Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 25.djvu/537

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523
MY MONKEYS.

his hands, succeeding at last by throwing his whole weight upon the latch. In May my house was painted and whitewashed, and a scaf- folding was built around it to facilitate the work. The top of the highest timber became Molly's favorite place. It was some four feet above the roof; Molly was accustomed to sun himself upon it, and from it he watched attentively all who passed. He would never move from it as long as he could see me. But, as soon as I set foot out of the grove where I used to work, he would set up a plaintive cry, and slide down the timbers to hunt me up, and would not stop his whining till he had found me, an event which he marked by repeated grunts of joy.

He gave me a proof of the susceptibility of the character of his species the very day he came. Perching himself on my wife's shoul- ders, he amused himself with disarranging her hair. Tired of this, my wife tried to push him away, at first pleasantly, then roughly. The last movement cost her a bite on the hand, and in return for this she struck Molly sharply on the cheek, when the monkey ran to his cage in great anger. From that day the inclination he had formed toward my wife was turned to a violent hatred, which he continued to mani- fest till the end of his days. All his affection was turned toward me, and it was really admirable. No dog ever showed so exclusive an attachment to me as this monkey, a fact the more singular because the animal had come from a wild life, and not, like the dog, from trained ancestors. Molly never refused morsels from the hand of other per- sons than myself; but, accepting the gift from them, he would scratch or bite the hand that offered it.

He was greatly frightened at a gun that I shot off one day at some sparrows. He hid at once in the straw of his cage, and never left it till the gun was hung up again. After that I had only to touch the stock, to make him hide again, when nothing could be seen in the straw, except a pair of sharp eyes watching all my motions. Just a touch of my finger or of a cane upon the cock of the gun was enough to deprive him of all quiet. I used to carry on my watch-chain a little pistol, on which a percussion-cap would make a tolerably loud report. The monkey had not yet found this out, and, sitting on my knees, would amuse itself with licking the silver barrel. One day in his pres- ence I put a percussion-cap on the nipple of the pistol. The monkey observed my movements with great attention, but without seeming disturbed by them. But when the cock, being raised, made two clicks, Molly dropped his eyebrows, while he continued sitting quietly. When the explosion took place, his fright was unbounded. Crying loudly, and full of anguish, he fell from my knees, ran across several rooms, leaped out of the window, clung to a water-pipe, slid down to the street and hid himself in a ditch in a neighboring garden. His nervousness lasted a long while, and I had to take off my watch-chain to appease it. From that day he was in such fear of the little pistol that to take