ACT Reading Practice Questions II

Questions 11-20 pertain to the following passage:

This passage is adapted from “Sailing Around the World” by Capt. Joshua Slocum (1899).

I had not been in Buenos Aires for a number of years. The place where I had once landed from packets in a cart was now built up with magnificent docks. Vast fortunes had been spent in remodeling the harbor; London bankers could tell you that. The port captain after assigning the Spray a safe berth with his compliments sent me word to call on him for anything I might want while in port and I felt quite sure that his friendship was sincere. The sloop was well cared for at Buenos Aires; her dockage and tonnage dues were all free, and the yachting fraternity of the city welcomed her with a good will. In town, I found things not so greatly changed as about the docks and I soon felt myself more at home.

From Montevideo I had forwarded a letter from Sir Edward Hairby to the owner of the “Standard”, MrMulhall, and in reply to it was assured of a warm welcome to the warmest heart, I think, outside of Ireland. MrMulhall, with a prancing team, came down to the docks as soon as the Spray was berthed, and would have me go to his house at once, where a room was waiting. And it was New Year’s day, 1896. The course of the Spray had been followed in the columns of the “Standard.”


MrMulhall kindly drove me to see many improvements about the city, and we went in search of some of the old landmarks. The man who sold lemonade on the plaza when first I visited this wonderful city I found selling lemonade still at two cents a glass; he had made a fortune by it. His stock in trade was a wash tub and a neighboring hydrant, a moderate supply of brown sugar, and about six lemons that floated on the sweetened water. The water from time to time was renewed from the friendly pump. but the lemon “went on forever,” and all at two cents a glass.

But we looked in vain for the man who once sold whisky and coffins in Buenos Aires; the march of civilization had crushed him — memory only clung to his name. Enterprising man that he was, I fain would have looked him up. I remember the tiers of whisky barrels, ranged on end, on one side of the store, while on the other side, and divided by a thin partition, were the coffins in the same order, of all sizes and in great numbers. The unique arrangement seemed in order, for as a cask was emptied a coffin might be filled. Besides cheap whisky and many other liquors, he sold “cider” which he manufactured from damaged Malaga raisins. Within the scope of his enterprise was also the sale of mineral waters, not entirely blameless of the germs of disease. This man surely catered to all the tastes, wants, and conditions of his customers.

Farther along in the city, however, survived the good man who wrote on the side of his store, where thoughtful men might read and learn: “This wicked world will be destroyed by a comet! The owner of this store is therefore bound to sell out at any price and avoid the catastrophe.” My friend MrMulhall drove me round to view the fearful comet with streaming tail pictured large on the merchant’s walls.

11. The passage suggests that the Spray was
A. A packet.
B. A sailboat.
C. A bus.
D. A jet of water.

12. The author found that, since his previous visit, the greatest changes in Buenos Aires had taken place:
F. Downtown.
G. At the harbor.
H. At a lemonade stand.
J. At the bank.

13. The author was shown around Buenos Aires by Mr. Mulhall. How did he come to know Mr. Mulhall?
A. They had previously met in Ireland.
B. They had met on the author’s first visit to the city.
C. They met through a letter of introduction.
D. They met on the docks.

14. The passage suggests that the “Standard” was
F. A steam packet.
G. A sailboat.
H. A newspaper.
J. An ocean chart.

15. The author uses the term “landmarks” to refer to
A. Monuments.
B. Merchants.
C. Banks.
D. Buildings.

16. The passage suggests that the lemonade vendor used fresh lemons
F. Whenever the flavor got weak.
G. Every morning.
H. Almost never.
J. When he could get them.

17. The meaning of the word “fain” is closest to
A. Anxiously.
B. Willingly.
C. Desperately.
D. Indifferently.

18. The description of the mineral waters sold by the whiskey merchant suggests that these waters
F. Could cure disease.
G. Were held in casks.
H. Were not very clean.
J. Were mixed with the cider.

19. The passage suggests that the merchant with the picture of the comet on his walls had
A. Malaga raisins.
B. Been in Buenos Aires when the author first visited.
C. Painted the sign himself.
D. Lived for a very long time.

20. The sign warning that a comet would cause the end of the world was most likely
F. An advertising gimmick.
G. A reflection of the merchant’s paranoia.
H. A way to cover an unsightly wall.
J. Written about in the “Standard.”

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