Page images

in a wild part of the country by some zealous missionary, who prided himself upon the number of his converts. He left his chapel during a few weeks' absence in some other district, during which time his converts paid their devotion at the Christian altar. They had made a few little additions to the ornaments of the altar, which must have astonished the priest on his return.

There was an image of our Saviour, and the Virgin; this was all according to custom. But there were also "three images of Bhudda," a coloured plaster-of-paris image of the Queen and Prince Albert upon the altar, and a very questionable penny print in vivid colours hanging over the altar, entitled the "Stolen Kiss." So much for the conversion of the heathen in Ceylon. The attempt should only be made in the schools, where the children may be brought up as Christians; but the idea of converting the grown-up heathen is a fallacy.



[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

A BROKEN nipple in my long two-ounce rifle took me to Trincomalee, about seventy miles out of my proposed route. Here I had it punched out, and replaced with a new one, which I fortunately had with me. No one who has not experienced the loss, can imagine the disgust occasioned by an accident to a favourite rifle in a wild country. A spare nipple and mainspring for each barrel and lock should always be taken on a shooting trip.

In passing by Kandelly, on my return from Trincomalee, I paid a second visit to the lake. This is very similar to that of Minneria; but the shooting at that time was destroyed from the same cause which has since ruined Minneria, "too

many guns." The buffalos were not worthy of the name; I could not make one show fight, nor could I even get within three hundred yards of them. I returned from the plain with disgust; but just as I was quitting the shores of the lake, I noticed three buffalos in the shallows about kneedeep in the water, nearly half a mile from me. They did not look bigger than dogs, the distance was so great.

There is nothing like a sheet of water for trying a rifle; the splash of the ball shows with such distinctness the accuracy, or the defect, in the shooting. It was necessary that I should fire my guns off in order to clean them that evening; I therefore tried their power at this immense dis


The long two-ounce fell short, but in a good line. I took a rest upon a man's shoulder with the four-ounce rifle, and, putting up the last sight, I aimed at the leading buffalo, who was walking through the water parallel with us. I aimed at the outline of the throat, to allow for his pace at this great distance. The recoil of the rifle cut the man's ear open, as there were sixteen drachms of powder in this charge.

We watched the smooth surface of the water as



the invisible messenger whistled over the lake. Certainly three seconds elapsed before we saw the slightest effect. At the expiration of that time the buffalo fell suddenly in a sitting position, and there he remained fixed: many seconds after, a dull sound returned to our ears; it was the "futt " of the ball, which had positively struck him at this immense range. What the distance was I cannot say; it may have been 600 yards, or 800, or more. It was shallow water the whole way; we, therefore, mounted our horses and rode up to him. Upon reaching him, I gave him a settling ball in the head, and we examined him. The heavy ball had passed completely through his hips, crushing both joints, and, of course, rendering him powerless at once.

The shore appeared full half a mile from us on our return, and I could hardly credit my own eyes, the distance was so immense, and yet the ball had passed clean through the animal's body.

It was of course a chance shot, and, even with this acknowledgment, it must appear rather like the "marvellous" to a stranger;-that is my misfortune, not my fault. I certainly never made such a shot before, or since; it was a sheer lucky hit, say at 600 yards; and the wonderful power of

the rifle was thus displayed in the ball perforating the large body of the buffalo at this range. This shot was made with a round ball, not a cone. The round belted ball for this heavy two-grooved rifle weighs three ounces. The conical ball weighs a little more than four ounces.

While describing the long shots performed by this particular rifle, I cannot help recounting a curious chance with a large rogue elephant in Topari tank. This tank or lake is, like most others in Ceylon, the result of immense labour in past ages. Valleys were closed in by immense dams of solid masonry, which, checking the course of the rivers, formed lakes of many miles in extent. These were used as reservoirs for the water required for the irrigation of rice lands. The population who effected these extensive works have long since passed away; their fate is involved in mystery. The records of their ancient cities still exist, but we have no account of their destruction. The ruins of one of these cities, Pollanarua, are within half a mile of the village of Topari, and the waters of the adjacent lake are still confined dam of two miles in length, composed of solid masonry. When the lake is full it is about eight miles in circumference.


« PreviousContinue »