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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 48.djvu/709

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THE STORY OF A MONKEY.

THE STORY OF A MONKEY.
By M. J. DYBOWSKI.

WE were on the third hour of our march, one morning; it was nearly nine o'clock, and the sun was already getting burning hot, when, turning one of the green capes which the forest sends out in the sea that washes its base, we perceived the gay tricolor flapping near a hut. It was the port of Nyanga (in the Congo country). We had completed a hard day's work on the previous evening. The great forest, composed of spiny palms and interlacing lianas, drove us continually to the edge of the raging sea; a leaden sun darted its burning rays upon us, and the reflection from the fine sand threw a blinding light into our faces, which we could only endure by half closing our eyes. We were broken up as much by this toilsome march as by the all-enveloping heat, which in spite of all the precautions we could take, with helmet and dress of light linen, produced at last that kind of insolation which is shown by the fever that reigns normally in this country, and which a trifle will arouse. A thing that rendered this march still more difficult was that the sea washing into the lagoons that stretched along the shore made their water brackish, so that we could only get a little fresh water in the evening by stretching out our India-rubber coats to catch the drops from a shower that came up.

The sight of the French flag refreshed our strength, and we walked more rapidly to reach it the sooner, and take a little rest that we greatly needed. The port of Nyanga was held by a brigadier of customs, M. Lambert, who gave us the privilege of his house with a sincere cordiality. It was decided that we should remain there two or three days and make some excursions in the neighborhood.

Not far from the house was a little straw hut used as a kitchen, to which our host went to give his orders. I followed him, and saw in it, in one corner, tied to one of the posts, a pretty monkey, which as we came nearer to it uttered low cries and stretched its hands toward us. I was struck with the beauty of the creature and asked why it was there. I was told that it had been three years at the post, and that it usually lived at large; but that it was sometimes necessary to tie it, on account of the mischief it would not fail to commit when it was allowed to run where it would.

As I took so much interest in it, it was tied to the veranda. We soon became the best of friends. It was very pleasant and familiar. It allowed itself to be caressed, and responded to the advances that were made to it with cries of satisfaction. It played