pass out from weakness or physical or emotional distress
And then, depending what kind of mood she’s in when she’s telling it, my momma either demanded to hold me, her cooing baby, or she
swooned and the villainous midwife gave me over to Auntie Aggie, who cleaned me up and put me into an ivory bassinet until one of the mammies could suckle me.
failing in what duty requires
It is coming up on my third anniversary here at Miss Preston’s, and although I have not received a letter from you in quite some time, I felt that I would be
remiss in letting such an important anniversary pass without acknowledgment.
an edge tool for cutting grass
Sweat pours down between my bosoms, and my arms ache from the weight of the
an edge tool for cutting grass or crops
When Miss Duncan said we’d be doing close-combat training I’d been expecting to work through some drills with the
sickles, which everyone in Miss Preston's School of Combat for Negro Girls knows is my best weapon.
someone who has returned from the dead
Perhaps she’s a
revenant, like the creature in Mr. Alexander Westing’s latest weekly serial “The Ghost Knocks Thrice.”
a small number or amount
Next to her stands a smaller girl with pale skin and a
smattering of freckles, her hair in pigtails.
a structure where military equipment is stored
I ain’t in the mood to play show pony, so I file into the building with the other girls, heading back to the
armory to secure our weapons.
impressive in appearance
She’s the tallest of us here, big and dark and
imposing, with arms like John Henry.
firm and dependable especially in loyalty
But she is also from Virginia, and I ain’t had much cause to like Virginians. Partly because most of them are Baptists and Momma ain’t too keen on Baptists, being a
staunch Presbyterian and all.
place under suspicion or cast doubt upon
“First off, they ain’t deathless—they're dead. That’s it. Just because they happen to run around terrorizing the countryside doesn’t make them anything but the walking corpses they are. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool and wouldn’t know a shambler if it held him down and bit him, including this professor character. Second, I’d be much obliged if you would keep my name out your mouth. The last thing I want is you
sullying it with your silliness.”
a noisy riotous fight
Beside them are my batons, short wooden clubs with a metal spike in the weighted end and a leather thong at the bottom, a last resort in the case of a
a wanderer with no established residence or means of support
“Jane McKeene, stop loitering in the doorway like a
vagrant and come in.”
indicate by signs
“You’re here because your progress in your etiquette training is inadequate. In addition, Miss Anderson tells me she found you sneaking in newspapers yet again. As you are already on probation for previous infractions, these latest shenanigans don’t
bode well for your continued enrollment here.”
a pause for relaxation
Still, I thought I might've had a bit of
respite before I was going to be marched into Miss Preston's office.
scold or reprimand; take to task
The smile that had been ghosting across Miss Anderson’s face while Miss Preston
admonished me drops off real quick, and Miss Anderson’s usual sourpuss face reappears.
angered at something unjust or wrong
coarse cloth with a bright print
Miss Preston surges to her feet, a mountain of
calicos and lace.
disdainfully or ironically humorous
sardonic nature has worn through Miss Anderson's tolerance, Jane. I spoke to a few of the other girls about their most recent examination, and I fear you are correct in your estimation of Miss Anderson's faithlessness. The questions she submitted for you were far more difficult than those of your peers.”
having the character of a traitor; disloyal
“Your sardonic nature has worn through Miss Anderson's tolerance, Jane. I spoke to a few of the other girls about their most recent examination, and I fear you are correct in your estimation of Miss Anderson's
faithlessness. The questions she submitted for you were far more difficult than those of your peers.”
betrayal of a trust
When I'd said all that nonsense about
perfidy, I'd been telling a yarn, hoping that I could distract everyone from my questionable manners.
treat with excessive indulgence
I have no interest in working as a show pony for some
coddled white lady, but an Attendant Certificate from Miss Preston’s means I can go wherever I want.
a particular functioning condition or arrangement
“All of that having been said, you have some of the highest competency scores in the combat
modalities. So I’m going to reassign your etiquette instruction to Miss Duncan, since she has some free time in her schedule. As for this most recent failure...I think it would behoove you to attend the lecture at the university tonight with Miss Duncan’s group. Get some real-world experience as to how a Miss Preston’s girl conducts herself.”
be appropriate or necessary
“All of that having been said, you have some of the highest competency scores in the combat modalities. So I’m going to reassign your etiquette instruction to Miss Duncan, since she has some free time in her schedule. As for this most recent failure...I think it would
behoove you to attend the lecture at the university tonight with Miss Duncan’s group. Get some real-world experience as to how a Miss Preston’s girl conducts herself.”
a strip of pleated material used as a decoration or a trim
She is tucked into a pretty blue frock with a big
flounce in the back.
a swaggering show of courage
I take a deep breath and muster up all my
a sleeveless dress resembling an apron
She wears a flowered dress with a
pinafore and her mouth gapes, a toothless black hole.
cheap showy jewelry or ornament
Momma used the
baubles to buy several hogs, and that was how Rose Hill came to have pork chops every Sunday after the Scripture was read.
My stomach surged and gurgled,
roiling with hot dread.
informal terms for the mouth
Joe was standing right where he’d been, not moving, frozen in the path of the dead woman and her gaping
worthy of religious veneration
Momma, you would not believe the camaraderie and esprit de corps in these
I'm wondering why science is a better discussion topic than politics, but I don’t say anything because that would be entirely too
shaped to fit by altering the contours of a pliable mass
wrought iron is painted black.
a large and noisy party of people
No way colored folks would be allowed at a Survivalist
a felt hat that is round and hard with a narrow brim
Jackson swaggers up, his
derby pulled low over his eyes.
a trait of dignified seriousness
I blink, because I ain't used to such
solemnity from Jackson.