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SAT reading comprehension practice test 04

The excerpt is taken from a novel. Mr. Harding, now an old man, has lost his position as the Warden of a hospital for old men. He has just come from an unsuccessful interview with Mr. Slope concerning his reappointment to the position.

    Mr. Harding was not a happy man as he walked down
    the palace pathway, and stepped out into the close. His
    position and pleasant house were a second time
    gone from him; but that he could endure. He had been
5   schooled and insulted by a man young enough to be
    his son; but that he could put up with. He could even
    draw from the very injuries which had been inflicted
    on him some of that consolation which, we may
    believe, martyrs always receive from the injustice of
10  their own sufferings. He had admitted to his daughter
    that he wanted the comfort of his old home, and yet he
    could have returned to his lodgings in the High Street,
    if not with exultation, at least with satisfaction, had
    that been all. But the venom of the chaplain's
15  harangue had worked into his blood, and sapped the
    life of his sweet contentment.

    'New men are carrying out new measures, and
    are carting away the useless rubbish of past centuries!'
    What cruel words these had been- and how often are
20  they now used with all the heartless cruelty of a
    Slope! A man is sufficiently condemned if it can only
    be shown that either in politics or religion he does not
    belong to some new school established within the last
    score of years. He may then regard himself as rubbish
25  and expect to be carted away. A man is nothing now
    unless he has within him a full appreciation of the
    new era; an era in which it would seem that neither
    honesty nor truth is very desirable, but in which
    success is the only touchstone of merit. We must
30  laugh at everything that is established. Let the joke be
    ever so bad, ever so untrue to the real principles of
    joking; nevertheless we must laugh - or else beware
    the cart. We must talk, think, and live up to the spirit
    of the times, or else we are nought. New men and new
35  measures, long credit and few scruples, great success
    or wonderful ruin, such are now the tastes of
    Englishmen who know how to live! Alas, alas! Under
    such circumstances Mr. Harding could not but feel
    that he was an Englishman who did not know how to
40  live. This new doctrine of Mr. Slope and the rubbish
    cart sadly disturbed his equanimity.

    'The same thing is going on throughout the
    whole country!' 'Work is now required from every
    man who receives wages!' And had he been living all
45  his life receiving wages, and doing no work? Had he
    in truth so lived as to be now in his old age justly
    reckoned as rubbish fit only to be hidden away in
    some huge dust-hole? The school of men to whom he
    professes to belong, the Grantlys, the Gwynnes, are
50  afflicted with no such self-accusations as these which
    troubled Mr. Harding. They, as a rule, are as satisfied
    with the wisdom and propriety of their own conduct
    as can be any Mr. Slope, or any Bishop with his own.
    But, unfortunately for himself, Mr. Harding had little
55  of this self-reliance. When he heard himself
    designated as rubbish by the Slopes of the world, he
    had no other resource than to make inquiry within his
    own bosom as to the truth of the designation. Alas,
    alas! the evidence seemed generally to go against him.

Adapted from: The Warden, Anthony Trollope (1855)

1. The main cause of Mr. Harding’s unhappiness as he leaves the Bishop’s Palace is

A. the loss of his house
B. the loss of his position
C. the need to live with his daughter
D. the thought-provoking words of the chaplain
E. the injustice he has suffered

2. It can be inferred that Slope is

A. the chaplain
B. the Bishop
C. a foreigner
D. a politician
E. a young writer

3. The word ‘equanimity’ (line 41) most nearly means

A. status
B. happiness
C. justice
D. complacency
E. composure

4. It can be inferred that Mr Harding is especially disturbed because he

A. does not feel himself to be old
B. is offended by the young man’s impertinence
C. believes no one else feels as he does
D. believe his life’s work has been worthwhile
E. feels there may be some truth in regarding himself as ‘rubbish’

5. Mr. Harding differs from others of his ‘school’ (line 49) because they

A. do not believe Slope
B. have never been called ‘rubbish’
C. are sure their conduct is irreproachable
D. have already examined their consciences
E. feel that Mr. Harding is not one of them

6. The tone of the sentence 'New men....live' (lines 34-37) is

A. objective
B. ironic
C. derogatory
D. expository
E. ambivalent

7. The first two sentences of paragraph 3 relate the

A. words of Mr. Slope
B. thoughts of Mr. Harding
C. view of the old school of men
D. viewpoint of the author
E. opinions of all young men

Test information

Q 7 questions

Time 10 minutes

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