Tom Sawyer – Part Twelve

Before you read the text, read the following comprehension questions.

1. What did Tom get in return for his marbles, sweets and fish-hook?

2. Do you think Tom is a good student at Sunday school?

3. The Sunday shcool students received small coloured tickets as a reward if they recited their verses correctly. Which ticket colour was the most valuable?

4. What were 10 yellow tickets exchanged for?

5. How long did it take Mary to get two new bibles?

Now read the text and answer the questions.

Sunday-school hours were from nine to half-past ten. Then there was a church service. Two of the children always stayed for the sermon voluntarily, and the other always remained too, for other reasons.
The church's hard high-backed seats held about three hundred people. It was a simple building with a sort of a square box on top of it for a steeple.
At the door, Tom spoke to a friend wearing a similar Sunday outfit:

"Hey, Billy, got any tickets?"
"What'll you swap for them?"
"What'll you give me?"
"Some sweets and a fish-hook."
"Let’s see them."

Tom showed him and they were satisfactory. The property changed hands.
Then Tom swapped a couple of marbles for three more tickets.
He stopped other boys as they arrived, and went on swapping tickets for another fifteen minutes.
He entered the church, now, with a group of clean and noisy boys and girls, went to his seat and started an argument with the first boy that he found.
The teacher, a serious, elderly man, stopped the argument, then turned his
back a moment which gave Tom a chance to pull a boy's hair in the next seat. The teacher was occupied with his book when Tom turned around to stick a pin in another boy, in order to hear him say "Ouch!". The teacher told him off.
Tom's whole class was a series of restlessness, noise and trouble.
When everyone had to recite their lessons, not one of them knew his verses perfectly, but had to be helped and prompted all the way through.
However, if they got to the end, they received a reward; small blue tickets with words from the bible on them. Each blue ticket was payment for two verses of the recitation. Ten blue tickets could be exchanged for one red ticket and ten red tickets equaled a yellow one.
For ten yellow tickets the teacher gave a new Bible (worth forty cents in those times) to the pupil. Diccionario online
How many of you would have the dedication and motivation to memorize two thousand verses, even for a new Bible? But Mary had acquired two Bibles in this way (it took her two years) and a boy from a German family had won four or five. He once recited three thousand verses without stopping! But the stress on his brain was too much, and he was little better than an idiot from that day on. This was bad news for the school, because on special days the headmaster had always made this boy come out in front of everyone and speak to the audience.
Only the older students managed to keep their tickets and do all the boring work that was needed long enough to get a Bible, and so the winning of one of these prizes was a rare and noteworthy occasion. The successful student was so noticed and honoured for that day that every student’s heart was full with fresh ambition that often lasted a couple of weeks.
It is possible that Tom had never really wanted one of those prizes, but without a doubt, he had definitely desired the glory and respect that came with it.

... to be continued!

* The text has been adapted from the Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain

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Tom Sawyer – Part Thirteen

Before you read the text, read the following comprehension questions.

1. What was the teacher holding while he was speaking?

2. How old was the teacher?

3. Why did the teacher’s footwear look like skis?

4. One girl wasn’t paying attention to the Sunday school teacher. What was she doing instead?

5. Do you think everybody enjoyed Mr. Walters’ speech?

Now read the text and answer the questions.
Eventually, the teacher stood up, with a closed hymn-book in his hand and his finger inserted between its pages, and commanded attention.

When a Sunday-school teachers makes his speech, a hymn-book in the hand is as necessary as the sheet of music in the hand of a singer who stands on a stage and sings a solo at a concert. Although why, is a mystery because neither the hymn-book nor the sheet of music is ever look at.

This Sunday-school teacher was a slim creature of thirty-five, with a small sandy beard and short sandy hair. He wore a stiff collar whose upper edge almost reached his ears and whose sharp points curved forward near the corners of his mouth. This was like a fence that forced him to look straight ahead, and turn his whole body when he needed to look to one side. His chin rested on a wide tie which was as broad and as long as a bank-note. His boots turned up at the toes, as was the fashion of the day, a bit like skis. This effect was produced by the young men by sitting with their toes pressed against a wall for hours and hours.

Mr. Walters was very sincere and honest at heart. He held sacred things and places in such reverence, and so separated them from the world, that his Sunday-school voice had a peculiar intonation which was completely missing during the week.

He began like this:
"Now, children, I want you all to sit up just as straight and pretty as you can and give me all your attention for a minute or two.

There, that is it. That is what good little boys and girls should do. I see one little girl who is looking out of the window. I am afraid she thinks I am out there somewhere, perhaps up in one of the trees making a speech to the little birds (there was laughter and applause at this point). I want to tell you how good it makes me feel to see so many bright, clean little faces together in a place like this, learning to do right and be good." Diccionario online

And so forth and so on. It is not necessary to write down the rest of the speech. It was of a pattern which does not change, so it is familiar to us all.

The end of the speech was spoiled by fights and other arguments among some of the bad boys, and by a lot of movement, sounds and whispers that even reached Sid and Mary. But now every sound stopped suddenly when Mr. Walters' voice stopped, and the conclusion of the speech was received with silent gratitude.

... to be continued!

* The text has been adapted from the Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain

  Download the original book for free


*Consulta un PDF con la información y resumen de 100 libros en inglés
que puedes descargar en 1 único archivo.


  Haz click para comprobar las soluciones

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