hang over, as of something threatening, dark, or menacing
When it got bad, it was like they cast a shadow over the whole of Hailsham; all you had to do was turn your head or move towards a window and there they’d be,
looming in the distance.
have a desire for something or someone who is not present
But her ghost was always wandering about the woods, gazing over Hailsham,
pining to be let back in.
have a meeting in order to talk something over
After a while Miss Geraldine said goodbye and went off towards the Orangery, but we kept on watching, and saw Miss Eileen and Mr. Roger put their heads closer together to
confer furtively, their gazes fixed on Miss Geraldine’s receding figure.
in a secretive manner
After a while Miss Geraldine said goodbye and went off towards the Orangery, but we kept on watching, and saw Miss Eileen and Mr. Roger put their heads closer together to confer
furtively, their gazes fixed on Miss Geraldine’s receding figure.
not secure; beset with difficulties
And yet, all the time, I think we must have had an idea of how
precarious the foundations of our fantasy were, because we always avoided any confrontation.
make an indirect reference to
If she decided someone should be expelled, for example, and she sensed opposition, she’d just
allude darkly to stuff she knew “from before.”
marked by complexity and richness of detail
This had all helped get me fascinated, and I was soon longing to become engrossed myself in those
a refusal to recognize someone you know
Then about two days after this
snub in Room 20, I was coming down the stairs of the main house when I found Moira B. just behind me.
extremely sharp or intense
For the next few seconds I felt something like
acute embarrassment that the two of us should now be standing side by side, linked by our recent humiliations, actually staring our rejection in the face, as it were.
lacking intent or capacity to injure
This might sound a pretty
innocuous sort of response, but actually it was like she’d suddenly got up and hit me, and for the next few moments I felt hot and chilly at the same time.
in a clearly expressed manner
It was always stuff like that, and never
explicitly claimed, just implied by her smile and “let’s say no more” expression.
any factor defining a system and determining its performance
Of course, officially, guardians weren’t supposed to show favouritism, but there were little displays of affection all the time within certain
parameters; and most of what Ruth suggested fell easily within them.
think moodily or anxiously about something
I was never the sort of kid who
brooded over things for hours on end.
roused to anger
The first few times I saw her after the conversation under the eaves, I was ready for at least a bit of
huffiness, but no, she was completely civil, if a little flat.
state of uncertainty in a choice between unfavorable options
I just came in before Midge or anyone else had the chance to notice Ruth was in a curious
extend out or project in space
“You see, because it’s stuck out here on the east, on this hump
jutting into the sea, it’s not on the way to anywhere. People going north and south”—she moved the pointer up and down—“they bypass it altogether. For that reason, it’s a peaceful corner of England, rather nice. But it’s also something of a lost corner.”
an aura of heightened interest surrounding a person or thing
The fact that we’d never seen a picture of the place only added to its
naturally having skin of a dark color
I think it’s supposed to be South America, because there are palms behind her and
swarthy waiters in white tuxedos.
contented to a fault with oneself or one's actions
Or maybe I’d just got
complacent by then.
come to understand
Except this time there was something else, something extra in that look I couldn’t
wait in hiding to attack
I wasn’t ashamed exactly: but it was a bit like that earlier time, when we’d all
waylaid Madame in the courtyard as she got out of her car.
accept as inevitable
Then maybe a fortnight later, when I’d long
reconciled myself to having truly lost my tape, she came and found me during the lunch break.
flow back or recede
And suddenly I felt the disappointment
ebbing away and being replaced by a real happiness.
a decorative pin
It’s an object, like a
brooch or a ring, and especially now Ruth has gone, it’s become one of my most precious possessions.
characterized by unrest or disorder or insubordination
For a moment things got
riotous, with everyone shouting and mimicking touching electric fences.
move about aimlessly or without any destination
Then she went silent, but my impression was that she was continuing to say things inside her head, because for some time her gaze kept
roving over us, going from face to face just as if she were still speaking to us.
the act of twisting or deforming the shape of something
We watched in complete astonishment as she put the skeleton through various
contortions, thrusting her pointer around without the slightest self-consciousness.
offensive to the mind
Then suddenly, with the skeleton in an
obscene heap on the desktop, she turned away and began telling us how we had to be careful...
in a composed and unconcerned manner
Christopher went on eating, then said
“Don’t you know? If it’s right on the elbow like that, it can unzip. All you have to do is bend your arm quickly. Not just that actual bit, the whole elbow, it can all unzip like a bag opening up. Thought you’d know that.”
a medical device to immobilize and protect a body part
What Tommy was asking me now was to help tie a
splint on the arm to keep it rigid through the night.
All that business about “unzipping,” that was typical of the way the whole subject
impinged on us when we were thirteen.
She herself was leaning over in concentration, forehead very low, arms up on the surface,
scrawling furious lines over a page with a pencil.
make a groove in
As I watched, she went on scrubbing the pencil point over the paper, almost in the way we did shading in Art, except her movements were much more angry, as if she didn’t mind
gouging right through the sheet.
characterized by oppressive heat and humidity
I remember it being
stifling that day, even though we had the fan rattling behind us.
take arbitrarily or by force
We were using charcoal, and because someone had
commandeered all the easels, we were having to work with our boards propped up on our laps.
having the ability to understand
But Cynthia was a
perceptive person, and the fact that she wasn’t part of our group just gave her remark more weight.
affected with madness or insanity
There was a bluebottle buzzing around, and for a minute we had a laugh playing “bluebottle tennis,” throwing our hands about to make the
demented creature go from one to the other of us.
a situation in which no progress can be made
In the end I decided to break the
deadlock and said: “Tommy, let’s talk now. There’s something I want to talk to you about.”
a disposition to be friendly and approachable
So now, to prove he was happy, here he was, trying to sparkle with
not worth considering
“If it wasn’t ‘rubbish’ it was something like it.
Negligible. That might have been it. Or incompetent. She might as well have said rubbish. She said she was sorry she’d told me what she had the last time because if she hadn’t, I might have sorted it all by now.”