The Go-Between

by

L. P. Hartley

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Leo Colston Character Analysis

The novel’s prologue and epilogue, which bookend the main story, are set in the 1950s when Leo is “sixty-odd” years of age. The majority of the novel takes place in the summer of 1900, however, when Leo is a schoolboy on the cusp of turning thirteen. The older Leo finds the diary of his younger self and tells the reader that the events of that fateful summer changed his life forever; since then, he has lived a dull and disappointing life devoid of emotion. Younger Leo is a naïve but inquisitive boy who has a respect for the rules alongside a burgeoning desire to know how the world works. As his father has passed away, Leo is raised by his mother and has a close relationship with her. He is fascinated by magic and spells and sees the other adults in the book as characters in his own personal Zodiac. When he agrees to spend the summer at the mansion estate of his upper-class school friend, Marcus, he is thrown into a world very different from his humble upbringings. Here, Leo proves very impressionable and forms strong attachments to the novel’s three main adults: Marian, Ted, and Trimingham. Leo’s eagerness to please makes him a natural errand boy; his ability to go between the markedly different worlds of Marian and Ted—Brandham Hall and one of the nearby farms—facilitates their affair, making their secretive communication much easier. But young Leo’s naiveté and innocence (hinted at by the green suit he wears) gets the better of him, drawing him deeper and deeper into a world of passion that he does not understand, and ultimately resulting in tragedy. Old Leo, a “foreigner” in the world of emotions, seeks closure on the events of Brandham Hall by returning there fifty years later. He wants to find out what happened to those he knew at the Hall by going to see Marian. Agreeing to do one last errand for her—to tell her grandson that he is not cursed—he returns to his role as go-between.

Leo Colston Quotes in The Go-Between

The The Go-Between quotes below are all either spoken by Leo Colston or refer to Leo Colston. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Social Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the New York Review of Books edition of The Go-Between published in 1953.
Prologue  Quotes

And the expansion and ascension, of some divine gas, which I believed to be the ruling principle of my own life, I attributed to the coming century. The year 1900 had an almost mystical appeal for me; I could hardly wait for it: “Nineeteen hundred, nineteen hundred,” I would chant to myself in rapture; and as the old century drew to its close, I began to wonder whether I should live to see its successor.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Zodiac
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

If my twelve-year-old self, of whom I had grown rather fond, thinking about him, were to reproach me: “Why have you grown up such a dull dog, when I gave you such a good start? Why have you spent your time in dusty libraries, cataloguing other people’s books instead of writing your own? What has become of the Ram, the Bull, and the Lion, the example I gave you to emulate? Where above all is the Virgin, with her shining face and long curling tresses, whom I entrusted to you”—what should I say?

I should have an answer ready. “Well, it was you who let me down, and I will tell you how. You flew too near to the sun, and you were scorched. This cindery creature is what you made me.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Marian Maudsley
Related Symbols: The Zodiac
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 1  Quotes

I was urged to put out more spells, one of which was that we should be given a whole holiday. Into this last I put all the psychic force I had, and I was rewarded. Soon after the beginning of June we had an outbreak of measles. By half-term more than half the school was down with it, and soon after came the dramatic announcement that we were to break up.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker)
Page Number: 22-23
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2  Quotes

Marcus wasn’t with me, I was alone, exploring some derelict outhouses which for me had obviously more attraction than the view of Brandham Hall from the S.W. In one, which was roofless as well as derelict, I suddenly came upon the plant [the deadly nightshade]. But it wasn’t a plant, in my sense of the word, it was a shrub, almost a tree, and as tall as I was. It looked the picture of evil and also the picture of health, it was so glossy and strong and juicy-looking: I could almost see the sap rising to nourish it. It seemed to have found the place in all the world that suited it best.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker)
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

I came to dread these pleasantries, they seemed to spring up all around me like rows of gas-jets scorching me, and I turned redder than I was already. The frightful feeling of being marked out for ridicule came back in all its strength. I don’t think I was unduly sensitive; in my experience most people mind being laughed at more than anything else. What causes wars, what makes them drag on so interminably, than the fear of losing face?

Related Symbols: The Heat / The Thermometer
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

My spiritual transformation took place in Norwich: it was there that, like an emerging butterfly, I was first conscious of my wings. I had to wait until tea for the public acknowledgement of my apotheosis. My appearance was greeted with cries of acclaim, as if the whole party had been living for this moment. Instead of gas-jets, fountains of water seemed to spring up around me. I was made to stand on a chair and revolve like a planet, while everything of my new outfit that was visible was subjected to admiring or facetious comment.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Marian Maudsley
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6  Quotes

But the idea of goodness did attract me, for I did not regard it as the opposite of sin. I saw it as something bright and positive and sustaining, like the sunshine, something to be adored, but from afar.

The idea of the assembled Viscounts contained it for me, and the Maudsleys, as their viceroys, enjoyed it too, not so incontestably, but enough to separate them from other human beings. They were a race apart, super-adults, not bound by the same laws of life as little boys.

Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7  Quotes

I was in love with the heat, I felt for it what the convert feels for his new religion…And without my being aware of it, the climate of my emotions had undergone a change. I was no longer satisfied with the small change of experience which had hitherto contented me. I wanted to deal in larger sums. I wanted to enjoy continuously the afflatus of spirit that I had when I was walking to Lord Trimingham and he admitted to being a Viscount. To be in tune with all that Brandham Hall meant, I must increase my stature, I must act on a grander scale. Perhaps all these desires had been dormant in me for years, and the Zodiac had been their latest manifestation.

Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8  Quotes

The messenger of the gods! I thought of that, and even when the attention of the gods had been withdrawn from me, it seemed to enhance my status. I pictured myself threading my way through the Zodiac, calling on one star after another.

Related Symbols: The Zodiac
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9  Quotes

I gave him the envelope which at once he tore open; and then I knew he must have killed something before I came, for, to my horror, a long smear of blood appeared on the envelope and again on the letter as he held it in his hands.

I cried out: “Oh, don’t do that!” but he did not answer me, he was so engrossed in reading.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Ted Burgess
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10  Quotes

My world of high intense emotions collapsing around me, released not only the mental strain but the very high physical pressure under which I had been living. My only defence was, I could not have expected it of Marian. Marian who had done so much for me, Marian who knew how a boy felt, Marian the Virgin of the Zodiac—how could she have sunk so low?

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Marian Maudsley, Ted Burgess
Related Symbols: The Zodiac
Page Number: 102
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

I could not tell whether the next ball was on the wicket or not, but it was pitched much further up and suddenly I saw Ted’s face and body swinging round, and the ball, travelling towards me on a rising straight line like a cable stretched between us. Ted started to run and then stopped and stood watching me, wonder in his eyes and a wild disbelief.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Ted Burgess
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

“Phew! Three times I nearly had to cat…And you looked so pi, Leo, really dreadfully pi. So did everybody, while you were singing that church thing about the angels taking care of you. They all looked as if they were thinking about their dear dead ones, and Burgess looked as if he might be going to blub. Of course it’s difficult to know how Trimingham feels because of his face, but he didn’t half crack you up to Mama. He’ll eat out of your hand now.

Page Number: 140-141
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

I liked Ted burgess in a reluctant, half-admiring, half-hating way. When I was away from him I could think of him objectively as a working farmer whom no one at the Hall thought much of. But when I was with him his mere physical presence cast a spell on me, it established an ascendancy which I could not break. He was, I felt, what a man ought to be, what I should like to be when I grow up.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Ted Burgess
Page Number: 142
Explanation and Analysis:

Nothing is ever a lady’s fault; you’ll learn that.

Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

She was a fairy princess who had taken a fancy to a little boy, clothed him, petted him, turned him from a laughing stock into an accepted member of her society, from an ugly duckling into a swan. With one wave of her wand she hasd transformed him, at the cricket concert, from the youngest and most insignificant person present to a spell-bounder who had held them all in thrall. The transfigured Leo of the last twenty-four hours was her creation; and she had created him, I felt, because she loved him. And now, again like an enchantress, she had taken it all away and I was back where I had started from—no, much lower.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Marian Maudsley
Page Number: 155
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

“Green, green mon pauvre imbécile, bright green...et savez-vous pourquoi? Parce que vous êtes vert vous-même—you are green yourself, as the poor old English say…it is your true colour, Marian said so.” And he began to dance around me, chanting “Green, green, green.”

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Marcus Maudsley (speaker), Marian Maudsley
Related Symbols: Green
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

Lady-killer: what did that mean? I didn’t like to ask too many questions. I did not think, however, Ted would kill Marian: Man-killer, that was what I had been afraid of. Now the fear had passed away, lost its reality with the rest of my life at Brandham Hall. I could scarcely believe that I had once felt I ought to warn Lord Trimingham of his peril. The ninth Viscount would never know that I had saved him from the fate of the fifth. By removing myself I had removed the danger: it was my master-stroke.

Page Number: 188
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20 Quotes

“Marian, why don’t you marry Ted?”

It was only for a moment, but in that moment her face reflected all the misery she had been going through; it was a heart’s history in a look. ‘I couldn’t, I couldn’t!” She wailed. “Can’t you see why?”

I thought I did and since so many barriers between us were being overturned I added—it seemed only logical:

“But why are you going to marry Hugh if you don’t want to?”

“Because I must marry him,” she said. “You wouldn’t understand. I must. I’ve got to!” Her lips trembled and she burst into tears.

Page Number: 211-212
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21 Quotes

But what spell could I employ to break the spell that Ted had cast on Marian?

I had no knowledge of Black Magic and relied on the inspiration of the moment. If while concocting the spell I could excite myself and frighten myself, I felt it had a better chance of success. If also I had the sense of something giving way, inside me and outside, that was still better…but those were spells whose operation was confined to the world of my experience, the schoolboy world. I had never launched a spell against a grown-up person. My present victims were not only grown-ups, they belonged to the world from which my spells derived their power; I should be trying to turn their own weapons against them.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Marian Maudsley, Ted Burgess
Page Number: 218
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

To demonstrate my knowledge I began to tell her about the Deadly Nightshade, and then stopped. I found I did not want to speak about it. But she was only half listening.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Mrs. Maudsley
Page Number: 237
Explanation and Analysis:

“No, you shall come,” she said, and seized my hand, and it was then we saw them, together on the ground, the Virgin and the Water-Carrier, two bodies moving like one. I think I was more mystified than horrified; it was Mrs. Maudsley’s repeated screams that frightened me, and a shadow on the wall that opened and closed like an umbrella.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Mrs. Maudsley (speaker), Marian Maudsley, Ted Burgess
Related Symbols: The Zodiac
Page Number: 244
Explanation and Analysis:
Epilogue Quotes

Tell him this, Leo, make him see it and feel it, it will be the best day’s work you ever did. Remember how you loved taking our messages, bringing us together and making us happy—well, this is another errand of love, and the last time I shall ever ask you to be our postman…Tell him there’s no spell or curse except an unloving heart.

Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:
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Leo Colston Character Timeline in The Go-Between

The timeline below shows where the character Leo Colston appears in The Go-Between. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue 
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Leo Colston, a British man in his sixties, comes across a battered old collar-box full of... (full context)
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The golden-edged diary looks like the only object of his that might have been expensive. Leo is hesitant to touch it, because he feels it will “challenge his memory.” He stares... (full context)
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Leo remembers the combination and unlocks the diary, but is still hesitant to touch it. He... (full context)
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Leo opens the diary—it’s for the year 1900. The year is ornately decorated by the signs... (full context)
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Leo describes the different zodiac signs on the diary. He sees the Ram, Bull, and Lion... (full context)
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Leo recalls how significant the year 1900 seemed to him as a young boy. Back then,... (full context)
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One aspect of the zodiac was jarring for young Leo: he couldn’t identify with the symbol that was supposed to be his own, the Lion... (full context)
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The young Leo had felt a pressure that the diary must “record something worthwhile.” The present-day Leo flicks... (full context)
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Young Leo enjoyed having the diary, wanting to both keep it secret and for people to see... (full context)
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Perhaps because he was too public about having a diary, bullies at Leo’s school stole it from him. They picked up especially on his use of the word... (full context)
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Young Leo decided to take action against his bullies. He got the diary back, covered in insults... (full context)
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Older Leo feels that the written curses “breathe malevolence” and “pluck a superstitious nerve” even now. He... (full context)
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The bullies mocked Leo even more for the curses. They poked him in the eyes and that night Leo... (full context)
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...the curse had worked: Jenkins and Strode fell off the school roof and were hospitalized. Leo’s fellow students had a new respect for him and offered their congratulations. It turned out... (full context)
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Young Leo then became an authority on black magic and code-making, even charging his schoolmates for his... (full context)
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Present-day Leo turns the pages of the diary. February, March, April, May and June all account for... (full context)
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The 26th is the last entry in the diary—Leo knew the rest of the pages were blank. Though it is later than his usual... (full context)
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Leo reflects on his life since those fateful July days. He had made a “working arrangement”... (full context)
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Leo imagines a conversation between him in the present day and his younger self. The young... (full context)
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Leo answers his younger self, saying that the latter had been burned after flying “too near... (full context)
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Leo’s younger self argues that he could at least have tried to deal with the challenges... (full context)
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The voice of his younger self, as it dies away, implores Leo to write down the events at Brandham Hall before it is too late. Leo knows... (full context)
Chapter 1 
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It is 1900, fifty-odd years before the prologue. Young Leo is invited to spend the summer at Brandham Hall in Norfolk, where his schoolmate Marcus... (full context)
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Leo thinks that part of the reason for his invite might be that, when the boys... (full context)
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Leo reflects on his parents. His father, who is no longer alive, was a reserved man... (full context)
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Leo’s mother is “attracted by the things of the world” and is a much more social... (full context)
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Leo talks about his impressions of Marcus, thinking he possess a “savoire-faire that enabled him to... (full context)
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Leo enjoys the weeks at school after his “vanquishing” of Jenkins and Strode. His mother doesn’t... (full context)
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When Leo goes back to school after Easter, his friends and clients—who pay him to learn black... (full context)
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...leaving the school, the children are extremely joyous, intoxicated by “the very breath of freedom.” Leo takes out his dairy, and the others wonder whether a new spell is being cast.... (full context)
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The previous year had been a disastrous year: Leo’s father had died and Leo himself had been seriously ill with diphtheria, spending the entire... (full context)
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Back at home, Leo and his mother discuss the invitation to Brandham Hall. His mother is hesitant for him... (full context)
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Leo prepares for his trip. Because June was not a hot month, he doesn’t think the... (full context)
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As the day of departure grows near, Leo becomes nervous about the trip. He asks his mother to write to Mrs. Maudsley and... (full context)
Chapter 2 
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Old Leo talks of the difficulties of remembering his time at Brandham Hall. “Certain things” are established... (full context)
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In Leo’s diary is transcribed a description of Brandham Hall in the directory of Norfolk county: “Brandham... (full context)
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Old Leo remembers admiring the double staircase, which to him looked like a “tilted horseshoe” or a... (full context)
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Young Leo and his friend Marcus share a room at the top of the Hall, with a... (full context)
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Young Leo sometimes encounters Mr. Maudsley around the grounds, but only ever exchanges a few words with... (full context)
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Old Leo cannot remember Mrs. Maudsley’s face particularly well—but he sees her often in his dreams. In... (full context)
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At young Leo’s first dinner at Brandham Hall, Mrs. Maudsley asks him if he is a magician. He... (full context)
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Leo meets Marcus’s brother, Denys, whom he finds quite unremarkable. He is much more intrigued by... (full context)
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Old Leo finds an entry in the diary of something he had forgotten, which comes back with... (full context)
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Young Leo finds the Atropa belladonna plant when he’s wondering aimlessly around the estate grounds. He is... (full context)
Chapter 3
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The weather starts to get hotter, and Leo and Marcus go to check the reading on a thermometer near a disused building in... (full context)
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Old Leo can recall the details of his and Marcus’s clothes because he is looking at a... (full context)
