Day two went by like day one. The apes did not bother about us except to deliver our food. I was more and more puzzled about this bizarre establishment when, on the following day, we were given a series of tests, the memory of which humiliates me even today, but which provided some distraction at the time.
The first one struck me at first as being rather odd. One of the keepers came up to me while his colleague was busy attending to another cage. My gorilla kept one hand hidden behind his back; in the other he held a whistle. He looked at me to attract my attention, put the whistle to his mouth, and produced a series of shrill blasts; this for a whole minute. Then he held out his other hand, ostentatiously showing me one of those red bananas that I had enjoyed and to which all the men appeared to be partial. He held the fruit out in front of me, without taking his eyes off me.
I stretched out my hand, but the banana was out of reach and the gorilla did not come any closer. He looked disappointed and seemed to be expecting another gesture. After a moment he gave up, hid the fruit away again, and resumed his whistling. I was nervous, intrigued by this play acting. I almost lost patience when he once again waved the fruit out of reach. I managed to stay calm, however, trying to guess what he expected of me, for he looked more and more surprised, as if confronted with behavior that was considered abnormal. He went through the same motions five or six times, then moved on to the next specimen.
I had a distinct feeling of frustration when I saw this captive was given the red banana at the very first trial, and so was the one after him. I closely watched the latter gorilla, who was going through the same ritual with the opposite row. Since he was now dealing with Novaya, I failed to miss one of her reactions. He whistled, then brandished the fruit as his colleague had done. Immediately the young girl became excited, moving her jaws and....
I understood, dear reader, and I was certainly not pleased with it! I had studied biology at one time, and Pavlov's work held no secrets for me. Here they were, applying the very experiments he had carried out on dogs. And I, who had been so stupid a few minutes earlier, now, with my rational brain and education, not only grasped the nature of this test but also foresaw those that were to follow. For several days, maybe, the apes would operate just this way: blasts on a whistle, then the offer of a desired food, the latter causing the subject's mouth to salivate. After a certain period of time, it would be the whistle blast alone that would produce the effect. The men would have acquired what are known in scientific parlance as conditioned reflexes.
I could not stop congratulating myself on perspicacity and was quite eager to put it to constructive use. As my gorilla walked past me again, having finished his rounds, I tried everything I could to attract his attention. I tapped on the bars; I made sweeping gestures, pointing at my mouth, with the result that he condescended to resume the experiment. Then, at the first blast of the whistle, and well before he had waved the fruit around, my mouth began to water, began to water in fury and in frenzy---I, Sasha Lagunov, started watering at the mouth as if my very life depended upon it, such pleasure was I deriving from showing off my intelligence to him!ns126.96.36.199da2