Chapters 22–32

When 15-year-old Samantha, a Chinese-American girl living in Missouri in the mid-19th-century, finds herself on the wrong side of the law, she and her best friend embark on a journey westward, following the Oregon Trail.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. concede
    admit or acknowledge, often reluctantly
    I steer Paloma between a couple of tents and concede the point.
  2. clamber
    climb awkwardly, as if by scrambling
    Six men on mules clamber down the trail, six matchsticks with their flame-red hair flying in all directions.
  3. slog
    walk heavily and firmly, as when weary, or through mud
    “Giddap!” I cry, digging in my heels hard. Paloma charges forward. The remuda stops again to yell encouragements as Paloma and I slog toward them.
  4. colicky
    suffering from acute abdominal pain
    Father played her to quiet his colicky Snake baby.
  5. rapt
    feeling great delight and interest
    She lets that word sink in, and now we’re all staring at her in rapt silence.
  6. bolster
    support and strengthen
    But Andy has already healed me in many ways, not just my fingers, but my emptiness, bolstering my fragile stance in the world with her own solid shoulders.
  7. chastise
    censure severely
    The chastised pinto turns her snapping jaws on West’s horse.
  8. snub
    refuse to acknowledge
    Skinny snubs Cay by continuing her spree toward the stallions.
  9. forte
    an asset of special worth or utility
    Running is not my forte, though neither is being a boy.
  10. ashen
    pale from illness or emotion
    We need a doctor, medical supplies, and food. His green eyes shine too bright against his ashen face.
  11. fleeting
    lasting for a markedly brief time
    It relieves me to be out of the scope of lawmen, but it is a fleeting comfort. We cannot hide out here forever.
  12. menagerie
    a collection of live animals for study or display
    "When I was six, someone brought a menagerie to town.” I pause as I realize that was almost ten years ago to the day.
  13. ensue
    take place or happen afterward or as a result
    More throat clearing ensues, which I ignore.
  14. profound
    deep and complete, of sleep
    His face screws up, and I put a cool towel on his head until he relaxes again and closes his eyes. I wish for him the kind of sleep that Homer called a ‘counterfeit death,’ delicious and profound.
  15. poultice
    a medical dressing spread on a cloth and applied to the skin
    “He’s hurting,” I say as I pound the yarrow into a poultice with a rock.
  16. tepid
    moderately warm
    The late-morning sun hides in a tepid curdle of clouds.
  17. visage
    the appearance conveyed by a person's face
    Forcing Ty Yorkshire’s moth eye out of my head, I replace it with West’s handsome visage.
  18. subdued
    restrained in style or quality
    Looking at him now, I catch a glimpse of the man he will be, still sweet, but more subdued, even reflective.
  19. disposition
    your usual mood
    His sunny disposition immediately lifts my spirits.
  20. incongruous
    lacking in harmony or compatibility or appropriateness
    If Peety saw this, he would wonder at its bright pink sheen and lace edges, so incongruous amongst our weedy surroundings.
  21. adobe
    sun-dried brick used in hot dry climates
    We travel as one long snake toward the white adobe walls of the fort, rising like a giant white bread box set atop an outcropping of bedrock.
  22. outcropping
    part of a rock formation that juts above surrounding land
    We travel as one long snake toward the white adobe walls of the fort, rising like a giant white bread box set atop an outcropping of bedrock.
  23. grizzled
    having gray or partially gray hair
    We jump to our feet and turn around to find a man, his face grizzled and sweaty under an unusual cap with a flat top and visor.
  24. seasoned
    rendered competent through trial and experience
    So I tuck in my round parts and cross my arms over my chest like a seasoned boy.
  25. pinafore
    a sleeveless dress resembling an apron
    Crocheted caps droop over the girls’ eyes and frilly lace adorns their pinafores.
  26. cad
    someone who is morally reprehensible
    Then I summarize the story in French, including the part about West’s injury. When the girls cast their eyes in his direction, I kick myself. At least I dimmed the light of Cay’s candle. He deserves that, the cad.
  27. revel
    unrestrained merrymaking
    Debris from the revel litters the grounds. I skirt bodies and wine bottles and head toward the nearest opening between wagons.
  28. cur
    a cowardly and despicable person
    “Let her go, you filthy cur,” I shriek, steadying my grip, “or I will put a knot in your trunk!”
  29. equanimity
    steadiness of mind under stress
    “I changed my mind,” I say, maintaining a look of equanimity.
  30. etude
    a short, technical composition for a solo instrument
    Father never received a gift without giving something in return, a bag of candied ginger, or an étude on his cello.
  31. coalesce
    fuse or cause to come together
    Everywhere I look, there are stars and more stars, coalescing like white dust.
  32. feign
    give a false appearance of
    But I am always awake when he drops quietly beside me, not realizing I excel at feigning dead.
  33. mortify
    cause to feel shame
    Ten days have passed since La Disgrâce, what I’ve started calling the French party. My wound has healed, partially. I can at least recount the mortifying events without shedding a tear.
  34. reprimand
    censure severely or angrily
    “Marianne,” reprimands her father from behind her, his eyes darting about like blue minnows under the glassy pools of his spectacles.
  35. rakish
    marked by a carefree unconventionality or disreputableness
    He grins rakishly from beneath a neat slash of mustache.
  36. throes
    violent pangs of suffering
    My right hand works the strings like a spider in its death throes.
  37. profusely
    in an abundant manner
    After thanking the doctor profusely, I stumble after Andy to a table assembled from a length of wood and two stumps.
  38. deluge
    an overwhelming number or amount
    My sorrow pours out in a deluge of tears and stuttered gasping.
  39. ignoble
    dishonorable in character or purpose
    When it comes to tangerines, I do not care if the treasure was won through ignoble means.
  40. chimera
    a grotesque product of the imagination
    If the boys do want to come, we’ll have to tell them the truth, a truth that has grown many heads like the chimera.
Created on June 3, 2020 (updated June 8, 2020)

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