Miss Mary, who by her absence permits certain adventures on the part of Ernest, or perhaps indulgences.
Ngui, who is superb as a gunbearer when the quarry is leopard but unhappily missing when the quarry is Ernest.
Charo, who is far too old to be mauled by leopard once again and far too brave not to want to risk the chance.
Mr. Singh, who runs a stimulating little shop in Loitokitok and displays exquisite diplomacy, backed by a pistol.
I was alone with Miss Mary's sorrow. I was not really alone because there was also Miss Mary and the camp and our own people and the big mountain of Kilimanjaro that everyone called Kibo, and all the animals and the birds and the new fields of flowers and the worms that hatched out of the ground to eat the flowers. There were the brown eagles that came to feed on the worms so that eagles were as common as chickens and eagles wearing long brown trousers of feathers and other white-headed eagles walked together with the guinea fowl busily eating the worms. The worms made an armistice among all the birds and they all walked together. Then great flocks of European storks came to eat the worms and there would be acres of storks moving on a single stretch of plain grown high with the white flowers....
There is a virginity that you, in theory, only bring once to a beautiful city or a great painting. This is only a theory and I think it is untrue. All the things that I have loved I bring this to each time, but it is lovely to bring someone else to it and it helps the loneliness. Mary had loved Spain and Africa and had learned the secret things naturally and hardly without knowing she had learned them. I never explained the secret things to her; only the technical things or the comic things and my greatest pleasure came from her own discovering. It is stupid to expect or hope that a woman that you love should love all the things that you do. But Mary had loved the sea and living on a small boat and she loved fishing. She loved pictures and she had loved the West of the United States when we had first gone there together. She never simulated anything and this was a great gift to be given, as I had been associated with a great simulator of everything and life with a true simulator gives a man a very unattractive view of many things and he can begin to cherish loneliness rather than to wish to share anything.
Now this morning with the day becoming hot and the cool wind from the mountain not having risen we were working out a new trail out of the forest that the elephants had destroyed. After we came out into the open prairie land after having to cut our way through a couple of bad places, we saw the first great flock of storks feeding. They were true European storks, black and white and red-legged, and they were working on the caterpillars as though they were German storks and under orders. Miss Mary liked them and they meant much to her since we had both been worried about an article that said that storks were becoming extinct and now we found that they had merely had good sense enough to come to Africa as we had done ourselves; but they did not take away her sorrow and we went on toward camp. I did not know what to do about Miss Mary's sorrow. It was proofed against eagles and proofed against storks, against neither of which I had any defense at all, and I began to know how great a sorrow it really was.
Ngui noticed that something was wrong and he took out the Jinny flask from the Spanish leather cartridge bag and handed it to me. I passed it back to Miss Mary who was watching the storks rather grimly. I looked at them and decided there were probably too many damned storks and that was why they had no power against her sorrow.
"Aren't you drinking a little early in the day?" she asked. I noticed hopefully that she was holding the Jinny flask.
"I hope not," I said. "For my stomach's sake."
She still retained the bottle and I thought I heard her open it. Ngui nodded imperceptibly.
"Give your damned sorrow a drink and I'll take one too."