restrain with or as if with fetters
The noxious air of the hold, the gloom of confinement, and the screams of those
shackled to her contrived to drive Ajarry to madness.
hinder or prevent the progress or accomplishment of
stymied her both times, versed in the schemes and inclinations of chattel.
personal as opposed to real property
The sailors stymied her both times, versed in the schemes and inclinations of
the state of being under the control of another person
In her stories, Isay and Sidoo and the rest somehow bought their way out of
bondage and lived as free men and women in the City of Pennsylvania, a place she had overheard two white men discuss once.
a spectator who stares openly
Cora’s grandmother saw a little boy among the
gawkers eating rock candy and wondered what he was putting in his mouth.
restrain with shackles
She was branded, not for the first or last time, and
fettered to the rest of the day’s acquisitions.
convert into cash
The diagrams were convincing, but in the end Ajarry was another asset
liquidated by order of the magistrate.
an estate where cash crops are grown on a large scale
She learned to quickly adjust to the new
plantations, sorting...the layabouts from the hardworking, the informers from the secret-keepers.
susceptible to being led or directed
The trader called upon the tobacco plantation looking for slaves of breeding age, preferably with all their teeth and of
be compatible, similar, or consistent
The image of her grandmother assaulting another slave didn’t
jibe with Cora’s recollections of the woman, but once she started tending to the plot she understood the truth of the portrait.
most unfortunate or miserable
Cora curled on the floor of the main room, too afraid to sleep up there with them, those
behave in a certain manner
Old Abraham, who was not old at all but who had
comported himself in the manner of an elderly misanthrope since he first learned to sit up.
someone who dislikes people in general
Old Abraham, who was not old at all but who had comported himself in the manner of an elderly
misanthrope since he first learned to sit up.
driven by lust
Once Cora’s chest started to sprout, Edward, the most wicked of Blake’s gang, bragged of how Cora flapped her dress at him while she made
lascivious suggestions and threatened to scalp him when he refused her.
roiled within the black pot, bits of cabbage chasing around the hog’s head that bobbed up and down, the eye roving in the gray foam.
the position of someone who manages the affairs of others
The Randall brothers had flipped a coin years ago to determine
stewardship of each half of the plantation and in doing so made this day possible.
unpredictably excitable, especially of horses
Cora always arranged the children at the starting line, aiming their feet, calming the
skittish ones, and graduating some to the older kids’ race if need be.
a sudden desire
He skipped some years or forgot or decided according to some personal accounting of grievance that the plantation was undeserving. No one minded his
absentminded dreaming while awake
Sometimes a slave will be lost in a brief eddy of liberation. In the sway of a sudden
reverie among the furrows or while untangling the mysteries of an early-morning dream.
the appearance conveyed by a person's face
According to Old Abraham, James favored the mother, stout as a barrel and just as firm in
countenance, and Terrance took after the father, tall and owl-faced, perpetually on the verge of swooping down on prey.
a person without moral scruples
...if truth be told, the master only half understood, as his tutor had been a
reprobate who had been chased from every decent position he had ever held and who decided to make his final posting the canvas for his secret revenge.
mix up or confuse
By the time Michael got to Randall, some torture or punishment had
addled his senses.
make believe with the intent to deceive
Crooked Ava had not lost her power to
dissemble since her days of harassing Cora—she hooted and stomped as if it were the height of the Christmas celebrations.
jump about playfully
Oh, how they
capered and hollered, shouted and hopped!
smile affectedly or derisively
simpered and bowed down before the white man.
not suitable for a purpose
Margaret produced awful sounds from her throat at
inopportune moments, animal sounds, the most miserable keenings and vulgar oaths.
pride or congratulate oneself for an achievement
She became insufferable.
Preening, gloating over the ill treatment that she alone escaped.
a personal belief that is not founded on proof or certainty
reckoning these fits were nothing like those she had suffered in her youth.
marked by lack of definite plan or regularity or purpose
The northern and southern halves of the great Randall plantation exchanged slaves all the time, unloading...skulky workers, and rascals on each other in a
a temporary police force
posses of low whites harassed and bullied.
collect discarded or refused material
A week passed before the slaves hunted and
scavenged in the swamp again. That’s where the food was.
someone who flees from an uncongenial situation
fugitives were always clawed back, betrayed by friends, they misinterpreted the stars and ran deeper into the labyrinth of bondage.
a person's appearance, manner, or demeanor
He rode up on his horses with his associates, five men of disreputable
mien, led by a fearsome Indian scout who wore a necklace of shriveled ears.
someone who shares your feelings or opinions
sympathizers would be rooted out and tarred and feathered, Ridgeway assured his host.
travel completely around something
On horses they
circumnavigated the fields, comparing the progress of the harvest on the two halves.
a person who receives support from an influential patron
By the time of James’s passing, the Randall sons had cut off social ties with their father’s peers and
a secret rendezvous (especially between lovers)
Since Randall’s sons had finished their education it was used only for
assignations and all those different lessons.
On the second day a band of visitors arrived in a carriage,
august souls from Atlanta and Savannah.
a reformer who favors putting an end to slavery
Abolitionists and sympathizers who came down to Georgia and Florida were run off, flogged and abused by mobs, tarred and feathered.
unwillingness to tell lies
veracity of their words was another matter, but at least they believed them.
direct one's course or way
The three of them
wended west, tromping through the black water.
animal hunted or caught for food
Bait laid on the trail, the hog hunters waited for their
quarry, which turned nocturnal in the hot weather.
producing a sizeable profit
The runaways were a different sort of beast but more
a contrived or fantastic idea
He reeled and she repeated her assault. His groans ceased.
Time was a
determine one's position with reference to another point
oriented himself with the constellations and the runaways stumbled on, impelled into the night.
raid and rove in search of booty
marauded through the slave villages and ransacked the homes of freemen, stealing and committing assaults.
the guardianship and control exercised by a deity
In Virginia, you could smuggle yourself into Delaware or up the Chesapeake on a barge, evading patrollers and bounty hunters by your wits and the invisible hand of
shackle that can be locked around the wrist
Thousands of them dangled off the wall on nails in a morbid inventory of
manacles and fetters, of shackles for ankles and wrists and necks in all varieties and combinations.
run away, often taking something or somebody along
Shackles to prevent a person from
absconding, from moving their hands, or to suspend a body in the air for a beating.
a jaunty rhythm in music or speech
He had an odd manner of speech, a queer
lilt that reminded Cora of the way those on the plantation sounded after they lost their wits.