Basic English Grammar rules can be tricky. In this article, we’ll get you started with the basics of sentence structure, punctuation, parts of speech, and more.
Unseen Passage for Class 12 Literary CBSE With Answers
Unseen Passage Practice Examples for Class 12 Literary CBSE
1. Read the following passage carefully.
1. For four days, I walked through the narrow lanes of the old city, enjoying the romance of being in a city where history still lives in its cobblestone streets and in its people riding asses, carrying vine leaves and palm as they once did during the time of Christ.
2. This is Jerusalem, home to the sacred sites of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. This is the place that houses the church of the Holy Sepulchre, the place where Jesus was finally laid to rest. This is also the site of Christ’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
3. Built by the Roman Emperor Constantine at the site of an earlier temple to Aphrodite, it is the most venerated Christian shrine in the world, and justifiably so. Here, within the church, are the last five stations of the cross, the 10th station where Jesus was stripped of his clothes, the 11th where he was nailed to the cross, the 12th where he died on the cross, the 13th where the body was removed from the cross, and the 14th is his tomb.
4. For all this weighty tradition, the approach and entrance to the church, is nondescript. You have to ask for directions. Even to the devout Christian pilgrims, walking along the Via Dolorosa – the Way of Sorrows – first nine stations look clueless. Then a courtyard appears, hemmed in by other buildings and a doorway to one side. This leads to a vast area of huge stone architecture.
5. Immediately, inside the entrance is your first stop. It’s the stone of anointing: this is the place, according to Greek tradition, where Christ was removed from the cross. The Roman Catholics, however, believe it to be the spot where Jesus’ body was prepared for burial by Joseph.
6. What happened next? Jesus was buried. He was taken to a place outside the city of Jerusalem where other graves existed and there, he was buried in a cave. However, all that is long gone, destroyed by continued attacks and rebuilding; what remains is the massive and impressive Rotunda (a round building with a dome) that Emperor Constantine built. Under this, and right in the centre of the Rotunda, is the structure that contains the Holy Sepulchre.
7. “How do you know that this is Jesus’ tomb?” I asked one of the pilgrims standing next to me. He was clueless, more interested, like the rest of them, in the novelty of it all and in photographing it, than in its history or tradition.
8. At the start of the first century, the place was a disused quarry outside the city walls. According to the gospels, Jesus’ crucifixion occurred at a place outside the city walls with graves nearby. Archaeologists have discovered tombs from that era, so the site is compatible with the biblical period.
9. The structure at the site is a marble tomb built over the original burial chamber. It has two rooms, and you enter four at a time into the first of these, the Chapel of the Angel. Here, the angel is supposed to have sat on a stone to recount Christ’s resurrection. A low door made of white marble, partly worn away by pilgrims’ hands, leads to a smaller chamber inside. This is the ‘room of the tomb’, the place where Jesus was buried.
10. We entered in single file. On my right was a large marble slab that covered the original rock bench on which the body of Jesus was laid. A woman knelt and prayed. Her eyes were wet with tears. She pressed her face against the slab to hide them, but it only made it worse. [CBSE Delhi 2015]
A. On the basis of your understanding of the passage, answer the following questions by choosing the most appropriate option. (1 × 5 = 5 marks)
How does Jerusalem still retain the charm of the ancient era?
(a) There are narrow lanes.
(b) Roads are paved with cobblestones.
(c) People are riding asses.
(d) All of these
(d) All of these
To which religion is Holy Sepulchre sacred?
(d) Both (a) and (c)
Why does one have to constantly ask for directions to the church?
(a) Because its lanes are narrow
(b) Because the entrance to the church is nondescript
(c) Because people are not tourist-friendly
(d) Because everyone is lost in enjoying the romance of the place
(a) Because its lanes are narrow
What is the first step inside the entrance?
(a) A round building with a done
(b) The Stone of anointing
(c) Grave of Jesus
(d) A marble tomb
(b) The Stone of anointing
Where was Jesus buried?
(a) In a cave
(b) At a place outside the city
(c) In the Holy Sepulchre
(d) Both (a) and (b)
(d) Both (a) and (b)
B. Answer the following questions briefly.
What is the Greek belief about the ‘stone of anointing’?
The Greek belief about the ‘stone of anointing’ is that this was the place where Christ was removed from the cross.
Why did Emperor Constantine build the Rotunda?
Emperor Constantine built the Rotunda to mark the place where Jesus Christ was laid to rest.
What is the general attitude of the pilgrims?
The general attitude of the pilgrims is out of respect and novelty of the place. They preserve the memory by photographing it. They are least interested in the history or tradition of the place.
How is the site compatible with the biblical period?
The site is compatible with the biblical period as according to gospels, Jesus’ crucifixion occurred at a place outside the city wall with graves nearby’. This is further known from the fact that archaeologists have discovered tombs from that era.
