CHAPTERS 27 TO 29
There is friction between Mrs. Lithebe and Gertrude as the
latter is starting to miss her former life and the freedom it gave her.
The case against Absalom is nearing completion, but against the
proceedings is the fact that another similar crime has been committed, where a European householder has been shot dead by a native housebreaker, and this may have a direct effect on the sentence to be
imposed on Absalom. The community of the Mission House is now apprehensive about the sentence that Absalom will receive, although they recognize that the Judge is well-respected.
He may be under pressure from the authorities to impose the maximum sentence.
Chapter 28 provides details of the Judge’s final statement when
the case is reviewed in detail. The outcome was never in dispute, and Absalom is found guilty of the crime of murder.
The Judge says, “On what grounds, can this Court make any recommendation to mercy? I have given this long and serious thought, and I cannot find any extenuating circumstances.” The Judge asks Absalom if he has anything to say before sentence is passed on him. Absalom says, “I killed this man, but I did not mean to kill him, only I was afraid.” The Judge passes out the death sentence on Absalom. Some of the members of the public start wailing at this news.
Before the sentence is carried out, arrangements are made for
Absalom’s marriage. Father Vincent conducts the ceremony in the prison, which is attended by Kumalo, Gertrude and Msimangu.
Amidst the grief of the impending execution of Absalom, Kumalo
is pleased that he has married the girl, and he tells him that he will care for the child as if it were his own.
He tells his son that he will be returning home to Ndotsheni in
order to provide support to his mother.
Absalom says that if his child is a boy he should be named Peter.
As they leave the prison, Absalom’s wife says to Kumalo, “Am I
now your daughter?” Kumalo confirms that she is.
Kumalo then goes to his brother’s carpenter’s shop to say
farewell, and John admires his brother for taking Gertrude and her child, and Absalom’s wife back with him to Ndotsheni.
Kumalo is still bitter towards his brother because John’s son betrayed Absalom. He tries to warn John that his quest for power will only further corrupt him, and Kumalo gets some self-satisfaction from the fact that he is able to disconcert his brother and make him feel less secure.
Before Kumalo departs for the countryside, a social gathering is
organized at Mrs. Lithebe’s house. It is revealed that Msimangu intends to enter a Monastery, which is something of a surprise.
Kumalo reminds them that they will all have to rise early in the morning in order to catch the train.
Next day, Gertrude has gone; leaving her little boy and the new
clothes that Kumalo had bought for her.