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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/120

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

fill of plunder, so often falls a victim to the pursuing dogs that monkey-trappers frequently rent an orchard for the special purpose of capturing the retreating marauders.

An equally effective method is that of the Abyssinian pet-hunters, who decoy baboons by imitating the squeal of their youngsters. In spite of their mischievous petulance, nearly all the Old World species of our four-handed kinsmen are emotionally sympathetic, and ever ready to rescue their wounded friends at the risk of their own lives. At the cry of a captured baby-baboon, the whole tribe of passionate four-fisters will rush in, regardless of consequences, and a similar tendency of co-operation may have given our hairy forefathers a superior chance of survival and secured their victory in their struggle for existence against their feline rivals. Their list of original sins may have included gluttony, covetousness, and violence of temper, but hardly a penchant for wanton bloodshed. With the exception of the fox-headed lemurs and the ultra-stupid marmosets, nearly all our simian relatives evince symptoms of a character-trait which might be defined as an instinctive aversion to cruelty. Menagerie monkeys indulge their love of gymnastics by frequent scuffles; but the sight of a bona-fide fight awakens a chorus of shrieks expressing a general protest rather than an emotion of fear or even of partisan interest, for in an open arena the stouter members of the obstreperous community are sure to rush in and part the combatants. That result, at least, forms a frequent intermezzo of the circus-fights at the capital of Baroda (British India), where the sport-loving prince pits all sorts of beasts and birds in single combat, and often diversifies the proceedings by introducing an able-bodied ape.

Like Buddha Sakyamuni, my Cutch baboon extends his compassion to all suffering fellow-creatures. Orphaned kittens or whining puppies straying within reach of his arm risk their lives in his sympathetic embraces. He will hug even crippled rabbits and half-drowned rats, and in his anxiety to relieve their ailments will often resort to the expedient of instituting an entomological inquest, searching their hides for vermin as a possible cause of their distress. One of his temporary playmates, a pot-bellied young Chacma baboon, aggravated his unpopularity by an incurable penchant for peculation; but the occasional penalties of his misdeeds were more than outweighed by the demonstrative sympathy of his kinsman, who would snatch up the squealing little monster and coddle him for hours, every now and then voicing his protest against human methods of discipline in a shrill scream, which his young protégé never failed to accompany with an approbative grunt.

In Hindostan, where three varieties of sacred monkeys enjoy