Chapters 1–5

Shipwrecked and blinded from a torpedo attack, Phillip must conquer his prejudices when his only companion is an elderly West Indian man named Timothy.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. crude
    not refined or processed
    Then they blew up six of our small lake tankers, the tubby ones that still bring crude oil from Lake Maracaibo to the refinery, Curagaosche Petroleum Maatschappij, to be made into gasoline, kerosene, and diesel oil.
  2. galleon
    a large square-rigged sailing ship with three or more masts
    Or sometimes we’d pretend we were the Dutch going out on raids against Spanish galleons.
  3. schooner
    sailing vessel used in former times
    Of course, they were only the tattered-sailed native schooners from Venezuela, Aruba, or Bonaire coming in with bananas, oranges, papayas, melons, and vegetables.
  4. appeal
    request earnestly; ask for aid or protection
    The radio was on, and a voice said that fifty-six men had died on the lake tankers that were blown up and that the governor of the Netherlands’ West Indies had appealed to Washington for help.
  5. aviation
    the art of operating aircraft
    Late in the afternoon, my father, whose name was also Phillip—Phillip Enright—returned home from the refinery where he was working on the program to increase production of aviation gas.
  6. leeward
    on the side away from the wind
    I loved the old fort, and the schooners, the Ruyterkade market with the noisy chickens and squealing pigs, the black people shouting; I loved the koenoekoe with its giant cactus; the divi-divi trees, their odd branches all on the leeward side of the trunk; the beautiful sandy beach at Westpunt.
  7. refuse
    show unwillingness towards
    The next morning my father said that the Chinese crews on the lake tankers that shuttled crude oil across the sand bars at Maracaibo had refused to sail without naval escorts.
  8. depend
    be determined by something else
    The people had been very proud that the little islands of Aruba and Curasao were now among the most important islands in the world; that victory or defeat depended on them.
  9. mutiny
    open rebellion against constituted authority
    They were angry with the Chinese crews, and on the third day, my father said that mutiny charges had been placed against them.
  10. ballast
    any heavy material used to stabilize a ship or airship
    The big tankers from the United States or England always carried fresh water to us in ballast, and then it was distilled again so that we could drink it.
  11. aft
    near or toward the stern of a ship or tail of an airplane
    She had machine guns fore and aft, one of the few armed ships in the harbor.
  12. vanish
    become invisible or unnoticeable
    The Empire Tern had vanished in a wall of red flames, and black smoke was beginning to boil into the sky.
  13. clench
    squeeze together tightly
    Father was smiling and very gay but when the Hato’s whistle blasted out three times, meaning it was time to go, he said good-by to us between clenched teeth.
  14. abandon
    leave behind empty; move out of
    She helped me put on my life jacket, then put hers on, saying, “Now, remember everything that we were told about abandoning ship.”
  15. steward
    the ship's officer who is in charge of dining arrangements
    We were thrown against the cabin door, which the steward had warned us not to lock because it might become jammed.
  16. ignite
    cause to start burning
    Tins of lubricating oil in the afterholds had ignited and were exploding, but the ones forward had not been exposed to the fire.
  17. welt
    a raised mark on the skin
    He had a big welt, like a scar, on his left cheek.
  18. latitude
    angular distance between the equator and a parallel line
    As to our veree location, I mus’ guess we are somewhar roun d’cays, somewhar mebbe fifteen latitude an’ eighty long.
  19. despair
    abandon hope; lose heart
    He said, “Do not be despair, young bahss. Someone will fin’ us.
  20. lull
    make calm or still
    After a bit, lulled by the bobbing of the raft and by the soft, pleasant sounds of the sea against the oil barrel floats, I went to sleep again.
  21. outrageous
    greatly exceeding bounds of reason or moderation
    He said, “I knew a Phillip who feesh out of St. Jawn, but an outrageous mahn he was.”
  22. parched
    extremely thirsty
    My lips were parched and my throat was dry.
  23. defiantly
    in a rebellious manner
    I said defiantly, “A schooner will find us. And my father has ships out looking for us.”
  24. clammy
    unpleasantly cool and humid
    They were stiff from salt and felt clammy.
  25. recollection
    the process of remembering
    “I 'ave no recollection o’ anythin' cept dese islan’s. Tis pure outrageous, but I do not remember anythin’ 'bout a place called Afreca.”
  26. grope
    search blindly or uncertainly
    His eyes groped through the darkness for mine.
  27. unbearable
    incapable of being put up with
    The pain in my head was almost unbearable now, and I remember moaning.
  28. drone
    make a monotonous low dull sound
    The faint drone of the aircraft seemed closer now.
  29. douse
    put out, as of a candle or a light
    After a moment of silence, I heard the sizzle of the water as Timothy doused the torch.
  30. dishearten
    take away the enthusiasm of
    “Do not be dishearten, young bahss. Today, we will be foun, to be true.”
Created on September 25, 2014 (updated September 4, 2018)

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