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Reading  Comprehension


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Read the passage carefully. Then choose the correct answer.
Suddenly Larry became aware of the faint but distinct sound of another motor. He peered off into the darkness on his starboard side, and after a few moments was able to make out the outlines of an old-fashioned Chinese junk, her hull gracefully rounded, her aft deck high above the waterline, her multicolored sails flapping. But this was no ordinary junk that depended on sails and wind for power. Apparently she was equipped with a diesel engine, and cut swiftly through the water.

She seemed to be heading in Larry's general direction, and he was afraid that she might be a patrol ship operated by the Tientsin harbor militia. Perhaps something suspicious had been noted, and she was coming to investigate.

Using an aluminium oar painted dark green as a rudder, he immediately steered toward the sheltering rocks of the natural reef off to his port side. Although his knowledge of the sea was limited, he had been taught what to do in just such an emergency and reacted at once. if men on the junk were searching for an intruder he and his little boat would be at least partly visible against a background of the twenty-foot-high dark rocks, so he headed around their point to the water beyond them, hoping to put them between him and his possible pursuers.

Then he felt a wave of panic. The nylon line, many hundreds of yards long, that still bound him to the Shark might become fouled in the blades of the junk's motor. If that should happen the harbor militiamen might catch sight of the submarine's camouflaged sail at the outer side of the harbor. An alarm would be given and the Chinese would discover that an American warship had crept into the waters off Tientsin.

Larry reached down to his heel, tapped on it, and drew his knife. He would cut the line rather than risk placing the crew of the Shark in jeopardy. But he paused with his hand only a few inches from the rapidly uncoiling line. His own chances of escaping detection would be severely decreased if he cut the line, as it would be difficult for him to dispose of the rubber boat and outboard motor. In case of absolute necessity he would sink it, as he had been taught, but an oil slick might rise to the surface or a small part might come loose and float. If the craft or any portion of it should be found there was a chance that the authorities would suspect that an alien agent had landed, making his job all the more difficult.

He played out an extra hundred yards of the line and held his breath as the junk cut between him and the submarine. He began to perspire heavily, even though the night was bitterly cold. Then the junk glided on, the blades of her motor still purring smoothly. The weight of the waterlogged line had hauled it deep beneath the surface of the sea, and the junk had passed over it.

As nearly as he could guess, the men on board suspected no unusual activity. If they were harbor militia they were simply making a routine inspection and had seen nothing out of the ordinary.

Another ten minutes passed before Larry heard the gentle slap-slap of water against smooth stones. He knew that directly ahead was the five-hundred-year-old seawall built by the slaves of a mighty Chinese emperor. The end of his journey was at hand. He could no longer make out even the haziest outline of the Shark's sail, and was certain that he couldn't be seen from the ship either. He opened a flap on the bottom of the rubber boat and drew out an infrared light shaped like a pencil. Leaping onto the seawall, he snapped on the light and swung it in a wide arc, very slowly and deliberately, three times.

Since Captain Richard's binoculars were fitted with an infrared sighting device, the skipper of the Shark would know that Larry had landed safely. Finally the line became taut, and the rubber boat began to move, silently and seemingly under its own power. Suddenly, Larry remembered that he was still clutching the infrared light. He squinted, lobbed it, and heaved a sigh of relief when he heard a slight thud as it landed inside the boat. A moment later the craft disappeared from sight, and Larry checked his watch. Trusted members of the crew had practiced this part of the operation repeatedly. So he knew that it would take them three and a half minutes to haul the boat out to the Shark, two minutes to prepare for submersion, and another two to get under way.

He had penetrated the Bamboo Curtain successfully; now the time had come for him to look after himself.


The presence of the junk made Larry nervous because he ______.

    (A) was an alien agent and could be caught
    (B) had not completed his assignment
    (C) had no permission to be there
    (D) was worried about his friends
  2. Why did he paddle his boat to a place behind the rocks ?
    (A) He needed to send the signal.
    (B) He was meeting someone there.
    (C) He wanted to hide from the junk.
    (D) He hoped the junk would smash against them.

"Then he felt a wave of panic." This panic was caused by the ______.

    (A) American warship further out
    (B) presence of the nylon line
    (C) militia harbor patrol
    (D) kind of junk he saw
  4. Larry was reluctant to cut the nylon line because ______.
    (A) of the difficulty of getting rid of the boat
    (B) it was a noisy and difficult operation
    (C) it may arouse suspicion
    (D) he still needed the boat
  5. Larry was perspiring due to ______.
    (A) the cold night
    (B) rowing the boat
    (C) pulling the line
    (D) his great anxiety
  6. Which of the following statements is not true ?
    (A) Larry is very well-trained for his job.
    (B) Larry came to live and work in China.
    (C) Larry cared for his friends on the Shark
    (D) Larry's operation was well planned.
  7. Larry's purpose of signaling the submarine was to ______.
    (A) get rid of his rubber boat
    (B) tell them that he was already ashore
    (C) send the Shark and its crew away
    (D) let Captain Richards see his light
  8. The line became taut after he sent his signal. This happened because the ______.
    (A) line was caught against the junk
    (B) tide was pulling against the line
    (C) Shark was pulling the line in
    (D) line was entangled among the rocks
  9. What finally happened to Larry's rubber boat ?
    (A) It was sunk together with its motor.
    (B) It was taken by the Chinese junk.
    (C) It was abandoned at the seawall.
    (D) It was returned to the submarine.
  10 From the passage, Larry is obviously a ______.
    (A) spy
    (B) seaman
    (C) Chinese
    (D) boatman
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  Answers : 1A   2C   3B   4A   5D   6B   7A   8C   9D   10A

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