Page:Once a Week, Series 1, Volume II Dec 1859 to June 1860.pdf/70

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January 14, 1860.]
57
OUR PETS.

animal had broken loose. Savage and defiant as this little creature was to those who held a subordinate position in the household, nothing could be more meek and servile than the monkey always was to my father, as the chief or head; and so in degree, until the tide turned in the middle, where we as children stood in its esteem. And like other servile worshippers of rank and power, the monkey was quite disposed as a talebearer to cater to my father’s influence. Thus, if ever any romping, fun, or even quarrelling took place amongst the servants, the monkey, though chattering all the while with proportionate vehemence, reserved his spite until the appearance of my father, when he would begin to chatter again with renewed emphasis, sometimes after the expiration of an hour, and as he told his tale, he would bob his head towards the culprit, with a grunt so emphatic, that it was impossible to be mistaken as to the offending party.

For this kind of littleness of spirit I never saw my monkey’s equal. Just in proportion as you faced about bravely, and defied him, he crouched, and gave up the contest; but if you flinched, if you ran or shrieked, he was upon you in an instant, grinning and chattering, as if the next movement would be to fasten his teeth in your cheek. He was not, however, half so bad as he seemed to be, and by a very small amount of quiet presence of mind, might be effectually subdued. I confess that in my own case I was not at all times sufficiently master of this calm philosophy, especially on some occasions when I thought it necessary to chastise him with a riding-whip; for he had a clever trick of seizing the small end, and so running up the whip, and being upon your arm in a moment.

alt = Monkey holding a cat affectionately

Of course, it was impossible to inspire our friends, especially if young ladies, with the necessary amount of presence of mind; and many were the exclamations half of terror, and half of fun, which announced that the enemy was abroad, and at his usual tricks, climbing up to the open windows of the bed-rooms, or surprising the visitors under circumstances which did not admit of immediate rescue. I remember very distinctly one bright summer’s morning, when, with a house full of guests, we missed two young ladies at the breakfast-table. Thinking they had overslept themselves, we took no pains to disturb them, until the meal was nearly over, when I went up-stairs and tapped at their door. I was answered by a smothered cry of distress, when I opened the door, and saw the two unhappy creatures struggling under the bed-clothes, with the monkey perched upon their knees, grinning and chattering in the most malignant manner, and even making every now and then a most furious rush at them, when a hand or a nose happened for a moment to be exposed. It was well I had gone to their rescue, for their horror was beyond description, and so long as they screamed and struggled, the monkey was not likely to give them up. They said they had first heard some unusual sound upon the dressing-table, when, looking out of bed, they perceived to their dismay that the monkey had entered by the open window, and was busily examining the curiosities of their toilette. Had they been quiet he would most likely have returned as he came; but so soon as they betrayed their fear, he sprang upon the bed, threatening and defying them to the teeth.

It is but just to this little tyrant to state, that he was capable both of tenderness and affection.