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TOEFL Reading Test

Read the passage and answer the questions given below.

It has been part of Nelson’s prayer that the British fleet might be distinguished by humanity in the victory which he expected. Setting an example, himself, he twice gave orders to cease firing upon the ‘Redoubtable’, supposing that she had struck because her great guns were silent; for as she carried no flag, there was no means of instantly ascertaining the fact.

From this ship which he had twice spared, he received his death. A ball fired from her mizzen-top which, in the then situation of the two vessels was not more than fifteen yards from that part of the deck where he was standing, struck the epaulette on his left shoulder about a quarter after one, just in the heat of action. He fell upon his face on the spot which was covered with his poor secretary’s blood. Hardy, who was a few steps from him turning round, saw three men raising him up. ‘They have done for me at last, Hardy!’ said he. ‘I hope not!’ cried Hardy. ‘Yes,’ he replied; ‘my back-bone is shot through!’

Yet even now not for a moment losing his presence of mind, he observed as they were carrying him down the ladder, that the tiller-ropes which had been shot away, were not yet replaced and ordered that new ones should be roped immediately. Then that he might not be seen by the crew, he took out his handkerchief and covered his face and his stars. Had he but concealed these badges of honor from the enemy, England perhaps would not have had cause to receive with sorrow the news of the battle of Trafalgar. The cockpit was crowded with wounded and dying men over whose bodies he was with some difficulty conveyed, and laid upon a pallet. It was soon perceived, upon examination, that the wound was mortal. This, however, was concealed from all, except Captain Hardy, the chaplain and the medical attendants. He himself being certain, from the sensation in his back, and the gush of blood he felt momently within his breast, that no human care could avail him, insisted that the surgeon should leave him and attend to those to whom he might be useful.


1. What is meant by ‘supposing that she had struck’?

a) The men in the ship had surrendered
b) The men in the ship had not surrendered
c) The men in the ship were friends
d) The men in the ship were enemies

2. Who was partly responsible for the death of Nelson?

a) Captain Hardy
b) Medical attendants
c) Nelson himself
d) The surgeon

3. What did Nelson observe while being carried down the ladder after he was shot at?

a) Nelson observed that the men in the enemy ship haven’t surrendered
b) Nelson observed that the tiller ropes, which had been shot away, were not replaced
c) Nelson observed that the cockpit was crowded with wounded and dying men
d) Nelson observed that the enemies had abandoned their ships

4. Why did Nelson insist that the surgeon should leave him and attend to others?

a) He was certain that it would be impossible to save his life
b) He was certain that his wound was not serious
c) He did not want to be saved
d) He did not trust the surgeon

5. What qualities of Nelson are revealed by this passage?

a) His patriotism, humanity and endurance
b) His ignorance and carelessness
c) His selfishness
d) His stupidity

6. What is the name of the ship mentioned in the passage?

a) Redoubtable
b) Patriotic
c) Trafalgar
d) No ship is mentioned in the passage

7. Who covered the face and stars of Nelson with a hand kerchief?

a) Captain Hardy
b) Nelson’s secretary
c) The surgeon
d) Nelson himself


1. The men in the ship had surrendered
2. Nelson himself
3. Nelson observed that the tiller ropes which had been shot away, were not replaced
4. He was certain that it would be impossible to save his life
5. His patriotism, humanity and endurance
6. Redoubtable
7. Nelson himself

PS: We do not have copyright over the passage given for reading. If you know the author of this passage, kindly let us know and we will be happy to give credit.

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