.

Minutes strolled peacefully by, after finishing
our drinks we wandered out on to the porch as we
always do; to get the feel of the air before dressing
for dinner.  It had been raining all day and the
earth steamed; in the dark we could see hovering
wraiths where the light from an electric bulb
stabbed the night, shadows where it stole up
towards the unwinking light of an already
lowering planet . . . Venus, I suppose. . . . So
white and bloodless in this country of dark men
and darker passions.

We stood and breathed deep down in our
chests the water-soaked air. . . . A smell of cut,
wet grass and lawns made us silent with longings,
and each in our own way and kind had visions
of our far-away homes, even more vivid images
forming to the drip-drip of a coagulating mist
falling liquid from the long leaves of a eucalyptus
tree.

The low hum of a car crept across the silence--two 
head lamps fingered their way along the
road from town.  Down and up the hills they
went; we could nearly hear the groan of the bridge
above the muddy river as the car banged and
bounced in the eternal potholes that desecrate that
spot.  Listless we watched the lights finger up
the curves where the road continues towards
Thika.  Was it some settler going back to his
coffee shamba? was it some hunter on his way
to Archer's Post or Moyale? was it one of the
Engelbrecht's mail cars carrying home-news to
the Northern district? . . . a mail boat got in
yesterday.  Just as the suspense was becoming
unbearable, the light slewed around, shone for a
second straight in our eyes from the bottom of the
golf course and then slid up the road in a wide
circle towards the Club house.

We had been alone all evening and rather
welcomed additions to our _tête-à-tête_, so we
waited on the porch.  Tony stepping out towards
the car as it slowed. . . . A woman and two men. . . .

There was a shock in the night, some telepathic
crackle that made me at once alert. . . . Tony
half halted, half turned, then stood stock still. . . .
It couldn't be . . . it mustn't be . . . "Joan"! . . .
His love of the last years; Joan who had gone
home six months before, after most heartrending
adieus . . . who had gone home to take up a new
life. . . . Joan who had told him to forget her
and all that.

"Hello Tony, still hanging around the bar I
see . . . and dear old Tiny."

She came with outstretched hands towards us.
Tony was stunned. . . . At last he pulled himself
together and we turned towards the men.  One,
an old friend from the K.A.R.; the other a
captain, Bobby Smith, just arrived to join the old
regiment; had travelled out with Joan from
England.

So we sat on the porch having round after
round of drinks until the atmosphere cleared,
all tenseness dissolving in alcohol and laughter.
At last we rose, arranging to join up again for
dinner.

Soon we were seated, four men framing Joan's
pale loveliness like chessmen well disposed on a
chequered board.  Joan at the head of the table
marshalling the display, then the K.A.R.'s on
one side and Tony and I opposite;--the end of
the table was taken up with a huge jug of "Nile
Water" dark, opalescent, fire for one's veins,
madness for one's heart.

Ali hovered around, arranging, placing, running
to our earliest bidding; well demonstrating
the fact that we were in the dead season and no
higher and mightier tippers were within reach.
Yusuf poured the wine with his own hand and
even the Goanese chef took an interest in the proceedings.--When 
coffee followed, we took it to
the club-fender before the fire.  Joan faced us,
laughing across a low table . . . eyes sparkling and
rapid words that teased and cajoled until we were
each of us fascinated, swinging to her every mood,
more than half in love with her. . . .

Bobby Smith, diminutive, jockey-like being,
with carroty hair, writhing with ecstasy and
desire. . . . Tony, with dark, gold eyes shining like
a leopard's . . . absolutely immobile . . . hands
clenched together across his knees, knuckles
showing white with tenseness . . . his long, lithe
body bent forward like a bowed sapling leaning
against the wind. . . . What passed behind those
cat's eyes? . . . Visions of days . . . visions of nights
. . . of moonbeams playing through the gold
shrouds of her hair . . . of passionate languorous
nights when they clenched and clasped while a
mad thunder storm broke across Lake Naivasha.
. . . Nights when their senses were so acutely
tuned that they heard the hippo's breath-taking
amongst the reeds . . . heard the chirp of the
field animals in the garden below. . . . Days when
they had watched the paddles of their canoe-boys
dip and rise, chaplets of drops running down to
the black hands. . . . All those months of life
intense, love viable. . . . She looked into his eyes
and laughed; not a flicker, not a cloud passed
across their agate surface.

