the act of providing vague advance indications
His way of talking to Mr. Norton had been a
foreshadowing of my misfortune—just as I had sensed that it would be.
marked by quiet and caution and secrecy
The car roared and swayed, pressing me hard against her, but when I took a
furtive glance around no one was paying me the slightest attention.
(of the voice) quivering as from weakness or fear
I thought of home and the attempts my father had made to institute family prayer, the gathering around the stove at mealtime and kneeling with heads bowed over the seats of our chairs, his voice
quavering and full of church-house rhetoric and verbal humility.
to a great depth psychologically
Then he'd clear his throat and give a deeply intoned order, as though each syllable were pregnant with nuances of
profoundly important meaning.
control and refrain from showing
I recalled my expulsion, feeling quick anger and attempting to
suppress it immediately; but now I was not quite successful, my resentment stuck out at the edges, making me uncomfortable.
giving offense to moral sensibilities
Somehow I felt that Bledsoe and Norton were behind it, and all day I was inhibited in both speech and conduct, for fear that I might say or do something
a courteous expression of esteem or regard
I was miserable and I dared not talk to anyone about my problems; not even the officials at Men's House, for since they had learned that I was to be assigned to an important job, they treated me with a certain
deference; therefore I was careful to hide my growing doubts.
cause to be interested or curious
I would be basically the same, I thought, stirring my coffee, yet so subtly changed as to
intrigue those who had never been North.
I was dazzled and so taken
aback that I almost dropped my briefcase when I heard a voice say, "And what would your business be?"
a strong drive for success
Ambition is a wonderful force," he said, "but sometimes it can be blinding."
incongruity between what might be expected and what occurs
There was unmistakable
irony in his voice now, and I didn't know what to say.
purging of emotional tensions
Please don't misunderstand me; I don't say all this to impress you. Or to give myself some kind of sadistic
the way a person behaves toward other people
The bearer of this letter is a former student of ours (I say former because he shall never, under any circumstances, be enrolled as a student here again) who has been expelled for a most serious defection from our strictest rules of
a personal or social separation
Thus, while the bearer is no longer a member of our scholastic family, it is highly important that his
severance with the college be executed as painlessly as possible.
an indirect (and usually malicious) implication
There was a note of
insinuation in his voice, and I looked up from tying my shoe, breathing with conscious evenness.
hide feelings from other people
Maybe he was
dissimulating, like some of the teachers at the college, who, to avoid trouble when driving through the small surrounding towns, wore chauffeur caps and pretended that their cars belonged to white men.
the quality of being coherent and easily understood
Then a great weight landed upon me and I seemed to sprawl in an interval of
clarity beneath a pile of broken machinery, my head pressed back against a huge wheel, my body splattered with a stinking goo.
uselessness as a consequence of having no practical result
Somewhere an engine ground in furious
futility, grating loudly until a pain shot around the curve of my head and bounced me off into blackness for a distance, only to strike another pain that lobbed me back.
full of trivial conversation
Holding on grimly, I could hear the sound of someone wading, sloshing, nearby, and an old man's
garrulous voice saying, "I tole 'em these here young Nineteen-Hundred boys ain't no good for the job. They ain't got the nerves. Naw, sir, they just ain't got the nerves."
incapable of being retracted
I tried to speak, to answer, but something heavy moved again, and I was understanding something fully and trying again to answer but seemed to sink to the center of a lake of heavy water and pause, transfixed and numb with the sense that I had lost
irrevocably an important victory.
clear and bright
Green hedges, dazzling with red wild roses appeared behind my eyes, stretching with a gentle curving to an infinity empty of objects, a
limpid blue space.
characterized by propriety and dignity and good taste
Scenes of a shaded lawn in summer drifted past; I saw a uniformed military band arrayed
decorously in concert, each musician with well-oiled hair, heard a sweet-voiced trumpet rendering "The Holy City" as from an echoing distance, buoyed by a choir of muted horns; and above, the mocking obbligato of a mocking bird.
slow and apathetic
The air seemed to grow thick with fine white gnats, filling my eyes, boiling so thickly that the dark trumpeter breathed them in and expelled them through the bell of his golden horn, a live white cloud mixing with the tones upon the
surgery on nerves to and from the frontal lobe of the brain
"The machine will produce the results of a prefrontal
lobotomy without the negative effects of the knife," the voice said.
of an obscure nature
Faces hovered above me like
inscrutable fish peering myopically through a glass aquarium wall.
meant or adapted for an occasion or use
Maybe I was just this blackness and bewilderment and pain, but that seemed less like a
suitable answer than something I'd read somewhere.
have the idea for
It was exhausting, for no matter what the scheme I
conceived, there was one constant flaw—myself.
You aren't ready for the
rigors of industry.
make payment to
And remember, you'll be adequately
compensated for your experience.
written declaration made under oath
"We require an
affidavit releasing the company of responsibility," he said.