Chapters 5–9

Set during World War II, this novel tells the story of a pilot who attempts to find his way home after his plane is shot down.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. berate
    censure severely or angrily
    He berated himself for throwing away his .45. What a hothead, what an idiot.
  2. mortar
    a substance used as a bond in masonry or for covering a wall
    Within a few minutes Henry saw a scattering of houses. They were half-timbered, held together with mortar and a latticework of wooden beams that made diamond patterns.
  3. commandeer
    take arbitrarily or by force
    Our doctor was commandeered into the Nazi army. The Gestapo has arrested the only man who might have helped you.
  4. adamant
    impervious to pleas, persuasion, requests, or reason
    The Swiss were adamant about maintaining their neutrality, sometimes even shooting down American bombers flying over their country.
  5. maim
    injure or wound seriously and leave permanent disfiguration
    Missing, lost, maimed.
  6. wizened
    lean and wrinkled by shrinkage as from age or illness
    With no one to help him but a wizened old teacher who couldn’t stop talking history.
  7. buffer
    a cushion-like device that reduces shock due to an impact
    Henry rolled over and pushed the blanket around in an attempt to make it a better buffer between him and the wooden floor.
  8. hew
    make or shape as with an axe
    “I think the bone sticks out here,” said the teacher, pointing to a nasty bulge beside Henry’s anklebone. He rewrapped Henry’s ankle with a rough- hewn splint and a clean cloth.
  9. ruefully
    in a manner expressing pain or sorrow for sins or offenses
    "...But first I must get a boat, without being arrested.” He smiled ruefully at Henry.
  10. loath
    strongly opposed
    He handed Henry a change of clothes. “You cannot travel in your uniform.” Henry was loath to give up his warm flight jacket for the scratchy sweater and pants.
  11. oblivion
    total forgetfulness
    Rocked by the boat, lulled by the steady, soft lap-lap-lap of water against its hull, Henry passed into oblivion once more.
  12. barge
    a flatbottom boat for carrying heavy loads
    Henry and the boatman waited at a pier for a long time, bobbing among many other barges.
  13. stupor
    marginal consciousness
    The brandy quickly lulled him into a stupor.
  14. facade
    the front of a building
    Tall buildings with ornate stone facades leaped up into the night sky.
  15. gangrene
    the localized death of living cells
    Make sure you drain that foot. The nurse told me the break wasn’t bad. It’s just the possibility of gangrene to worry over.
  16. flaccid
    drooping without elasticity
    A face popped into his vision—a pale, bald, and flaccid face with reflective glasses.
  17. gurney
    a metal stretcher with wheels
    Huge white doors slammed behind Henry’s gurney and shut the American voice out. A rubber mask came down over Henry’s face and gassed him to sleep.
  18. stark
    severely simple
    Henry awoke in a cold, stark ward that reeked of antiseptic.
  19. consulate
    the residence or workplace of a diplomat
    Everyone has a consulate here—Germans, Italians, Spanish, Russians.
  20. glean
    gather, as of natural products
    It’s a real hotbed of gossip. I work with Allen Dulles, sent here by OSS, our office of strategic services. Mr. Dulles is quite talented at gleaning information.
  21. ominously
    in a manner suggesting something bad will happen
    "...It would be very easy for Hitler to take over Switzerland. What would happen to our boys in Adelboden then?” He shrugged, leaving the question ominously unanswered.
  22. torrent
    an overwhelming number or amount
    He hurled a torrent of angry words at Henry, “Noch einmal und du bist deiner Stelle los! Ab in die Küche!"
  23. ruse
    a deceptive maneuver, especially to avoid capture
    It’s part of the ruse, Henry.
  24. subservient
    compliant and obedient to authority
    Henry nodded, trying to look as subservient and stupid as possible.
  25. clad
    wearing or provided with clothing
    She too was clad in a sophisticated suit.
  26. pell-mell
    in a wild or reckless manner
    Ski runs, Henry reckoned, even though he’d never seen any before. The pell-mell slopes impressed him. And they called pilots daredevils.
  27. dissipate
    move away from each other
    Dinnertime came and the crowds dissipated.
  28. festoon
    decorate with strings of flowers
    Her glossy dark hair was swept up under a mocha-colored cap, festooned with pheasant feathers.
  29. brooch
    a decorative pin
    A diamond brooch glittered on her lapel and a long, silk scarf draped her right shoulder.
  30. prattle
    speak about unimportant matters rapidly and incessantly
    As she prattled on, the woman thrust the dog into Henry’s hands, put her arm through his, and led him toward the door.
  31. preen
    pride or congratulate oneself for an achievement
    The soldiers preened under her compliments.
  32. swath
    a path or strip
    "...France is just across the lake, you know.” She pointed through the window to a glistening, wide swath of blue that bordered the city.
  33. stoke
    stir up
    “But it will still be a trick to get you across the border. I plan to visit the casino tonight to see if I can stoke our fortunes in case a bit of persuasion is needed. It usually is.”
  34. duvet
    a soft quilt usually filled with down
    He flopped onto the big, soft bed and ran his hands over the crisp linen and fluffy duvet covering. They were so much nicer than the coarse cotton sheets and wool blanket at home.
  35. swathe
    wrap in or as if in strips of cloth
    She’d left swathed in mink stoles, their tails dangling.
  36. stole
    a wide shawl or scarf worn around the shoulders
    She’d left swathed in mink stoles, their tails dangling.
  37. don
    put on clothes
    She’d donned a great deal of jewelry.
  38. portly
    fairly fat
    Out popped a portly German diplomat.
  39. overwrought
    deeply agitated especially from emotion
    Playfully, she rattled her keys once more. “Isn’t it a shame that poor Philippe gets so overwrought and has accidents like that, just at the sound of keys?”
  40. coquette
    a woman who flirts, often for personal gain
    I play a high-society coquette to disarm my enemy and to keep myself a mystery. Women have had to cloak themselves in this way forever.
Created on February 18, 2020 (updated February 21, 2020)

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