Vocabulary for The Perilous Road

pertness - inappropriate playfulness, sassiness, feistiness, mischief, liveliness
Page 4 - Then scraping off the hair, that was a job to take the pertness plumb out of a body.

bluff - A high, steep bank, as by a river or the sea, or beside a ravine or plain; a cliff with a broad face.
Page 8 - Shoot him and shove him right off the bluff and wouldn't nobody ever know, just me and Silas, and we wouldn't tell.


plunder - That which is taken by open force from an enemy; pillage; spoil; booty
Page 20 - They'll just hope to get back to camp with all that plunder.

retort - To reply, especially to answer in a quick, caustic, or witty manner.
Page 20 - "You know I ain't scared one bit." Chris retorted quickly.


dire - Warning of or having dreadful or terrible consequences; calamitous, awful, dreadful, horrible, grim
Page 29 - See example for peril. 
Page 91 - But if she can't make out the dark figure, she'll die within a year of a dire disease.

peril - Imminent danger, threat, risk, hazard
Page 29 - Whoever it was would go on by and never know that under his feet Chris Brabson hung by his fingertips in the direst kind of peril.


scalawag - ne'er-do-well, good-for-nothing, troublemaker, rascal
Page 36 - Mammy and Pappy would speak out, would say nay to their oldest son joining up with such thieves and scalawags.

grabble  - To feel around with the hands; grope, feel blindly, flounder
Page 36 - "You better hush up that kind of foolish talk and get to grabbling up them 'taters, Chris snarled at her.


sullen  - Showing a brooding ill humor or silent resentment; morose or sulky, glowering, gloomy, grim
Page 48 - Chris slid his eyes around at his father and then stood there, sullen and silent.

meek - Easily imposed on; submissive, docile, compliant
Page 52 - A body oughtn't to stand there meek as Moses while the soldiers stole food and horses.

Special Note:
tarnal - regional (Chiefly New England & Upper Southern U.S.) slang for tarnation
Page 45 - This haul up the mountainside is tarnal hard on critters, and when they get to the pen, they leave the tired mules and get some fresh ones for the rest of the way to Chattanooga."


flounder - To make clumsy attempts to move or regain one's balance; struggle, thrash, wallow
Page 65 - Even the moonlight wasn't much help to him, and he floundered around like a three-legged cow.

sentry - A guard, especially a soldier posted at a given spot to prevent the passage of unauthorized persons; sentinel, patrol
Page 67 - Looking at the blade gleaming up over the sentry's head, Chris flinched and ran his tongue around inside his dry mouth.
Page 68 - The sentry passed, but still Chris lay there.
Page 70 "What's the matter with you boys? What's got you so stirred up?" asked the sentry suddenly, right at Chris's elbow.


counter - To meet or return (a blow) by another blow; respond to, set off, deal with, counteract
Page 77 -  "What was you doing there, Chris Brabson?" countered Silas.

dogtrot - Chiefly Southern U.S. A roofed passage between two parts of a structure.
Page 78 - Chris walked down the dogtrot.


reprove - To voice or convey disapproval of; take to task, reprimand, scold, chide, reproach
Page 88 - "Oh, now, Sallie Jean," Mrs. Barbson reproved her.

boughs - A tree branch, especially a large or main branch 
Page 94 - 
Guess where I sat a long time last night,
Up in the boughs my heart did ache
To see the hole the fox did make.


addled - Muddled confused, befuddled, bewildered, mixed up, punchy, rattled, shook, shook up, unglued
Page 99 - His pappy must be addled just to stand idly by while somebody burned down the farm.

behoove -To be necessary or proper, be expected, be fitting, be right, necessitate
Page 99 - Them fellers is up to no good, and it would behoove us to lay low.


rouse - To excite, as to anger or action; stir up, provoke, stir up
Page 109 - Them fellers was truly roused up about Jethro and out to do any sort of meanness.

idle - Lacking substance, value, or basis; casual, hollow
Page 111 - It ain't a fit subject for idle talk.


slathers - To use or give great amounts of
Page 113 - "That ain't what you might call slathers of game." he said aloud in disgust.

fortify -  To reinforce by adding material; strengthen, build up
Page 114  - They would begin to tell him how the Federal army was leaving Chattanooga and fortifying Walden's Ridge.


balk - To stop short and refuse to go on, shy away, drawl back
Page 123 - He'd seen a heap of Yankee soldiers on the mountaintop, but he balked at walking right smack in among them.

woeful - Deplorably bad or wretched, sorrowful, mournful
Page 134 - Chris noticed two or three of the group looked woeful enough to wring your heart.


cower - To cringe in fear, recoil,  shy away
Page 138 - He cowered back inside the wagon, out of sight.

feebly - Lacking strength; weak
Page 139 - The beast kicked feebly and then was still.


rolled - To move forward along a surface by revolving on an axis or by repeatedly turning over

roiled - To make (a liquid) muddy or cloudy by stirring up sediment

Page 150 - The smoke and dust rolled and roiled among the trees.