38. Reading Skills Comprehension: Virtues of the Orange

By | July 14, 2021
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Virtues of the Orange

Read the passages given below and answer the questions that follow them:                             

 Of the fruits of the year, I give my vote to the orange. In the first place, it is a perennial — if not in actual fact, at least in the greengrocer shop. On the days when dessert is a name given to a handful of chocolates and a little-preserved ginger, when macedoine de fruits is the title bestowed on two prunes and a piece of rhubarb, then the orange, however sour, comes nobly to the rescue; and on those other days of plenty when cherries and strawberries and raspberries and gooseberries riot together upon the table, the orange, sweeter than ever, is still there to hold its own. Bread and butter, beef and mutton, eggs and bacon, are not more necessary to an ordered existence than the orange.

It is well that the commonest fruits should be also the best. Of the virtues of the orange, I have no room fully to speak. It has properties of health-giving, as that it cures influenza and establishes the complexion. It is clean, for whoever handles it on its way to your table, but handles its outer covering, its top coat, which is left in the hall. It is round and forms an excellent substitute with the young for a cricket ball. The pips can be flicked at your enemies, and quite a small piece of peel makes a slide for an old gentleman.

But all this would count nothing had not the orange such delightful qualities of taste. I dare not let myself go upon this subject. I am a slave to its sweetness. I grudge every marriage in that it means a fresh supply of orange blossom, the promise of so much golden fruit cut short. However, the world must go on.

Next, to the orange, I place the cherry. The cherry is a companionable fruit. You can eat it while you are reading or talking, and you can go on and on, absent-mindedly as it were, though you must mind not to swallow the stone. The trouble of disengaging this from the fruit is just sufficient to make the fruit taste sweeter for the labour. The stalk keeps you from soiling your fingers; it enables you also to play bob cherry.

There are only two ways of eating strawberries. One is neat in the strawberry bed, and the other is mashed on the plate. The first method generally requires us to take up a bent position under a net in a hot sun very uncomfortable, and at any time fatal to the hair. The second method takes us into the privacy of the home, for it demands a dressing-gown and no spectators. For these reasons, I think the strawberry is an overrated fruit. Yet I must say that I like to see one floating in cider cup. It gives a note of richness to the affair and excuses any shortcomings in the lunch itself.


I. Answer briefly:

1. Why does the narrator vote to the orange as the fruit of the year?

2. What are the virtues of the orange? Do you agree completely with the narrator?

3. Why does he place the cherry next to the orange? Give two reasons.

4. What are the two ways of eating strawberries? Which way would you like to have it?

II. Vocabulary:                                                           

1.The word ‘rescue’ means:

(a) problematic                           (b) risking                             (c) aid                               (d) existence

2. ‘The cherry is a companionable fruit’. Here ‘companionable’ is a/an:

(a) noun                                       (b) adjective                         (c) verb                             (d) adverb

3. The word similar in meaning to ‘absent-mindedly’ is:

 (a) mentally-ill                           (b) unheeded                      (c) having no knowledge       (d) foolish

4. Choose the opposite of ‘calm’ from the following options:

(a) quarrel                                  (b) anger                              (c) rest                                      (d) not


I. 1. The narrator votes orange as the fruit of the year because it is perennial and can be used as a dessert. It is necessary for an ordered existence.

2. Orange is health-giving, cures influenza and improves complexion. However, I would not like to use it as a ball. Nor would I flick its pipe at the enemies.

3. The narrator places cherry next to orange because cherry is a companionable fruit and can be eaten while you are reading or talking. The labour of disengaging the stone is forgotten as it tastes sweeter for the labour.

4. There are two ways of eating strawberries as (i) eating it neatly in the strawberry bed.

(ii) mashed on the plate. I would like to choose the first option.

II. 1. (c) aid

2. (b) adjective

3. (b) unheeded

4. (d) riot

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