characterized by effort to the point of exhaustion
Nevertheless, in the goodness of her heart she
laboriously spelled out her instructions to me in special lessons twice a week, to give Miss Sullivan a little rest.
hard, monotonous, routine work
But, though everybody was kind and ready to help us, there was only one hand that could turn
drudgery into pleasure.
a severe or trying experience
This encouraged me greatly, and I sped on to the end of the
ordeal with a light heart and a steady hand.
Algebra and geometry were the only studies that continued to defy my efforts to comprehend them. As I have said before, I had no
aptitude for mathematics; the different points were not explained to me as fully as I wished.
argue in protest or opposition
Just before the books came, Mr. Gilman had begun to
remonstrate with Miss Sullivan on the ground that I was working too hard, and in spite of my earnest protestations, he reduced the number of my recitations.
lacking clarity of meaning
Mr. Gilman at first agreed to this; but when my tasks had become somewhat
perplexing, he insisted that I was overworked, and that I should remain at his school three years longer.
a technical system of symbols to represent special things
To my dismay I found that it was in the American
notation. I sat down immediately and wrote to Mr. Vining, asking him to explain the signs. I received another paper and a table of signs by return mail, and I set to work to learn the
the comfort you feel when soothed in times of disappointment
But if they unintentionally placed obstacles in my way, I have the
consolation of knowing that I overcame them all.
prevent from entering; keep out
Debarred from the great highways of knowledge, I was compelled to make the journey across country by unfrequented roads—that was all; and I knew that in college there were many bypaths where I could touch hands with girls who were thinking, loving and struggling like me.
not supplying something useful for the future
I suppose I ought to find some comfort in the thought that I am laying up treasures for future enjoyment, but I am
improvident enough to prefer present joy to hoarding riches against a rainy day.
disturb, especially by minor irritations
There are days when the close attention I must give to details
chafes my spirit, and the thought that I must spend hours reading a few chapters, while in the world without other girls are laughing and singing and dancing, makes me rebellious; but I soon recover my buoyancy and laugh the discontent out of my heart.
vigorous and animated
The lectures were always interesting,
vivacious, witty; for the instructor, Mr. Charles Townsend Copeland, more than any one else I have had until this year, brings before you literature in all its original freshness and power.
a tentative insight that is not yet verified or tested
Again and again I ask impatiently, "Why concern myself with these explanations and
tiresomely long; seemingly without end
I object only to the
interminable comments and bewildering criticisms that teach but one thing: there are as many opinions as there are men.
loaded to excess or impeded by a heavy load
When one reads hurriedly and nervously, having in mind written tests and examinations, one's brain becomes
encumbered with a lot of choice bric-a-brac for which there seems to be little use.
consisting of elements not of the same kind or nature
At the present time my mind is so full of
heterogeneous matter that I almost despair of ever being able to put it in order.
not pleasant or acceptable to the taste or mind
The days before these ordeals take place are spent in cramming your mind with mystic formula and indigestible dates—
unpalatable diets, until you wish that books and science and you were buried in the depths of the sea.
the cognitive process whereby stimuli are distinguished
It is most perplexing and exasperating that just at the moment when you need your memory and a nice sense of
discrimination, these faculties take to themselves wings and fly away.
of high moral or intellectual value
Rather, knowledge is happiness, because to have knowledge—broad, deep knowledge—is to know true ends from false, and
lofty things from low.
restrict or confine
Circumscribed as my life was in so many ways, I had to look between the covers of books for news of the world that lay outside my own.
believing the worst of human nature and motives
I do not object so much to the
cynical and satirical fables as to those in which momentous truths are taught by monkeys and foxes.
a representation of a person exaggerated for comic effect
But I love "The Jungle Book" and "Wild Animals I Have Known." I feel a genuine interest in the animals themselves, because they are real animals and not
caricatures of men.
any system of principles or beliefs
Love like Ruth's, love which can rise above conflicting
creeds and deep-seated racial prejudices, is hard to find in all the world.
