CSSE 2004 English Paper

Click on “MATERIALS” above to see the comprehension text.
The passage is from “Tobermory” by H. H. Munro.
To the left of each line you will see the lines have been numbered.
This will help you when answering the questions.
Spend about 8 minutes reading the text.
You will have 32 minutes to complete the test.
  1.     The mist, helped by the evening darkness, hid the ruts into which his feet were liable to slip – hid

  2.     everything, so that he had to guide his steps by dragging his whip along the low bushes in

  3.     advance of the hedgerow. He must soon, he thought, be getting near the opening at the Stone-

  4.     pits: he should find it out by the break in the hedgerow. He found it out, however, by another

  5.     circumstance which he had not expected – namely, by certain gleams of light, which he presently

  6.     guessed to proceed from Silas Marner’s cottage. Dunstan was tired of feeling his way. He was still

  7.     nearly three-quarters of a mile from home, and the lane was becoming unpleasantly slippery, for

  8.     the mist was passing into rain. He turned up the bank, not without some fear lest he might miss

  9.     the right way, since he was not certain whether the light were in front or on the side of the

  10.     cottage. But he felt the ground before him cautiously with his whip-handle, and at last arrived

  11.     safely at the door. He knocked loudly, rather enjoying the idea that the old fellow would be

  12.     frightened at the sudden noise. He heard no movement in reply: all was silence in the cottage.

  13.     Was the weaver gone to bed, then? If so, why had he left a light? That was a strange forgetfulness

  14.     in a miser. Dunstan knocked still more loudly, and, without pausing for a reply, pushed his fingers

  15.     through the latch-hole, intending to shake the door and pull the latch-string up and down, not

  16.     doubting that the door was fastened. But, to his surprise, at this double motion the door opened,

  17.     and he found himself in front of a bright fire which lit up every corner of the cottage – the bed,

  18.     the loom, the three chairs, and the table– and showed him that Marner was not there.

  19.     Nothing at that moment could be much more inviting to Dunsey than the bright fire on the

  20.     brick hearth: he walked in and seated himself by it at once. There was something in front of the

  21.     fire, too, that would have been inviting to a hungry man, if it had been in a different stage of

  22.     cooking. It was a small bit of pork suspended from the kettle-hanger by a string passed through

  23.     a large door-key, in a way known to primitive housekeepers unpossessed of jacks. But the pork had been hung at the

  24.     farthest extremity of the hanger, apparently to prevent the roasting from proceeding too rapidly

  25.     during the owner’s absence. The old staring simpleton had hot meat for his supper, then? thought

  26.     Dunstan. People had always said he lived on mouldy bread, on purpose to check his appetite.

  27.     But where could he be at this time, and on such an evening, leaving his supper in this stage of

  28.     preparation, and his door unfastened? Dunstan’s own recent difficulty in making his way

  29.     suggested to him that the weaver had perhaps gone outside his cottage to fetch in fuel, or for

  30.     some such brief purpose, and had slipped into the Stone-pit. That was an interesting idea to

  31.     Dunstan, carrying consequences of entire novelty. If the weaver was dead, who had a right to his

  32.     money? Who would know where his money was hidden? Who would know that anybody had

  33.     come to take it away? He went no farther into the subtleties of evidence: the pressing question,

  34.     “Where is the money?” now took such entire possession of him as to make him quite forget that

  35.     the weaver’s death was not a certainty.

  36.     There were only three hiding-places where he had ever heard of cottagers’ hoards being found:

  37.    the thatch, the bed, and a hole in the floor. Marner’s cottage had no thatch; and Dunstan’s first

  38.     act, after a train of thought made rapid by the stimulus of cupidity, was to go up to the bed; but

  39.     while he  did so, his eyes travelled eagerly over the floor, where the bricks, distinct in the fire-light,

  40.     were discernible under the sprinkling of sand. But not everywhere; for there was one spot, and

  41.     one only,  which was quite covered with sand, and sand showing the marks of fingers, which had

  42.     apparently been careful to spread it over a given space. It was near the treddles of the loom. In

  43.     an instant Dunstan darted to that spot, swept away the sand with his whip, and, inserting the thin

  44.     end of the hook between the bricks, found that they were loose. In haste he lifted up two bricks,

  45.     and saw what he had no doubt was the object of his search; for what could there be but money

  46.     in those two leather bags? And, from their weight, they must be filled with guineas. Dunstan felt

  47.     round the hole, to be certain that it held no more; then hastily replaced the bricks, and spread the

  48.     sand over them. Hardly more than five minutes had passed since he entered the cottage, but it

  49.     seemed to Dunstan like a long while; and though he was without any distinct recognition of the

  50.     possibility that Marner might be alive, and might re-enter the cottage at any moment, he felt an

  51.     undefinable dread laying hold on him, as he rose to his feet with the bags in his hand. He would

  52.     hasten out into the darkness, and then consider what he should do with the bags. He closed the

  53.     door behind him immediately, that he might shut in the stream of light: a few steps would be

  54.     enough to carry him beyond betrayal by the gleams from the shutter-chinks and the latch-hole. The rain and

  55.     darkness had got thicker, and he was glad of it; though it was awkward walking with both hands

  56.     filled, so that it was as much as he could do to grasp his whip along with one of the bags. But

  57.     when he had gone a yard or two, he might take his time. So he stepped forward into the darkness.