Me ‘n Jim

Medieval Prof. today described Gotescalc as “refractory but brilliant.”

Refractory is a word George Eliot uses more often than most. I first learned it from her. Another author who has a favorite fancy word for “stubborn” is Ayn Rand, with all her godawful “intransigent” manly heroes.

Anyways “refractory” reminded me of a list I made, of words I looked up from “Daniel Deronda” where the passage in Deronda itself provided an illustrative quotation in OED. This is pretty much for my own reference, pagination is from my Everyman’s ed’n…

polk (p.124)
‘I shall only dance in the quadrille. I told Mr. Clintock so. I shall not waltz or polk with any one.’
burnous (p. 131)
It was hardly a bow that Gwendolen gave — rather, it was the slightest forward sweep of the head away from the physiognomy that inclined itself towards her, and she immediately moved towards her seat, saying, ‘I want to put on my burnous.’ No sooner had she reached it, than Mr. Lush was there, and had the burnous in his hand: to annoy this supercilious young lady, he would incur the offence of forestalling Grandcourt; and, holding up the garment close to Gwendolen, he said, ‘Pray, permit me?’ But she, wheeling away from him as if he had been a muddy hound, glided on to the ottoman, saying, ‘No, thank you.’
marplot (p. 416)
‘But what is the use of my taking the vows and settling everything as it should be, if that marplot Hans comes and upsets it all?’ [hurray! -d.]
fat (p. 464)
‘It’s a great bore being dragged about in this way, and no cigar,’ said Grandcourt.

‘I thought you would like it.’

‘Like it? — one eternal chatter. And encouraging those ugly girls — inviting one to meet such monsters. How that fat Deronda can bear looking at her —’

‘Why do you call him a fat? Do you object to him so much?’

‘Object? no. What do I care about his being a fat? It’s of no consequence to me. I’ll invite him to Diplow again if you like.

caliginosity (p. 512)
‘I am not going to say anything to her unless I felt sure of the answer. I dare not ask the oracles: I prefer a cheerful caliginosity, as Sir Thomas Browne might say.
gawky (p. 647)
‘Nothing makes a woman more of a gawky than looking out after people and showing tempers in public. A woman ought to have fine manners. Else it’s intolerable to appear with her.’

Gwendolen made the expected application, and she was not without alarm at the notion of being a gawky.

stive (p. 747)
‘I shall go out in a boat, as I used to do, and manage it myself. One can get rid of a few hours every day in that way, instead of stiving in a damnable hotel.’

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