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ACT Question for July 20th

          PROSE FICTION: The following passage is
          adapted from the novel The Valley of Fear by
          Arthur Conan Doyle.

               It was the fourth of February in the year
          1915. It had been a severe winter, and the snow
          lay deep in the gorges of Vermissa Valley. The
          steam ploughs had, however, kept the railroad
(5)     open, and the evening train, which connected the
          long line of coal-mining and iron-
          working towns, was slowly groaning its way up
          the mountain.
               The lamps had just been lit in the first
(10)   passenger car, a long, bare carriage in which
          twenty or thirty people were seated. Most of
          these were workmen returning from their day's work
          as miners in the lower part of the valley. They
          sat smoking in a group, glancing occasionally at
(15)   two men on the opposite side of the car, whose
          uniforms and badges showed them to be
          policemen. In one corner, a young man sat by
          himself. It is with this man that we are
          concerned. Take a good look at him, for he is
(20)   worth it.
               He is a fresh-complexioned, middle-sized
          young man, not far, one would guess, from his
          thirtieth year. He has large, shrewd, humorous
          gray eyes which twinkle inquiringly from time to
(25)   time as he looks round at the people about him.
          It is easy to see that he is of a sociable and
          possibly simple disposition, anxious to be
          friendly to all men. Anyone could pick him at
          once as friendly in his habits and communicative
(30)   in his nature, with a quick wit and a ready smile.
          And yet the man who studied him more closely
          might see a certain firmness of jaw and grim
          tightness about the lips which would warn him
          that there were depths beyond, and that this
(35)   pleasant, brown-haired young Irishman might
          conceivably leave his mark for good or evil upon
          any society to which he was introduced.
               This young traveler gazed out into the dismal
          country with a face of mingled repulsion and
(40)   interest, which showed that the scene was new to
          him. Once from the back of his waist he
          produced something which one would hardly
          have expected to find in the possession of so
          mild-mannered a man. It was a navy revolver of
(45)   the largest size. As he turned it slantwise to the
          light, the glint upon the rims of the copper
          shells within the drum showed that it was fully
          loaded. He quickly restored it to his secret
          pocket, but not before it had been observed by a
(50)   working man who had seated himself upon the
          adjoining bench.
               "Hello, friend!" said he. "You look armed and
               The young man smiled with an air of
(55)   embarrassment.
               "Yes," said he, "we need them sometimes in
          the place I come from."
               "And where may that be?"
               "I'm last from Chicago."
(60)        "A stranger in these parts?"
               "You may find you need it here," said the
               "Ah! is that so?" The young man seemed
(65)   interested.
               "Have you heard nothing of doings
               "Nothing unusual."
               "Why, I thought everyone talked about what
(70)   goes on in Vermissa. You'll hear quick enough.
          What made you come here?"
               "I heard there was always work for a willing
               "Are you a member of the union?"
(75)        "Sure."
               "Then you'll get your job, I guess. Have you
          any friends?"
               "Not yet; but I have the means of making
(80)        "How's that, then?"
               "I am one of the Eminent Order of Freemen.
          There's no town without a lodge, and where
          there is a lodge I'll find my friends."
               The remark had a singular effect
(85)   upon his companion. He glanced round
          suspiciously at the others in the car. The miners
          were still whispering among themselves. The
          two police officers were dozing. He came across,
          seated himself close to the young traveler, and
(90)   held out his hand.
               "Put it there," he said.
               A handshake passed between the two.
               "I see you speak the truth," said the
          workman. "But it's well to make certain." He
(95)  raised his right hand to his right eyebrow. The
          traveler at once raised his left hand to his left
               "Dark nights are unpleasant," said the
(100)      "Yes, for strangers to travel," the other
               "That's good enough. I'm Brother Scanlan,
          Lodge 341, Vermissa Valley. Glad to see you in
          these parts."
(105)      "Thank you. I'm Brother John McMurdo, Lodge
          29, Chicago. But I am in luck to meet a brother
          so early."
               "Well, there are plenty of us about. You won't
          find the order more flourishing anywhere in the
(110) States than right here in Vermissa Valley. But we
          could do with some lads like you. I can't
          understand a spry man of the union finding no
          work to do in Chicago."
               "It's early days to talk of such things," said
(115) McMurdo with the air of a man who had been
          surprised into saying more than he intended.
          "I've my own good reasons for leaving Chicago,
          and let that be enough for you. Who are you that
          you should take it on yourself to ask such
(120) things?" His gray eyes gleamed with
          sudden and dangerous anger.

All of the following things are stated about McMurdo in the passage EXCEPT that he is:

The best answer is NOT A because he is described as “sociable” (line 26) and “anxious to be friendly to all” (line 27-28).

The best answer is NOT B because he is described in line 21 as “middle-sized.”

The best answer is C because the narrator states that McMurdo “might conceivably leave his mark for good or evil upon any society to which he was introduced” (lines 35-37), not that he would definitely commit an evil deed.

The best answer is NOT D because he is described in line 43-44 as “so mild-mannered a man.”

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Question ID: 1272