Why had they separated? . . . Why had she
left him to forget, and then come back?--I saw
visions too . . . but Joan had never been part of
my life . . . and I moved about the room trying to
break the spell. . . . At last they all got up and
went out on to the porch.

"Joan, I am taking you home," said Tony,
producing a grimacing scowl from Bobby Smith,
whose hair stood up on his head. . . .

"No!  Joan said I was to take her home."--Slightly 
tipsy Bobby Smith.

Tony just looked round and his hand twitched
by his side . . . a bit drunk, Tony.  I put my hand
on Smith's arm and whispered. . . .

"Don't be a fool. . . . Tony will kill you in a
second . . . haven't you heard about him yet? . . .
keep quiet, you fool, keep quiet."  I felt Smith
trembling with rage. . . . Another look around the
circle and Tony smiled . . . plenty of teeth in that
smile, especially shiny and white, the two long
"bicuspids" more like fangs.

"I am going to start my car; will you get your
coat, Joan?"--Tony never staggers in drink . . .
he never does anything except fight sometimes
when he gets that way--and then the other man
or men go to hospital,--unless someone can
knock him out before he gets into his stride.

Joan smiles around at us. . . .

"Don't worry, you know I can manage
him." . . .

Bobby put out a hand towards her.

"No Bobby, not to-night. . . . This is my
duty as I alone can get Tony home without a
smash.  You . . . have to-morrow's seven thousand
years."

So that's how it stands, is it.  I shrugged my
shoulders and looked at my friend from the K.A.R.

"A night cap?"

"Come on Bobby,"--we went off into the
bar and sat down to drink it over . . . and forget.
. . . Subconsciously we heard the car purr into the
distance and until then did not realise that Smith
had left us.  Well, it couldn't be helped and
anyway, he was a new arrival and couldn't possibly
find Tony's house; besides, what did it all matter
anyway? we didn't care an iota with that much
Nile water inside us.  So after a few minutes'
chat, I packed the K.A.R. off in my car and fell
into bed and dreamless slumber. . . .

It had been six months at least since I had
made such a night of it . . . so when I awoke next
morning to the furious pounding of my boy, I
was not so fit and in a vile temper.

"What in hell's the matter, you little swine?"--In 
the middle of the abuse and the boy's trials
at explaining, Yusuf came in.

"I sent the boy; Memsahib Joan asks you
come to Norfolk very quick as there is a 'shauri
mbaya sana.'"

I could scarcely move, much less dress. . . .
So Yusuf brought me cupfuls of prairie oysters,
and after a shave and dressing, punctuated with
groans of agony and awful dizziness, I got to my
car and drove off, feeling too ill to wonder what
was the matter.  But Joan had called and it was
an imperial command.

The morning air was sweet and cold . . . no
other cars or gharris lifted the dust. . . . The
eucalyptus and the wattles laid scented trails
across the road. . . . When the five miles were
behind, my mind was clearing and the steps up
to the Norfolk's verandah did not seem too
steep. . . . "Aunty" was in the office so I bowed
her way and she sent me a smile across the wide
ledger. . . .

"Which room has Joan got?"

"Number five.  She's not up yet."

"But she telephoned me."

"Oh that's all right. . . . She sent the boy with
a note and the manager phoned."  I hauled myself
up the steps and at last got to door number
five. . . .

"Is that you, Tiny? . . . Come in!"  Joan
was sitting up in bed, looking very tired and
sleepless, dark rings circled her eyes--eager hands
greeted me.

"Tiny dear, you don't know what I've been
through with those two maniacs."

"Well dear, weren't you just asking for it?
going off with Tony last night, leaving the other
fellow high and dry--especially with both of
them more than half drunk."

"Oh, but you don't know what it was like.
. . . I've never been through such a night in my
life--I'm just a ruin--a shadow of my former
self. . . ."

"What happened anyway? . . . When I came
by just now, I saw Tony's car parked in front of
his bungalow . . . and no one has been phoning
around, looking for Bobby Smith, so he must be
all right. . . ."

"Oh, it's fine now, but there was near-murder
and 'I don't mean maybe'--just you wait until
I give you the whole show, just all simple and
unadulterated. . . ."

