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and die, in the trees; and that they rarely or never resort to the ground, except through accident or misfortune.
I would also entreat young naturalists to consider well, and always bear in mind, the formation of the extremities of the four limbs of a monkey. This animal, properly speaking, is neither a quadruped nor what is styled a quadrumanus, that is, a creature with four hands. The two limbs of its fore-parts may safely be termed hands, to all intents and purposes; whilst the two limbs of its hind-quarters are, in reality, neither hands nor feet, but, Centaur-like, partake of the nature of both-their fore-part being well-defined fingers, and the bind-part a perfectly formed heel. Hence, we are not surprised at the self-possession these agile animals exhibit when left to their own movements in their native woods.
In my arrangement of the monkey family, I place the ape at its head: secondly, the baboon; thirdly, the monkey with an ordinary tail; and, fourthly, the monkey with a prehensile tail.
The ape is entirely without a tail, and he is an inhabitant of the old world only.
The baboon has a short tail, somewhat in appearance like the tails of our own pointer dogs, truncated and deformed by the useless and wanton caprice of civilised man. It, too, is an inhabitant of the old world only.
The monkey with an ordinary tail, long and bushy in some species, and only with a moderate supply of hair in others, is found in both continents, and in several of their adjacent islands.
The monkey with a prehensile tail, when in its wild state, is never found except in America; so that it is entirely confined to the new world. It, of course, was never heard of in the other divisions of the globe until the discovery of that country by the Europeans.
This prehensile tail is a most curious thing. It has been denominated, very appropriately, a fifth hand. It is of manifest advantage to the animal, either when sitting in repose on the branch of a tree, or when on its journey onwards in the gloomy recesses of the wilderness. You may see this monkey catching hold of the branches with its hands, and at the same moment twisting its tail round one of them, as if in want of additiona! support ; and this prehensile tail is sufficiently strong to hold
the animal in its place, even when all its four limbs are detached from the tree; so that it can swing to and fro, and amuse itself, solely through the instrumentality of its prehensile tail; which, by the way, would be of no manner of use to it did accident or misfortune force the animal to take
abode the ground. For several inches from the extremity, by nature and constant use, this tail has assumed somewhat the appearance of the inside of a man's finger, entirely denuded of hair or fur underneath.
By way of recapitulation, then, let the young naturalist, when he turns his thoughts on the monkey family, always bear in mind that a monkey without a tail is a real ape, found only in the eastern parts of the old world; that a monkey with a short tail, like that of a mutilated pointer dog, is a baboon, from the same regions ; but that a monkey with a long tail, of common appearance, may be an inhabitant either of the old world or of the new; and, lastly, that when a monkey presents itself before him with a prehensile tail, he may be as sure as he is of the rising sun, it is from the never-ending forests of the New World.
MONKEY, little merry fellow,
Look now at his odd grimaces !
There! that's better than before,
Ha! he is not half asleep;
You shall have it, pigmy brother!
There, the little ancient man
QURANG OUTANG; LATE OF THE ZOOLOGICAL
GARDENS. The second living ape which has come under my inspection is the great red ourang outang from the island of Borneo. I went up to London expressly to see it in the Zoological Gardens, and most amply was I repaid for the trouble I had taken.
The ourang outang was of wrinkled and of melancholy aspect, entirely devoid of any feature bordering on ferocity. As I gazed through the bars of his clean and spacious apartment, I instantly called to my recollection Sterne's affecting description of his captive, who was confined for life, and was sitting on the ground
upon a little straw, and was lifting up a hopeless eye to the door!”
Having observed his mild demeanour, and his placid countenance, I felt satisfied that if ever the animal had been subject to paroxysms of anger when free in his native woods, those paroxysms had been effectually subdued since it had become a captive under the dominion of civilised man.
Acting under this impression, I asked permission to enter the apartment in which it was confined, and this was immediately accorded by a keeper in attendance. As I approached the ourang outang he met me about half way, and we soon entered into an examination of each other's persons. Nothing struck me more forcibly than the uncommon softness of the inside of his hands. Those of a delicate lady could not have shown a finer texture. He took hold of my wrist and fingered the blue veins ; whilst I myself was lost in admiration at the protuberance of his enormous mouth. He most obligingly let me open it, and thus I had the best opportunity of examining his two fine rows of teeth. We then placed our hands around each other's necks, and kept them there awhile, as though we had really been excited by an impulse of fraternal affection.
Whilst this solemn farce was going on, I could not help remarking that the sunken eye of the ourang outang was fixed on something outside of the apartment. I remarked this to the keeper, who was standing in the crowd ; and he pointed to a young stripling of a coxcomb, saying—"That dandy was teasing the ourang outang a little while ago, and I would not answer for the consequences could the animal have an opportunity of springing at him."
This great ape from Borneo exhibited a kind and gentle demeanour, and he appeared pleased with my familiarity. Having fully satisfied myself how completely the natural propensities of a wild animal from the forest may be mollified, and ultimately subdued, by art and by gentleness on the part of rational man, I took my leave of this interesting prisoner, bowing with affected gravity as I retired from his apartment.
Continued, with Imaginary Conversation. During the time which I passed in the apartment of the large red ourang outang, I really considered him to be quite out of his sphere. As he moved to and fro, he did it with a sort of reeling motion, and his gait was remarkably awkward ; and when he stood on his legs, his figure, in height about five feet, was out of all proportion. You might see at once that nature had never intended him for a biped. To us alone has the Creator granted the sublime privilege of standing upright. In his movements on the floor he had the appearance as though he were swung on his loins ;
but no sooner had he ascended the large artificial tree, which had been so aptly prepared for him, than his countenance underwent a visible change, and all seemed to go rightly with him as by magic. He swung by one arm with amazing ease, and apparently in excellent humor, from branch to branch, imitating the pendulum of a clock. He would spring to another branch, and alight on it upon all fours with astonishing agility and steadfastness; and often he came down a sloping part of the tree head foremost, as though he had been walking on level ground. So long as he remained on the tree, his every turn and movement indicated that he was just where he ought to be; and he clearly showed by his actions, and by his manifest self-possession, that the tree to him was exactly as the ground is to us, or the water to the finny tribes.
Let me enliven my description with an imaginary dialogue.
“Tell me, interesting ape from Borneo, are you quite at your ease when you are seen suspended by your arms from the branch ?” “Perfectly so, my dear sir ; all my limbs have been framed by the Creator for exercise among the branches of the trees. Only examine me minutely, and you will perceive that my very body itself is wholly adapted to a life in the trees, for it is remarkably brawny in the fore parts, and slender in the hinder
This gives me a wonderful power of safe transition through the trees, be they ever so high. I am absolutely and entirely a native of the arboreal regions. Pray do examine my limbs. The fore ones are hands, complete like your own, saving that the thumb is somewhat shorter. Although in appearance slender, they are so tendinous and strong, that when I have once applied them to a branch, I am in the most perfect security. Now, my hinder limbs, as no doubt you will have observed already, are of a construction the most singular, and at the same time the most useful, that can possibly be imagined. They are half hand and half foot conjoined. Thus, their fingers assist those of the fore-hands in climbing, while the heels tend to keep me perfectly steady on the branch wherever I rove."