Reading Comprehension Quiz

[A new interlinear poem will be available each Monday: Weekly Interlinear Poem .]

Use the dictionary, the acronym finder, and the word origins dictionary (links above) as needed. A new quiz is available each Monday through Thursday. This is the quiz for August 10.

Tale of John James Godfrey, as told by Mark Twain - from Roughing It by Mark Twain (died 1910)

"John James Godfrey was hired by the Hayblossom Mining Company in California to do some blasting for them - the 'Incorporated Company of Mean Men,' the boys used to call it.

"Well, one day he drilled a hole about four feet deep and put in an awful blast of powder and was standing over it ramming it down with an iron crowbar about nine foot long, when the cussed thing struck a spark and fired the powder and scat! away John Godfrey whizzed like a skyrocket, him and his crowbar! Well, sir, he kept on going up in the air higher and higher till he didn't look any bigger than a boy - and he kept going on up higher and higher till he didn't look any bigger than a doll - and he kept on going up higher and higher till he didn't look any bigger than a little small bee - and then he went out of sight! Presently he came in sight again, looking like a little small bee, and he came along down further and further till he looked as big as a doll again, and down further and further till he was as big as a boy again, and further and further till he was a full-sized man once more, and then him and his crowbar came a wh-izzing down and lit right exactly in the same old tracks and went to r-ramming down and r-ramming down and r-ramming down again, just the same as if nothing had happened! Now do you know, that poor cuss warn't gone only sixteen minutes, and yet that Incorporated Company of Mean Men DOCKED HIM FOR THE LOST TIME!"

1. To dock a person is to
A. criticize him.
B. deduct money from his pay.
C. hit him.
D. send him home.
2. (Click on dictionary link, above.)The origin of crowbar meant
A. iron bar.
B. a bar that makes a noise.
C. a bar shaped at one end like the beak of a crow.
D. a bar used with pride.
3. A cuss is
A. a user of profanity.
B. a person with thick skin.
C. a loafer.
D. an odd person.
4. "Fired the powder" means
A. ignited the blasting powder.
B. put the powder into the fire.
C. lit a match in the powder.
D. ruined the powder.
The complete text of Roughing It is available from Project Gutenberg as a downloadable file: Roughing It.

Write down your answers and then see Answer Key below.

Answer Key: 1-B. . . . . . . . . .2-C. . . . . . . . . .3-D. . . . . . . . . .4-A

Corrections? Questions? Comments? E-mail Robert Jackson at