페이지 이미지

body, excepting the face and hands. The hair stands forward from the forehead over the eyes. The first and second toes of his feet are united, from which he takes his specific name. Mr. Bennett, during a visit to the island of Singapore, had a specimen of this ape presented to him by Mr. Boustead; and in the Magazine of Natural History is an interesting letter relating some of the habits of the animal, which unfortunately died on its passage to England. "His food was various, but he preferred vegetable diet; would drink tea and coffee, but neither wine nor spirits. Of animal food, he preferred fowl to any other; but a lizard having being caught on board, he took it immediately in his paw and devoured it. The animal was capable of strong attachment, for, after he had been sold to Mr. Boustead, he would take every opportunity, whenever he was loose, of running to the water-side, where he could meet with the Malay lad, his former master. He also became much attached to his amiable master, Mr. Bennett, and recognised him by a peculiar squeaking, chirping note, advancing his face at the same


time, as if for the purpose of salutation. He was grave and serious in his behaviour, and generally deficient in those mischievous tricks so peculiar to the monkey tribe. In only one instance did Mr. Bennett experience any mischief from him, and that was in meddling with the inkstand; lie seems to have quite enjoyed drinking the ink, and sucking the pens, whenever he had opportunity. He soon knew the name of Ungka given to him, and became a universal favourite. He took a great liking to a little Papuan child on board, and they might be frequently seen sitting near the capstern, the ape with its long arm around her neck, lovingly eating biscuit together. Not unfrequently he would suffer a string to be tied round his leg, and the child would amuse herself by dragging the patient animal about the deck, until tired with the play in which he had no share; on finding his efforts for release fruitless, he would quietly walk up to the child, and gently bite her arm, thus terminating the sport, and regaining his liberty. The other monkeys on board would not associate with 'this little man in black,' and to revenge himself for their want of sociability, he would sometimes seize one of them by the tail and drag him up the rigging; having no tail himself, he knew he was safe from any eifort at retaliation. The monkeys at last made so formidable and united a defence at his approach, that he was obliged to relinquish his habit of tailpulling. He then took a liking to a little pig on board, and taking his tail in his hands, endeavoured, by frequent pulling, to reduce it from a curled to a straight form; and piggy never expressed any displeasure at the fruitless effort. At sunset, when desirous of retiring to rest, he would approach his friends, utter his peculiar chirping note, beseeching to be taken into their arms; and if his request was complied with, he was very difficult to remove, until fast asleep. He was very fond of sweetmeats, and endeavoured to steal them from the store-room. Like the human species, he was always better pleased when he had his own way. When refused any thing, he would display all the temper of a spoiled child,—lie on deck, roll about, throw his arms and legs in various ways, utter a hollow, barking noise, and when chastised, the loud, guttural sounds of ra, ra, ra. It was ludicrous to see his terrified looks if any one held his hand near a hot cup of tea, as if to ascertain its temperature. When strangers came on board, he approached them at a distance, with a due regard to his safety. The only lady he ever saw, perhaps, from her dress, he refused to take any notice of, and would not allow her to caress him. She appeared at first afraid of the animal, and it may have induced the cunning fellow to keep up the feeling. A lady in Ceylon was once bitten by a cockatoo, and ever afterwards evinced the greatest terror at the approach of one kept in the house. This bird seemed quite aware of it, for when he saw the lady approach, he would flap his wings, elevate his crest, shriek out, and, at the same time, pretend to pursue her, at which she ran away quite terrified, to the apparent delight of the crested foe."

The flesh of the monkey is considered good food by the natives of the countries where they abound, and in some places in India they are fattened for sale. Waterton says, that "his flesh is good food, but when skinned his appearance is so much like one of our own species, that a delicate stomach might possibly revolt at the idea of putting a knife and fork into it. However, I can affirm," he continues," from experience, that after a long and dreary march through these remote forests, the flesh of the monkey is not to be sneezed at, when boiled with Cayenne pepper, or roasted on a stick over a good fire. A young one tastes not unlike kid, and the old ones have the flavour of a he-goat." The monkey and the sloth appear to be exceptions as food for the use of man; for the flesh of fingered quadrupeds is generally noxious and uneatable. The species of monkey is of so numerous a kind that it would be impossible to do more at present than allude to each one, and thus we should be unable to do them the justice that they fairly deserve; for there is not one of the busy, curious, meddling race who has not something interesting or amusing in his habits either in a wild or domesticated state. Whether in their native woods, roving in unrestrained

« 이전계속 »