"Half-way back from Muthaiga, Tony, who
had driven along, face front, a stern expression
on his brow, stopped the car with a jerk and
started his usual line, throwing himself into the
job with a whole-heartedness which was quite
convincing--what with the months of separation
and all that, he did himself proud . . . going far
into reminiscences, word pictures of past days
and nights.  I was quite flattered but not at all
in a yielding spirit; nevertheless, it was most
inspiring and what with moonbeams and clinging
scents I suppose I got reminiscent too; before I
knew it, he had started the car and was tearing
up the alleyway towards his house. . . . At the
bottom of the steps another scene took place--but 
then I'd collected what sense I have and was
coldly determined to get back to the Norfolk and
to my own bed in lonely solitude . . . besides, I
had still pleasant thoughts of Bobby Smith and the
trip out.  Tony pleaded and threatened for hours
it seemed, then suddenly losing all patience tried
to drag me in. . . . At that very instant and moment
there was the most colossal sneeze from the back
of the car;--Tony stopped as if he had been
shot and just as he moved to investigate, out
popped Bobby . . . sneezing and coughing--choking 
nearly, covered with.dust, red all over,
even his carroty hair had changed hue. . . .

"'My God, my God,'--says Tony--'where
in hell have you come from?'--A thousand sneezes
more and when at last Bobby took an uninterrupted
breath, a rush of words came dashing forth. . . .

"'You hound . . . how dare you . . . don't
you know she's mine? . . . and I've heard every
word you've said, you something, something son
of "Belial"--I was sitting on the luggage grid;
not a word you're not going to pay for, you
hound!'

"Tony took one leap up the verandah steps,
while I tried to hold Bobby, thinking that Tony
had quit.  Before another thought could form--crash 
goes a chair, bang goes a door, and he
bursts out again, hair standing on end, wildly
waving a revolver. . . .

"'Where is that sneaking little swine?--I'm
going to kill him. . . .'  It was just awful. . . .
Bobby dodged around a pillar, then behind the
car and around and around they went.  It was
terrifying. . . . I didn't know what to do or
think--but suddenly I was struck by the glory
of it all. . . .

"Tony and his passionate love, not by any
means inaudible, and the while, the swallowed-dust-coated-curses
of Bobby hanging drunkenly
to the luggage grid behind . . . hysterical laughter
shook me and that at least stopped them, and
we all came back to the steps; I, still half crying,
half laughing.  Then we argued and argued, but
at last I managed to get them calmed down and
made Tony take us back to the Norfolk; there he
left me at my door swearing murder and arson
would be wrought, if he ever heard of Bobby playing
around me again.

"Tiny dear, you can imagine the state I was
in by then. . . . Nevertheless, I went to bed
hoping that morning would clear the atmosphere;
after what seemed hours of tossings and turnings,
I quieted down, but just as I was dozing
off, some slight noise startled me and I suddenly
remembered that my room gave on the balcony
that goes all around the house.  Climbing out of
bed I went to close the shutters.  To my horror,
there was Tony just below my window, sitting
on the roof of his car, revolver in hand, pointing
straight at my window--and, three windows down
was a glimpse of white; Bobby . . . crouched
behind the half-drawn shutters of his room . . .
his light pyjamas showing him up a perfect
target. . . . Thank God Tony's eyes were glued to
my window. . . . How long I stayed there, I
couldn't say, but I was stiff and frozen, not daring
to move for fear Bobby might try and come along,
or Tony catch sight of him where he was."

"How did it all finish?"

"Well, Tony fell asleep and tumbled off the
roof of his car.  I leapt downstairs in slippers and
a kimono and stole the gun from him before he
was quite awake.  He drove off, swearing murder
and rape for to-day. . . . Here's the gun, do take
it away and never let me see it again. . . . I feel so
ghastly ill, I think I am dying. . . ."

She burst into tears and as the sobs slowly died
I smoothed her forehead and soon she slept.
Then, closing the blinds, I put the mosquito
netting about her and tip-toed out of the room. . . .
At her door I found the boy and told him that the
Memsahib was not to be disturbed; that her
sleep must stay like the tick bird to the Rhino or
the Egret to M'Bogo, king of buffaloes.  Then
downstairs in my car I sat for a while, to drive
home ultimately, to a cold bath. . . .