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Young Leo is not too bothered by the hot weather, though is conscious he doesn’t have any... (full context)
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Later at tea-time, someone asks Leo if he isn’t hot in his clothes. Leo mops his face with a handkerchief and... (full context)
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...temperature has indeed dropped slightly. By that tea-time, though, it has gotten hot again, and Leo is teased further about his flustered appearance. He is also teased for wearing a Norfolk... (full context)
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Mrs. Maudsley asks if Leo has forgotten his summer clothes. Not willing to admit he doesn’t really have any, he... (full context)
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Marian suggests that the new clothes can be a birthday present for Leo, whose birthday happens to be on the twenty-seventh of that month. Leo tells Marian he... (full context)
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...realize Hugh (Lord Trimingham) was coming, thinking that he would be at the horse races. Leo doesn’t know who Hugh is, but he doesn’t want him to come—he’d rather be alone... (full context)
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Marian goes to Leo and Marcus’s room to look through Leo’s clothes. She admires how well mended they are... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Marian takes Leo to Norwich to buy clothes, and he sees the experience as a “turning-point” that changes... (full context)
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Leo and Marian have lunch at a hotel, which is a new extravagance for Leo. One... (full context)
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Not long after, Leo meets Marian by the statue of Sir Thomas Browne, someone he’s not heard of before.... (full context)
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Leo considers the trip to Norwich his “spiritual transformation.” At mealtime back at Brandham Hall, everyone... (full context)
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One of the guests asks Leo if he feels different now he has new clothes. He replies, “’I feel quite another... (full context)
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Now with clothes better suited to the weather, Leo enjoys the heat, which he feels gives everything the “sense of suspended movement.” He wants... (full context)
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Leo’s clothes feel good to wear. He feels that their thinness represents his first “steps towards”... (full context)
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Leo feels very grateful for the purchases made on his behalf and can’t believe he is... (full context)
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On Saturday the 14th, a group from Brandham Hall decides to go swimming. Leo wants to try out his bathing-suit, but he doesn’t know how to swim. Marian says... (full context)
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Leo and Marcus go along with the swimmers, taking their bathing suits even though neither of... (full context)
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The party of six, including Leo, Marcus, Marian and Denys, walk down some tree-lined paths towards the water. Marcus tells Leo... (full context)
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The group goes over marshy terrain and water creeps over Leo’s shoes. He notices a structure of “bars and spars and uprights, like a gallows,” which... (full context)
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The other men in the group go off to change, and Marcus and Leo withdraw to the rushes to put on their bathing suits. Leo feels that being able... (full context)
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Everyone emerges by the water in bathing suits, and Leo is disappointed by the way these suits seem to cover up even more of their... (full context)
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Leo watches Ted get dressed, in awe of his bodily maturity and “those limbs which have... (full context)
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Marian gets out of the water and comes up to Leo. Her hair is coiled up like the Virgin of the Zodiac in Leo’s diary. She... (full context)
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The group gets changed, and Marian complains to Leo that her hair is so wet it’s going to make her dress damp. He offers... (full context)
Chapter 5 
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...the ringing of a gong and beginning with prayers read by Mr. Maudsley. Marcus and Leo always attend breakfast, but Marian is frequently absent or arrives halfway through. (full context)
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This particular Sunday morning, Marcus isn’t feeling well and stays in bed. He asks Leo to give Trimingham his regards. Leo feels Trimingham to be a “weight” on his thoughts,... (full context)
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Trimingham sits next to Leo at breakfast. Leo can’t help noticing the bad scarring on one side of his face—its... (full context)
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Leo wonders why the Maudsleys are making such a fuss about Trimingham’s arrival. To Leo, he... (full context)
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After eating his porridge, Leo returns to his room. Marcus has the symptoms of measles and jokingly complains that if... (full context)
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Leo retrieves his prayer book and heads to the front of the house, where some of... (full context)
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After waiting for Trimingham, the group starts walking to church. Leo walks with Marian, who asks him if he has any sisters. He reminds her that... (full context)
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Leo notices Trimingham catching up with them and tells Marian. She responds disinterestedly. When Trimingham does... (full context)
Chapter 6 
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Now in the church, Leo looks at the memorial stones embedded in the walls and notices that each one is... (full context)
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Leo suddenly realizes that, as the eighth Viscount died in 1894, the ninth is probably still... (full context)
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As sunlight fills the church, Leo thinks about the Zodiac. He then turns his thoughts to “being good,” which his mother... (full context)
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The clergyman begins to talk about “miserable sinners.” Leo makes a mental objection to this idea. Even his bullies at school weren’t sinners, he... (full context)
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But “goodness” as an idea does attract Leo: “I saw it as something bright and positive and sustaining, like the sunshine, something to... (full context)
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The church service ends and Leo notices Trimingham receiving a lot of attention. On the walk home, Marian heads straight to... (full context)
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Trimingham walks beside Leo and introduces himself. Leo calls him Mr. Trimingham, which Trimingham says is wrong—he tells Leo... (full context)
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Leo realizes that Trimingham is the ninth Viscount. He asks if he should call him “my... (full context)
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Trimingham ask Leo if he is on good terms with Marian. Hearing that he is, he asks if... (full context)
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Leo catches up with Marian and gives her the message. She thanks him and asks Leo... (full context)
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After lunch back at the Hall, Mrs. Maudsley informs Leo that he is to be moved to a new room due to Marcus’s measles. Leo... (full context)
Chapter 7 
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Today’s reading of the thermometer stands at eighty-four degrees. Leo feels it “could do better”; he’s now “in love with the heat” and “I felt... (full context)
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...are any of the adults (“the companions of the Zodiac”). Left to his own devices, Leo decides to take the path that heads towards the bathing-place. He arrives at the water-meadow... (full context)
