Jack was of a sanguine temperament; he liked most people and he was surprised when they did not like him. This readiness to be pleased had been damaged of recent years, but it remained intact as far as horses, dogs and sloths were concerned; it wounded him to see tears come into the creature's eyes when he walked into the cabin, and he laid himself out to be agreeable. As they ran down to Rio he sat with it at odd moments, addressing it in Portuguese, more or less, and feeding it with offerings that it sometimes ate, sometimes allowed to drool slowly from its mouth; but it was not until they were approaching Capricorn, with Rio no great distance on the starboard bow, that he found it respond.
The weather had freshened almost to coldness, for the wind was coming more easterly, from the chilly currents between Tristan and the Cape; the sloth was amazed by the change; it shunned the deck and spent its time below. Jack was in his cabin, pricking the chart with less satisfaction than he could have wished: progress, slow, headwinds by night - unaccountable headwinds by night - and sipping a glass of grog; Stephen was in the mizzen-top teaching Bonden to write and scanning the sea for his first albatross. The sloth sneezed and looking up, Jack caught its gaze fixed on him; its inverted face had an expression of anxiety and concern. 'Try a piece of this, old cock,' he said, dipping his cake in the grog and proffering the sop. 'It might put a little heart into you.' The sloth sighed, closed its eye, but gently absorbed the piece, and sighed again.
Some minutes later he felt a touch on his knee: the sloth had silently climbed down and it was standing there, its beady eyes looking up into his face, bright with expectation. More cake, more grog: growing confidence and esteem...
'In this bucket,' said Stephen, walking into the cabin, 'in this small bucket, now, I have the population of Dublin, London and Paris combined: these animalculae - what is the matter with the sloth?' It was curled on Jack's knee, breathing heavily: its bowl and Jack's glass stood empty on the table. Stephen picked it up, peered into its affable, bleary face, shook it, and hung it upon its rope. It seized hold with one fore and one hind foot, letting the others dangle limp, and went to sleep.
Stephen looked sharply round, saw the decanter, smelt the sloth, and cried, 'Jack, you have debauched my sloth.'
(HMS Surprise - not sure of the exact chapter as I don't have the book to hand and am copy/pasting from an entry I posted a while back in my own journal. :( )