(This is a story of a child who had always been reckless about his french language learning. Now, his city has been conquered by enemy forces. In the following scene, the child is in his classroom, having his last french lesson. He doesn't know anything about the thing he was asked.)
While I was thinking of all this, I heard my name called. It was my turn to recite. What would I not have given to be able to say that dreadful rule for the participle all through, very loud and clear, and without one mistake? but I got mixed up on the first words and stood there, holding on to my desk, my heart beating, and not daring to look up.