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benighted traveller as if they were not of this world ; and even to the naturalist they are terrible. “Nothing,” says Waterton, speaking of the Mono Colorado, or Red Howler, “nothing can sound more dreadful than its nocturnal howlings. While lying in your hammock in these gloomy and immeasurable wilds, you hear him howling at intervals from eleven o'clock at night till day-break. You would suppose that half the wild beasts of the forest were collecting for the work of carnage. Now it is the tremendous roar of the jaguar as he springs on his prey; now it changes to his deep-toned growlings as he is pressed on all sides by superior force; and now you hear his last-dying moan beneath a mortal wound.”
When Humboldt and Bonpland landed at Cumana they saw the first troops of Araguatos*, as they journeyed to the mountains of Cocallor and the celebrated cavern of Guacharo. The forests that surrounded the convent of Caripe, which is highly elevated and where the centigrade thermometer fell to 70° during the night, abounded with them, and their mournful howling was heard, particularly in open weather or before rain or storms, at the distance of half á league. Upwards of forty of this gregarious species were counted upon one tree on the banks of the Apure; and Humboldt declares his conviction that, in a square league of these wildernesses, more than two thousand may be found. Melancholy is the expression of the creature's eye, listless is its gait, and dismal is its voice. The young ones never play in captivity like the Sagoins; no, “the Araguato de los Cumanenses," as the worthy Lopez de Gomara voucheth, “ hath the face of a man, the beard of a goat, and a staid behaviour," such, in short, as may well beseem the possessor of such a “ powerful organ,” as the newspaper critics have it.
We will endeavour, with Humboldt's assistance, to convey to the reader some idea of the structure of this sonorous instrument. That most observing traveller states that the bony case of the os hyoïdes, or bone of the tongue, in the Mona Colorado is, in size, equal to four cubic inches (water measurement). The larynx, or windpipe, consisting of six pouches, ten lines in length and from three to five in depth, is slightly attached by muscular fibres. These pouches are like those of the little whistling monkeys, squirrels, and some birds. Above these pouches are two others, the lips or borders of which are of a yellowish cast; these are the pyramidal sacs which are formed by membranous partitions and enter into the bony case. Into these sacs, which are from three to four inches in length and terminate in a point, the air is driven ; the fifth pouch is in the aperture of the arytenoïd cartilage and is situated between the pyramidal sacs, of the same form but shorter ; and the sixth pouch is formed by the bony drum itself: within this drum the voice acquires the doleful tone above alluded to. But we are becoming anatomical and soporifical; no more, then, of this “evening drum,” and turn we to that grotesque race, the Sapajous.
They are slender, mild in disposition, flat in face, long in tail, and spidery in general appearance. The genus Ateles of M. Geoffroy St. Hilaire stands first upon the roll. With anterior hands, either entirely
Mycetes Ursinus. It is nearly three feet in length, without including the tail.
deprived of thumbs, or only gifted with mere rudiments, and weak, long limbs, justifying their popular names of “Spider Monkeys,” they are compensated by a prehensile tail of such exquisite sensibility and power, that it may be almost considered a fifth hand. For a length of six or seven inches from the tip, this is naked ; and, on the under surface, it is comparatively callous for the purpose of prehension. Humboldt asserts that the animal can introduce it, without turning its head, into narrow chinks or clefts, and hook out any substance: but he never saw it employed to convey food to the mouth, though the natives will have it that the monkey goes a fishing with it. Leap the species of this genus cannot, or, at most, but very imperfectly; this tail of all work, however, amply makes amends, for by it they hang suspended from the branches or swing themselves from bough to bough, and from tree to tree, with the utmost agility. Dampier relates, and his statements are generally considered as worthy of credit, that, when troops of them have occasion to cross rivers, they look out for a point where the trees are most lofty, and project farthest over the water. Having arrived at such a place, they climb to the boughs best suited to their purpose, and form a long chain by grasping the tails of each other. This chain hangs free at the lower end, while it is held on at the top, and the living pendulum is swung backwards and forwards, till it requires sufficient vibration to carry the lower end to the opposite bank. Then the lowest “ joint" catches hold of the first branch within his reach, and mounts as high as he can. As soon as he has made himself fast, the “ upper joint lets
and the whole" tail ” swings, and is carried safely over. Humboldt and Bonpland saw some of them which inhabit the banks of the Orinoco suspended in great numbers from the trees, and hanging on to each other by tail and hands in the most ridiculous groups.
