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SAT Reading Practice: Long Passages (Grades 11-12)

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SAT Reading Practice: Long Passages

Excerpt from “How to Be Happy Though Married” by Edward John Hardy, 1887

1 Whether a man shall be made or marred by marriage greatly depends upon the choice
2 he makes of a wife. Nothing is better than a good woman, nor anything worse than
3 a bad one.

4 Before taking the irrevocable step choose well, for your choice though brief is
5 yet endless. And, first, we make the obvious suggestion that it is useless to seek
6 perfection in a wife, even though you may fancy yourself capable of giving an
7 adequate return as did the author of the following advertisement: "Wanted by a
8 Young Gentleman just beginning Housekeeping, a Lady between Eighteen and Twenty- 9 five Years of Age, with a good Education, and a Fortune not less than Five
10 Thousand Pounds; Sound Wind and Limb, Five Feet Four Inches without her shoes;
11 Not Fat, nor yet too lean; Good Set of Teeth; No Pride nor Affectation; Not very
12 Talkative, nor one that is deemed a Scold; but of a Spirit to Resent an Affront;
13 of a Charitable Disposition; not Over-fond of Dress, though always Decent and
14 Clean; that will Entertain her Husband's Friends with Affability and
15 Cheerfulness, and Prefer his Company to Public Diversions and gadding about; one
16 who can keep his secrets, that he may open his Heart to her without reserve on
17 all Occasions; that can extend domestic Expenses with Economy, as Prosperity
18 advances, without Ostentation; and Retrench them with Cheerfulness, if occasion
19 should require. Any Lady disposed to Matrimony, answering this Description, is
20 desired to direct for Y. Z., at the Baptist's Head Coffee-house, Aldermanbury.
21 N.B.—The Gentleman can make adequate Return, and is, in every Respect, deserving
22 a Lady with the above Qualifications."

23 This reminds us of the old lady who told her steward she wished him to attend a
24 neighbouring fair in order to buy her a cow. She explained to him that it must
25 be young, well-bred, fine in the skin, a strawberry in colour, straight in the
26 back, and not given to breaking through fences when it smelt clover on the other
27 side; above all, it was not to cost more than ten pounds. The steward, who was a
28 Scotchman, and a privileged old servant, bowed his head and replied reverently, 29 "Then, my lady, I think ye had better kneel down and pray for her, for ye'll get
30 her nae other way, I'm thinkin'."

31 While the possession of a little money is by no means a drawback, those do not
32 well consult their happiness who marry for money alone.

33 "In many a marriage made for gold,
34 The bride is bought—and the bridegroom sold."

35 Better to have a fortune in your wife than with her. "My wife has made my
36 fortune," said a gentleman of great possessions, "by her thrift, prudence, and
37 cheerfulness, when I was just beginning." "And mine has lost my fortune,"
38 answered his companion, bitterly, "by useless extravagance, and repining when I
39 was doing well." The girl who brings to her husband a large dowry may also bring
40 habits of luxury learned in a rich home. She may be almost as incapable of
41 understanding straitened circumstances as was the lady of the court of Louis
42 XVI., who, on hearing of people starving, exclaimed, "Poor creatures! No bread
43 to eat! Then let them eat cakes!"

44 Nor is it wise to marry for beauty alone: as even the finest landscape, seen
45 daily, becomes monotonous, so does the most beautiful face, unless a beautiful
46 nature shine through it. The beauty of to-day becomes commonplace to-morrow;
47 whereas goodness, displayed through the most ordinary features, is perennially
48 lovely. Moreover, this kind of beauty improves with age, and time ripens rather
49 than destroys it. No man is so much to be pitied as the husband of a
50 "professional beauty." Yet beauty, when it betokens health, or when it is the
51 outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, is valuable, and has
52 a great power of winning affection.

53 Above all things do not marry a fool who will shame you and reveal your secrets.
54 The wife who does not and cannot make use of reason to overcome the daily
55 difficulties of domestic life, and who can in no sense be called the companion
56 of her husband, is a mate who hinders rather than helps. Sooner or later a
57 household must fall into the hands of its women, and sink or swim according to
58 their capacities. It is hard enough for a man to be married to a bad woman; but
59 for a man who marries a foolish woman there is no hope.
The primary purpose of the passage is to
  1. share wisdom from one's own marital experience.
  2. offer practical advice to eligible bachelors.
  3. argue against the notion that a man must marry.
  4. help women develop traits to become better wives.
Which choice provides the best evidence for the question above?
  1. Lines 1-3 ("")
  2. Lines 5-7 ("And, first,...advertisement")
  3. Lines 31-32 ("While...alone.")
  4. Line 35 ("Better...her.")
As used in line 4, "irrevocable" most nearly means:
  1. verified
  2. unable to be changed
  3. lacking in wisdom
  4. petrified
The inclusion of the quote in lines 33-34 has which effect?
  1. It lauds men who have married up in society.
  2. It encourages young women to seek their own fortunes.
  3. It promotes accepting a dowry when getting married.
  4. It extols the dangers of marrying for money.
It can be most directly inferred from the final paragraph of the passage that marrying a foolish woman
  1. is the worst decision a man could make.
  2. has little effect on the success of a marriage.
  3. results in a great loss of fortune and good standing.
  4. makes it difficult for a couple to have and raise children.
Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?
  1. Line 53 ("Above...secrets.")
  2. Lines 54-56 ("The...helps.")
  3. Lines 56-58 ("Sooner...capacities.")
  4. Lines 58-59 ("It...hope."
As used in line 47, the word "perennially" most nearly means:
  1. never
  2. unchanging
  3. over a century
  4. year by year
With which statement would the author of the passage most heartily agree?
  1. Any woman will do when choosing a wife.
  2. A man should take considerable care to choose a good wife.
  3. Choosing a wife depends primarily on one's financial position.
  4. A woman desperate to find a husband is not a good woman to choose.

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