"The Secret Garden," Vocabulary from Chapters 23-27

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 the magic of life and rebirth.

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. radiant
    emanating or as if emanating light
    They always called it Magic and indeed it seemed like it in the months that followed--the wonderful months--the radiant months--the amazing ones.
    In between the adjectives "wonderful" and "amazing," "radiant" does not only refer to the physical sunlight in the garden but also to the emotional light of Mary, Ben, Colin (for whom happiness had not been the norm), and Dickon (whose natural happiness raises the level of happiness for everyone else).
  2. unfurl
    unroll, unfold, or spread out
    Then the green things began to show buds and the buds began to unfurl and show color, every shade of blue, every shade of purple, every tint and hue of crimson.
  3. defy
    Satiny poppies of all tints danced in the breeze by the score, gaily defying flowers which had lived in the garden for years and which it might be confessed seemed rather to wonder how such new people had got there.
  4. delicate
    exquisitely fine and subtle and pleasing
    Fair fresh leaves, and buds--and buds--tiny at first but swelling and working Magic until they burst and uncurled into cups of scent delicately spilling themselves over their brims and filling the garden air.
  5. fakir
    a Muslim or Hindu mendicant monk regarded as a holy man
    Magic is a great thing and scarcely any one knows anything about it except a few people in old books--and Mary a little, because she was born in India where there are fakirs.
  6. imposing
    impressive in appearance
    This sounded so imposing that Ben Weatherstaff became quite excited and really could not keep still.
  7. majestic
    having or displaying great dignity or nobility
    It all seemed most majestic and mysterious when they sat down in their circle.
  8. dervish
    an ascetic Muslim monk
    "Shall we sway backward and forward, Mary, as if we were dervishes?"
    A dervish is similar to a fakir: both are poor monks who beg, but dervishes are also known for whirling and possessing miraculous powers. The question seems like a joke, but Colin seriously wants to believe that "there is Magic in everything, only we have not sense enough to get hold of it and make it do things for us." So he is willing to experiment--with chants, dervish movements, or muscle exercises--so that he can become stronger and live to be a man.
  9. triumphant
    joyful and proud especially because of success
    When he returned to the canopy tree his cheeks were flushed and he looked triumphant.
  10. stimulate
    cause to be alert and energetic
    And the thought which stimulated him more than any other was this imagining what his father would look like when he saw that he had a son who was as straight and strong as other fathers' sons.
  11. remarkable
    unusual or striking
    Your father will be happy to hear of this remarkable improvement.
  12. bounteous
    given or giving freely
    "Tell her she has been most bounteous and our gratitude is extreme."
    Colin also says this about Dickon's mother: "She is a Magic person. Tell her we are grateful, Dickon--extremely grateful." Colin is expressing his gratitude ("a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation") for the hot currant buns and delicious fresh milk that Dickon's mother had sent. Coming from a woman who struggles to feed fourteen people in her own family, this bounty seems even more magical.
  13. copious
    large in number or quantity
    And then forgetting his grandeur he fell to and stuffed himself with buns and drank milk out of the pail in copious draughts in the manner of any hungry little boy who had been taking unusual exercise and breathing in moorland air and whose breakfast was more than two hours behind him.
  14. mystic
    beyond ordinary understanding
    Every beautiful morning the Magic was worked by the mystic circle under the plum-tree which provided a canopy of thickening green leaves after its brief blossom-time was ended.
  15. convey
    make known; pass on, of information
    Even Dickon did not go near the close-grown corner in those days, but waited until by the quiet working of some mysterious spell he seemed to have conveyed to the soul of the little pair that in the garden there was nothing which was not quite like themselves--nothing which did not understand the wonderfulness of what was happening to them--the immense, tender, terrible, heart-breaking beauty and solemnity of Eggs.
  16. fluent
    expressing yourself readily, clearly, effectively
    He could only say that he was sure that the Eggs would never flap about in such a manner; but as the boy who could speak robin so fluently was doing the thing with them, birds could be quite sure that the actions were not of a dangerous nature.
  17. restive
    impatient especially under restriction or delay
    One morning when the rain streamed down unceasingly and Colin was beginning to feel a little restive, as he was obliged to remain on his sofa because it was not safe to get up and walk about, Mary had an inspiration.
  18. inordinate
    beyond normal limits
    Mary giggled inordinately.
  19. splendid
    having great beauty
    I wakened when it was bright moonlight two nights ago and felt as if the Magic was filling the room and making everything so splendid that I couldn't lie still.
  20. abiding
    Their belief in the Magic was an abiding thing.
  21. incantation
    a ritual reciting of words believed to have a magical effect
    After the morning's incantations Colin sometimes gave them Magic lectures.
  22. earnest
    not distracted by anything unrelated to the goal
    Sometimes when Colin felt Ben's earnest gaze meant that he was much impressed he wondered what he was reflecting on and once when he had seemed quite entranced he questioned him.
  23. ruddy
    inclined to a healthy reddish color
    When he came he was ruddy with running and his funny face looked more twinkling than usual.
  24. rapturous
    feeling great delight
    He had known it before in a way, he had hoped it and felt it and thought about it, but just at that minute something had rushed all through him--a sort of rapturous belief and realization and it had been so strong that he could not help calling out.
  25. perceive
    to become aware of through the senses
    Dickon answered with his all- perceiving animal charmer's smile.
    The phrase "all-perceiving" makes Dickon sound like a god who is all-seeing and all-knowing. But while he seems to have a Magic that touches the lives of all living creatures, including plants, and while Mary and Colin seem to worship him as an angel, Dickon is too humble to see himself as a god, and he would only use his powers to spread happiness and growth.
  26. stagnant
    not circulating or flowing
    It was as if a sweet clear spring had begun to rise in a stagnant pool and had risen and risen until at last it swept the dark water away.
  27. singular
    unusual or striking
    The singular calmness remained with him the rest of the evening and he slept a new reposeful sleep; but it was not with him very long.
    The calmness and reposeful ("affording physical or mental rest") sleep of Archibald Craven is singular because most of the time, his mind is filled with dark and heartbroken thoughts; but it becomes especially singular when he later learns that on that same day, far away from him in England, his son had exclaimed, "I am going to live forever and ever and ever!"
  28. verdure
    green foliage
    He spent his days upon the crystal blueness of the lake or he walked back into the soft thick verdure of the hills and tramped until he was tired so that he might sleep.
  29. flustered
    thrown into a state of agitated confusion
    She came to him somewhat excited and curious and flustered.
  30. hastily
    in a hurried manner
    "Together?" said Mrs. Medlock, hastily overfilling his beer-mug in her excitement.

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