make a mathematical calculation or computation
I axed Syl, “So you learnt how to do
ciphering in that school?”
He said, “Course I did. I know Latin and Greek too.”
“What’s them, fancy sorts of
ciphering like algeeber?”
give personal assurance; guarantee
This wasn’t gonna be fair; he could give any ol’ answer to my question and I ain’t got no way of
vouching it for true.
engage in social activities leading to marriage
“To tell the truth, I haven’t had the courage to talk to her as anything but a friend. She’s so beautiful that when I’m set to say something, I lose my nerve. But all the boys want to
a feeling of shame when you do something immoral
It must be my
conscience plaguing me.
the process of paying close and continuous attention
The black man in the fancy duds said, “I represent the Chatham-Buxton
Vigilance Committee. To be more accurate, I represent the decent, law-abiding faction of the committee. They”—he ducked his head toward the windows—“do not. Now, which of us would you prefer dealing with, shorty?”
a dissenting clique
The black man in the fancy duds said, “I represent the Chatham-Buxton Vigilance Committee. To be more accurate, I represent the decent, law-abiding
faction of the committee. They”—he ducked his head toward the windows—“do not. Now, which of us would you prefer dealing with, shorty?”
feel sorry for; be contrite about
I promise you, you gonna
rue this day if you don’t let us be.
naive and easily deceived or tricked
The man barked, “Boy! It jus’ isn’t right that someone as large and as advanced at school as you can be so
marked by or showing unaffected simplicity
If you do not get your no-common-sense,
naïve, foolish arse out of that seat this minute, I’ll really make you wish you’d never been born.
end resistance, as under pressure or force
“The second way is someone’s gonna have to carry him and you both off and they best brang a pail and a mop for cleaning brains off the floor iffen you don’t
lurched, throwing me back into my seat.
stop performing some action
The Canadian sheriff said, “My good man, if you do not immediately
desist threatening that child, we won’t be able to discuss anything. Now, please, hand me the pistol.”
walk in a proud, confident way
He tapped the gun on Syl’s head and said, “And you gonna be where you wished you was, in your mammy’s arms picking cotton in South Carol-liney ’stead of
strutting ’round Canada..."
The cap’n yelled, “Sheriff, I wants three horses, which I’ll leave at the ferry in Windsor. If I don’t get ’em, this boy is dead. Y’all got five minutes and the clock is running. I ain’t to be
walk as if unable to control one's movements
It didn’t really matter; the cap’n’s eyes rolled back in his head, and he turnt Syl a-loose and
staggered a bit.
an unpleasant or difficult situation
Then, doggone it all, time really slowed down, letting me ponder my
thrown into a state of agitated confusion
Last I seent of him, he was bloodied and buck-nekkid at the foots of a crowd of near a thousand slaves and
pre-turbed white folk too.
causing embarrassment or awareness of your shortcomings
Something else I wasn’t gonna tell Sheriff Turner was how
ha-miliating it was when I noticed I was wearing the biggest set a diapers you ever seent.
rendered competent through trial and experience
“You ain’t never gonna make it. You ain’t got no pard-nah, you ain’t even got no dog. It’d be hard ’nough if you was jus’ toting one runaway back, but two? My, my, my, that’s a tall order even for someone who’s
seasoned as your friend the cap’n is...or was, whatever the case may be.”
payment or reward for acts such as catching criminals
Keegan said, “What kinda
bounty is y’all ’specting to get for them two?”
Soon as I said it, I knowed I shouldn’t-a. “’Round ’bout two, three thousand dollar.”
intense feelings of suffering; acute mental or physical pain
I wasn’t looking to pile on the
agony for Syl’s ma, but the truth’s the truth.
foolish or mentally irregular
Keegan said to her, “Gal, has living up north all these years made you lose your mind? Has you gone so
daft you’s forgot what’s a-waiting on you down in South Carol-liney? Ain’t no one playing no game with you.”
join together by heating
There was also a four-foot-long iron bar that had a thick metal U
welded on each end.
a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel
Can’t you see you parading ’round with us is telling every
scalawag twixt here and Carol-liney, ‘All what stands twixt you and three thousand dollar is this dumb o’ergrowed sharecropper?’
move or cause to move in a winding or curving course
Soon’s he disappeared on the road north, we made a sharp turn east through the woods, toward where I’m thinking the river was.
Meandering ’long the river would take lots longer, but it was the only way I could be sure we was gonna be heading south.
a workplace where metal is worked by heating and hammering
When we got to the
smithy, there was two kids playing out front of the shop.
act in a funny or teasing way
The smithy said, “Are you
jesting with me?”
tear or wear off the skin or make sore by abrading
They rubbed their wrists and ankles. Their shoulders was already
chafed raw and bloody.
exit from a ship, vehicle, or aircraft
When the conductor opened the door and lowered the steps, only two passengers stood in the door, waiting to
disembark: a man and a woman, their hands intertwined.
spin, wind, or twist together
When the conductor opened the door and lowered the steps, only two passengers stood in the door, waiting to disembark: a man and a woman, their hands
hesitant or lacking confidence; unsettled in mind or opinion
Their glances were
tentative and frightened, in keeping with so many of the first glances of this place.
a means of arousing or stirring to action
They had the alertness of deer in the forest, ready to take flight at the least
the act of occurring together or simultaneously
As they peeked out from the train, every movement on the station’s platform drew their eyes in
the direction or path along which something moves or lies
Trying to get their
bearings, they moved under the eave at the station’s south end.
A young girl holding a sad brown sock doll
preceded a young man, maybe eighteen years old, and a man and a woman, each carrying a child.