108 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS
been more to the purpose if he had said, ' Monsieu: Dumas, may I incommode you with my monkey and my parrot?' However, after a little bargaining, I bought both animals, as well as a cage for the monkey and a perch for the parrot; and as soon as I arrived at home, I introduced them to Michel.
' This,' said Michel, ' is the green monkey of Senegal Cercopithecus sabcea.'
I looked at Michel in the greatest astonishment. ' Do you know Latin, Michel? '
' I don't know Latin, but I know my " Dictionary of Natural History."'
' Oh, indeed! And do you know what bird this is ?' I asked, showing him the parrot.
' To be sure I know it,' said Michel. 'It is the blue and yellow macaw Macrocercus arararanna. Oh, sir, why did you not bring a female as well as a male ?'
' What is the use, Michel, since parrots will not breed in this country ? '
' There you make a mistake, sir; the blue macaw will breed in France.'
' In the south, perhaps? '
' It need not be in the south, sir.'
' At Caen ? I did not know Caen had a climate which permits parrots to rear their young. Go and fetch my gazetteer.'
' You will soon see,' said Michel as he brought it. I read: ' Caen, capital of the department of Calvados, upon the Orne and the Odon: 223 kilometres west of Paris, 41,806 inhabitants.'
' You will see,' said Michel, ' the parrots are coming.'
' Great trade in plaster, salt, wood taken by English in 1346 retaken by the French &c, &c. never mind the date That is all, Michel.'
' What! Your dictionary never says that the arara-