agape with the mouth wide open, in surprise, wonder, etc., gaping.
agnostic a person who believes that the human mind cannot know whether there is a God or an ultimate cause, or anything beyond material phenomena.
Bible Belt [coined (c.1925) by Henry Louis Mencken] those regions of the U.S., particularly areas in the South, where fundamentalist beliefs prevail and Christian clergy are especially influential.
break down a lot of walls to enact change resulting in progress.
bully for you good for you.
caricatured rubes unsophisticated people whose characteristics have been exaggerated.
cavalcade any procession.
Chautauqua meeting one of various late 19th and early 20th century meetings that were often held outdoors in tents and featured lectures, concerts, and plays, in addition to popular education.
clock-stoppers narrow-minded thinkers.
cocks an eye looks.
cocksure sure or self-confident in a stubborn or overbearing way.
cold feet fright.
composition-paper suitcase a cheap cardboard suitcase.
Copernicus (1473-1543), a Polish astronomer known for his theory that the earth spins on its axis once daily and revolves around the sun (which is at rest near the center of the universe) annually.
Corinthians two epistles, letters adopted as books of the New Testament, written by Saint Paul to the church in Corinth, an ancient Greek city.
Coronation of Charlemagne Charlemagne (Charles the Great) (742-814) built a huge empire in Europe during the Middle Ages. He was well known for his military victories, the size of his empire, and his respect for Christian doctrine and the law. Charlemagne was coronated on Christmas Day, 800 a.d, in Old Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome.
county cooler a county jail.
Coxey's Army In 1894, Jacob Sechler Coxey (1854-1951), an entrepreneur, joined with Carl Browne, a revivalist, to lead a group of 500 unemployed people, a "living petition," from Massillon, Ohio, to Washington, D.C., in support of his plan for national reconstruction. The marchers became known as "Coxey's Army," and the demonstration when Coxey was arrested for demonstrating on the Capitol lawn.
cussedness perversity; stubbornness.
die-hard stubborn or resistant person, esp. an extreme conservative.
dispatches news stories sent to a newspaper or broadcaster, as by a correspondent.
Douglas Fairbanks (1883-1939), a handsome silent film star, famous for his roles in The Mark of Zorro, The Three Musketeers, and Robin Hood.
Dreyfus a scapegoat or one who is wrongly accused. Captain Alfred Dreyfus (1859-1935), a Jewish officer in the French Army, was accused of sending secret military documents to the German military. He was convicted of treason, court-martialed, and exiled. Later, it was discovered that Major Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy, a Hungarian with German connections, was the guilty party. Dreyfus had been a convenient scapegoat. In 1906, he was proclaimed innocent.
Elijah a Hebrew prophet mentioned in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
Excalibur the magic sword claimed by King Arthur, which only he could remove from the rock in which it was embedded.
explodes with the pale puff of a wet firecracker is anticlimactic.
extradite to turn over (a person accused or convicted of a crime) to the jurisdiction of another country, state, etc. where the crime was allegedly committed.
fatuity stupidity, esp. complacent stupidity; smug foolishness.
fervent having or showing great warmth of feeling; intensely devoted or earnest; ardent.
fit on the old armor prepare for battle.
flivver a small, cheap automobile, esp. an old one.
fray a noisy quarrel or fight; brawl.
frond the leaf of a palm or fern.
fuss and feathers confusion.
gall [Colloquial] rude boldness; impudence; audacity.
gettin' all steamed up becoming angry.
glib gag a practical joke or hoax spoken in a smooth, fluent, easy manner, often in a way that is too smooth and easy to be convincing.
Goliath a gigantic Philistine warrior who taunted Israelis forces. Because of his large size, people were frightened of him. Finally, David fought Goliath with his sling and five smooth stones. He hit Goliath in the head causing him to fall and then took Goliath's sword and killed him.
goop-eyed in awe.
grip a small bag or satchel for holding clothes, etc. in traveling .
halyards a rope or tackle for raising or lowering a flag, sail, etc.
Happy Hooligan, Barney Google, and Abe Kabibble famous newspaper comic strips.
hawker one who advertises or peddles (goods) in the streets by shouting.
heathen dogma a doctrine, tenet, or belief that does not relate to God or the Bible.
Henry's Lizzie Henry Ford's first automobile model, the Model T, also known as the "Tin Lizzie."
hinterland an area far from big cities and towns; back country.
hoist to raise aloft; lift or pull up, esp. by means of a cable, pulley, crane, etc.
Houdini Harry Houdini (1874-1926) world famous magician.
hullaballoo loud noise and confusion; hubbub.
hushed babble quiet confused, incoherent talk or vocal sounds.
Jonah a minor prophet in the Book of Jonah in the Old Testament of the Bible.
Joshua Moses' successor. Joshua leads the Israelites across the River Jordan and engages in a series of battles to take Palestine. His story is told in the Book of Joshua found in the Old Testament of the Bible.
