A few miles out, in the Masai Reserve, the Zebra are now changing their pasture, the flocks wander over the grey

plain like lighter stripes upon it, theBuffaloare out grazing on the long slopes of the Hills. My young men of the

farm would come by, two or three together, walking one after the other like narrow dark shadows on the lawn,

they were afoot and aiming straight at their own object, they were not working for me, and it was none of my

concern. They themselves accentuated the position by just slackening their pace as they caught sight of my

burning cigarette end outside the house, and saluting without stopping.

There is something strangely determinate and fatal about a single shot in the night. It is as if someone had cried a

message to you in one word, and would not repeat it. I stood for some time wondering what it had meant.

Nobody could aim at anything at this hour, and, to scare away something, a person would fire two shots or more.

Outside was my mill manager, wild eyed and sweating in the lamplight. His name

was Belknap, he was an American and an exceptionally capable, inspired mechanic, but of an uneven mind. With

him things were either nearing the Millennium, or dark without a glimpse of hope. When he first came into my

employ he had upset me by his varying views of life, and of prospects and conditions of the farm, as if he had

had me up in an enormous mental swing; later I had got used to them. These ups and downs were no more than a

kind of emotional daily gymnastics to a lively temperament, much in need of exercise, and to which too little was

happening; it is a common phenomenon with energetic young white men inAfrica, particularly with those who

have spent their early life in towns. But here he came out of the hands of a tragedy, and was as yet undecided as

to whether he should satiate his hungry soul by making the most of it, or

escape from its grimness by making as little of it as possible, and in this dilemma he looked like a very young

boy running for his life to announce a catastrophe; he stuttered as he spoke. In the end he made very little of it,

for it held no part in it for him to play, and fate had let him down once more.

At that time I had an oldOverlandcar. I shall never write anything against her, for she served me well through

many years. But it was rare that she could be induced to run on more than two cylinders. Her lights were out of

order too, so that I used to drive in to dances at the Muthaiga Club with a hurricane lamp swaddled in a red silk

handkerchief, for a back light.

A Kyama is an assembly of the Elders of a farm, which is authorized by the Government to settle the local

differences amongst the Squatters. The members of the Kyama gather round a crime, or an accident, and will sit

over it for many weeks, battening upon mutton, talk, and disaster. I knew that now the old men would want to

talk the whole matter over with me, and also that they would, if they could, in the end make me come into their

court to give the final judgment in the case. I did not want to take up an endless discussion of the tragedy of the

night, at this moment, and sent for my horse to get out and away from them.

I rode into the Masai Reserve. I had to cross the river to get there; riding on, I got into the Game Reserve in a

quarter of an hour. It had taken me some time, while I had lived on the farm, to find a place where I could get

over the river on horseback: the descent was stony, and the slope up the other side very steep, but “once in,–how

the delighted spirit pants for joy.”Here lay before you a hundred miles’ gallop over grass and open undulating land; there was not a fence nor a ditch, and no road. There was no human habitation except the Masai villages, and those were deserted half the  year, when the great wanderers took themselves and their herds off to other pastures. There were low thorn trees regularly spread over the plain, and long deep valleys with dry riverbeds of big flat stones, where you had to find a deer path here and there to take you across. After a little while you became aware of how still it was out here.

Now, looking back on my life inAfrica, I feel that it might altogether be described as the existence of a person  who had come from a rushed and noisy world, into a still country.

A little before the rains, the Masai burn off the old dry grass, and while the plains are thus lying black and waste  they are unpleasant to travel on: you will get the black charred dust, which the hoofs of your horse raise, all over  you and into your eyes, and the burnt grass stalks are sharp as glass; your dogs get their feet cut on them. But  when the rains come, and the young green grass is fresh on the plains, you feel as if riding upon springs, and the  horse gets a little mad with the pleasantness. The various kinds of gazelles come to the green places to graze, and  there look like toy animals stood upon a billiard table. You may ride into a herd of Eland; the mighty peaceful  beasts will let you get close to them before they start trotting off, their long horns streaming backwards over their  raised necks, the large loose flaps of breastskin, that make them look square, swaying as they jog. They seem to  have come out of an old Egyptian epitaph, but there they have been ploughing the fields, which gives them a  familiar and domesticated air. The Giraffe keep farther away in the Reserve.

At times, in the first month of the rains, a sort of wild white fragrant Pink flowers so richly all over the Reserve  that at a distance the plains look patched with snow.    

As I knew nothing of their laws the figure that I cut at these great courts of justice would often be that of a Prima  donna who does not remember a word of her part and has to be prompted through it by the rest of the cast. This  task my old men took upon themselves with tact and patience. It would also at times be the figure of an affronted   Prima donna who is shocked by her role and, refusing to go on with it, walks off the stage. When this happened,  my audience took it as a hard blow from the hand of destiny, an act of God outside their understanding; they  looked on it in silence and spat. The ideas of justice of Europe andAfricaare not the same and those of the one world are unbearable to the other.

To the African there is but one way of counterbalancing the catastrophes of existence, it shall be done by replacement; he does not look for the motive of an action. Whether you lie in wait for your enemy and cut his throat in the dark; or you fell a tree, and a thoughtless stranger passes by and is killed: so far as punishment goes,  to the Native mind, it is the same thing. A loss has been brought upon the community and must be made up for,  somewhere, by somebody. The Native will not give time or thought to the weighing up of guilt or desert: either  he fears that this may lead him too far, or he reasons that such things are no concern of his. But he will devote

himself, in endless speculations, to the method by which crime or disaster shall be weighed up in sheep and  goats,–time does not count to him; he leads you solemnly into a sacred maze of sophistry. In those days this went against my ideas of justice. All Africans are the same in these rites. The Somali have a very different mentality from the Kikuyu and a deep contempt for them, but they will sit down in identical manner to weigh up murder, rape, or fraud against their  stock at home in Somaliland,–dearly beloved she camels, and horses, the names and pedigree of which are  written in their hearts.