Vocabulary Dance Study Set One


[fvplayer src=”http://languagedance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/vAbridge.webmhd.webm” src1=”http://languagedance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/vAbridge.mp4″ width=”640″ height=”360″ autoplay=”true”] Abridge means “to make short.” We will use the sign for ‘abbreviate’ to represent abridge. For this sign we simply measure off a short space (moving back and forth) across the top of the middle and index finger of the left hand with the middle and index finger with the right hand.



From A Tale of Two Cities

by Charles Dickens

I write with so much difficulty, the cold is so severe, I am so fearful of being detected and consigned to an underground cell and total darkness, that I must abridge this narrative. There is no confusion or failure in my memory; it can recall, and could detail, every word that was ever spoken between me and those brothers.


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From Around The World In 80 Days

Two men were promenading up and down the wharves, among the crowd of natives and strangers who were sojourning at this once straggling village–now, thanks to the enterprise of M. Lesseps, a fast-growing town.  One was the British consul at Suez, who, despite the prophecies of the English Government, and the unfavourable predictions of Stephenson, was in the habit of seeing, from his office window, English ships daily passing to and fro on the great canal, by which the old roundabout route from England to India by the Cape of Good Hope was abridged by at least a half.  The other was a small, slight-built personage, with a nervous, intelligent face, and bright eyes peering out from under eyebrows which he was incessantly twitching.  He was just now manifesting unmistakable signs of impatience, nervously pacing up and down, and unable to stand still for a moment.  This was Fix, one of the detectives who had been dispatched from England in search of the bank robber; it was his task to narrowly watch every passenger who arrived at Suez, and to follow up all who seemed to be suspicious characters, or bore a resemblance to the description of the criminal, which he had received two days before from the police headquarters at London.


Abraham Lincoln




In these the Chief Justice does not directly assert, but plainly assumes as a fact, that the public estimate of the black man is more favorable now than it was in the days of the Revolution. This assumption is a mistake. In some trifling particulars the condition of that race has been ameliorated; but as a whole, in this country, the change between then and now is decidedly the other way, and their ultimate destiny has never appeared so hopeless as in the last three or four years. In two of the five States–New Jersey and North Carolina–that then gave the free negro the right of voting, the right has since been taken away, and in a third–New York–it has been greatly abridged; while it has not been extended, so far as I know, to a single additional State, though the number of the States has more than doubled.


Abraham Lincoln

The proposed acquiescence of the National Executive in any reasonable temporary State arrangement for the freed people is made with the view of possibly modifying the confusion and destitution which must at best attend all classes by a total revolution of labor throughout whole States. It is hoped that the already deeply afflicted people in those States may be somewhat more ready to give up the cause of their affliction if to this extent this vital matter be left to themselves, while no power of the National Executive to prevent an abuse is abridged by the proposition.


Sense and Sensibility

“You consider the matter,” said Elinor, “exactly as a good mind and a sound understanding must consider it; and I dare say you perceive, as well as myself, not only in this, but in many other circumstances, reason enough to be convinced that your marriage must have involved you in many certain troubles and disappointments, in which you would have been poorly supported by an affection, on his side, much less certain. Had you married, you must have been always poor. His expensiveness is acknowledged even by himself, and his whole conduct declares that self-denial is a word hardly understood by him. His demands and your inexperience together, on a small, very small income, must have brought on distresses which would not be the  less grievous to you, from having been entirely unknown and unthought of before. Your sense of honour and honesty would have led you, I know, when aware of your situation, to attempt all the economy that would appear to you possible: and, perhaps, as long as your frugality retrenched only on your own comfort, you might have been suffered to practice it, but beyond that–and how little could the utmost of your single management do to stop the ruin which had begun before your marriage? Beyond  that, had you endeavoured, however reasonably, to abridge his enjoyments, is it not to be feared, that instead of prevailing on feelings so selfish to consent to it, you would have lessened your own influence on his heart, and made him regret the connection which had involved him in such difficulties?”



adhere 1

[fvplayer src=”http://languagedance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/vAdhere1.webmhd.webm” src1=”http://languagedance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/vAdhere1.mp4″ width=”640″ height=”360″ autoplay=”true”] adhere 2

[fvplayer src=”http://languagedance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/vAdhere2.mp4″ src1=”http://languagedance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/vAdhere2.webmhd.webm” width=”640″ height=”360″ autoplay=”true”] Adherent means a follower or a supporter. It also means attached, or sticking to. Our sign represents attaching or sticking, as well as following and supporting. The right hand adheres to the left, both supporting and following as both hands move together.



Are You For Real?

How can you claim to be an adherent of the new school dress code if you are not wearing any pants?


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The Meaning of Religious Freedom: Modern Politics and the Democratic Resolution

by Franklin I. Gamwell


The citizens I have in mind are those who adhere to religious or comprehensive convictions, in my sense of this term. In other words, Rawls’s proposal fails to solve the modern political problematic because, so far as I can see, the meaning of religious freedom that he asserts cannot be consistently accepted by any religious adherent.

Abraham Lincoln

Those who now insist that Federal control of slavery in Federal Territories violates the Constitution, point us to the provisions which they suppose it thus violates; and, as I understand, they all fix upon provisions in these amendatory articles, and not in the original instrument. The Supreme Court, in the Dred Scott case, plant themselves upon the fifth amendment, which provides that no person shall be deprived of “life, liberty, or property without due process of law”; while Senator Douglas and his peculiar adherents plant themselves upon the tenth amendment, providing that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution” “are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”


Abraham Lincoln

These things have been notorious, known to all, and of course known to Mr. Vallandigham. Perhaps I would not be wrong to say they originated with his special friends and adherents. With perfect knowledge of them, he has frequently if not constantly made speeches in Congress and before popular assemblies; and if it can be shown that, with these things staring him in the face he has ever uttered a word of rebuke or counsel against them, it will be a fact greatly in his favor with me, and one of which as yet I am totally ignorant.