Truly a Kenya night, thought I as I dressed
again. . . . And what if Tony had fired?  Just
another black blotch on this fair country's already-sullied
name, another bar sinister to her coat of
arms; and I held the heavy-barrelled gun in my
palm.  Well, I hope those two ruffians are awake
with the very worst heads and a thirst the seas of
the Nile may not quench.

Breaking open the gun . . . one of these subconscious
gestures one has with firearms, the
black steel killer slid from my hand to crash to
the floor, missing my toe by an inch. . . . Slightly
startled I was;--there were no cartridges in that
gun.

Truly an African night, don't you think? . . .




They

_A Sequence to "Vertical Land"_


   I. Time Exposures
  II. Cyril--or, The Two Shots
 III. The Stinging Truth
  IV. The Flying Fool
   V. A Pimp at Large
  VI. The Fox
 VII. Old Rubber Legs
VIII. Vierge Folle
  IX. "Blank" Cheque
   X. Heart's Desire (A Portrait of George
          White--"Hunter")




I

_Time Exposures_

The other day I came across some negatives of
Kenya days; I sent them to be printed on a
contrast paper as they were too dark and patchy
to make out.

To-day the man of science returned them and I
laid them side by side like a hand of "stills."

All over-exposed . . . due perhaps to the
fact that they have been maturing these many
years . . . old brandy matures in the cask and the
simple snap-shots have matured too . . . too old?

They date . . . they date terribly . . . but before
throwing the packet into the fire, I want to put
away these proofs which remind me cruelly of old
times and open wounds. . . .

"Time exposures."




II

_Cyril--or the Two Shots_

Crack! . . . thud! . . . the Grant's Gazelle lurches
five steps . . . hesitates . . . collapses, shot through
the heart.

Cyril rises from his knees and together we
step from the bushes into the light. . . . Two-hundred-and-seventy-two
paces.

A wondrous shot!

Cyril strokes his moustache and with chin lifted
smiles across the plains.

A crescendo of light sears the eyes from the
centre of the darkened studio . . . suspense . . .
tension . . . nerves on the verge of hysteria.

Clickety-clack . . . clickety-clack. . . . The
handles turn . . . the director swears and entreats.
. . . On the sofa borne down by his vibrant hands
the heroine tortured, fevered, registers passion
supreme.  Cyril rises from his knees, fumbling
for his cigarette case, his hands tremble, the
lighter shaking with suppressed desire.  The girl
stares glassily up at him.

Cyril turns his back to the lens--one shoulder
quivering scarce noticeable.

What a shot!

When did you act, Cyril, my friend?




III

_The Stinging Truth_

Three girls, four cocktails and a man. . . . A
round, marble-topped table in the Berkeley
Grill. . . . A cast shadow passing by and a darker
shadow which crosses Nevil's eyes; the girls
watch Ned disappear.

"Pretty average swine, Ned! put me in his
book after all we did for him in Kenya. . . . But I
suppose it's what one might expect from a damned
foreigner"--the girls nod understandingly--"Only 
a foreigner" . . . they all three smile up
at Nevil most hopefully but his vulturine eyes
are dulled--a film across their surface.

In his mind rises a picture so vivid still that
he is powerless to keep it back. . . .

The rainy night . . . the slippery mud road
from Nanuki back to his farm . . . the girl at his
side warm and fragrant . . . then the sudden halt,
the struggle, his brutal strength, his curses in
defeat. . . . And then home to the farm where her
husband was waiting, suffering through a bout of
fever.  Ned's wife!  At his, Nevil's hospitality!

Yes, definitely, all foreigners are swine. . . .
Ned's a rotter to have put him in his book.

The film recedes . . . the girls smile . . . and
Nevil stoops again. . . . More fields to conquer. . . .

"The bold, brave gentleman from Kenya."




IV

_The Flying Fool._

Across the table he leans . . . answering you.
The blue eyes afire with thoughts, the mind a
jumble of desires and impressions . . . for ever
restless--unappeased--a hybrid through whose
fingers even time flies. . . .

When, far up above the clouds, the roar of the
engine drives . . . down and up the raging plane
slips and shivers; only then comparative peace
envelops his surging, discontented heart.