Why did the pilgrims enter the room of the tomb in a single file?
The pilgrims entered the room of the tomb in a single file because the room was small with a low door. It led to a narrow, smaller chamber where only one person could enter at a time.
Find a word from the passage (para-2) which means ‘the act of bringing back something that had disappeared or ended’.
Find a word from the passage (para-4) which means ‘having no interesting features or qualities’.
2. Read the poem given below and answer the questions that follow.
Work Is Worship
worship in this lonely dark corner of a
temple with doors all shut? Open
thine eyes and see thy God is not before thee!
He is there where the tiller is tilling
the hard ground and where the path-maker
is breaking stones. He is with them
in sun and shower, and his
garment is covered with dust. Put off
thy holy mantle and even like him come
down on the dusty soil!
Deliverance? Where is this deliverance
to be found? Our master himself
has joyfully taken upon him the bonds of
creation; he is bound with us all forever.
Come out of thy meditations and
leave aside thy flowers and incense!
What harm is there if thy clothes
become tattered and stained? Meet
him and stand by him in toil and in
sweat of thy brow.
– Rabindranath Tagore
2.1 Choose the correct option.
(a) The word …………………….., as used in stanza 1, is an archaic way of saying ‘your’.
iii. both i. and ii.
(b) The word ‘deliverance’ means
i. the state of being rescued from danger, evil or pain
ii. the state of delivering a package
2.2 On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer the following briefly.
(a) What does the poet want us to ‘leave’?
(b) The poet uses a number of archaic words in this poem. Give any four examples.
(c) Where, according to the poet, is God to be found?
(d) Does this poem have a fixed rhyming pattern?
(e) Who does the poet refer to as ‘our master’ in stanza 4?
(f) According to the poet, why must we “come down on the dusty soil??
2.3 Pick out the words from the poem which mean the same as the following.
(a) saying a prayer in a singing voice (stanza 1)
(b) a loose piece of clothing without sleeves (stanza 2)
3. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.
1. All this time I was at the Lenin Barracks?, ostensibly in training for the front. When I joined the militia, I had been told that I would be sent to the front the next day, but in fact I had to wait while a fresh centuria’ was got ready. The workers’ militias, hurriedly raised by the trade unions at the beginning of the war, had not yet been organized on an ordinary army basis. The units of command were the ‘section’, of about thirty men, the centuria, of about a hundred men, and the ‘column’, which in practice meant any large number of men. The Lenin Barracks was a block of splendid stone buildings with a riding school and enormous cobbled courtyards; it had been a cavalry barracks and had been captured during the July. fighting.
My centuria slept in one of the stables, under the stone mangers where the names of the cavalry chargers4 were still inscribed. All the horses had been seized and sent to the front, but the whole place still smelt of horse – piss and rotten oats. I was at the barracks about a week. Chiefly I remember the horsy smells, the quavering bugle – calls (all our buglers were amateurs – I first learned the Spanish bugle – calls by listening to them outside the Fascist lines), the tramp – tramp of hobnailed boots in the barrack yard, the long morning parades in the wintry sunshine, the wild games of football, fifty a side, in the gravelled riding school.
There were perhaps a thousand men at the barracks, and a score or so of women, apart from the militiamen’s wives who did the cooking. There were still women serving in the militias, though not very many. In the early battles they had fought side by side with the men as a matter of course. It is a thing that seems natural in time of revolution. Ideas were changing already, however. The militiamen had to be kept out of the riding school while the women were drilling there because they laughed at the women and put them off. A few months earlier no one would have seen anything comic in a woman handling a gun.
2. The whole barracks were in the state of filth and chaos to which the militia reduced every building they occupied and which seems to be one of the by – products of revolution. In every corner you came upon piles of smashed furniture, broken saddles, brass cavalry – helmets, empty sabre – scabbards, and decaying food. There was frightful wastage of food, especially bread. From my barrack room alone a basketful of bread was thrown away at every meal – a disgraceful thing when the civilian population was short of it.
We ate at long trestle – tables out of permanently greasy tin pannikins, and drank out of a dreadful thing called a porron. A porron is a sort of glass bottle with a pointed spout from which a thin jet of wine spurts out whenever you tip it up; you can thus drink from a distance, without touching it with your lips, and it can be passed from hand to hand. I went on strike and demanded a drinking cup as soon as I saw a porron in use. To my eye the things were altogether too like bed – bottles, especially when they were filled with white wine.