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Eventually finding Ted’s farm, Leo sees a huge stack of straw with a ladder running up it. He half wants... (full context)
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Leo slides down the stack, feeling the “wild rush through the air, so near to flying.”... (full context)
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...across the farmyard. He is furious at the sight of an intruder on his farm. Leo frantically tells Ted that they have met before, at the bathing-place. With that knowledge, Ted’s... (full context)
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Ted tells Leo that he had better take care of his wound for him and helps Leo toward... (full context)
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Ted asks Leo not to mind if he spoke to him a “bit hasty.” Leo thinks it seems... (full context)
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Ted cleans up Leo’s knee, telling him he’s lucky the blood didn’t go on his nice green suit. Leo... (full context)
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Feeling that he owes something to Ted for his assistance, Leo asks whether there is anything he can do for him. Leo expects him to say... (full context)
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Ted takes Leo to see the horses, introducing each one to him. He stops to give Boxer, the... (full context)
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Back in the house, Ted asks Leo how old he is. Leo informs Ted that his thirteenth birthday is at the end... (full context)
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Ted asks Leo whether he is friendly with Marian, and if he is often alone with her. He... (full context)
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Ted writes the letter but tells Leo not to give it to Marian unless he is alone with her. Holding the letter... (full context)
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Leo realizes that it’s time for him to return to the hall. He puts the letter... (full context)
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When Leo returns to Brandham Hall, he informs the others of his accident and of Ted’s kindness... (full context)
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The two of them go to the bathroom. As Marian washes his knee, she asks Leo whether the handkerchief on it is Ted’s. Leo says yes, and offers to throw it... (full context)
Chapter 8 
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Old Leo recalls the change that came over Brandham Hall when Trimingham arrived. Before his arrival there... (full context)
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...a group from Brandham Hall goes for a picnic. Marian sits close to Trimingham, and Leo tries to get near them. Trimingham notices Leo and calls out to him, saying, “Hullo... (full context)
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Leo is excited by this description of himself: “I pictured myself threading my way through the... (full context)
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As the group heads back to the Hall, Leo has a conversation with one of the coachmen. He enjoys the simple, factual exchange, comparing... (full context)
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Arriving back at the Hall, Leo learns that there is a letter from his mother waiting for him. He takes it... (full context)
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Leo writes a reply to his mother but feels he can only give a “feeble” account... (full context)
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After writing the letter, Leo goes back to the outhouse with the thermometer. He is impressed that it now reads... (full context)
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Leo wanders aimlessly near the lawn, trying to avoid being seen, but Trimingham notices him and... (full context)
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Leo takes the cinder track towards the outhouses, where he spots Marian. She asks him what... (full context)
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Marian asks Leo if he will take a letter to Ted for her, which he’s delighted to do.... (full context)
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Leo tells Marian that part of the reason he is willing to take the letter is... (full context)
Chapter 9 
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Over the next few days, Leo continues carrying messages between Marian and Ted: “three notes from her, one note and two... (full context)
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On one of the message deliveries, Leo sees Ted aiming his gun to kill any rabbits that come out of the rushes... (full context)
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Leo takes his duties as Mercury—the go-between—“very seriously.” Marian always seems to be more urgent with... (full context)
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Leo wonders what the meaning of Ted and Marian’s secret communication might be. He has a... (full context)
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Leo is “half ashamed” of his urge to know the nature of Ted and Marian’s relationship,... (full context)
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...time since his sickness. It appears he will be well enough for the cricket match. Leo is glad his friend is starting to feel better, but realizes that if Marcus is... (full context)
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Leo doesn’t like the idea of lying to Marcus about the letters, feeling it goes against... (full context)
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After breakfast, Leo starts to head off with Marcus, both hopeful and fearful that Marian will not stop... (full context)
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Leo is about to tell Marian about the newfound difficulty he foresees in taking the letters... (full context)
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Leo goes back to Marcus and tells him he wants to go and slide on the... (full context)
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Leo heads towards the farm. Fingering the envelope in his pocket, he realizes that it is... (full context)
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Leo thinks it’s fair that he can read Marian’s letter, but he hesitates. He knows she... (full context)
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Leo decides that, as this might be the last letter he can take because of Marcus’s... (full context)
Chapter 10 
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Leo is bitterly disappointed at the message he’s read. It had never crossed his mind that... (full context)
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As Leo heads towards the farm, he notices how the sun has dried out the land and... (full context)
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Leo arrives at the farm, where Ted greets him with a “half mocking, half playful” salute.... (full context)
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Ted asks Leo whether he would want Marian to stop liking him (Leo). When Leo says no, Ted... (full context)
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The thought of Marian crying brings tears to Leo’s eyes and he is trembling, troubled by Ted’s “vehemence.” Ted invites him into the house... (full context)
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Leo asks why Smiler is having a foal, and Ted says, “it’s Nature.” He tells Leo... (full context)
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Leo asks Ted questions about marriage and “spooning.” If you spoon someone, he asks, does that... (full context)
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Ted tells Leo it wouldn’t be “natural” to “spoon” someone without loving them. Thinking of Smiler and her... (full context)
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...that is enough questions for one day. He doesn’t want to “go putting ideas” into Leo’s head. Leo says he’s ready to know more—he’s nearly thirteen. Ted agrees to tell Leo... (full context)
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Ted reminds Leo that he has forgotten to slide down the straw-stack. He tells Leo to go and... (full context)
Chapter 11 
