Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/612

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for Dr. Brehm's observation applies strictly and literally to every species of quadrumana; the mother-monkey robs her own child, and forces it to eat its food by stealth. The proprietor of the "Zoölogical Coffee-Garden," in Savannah, Georgia, has been very successful in rearing young monkeys, and the visitors of his happy-family department can witness the same scene thrice a day—a number of half-grown capuchin babies fleeing from the wrath of their own parents. As soon as the dinner-bucket is brought in, the youngsters hide in the corner and watch their opportunity, for while their seniors are feeding there is no hope of a crumb or a drop of milk; but sooner or later the old ones are sure to fall out, and during a general scrimmage for a tidbit the children sometimes get a chance at the bucket, and take care to make the best of it. But woe unto them if their progenitors catch them in flagranti! Sires, mothers, and aunts combine to avenge the sacrilege, and the noise of the punishment often sets the whole menagerie agog. I have seen a she-macaque jamming her bantling up against the wall and extracting from its cheek-pouches the gifts of a charitable visitor, together with all the crumbs and scraps the little one had gleaned from the floor, and then adding outrage to injury by cuffing the victim's ears.

The English word stalwart is derived from stael-worth— i. e., worth stealing; and the same criterion seems to be a monkey's standard for the value of earthly things in general. Any novel, movable, and portable object at once excites his interest. If the digestible qualities of the novelty seem doubtful, he appears to act on the principle that in the mean while it can do no harm to appropriate it. North of the Rio Grande most capuchin-monkeys are martyrs to rheumatism, and three poor cripples of the Cebidæ species had been assigned winter quarters in the kitchen of a New Orleans boarding-house. They could be trusted, as their complex ailments disqualified them from running and climbing, their only mode of progression being a sidelong wriggling on their haunches and elbows. But one day the landlady heard a frightful caterwauling, and, entering the kitchen in haste, was surprised to see one of her patients on top of the chimney-ladder, while another was rolling about in a fit of fantastic contortions. The cook had left on the floor a bucketful of Pontchartrain crabs, and during her momentary absence the monkeys had fallen victims to the cause of free inquiry. Somehow or other the cook's manœuvres had drawn their attention to the bucket, and, having managed to upset it, their ring-tails had got entangled with the not less prehensile crustaceans.


The tardo (black sloth) has a peculiar talent for making himself invisible. Even a medium-sized tree, without an excessive supplement of tangle-vines, has to be inspected thoroughly and from different points of view before a slight movement in the upper branches attracts your attention to a fluffy-looking clump, not easy to distinguish from