Mary Hodgson Burnett's beloved "The Secret Garden" finds a way to make its surly protagonist, Mary Lennox, happy in a way that rings true (etext found
here). Learn this word list that focuses on calmness and excitement.
When they sat down on the grass with Captain curled at their feet, Soot solemnly listening on a tree and Nut and Shell nosing about close to them, it seemed to Mary that it would be scarcely bearable to leave such delightfulness, but when she began to tell her story somehow the look in Dickon's funny face gradually changed her mind.
"Anxious" also means "eagerly desirous"--both definitions fit the situation, because Mary has anxiety ("a vague unpleasant emotion in anticipation of a misfortune") because she fears that Colin might ruin the pleasures of the secret garden, but she is also eagerly wanting to share the secret with him, because she agrees with Dickon's words: "we mun get him out here--we mun get him watchin' an listenin' an' sniffin' up th' air an' get him just soaked through wi' sunshine."
Mary was so
anxious that she got up from her stool and came to him and caught hold of both his hands.
"Craven" is a fitting last name for the males of Misselthwaite Manor: the doctor is afraid that Colin will live, because that would hurt his inheritance, but he's also afraid that Colin will die under his watch, because that would make people suspect him of foul play; Colin is afraid of dying as a hunchback; and Archibald Craven is afraid of seeing both his beloved dead wife and his hated deformed self in Colin.
"I am sorry to hear you were ill last night, my boy," Dr.
Craven said a trifle nervously.
If this tiresome hysterical boy should chance to get well he himself would lose all chance of inheriting Misselthwaite; but he was not an
unscrupulous man, though he was a weak one, and he did not intend to let him run into actual danger.
any of the salts of hydrobromic acid; formerly used as a sedative but now generally replaced by safer drugs
A sedative is "a drug that reduces excitability and calms a person"--this nightly prescription seems medically unnecessary, and more like an easy way to give the household a peaceful break from Colin. This is evident because Colin responds to the doctor's question with these points: "I wouldn't take it at first and after Mary made me quiet she talked me to sleep" and "it is because my cousin makes me forget that she makes me better."
"Ecstasy" means "a state of elated bliss" and "a state of being carried away by overwhelming emotion"--the lamb was ravenous ("extremely hungry"), but once it starts ravenously sucking the milk out of the bottle, it goes into a state of extreme happiness, while Colin, who has never been treated to a sight like this before, is carried away by wonder and delight.
"This is what tha's after. Tha'll get more out o' this than tha' will out o' silk velvet coats. There now," and he pushed the rubber tip of the bottle into the nuzzling mouth and the lamb began to suck it with
marked by close acquaintance, association, or familiarity
The things he had to tell about otters' and badgers' and water-rats' houses, not to mention birds' nests and field-mice and their burrows, were enough to make you almost tremble with excitement when you heard all the
intimate details from an animal charmer and realized with what thrilling eagerness and anxiety the whole busy underworld was working.
the group action of a collection of people or animals or vehicles moving ahead in more or less regular formation
It sounded as if things were coming with a great
procession and big bursts and wafts of music. I've a picture like it in one of my books--crowds of lovely people and children with garlands and branches with blossoms on them, everyone laughing and dancing and crowding and playing on pipes.
"Testy" and "petulant" are synonymous adjectives that mean "easily irritated or annoyed"--although this is a fitting description of the surly gardener, here, Ben's testiness shows he cares about Colin (because he cared for Colin's mother and she is the reason he still has his job); he is only annoyed that Mary's muttering could take his attention away from the sight of a supposed cripple standing tall against a tree.
"What art sayin'?" he asked rather
testily because he did not want his attention distracted from the long thin straight boy figure and proud face.
"You can do it! You can do it!" said Mary to herself. "I tell you, you can!"
Dickon's round eyes were full of eager curiousness but he said not a word. Ben Weatherstaff looked on with interested face.