having lost your bearings
But now that I am older I become
disoriented more easily.
a small house with a single story
There was nothing I recognized, and I found myself walking forever around twisting, badly lit streets hemmed in on both sides by the little stone
cottages characteristic of the area.
full of rough and exuberant animal spirits
I could hear some
boisterous talk coming from behind the door.
round one's back by bending forward
A log burning in the fireplace was the only source of light, by which I could make out a number of
hunched figures sitting around the room.
stunned or confused and slow to react
But the warmth of the fire was very welcome, and for a moment I just stared into its flames, a pleasant grogginess drifting over me.
Those were the days when the cottage was surrounded by open fields and there would come from outside the voices of my friends,
lazing in the long grass, arguing over poetry or philosophy.
in a manner showing a brooding ill humor
Then a new voice said, rather
sullenly, “Go ahead then. Have a nap. Don’t mind us.”
a confused multitude of things
But I was already picking my way through the
clutter toward my corner.
a dirty shabbily clothed urchin
At some point, I was aware of a woman saying, “I don’t know how I was ever under his spell. He looks such a
flow over or cover completely
In my state of near-sleep, I debated with myself whether these words applied to me or, perhaps, to David Maggis, but before long sleep
engulfed me once more.
love unquestioningly and uncritically or to excess
“Fletcher,” she said, “when we used to know one another, I was young and beautiful. I
idolized you, and everything you said seemed like an answer. Now here you are, back again. I’ve wanted to tell you for many years that you ruined my life.”
postpone doing what one should be doing
“You’re being unfair. All right, I was mistaken about a lot of things. But I never claimed to have any answers. All I said in those days was that it was our duty, all of us, to contribute to the debate. We knew so much more about the issues than the ordinary people here. If people like us
procrastinated, claiming we didn’t yet know enough, then who was there to act? But I never claimed I had the answers. No, you’re being unfair.”
“They’re all so
impressionable,” the old man would have said.
worn and broken down by hard use
But these days the odd one passing through from time to time, looking all
decrepit and burned out like that—if anything, it goes to demystify all that talk about the old days. In any case, people like him have changed their position so much these days.
make something easier to understand
But these days the odd one passing through from time to time, looking all decrepit and burned out like that—if anything, it goes to
demystify all that talk about the old days. In any case, people like him have changed their position so much these days.
weakness characterized by a lack of vitality or energy
Well, those young people haven’t yet sunk so low, despite all the
lethargy you’ve been preaching at them down the years. I’ll talk to them. I’ll undo in half an hour all of your sorry efforts.
serving as or indicating the existence of a goal
The girl did not seem to hear this, but continued to lead me purposefully through the clusters of cottages.
In those days, Roger Button had idolized me, and in return I had bullied him
consider or render as the best or most appropriate type
Certainly, the ones who’ve never seen you tend to
idealize you the most.
save from ruin, destruction, or harm
You’re entitled to try and
salvage a little self-respect.