SAT Reading - Khan Diagnostic Quiz level 3 - reading 18

Questions 1-11 are based on the following passage.

This passage is adapted from Mark Twain, "Roughing It." Originally published in 1872.

My brother had just been appointed Secretary of Nevada
Territory—an office of such majesty that it concentrated in
itself the duties and dignities of Treasurer, Comptroller,
Secretary of State, and Acting Governor in the Governor's
5 absence. A salary of eighteen hundred dollars a year and the
title of "Mr. Secretary," gave to the great position an air of
wild and imposing grandeur. I was young and ignorant, and I
envied my brother. I coveted his distinction and his financial
splendor, but particularly and especially the long, strange
10 journey he was going to make, and the curious new world he
was going to explore. He was going to travel! I never had
been away from home, and that word "travel" had a seductive
charm for me. Pretty soon he would be hundreds and
hundreds of miles away on the great plains and deserts, and
15 among the mountains of the Far West, and would see
buffaloes and Indians, and prairie dogs, and antelopes, and
have all kinds of adventures, and have ever such a fine time,
and write home and tell us all about it, and be a hero. And he
would see the gold mines and the silver mines, and maybe go
20 about of an afternoon when his work was done, and pick up
two or three pailfuls of shining slugs, and nuggets of gold
and silver on the hillside. And by and by he would become
very rich, and return home by sea, and be able to talk as
calmly about San Francisco and the ocean, and "the isthmus"
25 as if it was nothing of any consequence to have seen those
marvels face to face.
What I suffered in contemplating his happiness, pen
cannot describe. And so, when he offered me, in cold blood,
the sublime position of private secretary under him, it
30 appeared to me that the heavens and the earth passed away,
and the firmament was rolled together as a scroll! I had
nothing more to desire. My contentment was complete.
At the end of an hour or two I was ready for the journey.
Not much packing up was necessary, because we were going
35 in the overland stage from the Missouri frontier to Nevada,
and passengers were only allowed a small quantity of
baggage apiece. There was no Pacific railroad in those fine
times of ten or twelve years ago—not a single rail of it. I
only proposed to stay in Nevada three months—I had no
40 thought of staying longer than that. I meant to see all I could
that was new and strange, and then hurry home to business. I
little thought that I would not see the end of that three-month
pleasure excursion for six or seven uncommonly long years!
I dreamed all night about Indians, deserts, and silver bars,
45 and in due time, next day, we took shipping at the St. Louis
wharf on board a steamboat bound up the Missouri River.
We were six days going from St. Louis to "St. Jo."—a trip
that was so dull, and sleepy, and eventless that it has left no
more impression on my memory than if its duration had been
50 six minutes instead of that many days. No record is left in my
mind, now, concerning it, but a confused jumble of savage-
looking snags, which our boat deliberately walked over with
one wheel * or the other; and of reefs which we butted and
butted, and then retired from and climbed over in some softer
55 place; and of sand-bars which we roosted on occasionally,
and rested, and then got out our crutches and sparred over.
In fact, the boat might almost as well have gone to St. Jo.
by land, for she was walking most of the time, anyhow—
climbing over reefs and clambering over snags patiently and
60 laboriously all day long. The captain said she was a "bully"
boat, and all she wanted was more "shear" and a bigger
wheel. I thought she wanted a pair of stilts, but I had the deep
sagacity not to say so.

*The narrator is on a paddle steamer, a boat that uses steam power to turn a large wheel in the rear of the boat.

 
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