Study Guide

The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber Section 4

By Ernest Hemingway

Section 4

  • Still elated from his success, though, Macomber is eager to follow the buffalo into the tall grass – a dangerous prospect. For all of his joy, Margot declares that the way they chased the buffalo was hateful. The whole scene was "hateful," in fact.
  • Her criticism doesn't dampen his joy, though. Now he even wants to go after another lion. He says he feels different. Quite the rush, eh?
  • Wilson observes that Macomber has finally become a man, and figures that Margot won't cheat on him anymore either. Just that one kill has changed Macomber. It's a transformation Wilson is familiar with, after being in the war (we assume he's talking about World War I). He realizes that he kind of likes Macomber now.
  • Margot chastises them both for chasing helpless animals in the car, but Macomber is too proud of himself to let her get to him.
  • It's time to return to the bush and finish off the buffalo. Wilson gives Macomber some instructions about where and how to shoot.
  • They follow the spoor into the bush, and Macomber turns back to wave to his wife, who does not return the gesture.
  • A gun-bearer says something in Swahili and Wilson tells Macomber that buffalo is dead. As Wilson and Macomber congratulate each other, the buffalo comes bursting out of the brush. They begin to shoot at the animal, rapid-fire.
  • Margot takes a shot from the car. She hits the buffalo – and then hits her husband in the base of the skull. Macomber dies immediately.
  • Margot approaches the body, crying hysterically. Wilson tells her not to look – it's too grisly. Nearby, the buffalo lies dead too, covered with ticks.
  • Wilson tells a crying Margot how it will all play out. There will be an investigation, and she'll have to testify, but it should all be fine.
  • Then, after telling her he knows it was an accident, he reverses course and asks why she didn't just poison him – that's what they do in England.
  • She tells him to stop, which he doesn't do until she says please.