3. By degrees, they were issuing the recruits with uniforms, and because this was Spain, everything was issued piecemeal, so that it was never quite certain who had received what, and various of the things we most needed, such as belts and cartridge – boxes, were not issued till the last moment, when the train was actually waiting to take us to the front. I have spoken of the militia ‘uniform’, which probably gives a wrong impression. It was not exactly a uniform. Perhaps a “multiform’ would be the proper name for it. Everyone’s clothes followed the same general plan, but they were never quite the same in any two cases. Practically everyone in the army wore corduroy knee-breeches, but there the uniformity ended. Some wore puttees, others corduroy gaiters, others leather leggings or high boots.
Everyone wore a zipper jacket, but some of the jackets were of leather, others of wool and of every conceivable colour. The kinds of cap were about as numerous as their wearers. It was usual to adorn the front of your cap with a party badge, and in addition, nearly every man wore a red or red and black handkerchief round his throat. A militia column at that time was an extraordinary-looking rabble. But the clothes had to be issued as this or that factory rushed them out, and they were not bad clothes considering the circumstances.
The shirts and socks were wretched cotton things, however, quite useless against cold. I hate to think of what the militiamen must have gone through in the earlier months before anything was organised. I remember coming upon a newspaper of only about two months earlier in which one of the P.O.U.M. leaders, after a visit to the front, said that he would try to see to it that every militiaman had a blanket’. A phrase to make you shudder if you have ever slept in a trench.
– Adapted from Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
3.1 Choose the correct option.
(a) ‘Section’ was a military unit of about …………………….. men.
iii. none of the above
(b) A …………………….. is a sort of glass bottle with a pointed spout.
i. trestle – table
3.2 On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer the following questions.
(a) What was the writer’s profession? What was the writer’s training place like?
(b) What were the living conditions in the barracks?
(c) Who were the women at the barracks?
(d) ‘Ideas were changing already…’ What ideas are the author talking about?
(e) Why were the militiamen kept out of the riding school while the women were drilling?
3.3 Pick out the words from the passage which mean the same as the following.
(a) seemingly (para 1)
(b) randomness (para 2)
4. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.
1. As Andrea turned off the Highway onto the road to Brockbourne; the small village in which she lived,
it was four o’clock in the afternoon, but already the sun was falling behind the hills. At this time in December, it would be completely dark by five o’clock. Andrea shivered. The interior of the car was not cold, but the trees bending in the harsh wind and the patches of yesterday’s snow still heaped in the fields made her feel chilly inside. It was another ten miles to the cottage where she lived with her husband Michael. The dim light and wintry weather made her feel a little lonely. She would have liked to listen to the radio, but it had been stolen from her car when it was parked outside her office in London about two weeks ago, and she had not got around to replacing it yet.
2. She was just coming out of the little village of Mickley, when she saw the old lady, standing by the road, with a crude handwritten sign saying ‘Brockbourne’ in her hand. Andrea was surprised. She had never seen an old lady hitchhiking before. However, the weather and the coming darkness made her feel sorry for the lady, waiting hopefully on a country road like this with little traffic. Normally, Andrea would never pick up a hitchhiker when she was alone, thinking it was too dangerous, but what was the harm in doing a favour for a little old lady like this? Andrea pulled up a little way down the road, and the lady, holding a big shopping bag, hurried over to climb in the door which Andrea had opened for her.
3. When she did get in, Andrea could see that she was not, in fact, so little. Broad and fat, the old lady had some difficulty climbing in through the car door with her big bag, and when she had got in, she more than filled the seat next to Andrea. She wore a long, shabby old dress, and she had a yellow hat pulled down low over her eyes. Panting noisily from her effort, she pushed her big brown canvas shopping bag down onto the floor under her feet, and said in a voice which was almost a whisper, ‘Thank you dearie – I’m just going to Brockbourne.’
4. “Do you live there?’ asked Andrea, thinking that she had never seen the old lady in the village in the four years she had lived there herself.
5. “No, dearie,’ answered the passenger, in her soft voice, “I’m just going to visit a friend. He was supposed to meet me back there at Mickley, but his car won’t start, so I decided to hitchhike – there isn’t a bus until seven, and I didn’t want to wait. I knew some kind soul would give me a lift.?
6. Something in the way the lady spoke, and the way she never turned her head, but stared continuously into the darkness ahead from under her old yellow hat, made Andrea uneasy about this strange hitchhiker. She didn’t know why, but she felt instinctive that there was something wrong, something odd, and something… dangerous. But how could an old lady be dangerous, it was absurd.
7. Careful not to turn her head, Andrea looked sideways at her passenger. She studied the hat, the dirty collar of the dress, the shapeless body, the arms with their thick black hair…………..
Thick black hair?
Hairy arms? Andrea’s blood froze.
This wasn’t a woman. It was a man.
At first, she didn’t know what to do. Then suddenly, an idea came into her racing, terrified brain. Swinging the wheel suddenly, she threw the car into a skid, and brought it to a halt. ‘My God!’ she shouted, ‘A child! Did you see the child? I think I hit her!’ The ‘old lady’ was clearly shaken by the sudden skid. “I didn’t see anything dearie,’ she said. “I don’t think you hit anything.’
