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"The Proud Tower"

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January 17, 2010, 20:56
"The Proud Tower"
So Barbara Tuchman opens her book The Proud Tower, from which we will take this week’s words and illustrative quotations. Those quotations, supplemented a bit of the author’s summations like the above, will attempt to convey in some small way a sense of the portrait the author paints.smilax – a slender vine with glossy foliage, popular as a decoration [Latin “bindweed” from Greek]
Mephistophelian – like the devil
aigrette – an ornamental tuft of upright plumes (or, a plume-like spray of gems) [from French for “egret”]
lorgnette – a pair of eyeglasses with a short handle
[from French lorgner to peer at, to take a sidelong glance at; ultimately from lorgne squinting]