Abraham Lincoln

The Presidential election of 1860 approached. The struggle in Kansas, and the debates in Congress which accompanied it, and which not unfrequently provoked violent outbursts, continually stirred the popular excitement. Within the Democratic party raged the war of factions. The national Democratic convention met at Charleston on the 23d of April, 1860. After a struggle of ten days between the adherents and the opponents of Douglas, during which the delegates from the cotton States had withdrawn, the convention adjourned without having nominated any candidates, to meet again in Baltimore on the 18th of June. There was no prospect, however, of reconciling the hostile elements. It appeared very probable that the Baltimore convention would nominate Douglas, while the seceding Southern Democrats would set up a candidate of their own, representing extreme proslavery principles.



Don Vincente Ribiera made a few steps under the deck-awning, leaning on the arm of Senor Avellanos; a wide circle was formed round him, where the mirthless smile of his dark lips and the sightless glitter of his spectacles could be seen turning amiably from side to side. The informal function arranged on purpose on board the Juno to give the President-Dictator an opportunity to meet intimately some of his most notable adherents in Sulaco was drawing to an end. On one side, General Montero, his bald head covered now by a plumed cocked hat, remained motionless on a skylight seat, a pair of big gauntleted hands folded on the hilt of the sabre standing upright between his legs. The white plume, the coppery tint of his broad face, the blue-black of the moustaches under the curved beak, the mass of gold on sleeves and breast, the high shining boots with enormous spurs, the working nostrils, the imbecile and domineering stare of the glorious victor of Rio Seco had in them something ominous and incredible; the exaggeration of a cruel caricature, the fatuity of solemn masquerading, the atrocious grotesqueness of some military idol of Aztec conception and European bedecking, awaiting the homage of worshippers. Don Jose approached diplomatically this weird and inscrutable portent, and Mrs. Gould turned her fascinated eyes away at last.


Abraham Lincoln

Perchance in the whole circle of the great and gifted of our land there remains but one on whose shoulders the mighty mantle of the departed statesman may fall; one who while we now write is doubtless pouring his tears over the bier of his brother and friend brother, friend, ever, yet in political sentiment as far apart as party could make them. Ah, it is at times like these that the petty distinctions of mere party disappear. We see only the great, the grand, the noble features of the departed statesman; and we do not even beg permission to bow at his feet and mingle our tears with those who have ever been his political adherents–we do [not] beg this permission, we claim it as a right, though we feel it as a privilege. Henry Clay belonged to his country–to the world; mere party cannot claim men like him. His career has been national, his fame has filled the earth, his memory will endure to the last syllable of recorded time.


Tom Sawyer

But all trials bring their compensations. As Tom wended to school after breakfast, he was the envy of every boy he met because the gap in his upper row of teeth enabled him to expectorate in a new and admirable way. He gathered quite a following of lads interested in the exhibition; and one that had cut his finger and had been a centre of fascination and homage up to this time, now found himself suddenly without an adherent, and shorn of his glory. His heart was heavy, and he said with a disdain which he did not feel that it wasn’t anything to spit like Tom Sawyer; but another boy said, “Sour grapes!” and he wandered away a dismantled hero.



[fvplayer src=”http://languagedance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/vAltercation.webmhd.webm” src1=”http://languagedance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/vAltercation.mp4″ width=”640″ height=”360″ autoplay=”true”]


An altercation is an angry argument. The first part of our sign represents anger. The curved fingers of the right hand start at the center of the chest and then fly up suddenly and violently. This is an expression of anger. This would also apply to words such as indignation, indignant, fury, and enrage. The face should have an angry look and the body should feel the anger. The two hands, fingers outstretched, then move toward and away from each other. This represents the altercation. In sum, we have an angry argument, or an altercation.



Are You For Real?

The two girls stood across from each other, one with her fists up, the other with her finger wagging back and forth.

“If you want an altercation, I’ll give you an altercation.”

“Why don’t you keep your face out of my face?”

The shouting continued for some time. Finally the principal walked around the corner and said, “Okay, ladies, break it up. We don’t need any altercations in the hallway.” With that being said the smallest of the two girls wound up and popped the principal right in the nose. “You want to abridge this altercation, I’ll abridge your nose.”

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Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Now, as to Orlick; he had gone to town exactly as he told us when we picked him up at the turnpike, he had been seen about town all the evening, he had been in divers companies in several public-houses, and he had come back with myself and Mr. Wopsle. There was nothing against him, save the quarrel; and my sister had quarrelled with him, and with everybody else about her, ten thousand times. As to the strange man; if he had come back for his two bank-notes there could have been no dispute about them, because my sister was fully prepared to restore them. Besides, there had been no altercation; the assailant had come in so silently and suddenly, that she had been felled before she could look round.


A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Call yourself a religious woman? If you’re a religious woman, give me a irreligious one! You have no more nat’ral sense of duty than the bed of this here Thames river has of a pile, and similarly it must be knocked into you.” The altercation was conducted in a low tone of voice, and terminated in the honest tradesman’s kicking off his clay-soiled boots, and lying down at his length on the floor. After taking a timid peep at him lying on his back, with his rusty hands under his head for a pillow, his son lay down too, and fell asleep again.


