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Miss Mary's Lion
Ernest Hemingway
December 20, 1971
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December 20, 1971

Miss Mary's Lion

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"No one will hang you unless you deal with the other people."

"But you know I must constantly deal with the other people."

"You understood the sense in which I spoke. Now go to the campfire and get warm and I will make up the medicines."

"You are my brother."

"No," I said. "I am your friend."

He went off to the fire and I opened the medicine chest and got out Atabrine and aspirin and liniment and some sulfa and some cough lozenges and hoped I had made a small blow against the dream. But I could remember all the details of the execution of The Informer in about the third of the nightmares and I was ashamed of having even such a nocturnal imagination.

Close to camp, which showed against the trees, the smoke of the fires rising and the white and green tents looking comfortable and homelike, there were sand grouse drinking at the small pools of water on the open prairie. I got out with Ngui to get some for us to eat while Mary went on to camp. They were hunched low beside the little pools and scattered about in the short grass where the sand burrs grew. They clattered up and they were not hard to hit if you took them quickly on the rise. These were the medium-sized sand grouse and they were like plump little desert pigeons masquerading as partridges. I loved their strange flight which was like a pigeon or a kestrel and the wonderful way they used their long backswept wings once they were in full flight. Walking them up this way was nothing like shooting them when they came in great strings and packs to the water in the morning in the dry season when G.C. and I would take only the highest crossing birds and high incomers and paid a shilling penalty anytime we took more than one bird to a shot fired. Walking them up you missed the gutteral chuckling noise the packs made as they talked across the sky. I did not like to shoot so close to camp either so I took only four brace which would make at least two meals for the two of us or a good meal if anyone dropped in.

The men did not like to eat them. I did not like them as well as lesser bustard, teal or snipe or the spurwing plover. But they were very good eating and would be good for supper. The small rain had stopped again but the mist and the clouds came down to the foot of the mountain.

Mary was sitting in the dining tent with a Campari and soda.

"Did you get many?"

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