Character and Setting Practice Exercises (page 2)

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Updated on Sep 29, 2011

Practice 3: A Study in Scarlet

Excerpted and adapted from the story by A. Conan Doyle

Read the selection, and then answer the questions that follow

(1) It was 1878 and I had neither kith nor kin in England, much less money. I stayed for some time in a London hotel, but needed to move to less expensive housing. One day, I ran into Stamford, a friend from the army. "Dr. Watson," he said, "What have you been up to?"
(2) "Looking for lodgings," I answered.
(3) "That's strange," he remarked. "A fellow I know is looking for someone to go halves with him in some nice rooms which were too expensive for him."
(4) "By Jove!" I cried. " I am the very man for him!"
(5) Stamford looked rather strangely at me. "You don't know Sherlock Holmes yet," he said. "Perhaps you would not care for him as a constant companion."
(6) "Why, what is there against him?" I asked.
(7) "Oh, I didn't say there was anything against him. As far as I know he is a decent fellow enough, just a little . . . odd."
(8) Stamford took me to the hospital where he worked to meet this Sherlock Holmes. "Dr. Watson, Mr. Sherlock Holmes," said Stamford, introducing us.
(9) "How are you?" Holmes said cordially, gripping my hand with strength. "You have been in Afghanistan, I observe."
(10) "How on earth did you know that?" I asked in astonishment.
(11) "Never mind," said he, chuckling to himself.
(12) Holmes seemed delighted at the idea of sharing rooms. "I have my eye on a place in Baker Street," he said. "Occasionally I do experiments. Would that annoy you?"
(13) "By no means," I said. "I get up at all sorts of hours, and am extremely lazy."
(14) "Oh, that's all right!" he cried, with a merry laugh. "I think we may consider the thing as settled—that is, if the rooms are agreeable to you."
(15) They were, so we moved into 221B, Baker Street. As we settled in, Holmes said, "You were surprised when I said, on our first meeting, that you had come from Afghanistan."
(16) "You were told, no doubt," I declared.
(17) "Nothing of the sort," he replied. "I arrived at the conclusion through observation. You are a doctor, and I concluded by the tan of your skin that you were just back from the eastern part of the world. Your face showed that you had recently been sick, and your left arm was injured. I asked myself, 'Where in the east could an English army doctor have got his arm wounded?' Clearly in Afghanistan."
(18) "It is simple enough as you explain it," I said, smiling.
9. What is the main setting of this story?
a. London, England, in 1978
b. London, Ontario, in 1789
c. London, England, in 1878
d. London, England, in 1808
10. Who are the two main characters in the story?
a. Dr. Watson and Stamford
b. Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes
c. Sherlock Holmes and Stamford
d. none of the above
11. Which best describes the character of Sherlock Holmes?
a. unreasonable
b. gloomy
c. observant
d. dim-witted
12. Holmes proves he's a considerate person when he
a. sees that Watson needs money and offers a loan.
b. notices Watson's bad arm and offers him a cane.
c. asks if Watson would like to have lunch.
d. asks if doing experiments would annoy Watson.
13. In which setting does Holmes explain how he knew about Watson and Afghanistan?
a. a hotel coffee shop
b. a Baker Street apartment
c. a London hospital
d. an army depot


1. c
2. b
3. d
4. d
5. c
6. d
7. b
8. a
9. c
10. b
11. c
12. d
13. b
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