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It’s now Saturday, the first cloudy day of Leo’s time at Brandham Hall and a “disappointing” seventy-eight degrees Fahrenheit. At breakfast, Denys and Trimingham... (full context)
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Leo lingers by the door of the smoking room, and Trimingham calls out to him after... (full context)
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Leo finds Marian, and excitedly tells her his role in the team. He asks Marian if... (full context)
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Marian asks Leo when he is meant to go home. She wants him to stay longer and says... (full context)
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Leo returns to Trimingham and delivers Marian’s reply. He seems hurt by the answer, telling Leo,... (full context)
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As the day goes on, Leo notices the men at the Hall preparing for the cricket match, “as if a battle... (full context)
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...cricket outfits, and consists mostly of men dressed in their working clothes. Looking at them, Leo doesn’t think “they have any chance” against the Hall team: “It was like trained soldiers... (full context)
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...the two teams shake hands with each other, with Trimingham making the introductions. He introduces Leo to Ted (who is on the other team), but Ted tells Trimingham that they have... (full context)
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The cricket match gets under way, with the Hall team first to bat. Leo feels that “the honour of the Hall” is at stake. He senses that most of... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...out to bat, but their first five batsmen are all out for single figure scores. Leo loses concentration on the match and daydreams about a cloud in the sky. But a... (full context)
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Ted proves very good at batting, and quickly racks up over fifty runs. Leo confusedly wants him to do well, while still wanting his own team to win. Ted’s... (full context)
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Leo sits beside Marian, who appears to be very emotional, with trembling lips and flushed cheeks.... (full context)
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...is unable to continue. Trimingham calls up their twelfth-man to come on as a replacement: Leo. As Leo walks onto the field, Trimingham insists to him that they need to get... (full context)
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Trimingham bowls a ball at Ted, who strikes a “glorious drive.” Leo now feels strongly that he wants Ted’s team to win. The next ball hit from... (full context)
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Leo catches the ball, the impact knocking him over. The spectators applaud him, and Trimingham comes... (full context)
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Leo is elated, but also feels a “pang of regret” at making the catch. He wonders... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...place in the village hall, which is opulently decorated with Union Jacks and paper streamers. Leo feels intoxicated by the occasion, especially given his success in the cricket match. He feels... (full context)
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Mr. Maudsley gives a speech, praising players from both teams. He makes special mention of Leo: “last, but not least, except in stature, our young David, Leo Colston, who slew the... (full context)
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Leo is entranced by the meaning of these songs, sensing them to be about the grown-up... (full context)
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After other guests sing their songs, Trimingham asks Leo to perform. He apprehensively climbs the stage, feeling his “mouth going dry.” Marian asks Leo... (full context)
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Leo’s song goes down extremely well with the audience. While singing it, he half daydreams about... (full context)
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The crowd wants an encore from Leo. He suggests Handel’s “Angels ever bright and fair,” which Marian doesn’t know. However, someone in... (full context)
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...Lord Trimingham requested. It sings of “the joys of home”—the peace of a “thatched cottage”—which Leo thinks contrasts strangely with her aristocratic home environment. She sings it “with so much feeling.”... (full context)
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After the party, Leo walks home with Marcus. Marcus teases Leo, but says “you didn’t do so badly after... (full context)
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Marcus continues to tease Leo, saying he was too busy to notice the stink because he was singing his songs... (full context)
Chapter 14
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The following Sunday morning is utterly blissful for Leo. His triumphant role in both the cricket match and the singing afterwards make him feel... (full context)
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Leo assumes that he will no longer be required to take messages between Marian and Ted,... (full context)
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Leo writes a letter to his mother, outlining his current happiness and asking to stay at... (full context)
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Later in the day, Leo attends church again. He is glad that the service doesn’t last too long, as he... (full context)
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After the service, Leo walks home with Trimingham. They talk about how well Marian plays the piano, and Leo... (full context)
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Leo asks Trimingham whether the untimely death of the fifth Viscount was his wife’s fault. Trimingham... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Later at lunch, Leo keeps thinking about two fragments of his conversation with Trimingham: that nothing is a lady’s... (full context)
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Marcus tells Leo that he can’t hang around with him that afternoon as he has to visit his... (full context)
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Leo visits the thermometer in the game-larder. The temperature is hotter than yesterday, but he thinks... (full context)
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Leo is “dumbfounded,” as “the scaffolding of [his] life seemed to collapse.” Leo thinks it’s wrong... (full context)
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Leo tells Marian he can’t take her letter because Trimingham might be upset. She reacts angrily,... (full context)
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Leo is gravely hurt by Marian’s outburst. He credits her as being the “fairy princess” who... (full context)
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After some debate with himself as to whether he should deliver the letter, Leo heads to the farm and finds Ted inside the kitchen. Ted is bare-chested, peering into... (full context)
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Ted notices that Leo has been crying and asks him why. He puts forward ways to cheer Leo up,... (full context)
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In the stackyard, Ted fires the gun at a rook, frightening Leo. Leo asks Ted if he ever misses, to which Ted replies that he’s a “pretty... (full context)
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With the gun now clean, Ted gets Leo to hold it, which Leo finds to be a “strange thrill.” Leo points it at... (full context)
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Leo’s mood improves, and he offers to oil Ted’s cricket bat. As he does so, Ted... (full context)
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Ted asks whether Leo actually wants to take a message, and Leo says that if he doesn’t then Marian... (full context)
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Leo reminds Ted that he had promised to tell him about “spooning.” Ted’s not sure if... (full context)
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Ted asks Leo what he likes doing best. Leo can’t think of much, but suggests dreams about flying,... (full context)
Chapter 16
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Leo writes his mother another letter, asking to come back home early. He tells her that... (full context)
