full of or marked by indignant ill will
If you’re one of them, I can understand how you might get
resentful—about my bedsit, my car, above all, the way I get to pick and choose who I look after.
a person who cares for persons or property
I can remember us back in the Juniors, pleading with
guardians to hold the next lesson in the pavilion instead of the usual room.
a porch along the outside of a building
The pavilion was big enough to take two separate groups without them bothering each other—in the summer, a third group could hang about out on the
lacking spirit or liveliness
The other boys were all moving around the field in that deliberately
languorous way they have when they’re warming up, but Tommy, in his excitement, seemed already to be going full pelt.
This time Ruth heard me, but she must have thought I’d meant it as some kind of joke, because she laughed half-heartedly, then made some
quip of her own.
foolish or mentally irregular
There was something comical about Tommy at that moment, something that made you think, well, yes, if he’s going to be that
daft, he deserves what’s coming.
disturb, especially by minor irritations
And although we hadn’t had any part in this latest plan to
rile Tommy, we had taken out ringside seats, and we were starting to feel guilty.
showing a sense of shame
He seemed to regret immediately this last remark and looked at me
sheepishly, as though expecting me to say something comforting back to him.
caused by an irrational motive for repetitive actions
This was all a long time ago so I might have some of it wrong; but my memory of it is that my approaching Tommy that afternoon was part of a phase I was going through around that time—something to do with
compulsively setting myself challenges—and I’d more or less forgotten all about it when Tommy stopped me a few days later.
witty language used to convey insults or scorn
At last I gave him a smile and said with no
irony: “Look, Tommy, it was an accident and it’s now one hundred percent forgotten. I don’t hold it against you one tiny bit.”
The rule was you could only buy work done by students in your own year, but that still gave us plenty to choose from, since most of us could get pretty
prolific over a three-month period.
move or cause to move in a winding or curving course
I loved visiting her there, loved those
meandering talks we had, through the summer to the early autumn, sitting on that balcony together, talking about Hailsham, the Cottages, whatever else drifted into our thoughts.
have a particular liking or desire for
I must have
fancied him. I can’t think why else I’d have bought his poems. They’re just hysterically daft.
totally perplexed and mixed up
I was pleased about all these developments, but also
question or examine thoroughly and closely
I was mystified, and decided to
probe him a bit the next time we could talk in private.
a line of people or vehicles waiting for something
The chance came along before long, when I was lining up for lunch and spotted him a few places ahead in the
loud confused noise from many sources
It was something to do with the acoustics in the Great Hall; all the
hubbub and the high ceilings meant that so long as you lowered your voices, stood quite close, and made sure your neighbours were deep in their own chat, you had a fair chance of not being overheard.
nonsensical talk or writing
rubbish, Tommy. If you’re going to play stupid games, I can’t be bothered.”
brought low in spirit
I could see he was bewildered and
crestfallen, but after the months I’d spent worrying about him, I felt betrayed, and didn’t care how he felt.
expressing disapproval, blame, or disappointment
I gave him a
reproachful look and walked off without responding, but already, I suppose, I’d begun to entertain the possibility that he wasn’t, after all, making it up about Miss Lucy.
marked by prudence or modesty and wise self-restraint
It wasn’t, though, a good place for a
discreet conversation—not nearly as good as the lunch queue.
under terms not final or fully worked out or agreed upon
I’m not sure if it was for Tommy’s benefit, or for any onlookers’, but I’d kept my posture looking very
provisional, and at one point made a move to carry on with my stroll.
a slight suggestion or vague understanding
But as they were walking from the house towards the Orangery—where the guardians had their living quarters—Tommy began to get an
inkling this was something different.
unpleasantly cool and humid
I remember a time when I could only have been five or six, sitting at a low table beside Amanda C., our hands
clammy with modelling clay.
tolerant or lenient
Mr. Roger smiled
indulgently, as though to say: “Let it pass, we’ll pretend you never said that,” and we carried on as before.
overly conceited or arrogant
For years we thought of her as “
snooty,” but then one night, around when we were eight, Ruth came up with another theory.
a state of extreme confusion and disorder
A car was a rarity, and the sight of one in the distance was sometimes enough to cause
bedlam during a class.
linger, remain, or wait around for no apparent reason
We had a hurried conference out on the landing, then followed the rest of the class down the stairs and
loitered just inside the main doorway.
walk leisurely and with no apparent aim
At a signal from Ruth we all
sauntered out, moving straight for her, but like we were all in a dream.
At one level, it was just us kids
excluded from use or mention
After that day, mention of Madame became, while not
taboo exactly, pretty rare among us.
eager to attain and possess material possessions
The tokens controversy was, I suppose, all part of our getting more
acquisitive as we grew older.
uncertain or unable to decide about what course to follow
But by the time we were ten, we’d grown more
ambivalent about it.
unhappy about being away and longing for familiar things
When you come across old students from Hailsham, you always find them, sooner or later, getting
nostalgic about their collections.
lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
They would have driven me mad, but Miss Emily always ignored them, like they were beneath her
of uncertain outcome; especially fraught with risk
The atmosphere around the table had become one of deep embarrassment, and curious as we were to hear more, we wanted most for the talk to get away from this
cause to do through pressure or necessity
She might then resume with a gentle sigh—a signal that we were going to be forgiven—or just as easily explode out of her silence with: “But I will not be
coerced! Oh no! And neither will Hailsham!”
surpassing the ordinary or normal
Certainly, Miss Emily could be
ride at a smooth three-beat gait
I accepted the invisible rein she was holding out, and then we were off, riding up and down the fence, sometimes
cantering, sometimes at a gallop.
a minor weakness or peculiarity in someone's character
I’d been correct in my decision to tell Ruth I didn’t have any horses of my own, because after a while with Bramble, she let me try her various other horses one by one, shouting all sorts of instructions about how to handle each animal’s