David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

I could not help glancing at the scar with a painful interest when we went in to tea. It was not long before I observed that it was the most susceptible part of her face, and that, when she turned pale, that mark altered first, and became a dull, lead-coloured streak, lengthening out to its full extent, like a mark in invisible ink brought to the fire. There was a little altercation between her and Steerforth about a cast of the dice at back gammon–when I thought her, for one moment, in a storm of rage; and then I saw it start forth like the old writing on the wall.


Lord  Jim

‘All this happened in much less time than it takes to tell, since I am trying to interpret for you into slow speech the instantaneous effect of visual impressions. Next moment the half-caste clerk, sent by Archie to look a little after the poor castaways of the Patna, came upon the scene. He ran out eager and bareheaded, looking right and left, and very full of his mission. It was doomed to be a failure as far as the principal person was concerned, but he approached the others with fussy importance, and, almost immediately, found himself involved in a violent altercation with the chap that carried his arm in a sling, and who turned out to be extremely anxious for a row. He wasn’t going to be ordered about–“not he, b’gosh.” He wouldn’t be terrified with a pack of lies by a cocky half-bred little quill-driver. He was not going to be bullied by “no object of that sort,” if the story were true “ever so”! He bawled his wish, his desire, his determination to go to bed. “If you weren’t a God-forsaken Portuguee,” I heard him yell, “you would know that the hospital is the right place for me.” He pushed the fist of his sound arm under the other’s nose; a crowd began to collect; the half-caste, flustered, but doing his best to appear dignified, tried to explain his intentions. I went away without waiting to see the end.


Abraham Lincoln

There is also reason to believe that foreigners frequently become citizens of the United States for the sole purpose of evading duties imposed by the laws of their native countries, to which on becoming naturalized here they at once repair, and though never returning to the United States they still claim the interposition of this government as citizens. Many altercations and great prejudices have heretofore arisen out of this abuse. It is therefore submitted to your serious consideration. It might be advisable to fix a limit beyond which no citizen of the United States residing abroad may claim the interposition of his government.


Abraham Lincoln

Our very popular and estimable representative in Egypt died in April last. An unpleasant altercation which arose between the temporary incumbent of the office and the Government of the Pasha resulted in a suspension of intercourse. The evil was promptly corrected on the arrival of the successor in the consulate, and our relations with Egypt, as well as our relations with the Barbary Powers, are entirely satisfactory.


A Predicatment Edgar Allan Poe

From this, after some minutes, I was aroused by the voice of Pompey, who declared that he could stand it no longer, and requested that I would be so kind as to come down. This was unreasonable, and I told him so in a speech of some length. He replied, but with an evident misunderstanding of my ideas upon the subject. I accordingly grew angry, and told him in plain words, that he was a fool, that he had committed an ignoramus e-clench-eye, that his notions were mere insommary Bovis, and his words little better than an ennemywerrybor’em. With this he appeared satisfied, and I resumed my contemplations. It might have been half an hour after this altercation when, as I was deeply absorbed in the heavenly scenery beneath me, I was startled by something very cold which pressed with a gentle pressure on the back of my neck. It is needless to say that I felt inexpressibly alarmed. I knew that Pompey was beneath my feet, and that Diana was sitting, according to my explicit directions, upon her hind legs, in the farthest corner of the room. What could it be? Alas! I but too soon discovered. Turning my head gently to one side, I perceived, to my extreme horror, that the huge, glittering, scimetar-like minute-hand of the clock had, in the course of its hourly revolution, descended upon my neck. There was, I knew, not a second to be lost. I pulled back at once–but it was too late. There was no chance of forcing my head through the mouth of that terrible trap in which it was so fairly caught, and which grew narrower and narrower with a rapidity too horrible to be conceived. The agony of that moment is not to be imagined. I threw up my hands and endeavored, with all my strength, to force upward the ponderous iron bar.  





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Cherubic means resembling an angel portrayed as a little child with a beautiful, or chubby face; sweet and innocent. This makes for an easy gesture. Simply touch your shoulders with the tips of your fingers and pretend that your arms are little flapping wings. The gesture is more authentic, or at least celestial, if your tilt to your side and make a face like a youngster.




Are You For Real?

The child was almost cherubic, with her plump, round face and innocent look. 




Are You For Real?

Jim looked toward Russell and said smugly, “You ought to toughen up. If you think Megan wants a cherub for a boyfriend, you’re sadly mistaken.” 






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Condone means to pardon or overlook. In our gesture we will use the sign for over (that is our right hand circling above the left hand), and look (our index and middle finger of the right hand pointing at the eyes and then away from the face). We will turn the head and eyes away to the side as if we are looking away from the event or pardoning what we are witnessing. Thus, we are overlooking, or looking away from that which might otherwise concern us.




I enjoyed every bit of that breakfast, and then I got up and dressed, putting on my second best muslin gown. I would have put on my really best if I had not had the fear of Nancy before my eyes; but I knew she would never condone THAT, even on a birthday.

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Colonel Starbottle for the Plaintiff

She answered his request with another intelligent look and a nod. He accompanied her to the door. As he took her proffered hand he raised the lisle-thread fingers to his lips with old-fashioned gallantry. As if that act had condoned for his first omissions and awkwardness, he became his old-fashioned self again, buttoned his coat, pulled out his shirt frill, and strutted back to his desk.



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Dissent is to disagree, or a disagreement. Our gesture begins with the sign for think (that is, forefinger pointing at the forehead). We then make the sign for opposite by touching our index fingers and drawing them apart suddenly. Thus, we think the opposite as someone else. We disagree, or dissent.



