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 June 22.

Excerpt from "The Innocents Abroad" by Mark Twain (died 1910)

The doctor asks the questions, generally, because he can keep his countenance and look more like an inspired idiot and throw more imbecility into the tone of his voice than any man that lives. It comes natural to him.

The guides in Genoa are delighted to secure an American party because Americans so much wonder and deal so much in sentiment and emotion before any relic of Columbus. Our guide there fidgeted about as if he had swallowed a spring mattress. He was full of animation--full of impatience. He said:
"Come wis me, genteelmen!--come! I show you ze letter writing by Christopher Colombo!--write it himself!--write it wis his own hand!--come!"
He took us to the municipal palace. After much impressive fumbling of keys and opening of locks, the stained and aged document was spread before us. The guide's eyes sparkled. He danced about us and tapped the parchment with his finger:
"What I tell you, genteelmen! Is it not so? See! handwriting Christopher Colombo!--write it himself!"
We looked indifferent--unconcerned. The doctor examined the document very deliberately, during a painful pause.--Then he said, without any show of interest:
"Ah--Ferguson--what--what did you say was the name of the party who wrote this?"

"Christopher Colombo! ze great Christopher Colombo!"
Another deliberate examination.
"Ah--did he write it himself; or--or how?"

"He write it himself!--Christopher Colombo! He's own hand-writing, write by himself!"
Then the doctor laid the document down and said:
"Why, I have seen boys in America only fourteen years old that could write better than that."
1. (See Infoplease.) To keep one's countenance is
A. to show how one feels.
B. to hide one's face.
C. to refuse to share.
D. to refrain from laughing.
2. The doctor is
A. a joker.
B. an imbecile.
C. an idiot.
D. withdrawn.
3. If you swallow a spring mattress you
A. choke and gasp.
B. move about restlessly.
C. are ready to lie down.
D. are silent.
4. The municipal palace is
A. the home of the ruling family.
B. the home of Christopher Columbus.
C. the place of government offices.
D. the city's archives.
The entire book can be downloaded as an html zip file from Project Gutenberg: The Innocents Abroad.

Write down your answers and then see Answer Key below.

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

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