Every book on Ceylon mentions the amount of game as
immense; and as to elephants -"
Here I was interrupted by the same gentleman. "All gross
exaggerations," said he -"gross exaggerations; in fact,
inventions to give interest to a book. I have an estate in the
interior, and I have never seen a wild elephant. There may be a
few in the jungles of Ceylon, but very few, and you never see
I began to discover the stamp of my companion from his
expression, "You never see them." Of course I concluded that he
had never looked for them; and I began to recover front the first
shock which his exclamation, "There is no sport in Ceylon !" had
I subsequently discovered that my new and non-sporting
acquaintances were coffee-planters of a class then known as the
Galle Face planters, who passed their time in cantering about the
Colombo race-course and idling in the town, while their estates
lay a hundred miles distant, uncared for, and naturally ruining
That same afternoon, to my delight and surprise, I met an old
Gloucestershire friend in an officer of the Fifteenth Regiment,
then stationed in Ceylon. From him I soon learnt that the
character of Ceylon for game had never been exaggerated; and from
that moment my preparations for the jungle commenced.
I rented a good airy house in Colombo as headquarters, and the
verandas were soon strewed with jungle-baskets, boxes, tent,
gun-cases, and all the paraphernalia of a shooting-trip.