No land, no country, no race--the pariah
of the wide open spaces, the conqueror of a
vacuum world flies through life, while behind
him unfelt but dimly perceived, he leaves trouble,
pain and despair. . . .

No repose, even for the wicked . . . no repose;
again on the wing his thoughts surge away leaving
you with a vague feeling of discontent and anger--the 
anger that suits a constructive spirit partially
disturbed.

Useless in a useless world. . . .

Nothing! nothing left in his wake. . . .

He may die!




V

_A Pimp at Large_

On the wide terrace high above the lake a table is
set--three people seated round.  The sinking
light is shot into space mirrored from her metallic
hair and she smiles up at the boy, so blond, so
pink, so crystal hard. . . .

"Darling, here's my purse, please pay and
we'll go up."

Her son stretches lazily and flicks the cigarette
butt far into the air to fall ultimately at the foot
of the cliff a thousand feet below.

"Mother, better leave us the money as Tony
and I are throwing a party to-night."

Her teeth catch on the carmined lips, her hand
stretches towards the boy's . . . an angered look
creeps behind the dilated pupils.

The boy! . . . her boy! . . . the boy friend! . . .
So unfaithful, so loved; he, still stares across the
wide expanse . . . bored . . . but it's the job . . . and
he reaches for the purse, kisses the henna-tipped
finger nails and pauseless drifts away, her son in
his wake.

Her hands clench; a sigh? a curse? and she
also fades into the shadows near the hotel.  In
the hall, aimlessly, she fingers the registration
book. . . . What had he put down last night
when they arrived? . . .

Her heart stops . . . her eyes blur . . . words
of fire on a field of blood.  The hall porter just in
time catches her as she falls. . . . For ever . . . for
ever . . . she will see them. . . .

"Mrs. Montollier-Jones & Sons."




VI

_The Fox_

A green pool spreads its quiet sleepiness, rock
bound and lazy . . . wild irises, yellow to black,
like spears struck before some sullen hunter's
tent, waft scented, clinging breezes across the
cool expanse.  A world of minute beings prey upon
each other with shouts and screams inaudible to
human ears . . . the silence is pregnant with suspense.
. . . Then a pattering on the pebbles, a
slight splash and the pool surges to an awaited
vitality. . . .

"The Fox" swims about, turning, twisting
this way and that, like some water nymph. . . .

Her burnished hair glistening redder than a
harvest moon, redder than Kikuyu clay; white
polished shoulders alternately cleaving the greeny
surface, gleaming, fairer for the burning hair.

The Fox steps out on to the beach again, her
twinkling golden eyes show the glory of physical
content and superb mental repose. . . . A laugh
behind her, she turns with catlike swiftness, to
relax; waiting until the boy is at her side.

Why did they call her The Fox when every
gesture is feline in its inconsistency? . . .

I wonder.




VII

_Old Rubber Legs_

As he flicks over the pages of that last chapter
in _Vertical Land_--his eyes wrinkle behind his
glasses and suppressed chuckles gurgle forth. . . .

No! he is not in it though search he does. . . .
Can't be helped . . . can it? . . .

"Sorry, old man, but can't put real people in a
book; they might think they could make a bit . . .
and on a cold morning the postman would make
me sign for a registered letter . . . Lewis & Lewis.
. . . 'In the interest of our clients' . . . etc. . . .
and so on. . . ."

"Tennis"--someone calls; he uncurls his
supple length and soon across the green lawn he
makes a girl friend run.--An hour later, still
content, alone before the wood fire poring into
a Freudian phantasy, while "Mary" the Macaw
licks the polish off his shoes and nips the backs
of his calves. . . .

Versatile among the versatile. . . . Even the
highbrows do not call him superficial. . . .

Rubber-Legs enjoys life as much as we enjoy
him. . . .




VIII

_Vierge Folle_

I start with a lie, I will conclude with a blasphemy. . . .

But Vierge she must have been once upon a
time. . . . To-day, life consists of a series of
"affairs," one more serious than another; yet--wide-eyed 
and virginal-looking, she wanders
through the world, pale-blue eyes sentimental and
soft hands clinging for support to the merest male.

Such is her power that behind her she has left
on this "road to heaven" a trail blazed with
regrets unfulfilled and desires unsatiated . . . not
hers . . . those of others . . . of the men who
frightened fled her hungry mind, of women whose
maddened sex she awoke . . . to pass on. . . .

