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

The Romance of natural history
by Philip Henry Gosse, F.R.S. 1861,
published in 1864 by:
Gould and Lincoln, Boston
Sheldon and Company, New York
George S. Blanchard, Cincinnati
Page 259 - 258