By Iris Murdoch
Kept from a antisocial youth by means of schooling, cheated out of Oxford through a sad love tangle, Hilary Burde cherishes his obsessive guilt and ekes out a dwelling in a lifeless civil carrier task.
When the guy whom he has harmed and betrayed reappears as head of his division, Hilary hopes for forgiveness, even for redemption and a brand new lifestyles, yet reveals himself haunted through a ghostly repetition.
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Extra resources for A Word Child (Vintage Classics)
Wherever he looked there were signs of how completely at home the pseudo-Chavel had made himself. His overcoat hung on the door, and a little pool had collected on the linoleum beneath it; on the chair he had hung his jacket. When Charlot shifted he could feel the sagging weight of the other's pocket against his thigh. The bed creaked as the actor rolled comfortably toward the center. Charlot turned off the light and again felt the heavily weighted pocket beat against his leg. The rain washed against the window regularly like surf.
Once during the night he tried to call the deal off. " "Once," she said, "once. Fancy that. He tried once. " They had supper as usual in the kitchen. Madame Mangeot asked peevishly what the noise had been in the hall. "It was like a public meeting," she said. " "Why did you let him into the house? Such riff-raff we get here when my back's turned. " "He didn't get beyond the hall, Mother," Therese said. "But I heard two of them go along the passage toward the kitchen. It wasn't you. " Charlot said quickly, "I couldn't turn him out without so much as a piece of bread.
Charlot didn't care: he and Therese Mangeot shared a secret. When he caught her eye he believed that they were recalling to each other a secret intimacy. But when they were alone he only said, "Can I find you anything at the market? " "No," she said. "There's nothing I want. " he said. "The walk would do you good... a bit of air? " "Tell your mother not to open the door. " "Listen," Charlot earnestly implored her, "you're driving yourself crazy. You're imagining things. Why, in heaven's name, should he come here to be tormented by the sight of everything he's signed away?