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 February 23.

From essay "Household Superstitions" by Joseph Addison (died 1719)

Going yesterday to dine with an old acquaintance, I had the misfortune to find his whole family very much dejected. Upon asking him the occasion of it, he told me that his wife had dreamt a very strange dream the night before, which they were afraid portended some misfortune to themselves or to their children. At her coming into the room, I observed a settled melancholy in her countenance, which I should have been troubled for, had I not heard from whence it proceeded. We were no sooner sat down, but, after having looked upon me a little while, “My dear,” says she, turning to her husband, “you may now see the stranger that was in the candle last night.” She desired me to reach her a little salt upon the point of my knife, which I did in such a trepidation and hurry of obedience that I let it drop by the way, at which she immediately startled and said it fell towards her. Upon this I looked very blank and, observing the concern of the whole table, began to consider myself, with some confusion, as a person that had brought a disaster upon the family. The lady, however, recovering herself after a little space said to her husband with a sigh, “My dear, misfortunes never come single.” My friend, I found, acted but an under part at his table and, being a man of more good-nature than understanding, thinks himself obliged to fall in with all the passions and humors of his yoke-fellow. “Do not you remember,” says she, “that the pigeon-house fell the very afternoon that our careless wench spilt the salt upon the table?” “Yes,” says he, “my dear, and the next post brought us an account of the battle of Almanza.” The reader may guess at the figure I made, after having done all this mischief. I despatched my dinner as soon as I could, with my usual taciturnity, when, to my utter confusion, the lady, seeing me quitting my knife and fork and laying them across one another upon my plate, desired me that I would humour her so far as to take them out of that figure and place them side by side. What the absurdity was which I had committed I did not know, but I suppose there was some traditionary superstition in it, and, therefore, in obedience to the lady, I disposed of my knife and fork in two parallel lines, which is the figure I shall always lay them in for the future, though I do not know any reason for it.

1. The yoke-fellow was the friend's
A. son.
B. under part.
C. beast of burden.
D. wife.
2. Humors are
A. outspoken remarks.
B. jokes.
C. quirks.
D. insults.
3. A wench in this essay is
A. a child.
B. a woman servant.
C. a caretaker of animals.
D. a female of bad character.
4. The stranger that was seen in the candle flame was
A. Addison.
B. a waiter.
C. Addison's friend.
D. the wench.
The essay can be found in Project Gutenberg Household Superstitions.

Write down your answers and then see Answer Key below.

Answer Key: 1-D..........2-C..........3-B..........4-A
Corrections? Questions? Comments? E-mail Robert Jackson at