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 July 29.

The view from St. Peter's - from "The Innocents Abroad" by Mark Twain (died 1910)

We look out upon many objects of interest from the dome of St. Peter's. Almost at our feet our eyes rest upon the building which was once the Inquisition. How times changed, between the older ages and the new! Some seventeen or eighteen centuries ago, the ignorant men of Rome were wont to put Christians in the arena of the Coliseum yonder and turn the wild beasts in upon them for a show. It was for a lesson as well. It was to teach the people to abhor and fear the new doctrine the followers of Christ were teaching. The beasts tore the victims limb from limb and made poor mangled corpses of them in the twinkling of an eye. But when the Christians came into power, when the holy Mother Church became mistress of the barbarians, she taught them the error of their ways by no such means. No, she put them in this pleasant Inquisition and pointed to the Blessed Redeemer, who was so gentle and so merciful toward all men, and they urged the barbarians to love him, and they did all they could to persuade them to love and honor him, first by twisting their thumbs out of joint with a screw, then by nipping their flesh with pincers - red-hot ones, because they are the most comfortable in cold weather - then by skinning them alive a little, and finally by roasting them in public. They always convinced those barbarians. The true religion, properly administered, as the good Mother Church used to administer it, is very, very soothing. It is wonderfully persuasive, also. There is a great difference between feeding parties to wild beasts and stirring up their finer feelings in an Inquisition. One is the system of degraded barbarians, the other of enlightened, civilized people. It is a great pity the playful Inquisition is no more.

1. The final sentence is
A. sincere.
B. instructive.
C. sarcastic.
D. playful.
2. The barbarians were convinced by
A. persuasion.
B. doctrine.
C. virtues.
D. torture.
3. The Inquisition was
A. a kind of court used to combat and punish departures from the "true religion."
B. a scientific inquiry.
C. a military group fighting unbelievers.
D. a religious order of priests.
4. Twain seems to prefer
A. the pleasant Inquisition.
B. the Blessed Redeemer.
C. degraded barbarians.
D. the ignorant men of Rome.
Write down your answers and then see Answer Key below.

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

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