Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/405

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391
TWO RARE MONKEYS.

their daily supper. In outer general appearance, which is chiefly dependent on the character of the hair coating, the slender and short-thumbed monkeys exhibit some important peculiarities which distinguish both groups, while the Indian slender monkeys generally have a short fur and their hair makes a conspicuous growth only in spots in the shape of head-tufts, manes, whiskers, and gorgets. The African short-tailed monkeys are distinguished by a long, luxuriant hair covering over the whole body, the effect of which is enhanced by handsome and conspicuous markings. The more delicate differences of hairiness, coloring, and marking serve, in both groups, to fix the distinctions of a considerable list of species. We shall confine ourselves chiefly to the species represented in the pictures.

First, we have the two comrades so pleasantly sitting together on the limb in Fig. 1. They are White-bearded Slender monkeys (Semnopithecus leucoprymnus, Desm.) of Ceylon, the single species which has been brought to Europe with considerable frequency, and which is therefore easily found in the zoological gardens. This harmless, quiet, gentle animal is easily distinguished by its external appearance, which is felicitously in harmony with its name. It has a white cheek-beard, with the tips of the hairs turned forward. The lower part of the back and the tail are grayish white. The rest of the body is brownish black, while the hair on the head is longer and more distinct. Sailors can always buy these monkeys cheaply in the port of Colombo, and they are probably common on the island.

In Fig. 2 are moving some representatives of a famous species of monkey, the Hulman or sacred monkey of India (Semnopithecus entellus, Cuv.). This monkey is accredited with having performed great acts of heroism in primitive times. It is in the Indian mythology a kind of Perseus and Prometheus in one, inasmuch as it delivered a goddess from captivity to a giant, and used its opportunity to give to India, not tire, but the mango. It extinguished the funeral fire on which it was to have expiated its rash adventure, and therefore appears now with singed face and black hands. The rest of its body is colored a whitish gray; on its forehead, cheeks, and chin it wears long, stiff, bristling hairs, out of which, as from a frame, peers the round black face with a lively and peculiarly droll expression. The pious Hindu, who will kill hardly any animal, of course does as little harm as possible to his ardently revered monkey-saint, but gives it freely of the fruits of his gardens and fields. He even in a literal sense lets it take the already prepared meal from his own mouth. Through the credulous simplicity of men, which has permitted them in quiet acquiescence from time immemorial to do their pleasure, the hulmans have become so bold and impudent that