The Stranger

It seemed to the little crowd on the wharf that the boat was never going to move again. There she lay. Immense, motionless on the grey crinkled water, a loop of smoke above her, an immense flock of gulls screaming and diving after the galley droppings at the stern.
You could just see little couples parading – little flies walking up and down the dish on the grey crinkled tablecloth. Other flies clustered and swarmed at the edge. Now there was a gleam of white on the lower deck – the cook’s apron ot the stewardess perhaps. Now a tiny black spider raced up the ladder on to the bridge.

In the front of the crowd a strong – looking, middle-aged man, dressed very well, very snugly in a grey overcoat, grey silk scarf, thick gloves and a dark felt hat, marched up and down, twirling his folded umbrella. He seemed to be the leader of the little crowd on the wharf and at the same time to keep them together. He was something between the sheep – dog and the shepherd. 

His quick, eager glance, so nervous and yet so friendly and confiding, took in everybody on the wharf, roped in even those old chaps lounging against the gangways. They knew, every man-jack of them, that his wife was on that boat, and that he was so tremendously excited that it never entered his head not to believe that this marvelous fact meant something to them too. It warmed his heart towards them. They were, he decided, as decent a crowd of people, fine, solid old chaps.

He was getting impatient. He had a cab waiting at the end of the wharf. Was his wife ready to go off? Was her luggage ready? In that case they could cut off sharp with her cabin luggage and let the rest go hang until tomorrow. Why didn’t she hurry up, though? He was lost in surmise and suddenly felt terribly unhappy: there was an attractive younger man standing by her.


1. The crowd on shore thought the boat
A. was moving too fast.
B. would sink on its way to them
C. hardly moved at all.
D. was full of tiny couples.

2. According to the text, the middle-aged man
A. was eagerly waiting for someone.
B. was a shepherd by profession.
C. looked like a sheep – dog.
D. led the little crowd of people into the sea.

3. The middle – aged man
A.  hated the other people who were waiting for the boat.
B. hated decent people.
C. believed the crowd appreciated his eagerness to be reunited with his wife.
D. none of the above.

4. The middle- aged man’s wife
A. appeared practically unrecognizable to him.
B. was eagerly waving to him.
C. was hoping he’d get a taxi for her.
D. none of the above.

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