gaunt (adj.) - lean, especially because of suffering, hunger or age.
twitched (v) - give short, sudden jerking movements.
contagious (adj.) - spreading of a disease from one person to another by direct contact
groan (v) - make a deep inarticulate sound conveying pain or despair.
plague (n) - a contagious bacterial disease characterized by fever .
bolted (v) - closed the door with a bar that slides into a socket.
mantle piece (n) - a structure of wood or marble above or around the fireplace.
half-crown (n) - a former British coin equal to two shillings and sixpence (12 1/2p).
tongs (n) - a device used for picking up objects consisting of two long pieces free at one end and pressed together at the other end.
delirious (adj.) - disturbed state of mind characterized by restlessness.
frail (adj.) - weak and delicate.
startled (v) - felt sudden shock or alarm.
scuffle (v) - to have a sudden short fight