Tom Sawyer

They rose up and wandered along, hand in hand and hopeless. They tried to estimate how long they had been in the cave, but all they knew was that it seemed days and weeks, and yet it was plain that this could not be, for their candles were not gone yet. A long time after this–they could not tell how long–Tom said they must go softly and listen for dripping water–they must find a spring. They found one presently, and Tom said it was time to rest again. Both were cruelly tired, yet Becky said she thought she could go a little farther. She was surprised to hear Tom dissent. She could not understand it. They sat down, and Tom fastened his candle to the wall in front of them with some clay. Thought was soon busy; nothing was said for some time.


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Grapes of Rath

Pa broke in, “But s’pose there just ain’t room?” He had twisted his neck to look up at her, and he was ashamed. Her tone had made him ashamed. “S’pose we jus’ can’t all get in the truck?” “There ain’t room now,” she said. “There ain’t room for more’n six, an’ twelve is goin’ sure. One more ain’t gonna hurt; an’ a man, strong an’ healthy, ain’t never no burden. An’ any time when we got two pigs an’ over a hundred dollars, an’ we wonderin’ if we kin feed a fella—” She stopped, and Pa turned back, and his spirit was raw from the whipping. Granma said, “A preacher is a nice thing to be with us. He give a nice grace this morning.” Pa looked at the face of each one for dissent, and then he said, “Want to call ‘im over, Tommy? If he’s goin’, he ought to be here.” Tom got up from his hams and went toward the house, calling, “Casy—oh, Casy!”

Lord Jim

‘I can’t tell you whether Jim knew he was especially “fancied,” but the tone of his references to “my Dad” was calculated to give me a notion that the good old rural dean was about the finest man that ever had been worried by the cares of a large family since the beginning of the world. This, though never stated, was implied with an anxiety that there should be no mistake about it, which was really very true and charming, but added a poignant sense of lives far off to the other elements of the story. “He has seen it all in the home papers by this time,” said Jim. “I can never face the poor old chap.” I did not dare to lift my eyes at this till I heard him add, “I could never explain. He wouldn’t understand.” Then I looked up. He was smoking reflectively, and after a moment, rousing himself, began to talk again. He discovered at once a desire that I should not confound him with his partners in–in crime, let us call it. He was not one of them; he was altogether of another sort. I gave no sign of dissent. I had no intention, for the sake of barren truth, to rob him of the smallest particle of any saving grace that would come in his way. I didn’t know how much of it he believed himself. I didn’t know what he was playing up to–if he was playing up to anything at all–and I suspect he did not know either; for it is my belief no man ever understands quite his own artful dodges to escape from the grim shadow of self-knowledge. I made no sound all the time he was wondering what he had better do after “that stupid inquiry was over.”


Lord Jim

‘I perceived that the three last fingers of his wounded hand were stiff and could not move independently of each other, so that he took up his tumbler with an ungainly clutch. “One is always afraid. One may talk, but . . .” He put down the glass awkwardly. . . . “The fear, the fear–look you–it is always there.” . . . He touched his breast near a brass button, on the very spot where Jim had given a thump to his own when protesting that there was nothing the matter with his heart. I suppose I made some sign of dissent, because he insisted, “Yes! yes! One talks, one talks; this is all very fine; but at the end of the reckoning one is no cleverer than the next man–and no more brave. Brave! This is always to be seen. I have rolled my hump (roule ma bosse),” he said, using the slang expression with imperturbable seriousness, “in all parts of the world; I have known brave men–famous ones! Allez!” . . . He drank carelessly. . . . “Brave–you conceive–in the Service–one has got to be–the trade demands it (le metier veut ca). Is it not so?” he appealed to me reasonably. “Eh bien! Each of them–I say each of them, if he were an honest man–bien entendu–would confess that there is a point–there is a point–for the best of us–there is somewhere a point when you let go everything (vous lachez tout). And you have got to live with that truth–do you see? Given a certain combination of circumstances, fear is sure to come. Abominable funk (un trac epouvantable). And even for those who do not believe this truth there is fear all the same–the fear of themselves. Absolutely so. Trust me. Yes. Yes. . . . At my age one knows what one is talking about–que diable!”


Sense and Sensibility

She performed her promise of being discreet, to admiration. She attended to all that Mrs. Jennings had to say upon the subject, with an unchanging complexion, dissented from her in nothing, and was heard three times to say, “Yes, ma’am.”–She listened to her praise of Lucy with only moving from one chair to another, and when Mrs. Jennings talked of Edward’s affection, it cost her only a spasm in her throat. Such advances towards heroism in her sister, made Elinor feel equal to any thing herself.


Sense and Sensibility

She paused. Her daughter could not quite agree with her, but her dissent was not heard, and therefore gave no offence. “At Delaford, she will be within an easy distance of me,” added Mrs. Dashwood, “even if I remain at Barton; and in all probability,–for I hear it is a large village,–indeed there certainly _must_ be some small house or cottage close by, that would suit us quite as well as our present situation.”


Abraham Lincoln

Butler informs me that he received a letter from you, in which you expressed some doubt whether the Whigs of Sangamon will support you cordially. You may, at once, dismiss all fears on that subject. We have already resolved to make a particular effort to give you the very largest majority possible in our county. From this, no Whig of the county dissents. We have many objects for doing it.


