And one morning--another memory gem-clear ...


Senior Member
Hi, friends. Again, it's in Henry James's Goodbye, Mr. Chips that I met something puzzling. I was baffled with the word "gem-clear". I couldn't find the exact explanation for it in any sources I could have recourse to. Somehow I guessed its meaning according to the context where it appeared. It might be in the sense of "clearness" sinice it is used to modify the noun 'memory' before it. It may bear some resemblance to the word 'crystal-clear' for 'gem' and 'crystal' are quite similar entities. But I'm not quite sure about its precise definition.


And one morning--another memory gem-clear when he turned to it--he had for some reason been afflicted with an acute desire to depreciate himself and all his attainments. He had told her of his only mediocre degree, of his occasional difficulties of discipline, of the certainty that he would never get a promotion, and of his complete ineligibility to marry a young and ambitious girl. And at the end of it all she had laughed in answer.

Thank you.

Many thanks to copyright's reminding. I now make up for the missing quotes.
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  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Please give us the complete sentence (and up to three other sentences if you think it will help) for this and every question regarding a quotation.


    Senior Member
    English-US, standard and medical
    Gem-clear means very clear indeed - as clear as a gem or jewel. It refers to the specific memory the character is recalling, as you say.
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