Test: ISEE Upper Level Reading

Adapted from "The Decay of Friendship" in Issue 23 of The Idler by Samuel Johnson (September 23rd, 1758)

A dispute begun in jest upon a subject that a moment before was on both parts regarded with careless indifference is continued by the desire of conquest, 'till vanity kindles into rage, and opposition rankles into enmity. Against this hasty mischief, I know not what security can be obtained; men will be sometimes surprised into quarrels, and though they might both haste into reconciliation, as soon as their tumult has subsided, yet two minds will seldom be found together, which can at once subdue their discontent, or immediately enjoy the sweets of peace without remembering the wounds of the conflict.

Friendship has other enemies. Suspicion is always hardening the cautious, and disgust repelling the delicate. Very slender differences will sometimes part those whom long reciprocation of civility or beneficence has united. Lonelove and Ranger retired into the country to enjoy the company of each other, and returned in six weeks, cold and petulant; Ranger's pleasure was to walk in the fields, and Lonelove's to sit in a bower; each had complied with the other in his turn, and each was angry that compliance had been exacted.

The most fatal disease of friendship is gradual decay, or dislike hourly increased by causes too slender for complaint, and too numerous for removal. Those who are angry may be reconciled; those who have been injured may receive a recompense: but when the desire of pleasing and willingness to be pleased is silently diminished, the renovation of friendship is hopeless, as, when the vital powers sink into languor, there is no longer any use of the physician.


Johnson says that "gradual decay" is the worst cause of friendships ending because __________.

it cannot be helped in the way that other problems in friendships can be solved

the friends have too many problems to resolve

a friend who has been injured cannot be apologized to

the friends become too angry with each other to be reconciled

1/40 questions


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