Things began over half a century ago. When I look out of the window, here in Berkshire, I can see a long rampart of green turf, higher than a man and with sloping banks. You see it, where the children are playing with a ball ? It is said to have been a Roman earthwork, and if it was then it is more than fifteen hundred years old, so what are my seventy-six ?
hat's it, said Jordan, not all of it, but some of it
that I can still remember. I am seventy-six and these
The earth is all that endures, and an ordinary man survives only by what mark he leaves on it. I left no mark on Africa, none that you could find, for the tractor and the automobile have passed over the ground where my fires burnt and my bomas were built. The forests have taken back my plantations. But my Africa was a frontier and what I did there, what was done by Selous and John Boyes, by Will Judd and Banks and Pearson, men like these, had to be done before the settlers could come, and the road-makers and the railway-builders. I believe that an untamed land must test the strength of man before it is willing to surrender. Not that I saw myself as a trail-maker. I chose to live the way I did because I liked it, because it called for strength and gave me strength, and this is what a man enjoys in living. Perhaps it was right that when I turned, and tried to become a settler myself, saw myself as a landowner, perhaps it was right that my body should refuse the change and make it impossible for me to stay in Africa without dying.
If I regret the passing of my Africa it is a peculiar and personal regret, and one that does not make me bitter. It is the way you are sorry that you can no longer do the things you did in your youth. Africa is still a.rich land, and the richness is no longer remote, something only a lone elephant hunter can find and enjoy. Its richness is
in the promise of its earth, as it always was. That much I knew even as I hunted across it. There were times when I could see the farms and the herds and the roads, and mines, and towns that were to come, and my happiness lay in seeing the land before these things came. I am as vain as any man, and my vanity was perhaps something like Lund's. I enjoyed being first on the ground. I enjoyed the knowledge that it took courage and skill to be first on the ground.
It is many years since I heard the song of the little brown honey-bird. Once I could imitate it, but now I have lost the trick of that. I have not forgotten his invitation. He is still there, singing for any who wish to hear him.