a [glimpse] of sea between two rocks


Senior Member
The quotation comes from Jane Eyre Chapter 21

Quotation: But I was determined not to seem at a loss for occupation or amusement: I had brought my drawing materials with me, and they served me for both.

Provided with a case of pencils, and some sheets of paper, I used to take a seat apart from them, near the window, and busy myself in sketching fancy vignettes, representing any scene that happened momentarily to shape itself in the ever-shifting kaleidoscope of imagination: a glimpse of sea between two rocks; the rising moon, and a ship crossing its disk; a group of reeds and water-flags, and a naiad’s head, crowned with lotus-flowers, rising out of them;an elf sitting in a hedge-sparrow’s nest, under a wreath of hawthorn-bloom.
Hi everyone! I'm not sure about the word "glimpse". Does it mean "a momentary or slight appearance" ?
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "Glimpse" here means "a small visible portion" of something. Since it's a drawing there's no element of time in this case.

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    It is not unusual to use "glimpse" to mean a small portion showing.
    There is a well-known song with the word glimpse use in just this way:

    In olden days, a glimpse of stocking
    Was looked on as something shocking.
    But now, God knows,
    Anything goes.

    Written by Cole Porter in the 1930s.


    English - England
    a glimpse of sea between two rocks = a short view of the sea shining between two rocks

    This is a very old use of "glimpse" (no longer current) that means (OED) 1. a. A momentary shining, a flash. lit. and fig.
    1828 Scott Fair Maid of Perth vii, in Chron. Canongate 2nd Ser. III. 187 A glimpse of the moon showed the dark and huge tower.
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