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Leo fears that Marian will have told everyone at Brandham that he is a “swollen-headed brat”... (full context)
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Later on, Trimingham stops Leo in the hallway. Leo thinks that if he returns home, Ted and Marian’s relationship will... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Leo spends time with Marcus, who speaks to Leo in affected French. This annoys Leo, because... (full context)
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On their way, the boys spot a footprint in the path. Marcus tells Leo ironically that he will tell Mrs. Maudsley that they have discovered the footprint of Man... (full context)
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Leo asks why Marian has to go to London. Marcus tells him that she needs to... (full context)
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Marcus tells Leo that the bicycle is a Humber—a much sought-after brand. He also says that the bike... (full context)
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Leo is suddenly mortified to be thought of as “green”—he sees it as “a subtle insult,... (full context)
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Leo takes Marcus to the outhouse with the nightshade. The bush has grown so much that... (full context)
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...inside the outhouse there is a couple “spooning.” Marcus wants to go and see, but Leo is terrified at being discovered, and cleverly tells Marcus, in French, that it would be... (full context)
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On the way home, Leo asks Marcus how long engagements go on, and whether they ever break off. Marcus says... (full context)
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The boys return to the house. Leo notices that his letter asking to be sent home has not yet been taken for... (full context)
Chapter 18
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Leo goes down to breakfast the next morning and notices his letter has now gone. Neither... (full context)
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Leo now resents Marian thinking of him as green, and he can’t bear to look at... (full context)
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Leo feels that the next two days are two of the best at Brandham Hall, as... (full context)
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On Tuesday, Leo receives a letter. He doesn’t recognize the handwriting—it’s from Ted. In the letter, Ted apologizes... (full context)
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Leo is partially charmed by the letter, but still suspects it is a “ruse” to make... (full context)
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Later on, Leo seeks out Trimingham and finds him in the smoking room. He asks Trimingham if he... (full context)
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Mr. Maudsley enters the room and tells Trimingham that he should show Leo the pictures on the wall. The pictures, by the painter Teniers, are bawdy and lusty,... (full context)
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Trimingham tells Mr. Maudsley that he and Leo had just been talking about Ted. Trimingham says he has been talking to Ted about... (full context)
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...says that Ted wouldn’t “be altogether a loss to the district” because of his womanizing. Leo leaves the room; as he does so, he hears Mr. Maudsley say to Trimingham that... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Leo awaits a telegram from his mother to summon him home, but it doesn’t arrive. He... (full context)
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Marcus tells Leo that the highlight of the ball is to be Marian’s arrival on his green bike.... (full context)
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Marcus and Leo see the boy who delivers telegraphs to the Hall cycling up towards them. They stop... (full context)
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Wednesday morning comes, and there is still no letter from Leo’s mother. Leo thinks it’s probably a record-breaking high temperature, but resists going to the thermometer... (full context)
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Leo thinks that he ought to thank Ted and bid him goodbye. He needs a way... (full context)
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Leo finds Ted in the field. Ted says he didn’t expect him to come back and... (full context)
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Ted asks whether Leo has told anyone about his and Marian’s “business matter.” Leo says that he hasn’t. Ted... (full context)
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Ted apologizes again for shouting at Leo earlier and says that Leo’s questions about “spooning” were only natural. Leo says that it’s... (full context)
Chapter 20
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Back at the hall, a letter from Leo’s mother awaits him. But much to Leo’s surprise, the letter doesn’t summon him home. She... (full context)
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Leo’s mother thinks that it seems fair that Leo “run errands and take messages,” as Mrs.... (full context)
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Leo’s mother implores him to be patient and makes the point that the Maudsleys sound like... (full context)
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The letter from his mother disorientates Leo; he has no idea what to do next. He feels he is the keeper of... (full context)
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Leo considers it important that, when Marian returns, he avoid being along with her. He feels... (full context)
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Marian and Mrs. Maudsley return. After breakfast on Thursday, Marian takes Leo aside. She asks if Leo missed her, to which he self-consciously replies that he did.... (full context)
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Leo asks if Marian had a good time in London; she says that did not. He... (full context)
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...Marian, all men are hard, like “blocks of granite … or the beds at Brandham.” Leo tells her that he once slept on the ground and that it made his hip... (full context)
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Marian asks whether Trimingham “made” Ted say he would join the forces. Leo says that Ted is “strong” and that he can’t imagine anyone making Ted do anything.... (full context)
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Marian asks whether Trimingham said why he wanted Ted to enlist. Leo says that it’s because Ted is a “good shot,” and that as a “single man... (full context)
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Leo appeals to Marian not to create conflict between Trimingham and Ted. He tells her that... (full context)
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Leo asks why Marian doesn’t just marry Ted. Marian tearfully exclaims that marrying Ted would be... (full context)
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Through her sobs, Marian asks if Leo went down to the farm while she was away. Leo says that he did speak... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Leo feels reconciled with Marian, if still concerned about what she plans to do. Leo worries... (full context)
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Leo intends to break the spell of Ted over Marian. That’s why he falsified the time... (full context)
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Leo feels everything has been diminished by the Marian-Ted relationship, and that it’s the cause all... (full context)
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Leo decides to make a spell to break Ted’s hold over Marian. He imagines using magic... (full context)
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That night, after secretly listening to Marian and others sing, Leo sneaks out of the house. The night scares Leo; it’s a place for “bad grown-ups”... (full context)
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Leo arrives at the outhouse with the overgrown deadly nightshade. He goes inside, “into the unhallowed... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Leo sleeps deeply that night. The next morning, one of the servants wakes him and wishes... (full context)