marked by extreme intensity of emotions or convictions
The German puts strength before beauty, and truth before convention, both in life and in literature. There is a
vehement, sledge-hammer vigour about everything that he does. When he speaks, it is not to impress others, but because his heart would burst if he did not find an outlet for the thoughts that burn in his soul.
capable of being perceived
I like many writers for many reasons—Carlyle for his ruggedness and scorn of shams; Wordsworth, who teaches the oneness of man and nature; I find an exquisite pleasure in the oddities and surprises of Hood, in Herrick's quaintness and the
palpable scent of lily and rose in his verses...
righteousness as a consequence of being honorable and honest
...I like Whittier for his enthusiasms and moral
the hopeful feeling that all is going to turn out well
I love all writers whose minds, like Lowell's, bubble up in the sunshine of
optimism—fountains of joy and good will, with occasionally a splash of anger and here and there a healing spray of sympathy and pity.
extended verbal expression in speech or writing
No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious
discourse of my book-friends.
marked by violent force
Tacking and jibbing, we wrestled with opposing winds that drove us from side to side with
a state of commotion and noise and confusion
The rumble and roar of the city smite the nerves of my face, and I feel the ceaseless tramp of an unseen multitude, and the dissonant
tumult frets my spirit.
I have felt their hard, rough hands and realized what an endless struggle their existence must be—no more than a series of scrimmages,
thwarted attempts to do something.
inequality or difference in some respect
Their life seems an immense
disparity between effort and opportunity.
not in action or at work
If I happen to be all alone and in an
idle mood, I play a game of solitaire, of which I am very fond. I use playing cards marked in the upper right-hand corner with braille symbols which indicate the value of the card.
a performance using gestures and movements without words
If I do not succeed they resort to dumb show. Sometimes I make a mistake and do the wrong thing. A burst of childish laughter greets my blunder, and the
pantomime begins all over again.
an embarrassing mistake
I followed all his movements with my hands, and caught the drollery of his
blunders and gestures in a way that would have been impossible had it all been spelled to me.
having or showing arrogant superiority
Fain would I question his
imperious decree, for my heart is still undisciplined and passionate; but my tongue will not utter the bitter, futile words that rise to my lips, and they fall back into my heart like unshed tears.
a longing for something better than the present situation
Perhaps we never saw them before, and they may never cross our life's path again; but the influence of their calm, mellow natures is a libation poured upon our
discontent, and we feel its healing touch, as the ocean feels the mountain stream freshening its brine.
extremely annoying or displeasing
I also dislike people who try to talk down to my understanding. They are like people who when walking with you try to shorten their steps to suit yours; the hypocrisy in both cases is equally
expressing yourself readily, clearly, effectively
The hands of those I meet are dumbly
eloquent to me.
the trait of being rude and inclined to take liberties
The touch of some hands is an
relating to the investigation of existence and knowledge
Since Bishop Brooks died I have read the Bible through; also some
philosophical works on religion, among them Swedenborg's "Heaven and Hell" and Drummond's "Ascent of Man," and I have found no creed or system more soul-satisfying than Bishop Brooks's creed of love.
someone who releases people from captivity or bondage
Afterward we went into his study, and he wrote his autograph for my teacher ["With great admiration of thy noble work in releasing from bondage the mind of thy dear pupil, I am truly thy friend. John J. Whittier."] and expressed his admiration of her work, saying to me, "She is thy spiritual
difficult to understand
Dr. Bell is proficient in many fields of science, and has the art of making every subject he touches interesting, even the most
a witty saying
I could not keep pace with all these literary folk as they glanced from subject to subject and entered into deep dispute, or made conversation sparkle with
epigrams and happy witticisms.
Thus it is that my friends have made the story of my life. In a thousand ways they have turned my limitations into beautiful privileges, and enabled me to walk
serene and happy in the shadow cast by my deprivation.