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Three Men in a Boat
The following passage is adapted from the nineteenth-century novel Three Men in a Boat. In this scene, George, William Samuel, Harris, Jerome, and a dog named Montmorency take a typical boating holiday of the time on a Thames River camping skiff. Jerome, the narrator, shares the story of how the journey with his friends began.
George had towed us up to Staines, and we hadtaken the boat from there, and it seemed that wewere dragging fifty tons after us, and were walkingforty miles. It was half-past seven when we were05through, and we all got in, and sculled up close tothe left bank, looking out for a spot to haul up in.We had originally intended to go on to MagnaCarta Island, a sweetly pretty part of the river,where it winds through a soft, green valley, and to10camp in one of the many picturesque inlets to befound round that tiny shore. But, somehow, we didnot feel that we yearned for the picturesque nearlyso much now as we had earlier in the day. A bit ofwater between a coal-barge and a gas-works would15have quite satisfied us for that night. We did notwant scenery. We wanted to have our supper andgo to bed. However, we did pull up to the point—"Picnic Point," it is called—and dropped into avery pleasant nook under a great elm-tree, to the20spreading roots of which we fastened the boat.Then we thought we were going to have supper(we had dispensed with tea, so as to save time), butGeorge said no; that we had better get the canvasup first, before it got quite dark, and while we could25see what we were doing. Then, he said, all our workwould be done, and we could sit down to eat withan easy mind.That canvas wanted more putting up thanI think any of us had bargained for. It looked so30simple in the abstract. You took five iron arches,like gigantic croquet hoops, and fitted them upover the boat, and then stretched the canvas overthem, and fastened it down: it would take quite tenminutes, we thought.35That was an under-estimate.We took up the hoops, and began to drop theminto the sockets placed for them. You would notimagine this to be dangerous work; but, lookingback now, the wonder to me is that any of us are40alive to tell the tale. They were not hoops, they weredemons. First they would not fit into their socketsat all, and we had to jump on them, and kick them,and hammer at them with the boat-hook; and,when they were in, it turned out that they were the45wrong hoops for those particular sockets, and theyhad to come out again.But they would not come out, until two of ushad gone and struggled with them for five minutes,when they would jump up suddenly, and try and50throw us into the water and drown us. They hadhinges in the middle, and, when we were not look-ing, they nipped us with these hinges in delicateparts of the body; and, while we were wrestlingwith one side of the hoop, and endeavouring to55persuade it to do its duty, the other side wouldcome behind us in a cowardly manner, and hit usover the head.We got them fixed at last, and then all that wasto be done was to arrange the covering over them.60George unrolled it, and fastened one end over thenose of the boat. Harris stood in the middle to takeit from George and roll it on to me, and I kept bythe stern to receive it. It was a long time comingdown to me. George did his part all right, but it65was new work to Harris, and he bungled it.How he managed it I do not know, he couldnot explain himself; but by some mysteriousprocess or other he succeeded, after ten minutes ofsuperhuman effort, in getting himself completely70rolled up in it. He was so firmly wrapped roundand tucked in and folded over, that he could not getout. He, of course, made frantic struggles for free-dom… and, in doing so, knocked over George.…
1. The men change their minds about their destination because
2. As used in line 22, "dispensed with" most nearly means
3. From paragraphs 1-3, it can be reasonably inferred that the men are
4. Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?
5. What theme does the passage communicate through the experiences of its characters?
6. It can be reasonably inferred that which of the following is true?
7. Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?
8. As used in line 30, "in the abstract" most nearly means
9. In paragraph 7, the main rhetorical effect of the author's descriptions of the hoops is to
10. The tone of the passage is primarily one of
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