by Samuel White Baker
Thus ended a trip, which exhibited the habits and character of elephants in a most perfect manner. From the simple experience of these three weeks' shooting a novice might claim some knowledge of the elephant; and the journal of this tour must at once explain, even to the most uninitiated, the exact proportion of risk with which this sport is attended, when followed up in a sportsmanlike manner. These days will always be looked back to by me with the greatest pleasure. The moments of sport lose none of their brightness by age, and when the limbs become enfeebled by time, the mind can still cling to scenes long past, with the pleasure of youth.
One great addition to the enjoyment of wild sport is the companionship of thorough sportsmen. A confidence in each other is absolutely necessary; without this, I would not remain a day in the jungle. An even temper, not easily disturbed by the little annoyances inseparable from a trip in a wild country, is also indispensable; without this, a man would be insufferable. Our party was an emblem of contentment. The day's sport concluded, the evenings were most enjoyable, and will never be forgotten. The well arranged tent, the neatly-spread table, the beds forming a triangle around the walls, and the clean guns piled in a long row against the gun-rack, will often recall a tableau in after years, in countries far from this land of independence. The acknowledged sports of England will appear child's play; the exciting thrill will be wanting, when a sudden rush in the jungle brings the rifle on full cock; and the heavy guns will become useless mementoes of past days, like the dusty helmets of yore, hanging up in an old hall. The belt and the hunting-knife will alike share the fate of the good rifle, and the blade, now so keen, will blunt from sheer neglect. The slips, which have held the necks of dogs of such staunch natures, will hang neglected from the wall; and all these souvenirs of wild sports, contrasted with the puny implements of the English chase, will awaken once more the longing desire, for the 'Rifle and Hound in Ceylon'.