The Quata, or, as the French write the word, Coaita *, is said to unite activity with intelligence, gentleness, prudence, and penetration. To be sure the Quatas will, when they meet with a learned traveller, or any other strange animal, descend to the lower branches of their trees, to examine the phenomenon, and, when they have satisfied their curiosity, pelt the phenomenon aforesaid, to get rid of him or it: but that they be sensible and trustworthy is proved by Acosta, who has immortalised the Quata belonging to the Governor of Carthagena. This domestic was regularly sent to the tavern for wine. They who sent him put an empty pot into one hand, and the money into the other; whereupon he went spidering along to the tavern, where they could by no means get his money from him till they had filled his pot with wine. As this Ganymede of the Governor came back with his charge, certain idle children would occasionally meet him in the street, and cast stones at him; whereupon he would set down his pot and cast stones at them, “ till he had assured his way, then would he return to carry home his pot. And what is more, although he was a good bibber of wine, yet would he never touch it till leave was given him.” We are sorry to add that this amiable genus is considered very good eating. Humboldt frequently saw the broiled limbs of the Marimonda in the huts of the natives on the Orinoco; and, at Emeralda, he found in an Indian hut a collation of their
* Ateles paniscus.
roasted and dried bodies, prepared as the piéces de résistance for a " harvest home.”
In Lagothrix, the head is rounder than it is in Ateles, the hands are provided with thumbs, such as they are, but the tail is still long and prehensile, and the under surface at the tip is naked. The species of this genus are of some size. The Caparro which inhabits the banks of the Guaviaré, one of the streams that flow into the Orinoco, is two feet two inches in length, without including the tail. The head is very large and round in proportion.
Cebus next claims our attention. In this form we find the tail beginning to lose somewhat of its prehensile powers, and no longer bared at the tip to add to its sensibility as an organ of touch. In lieu of this, the strength is thrown into the limbs, which are well developed, and the anterior hands are remarkably well formed-though, still, less perfectly than those of the Old World monkeys. The thumb is become more thumb-like, and the palms of the extremities both before and behind are endowed with much sensitiveness. These sylvans are excellent climbers, and of a surprising agility.
Of these Cebi, the Horned Sapajou *, with the hair of its forehead standing up so as to give the animal the appearance of having a London waterman's cap on, is one of the largest, while the Ouavapavi des cataractes t, which is very mild and intelligent, is of small size. We remember once to have heard of a sort of compact which was said to have been entered into between a monkey and a pig, the latter of which carried the monkey a certain number of times round an orchard, in consideration of the monkey's climbing the apple-trees, and giving them a shake for the benefit of the porker. Though not very old at the time, we gave the narrator credit for being blessed with a very lively imagination, albeit the story was told gravely and vouched as a fact. But Humboldt actually saw, at Maypures, one of these domesticated Ouavapavis, obtaining his rides apparently without any such understanding; for this clever monkey used to " bide his time, and every morning caught a luckless pig, which he compelled to perform the part of his horse. Seated on pigback did he majestically ride about the whole day, clinging to his bristly steed as firmly as ever the Old Man of the Sea clung to Sinbad, not even giving poor piggy a respite at meal-times, but continually bestriding him all the time he was feeding in the savanna that surrounded the Indian huts. A missionary had another of these riders; but the missionary's monkey had laid the strong hand of possession on a comfortable cat which had been brought up with him, carried him well, and bore all his felestrian exploits with patience and good humour.
The tail which has become less and less prehensile in the genera last noticed, becomes in Callithrix no longer capable of use as a support. The pretty playful little Siamiri I, whose length hardly exceeds ten inches exclusive of the tail, which reaches thirteen or fourteen, winds that appendage like a boa round its body and limbs, reminding the zoologist in some degree of the mode in which the white-fronted Lemur | disposes of his; and we now begin to observe, moreover, traces of insectivorous and carnivorous appetite. The Macavacahow *, at the sight of a bird, is roused at once from its apparent apathy; darting on its victim like a cat, it secures the prize and swallows it in an instant, with all the actions that mark the beast of prey.
* Cebus fatuellus.
+ Cebus albifrons.
In the Dourocoulit, the Cara rayada of the missionaries, we observe traces of the cat in appearance, voice, and manners. This curious animal is nine inches in length; and its tail, which is hairy, but not prehensile, is about fourteen; the head is large and round; the muzzle short; the eyes very large ; but there is no apparent external ear. Three dark stripes are drawn on the head, and come down in frunt, the centre stripe on the forehead and the two lateral ones reaching to the rounded corners of the eyebrows.