I’m sure it was a child!’ insisted Andrea. “Could you just get out and have a look? Just see if
there’s anything on the road?’ She held her breath. Would her plan work?
8. It did. The passenger slowly opened the car door, leaving her bag inside, and climbed out to investigate. As soon as she was out of the vehicle, Andrea gunned the engine and accelerated away madly. The car door swung shut as she rounded a bend, and soon she had put a good three miles between herself and the awful hitchhiker.
9. It was only then that she thought about the bag lying on the floor in front of her. Maybe the bag would provide some information about the real identity about the ‘old woman’. Pulling into the side of the road, Andrea lifted the heavy bag onto her lap and opened it curiously.
10. It contained only one item – a small hand axe, with a razor-sharp blade. The axe, and the inside of the bag, was covered with the dark red stains of dried blood. Andrea began to scream.
4.1 Choose the correct option.
(a) Andrea lived in ……………………..
(b) A hitchhiker is ……………………..
i. a person who walks long distances
ii. a person who climbs mountains
iii. a person who travels by asking for free rides in other people’s cars
4.2 On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer the following questions.
(a) What were Andrea’s feelings as she drove home? Why?
(b) Why did Andrea stop to offer the old lady a lift?
(c) When did she realize that there was something wrong?
4.3 Pick out the words from the passage which mean the same as the following.
(a) wheezing (para 3)
(b) intuitively (para 6)
5. Read the following passage carefully.
1. India has never subscribed to the doctrine of militarism and war in her history. Here, war was never treated as an ideal. It was only tolerated as unavoidable and inevitable, and all attempts were made to check it and bring it under control. In spite of the frequency of wars in ancient India, in spite of highly developed military organisation, techniques of war and imperialism, and in spite of the open justification of war as national policy, the heart of India loved pacifisms as an ideal capable of realisation. India’s symbolic role was that of a peace-maker and it sincerely pinned its faith on the principle of ‘Live and Let Live’. At least philosophically, India’s intelligence supported the cause of peace not only in national affairs but in international affairs also. All the great seers of the yore visualised the unity of life, permeating all beings, animate or inanimate, which ruled out killing and suicidal wars.
2. This doctrine of philosophical pacifisms, practiced by ancient Aryans, is no doubt a question of controversial nature. Certainly, the great Indian teachers and savants stuck to this doctrine tenaciously and in their personal life, they translated it into practice and preached it to masses and even to the princes of military classes.
3. Another culture of those times, the existence of which has been proved by the excavations of Mohenjo-Daro, also enunciated the doctrine of pacificism and friendship to all. Strangely enough, the Indus Valley Civilization has revealed no fortification and very few weapons.
4. Ahimsa or the doctrine of non-violence in thought, speech, and action assumed gigantic importance in the Buddhist and Jain period. By constant practice of this virtue, man becomes unassailable by even wild beasts, who forgets their ferocity the moment they enter the circumference of his magnetic influence. The monks and nuns of these churches were apostles of peace, who reached every nook and corner of the world and delivered the message of love to war-weary humanity. The greatest votary was the royal monk Ashoka, who in reality was responsible for transforming Ahimsa as an act of personal virtue, to Ahimsa as an act of national virtue.
5. Many historians recounting the causes of the downfall of the Mauryas, hold the pacific policy of Ashoka which had eschewed the aggressive militarism of his predecessors,, responsible for an early decay of the military strength of the state and its consequent disintegration, leading to the rise of Sungas, Kanvas, and Andhras. But in reality, the fault lies with the weak successors of Ashoka, who could not wield the weapon of non-violence with skill and efficiency which required the strength of a spiritual giant-like Ashoka. They failed due to their subjective weakness: Pacifism itself was no cause of their failure.
6. Besides the foregoing philosophical and religious school of thought, even many political authorities gave their unqualified support to the cause of pacifisms. They recognised the right of rivals to exist, not mainly as enemies, but as collaborators in the building of a civilisation operation. Thus, for centuries, in the pre-Mauryan India, scores of small independent republics existed and flourished without coming into the clash with each other.
7. With regard to Kautilya, the much-maligned militarist and the so-called Machiavelli of India, he thinks that the object of diplomacy is to avoid war.
8. The Mahabharata observes in the connection: “A wise man should be content with what can be obtained by the expedients of conciliation, gift, and dissension.” It denounces the warring world of men by comparing it to a dog-kennel. “First there comes the wagging of tails, then turning of one round to other, then the show of teeth, then the roaring and then comes the commencement of the fights. It is the same with men; there is no difference whatever.” Yajnavalkya adds: “War is the last expedient to be used when all others have failed.” Likewise, Sri Krishna who’s Bhagwad-Gita has been styled by some as ‘a song of the battle’, should not be considered militarist. When all the three expedients were exhausted, then alone the fourth resorted.
