English Olympiad

Are you interested in learning English? Check yourself and do English Olympiad Year 10 Reading Test 3

Reading Comprehension Test for Year 10 Students

The Verger

Glossary: a verger – someone who looks after the church (церковний служитель)

Albert Edward Foreman had been a verger at St. Peter’s, a fashionable church in Neville Square, London, for sixteen years. Albert Edward was very proud of his job and his church. But there was one special feature about Albert: he couldn’t read or write. When one day a new vicar discovered this, he told him that unless he learnt to read and write within three months, he would lose his job. Albert Edward refused and the vicar gave him a month’s notice to leave. That evening Albert sadly locked the church and began to walk home. It occurred to him now that a cigarette would comfort him and since he did not carry them he looked around for a shop where he could buy a packet of cigarettes. He did not at once see it and walked on a little. It was a long street but there was not a single shop where you could buy cigarettes.

“That’s strange,” said Albert Edward. ”I can’t be the only man who walks along this street and wants a cigarette”, he said.” A person who had a little shop here selling tobacco and sweets would do very well”.

He stopped suddenly. “That’s an idea”, he said. ”Strange how things come to you when you least expect it.”

Next day, by good luck, he found a little shop to let that looked as though it would exactly suit him. A month after he left St. Peter’s, Neville Square, Albert Edward Foreman set up in business as a tobacconist and newsagent. Albert did very well. He did so well that in course of ten years he had acquired no less than ten shops and he was making money hand over fist. He went round to all of them himself every Monday, collected the week’s takings and took them to the bank.

One day a manager of the bank wanted to have a talk with him about the money in deposit:

“Apart from what you paid in this morning, it’s a little over thirty thousand pounds. That’s a very large sum to have on deposit and I should have thought you would better to invest it.”

Albert replied that he wouldn’t want to take any risks. He knew that it was safe in the bank and that he had never had anything to do with stocks and shares.

“You needn’t have the least anxiety, “the manager smiled. “We‘ll do everything. The investment will bring you in a better rate of interest than we can possibly afford to give you. All you’ll have to do next time you come in is just sign some forms.”

“I could possibly do that all right”, said Albert uncertainly. ”But how should I know what I was signing?”

“I suppose you can read ,” said the manager a trifle sharply.

Mr. Foreman gave him a disarming smile.

“Well, sir, that’s just it. I can’t. I know it sounds funny, but there it is. I can’t read or write, only my name, and I only learnt to do that when I went into business.”

The manager was so surprised that he jumped up from his chair.” That’s the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever heard”.

Albert explained that he had never had the opportunity until it was too late and then somehow he wouldn’t. He got obstinate.

The manager stared at him as though he were a prehistoric monster.

“And do you mean to say that you’ve built up this important business and amassed a fortune of thirty thousand pounds without being able to read or write? Oh my God, what would you now be if you had been able to?”

“I can tell you that, sir, “said Mr. Foreman, a little smile on his aristocratic features. “I would be the verger of  St. Peter’s, Neville Square.”

Task 1 Decide if the statements are True or False

  1. Albert Edward Foreman had  been verger at the St. Peter’s  church for sixty years.
  2. Albert rejected the vicar’s request  to learn to read and write.
  3. One special feature about Albert was his illiteracy.
  4. Mr. Foreman proved to have a good business sense.
  5. In the course of ten years he had acquired no less than twenty shops and he was making money hand over fist.
  6. Albert used to collect the week’s income in person.
  7. Bank was going to take on all the troubles concerning Mr. Foreman future investments.
  8. Mr. Foreman had quite a lot of opportunities to get education.
  9. The Manager refused to believe that Albert built up his business without being able to read or write.
  10. One of the messages of the text is: “When one door closes, another door opens…and it happens when you least expect it”.

Task 2.  Choose the correct answer.

1.Albert  left his job as a verger because:

  • he didn’t like it.
  • he couldn’t do it as there  was so much reading and writing involved.
  • he was asked to leave.

2. Albert opened a tobacco and sweet shop because

  • an idea struck him while he was looking for a cigarette.
  • he had always wanted to.
  • his bank manager had advised him to do so.

3. To make money “hand over fist” means

  • to put money into savings account.
  • to make some investments.
  • to gain money very quickly and in large amounts.

4. Albert managed to build up this important business

  • because he was a highly educated person.
  • quite by chance.
  • because he inherited a fortune.

5. The bank manager wanted to see Albert because

  • he knew that Albert was having financial problems.
  • he wanted to know how Albert had made so much money.
  • he thought Albert should invest his money more sensibly.

6. The manager of the bank assured that

  • investment would bring even more money
  • investment would help Albert make new business partners
  • investment would reduce his profits.

7. When the bank manager found out that Albert couldn’t read or write, he was

  • angry.
  • amazed.
  • amused.

8. Albert learnt to write his name only

  • because he went into business.
  • because a manager made him do so.
  • because  he wanted to resume his previous occupation.

9. Having left his job as a verger, Albert amassed a fortune of

  • thirty thousand dollars.
  • thirty thousand pounds.
  • thirteen thousand pounds.

10. Albert said that if he had been able to read and write, he would have

  • had a different type of job altogether.
  • remained in his old job.
  • made a lot more money.

Did you enjoy the story of English Olympiad Year 10 Reading Test 3? What is the message of the text?