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首页 » 英文短篇小说 » Captured by Apes » CHAPTER II. MAGOG’S REVENGE.
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Within an hour from the time Captain Seaworth and his officers had taken their purchases to the ship, it was apparent to every employe of Garland & Co.’s establishment that the baboon, Magog, was in a towering rage.

Had he been able to speak he could not have indicated more plainly his anger at being thus separated from his old companion; and after that time it was dangerous for either Philip or the attendants to approach within reach of the cage.

His fury increased with time, until the most venturesome of museum proprietors would have hesitated to receive the huge brute as a gift, for a wounded tiger could not have been more intractable.

Many times before six months had elapsed did Philip contemplate killing the ferocious captive; but on every occasion when he had almost decided so to do, the hope that he might succeed in taming him prevented the commission of the deed.

It was seven months from the day the Reynard left port when Philip made his last attempt at subduing Magog. On this afternoon he allowed the ferocious[14] ape to come out into the exercise-hall of the animals’ quarters, and before the lesson was well begun a number of old customers arrived, causing the merchant to return the captive hurriedly to his cage. In his desire to make haste the usual precautions were neglected, and Magog’s eyes twinkled with satisfaction as he noted the insecure fastenings of his prison.

During the remainder of that day he was unusually quiet, and the keepers wondered not a little as to the cause of his remarkable docility, for there was hardly an hour since Goliah had been taken away during which he did not make the most frantic efforts to escape.

When Philip conducted his customers through this particular portion of the establishment Magog was sitting contentedly in one corner of his cage, and the merchant said, in a tone of pride:

“There is a baboon that has given me more trouble than all the rest of the collection; but I am fast subduing him, and soon we shall have no more tractable performer than he. Three months from now I will show you this fellow transformed into the most agile and willing acrobat.”

Again Magog’s eyes twinkled, as if he understood the remark and was content to bide his time until the plan of revenge which, perhaps, had been maturing in his mind so long, should be ready for execution.

The wily ape had not long to wait. On that very night, when the attendants vacated the large hall,[15] which was lined on every side with cages, they left one gas-jet burning, according to custom, and firmly barred the door on the outside. This was the opportunity Magog desired.

The bolt of his cage was so insecurely fastened as to be very easily slipped back; and as if he understood that the slightest unusual sound might betray his purpose, he stole softly into the hall, looked about him in every direction until satisfied he was the only one free, and then turned on the gas, as he had often seen Philip’s employes do.

A wisp of straw from his own cage served the same purpose as a torch such as was generally used for lighting the other jets, and in a few moments he had the place brilliantly illuminated, but not in such a thorough manner as satisfied him.

More straw was at hand. He pulled armfuls from every cage, heaping it high, until his own was nearly filled, and then, with a savage cry of what might well have been mistaken for pleasure, applied the torch to this inflammable material.

In a few moments the entire room was in flames, and the vengeful baboon, leaping from one point to another regardless of his own injuries, was scattering fire here and there, until any effort at saving Garland & Co.’s establishment would have been useless.

When the morning sun arose Philip found himself without employment. All of the monkey tribe upon whom he had devoted so much time and attention were now as thoroughly roasted as any African[16] epicure could have desired; and among these possibly savory bodies reposed that of Magog, whose revenge had culminated in his own death.

Philip was still young. He had plenty of money at his command, and there was but one desire in his heart, viz.: to rebuild and restock an animal emporium which should far excel the one destroyed.

But this could not be done by remaining in New York.

Thus far he had been the largest dealer in animals in the country, and the combined stock of all the others put together would not have sufficed to form such a collection as the one just burned; therefore it was necessary he should search among the jungles and in the forests for the various specimens of that tribe toward whom all his studies had been directed.

When one has almost unlimited means at his command, to desire is to accomplish, providing energy is not wanting, and Philip Garland lost no time in carrying out what had now become his sole aim in life.

The bark Swallow, four hundred tons burden, was advertised for charter, and with her owners the young merchant made a bargain for the exclusive use of the craft during a period of three years.

Then came the labor of preparing cages, putting in stores, fitting the hold for the reception of the strange passengers whom it was proposed to bring back, and otherwise making the many arrangements necessary for such a cruise.

In due course of time all this was performed, and[17] eight months from the day the Reynard left port with the choicest portion of Garland & Co.’s collection on board the Swallow was towed down to Sandy Hook. From there, spreading her white wings, she sped away toward the Malay Archipelago, from whence she was to proceed, in case a sufficient number of animals and birds were not procured there, to the southernmost point of Africa, on her return home.

Of the voyage out it is hardly necessary to speak. The first stop was at the Ascension Islands for water, and then, passing on within sight of St. Helena, they made the Cape of Good Hope.

It had not been Philip’s intention to take on any animals at this point until his return; but the agent of a Hamburg firm had just come down to the coast with a rare lot, which he offered at prices so exceedingly low as to make it an object to keep them on shipboard during the entire voyage.

The collection was made up of a black two-horned rhinoceros, three lions, two panthers, and three serpents.

The agent had expected to find the firm’s ship in port; but through some misunderstanding or disaster she was not there, and it became necessary for him to dispose of the stock at any price rather than remain an indefinite length of time for the vessel, which might never come.

Philip soon effected a trade upon such a basis that if he should save either of the animals until his return home the venture would be a paying one, and[18] the transfer of these unwilling and unwieldy passengers was at once begun.

The rhinoceros was confined in a pen of wood and iron just abaft the foremast, where he had very little room to spare, and immediately after coming on board the huge brute appeared as docile and contented as could have been desired.

In fact, the entire collection had been brought from the shore without the slightest difficulty, and after a stay of only two days the Swallow set sail, making an offing about sunset.

When darkness settled down over the waste of waters the new passengers began to make their presence known, and from that time until morning no one on board could have entertained the slightest doubt as to the nature of this partial cargo, for the howls, roars, yelps and screams would have drowned the shrieking of the wildest tempest.


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