Lion-Hearted Richard I (1157-1199), King of England. His courage in battle earned him the title of Coeur de Lion (Lion-Hearted).
Little Eva an angelic child in the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1851-1852) by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Of frail health, she dies. Also a possible reference to Eve, Adam's wife, in the Book of Genesis of the Bible
lugging carrying or dragging (something heavy).
Marconi Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937), an Italian electrical engineer who invented the first radio-signaling system.
melange a mixture or medley; hodgepodge.
mete to allot; distribute; apportion: usually with out.
milking the expectant pause taking advantage of a pause to prolong anticipation.
Milton Sills (1882-1930), a handsome silent film star well known for his leading roles in The Spoilers, The Sea Hawk, and Burning Daylight.
monkeyshines [Colloquial] a mischievous or playful trick, joke, or prank.
Montgomery Ward the oldest mail-order business in the United States, launched by Aaron Montgomery Ward in 1872.
Moorish African people of mixed Berber and Arabic heritage. During the eight century, they conquered much of Spain and Portugal. Under their influence, science, philosophy, and architecture flourished.
Original Sin In the Old Testament of the Bible, Adam sinned by eating from the Tree of Knowledge. Because of Adam's fall, original sin is the state of sin that, according to Christian theology, characterizes all human beings.
pagan a person who is not a Christian, Muslim, or Jew; heathen; sometimes applied specifically to non-Christians by Christians.
pariah any person despised or rejected by others; an outcast.
parting of waters reference to Moses' parting the Red Sea (Exodus 14:15). When Moses brought the Israelites out of Egypt, God told him to raise his staff and stretch his hand over the sea to divide the water.
people's shoes are getting hot people are getting nervous.
perdition the loss of the soul; damnation; hell.
pith helmet a light-weight hat made from the soft, spongy, tissue that is often worn in hot, humid climates.
play in your ball park do as you want.
plumbing in their heads brains.
precedent an act, statement, legal decision, case, etc. that may serve as an example, reason, or justification for a later one.
precepts a commandment or direction meant as a rule of action or conduct.
President Wilson (1856-1924), 28th president of the United States (1913-1921).
privy a toilet; esp. an outhouse.
relish anything that gives pleasure, zest, or enjoyment; attractive quality.
repast food and drink for a meal.
Revealed Word God's word.
rig to put together, prepare for use, or arrange, esp. in a makeshift or hurried fashion.
Rock of Ages Israelite faith considered God, figuratively, to be a rock, symbolizing the permanence and stability of divine protection. The Rock of Ages (1774) is a hymn written by a Calvinist Anglican minister Augustus M. Toplady.
Romeo a character from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. A Montague, he was in love with the daughter of a Capulet, Juliet, enemy of his family.
rotogravures a printing process using photogravure cylinders on a rotary press.
same side of the fence having the same beliefs.
scent in the wind understand what is going on that is not verbalized.
scorcher [Colloquial] a very hot day.
seventh inning stretch a baseball tradition by which people stand up and stretch between the top and bottom of the seventh inning.
sine die without (a) day (being set for meeting again); for an indefinite period.
Socrates (469-399 b.c.) Greek philosopher and mentor of Plato. He developed the Socratic method of inquiry, based on reason and self-knowledge. He believed in doing what one thought was right, even if it meant facing the opposition of all others. Socrates was charged with impiety and corruption of youth and sentenced to death.
Sodom and Gomorrah two cities mentioned in the Bible, well known for their wicked and inhospitable ways, that were destroyed by God. The cities are symbols of human sinfulness and God's punishment for such.
sotto voce in an undertone, so as not to be overheard.
southpaw [Slang] a person who is left-handed; esp., a left-handed baseball pitcher.
St. George a figure in a legend similar to that of David and Goliath. In this legend, the only source of water for a great city was an oasis that was guarded by a dragon that would kill the youths who tried to get water. Finally, the king's daughter, the only youth left to try to get water, went to the oasis. St. George rode up on a white horse and killed the dragon with a lance. The king gave St. George half of his kingdom and his daughter's hand in marriage.
sticks turned to snakes Biblical reference. Several times in the Bible, sticks or staffs are turned into snakes.
suffrage the right to vote, esp. in political elections.
tear sheet a sheet torn, or taken in unbound form, from a publication for special distribution.
toots a ragged fanfare plays a song on a trumpet or horn.
trap is about to be sprung someone is about to be caught in someone else's scheme.
Tree of Knowledge the tree in the Garden of Eden from which Adam and Eve ate.
vagrant a person who wanders from place to place without a regular job, supporting himself by begging, etc.
venireman a member of a group of people from among whom a jury or juries will be selected.
whip-crack quickly; forcefully; loud.
whipping'em up getting the crowd excited.
whoop up excite.
zeal intense enthusiasm, as in working for a cause; ardent endeavor or devotion; ardor; fervor.