War was declared on a Friday, and although classes remained scheduled the following week, few students or professors made a pretense of meeting them. They milled about in the halls and gathered in small groups, murmuring in hushed voices.
When he had thought of death before, he had thought of it either as a literary event or as the slow, quiet attrition of time against imperfect flesh. He had not thought of it as the explosion of violence upon a battlefield, as the gush of blood from the ruptured throat.
She continued to talk, and after a while he began to hear what she was saying.
Horace Bostwick was also tall, but he was curiously and unsubstantially heavy, almost corpulent; a fringe of gray hair curled about an otherwise bald skull, and folds of skin hung loosely around his jaws. When he spoke to Stoner he looked directly above his head as if he saw something behind him, and when Stoner answered he drummed his thick fingers upon the center piping of his vest.
They became a little drunk; they laughed vaguely and sentimentally; they saw each other anew.
The friendship between Gordon Finch and William Stoner had reached a point that all such relationships, carried on long enough, come to; it was casual, deep, and so guardedly intimate that it was almost impersonal.
They had forgiven themselves for the harm they had done each other, and they were rapt in a regard of what their life together might have been.