CHAPTERS 15 and 16
Kumalo returns to Mrs. Lithebe’s lodgings drained and dispirited.
The two women sense Kumalo’s depression and leave him to
contemplate the recent events in silence.
The young man who brought the news comes to Mrs. Lithebe’s house
to speak with Kumalo.
He wishes to discuss the arrangements concerning a lawyer for Absalom. Although Absalom has admitted the crime, it is important that he has a lawyer because the young man does not trust John Kumalo, and it is important that the court believes Absalom’s story. The young man takes Kumalo back to the Mission House so that the pair can talk with Father Vincent. Father Vincent comforts the old man and he shows that he is an unselfish man. He undertakes to obtain a lawyer for Absalom and to arrange his marriage to the young pregnant girl.
Kumalo feels that he is not carrying this burden alone and he is
very grateful to Father Vincent for assisting him.
The next day, Kumalo resolves to seek out Absalom’s
girlfriend. He learns that the girl has lived her entire life in Johannesburg and she tells Kumalo that she has had three boyfriends, all of whom have ended up in prison.
As a result, the only way she can get kindness and attention is to offer herself sexually. Whether it is through stress or depression, Kumalo performs a cruel act towards the girl. He asks her if she would be willing to go to bed with him and she indicates, yes. Kumalo immediately feels regret for this action and suddenly feels overwhelming compassion for the girl. He asks her if she is willing to marry his son and he tells her that she cannot carry on living here, and that he will find a place for her to stay close by the Mission. He tells her to make preparations for the move.