Sometimes of evening between the port and the
"Shall we join the ladies?" we cads speak of her
and each has a new shiver to repress and a new
tale to tell though she passed through our lives
many moons ago.

We quite agree to think of her as:

"The Raging Angel."




IX

_"Blank" Cheque_

Scene: the Ritz bar on an early Sunday of the
year at one-fifteen.  Few people about . . .
most are playing golf at St. Cloud or sleeping
off the effects of last night's Press dinner.

"Hello, Tiny!"

"Nigel!"

"Come into the other side; I've got a girl friend
there from Kenya sipping pink gin and cursing
her luck because all the shops are closed; thank
God! . . ."

I sat with them for a cocktail or two, and when
I left Nigel drew me carefully aside:

"Couldn't lend me a couple of fivers, old man,
could you? quite forgot to pass at the bank
yesterday . . . and you know . . . Sunday in a
foreign country . . . and no club . . . what?"

I stiffened . . . knowing his gang too well . . .
it's rather an old wheeze.

"Awfully sorry, but broke high and wide for the
time being." . . . I slipped out with undue haste. . . .

Three weeks later I returned ; scarce past the
portals, Frank rushes to my side. . . .

"Good morning, Sar! . . . Glad to see you so
well! . . . You know your friend the gentleman
with the eyeglass; he said you said I must cash a
cheque for him . . . twenty pound . . . that all
right?"

"My God, no, Frank." . . .

"But Sar, I see you two were good friends . . .
what must I do?"

"Wait and see." . . . Inexorably ten days later
the cheque returned. . . . Blank cheque, yes . . . a
flowing hand in red ink had written across the
dull expanse--"No account." . . .

Well so it was! and Frank and I had it out
on a little square of green baize at stud poker. . . .

Frank now has the twenty pounds and I the
cheque, which hangs in my study beneath a pair
of bushbuck horns reminding me whenever I
sit, pen in hand, of the last time I was had.




X

_Heart's Desire:   A Portrait of
George White--"Hunter"_

Yes, George dear, a portrait of yourself; you
know, it is not impertinent of me . . . besides, I
don't care if you do think so.  And those who will
refuse to believe these few lines, who maybe will
scoff and shout at the idea of your being sentimental
or even thoughtful in a genuinely tender
way, are wrong, and more so, blind.

Yes, George dear . . . quite blind. . . .

The other day when we went to the station to
meet the girl whom you have been writing to for
years . . . your palms were very moist, weren't
they? . . . Words, phrases, sheets of expressions
were trembling upon your lips ready to dash
bodily forth . . . like an all-embracing flood to
surround her . . . draw her to your arms and help
you carry her away to cherish for ever . . . this
girl you have loved and been faithful to in mind
if not in body since the day you two parted ten
years ago. . . .

And what happened?

The train pulled in . . . she stepped out . . .
you walked up. . . .

"Well, Nan darling, had a good trip . . . ?
rotten dust at this time of the year . . . isn't it?"

"Yes dear . . . do I give the luggage blank
to the black fellow?  All right!  Nice up here!
bit hot down at the coast."

"Got cocktails waiting! . . . let's push along
. . . 'Njugana!  Tia Sanduku ya Memsahib motor-car
ini yangu.'"

"Sounds pretty hot! . . . What, all about my
box? . . . nice car you've got. . . . Buick sports
chassis?  Good pullers, aren't they? . . ."

And you drove away, hearts so exalting that
you never realized that you ran straight over the
postmaster's dog, yes!  "Piga Sana," which we
have all been trying to assassinate for theft the
last two years.

Oh you two damned self-restrained fish!

You two bloody Anglo-Saxons!

You . . . you . . .

But you know I love you all the same.




FINIS




                              _Paris_,  1929.

Since the writing of the tale where *Aunty* is
mentioned the dear Lady has departed to, we
hope, a better world.

I would like here to bring my humble tribute
to join that of the whole colony who will mourn
while memory lives.

Truly *Aunty*, fairy god-mother, to all of us
discarded Europeans; she helped, she understood,
she forgave; what more have any accomplished,
who now through heavenly spaces rejoice
in the great clan of sainthood?

                               *Janzé.*


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