Chapters 10–15

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. promenade
    a public area set aside as a pedestrian walk
    They motored along Lake Léman from Montreux to Lausanne, heading toward Geneva, past promenades lined by palm trees.
  2. toil
    work hard
    That’s what Clayton would have reduced him to, because that’s all Clayton himself seemed to be—a body to toil and scratch the dirt, then die.
  3. tirade
    a speech of violent denunciation
    She turned to the German officer to continue a tirade of complaints about Henry’s inabilities as a servant.
  4. frivolity
    the trait of being not serious or sensible
    Madame stiffened, her characteristic frivolity gone.
  5. rapt
    feeling great delight and interest
    While she concentrated on the music, he watched her face. It glowed with a rapt appreciation of the music, making her beauty even more intriguing.
  6. clandestine
    conducted with or marked by hidden aims or methods
    He could tell, too, that she was so engaged, so elevated by creating this moment of musical beauty, she had completely forgotten his presence, forgotten the sorrow of her imprisoned son, forgotten the danger of her clandestine work.
  7. wry
    humorously sarcastic or mocking
    When Madame looked back up at him, her face was masked with a slightly flirtatious, wry smile that Henry had seen as kind and warm but now recognized as anything but intimate.
  8. bumpkin
    a person who is awkward, uncultured, or unsophisticated
    “My father collected the Impressionists. And this is by Morisot. She was a woman, you know. Just as good as the male Impressionists, don’t you agree?”
    “Impressionists?” Henry had asked, feeling like an uneducated bumpkin around her.
  9. patronize
    treat condescendingly
    But Madame never patronized him. She seemed to enjoy educating him.
  10. procure
    get by special effort
    It is too dangerous for you here now. This evening I procured a train ticket and papers for you to travel to Grenoble.
  11. materialize
    come into being; become reality
    As he got off the train in Grenoble, two well-dressed men materialized by his side. They nodded to him and he followed, the three of them working their way through the station crowds.
  12. prod
    urge on; cause to act
    Do what they say, do what they say, Henry prodded himself.
  13. strew
    spread by scattering
    The road was little more than a goat path, narrow, uneven, strewn with sharp white rocks.
  14. seething
    in constant agitation
    A seething waterfall crashed through the gorge to a bottom Henry couldn’t see.
  15. precarious
    fraught with danger
    A hundred steps farther he came to a great heap of rocks that had tumbled down in a crushing avalanche of stone. He scrambled over it, knocking loose a slide of pebbles into the abyss. Henry stopped to catch his breath and calm his heart, racing with thinner air and the precariousness of his perch.
  16. crag
    a steep rugged rock or cliff
    Finally, Henry clambered out of the crags to stand on a grassy ridge.
  17. recess
    an enclosure that is set back or indented
    Within the eerie recesses of the plants’ shadows, anything could be hiding.
  18. tentative
    hesitant or lacking confidence; unsettled in mind or opinion
    Occasionally he heard the tentative morning call of a rooster.
  19. paddock
    a pen for horses
    There was an old, stooped man in the paddock by the barn.
  20. reprimand
    censure severely or angrily
    The boy lay belly down on the straw and hung his head and shoulders way over the edge of the hayloft floor. Henry smiled. How many times had his mother reprimanded him for the exact same move?
  21. brood
    the young of an animal cared for at one time
    He’d always loved teasing Patsy’s brood of younger brothers. Being an only child, Henry had been hungry for play and never tired of trying to amuse them when he visited Patsy’s crowded cottage.
  22. compulsory
    required by rule
    Back on base in England, Henry had read how the Hitler-controlled French government in Vichy was forcing Frenchmen to work in Nazi factories both in France and Germany. The Vichy government called it “ compulsory labor,” but it seemed little more than slavery.
  23. pantomime
    act out without words but with gestures and bodily movements
    He stopped and lunged back, pantomiming fear.
  24. wistful
    showing pensive sadness
    It was a rag doll, with yarn for hair and buttons for eyes, just like one he remembered Patsy carrying everywhere when they were tiny.
    A wistful smile crept onto Henry’s face.
  25. meander
    move or cause to move in a winding or curving course
    A dozen white cows were still out in the pasture, but were meandering back toward the barn for feeding time.
  26. sow
    an adult female hog
    In front of another, low-slung building several huge sows scratched themselves on the fencing. There’d be piglets born soon, Henry reckoned.
  27. idle
    run disconnected
    One of the soldiers stepped out of the idling car.
  28. requisition
    an official form on which a request is made
    He wrote something down on a pad, tore off the paper and handed it to her. A requisition, Henry figured. The jerks don’t even pay her.
  29. vehemently
    in a fierce manner
    The mother vehemently shook her head.
  30. poised
    marked by balance or equilibrium and readiness for action
    Henry forced himself to stand tall, his fists level with his face, poised for a fight.
  31. ferret
    search and discover through persistent investigation
    Henry wondered how many other Americans he had slugged. But more importantly how many Germans had he ferreted out that way? So, just because someone spoke English, didn’t make him or her safe.
  32. eaves
    the overhang at the lower edge of a roof
    Each window had a flower box, overflowing with red geraniums. Blue swallows darted in and out of the eaves.
  33. sashay
    perform a chasse step, in ballet
    “Come on, Ma, dance with me,” he’d said, grabbing his mother and twirling her around.
    Lilly followed his moves, sliding her feet and sashaying quickly.
  34. ashen
    pale from illness or emotion
    The mother’s smile froze. Her face turned ashen. She put her fingers to her lips, then pointed to Henry, to the boy, and then to the back door.
  35. impulsive
    without forethought
    Impulsively, Henry started to squirm out from under.
  36. garrison
    a fortified military post where troops are stationed
    He told the boy that his uncle was going to attack the cars taking his mother to the German garrison in Grenoble.
  37. solemn
    dignified and somber in manner or character
    Across the square was a solemn gray church with a rooster weather vane atop its tall tower.
  38. instill
    teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions
    Clayton had always tried to instill his own prejudices in Henry. “A man who doesn’t do any work outdoors isn’t worth a spit,” Clayton had said repeatedly, dismissing teachers, ministers, county courthouse lawyers—men he didn’t understand.
  39. abbey
    a church or building associated with a monastery or convent
    There is a Cistercian abbey nearby where several children of patriots hide.
  40. grudgingly
    in a reluctant manner
    The priest started to say no, but instead said grudgingly, “Cinq minutes. Five minutes only. This way.”
Created on February 18, 2020 (updated February 21, 2020)

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