Abraham Lincoln

Mr. Speaker, I see I have but three minutes left, and this forces me to throw out one whole branch of my subject. A single word on still another. The Democrats are keen enough to frequently remind us that we have some dissensions in our ranks. Our good friend from Baltimore immediately before me [Mr. McLane] expressed some doubt the other day as to which branch of our party General Taylor would ultimately fall into the hands of. That was a new idea to me. I knew we had dissenters, but I did not know they were trying to get our candidate away from us. I would like to say a word to our dissenters, but I have not the time. Some such we certainly have; have you none, gentlemen Democrats? Is it all union and harmony in your ranks? no bickerings? no divisions? If there be doubt as to which of our divisions will get our candidate, is there no doubt as to which of your candidates will get your party? I have heard some things from New York; and if they are true, one might well say of your party there, as a drunken fellow once said when he heard the reading of an indictment for hog-stealing. The clerk read on till he got to and through the words, “did steal, take, and carry away ten boars, ten sows, ten shoats, and ten pigs,” at which he exclaimed, “Well, by golly, that is the most equally divided gang of hogs I ever did hear of!” If there is any other gang of hogs more equally divided than the Democrats of New York are about this time, I have not heard of it.


Abraham Lincoln

We know that there is not a perfect agreement of sentiment here on the public questions which might be rightfully considered in this convention, and that the indignation which we all must feel cannot be helped; but all of us must give up something for the good of the cause. There is one desire which is uppermost in the mind, one wish common to us all, to which no dissent will be made; and I counsel you earnestly to bury all resentment, to sink all personal feeling, make all things work to a common purpose in which we are united and agreed about, and which all present will agree is absolutely necessary–which must be done by any rightful mode if there be such: Slavery must be kept out of Kansas! [Applause.]


Abraham Lincoln

In the early days of the Constitution slavery was recognized, by South and North alike, as an evil, and the division of sentiment about it was not controlled by geographical lines or considerations of climate, but by moral and philanthropic views. Petitions for the abolition of slavery were presented to the very first Congress by Virginia and Massachusetts alike. To show the harmony which prevailed, I will state that a fugitive slave law was passed in 1793, with no dissenting voice in the Senate, and but seven dissenting votes in the House. It was, however, a wise law, moderate, and, under the Constitution, a just one. Twenty-five years later, a more stringent law was proposed and defeated; and thirty-five years after that, the present law, drafted by Mason of Virginia, was passed by Northern votes. I am not, just now, complaining of this law, but I am trying to show how the current sets; for the proposed law of 1817 was far less offensive than the present one. In 1774 the Continental Congress pledged itself, without a dissenting vote, to wholly discontinue the slave trade, and to neither purchase nor import any slave; and less than three months before the passage of the Declaration of Independence, the same Congress which adopted that declaration unanimously resolved “that no slave be imported into any of the thirteen United Colonies.” [Great applause.]


The Prince and the Pauper

A heavy drowsiness presently fell upon the two comrades.  The King said–“Remove these rags.”–meaning his clothing. Hendon disapparelled the boy without dissent or remark, tucked him up in bed, then glanced about the room, saying to himself, ruefully, “He hath taken my bed again, as before–marry, what shall _I_ do?”  The little King observed his perplexity, and dissipated it with a word.


The Prince and the Pauper

He was about to throw himself upon his brother; but Hugh put up his hand in dissent, then dropped his chin mournfully upon his breast, saying with emotion– “Ah, God of his mercy give me strength to bear this grievous disappointment!”


Tom Sawyer

They rose up and wandered along, hand in hand and hopeless. They tried to estimate how long they had been in the cave, but all they knew was that it seemed days and weeks, and yet it was plain that this could not be, for their candles were not gone yet. A long time after this–they could not tell how long–Tom said they must go softly and listen for dripping water–they must find a spring. They found one presently, and Tom said it was time to rest again. Both were cruelly tired, yet Becky said she thought she could go a little farther. She was surprised to hear Tom dissent. She could not understand it. They sat down, and Tom fastened his candle to the wall in front of them with some clay. Thought was soon busy; nothing was said for some time.


A Connecticut Yankee

It reminded me of something I had read in my youth about the ingenious way in which the aldermen of London raised the money that built the Mansion House.  A person who had not taken the Sacrament according to the Anglican rite could not stand as a candidate for sheriff of London.  Thus Dissenters were ineligible; they could not run if asked, they could not serve if elected. The aldermen, who without any question were Yankees in disguise, hit upon this neat device: they passed a by-law imposing a fine of L400 upon any one who should refuse to be a candidate for sheriff, and a fine of L600 upon any person who, after being elected sheriff, refused to serve.  Then they went to work and elected a lot of Dissenters, one after another, and kept it up until they had collected L15,000 in fines; and there stands the stately Mansion House to this day, to keep the blushing citizen in mind of a long past and lamented day when a band of Yankees slipped into London and played games of the sort that has given their race a unique and shady reputation among all truly good and holy peoples that be in the earth.


A Connecticut Yankee

Yes, it was now “Death to the Republic!” everywhere–not a dissenting voice.  All England was marching against us!  Truly, this was more than I had bargained for.    



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Eminent is famous, distinguished, or outstanding.  For our gesture we will use the sign for fame. As you know, one’s fame radiates out far and wide. Thus, we extend our index fingers, touch the corners of our mouth, and make small concentric spirals away from our head. We are eminent, famous, distinguished, and outstanding.



Edgar Allen Poe

Von Kempelen and his Discover

I should be profoundly astonished at finding so eminent a chemist as Professor Draper, discussing Mr. Kissam’s (or is it Mr. Quizzem’s?) pretensions to the discovery, in so serious a tone.


