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"Of course. I could not accept it otherwise."
"Nor could I give it," I said. "Pour it yourself."
Reginald poured it and drank it. His shoulders straightened and he was a younger man.
"I will have more information tomorrow, my brother," he said. "Make my respects to my lady."
He left the tent bowing formally and I watched him walking away toward the trees as I went over to the hunting car.
There are always mystical countries that are a part of one's childhood. Those we remember and visit, sometimes when we are asleep and dreaming. They are as lovely at night as they were when we were children. If you ever go back to see them they are not there. But they are as fine in the night as they ever were if you have the luck to dream of them.
In Africa when we lived on the small plain in the shade of the big thorn trees at the edge of the swamp at the foot of the great mountain we had such countries. We were no longer, technically, children although in many ways I am quite sure that we were....
At this time the great mystical country that Mary and I shared was the Chyulu hills. This was always referred to by G.C., when he was with us, as "The country no white woman has ever set foot in including Miss Mary." We saw the Chyulus each day distant, blue, classically broken in the way that hills are broken to break your heart and we had made several half disastrous and half comic attempts to reach them. Due to an impassable swamp and a profusion of lava boulders blocking all detours they had become one of those countries you could not enter without an effort that was beyond us at the time. As substitute countries Mary had taken the gerenuk country which was a strange enough choice and I had taken the village of Loitokitok which was 14 miles up the slope of Mount Kilimanjaro close to the border of the Colony and the Territory. Mary thought this was a strange enough choice too until she also became involved in it....
No one knew why Mary needed to kill a gerenuk. They were a strange long-necked gazelle and the buck had heavy short curved horns set far forward on their heads. They were excellent to eat in this particular country. But Tommy and impala were better to eat. The boys thought that it had something to do with Mary's religion. Her religion had been a fascinating topic of discussion for a long time. It started when she had eaten a raw slice of the heart of the first lion I had killed. I had handed her the triangular shaped slice as a joke but she had taken it and eaten it and no one had laughed. Then as the lion was skinned out I had shown her the wonderful muscles. She had watched the skinning and when the four paws and the tail were finished and the skinner and Ngui started skinning up the back she had seen the tenderloin and asked to have it cut out. She smelled it and it smelled very good and was a really beautiful piece of meat.