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This passage is excerpted from Charlotte Bronte, Villette. Originally published in 1853. In this chapter, the narrator and her host, Mrs.
Bretton, are trying to occupy a young girl, Paulina, who is staying with them.
One afternoon, Mrs. Bretton, coaxing [Paulina] from her usual station in a corner, had lifted her into the window-seat, and, by way of occupying her attention, told her to watch the passengers and count how many ladies should go down the street in a given time. She had sat listlessly, hardly looking, and not counting, when—my eye being ﬁxed on hers—I witnessed in its iris and pupil a startling transﬁguration. These sudden, dangerous natures—sensitive as they are called—offer many a curious spectacle to those whom a cooler temperament has secured from participation in their angular vagaries. The ﬁxed and heavy gaze swum, trembled, then glittered in ﬁre; the small, overcast brow cleared; the trivial and dejected features lit up; the sad countenance vanished, and in its place appeared a sudden eagerness, an intense expectancy. "It is!" were her words.
Like a bird or a shaft, or any other swift thing, she was gone from the room. How she got the house-door open I cannot tell; probably it might be ajar; perhaps Warren was in the way and obeyed her behest, which would be impetuous enough. I—watching calmly from the window—saw her, in her black frock and tiny braided apron (to pinafores she had an antipathy), dart half the length of the street; and, as I was on the point of turning, and quietly announcing to Mrs.
Bretton that the child was run out mad, and ought instantly to be pursued, I saw her caught up, and rapt at once from my cool observation, and from the wondering stare of the passengers. A gentleman had done this good turn, and now, covering her with his cloak, advanced to restore her to the house whence he had seen her issue.
I concluded he would leave her in a servant's charge and withdraw; but he entered: having tarried a little while below, he came up-stairs.
His reception immediately explained that he was known to Mrs. Bretton. She recognised him; she greeted him, and yet she was ﬂuttered, surprised, taken unawares. Her look and manner were even expostulatory; and in reply to these, rather than her words, he said,—"I could not help it, madam: I found it impossible to leave the country without seeing with my own eyes how she settled.""But you will unsettle her."
"I hope not. And how is papa's little Polly?"
This question he addressed to Paulina, as he sat down and placed her gently on the ground before him.
"How is Polly's papa?" was the reply, as she leaned on his knee, and gazed up into his face.
It was not a noisy, not a wordy scene: for that I was
thankful; but it was a scene of feeling too brimful, and which, because the cup did not foam up high or furiously overﬂow, only oppressed one the more. On all occasions of vehement, unrestrained expansion, a sense of disdain or ridicule comes
to the weary spectator's relief; whereas I have ever felt most burdensome that sort of sensibility which bends of its own will, a giant slave under the sway of good sense.
Mr. Home was a stern-featured—perhaps I should rather say, a hard-featured man: his forehead was knotty, and his cheekbones were marked and prominent. The character of his face was quite Scotch; but there was feeling in his eye, and emotion in his now agitated countenance. His northern accent in speaking harmonised with his physiognomy. He was at once proud-looking and homely-looking. He laid his hand on the child's uplifted head. She said—"Kiss Polly."
He kissed her. I wished she would utter some hysterical cry, so that I might get relief and be at ease. She made wonderfully little noise: she seemed to have got what she wanted—all she wanted, and to be in a trance of content. Neither in mien nor in features was this creature like her sire, and yet she was of his strain: her mind had been ﬁlled from his, as the cup from the ﬂagon.
QUESTION 1 OF 11
Over the course of the passage, the main focus shifts from
A a critique of the treatment of children to a depiction of a particular childs situation.
B observations of a characters mental state to a domestic reunion.
C the opinions stated by one character to the opposing views asserted by another.
D the description of a character’s past to a prediction about the character’s future.
QUESTION 2 OF 11
In the passage, the narrator characterizes Paulina as someone who goes from
A dissatisﬁed to content.
B confused to understanding.
C angry to experiencing catharsis.
D contented to ecstatic.
QUESTION 3 OF 11
In the ﬁrst paragraph, the words “swum,” “trembled,” and “glittered"primarily serve to
A describe the atmosphere Mr. Homes presence creates in the room.
B reveal that Paulina has become upset by what she has seen.
C emphasize Paulina’s excitement at what she has seen.
D characterize the effect Paulina’s boredom has had on her appearance.
QUESTION 4 OF 11
According to the passage, Paulina cries, “It is!” (line 15 (“"It is!"”)) because
A she is trying to entertain herself.
B she perceives the narrator’s gaze as a challenge.
C she has made a mistake she refuses to recognize.
D she has recognized her father on the street.
QUESTION 5 OF 11
In lines 16–17 (“Like a bird or a shaft, or any other swift thing, she was gone from the room.”), the description of Paulina’s disappearance mainly serves to
A show a physical response from Paulina that parallels her emotional response.
B demonstrate how the narrator’s reaction to the scene outside affects Paulina.
C show the lack of security in the household and why it is not suitable for Paulina.
D highlight Paulina’s excitable and easily dissatisﬁed nature.
QUESTION 6 OF 11
As used in line 22 (“dart”), “dart” most nearly means
QUESTION 7 OF 11
Based on the narrator’s initial reaction to Mr. Home, it can be reasonably inferred that the narrator assumes Mr. Home is
A Paulina’s father.
B an acquaintance of Mrs. Bretton.
C a stranger.
D a servant named Warren.
QUESTION 8 OF 11
Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?
A lines 18–20 (“Perhaps . . . enough”)(“perhaps Warren was in the way and obeyed her behest, which would be impetuous enough.”)
B lines 30–31 (“I . . . withdraw”)(“I concluded he would leave her in a servant's charge and withdraw;”)
C lines 33–34 (“His . . .Mrs. Bretton”)(“His reception
immediately explained that he was known to Mrs. Bretton.”)
D lines 44–45 (“How . . . face”)(“"How is Polly's papa?" was the reply, as she leaned on his knee, and gazed up into his face.”) QUESTION 9 OF 11Based on the description of Mr. Home’s encounter with Mrs. Bretton, it can reasonably be inferred thatA Mrs. Bretton has attempted to prevent Mr. Home from seeing Paulina.
B Mr. Home feels comfortable enough with Mrs. Bretton to address her by a nickname.
C Mr. Home has come for a regularly-scheduled visit with Paulina.
D Mrs. Bretton was not expecting to see Mr. Home.
QUESTION 10 OF 11
Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?
A lines 34–35 (“She . . . unawares”)(“She recognised him; she greeted him, and yet she was ﬂuttered, surprised, taken unawares.”)
B lines 35–36 (“Her . . . expostulatory”)(“Her look and manner were even expostulatory;”) C line 40 (“But . . . her”)(“"But you will unsettle her."”)
D line 41 (“And . . . Polly”)(“And how is papa's little Polly?"”) QUESTION 11 OF 11
The description of Mr. Home in paragraph 10 (lines 54–61
(“Mr. Home was a stern-featured—perhaps I should rather say, a hard-featured man: his forehead was knotty, and his cheekbones were
marked and prominent. The character of his face was quite Scotch; but there was feeling in his eye, and emotion in his now agitated
countenance. His northern accent in speaking harmonised with his physiognomy. He was at once proud-looking and homely-looking. He laid his hand on the child's uplifted head. She said—"Kiss Polly."”)) primarily serves toA demonstrate the duality of his character. B emphasize his hard, cold nature. C show the strong and obvious love he has for Paulina.
D reinforce his state of confusion.