More Text Examples

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

I am doubtful whether I was at heart glad or sorry, when my school-days drew to an end, and the time came for my leaving Doctor Strong’s. I had been very happy there, I had a great attachment for the Doctor, and I was eminent and distinguished in that little world. For these reasons I was sorry to go; but for other reasons, unsubstantial enough, I was glad.


Call of the Wild

From then on it was war between them. Spitz, as lead-dog and acknowledged master of the team, felt his supremacy threatened by this strange Southland dog. And strange Buck was to him, for of the many Southland dogs he had known, not one had shown up worthily in camp and on trail. They were all too soft, dying under the toil, the frost, and starvation. Buck was the exception. He alone endured and prospered, matching the husky in strength, savagery, and cunning. Then he was a masterful dog, and what made him dangerous was the fact that the club of the man in the red sweater had knocked all blind pluck and rashness out of his desire for mastery. He was preeminently cunning, and could bide his time with a patience that was nothing less than primitive.


White Fang

He stood upon his right to go his way unmolested and to give trail to no dog.  He had to be taken into account, that was all.  He was no longer to be disregarded and ignored, as was the lot of puppies, and as continued to be the lot of the puppies that were his team-mates. They got out of the way, gave trail to the grown dogs, and gave up meat to them under compulsion.  But White Fang, uncompanionable, solitary, morose, scarcely looking to right or left, redoubtable, forbidding of aspect, remote and alien, was accepted as an equal by his puzzled elders. They quickly learned to leave him alone, neither venturing hostile acts nor making overtures of friendliness.  If they left him alone, he left them alone–a state of affairs that they found, after a few encounters, to be pre-eminently desirable.


White Fang

This man was called “Beauty” by the other men of the fort.  No one knew his first name, and in general he was known in the country as Beauty Smith.  But he was anything save a beauty.  To antithesis was due his naming.  He was pre-eminently unbeautiful.  Nature had been niggardly with him.  He was a small man to begin with; and upon his meagre frame was deposited an even more strikingly meagre head.  Its apex might be likened to a point.  In fact, in his boyhood, before he had been named Beauty by his fellows, he had been called “Pinhead.”   Frankenstein Clerval!  Beloved friend!  Even now it delights me to record your words and to dwell on the praise of which you are so eminently deserving.


Edgar Allan Poe The Unparalleled Adventures of One Hans Pfaal

His hands were enormously large. His hair was extremely gray, and collected in a cue behind. His nose was prodigiously long, crooked, and inflammatory; his eyes full, brilliant, and acute; his chin and cheeks, although wrinkled with age, were broad, puffy, and double; but of ears of any kind or character there was not a semblance to be discovered upon any portion of his head. This odd little gentleman was dressed in a loose surtout of sky-blue satin, with tight breeches to match, fastened with silver buckles at the knees. His vest was of some bright yellow material; a white taffety cap was set jauntily on one side of his head; and, to complete his equipment, a blood-red silk handkerchief enveloped his throat, and fell down, in a dainty manner, upon his bosom, in a fantastic bow-knot of super-eminent dimensions.


Edgar Allen Poe Von Kempelen and his Discover

I should be profoundly astonished at finding so eminent a chemist as Professor Draper, discussing Mr. Kissam’s (or is it Mr. Quizzem’s?) pretensions to the discovery, in so serious a tone.


Edgar Allen Poe Landor’s Cottage

In fact nothing could well be more simple–more utterly unpretending than this cottage. Its marvellous effect lay altogether in its artistic arrangement as a picture. I could have fancied, while I looked at it, that some eminent landscape-painter had built it with his brush.


Walt Whitman Myself and Mine

Let me have my own way, Let others promulge the laws, I will make no account of the laws, Let others praise eminent men and hold up peace, I hold up agitation and conflict, I praise no eminent man, I rebuke to his face the one that was thought most worthy.


The Watkinson Evening [From _Godey’s Lady’s Book_, December, 1846.] By Eliza Leslie (1787-1858)

She then proceeded to name a gallant general, with his elegant wife and accomplished daughter; a celebrated commander in the navy; two highly distinguished members of Congress, and even an ex-president. Also several of the most eminent among the American literati, and two first-rate artists.


ELDER BROWN’S BACKSLIDE By Harry Stillwell Edwards (1855- )

It was a queer figure that crept along the road that cheery May morning. It was tall and gaunt, and had been for thirty years or more. The long head, bald on top, covered behind with iron-gray hair, and in front with a short tangled growth that curled and kinked in every direction, was surmounted by an old-fashioned stove-pipe hat, worn and stained, but eminently impressive. An old-fashioned Henry Clay cloth coat, stained and threadbare, divided itself impartially over the donkey’s back and dangled on his sides. This was all that remained of the elder’s wedding suit of forty years ago.


