THE NEW WORLD
In the eighteenth century young ladies in Italy were taught reading, writing, music and arithmetic. Their knowledge of history and geography was very poor.
Once the French ambassador in Rome was giving a ball to which many important people were invited. The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs came very late. A young lady who was well acquainted with him, saw him enter the ball-room and asked why he was so late.
"You see," said the Minister, "there has been a little accident at the King's palace."
The curious young lady asked the Minister to tell her what had happened at the King's palace.
"Oh, nothing important," answered the Minister, "the ambassador of Brazil, who was to be presented to the King, forgot to take his credentials with him and was obliged to go back to his hotel to bring them. If he had left them in Brazil we should have had to wait at least six months for them."
"Is Brazil so far from Rome?" asked the lady, who knew very little geography.
"It is in the New World," said the Minister.
"In the New World?" repeated the lady in great astonishment.
"Yes, in the New World," answered the Minister in a sarcastic tone, "which was discovered by Christopher Columbus."
When the young lady heard this she rushed into the middle of the ball-room and shouted as loud as she could:
"Ladies and gentleman, have you heard the latest news? A new world has just been discovered by a certain Christopher Columbus!"
1. When did the action take place?
2. What were young ladies in Italy taught then?
3. What of their knowledge was poor?
4. Who was giving a ball once?
5. What people were invited to the ball?
6. Who came very late to the ball?
7. Why did the young lady ask him why he was so late?
8. What accident had there been at the King's palace?
9. What would have happened if the ambassador of Brazil had left his credentials in Brazil?
10. Is Brazil very far from Rome?
11. How did the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs answer the question?
12. What did the young lady shout to the people, present at the ball-party?