9. All possible avenues of peace, such as negotiation, conciliation through the conference, meditation, and so on, were explored before the war has resorted. This proves that the heart of ancient India was sound and it longed for peace, although war also was not treated as an anathema, which was to be avoided as far as possible. (Extract from ‘Culture India-Pacifism has been the Ideal’ by Sri [CBSE Sample Paper 2019]
A. On the basis of your understanding of the passage, answer the following questions by choosing the most appropriate option. (1 × 5 = 5 marks)
What does the heart of India love?
(a) A highly developed military organisation
(b) Techniques of wars and imperialism
What does the principle of‘Live and Let Live’ mean?
(c) Frequency of wars among nations
(d) Role of peace-makers
(d) Role of peace-makers
What did Aryans preach and practice to the masses?
(b) Freedom of speech and action
(c) Philosophical pacifisms
(d) Practice of military organisation
(c) Philosophical pacifisms
With what does Mahabharata compare the warring world?
(a) Wise men
(b) Dog kennel
(c) Song of the battle
(b) Dog kennel
What message was delivered by the monks and nuns?
(a) Love to wear-weary humanity
(b) Live and let live
(c) Ahimsa is an act of national virtue
(d) The doctrine of non-violence
(a) Love to wear-weary humanity
B. Answer the following questions briefly. (1 × 7 = 7 marks)
How was war treated in India?
War was never treated as an ideal in India. It was only tolerated as unavoidable and inevitable. All attempts were made to check it and control it.
Describe India’s preparedness for war in spite of their belief in Pacifism.
Highly developed military organisation/techniques of war and imperialism/the open justification of war as national policy.
How did the Aryans practice the Doctrine of Pacifism?
The doctrine of philosophical Pacifism was practised by ancient Aryans. The great Indian teachers and savants stuck to this doctrine tenaciously, practiced, and preached it to the masses and royals.
What is Ahimsa?
Ahimsa is the doctrine of non-violence in thought, speech, and action. It is an act of personal virtue.
What is the meaning of co-existence with rivals?
The right of the rivals to exist, not mainly as enemies but as collaborators in the building of a civilisation operation/co-existence without coming in a clash with each other.
Find a word from the passage (para-1) which means ‘spreading through something and being presented in every part of it’.
Find a word from the passage (para-3) which means ‘to express in definite and clear terms’.
6. Read the poem given below and answer the questions that follow.
The Man He Killed
Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have set us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!
But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.
I shot him dead because
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That’s clear enough; although
He thought he’d ‘list, perhaps,
Off-hand like -just as I —
Was out of work — had sold his traps —
No other reason why.
Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You’d treat, if met where any bar is,
Or help to haifa crown.
– Thomas Hardy
6.1 Choose the correct option.
(a) The word ……………………… rhymes with the word “although’.
iii. both i. and ii.
(b) The word ‘crown’, as used in the last stanza, means ………………………
i. a unit of money
ii. the headdress was worn by a king
iii. the top part of the head or a hat
6.2 On the basis of your reading of the poem, answer the following questions briefly.
(a) What is the rhyming scheme of the first stanza?
(b) Why had the poet shot the man dead?
(c) Find the word in the poem which rhymes with the word ‘because’.
(d) He thought he’d ‘list, perhaps Here, the word “’list’ is a shortened form of which word?
(e) Why does the poet think that war is ‘quaint and curious’?)
(f) Why, according to the poet, had the other man joined the war?
6.3 Pick out the words from the poem which means the same as the following.
(a) tavern (stanza 1)
(b) enemy (stanza 3)
7. Read the poem given below and answer the questions that follow.
1f you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
1f you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream and not make dreams your master;
If you can think, and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hoLd on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings — nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fiLl the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!
– Rudyard Kipling
7.1 Choose the correct option.
(a) The words ‘make allowance for’ means the same as ……………………………..
i. give money to
ii. take into consideration
iii. none of the above
(b) The word …………………………….. rhymes with the word ‘much’.
7.2 On the basis of you reading the poem, answer these questions.
(a) What are the four qualities that are stressed in stanza 1?
(b) What does the poet say of dreaming?
(c) What does the poet say about Triumph and Disaster?
(d) What are the poet’s views on winning and losing?
(e) What does the poet say about walking with kings but not losing the ‘common touch’?
(f) What is the theme of the poem?
7.3 Pick out the words from the poem which means the same as the following.
(a) impersonators (stanza 2)
(b) a strong band of tissue in the body that joins a muscle to a bone (stanza 3)
8. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.
