Kenya: A Tarnished Jewel

From the beginning, Kenya was the jewel in Britain's African crown, an idyllic, wife-swapping, polo-playing, lion-shooting place in the sun for the restless, titled, but often impecunious younger sons of empire.

Issue: Winter 1995-1996

From the beginning, Kenya was the jewel in Britain's African crown, an idyllic, wife-swapping, polo-playing, lion-shooting place in the sun for the restless, titled, but often impecunious younger sons of empire. The viscounts and the baronets were followed by men whose blood was not so blue but whose hearts were stout, chance-takers to whom neckties and offices were anathema, who wanted nothing so much as to turn a corner of "bloody Africa" into a little slice of Devon or Sussex. Some brought their women with them, intending to stay. And of course there were among them miscreants whose previous lives could not bear close scrutiny, adventurers looking for a fresh start in a country where there were no police records. Nineteenth-century Africa held small appeal for plump and comfortable men.

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