"My Life with the Chimpanzees" by Jane Goodall, Chapters 1–3

August 27, 2019
In this memoir, primatologist Jane Goodall recounts her childhood love of animals and her work with chimpanzees in Africa.

Here are links to our lists for the memoir: Chapters 1–3, Chapter 4, Chapters 5–7, Chapters 8–11
I saw a round white object gradually protruding from the feathers between her legs.
With loud, pleased clucks, the chicken shook her feathers, moved the egg with her beak, then proudly strutted her way out of the henhouse.
Then he discovered that if he hatched mallard duck eggs, the ducklings refused to follow him. But if they were hatched by a domestic duck, they followed her at once.
If Tinbergen placed such a monster near the nest of a herring gull or an oyster catcher, she would leave her own egg and desperately (and hopelessly) try to clamber onto the monstrous fake!
She loved geese, and there were always six or more grazing on the grass near the house.
In those days they were all milked by hand, and I loved to watch the dairymaid squirt the white milk into her pail while the cow placidly chewed its cud.
The grown-ups usually gave us children most of their rations of candy, milk, and eggs.
One summer we made a museum in the glass conservatory.
The only part I didn’t much enjoy was the endless cleaning of the tack—the saddles and bridles.
We rode them, bareback with just a halter, to the riding stable.
Then I would groom them, give each of them a pile of hay, and get the tack ready for the first ride.
On those days I had the thrill of getting up even earlier, grooming Quince until she shone, plaiting her mane and tail, oiling her hooves, then traveling with her in the horse trailer.
Sometimes I put him in pajamas and wheeled him around the streets in our old pram.
The part of Germany I was in was bleak, flat, and dreary.
And I remember early morning walks through flat, frosty fields where I saw hares bound away over the white, hard ground.
Because, as I’ve told you, I was bad at languages, I only picked up a smattering.
As you looked out across the flattened, battered city, you could see the spire of Cologne Cathedral.
Seeing the spire of Cologne Cathedral that day meant more to me than all the sermons I had ever listened to.
And so I learned how to type and do shorthand and simple bookkeeping.
And so I learned how to type and do shorthand and simple bookkeeping.
There were spastic children, who would never be able to look after themselves.
They didn’t want her shut into one of those places for the insane, so they paid for her to stay in the children’s ward of a big hospital.
I also learned to punt, which is much harder than canoeing.
I learned to deftly lift a slice of meat or a helping of vegetables with serving spoon and fork neatly manipulated in one hand while holding the dish with the other.
How exciting—I now had enough money, along with the small amount I had saved while in London, for a round-trip fare to Africa!

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