1. Some business had detained me in Chancery Lane, nine in the evening, and thereafter, having some inkling of a headache, I was disinclined either for entertainment or further work. So much of the sky as the high cliffs of that narrow canon of traffic left visible spoke of a serene night, and I determined to make my way down to the Embankment, and rest my eyes and cool my head by watching the variegated lights upon the river. Through the arches of Waterloo Bridge a hundred points of light mark the sweep of the Embankment, and above its parapet rise the towers of Westminster, warm grey against the starlight. ‘A warm night,’ said a voice at my side.
2. I turned my head and saw the profile of a man who was leaning over the parapet beside me. It was a refined face, not unhandsome, though pinched and pale enough, and the coat collar turned up and pinned round the throat marked his status in life as sharply as a uniform. I felt I was committed to the price of a bed and breakfast if I answered him.
3. I looked at him curiously. Would he have anything to tell me worth the money, or was he the common incapable – incapable even of telling his own story? There was a quality of intelligence in his forehead and eyes, and a certain tremulousness in his nether lip that decided me. ‘Very warm,’ said I; ‘but not too warm for us here.’ “No,’ he said, still looking across the water, “it is pleasant enough here…just now.’
4. ‘It is good,’ he continued after a pause, ‘to find anything so restful as this in London. After one has been fretting about business all day, about getting on, meeting obligations, and parrying dangers, I do not know what one would do if it were not for such pacific corners.’ He spoke with long pauses between the sentences. “You must know a little of the irksome labour of the world, or you would not be here. But I doubt if you can be so brain – weary and footsore as I am … Bah! Sometimes I doubt if the game is worth the candle. I feel inclined to throw the whole thing over – name, wealth, and position – and take to some modest trade. But I know if I abandoned my ambition – hardly as she uses me – I should have nothing but remorse left for the rest of my days.’
5. He became silent. I looked at him in astonishment. If ever I saw a man hopelessly hard – up it was the man in front of me. He was ragged and he was dirty, unshaven, and unkempt; he looked as though he had been left in a dust bin for a week. And he was talking to me of the irksome worries of a large business. I almost laughed outright. Either he was mad or playing a sorry jest on his own poverty.
6. ‘If high aims and high positions,’ said I, ‘have their drawbacks of hard work and anxiety, they have their compensations. Influence, the power of doing good, of assisting those weaker and poorer than ourselves; and there is even a certain gratification in-display …’
7. My banter under the circumstances was in the very vile taste. I spoke on the spur of the contrast of his appearance and speech. I was sorry even while I was speaking.
8. He turned a haggard but very composed face upon me. Said he, ‘I forgot myself. Of course, you would not understand.
9. He measured me for a moment. “No doubt it is very absurd. You will not believe me even when I tell you so that it is fairly safe to tell you. And it will be a comfort to tell someone. I really have sa big business in hand, a very big business. But there are troubles just now. The fact is…I make diamonds.’ “I suppose,’ said I, “you are out of work just at present?’
10. “I am sick of being disbelieved,’ he said impatiently, and suddenly unbuttoning his wretched coat he pulled out a little canvas bag that was hanging by a cord round his neck. From this, he produced a brown pebble. ‘I wonder if you know enough to know what that is?’ He handed it to me. I looked at my interlocutor with rising curiosity. “It certainly is rather like a diamond. But, if so, it is a Behemoth of diamonds. Where did you get it?’ “I tell you I made it,’ he said. ‘Give it back to me.’
11. He replaced it hastily and buttoned his jacket. ‘I will sell it to you for one hundred pounds,’ he suddenly whispered eagerly. With that, my suspicions returned. The thing might, after all, be merely a lump of that almost equally hard substance, corundum, with an accidental resemblance in shape to the diamond. Or if it was a diamond, how came he by it, and why should he offer it at a hundred pounds?
12. We looked into one another’s eyes. He seemed eager but honestly eager. At that moment I believed it was a diamond he was trying to sell. Yet I am a poor man, a hundred pounds would leave a visible gap in my fortunes and no sane man would buy a diamond by gaslight from a ragged tramp on his personal warranty only. Still, a diamond that size conjured up a vision of many thousands of pounds. Then, thought I, such a stone could scarcely exist without being mentioned in every book on gems, and again I called to mind the stories of contraband and light-fingered Kaffirs at the Cape. I put the question of purchase on one side.
“How did you get it?’
said I. “I made it.’
Adapted from The Diamond Maker by H.G. Wells
8.1 Choose the correct option.
(a) The word ‘disinclined’ is synonymous to the word ……………………………..
iii. none of the above
(b) The word ……………………………., in paragraph 12, is used to refer to smuggled items.
8.2 On the basis of your reading the passage, answer the questions.
(a) Where did the narrator meet the stranger? Why was he there?
(b) What did the intruder say that startled the narrator?
