Passage – IV
The first thing that strikes one about the discomforts in which our ancestors lived is that it was mainly voluntary. Some of the apparatus of modem comfort is of purely modern invention; people could not put rubber tyres on their carriages before the discovery of the rubber plant. But for the most part there is nothing new about the material basis of our comfort. Men could have made sofas and spring mattresses, could have installed bathrooms and central heating and sanitary plumbing any time during the last three or four thousand years. And as a matter of fact at certain periods they did indulge themselves in these comforts. Two thousand years before Christ, the inhabitants of Cnossus were familiar with sanitary plumbing. The Romans had invented an elaborate system of hot-air heating, and the bathing facilities in a smart Roman villa were luxurious and completely beyond the dreams of modern man. As for the public baths, they were almost inconceivably luxurious. A single room of the baths of the Emperor Diocletian has been transformed into a large Church.
It would be possible to adduce many other examples showing what could be done with the .limited means at our ancestor’s’ disposal in the way of making life comfortable. They show sufficiently clearly that if the man of the Middle Ages and early modem epoch lived in dirt and discomfort, it was not for any lack or ability to change their mode of life; it was because they chose to live in this way, because filth and discomforts fitted in with their principles and prejudices, political, moral, religious. What have comfort and cleanliness to do with politics, morals and religion ? Let us begin with the consideration of arm-chairs and heating.
Arm-chairs and central heating became possible only with the breakdown of the power of kings and great lords and the decay of social classes and the old family system. Sofas and modem arm-chairs exist for relaxation; indeed you can only loll or sit at ease in them. Now this is not dignified or respectful. When we wish to appear impressive or to rebuke an inferior we do not hie in a deep chair; we sit up and try to look majestical. Similarly, when we wish to be polite to a lady or show respect to the eminent, we cease to loll; we stand or sit up straight Now, in the past human society was a hierarchy of ranks in which every man was always engaged in being impressive towards his inferiors or respectful to those above him. Relaxing in arm-chairs in such societies was utterly impossible. Old furniture-reflects the physical habits of the class of the society for which it was made.
- The main idea of the passage is
(a) Our ancestors were inferior to us.
(b) Our ancestors enjoyed all the comforts
(c) We always tried to make life comfortable
(d) Politics, morals and religion have much to do with comfort and cleanliness.
- The writer does not say –
(a) Breakdown of the power of the kings made central heating possible.
(b) Habits of a class are reflected by the furniture.
(c) Romans knew about hot air heating system.
(d) Sofas were not meant for the relatives.
- The most appropriate title of the passage can be-
(a) Ann-chair comforts
(b) Comforts and Cleanliness
(c) Principles and Mode of life
(d) None of these
- What inference can be derived from the passage?
(a) Our ancestors were uncivilised,
(b) Our ancestors loved comforts
(c) Our ancestors had limited resources
(d) Modern man is more civilised.
- What is the approach of the writer?
(a) Argumentative (b) Descriptive
(c) Narrative (d) Explanatory