Two days we had in Nairobi before going to the coast. There we paid off and dismissed our men, giving them presents according to the length and faithfulness of their service. They took them and departed, eagerly, as was natural, to the families and the pleasures from which they had been so long separated. Mohammed said good-bye, and went, and was sorry; Kongoni departed, after many and sincere protestations; quiet little Mavrouki came back three times to shake hands again, and disappeared reluctantly—but disappeared; Leyeye went; Abba Ali followed the service of his master, C.; “Timothy” received his present—in which he was disappointed—and departed with salaams. Only Memba Sasa remained. I paid him for his long service, and I gave him many and rich presents, and bade farewell to him with genuine regret and affection.
Memba Sasa had wives and a farm near town, neither of which possessions he had seen for a very long while. Nevertheless he made no move to see them. When our final interview had terminated with the usual “Bags” (It is finished), he shook hands once more and withdrew, but only to take his position across the street. There he squatted on his heels, fixed his eyes upon me, and remained. I went down town on business. Happening to glance through the office window I caught sight of Memba Sasa again across the street, squatted on his heels, his gaze fixed unwaveringly on my face. So it was for two days. When I tried to approach him, he glided away, so that I got no further speech with him; but always, quietly and unobtrusively, he returned to where he could see me plainly. He considered that our interview had terminated our official relations, but he wanted to see the last of the bwana with whom he had journeyed so far.
One makes many acquaintances as one knocks about the world; and once in a great many moons one finds a friend—a man the mere fact of whose existence one is glad to realize, whether one ever sees him again or not. These are not many, and they are of various degree. Among them I am glad to number this fierce savage. He was efficient, self-respecting, brave, staunch, and loyal with a great loyalty. I do not think I can better end this book than by this feeble tribute to a man whose opportunities were not many, but whose soul was great.
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