(c) How did the narrator respond to the impoverished looking intruder’s remark on wealth and position?
(d) What work did the intruder do?
(e) What was the intruder’s offer to the narrator?
8.3 Pick out the words from the passage which mean the same as the following.
(a) multi-colored (para 1)
(b) fatigued (para 8)
9. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.
MT VESUVIUS ERUPTION 79 AD BY PLINY THE YOUNGER (AD 61–113)
My dear Tacitus,
1. You ask me to write you something about the death of my uncle so that the account you transmit to posterity is as reliable as possible. I am grateful to you. He perished in a devastation of the loveliest of lands, in a memorable disaster shared by peoples and cities, but this will be a kind of eternal life for him. Although he wrote a great number of enduring works himself, the imperishable nature of your writings will add a great deal to his survival. It is therefore with great pleasure that I take up, or rather take upon myself the task you have set me.
2. He was at Misenum in his capacity as commander of the fleet on the 24th of August, when in the afternoon my mother drew his attention to a cloud of unusual size and appearance. He was reclining after dinner with his books. He climbed up to where he could get the best view of the phenomenon. The cloud was rising from a mountain – at such a distance we couldn’t tell which I afterward learned that it was Vesuvius. I can best describe its shape by likening it to a pine tree. It rose into the sky on a very long ‘trunk’ from which spread some “branches’. It had been raised by a sudden blast, which then weakened, leaving the cloud unsupported so that its own weight caused it to spread sideways. Some of the clouds was white, in other parts, there were dark patches of dirt and ash. The sight of it made the scientist in my uncle determined to see it from closer at hand.
3. He ordered a boat made ready. He offered me the opportunity of going along, but I preferred to study. As he was leaving the house, he was brought a letter from Tascius’ wife Retina, who was terrified by the looming danger. Her villa lay at the foot of Vesuvius, and there was no way out except by boat. She begged him to get her away. He changed his plans. The expedition that started out as a quest for knowledge now called for courage. He launched the quadriremes and embarked himself, a source of aid for more people than just Rectina, for that delightful shore was a populous one. He hurried to a place from which others were fleeing and held his course directly into danger. Was he afraid? It seems not, as he kept up a continuous observation of the various movements and shapes of that evil cloud, dictating what he saw.
4. Ash was falling onto the ships now, darker and denser the closer they went. Now it was bits of pumice, and rocks that were blackened and burned and shattered by the fire. Now the sea is shoal; debris from the mountain blocks the shore. He paused for a moment wondering whether to turn back as the helmsman urged him. ‘Fortune helps the brave,’ he said, ‘Head for Pomponianus.’
5. At Stabiae, on the other side of the bay formed by the gradually curving shore, Pomponianus had loaded up his ships even before the danger arrived, though it was visible and indeed extremely close, once it intensified. He planned to put out as soon as the contrary wind let up. That very wind carried my uncle right in, and he embraced the frightened man and gave him comfort and courage. In order to lessen the other’s fear by showing his own unconcern, he asked to be taken to the baths. He bathed and dined, carefree or at least appearing so (which is equally impressive). Meanwhile, broad sheets of flame were lighting up many parts of Vesuvius; their light and brightness were more vivid for the darkness of the night.
To alleviate people’s fears my uncle claimed that the flames came from the deserted homes of farmers who had left in a panic with the hearth fires still alight. Then he rested, and gave every indication of actually sleeping; people who passed by his door heard his snores, which were rather resonant since he was a heavy man. The ground outside his room rose so high with the mixture of ash and stones that if he had spent any more time there escape would have been impossible. He got up and came out, restoring himself to Pomponianus and the others who had been unable to sleep.
They discussed what to do, whether to remain undercover or to try the open air. The buildings were being rocked by a series of strong tremors and appeared to have come loose from their foundations and to be sliding this way and that. Outside, however, there was danger from the rocks that were coming down, light and fire – consumed as these bits of pumice were. Weighing the relative dangers they chose the outdoors.
6. They tied pillows on top of their heads as protection against the shower of rock. It was daylight now elsewhere in the world, but there the darkness was darker and thicker than any night. But they had torches and other lights. They decided to go down to the shore, to see from close up if anything was possible by sea. But it remained as rough and uncooperative as before. Resting in the shade of a sail he drank once or twice from the cold water he had asked for. Then came the smell of sulphur, announcing the flames, and the flames themselves, sending others into flight but reviving him. Supported by two small slaves he stood up and immediately collapsed. As I understand it, his breathing was obstructed by the dust-laden air, simply shut down. When daylight came again 2 days after he died, his body was found; he looked more asleep than dead.
7. You will use the important bits, for it is one thing to write a letter, another to write history, one thing to write to a friend, another to write for the public.
Pliny the Younger (AD 61–113)
9.1 Choose the correct option.
(a) The word ‘imperishable’ is the antonym of the word ……………………………..