The animal is, during the day, “ a huge sleeper," whence its name “ Mono Dormillon.” Humboldt, notwithstanding the warning of the natives, that the Dourocoulis will tear out the eyes of slumbering men, kept one in his bed-room. It slept regularly from nine in the morning till seven at night; and sometimes it went to sleep at daybreak. It hated the light, and, when disturbed, the lethargic animal could scarcely raise its heavy white eyelids; and its large eyes, which, at nightfall, were lighted up like those of the owl, were lustreless. It must have been but a restless companion for the night: then, it was all exertion and activity, made wild noises, and was constantly jumping up against the walls. It lived for five months, but all attempts to tame it were fruitless.
The Dourocoulis are captured during the day by the natives when they are fast asleep in some hollow tree. The male and female are often taken in the same hole, for they live in pairs. In a state of nature they pursue small birds and insects, not neglecting vegetables, almost every kind of which they will eat. Humboldt's specimen was very fond of flies, which it caught dexterously, and would even sometimes rouse itself for this chase on a gloomy day. Its night cry resembled that of the Jaguar, and it is thence called Titi-tigre. The mewing notes which it occasionally sends forth remind the hearer of a cat, and this resemblance is heightened when the head of a Dourocouli in a state of irritation swells, and the animal hisses or spits, throws itself into the position of a cat when attacked by a dog, and strikes quick and cat-like with its paw. Its voice is very powerful for its size. In the Leoncitof, whose body does not exceed seven or eight inches in length, we have much of the appearance of a tiny lion.
But it is in the genus Pithecia that we have the nearest approach to human likeness. There are some strong resemblances in the Couxio ; but, as Humboldt well observes, of all the monkeys of America, the Capuchin ş of the Orinoco bears the greatest similitude in its features to man. There nre the eyes with their mingled expression of melancholy and fierceness; there is the long thick beard ; and, as this last conceals the chin, the facial angle appears much less than it really is. Strony, active, fierce, the Capuchin is tamed with the greatest difficulty, and, when angered, he raises himself on his hinder extremities, grinds his teeth in his wrath, and leaps around his antagonist with threatening gestures. If any malicious person wishes to see this Homunculus in a most devouring rage, let him wet the Capuchin's beard, and he will find that such an act is the unforgiveable sin. There is one point, indeed, wherein our monkey differs from civilized man-he very seldom drinks; but, when he does, the similarity returns. Unlike the other American monkeys, which bring their lips to the liquid, the Capuchin lifts the water in the hollow of his hand, inclines his head upon his shoulder, and, carrying the draught to his mouth, drains it with great deliberation. This appears to be his mode of drinking in a state of nature; and Humboldt thinks that it is adopted to prevent the wetting of the beard which renders the animal furious, and which could not be avoided if the lips were applied in the usual Simian mode. Our friend the Capuchin is about two feet nine, bushy tail and all, of a brownish red colour, the hair of the body being long, and that on the forehead having a direction forwards. The beard, which arises below the ears, is brown, inclining to black, and covers the upper part of the breast. His large sunken eyes are overarched with well marked brows, and his nails are bent, with the exception of those on his thumbs. He is not gregarious, and is seldom found in company with his female.
* Simia lugens.
I Midas leonina.
We must not omit to notice another of these Pitheciæ with black face and hands and a shorter tail, having a good deal of the general aspect in miniature of one of those respectable, ancient, withered negroes, who, after a long life of slavery, find themselves, in their old age, transmuted by legislative magic into apprentices. This species, which is termed the Cacajao*, is hardly more than a foot long. It is voracious, weak, very lazy, mild, easily frightened, and lives in troops in the forests.
In Cállithrix and Aotes, the carnivorous propensity and character are, as we have seen, joined to the general habits of the monkey; and we proceed to finish this imperfect sketch of the American Simiade by calling the reader's attention to forms distinguished by a union of those habits and that propensity with squirrel-like manners. Such are the genera Hapales and Midas. To the latter belong the pretty diminutive Marikina or Silky Monkey † and the Leoncito before alluded to. These, though their way of life is but little ascertained, are supposed hardly ever to quit the trees.
Of the debonnaire Ouistiti or Sanglain I much more is known. This small delicate creature, with its rich pale grey coat, and pale greyish white ear tufts, like the ailes de pigeon of the old beau of other days, feeds in its native woods not only on fruits, roots, and seeds, but also indulges occasionally in insects and little birds. In captivity the Sanglains are great pets, and Edwards relates a curious instance of the craving for something that possessed life breaking out in one that was the favourite of a lady. Once, when he was let loose, he snatched a gold fish from its “ watery glass,” and instantly killed and devoured it. The lady, upon this, made him a present of some live eels, and, as the little fellow
* Pithecia melanocephala.
+ Midas rosalia. Hapales lacchus, Illiger, Tacchus vulgaris, Geoffroy. Nov.-VOL. LI. NO. CCIII.