Of the Gorilla
There must be something so wild and unearthly in the appearance of
one of these apes, so demon-like in hideousness, in the solemn
recesses of the dark primeval forest that i might have told its
story in the preceding chapters.
The terrors with which it is invested are, however, more than
imaginary. The young athletic Negroes, in their ivory hunts, well
know the prowess of the gorilla.
He does not, like the lion sullenly retreat on seeing them but
swings himself rapidly down to the lower branches courting the
conflict, and clutches at the foremost of his enemies. The hideous
aspect of his visage, his green eyes flashing with rage, is
heightened by the thick and prominent brows being drawn
spasmodically up and down, with the hair erect, causing a horrible
and fiendish scowl. Weapons are torn from their possessor's grasp,
gun-barrels bent and crushed in by the powerful hands and vice
like teeth of the enraged brute.
More horrid still, however, is the sudden and unexpected fate
which is often inflicted by him. Two Negroes will be walking
through one of the woodland paths, unsuspicious of evil, when in
an instant one misses his companion, or turns to see him drawn up
in the air with a convulsed choking cry; and in few minutes
dropped to the ground a strangled corpse. The terrified survivor
gazes up, and meets the grin and glare of the fiendish giant, who,
watching his opportunity, had suddenly put down his immense hindhand,
caught the wretch by the neck with resistless power, and
dropped him only when he ceased to struggle. Surely a horrible
improvised gallows this !
Philip Henry Gosse, F.R.S., 1864