(b) …………………………….. was at Misenum in his capacity as commander of the fleet.
i. Pliny the Younger
iii. none of the above
9.2 On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer the questions.
(a) Who has written this letter? What is the purpose of writing?
(b) What was the tragedy? Where did it occur?
(c) What was the first indication of the disaster?
(d) What made the narrator’s uncle change his plans?
(e) ‘Fortune helps the brave,’ why did he say so?
(f) How did the uncle try to allay the fears of the other people? What did the uncle die of?
9.3 Pick out the words from the passage which mean the same as the following.
(a) everlasting (para 1)
(b) assuage (para 5)
10. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.
1. I was born in the Rotunda Hospital, on June 5th, 1932. There were nine children before me and twelve after me, so I myself belong to the middle group. Out of this total of twenty – two, seventeen lived, but four died in infancy, leaving thirteen still to hold the family fort.
2. Mine was a difficult birth, I am told. Both mother and son almost died. A whole army of relations queued up outside the hospital until the small hours of the morning waiting for news and praying furiously that it would be good.
3. After my birth Mother was sent to recuperate for some weeks and I was kept in the hospital while she was away. I remained there for some time, without a name, for I wasn’t baptised until my mother was well enough to bring me to church.
4. It was Mother who first saw that there was something wrong with me. I was about four months old at the time. She noticed that my head had a habit of falling backward whenever she tried to feed me. She attempted to correct this by placing her hand on the back of my neck to keep it steady. But when she took it away, back it would drop again. That was the first warning sign. Then she became aware of other defects as I got older.
She saw that my hands were clenched nearly all of the time and were inclined to twine behind my back; my mouth couldn’t grasp the teat of the bottle because even at that early age my jaws would either lock together tightly, so that it was impossible for her to open them, or they would suddenly become limp and fall loose, dragging my whole mouth to one side. At six months I could not sit up without having a mountain of pillows around me. At twelve months it was the same.
5. Very worried by this, Mother told my father her fears, and they decided to seek medical advice without any further delay. I was a little over a year old when they began to take me to hospitals and clinics, convinced that there was something definitely wrong with me, something which they could not understand or name, but which was very real and disturbing.
6. Almost every doctor who saw and examined me labelled me a very interesting but also a hopeless case. Many told Mother very gently that I was mentally defective and would remain so. That was a hard blow to a young mother who had already reared five healthy children. The doctors were so very sure of themselves that Mother’s faith in me seemed almost an impertinence. They assured her that nothing could be done for me.
She refused to accept this truth, the inevitable truth – as it then seemed – that I was beyond cure, beyond saving, even beyond hope. She could not and would not believe that I was an imbecile, as the doctors told her. She had nothing in the world to go by, not a scrap of evidence to support her conviction that, though my body was crippled, my mind was not. In spite of all the doctors and specialists told her, she would not agree. I don’t believe she knew why – she just knew, without feeling the smallest shade of doubt.
8. Finding that the doctors could not help in any way beyond telling her not to place her trust in me, or, in other words, to forget I was a human creature, rather to regard me as just something to be fed and washed and then put away again, Mother decided there and then to take matters into her own hands. I was her child, and therefore part of the family. No matter how dull and incapable I might grow up to be, she was determined to treat me on the same plane as the others, and not as the ‘queer one’ in the back room who was never spoken of when there were visitors present.
9. . That was a momentous decision as far as my future life was concerned. It meant that I would always have my mother on my side to help me fight all the battles that were to come and to inspire me with new strength when I was almost beaten. But it wasn’t easy for her because now the relatives and friends had decided otherwise. They contended that I should be taken kindly, sympathetically, but not seriously. That would be a mistake.
“For your own sake,’ they told her, ‘don’t look to this boy as you would to the others; it would only break your heart in the end.’ Luckily for me, Mother and Father held out against the lot of them. But Mother wasn’t content just to say that I was not an idiot: she set out to prove it, not because of any rigid sense of duty, but out of love. That is why she was so successful.
Adapted from My Left Foot by Christy Brown
10.1 Choose the correct option.
(a) ……………………………. was born in 1932.
i. The narrator’s mother
ii. The narrator’s father
iii. The narrator
(b) A momentous decision is one which is ……………………………..
i. important and crucial
ii. made on the spur of a moment
iii. none of the above
10.2 Answer the following questions briefly.
(a) How did Christy’s mother know that her son was physically impaired?
(b) What diagnosis did the doctors offer to Christy’s mother?
(c) Why did Christy’s mother believe her son was not an idiot?
(d) ‘That was a momentous decision.’ What decision did his mother take about bringing him up?
10.3 Find words from the passage that mean the same as the following.
(a) recover (para 3)
(b) brought up (para 6)