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The servant looks at the strange assortment of objects on the desk that Leo used the previous night to make his spell (candles, Bunsen burners, sponges etc.). Leo feels... (full context)
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Leo feels stupid about his magic, which suddenly seems like “mumbo-jumbo.” “Goodbye to make-believe!” he tells... (full context)
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Leo thinks about boyhood, and the way in which some adults treat boys like children and... (full context)
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Old Leo interjects, saying, “this is what I think now, but it is also what I felt... (full context)
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Though it’s his birthday, young Leo decides he will put on his original clothes rather than his more luxurious green suit.... (full context)
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A parcel has arrived from Leo’s mother. The accompanying note asks Leo to make sure to tell her if he really... (full context)
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Another present, this one from Leo’s aunt, also contains a tie to go with his green suit (which she has heard... (full context)
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After breakfast, Mrs. Maudsley announces that “today is Leo’s day,” and asks him how he would like to spend it. She suggests a picnic... (full context)
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Leo, believing that he has a “new true personality” that is dull and flat, feels distant... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...Maudsley is unsure what the group should do because of the ominous weather. Marian takes Leo outside under the pretense of looking at the weather, but to his surprise hands him... (full context)
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Marian playfights with Leo, telling him to take the letter and making him laugh. The noise brings Mrs. Maudsley... (full context)
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Mrs. Maudsley tells Marian not to worry about informing Nannie Robson, and insists on taking Leo for a walk around the gardens. He asks if Marcus can come too, which she... (full context)
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...errands to Nannie Robson, and says she feels bad that she stopped him just now. Leo lies and says he’s been there once or twice. She says that perhaps he would... (full context)
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...gardeners take the note. The nearest gardener comes over and agrees to take the note. Leo panics and pretends to have lost it. She tells the gardener to go to Nannie... (full context)
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Mrs. Maudsley instructs Leo to take his hands out of his pockets. She warns him that she could make... (full context)
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Later on, everyone assembles at the tea-table except for Marian and Mrs. Maudsley. Leo’s birthday cake is on the table. Mrs. Maudsley comes in and informs Leo that he... (full context)
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...candles on the cake and kept one aside so that it’s not an unlucky thirteen. Leo can blow the thirteenth out when Marian arrives, she says, which should be around six... (full context)
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...it’s raining outside, Mr. Maudsley orders a carriage to Nannie Robson’s to pick up Marian. Leo blows out the twelve candles, and the guests pull crackers, producing a “terrific salvo” and... (full context)
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...arrive, but Mrs. Maudsley says that she is going to look for her. She accuses Leo of knowing where she is and grabs him to go with her. As they exit... (full context)
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Leo and Mrs. Maudsley pass through the hall, where Leo catches a glimpse of the green... (full context)
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Leo realizes that Mrs. Maudsley is taking them to the outhouse with the deadly nightshade and... (full context)
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Here, the main narrative ends abruptly—old Leo says that he remembers little more about Brandham Hall, but that somehow he had learned... (full context)
Epilogue
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Back with old Leo, he tells the reader that he had meant to put away his memories at the... (full context)
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Old Leo likens his breakdown to being “a train going through a series of tunnels … sometimes... (full context)
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Young Leo felt that he had betrayed everyone at Brandham Hall. Furthermore, he was haunted by visions... (full context)
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Young Leo believed that supernatural powers punished him for believing he could harness their control. At Brandham... (full context)
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When Leo returned to school, he and Marcus barely acknowledged one another. Leo’s fear of hearing anything... (full context)
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Old Leo realizes now that Marian took him to Norwich so she could meet Ted there. He... (full context)
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Old Leo cannot take his younger self’s interest in spells or magic seriously anymore. In writing about... (full context)
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...reveals Marian’s disquiet at meeting at six o’clock—she intended to tell Ted that she thought Leo had made a mistake, and instead they should meet at six thirty. She also tells... (full context)
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Old Leo heads back to Norfolk to try and find out what happened to everyone. He goes... (full context)
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Though he is not religious, old Leo says a prayer for everyone involved in the events at Brandham. He leaves the church... (full context)
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Leo informs the eleventh Viscount that he had stayed at Brandham in his youth and knew... (full context)
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The eleventh viscount says that his grandmother is quite lonely, and asks whether Leo would mind going to see her. Leo asks Trimingham if he will first go and... (full context)
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The eleventh viscount returns and informs Leo that Marian would be very happy to see him; she has also asked Trimingham to... (full context)
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Leo and the eleventh viscount part ways, planning to meet for lunch at the Hall around... (full context)
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Leo arrives at Marian’s house. She looks very elderly, but her eyes retain some of “their... (full context)
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Marian tells Leo that they weren’t sure how he found out about Ted’s suicide. They knew he knew... (full context)
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Marian tells Leo that Trimingham (the ninth) married her regardless of her affair and behaved very honorably towards... (full context)
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Marian complains that her grandson, Edward, doesn’t visit her often. She asks if Edward reminds Leo of anyone. She says that Edward wants to get married, but feels that he is... (full context)
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Marian asks Leo to tell Edward “what really happened.” She says that only he knows that she and... (full context)
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Marian says that she is glad Leo agrees, as he was their “instrument”—he made them happy. They entrusted him with their “greatest... (full context)
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Marian wants her grandson to get married, and also thinks it’s not too late for Leo to do so either. She says she can tell Leo is “all dried up inside.”... (full context)
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Leo agrees to deliver the message, and Marian kisses him, calling him “a friend in a... (full context)