The Secret Agent

This was not the only circumstance whose recollection depressed the usual serenity of the eminent specialist.  There was another dating back only to that very morning.  The thought that when called urgently to his Assistant Commissioner’s private room he had been unable to conceal his astonishment was distinctly vexing.  His instinct of a successful man had taught him long ago that, as a general rule, a reputation is built on manner as much as on achievement.  And he felt that his manner when confronted with the telegram had not been impressive.  He had opened his eyes widely, and had exclaimed “Impossible!” exposing himself thereby to the unanswerable retort of a finger-tip laid forcibly on the telegram which the Assistant Commissioner, after reading it aloud, had flung on the desk.  To be crushed, as it were, under the tip of a forefinger was an unpleasant experience.  Very damaging, too!  Furthermore, Chief Inspector Heat was conscious of not having mended matters by allowing himself to express a conviction.   A convenient train whirled him up to town, alone and pondering deeply, in a third-class compartment.  That singed piece of cloth was incredibly valuable, and he could not defend himself from astonishment at the casual manner it had come into his possession.  It was as if Fate had thrust that clue into his hands.  And after the manner of the average man, whose ambition is to command events, he began to mistrust such a gratuitous and accidental success—just because it seemed forced upon him.  The practical value of success depends not a little on the way you look at it.  But Fate looks at nothing.  It has no discretion.  He no longer considered it eminently desirable all round to establish publicly the identity of the man who had blown himself up that morning with such horrible completeness.  But he was not certain of the view his department would take.  A department is to those it employs a complex personality with ideas and even fads of its own.  It depends on the loyal devotion of its servants, and the devoted loyalty of trusted servants is associated with a certain amount of affectionate contempt, which keeps it sweet, as it were.  By a benevolent provision of Nature no man is a hero to his valet, or else the heroes would have to brush their own clothes.  Likewise no department appears perfectly wise to the intimacy of its workers.  A department does not know so much as some of its servants.  Being a dispassionate organism, it can never be perfectly informed.  It would not be good for its efficiency to know too much.  Chief Inspector Heat got out of the train in a state of thoughtfulness entirely untainted with disloyalty, but not quite free of that jealous mistrust which so often springs on the ground of perfect devotion, whether to women or to institutions.


The Secret Agent

His wife might have fallen asleep already.  He could not tell.  As a matter of fact, Mrs Verloc had heard him.  Her eyes remained very wide open, and she lay very still, confirmed in her instinctive conviction that things don’t bear looking into very much.  And yet it was nothing very unusual for Mr Verloc to take such a trip.  He renewed his stock from Paris and Brussels.  Often he went over to make his purchases personally.  A little select connection of amateurs was forming around the shop in Brett Street, a secret connection eminently proper for any business undertaken by Mr Verloc, who, by a mystic accord of temperament and necessity, had been set apart to be a secret agent all his life.



Sotillo, as Nostromo had surmised, was in command on board the transport. The events of the last forty-eight hours in Sulaco were not known to him; neither was he aware that the telegraphist in Esmeralda had managed to warn his colleague in Sulaco. Like a good many officers of the troops garrisoning the province, Sotillo had been influenced in his adoption of the Ribierist cause by the belief that it had the enormous wealth of the Gould Concession on its side. He had been one of the frequenters of the Casa Gould, where he had aired his Blanco convictions and his ardour for reform before Don Jose Avellanos, casting frank, honest glances towards Mrs. Gould and Antonia the while. He was known to belong to a good family persecuted and impoverished during the tyranny of Guzman Bento. The opinions he expressed appeared eminently natural and proper in a man of his parentage and antecedents. And he was not a deceiver; it was perfectly natural for him to express elevated sentiments while his whole faculties were taken up with what seemed then a solid and practical notion–the notion that the husband of Antonia Avellanos would be, naturally, the intimate friend of the Gould Concession. He even pointed this out to Anzani once, when negotiating the sixth or seventh small loan in the gloomy, damp apartment with enormous iron bars, behind the principal shop in the whole row under the Arcades. He hinted to the universal shopkeeper at the excellent terms he was on with the emancipated senorita, who was like a sister to the Englishwoman. He would advance one leg and put his arms akimbo, posing for Anzani’s inspection, and fixing him with a haughty stare.



In this Dr. Monygham was sincere. He esteemed highly the intrepidity of that man, whom he valued but little, being disillusioned as to mankind in general, because of the particular instance in which his own manhood had failed. Having had to encounter singlehanded during his period of eclipse many physical dangers, he was well aware of the most dangerous element common to them all: of the crushing, paralyzing sense of human littleness, which is what really defeats a man struggling with natural forces, alone, far from the eyes of his fellows. He was eminently fit to appreciate the mental image he made for himself of the Capataz, after hours of tension and anxiety, precipitated suddenly into an abyss of waters and darkness, without earth or sky, and confronting it not only with an undismayed mind, but with sensible success. Of course, the man was an incomparable swimmer, that was known, but the doctor judged that this instance testified to a still greater intrepidity of spirit. It was pleasing to him; he augured well from it for the success of the arduous mission with which he meant to entrust the Capataz so marvellously restored to usefulness. And in a tone vaguely gratified, he observed–


Lord Jim

“Twenty-five minutes–watch in hand–twenty-five, no more.” . . . He unclasped and clasped again his fingers without removing his hands from his stomach, and made it infinitely more effective than if he had thrown  up his arms to heaven in amazement. . . . “All that lot (tout ce monde) on shore–with their little affairs–nobody left but a guard of seamen (marins de l’Etat) and that interesting corpse (cet interessant cadavre). Twenty-five minutes.” . . . With downcast eyes and his head tilted slightly on one side he seemed to roll knowingly on his tongue the savour of a smart bit of work. He persuaded one without any further demonstration that his approval was eminently worth having, and resuming his hardly interrupted immobility, he went on to inform me that, being under orders to make the best of their way to Toulon, they left in two hours’ time, “so that (de sorte que) there are many things in this incident of my life (dans cet episode de ma vie) which have remained obscure.”‘


Lord Jim

All this was in the past, but I knew the story of his life and the origin of his fortune. He was also a naturalist of some distinction, or perhaps I should say a learned collector. Entomology was his special study. His collection of Buprestidae and Longicorns–beetles all–horrible miniature monsters, looking malevolent in death and immobility, and his cabinet of butterflies, beautiful and hovering under the glass of cases on lifeless wings, had spread his fame far over the earth. The name of this merchant, adventurer, sometime adviser of a Malay sultan (to whom he never alluded otherwise than as “my poor Mohammed Bonso”), had, on account of a few bushels of dead insects, become known to learned persons in Europe, who could have had no conception, and certainly would not have cared to know anything, of his life or character. I, who knew, considered him an eminently suitable person to receive my confidences about Jim’s difficulties as well as my own.’


