Elspeth Huxley
The Flame Trees of Thika
Memories of an African Childhood
Plimco Edition, 1998

We set off in a open cart drawn by four whip-scarred little oxen and pilled high with equipment and provisions. No medieval knight could have been more closely armoured than were Tilly and I, against the rays of the sun. A mushroom-brimmed hat, built of two thickness of heavy felt and lined with red flannel, protected her creamy complexion, a long-sleeved white blouse clasped her by the neck, and a heavy skirt of khaki drill fell to her booted ankles.


I made a face at Tilly. She saw the pawpaw, and frowned; we were trapped, the train had no corridor. She did no hesitate; smiling with all her charm, she asked the red-faced gentleman to help her stow our soda-water bottles on the rack, and in five minutes he was out of her hand. I looked through the open window at the undulating purple ridge-back of the Ngong hill, a haunt of lions and buffaloes, and was glad that I had kissed the four walls of the grass hut at Thika, and was bound to return.


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