At Liége they live in my office. They usually keep in their cage, where there are also rags. When the sun is shining, they come out and scramble among the books or over me. The Spaniard looks at me when I am writing. They run over my person, hide in my clothes; and one day last year I had so completely forgotten them that I went out to deliver my lecture with my two animals on my back. I perceived them after I had been some time on the lecture stand, and was in mortal terror during the rest of the lesson, lest they might take a notion to perform their untimely and undignified gambols.
As my children, too, are fond of playing with them, they are always under observation. My articles have given them a European reputation. M. Tarde, the eminent sociologist and criminalogist, passed eight days with them. M. Forel, the celebrated student of ants, found them after a few days as interesting as his ants. They were intimate with a learned English psychologist, M. Waller, and his wife, and had the honor of being presented to eminent physiologists like M. Morat and great poets like M. Jean Aicond. They have even been invited into society and caressed by beautiful and noble ladies, whom they conquered by the grace of their motions and the beauty of their dress. Thus they have acquired gentle manners and are in safe and agreeable relations. Man inspires no fear in them, and they play indiscriminately with all visitors who encourage their familiarities.
When they play in the light and make turns in their gymnasium, going out, re-entering, putting their noses against the window, turning their pretty heads, or flattening their backs in the sun so as to receive more of its rays, they really present a charming spectacle; and I think, not without a shade of sadness, how nearly some countries would resemble a terrestrial paradise if man, instead of making himself the terror of everything living, would become its protector and friend.
All my lizards but one come at my call, whistle, snapping of the thumb, or psitt, to take flour worms or dates. They know where their larder is. When we go to the worm keg, they divine what it means, and are all on the alert, manifesting their expectation with unequivocal signs. The Spaniard, at first the most savage and stupid, became the most familiar and apparently on the best understanding. Not only was he not afraid of being taken, but he seemed to find pleasure in it, and suffered himself to be caressed for hours without giving a sign of weariness. He liked to be scratched under the jaw, however roughly.
The story of the way this transformation from wild to gentle was brought about is long but suggestive. MM. Sabbatier and Robert, of Montpellier, and M. Tarde had promised to send me ocellated lizards, but had not been able to fulfill their promise.