"The Secret Garden," Vocabulary from Chapters 18-22

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.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1-6, Chapters 7-12, Chapters 13-17, Chapters 18-22, Chapters 23-27

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. inspiration
    arousal of the mind to unusual activity or creativity
    "No, I'll go and see Colin first and tell him--I know what I'll tell him," with a sudden inspiration.
  2. gradual
    proceeding in small stages
    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.
  3. hearken
    listen; used mostly in the imperative
    Look at 'em dartin' about, an' hearken at 'em callin' to each other.
  4. modify
    make less severe or harsh or extreme
    When he was very much interested he often spoke quite broad Yorkshire though at other times he tried to modify his dialect so that Mary could better understand.
  5. affectation
    a deliberate pretense or exaggerated display
    "Yes," answered Mary without any affectation. "I should have detested you if I had seen you before I saw the robin and Dickon."
  6. anxious
    causing or fraught with or showing anxiety
    Mary was so anxious that she got up from her stool and came to him and caught hold of both his hands.
    "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."
  7. implore
    call upon in supplication
    "Can I trust you? I trusted Dickon because birds trusted him. Can I trust you--for sure--for sure?" she implored.
  8. clutch
    take hold of; grab
    "Oh! Mary!" he cried out with a half sob. "Shall I see it? Shall I get into it? Shall I live to get into it?" and he clutched her hands and dragged her toward him.
  9. craven
    an abject coward
    "I am sorry to hear you were ill last night, my boy," Dr. Craven said a trifle nervously.
    "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.
  10. unscrupulous
    without principles
    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.
  11. bromide
    any of the salts of hydrobromic acid
    Did you take your bromide last night, Colin?
    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."
  12. volubly
    in a chatty manner
    "She's got a way with her, has Susan," she went on quite volubly.
  13. shrewd
    marked by practical hardheaded intelligence
    "She's a shrewd woman," said Dr. Craven, putting on his coat.
  14. luxuriously
    in an indulgently rich manner
    It was actually nice to be awake, and he turned over and stretched his limbs luxuriously.
  15. austere
    of a stern or strict bearing or demeanor
    "I told you he was a charmer," said Colin austerely. "Charmers' animals never bite."
  16. overwhelm
    overcome, as with emotions or perceptual stimuli
    Colin had never talked to a boy in his life and he was so overwhelmed by his own pleasure and curiosity that he did not even think of speaking.
  17. ravenous
    devouring or craving food in great quantities
    "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 ravenous ecstasy.
    "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.
  18. intimate
    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.
  19. sufficient
    of a quantity that can fulfill a need or requirement
    The most absorbing thing, however, was the preparations to be made before Colin could be transported with sufficient secrecy to the garden.
  20. rational
    consistent with or based on or using reason
    That would seem such a rational thing to do that no one would think it at all mysterious.
  21. elaborate
    developed or executed with care and in minute detail
    It was almost as serious and elaborately thought out as the plans of march made by great generals in time of war.
  22. menagerie
    the facility where wild animals are housed for exhibition
    Don't you be surprised, Mr. Roach, if you find yourself in the middle of a menagerie and Martha Sowerby's Dickon more at home than you or me could ever be.
  23. lenient
    There really was a sort of Magic about Dickon, as Mary always privately believed. When Mr. Roach heard his name he smiled quite leniently.
  24. procession
    the action of a group moving ahead in 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.
  25. reign
    rule or have supreme power
    And delight reigned.
  26. mellow
    unhurried and relaxed
    The afternoon was dragging towards its mellow hour.
  27. harangue
    address forcefully
    "I never thowt much o' thee!" he harangued.
  28. testily
    in a petulant manner
    "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.
    "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.
  29. persevere
    be persistent, refuse to stop
    "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.
    Colin persevered.
  30. flushed
    reddened as if with blood from emotion or exertion
    He looked up at the sky, flushed and glowing with the strangely new exercise, slight as it was.

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