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Someone sent a chimpanzee to Gerald Durrell, asking him to escort it to England.

A small van drew up outside the camp one morning, and in the back of it was an enormous wooden crate. It was big enough, I thought, o house an elephant. I wondered what on earth could be inside, and when the driver told me that it contained the chimpanzee, Cholmondely, that I would be escorting to England, I remembered thinking how silly his owner was to send such a small chimpanzee in such a huge crate. I opened the door and looked inside and there sat Cholmondely. Just one glance at him and I realised my mistake: I would not be taking charge of a baby chimpanzee but a fully-grown one, about eight or nine years old.

Sitting hunched up in the dark crate, he looked as though he were about twice as big as I, and from the expression on his face, I gathered that the trip had not been to his liking. Before I could shut the door of the box, however, Cholmondely had extended a long hairy arm, clasped my hand in his and shaken it warmly. Then he turned round and gathered up a great length of chain (one end of which was fastened to a collar round his neck), draped it carefully over his arm, and stepped down, out of the box. he stood there for a moment and, after surveying me carefully, examined the camp with great interest, whereupon he held out his hand, looking at me enquiringly. I took it in mine and we walked into the marquee together.

Cholmondely immediately went and seated himself on one of the chairs by the camp table, dropped his chain on the floor and sat back and crossed his legs. He gazed round the tent for a few minutes then looked at me enquiringly again. Obviously, he wanted me to offer him something after his tiring journey. I had been told, before h arrived, that he liked to drink tea, and so I called out to the cook and told him to make a pot of tea. Then I went out and had a look in Cholmondely's crate, and in the bottom, I found an enormous and very battered tin mug. When I returned to the tent with this. Cholmondely was quite overjoyed and praised me for my cleverness in finding it, by uttering a few cheerful 'hoo hoo' noises.

While we were waiting for the tea to arrive, I sat down opposite Cholmondely and lit a cigarette. To my surprise, he became very excited and held out his hand across the table to me. Wondering what he would do, I handed him the cigarette packet. he opened it, took out a cigarette and put it between his lips. He hen reached out his hand again and I gave him the matches; to my astonishment, he took one out of the box, struck it, lit his cigarette and threw the box down on the table. Lying back in his chair, he blew out clouds of smoke in the most professional manner. No one had told me that Cholmondely smoked. I wondered rather anxiously what other undesirable habits he might have which his master had not warned me about.

Just at that moment, the tea was brought in and Cholmondely greeted its appearance with loud hoots of joy. He watched me carefully while I half-filled his mug with milk and then added the tea. I had been told that he had a very sweet tooth so I put in six large spoons of sugar, an action which he greeted with grunts of satisfaction. He placed his cigarette on the table and seized the mug with both hands; then he stuck out his lower lip very carefully and dipped it into the tea to make sure it was not too hot. As it was a little warm, he sat there blowing on it vigorously until it was cool enough, and then he drank it all down without stopping once. When he had drained the last drops, he peered into the mug and scooped out all the sugar he could with his forefinger. After that, he tipped the mug up on his nose and sat with it like that for about five minutes until the very last of he sugar had trickled down into his mouth. For a few minutes, he was in a world of his own, far away from the threat of civilized man.

From paragraph 1 :

What mistaken idea did Durrell have about the age of the chimpanzee that he was asked to escort to England ?


From paragraph 2 :


(a) What told Durrell that the chimpanzee had been upset by the trip in the crate ?

(b) Why did Durrell end up holding hands with the chimpanzee ?

    From paragraph 3 :

(a) Give two reasons why Durrell decided to offer some tea to the chimpanzee.

(b) Why did the chimpanzee suddenly become so overjoyed that it made cheerful hooting noises ?

    From paragraph 4 :

(a) What effect did Durrell's lighting of a cigarette have on the chimpanzee ?

(b) Which phrase in paragraph 4 suggests that Durrell actually considered it bad for the chimpanzee to smoke ?

    From paragraph 5 :

(a) Explain the phrase "had a sweet tooth."

(b) Find a word that means "with great energy".

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He thought it was a baby chimpanzee but it was actually an adult one.



(a) The expression on his face.

(b) Cholmondely had extended his long, hairy arm, clasped Durrell's hand in his and shaken it warmly. Then later, he had held out his hand again.



(a) Firstly, Cholmondely turned and looked at him inquiringly, behaving like a guest who wanted Durrell to offer him something. Secondly, Durrell had been warned that Cholmondely liked tea.

(b) Durrell found his battered tin mug.



(a) The chimpanzee became excited and held out its hand.

(b) "Undesirable habits"



(a) Loved sweet food

(b) Vigorously


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Comprehension 1


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