‘Beg Dr Maturin to come on deck, if he is not engaged,’ said Jack. ‘Dr Maturin, is it possible to tell the sex of an ape by its teeth, or that kind of thing?’
‘It depends on the ape,’ said Stephen, looking eagerly at the object in Jack’s hands. ‘This, for example,’ he said, taking it and turning it about, ‘is an excellent specimen of the male simia satyrus, Buffon’s wild man of the woods: see the lateral expansion of the cheeks, mentioned by Hunter, and the remains of that particular throat-sac, so characteristic of the male.’
‘Well, there you are,’ said Jack. ‘Ajax it is. Thank you very much, Doctor. The charge of theft is dismissed. But you must not knock people about, Rogers. Has anyone something to say in his favour?’
The second lieutenant stepped forward, said that Rogers was in his division — attentive to his duty, generally sober, a good character, but apt to fly into a passion; that flying into a passion was a very bad thing — it would certainly lead him to the gallows, if indulged in. He was to command his temper, and do without grog for the next week. The head was confiscated temporarily, for further examination — indeed, it had already vanished into the cabin, leaving Rogers looking somewhat blank. ‘I dare say you will get it back in time,’ said Jack, with more conviction than he felt.
Post Captain – Patrick O’Brian