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communicate without words, or signs, or signals. There are many things in animal life, such as the precise concert of action among flocks of birds and fishes and insects, and, at times, the unity of impulse among land animals, that give support to the notion that the wild creatures in some way come to share one another's mental or emotional states to a degree and in a way that we know little or nothing of. It seems important to their well-being that they should have such a gift — something to make good to them the want of language and mental concepts, and insure unity of action in the tribe. Their seasonal migrations from one part of the country to another are no doubt the promptings of an inborn instinct called into action in all by the recurrence of the same outward conditions; but the movements of the flock or the school seem to imply a common impulse that is awakened on the instant in each member of the flock. The animals have no systems or methods in the sense that we have, but like conditions with them always awaken like impulses, and unity of action is reached without outward communication.
The lower animals seem to have certain of our foibles, and antagonisms, and unreasoning petulancies. I was reminded of this in reading the story PresiIdent Roosevelt tells of a Colorado bear he once watched at close quarters. The bear was fussing around a carcass of a deer, preparatory to burying
it. "Once the bear lost his grip and rolled over during the course of some movement, and this made him angry and he struck the carcass a savage whack, just as a pettish child will strike a table against which it has knocked itself." Who does not recognize that trait in himself: the disposition to vent one's anger upon inanimate things upon his hat, for instance, when the wind snatches it off his head and drops it in the mud or leads him a chase for it across the street; or upon the stick that tripped him up, or the beam against which he bumped his head? We do not all carry our anger so far as did a little three-year-old maiden I heard of, who, on tripping over the rockers of her chair, promptly picked herself up, and carrying the chair to a closet, pushed it in and spitefully shut the door on it, leaving it alone in the dark to repent its wrong-doing.
Our blind, unreasoning animal anger is excited by whatever opposes or baffles us. Of course, when we yield to the anger, we do not act as reasonable beings, but as the unreasoning animals. It is hard for one to control this feeling when the opposition comes from some living creature, as a balky horse or a kicking cow, or a pig that will not be driven through the open gate. When I was a boy, I once saw one of my uncles kick a hive of bees off the stand and halfway across the yard, because the bees stung him when he was about to "take them
up." I confess to a fair share of this petulant, unreasoning animal or human trait, whichever it may be, myself. It is difficult for me to refrain from jumping upon my hat when, in my pursuit of it across the street, it has escaped me two or three times just as I was about to put my hand upon it, and as for a balky horse or a kicking cow, I never could trust myself to deal reasonably with them. Follow this feeling back a few thousand years, and we reach the time when our forbears looked upon all the forces in nature as in league against them. The anger of the gods as shown in storms and winds and pestilence and defeat is a phase of the same feeling. A wild animal caught in a steel trap vents its wrath upon the bushes and sticks and trees and rocks within its reach. Something is to blame, something baffles it and gives it pain, and its teeth and claws seek every near object. Of course it is a blind manifestation of the instinct of self-defense, just as was my uncle's act when he kicked over his beehive, or as is the angler's impatience when his line gets tangled and his hook gets fast. If the Colorado bear caught his fish with a hook and line, how many times would he lose his temper during the day!
I do not think many animals show their kinship to us by exhibiting the trait I am here discussing. Probably birds do not show it at all. I have seen a nest-building robin baffled and delayed, day after day, by the wind that swept away the straws and
rubbish she carried to the top of a timber under my porch. But she did not seem to lose her temper. She did not spitefully reclaim the straws and strings that would persist in falling to the porch floors, but cheerfully went away in search of more. So I have seen a wood thrush time after time carrying the same piece of paper to a branch from which the breeze dislodged it, without any evidence of impatience. It is true that when a string or a horsehair which a bird is carrying to its nest gets caught in a branch, the bird tugs at it again and again to free it from entanglement, but I have never seen any evidence of impatience or spite against branch or string, as would be pretty sure to be the case did my string show such a spirit of perversity. Why your dog bites the stone which you roll for him when he has found it, or gnaws the stick you throw, is not quite clear, unless it be from the instinct of his primitive ancestors to bite and kill the game run down in the chase. Or is the dog trying to punish the stick or stone because it will not roll or fly for him? The dog is often quick to resent a kick, be it from man or beast, but I have never known him to show anger at the door that slammed to and hit him. Probably, if the door held him by his tail or his limb, it would quickly receive the imprint of his teeth.
In reading Bostock on the "Training of Wild Animals," my attention was arrested by the remark
that his performing lions and tigers are liable to suffer from "stage fright," like ordinary mortals, but that "once thoroughly accustomed to the stage, they seem to find in it a sort of intoxication well known to a species higher in the order of nature;" and furthermore, that "nearly all trainers assert that animals are affected by the attitude of an audience, that they are stimulated by the applause of an enthusiastic house, and perform indifferently before a cold audience." If all this is not mere fancy, but is really a fact capable of verification, it shows another human trait in animals that one would not expect to find there. Bears seem to show more human nature than most other animals. Bostock says that they evidently love to show off before an audience: "The conceit and good opinion of themselves, which some performing bears have, is absolutely ridiculous." A trainer once trained a young bear to climb a ladder and set free the American flag, and so proud did the bear become of his accomplishment, that whenever any one was looking on he would go through the whole performance by himself, "evidently simply for the pleasure of doing it." Of course there is room for much fancy here on the part of the spectator, but bears are in so many ways - in their play, in their boxing, in their walking — such grotesque parodies of man, that one is induced to accept the trainer's statements as containing a measure of truth.