affectedly dainty or refined
Franny engages the steer in a kind of
mincing dance, matching it step for step until it tires of the footwork and rejoins its brethren.
a long looped rope used to catch animals
West wings his
lariat under the ox’s hind foot, then snaps his wrist up. Franny digs in her heels, and West reels in his catch, helping the ox remember it can go backward.
mirth has left Cay’s eyes.
pulled or drawn tight
West winds his rope, pulling the loops
taut with more force than necessary.
a severe scolding
“You’re a fool, and one day you’re going to get us all killed.”
“Don’t worry, I already got an
earful from that one,” says Cay, flicking his gaze to Andy.
move sideways or in an unsteady way
careen around the campsite in search of the man, with his red-flannel shirt and stout form.
not in action or at work
Not a hand lies
idle when we return to our hosts.
a swaggering show of courage
Mrs. Calloway, her face crinkling, allows the yin and yang of male
bravado and female adoration to ebb and flow.
fall away or decline
Mrs. Calloway, her face crinkling, allows the yin and yang of male bravado and female adoration to
ebb and flow.
widen or spread apart
splays her fingers out in front of her, eyes held wide in suspense.
a dense growth of trees, shrubs, or bushes
I step over the tongue of a wagon and stumble toward the river, but then my feet take another turn and lead me into a
copse of conifers.
a type of tree or shrub bearing cones
I step over the tongue of a wagon and stumble toward the river, but then my feet take another turn and lead me into a copse of
firm in purpose or belief
Her lips press into a
a necessary commodity for which demand is constant
Before we leave, the sheriff’s crew loads us up with food
staples, including Cay’s favorite, coffee.
recovery or preservation from loss or danger
“I think you are right. Good luck, girls. No road is ever safe but the one you walk with the Lord. I will pray for your safe
think moodily or anxiously about something
A chill snakes up my spine as I
brood over what they might have done if I hadn’t pulled the trigger.
presenting favorable circumstances
Chinese people believe Rabbits and Snakes make for a
propitious union, since the word for happiness, fu, looks like the two animals intertwined.
the sphere on which celestial bodies appear to be projected
Clouds outlined in gold streak across the
firmament, casting uneven shadows over the landscape.
formerly a gold coin of various European countries
“Ain’t a proper way to make a living.”
“Tell that to Michelangelo. He got more than three thousand
ducats for painting the Sistine Chapel in Italy. That’s about twenty thousand U.S. dollars.”
speak about unimportant matters rapidly and incessantly
“Of course,” I
prattle on, “the king’s minstrel was given a fancy title and a pretty wife.”
a singer of folk songs
“Of course,” I prattle on, “the king’s
minstrel was given a fancy title and a pretty wife.”
play or run boisterously
My mule loves to
gambol even after a day of travel and an evening of riding exercises.
surpassing the ordinary or normal
Princesa throws back her head and screams, a scream that sounds
uncannily like a shriek of laughter.
join by interweaving strands
I keep my eye on my rope so I don’t mix up the strands. This reminds me of how I used to braid my hair. If we had not cut it, I could have
spliced my hair around my head as practice.
disturb, especially by minor irritations
“You offend me.”
“Oh-fend? You mean like
rile you up? I thought Chinamen never get mad.”
marked by excessive enthusiasm for a cause or idea
The stars are too irresistible, and I don’t want to close my eyes. Every time I do, fears start racing through my mind, led by a couple of Scots driving a
rabid posse against me.
As if summoned by my worries, a trio of scruffy-faced men in navy-blue uniforms materialize out of the haze and
skulk toward me.
A spark jumps out of the fire with a loud crack and wakes me from my
forceful and definite in expression or action
Andy hoists her eyebrows at me but adds an
emphatic, “Me neither.”
a short simple song
He can’t get enough of that dirty
ditty about two lovers who meet under the furniture.
place (something) where one cannot find it again
I shiver, wishing I still had my shawl, the one Father had Mrs. Kurtz knit for me out of the softest lambs’ wool. He tied it tight over my shoulders and told me not to
mislay it, the way I did its predecessor and my bonnet with the daisies.
But I lost it anyway.
cause to become imperfect
She frowns at the water. Fish nip at mosquitoes,
marring the surface.
vigorous and enthusiastic enjoyment
I pray he didn’t see me bawling. Just in case, I pin a grumpy scowl on my face and gnaw on my bacon with extra
sudden shock or dismay that causes confusion
Cay cocks his head in
not acknowledging the God of Christianity, Judaism and Islam
Andy frowns, probably saying a prayer for the preservation of my
cause to undergo the breakdown of sugar into alcohol
“It worked, too. Father said Mother was as lovely as the empress’s teacup, with a temperament as sweet as autumn pears. He loved her very much. Every night, he placed a cup of her favorite drink,
fermented rice wine, on the mantel.”
move or cause to move in a winding or curving course
Andy and I continue down the trail, which
meanders along the Platte River.
a person employed to keep watch for some anticipated event
Along the banks, large cottonwoods stand ramrod straight like
sentinels among minions of sagebrush.
hold back, impede, or weigh down
“I just hope we can make up some time crossing the Platte.” Unlike the pioneers, we will not have wagons to
Sometimes the shoreline disappears altogether as the
brackish waters ooze over into the high grass.