unpleasantly cool and humid
Within a few moments the world became completely black and
dank. Henry could hear water dripping.
the act of scouting
It had probably been a
reconnaissance plane, searching for maquis camps so that a Nazi squadron could come back and finish them off.
lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
The teenager looked at Henry with
contempt and spat, “Je devrais te tuer maintenant.”
a procession of land vehicles traveling together
He guessed they could see for thirty miles east, back toward where the world climbed into the Alps; thirty miles west, forward to a sloping sea of green pastures and fields of yellow. Any German
convoy, any ox cart, for that matter, could be seen long before it became a threat.
obvious to the eye or mind
Sitting idle was a large wireless radio,
conspicuously marked MADE IN BRITAIN.
support with evidence or authority or make more certain
Henry prepared himself to be slugged again to
corroborate his nationality.
completely neat and clean
His dark, wavy hair, before always
immaculately combed, fell over his forehead in tangles.
refine or make more perfect or effective
Henry gathered his French for a moment to further identify himself and Billy. The month with Pierre had really helped Henry
hone his skills. His accent might still be a dead giveaway that he was American, but at least his vocabulary had improved enough for the French to understand him.
arrogant or self-important
The pilot was probably from Boston or some other northern city, with more
converse in a playful or teasing way
“Didn’t they teach you any French at that fancy prep school of yours?” asked Henry. “What was its highfalutin name?”
bantered. He couldn’t help it. It was the way he’d always survived conversations with Billy.
an unconventional young woman in the 1920s
Mother has been partying ever since, wearing her
flapper dresses because she can’t afford to buy anything new.
free from emotional agitation or nervous tension
But no one else in the camp seemed bothered. Henry looked around for his guide. He spotted him, sitting
unperturbed among other French teenagers, eating.
filled with a great quantity
Wagons pulled by plow horses lumbered in, led by farmers. They were
laden with four long gray canisters, tubes about the size and shape of torpedoes.
a round shape formed by a series of concentric circles
Most of the snails were to be found on rocks or under bushes. Henry couldn’t help but marvel at them, their delicate shells with a
whorl of red-brown stripes.
work land as by ploughing to make it ready for cultivation
Planting season was the toughest, though, because we had all that work added on to taking care of the chickens. We
tilled about thirty acres and planted watermelons, cantaloupe, strawberries, corn, and green beans.
reflect deeply on a subject
They started back to camp and Henry
mulled over Billy’s comment. He went a ways before adding thoughts that his time spent walking alone, scared, had brought him about Clayton.
marked by keen caution and watchful prudence
Henry had also begun to understand how difficult it might be to shed a tough attitude or a
wary distrust of people once the bad times were over.
casually thoughtless or inconsiderate
His thoughts made him uneasy, and Henry shut off the topic of Clayton with an
offhand statement. “Anyway, boot camp was easy after growing up under the hand of Clayton Forester. Let’s get these slugs back to camp.”
That night they ate
escargots. Grilled over the fires, the snails had a nutty flavor that surprised Henry.
an officer who acts as an assistant to a more senior officer
aide-de-camp turned on him. “You ask too many questions. I told the chief that you were a risk, too curious, that if you ever got caught, you would betray us. But the chief has decided to trust you. Do not disappoint him. Forget you have been here.”
cause to do through pressure or necessity
Maybe the fact she had already been deported kept her son safer somehow. If the Milice no longer needed him to
coerce her, surely they wouldn’t bother to hunt down a small boy.
an indifference to pleasure or pain
He had obviously known some hard times, but they hadn’t strengthened him much. Would Billy have the
stoicism to walk over the Pyrenees? Or would he whine and drag his feet?
something that holds you back
If he and Billy found themselves in a situation that called for a split-second, life-or-death decision, could Billy stay calm and think fast? If the answer to all those questions was no, he’d be a real
of a deep somewhat purplish blue color
He could see the mountains they’d just left shooting up in the
azure sky far away.
lean but strong
He was small,
wiry, with a craggy face and few teeth inside his grin.
a strong wind moving 34–40 knots
The next night winds attacked them. Blasting down the slopes,
gales scraped their faces and pushed them over.
go, come, or spread in a rambling or irregular way
straggled now. The Russians went first, the Brits following at a considerable distance. Even farther back, Henry waited for Billy.
give life or energy to
The two of them shimmied across the ground, fast as lizards, terror finally
invigorating Billy. They scooted under one tree then another then another.
an impressive country house (or castle) in France
Henry was now back deep inside German-occupied France, near Toulouse, in a
chateau converted to a prison.
being or operating under the surface of the earth
He’d been left for a day, in an unlit,
subterranean chamber, most likely a root cellar when the mansion had been a home, now fittingly like a tomb.
having a difficult and contrary disposition
Still, there hadn’t been an animal around the farm—
ornery mule, stupid cow, or fusspot rooster—that Henry hadn’t been able to tame by talking to it right.
a looseness of the flesh of the lower cheek and jaw
The dog curled its
jowls back over his teeth, so they all showed, gleaming, sharp, and lethal.
“Okay, fella, okay. Easy. Easy, now. That’s a nice boy, handsome boy,” Henry kept
crooning at the dog, his voice soft and soothing.
avoid or try to avoid fulfilling, answering, or performing
So far, despite all his efforts, she has
eluded his questions.
easily disturbed or disgusted by unpleasant things
Many French terrorists are there. But we have eradicated them—the SS—not regular army, they are such idiots, very
a cowardly and despicable person
That should stop these French
curs from thinking they can resist the Reich.
look suggestively or obliquely
rid of impurities
“We will have the world, Lieutenant. Including your precious United States of America. Then we will
purge it, as we are
purging Europe. It is only a matter of time.”
move sideways or in an unsteady way
The horn blasted as the car
careened into a ditch and finally stopped.
shackle that can be locked around the wrist
Then he fumbled in the officer’s pockets, found the keys, and undid his