Chapters 21–26

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. scuttle
    move about or proceed hurriedly
    For two weeks, Henry scuttled into shadows at the sound of humans. He couldn't be seen.
  2. garb
    clothing of a distinctive style or for a particular occasion
    He buried the prison garb deep in mud under a pig’s sty.
  3. destitute
    poor enough to need help from others
    Did he have children somewhere who’d now grow up fatherless? A wife who’d become destitute without his paychecks?
  4. befuddle
    be confusing or perplexing to
    Henry tried to imagine her in her elegant suits and scarves, using her wit to befuddle the Gestapo as he had witnessed her outfox other men—not beaten down, filthy, starved.
  5. catechism
    an elementary book summarizing the principles of a religion
    He’d never met nuns before Switzerland. They seemed kind enough, but cool and intimidating, like this girl. Dan had certainly been full of stories of them—rulers coming down on schoolchildren’s knuckles when they’d misbehaved, threats of damnation if they couldn’t recite their catechism.
  6. terse
    brief and to the point
    The girl pursed her lips then answered tersely: “At the convent school. I was a novice before the war.”
    “A novice?” Henry didn’t know what she meant.
  7. novice
    someone who has entered a religious order
    The girl pursed her lips then answered tersely: “At the convent school. I was a novice before the war.”
    “A novice?” Henry didn’t know what she meant.
  8. thoroughfare
    a public road from one place to another
    Although the landscape looked serene as the earth swept itself up in gentle hills, he could tell this was a main thoroughfare linking the small villages that nestled in them. Wouldn’t German patrols use it?
  9. naive
    The girl had been so naive about that envelope, was she using any caution?
  10. brazen
    unrestrained by convention or propriety
    This girl was dangerous. Either she was leading him into a trap or she didn’t have the foggiest idea how to keep herself out of trouble. He’d seen how hatred and anger made people foolishly brazen.
  11. curt
    brief and to the point
    The girl bristled and answered curtly that she didn’t expect any favors from him.
  12. skirmish
    a minor short-term fight
    But he ran after her, watching the skirmish unfold before him.
  13. doggedly
    with obstinate determination
    The French were definitely outnumbered. The jeep doggedly kept circling the German truck and the soldiers huddled beside it, but one after another the maquis fighters were being gunned down. Soon the jeep would be empty of French fighters.
  14. smolder
    burn slowly and without a flame
    He pointed to Henry, to the smoldering truck, and back to Henry.
  15. loathsome
    highly offensive; arousing aversion or disgust
    It had occurred to him to take one of the dead German’s shirts or a pair of new, soft boots. He had become a scavenger, as loathsome as turkey buzzards picking at roadkill back home.
  16. regiment
    subject to rigid discipline, order, and systematization
    Despite their hodgepodge of clothing the camp was tidy and regimented. Wooden walkways made of tree branches lashed together kept the fighters out of the dank mud.
  17. candor
    the quality of being honest and straightforward
    Henry was amazed at the maquisard’s candor. Perhaps because he was openly fighting the Nazis, the man didn’t feel the need for secrecy. But Henry knew the openness reflected a do-or-die attitude.
  18. masquerade
    pretend to be someone or something that you are not
    There were a small Peugeot and a Citroën plus two stolen Nazi Mercedes. It was the larger Mercedes that didn’t run. Henry could see why the maquis wanted that one fixed. Not only could they slip in and out of places masquerading as Germans in that car, they could probably stuff eight gunmen in it, easy.
  19. gingerly
    in a manner marked by extreme care or delicacy
    Henry nodded and sat down gingerly to read the instructions.
  20. solace
    comfort offered to one who is disappointed or miserable
    Her eyes were closed. He closed his own and found solace in her lips.
  21. imperative
    requiring attention or action
    "Henri, I don’t have time for questions. Speed is imperative.”
  22. crony
    a close friend or associate
    Pétain and his Vichy-government cronies! If they could catch the head of the Hitler-controlled French government, maybe the maquis could force the Gestapo or the Milice to release some Resistance prisoners.
  23. impending
    close in time; about to occur
    It seemed an ordinary morning. No high officials. No sense of impending conflict.
  24. wheedle
    influence or urge by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering
    He’d seen Claudette do this a dozen times now, playacting at being a customer, all the time wheedling information out of people without their ever knowing it.
  25. hodgepodge
    a motley assortment of things
    Henry recognized the hodgepodge of uniforms and German and British guns.
  26. hubbub
    loud confused noise from many sources
    “But what’s all the hubbub about?” asked Henry.
  27. ecstatic
    feeling great rapture or delight
    Claudette was ecstatic. She ran after the car, shouting back at Henry, “Come!”
  28. throng
    a large gathering of people
    When Henry squeezed his way through to the center of the throng, he saw a teenage girl.
  29. translucent
    allowing light to pass through diffusely
    He opened his eyes and focused on the translucent day-moon, the boundless blue that reached toward it.
  30. resolute
    firm in purpose or belief
    The sergeant’s resolute expression had turned to a troubled, conflicted one.
  31. granule
    a tiny particle of something
    Lilly measured out two cups of sugar ever so carefully. Rationing being what it was she couldn’t afford to lose one precious granule.
  32. sentimental
    marked by tender, romantic, or nostalgic emotion
    Clayton had called her a silly, sentimental fool for making Thanksgiving dinner to begin with.
  33. parish
    a local church community
    Their church had placed a hundred London children with parish families to protect them from Hitler’s bombings.
  34. salvage
    collect discarded or refused material
    So I’ve got him doing salvage. He’s peeled off enough tinfoil from old cigarette packages and gum wrappers he’s found at the dump to make a lump the size of a baseball. One of my teachers told me he could get fifty cents for that ball over at the Richmond Engineering Company.
  35. muse
    reflect deeply on a subject
    “Goodness, who could be coming here now?” mused Lilly.
Created on February 18, 2020 (updated February 21, 2020)

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