Heart Of Darkness

“For the moment that was the dominant thought. There was a sense of extreme disappointment, as though I had found out I had been striving after something altogether without a substance. I couldn’t have been more disgusted if I had traveled all this way for the sole purpose of talking with Mr. Kurtz. Talking with. . . . I flung one shoe overboard, and became aware that that was exactly what I had been looking forward to–a talk with Kurtz. I made the strange discovery that I had never imagined him as doing, you know, but as discoursing. I didn’t say to myself, ‘Now I will never see him,’ or ‘Now I will never shake him by the hand,’ but, ‘Now I will never hear him.’ The man presented himself as a voice. Not of course that I did not connect him with some sort of action. Hadn’t I been told in all the tones of jealousy and admiration that he had collected, bartered, swindled, or stolen more ivory than all the other agents together? That was not the point. The point was in his being a gifted creature, and that of all his gifts the one that stood out pre-eminently, that carried with it a sense of real presence, was his ability to talk, his words–the gift of expression, the bewildering, the illuminating, the most exalted and the most contemptible, the pulsating stream of light, or the deceitful flow from the heart of an impenetrable darkness.


Grapes of Rath

Granma said, “A preacher is a nice thing to be with us. He give a nice grace this morning.” Pa looked at the face of each one for dissent, and then he said, “Want to call ‘im over, Tommy? If he’s goin’, he ought to be here.” Tom got up from his hams and went toward the house, calling, “Casy—oh, Casy!” A muffled voice replied from behind the house. Tom walked to the corner and saw the preacher sitting back against the wall, looking at the flashing evening star in the light sky. “Calling me?” Casy asked. “Yeah. We think long as you’re goin’ with us, you ought to be over with us, helpin’ to figger things out.” Casy got to his feet. He knew the government of families, and he knew he had been taken into the family. Indeed his position was eminent, for Uncle John moved sideways, leaving space between Pa and himself for the preacher. Casy squatted down like the others, facing Grampa enthroned on the running board. Ma went to the house again. There was a screech of a lantern hood and the yellow light flashed up in the dark kitchen. When she lifted the lid of the big pot, the smell of boiling side-meat and beet greens came out the door. They waited for her to come back across the darkening yard, for Ma was powerful in the group.



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Fabricate is to make, manufacture, or invent. For this sign we use our hands to represent making something. Making fists, and touching the top of the left hand to the bottom of the right, we twist and slightly strike the fists in a somewhat mechanical fashion. This helps us to imagine something being fabricated in a factory as well as by an individual.



Abraham Lincoln

“To be independent for the comforts of life, we must fabricate them ourselves. We must now place the manufacturer by the side of the agriculturalist.


More Text Examples

The Secret Agent

“No, Sir Ethelred.  In principle, I should lay it down that the existence of secret agents should not be tolerated, as tending to augment the positive dangers of the evil against which they are used.  That the spy will fabricate his information is a mere commonplace.  But in the sphere of political and revolutionary action, relying partly on violence, the professional spy has every facility to fabricate the very facts themselves, and will spread the double evil of emulation in one direction, and of panic, hasty legislation, unreflecting hate, on the other.  However, this is an imperfect world—”



WASHINGTON, June 16, 1862   BRIGADIER-GENERAL SCHURZ, Mount Jackson, Virginia:   Your long letter is received. The information you give is valuable. You say it is fortunate that Fremont did not intercept Jackson; that Jackson had the superior force, and would have overwhelmed him. If this is so, how happened it that Fremont fairly fought and routed him on the 8th? Or is the account that he did fight and rout him false and fabricated? Both General Fremont and you speak of Jackson having beaten Shields. By our accounts he did not beat Shields. He had no engagement with Shields. He did meet and drive back with disaster about 2000 of Shields’s advance till they were met by an additional brigade of Shields’s, when Jackson himself turned and retreated. Shields himself and more than half his force were not nearer than twenty miles to any of it.


Abraham Lincoln

“To be independent for the comforts of life, we must fabricate them ourselves. We must now place the manufacturer by the side of the agriculturalist. The grand inquiry now is, Shall we make our own comforts, or go without them at the will of a foreign nation? He, therefore, who is now against domestic manufactures must be for reducing us either to dependence on that foreign nation, or to be clothed in skins and to live like wild beasts in dens and caverns. I am not one of those; experience has taught me that manufactures are now as necessary to our independence as to our comfort.” Letter of Mr. Jefferson to Benjamin Austin.


Edgar Allen Poe Narrative of A. Gordon Pym March 2d._-

To-day by repeated questioning of our captive, we came to the knowledge of many particulars in regard to the island of the massacre, its inhabitants, and customs-but with these how can I now detain the reader? I may say, however, that we learned there were eight islands in the group-that they were governed by a common king, named Tsalemon  or  Psalemoun,  who resided in one of the smallest of the islands; that the black skins forming the dress of the warriors came from an animal of huge size to be found only in a valley near the court of the king-that the inhabitants of the group fabricated no other boats than the flat-bottomed rafts; the four canoes being all of the kind in their possession, and, these having been obtained, by mere accident, from some large island in the southwest-that his own name was Nu-Nu-that he had no knowledge of Bennet’s Islet-and that the appellation of the island he had left was Tsalal.