Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/358

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clean as the model nurseries of the Faubourg St.-Martin. Realizing the disadvantage of a man-ape being alone, the directors of the Zoo had even contrived to get him a helpmeet of his own tribe and age. A wire screen prevented the introduction of improper comestibles—a paradise exempted from the temptation of forbidden fruit.

But the benefit of all these arrangements was neutralized by the same mistake that has doomed millions of city children to a consumptive's grave—an excess of precaution in the exclusion of cool air currents. The entire cage had been inclosed with double sheets of plate glass.

Warm air was introduced by means of register pipes, and a small aperture at the top of the cage established communication with the atmosphere of a hall, which in its turn was roofed and artificially warmed, thus enabling the warden to keep the temperature of the ape prison in a state of uniformity far exceeding that of the equatorial regions. In the forests of the lower Congo the thermal extremes range from 105º F. at 2 p. m. to 55º after a midnight rainstorm, a difference of fifty degrees, but an apparent contrast (allowing for the sudden transition from brooding heat to the blasts of a drenching gale) of something more like eighty degrees.

From October to June, Mr. Rooney's glass house was rarely permitted to get colder than 60º, the average being about 75º and the maximum 80º. In midsummer it got, of course, much warmer, but the supposed delicate constitution of the guest from the tropics was made an argument against every proposition to let him share the romps of his fellow fourhanders in the open-air extension of their cages.

At the time of his arrival at the Zoo, Mr. Rooney attested the soundness of his lungs by gymnastic exploits rarely rivaled outside of a Japanese circus, and seemed indeed almost insensible to fatigue. With one hand, or the finger tips of both hands, clutching the horizontal bar, he would whirl around in a circle till the spectators got dizzy in watching his evolutions. He would turn somersaults all around the walls of his gymnasium, rising higher and higher with every turn, till a climax swing landed him on top of his trapeze, where he would squat with his arms akimbo and with tightly compressed lips, suggesting abundant reserve stores of air in his capacious chest.

But at the end of the third year it was noticed that the self-taught acrobat was getting less active, and about the middle of last summer it could no longer be doubted that his health had been affected in some way or other. His appetite became capricious; there were days when he contented himself with nibbling small samples of his dinner, though an hour later he was apt to