Classic Short Stories Bibliography

Classic Short Stories Front Page

Classic Short Stories Links Page

Classic Short Stories Message Board

B&L Associates Link

City Boxer Banner

Eventually, I would like to be able to supply meanings to words that can be found in the stories on this site. As you may be aware, some of the older stories do use words that would be considered archaic or just not well known. Hopefully, someday I will have an opportunity to work on this portion of this project.

abashed. To make ashamed or uneasy; disconcert. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

Adriatic. An arm of the Mediterranean between Slovenia and Croatia and Montenegro and Albania on the east and Italy on the west. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

aggrievedness. Feeling distress or affliction. Treated wrongly; offended. Treated unjustly, as by denial of or infringement upon one's legal rights. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

andantino. In a tempo variously construed as slightly faster or slower than andante. Used chiefly as a direction. See, A Telephonic Conversation--Mark Twain (1835-1910).

anecdotes. A short account of an interesting or humorous incident. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

apothecary. One that prepares and sells drugs and other medicines; a pharmacist. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

apprehension. Fearful or uneasy anticipation of the future; dread. The act of seizing or capturing; arrest. The ability to apprehend or understand; understanding. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

aversion. A fixed, intense dislike; repugnance. The avoidance of a thing, situation, or behavior because it has been associated with an unpleasant or painful stimulus. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

bagnio. A brothel. See, Yvette--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

beadle. A minor parish official formerly employed in an English church to usher and keep order during services. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

belladonna. A poisonous Eurasian perennial herb (Atropa belladonna) having usually solitary, nodding, purplish-brown, bell-shaped flowers and glossy black berries. Also called deadly nightshade. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

bivouac. A temporary encampment usually in the open air. See, A Passion in the Desert--Honore de Balzac (1799-1850).

bohemian. A restless vagabond; originally, an idle stroller or gypsy (as in France) thought to have come from Bohemia; in later times often applied to an adventurer in art or literature, of irregular, unconventional habits, questionable tastes, or free morals. See, Indiscretion--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

bombazine. A fine twilled fabric of silk and worsted or cotton, often dyed black and used for mourning clothes. See, A Telephonic Conversation--Mark Twain (1835-1910).

Breton. Of or relating to Brittany, or Bretagne, in France. A native or inhabitant of Brittany, or Bretagne, in France; also, the ancient language of Brittany; Armorican. See, Two Little Soldiers--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

burghers. A citizen of a town or borough. A comfortable or complacent member of the middle class. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

cajolery. To coax, harry or tease to get your way; like a teenager does their parents to get money or the car-keys. See, Mateo Falcone--Prosper Merimee (1803-1870).

campaign. A series of military operations undertaken to achieve a large-scale objective during a war. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

caporal. Formerly 'chiefs' appointed by the Corsican communes when they revolted against the feudal lords. Today this name is still sometimes given to a man who, by virtue of his land (and therefore his wealth), his alliances, and his dependants, exercises influence and a sort of de facto power over a pieve or county. According to an ancient custom the Corsicans were divided into five castes: noble (magnifici and signori), caporali, citizens, plebeians (city-dwellers), and foreigners. The word is sort of the equivalent of what we mean when we call someone a "godfather." See, Mateo Falcone--Prosper Merimee (1803-1870).

carchera. A leather belt doubling as a cartridge-pouch and wallet. See, Mateo Falcone--Prosper Merimee (1803-1870).

Carnegie Hall. Performing arts venue in West Virginia. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

catechism. A book giving a brief summary of the basic principles of Christianity in question-and-answer form. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

Champs Elysees. A tree-lined thoroughfare of Paris, France, leading from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe. See, Yvette--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

clandestine. Kept or done in secret, often in order to conceal an illicit or improper purpose. See, The Kiss--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

Comtesse. Countess. See, Yvette--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

conjecture. Inference or judgment based on inconclusive or incomplete evidence; guesswork. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

contemptuous. Manifesting or feeling contempt; scornful. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

contrite. Feeling regret and sorrow for one's sins or offenses; penitent. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

cordial auf wiedersehen. Warm and sincere goodbye. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

courser. A swift horse or charger. See, A Passion in the Desert--Honore de Balzac (1799-1850).

courtesan. A woman prostitute, especially one whose clients are members of a royal court or men of high social standing. See, Yvette--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

cud. That portion of food which is brought up into the mouth by ruminating animals from their first stomach, to be chewed a second time. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

curate. A cleric, especially one who has charge of a parish. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

cysts. An abnormal membranous sac containing a gaseous, liquid, or semisolid substance. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

dative. The category of nouns serving as the indirect object of a verb. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

debauch. To corrupt morally. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

Deuteronomy. The fifth book of the Old Testament; contains a second statement of Mosaic Law . See, A Telephonic Conversation--Mark Twain (1835-1910).

directress. A woman who directs. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

divan. A long backless sofa, especially one set with pillows against a wall. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

dolmen. A prehistoric megalith typically having two upright stones and a capstone. See, Two Little Soldiers--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

eddies. A drift or tendency that is counter to or separate from a main current, as of opinion, tradition, or history. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

evinced. To show or demonstrate clearly; manifest. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

faggot. A bundle of twigs, sticks, or branches bound together. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

Faust. A magician and alchemist in German legend who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for power and knowledge. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

fervid. Marked by great passion or zeal. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

florid. Flushed with rosy color; ruddy. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

fodder. Feed for livestock, especially coarsely chopped hay or straw. See, Coco--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

Francois Coppee. A French poet who lived from 1842-1908. See, The Kiss--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

gaiters. A heavy cloth or leather covering for the leg extending from the instep to the ankle or knee. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

garish. Marked by strident color or excessive ornamentation; gaudy. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

gauntlet. A protective glove with a flared cuff, used in manual labor, in certain sports, and for driving. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

General Desaix. Desaix de Veygoux, Louis Charles Antoine (1768-1800), a French general. See, A Passion in the Desert--Honore de Balzac (1799-1850).

George Washington. American military leader and the first President of the United States (1789-1797). Commander of the American forces in the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), he presided over the Second Constitutional Convention (1787) and was elected President of the fledgling country (1789). He shunned partisan politics and in his farewell address (1796) warned against foreign involvement. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

guise. Outward appearance or aspect; semblance. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

hauteur. Haughtiness in bearing and attitude; arrogance. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

hermetically sealed. Completely sealed, especially against the escape or entry of air. See, Moonlight--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

hermitage. The habitation of a hermit or group of hermits. See, A Passion in the Desert--Honore de Balzac (1799-1850).

homilies. A sermon, especially one intended to edify a congregation on a practical matter and not intended to be a theological discourse. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

imperative. Expressing a command or plea; peremptory. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

impertinence. Conduct or language unbecoming the person, the society, or the circumstances; rudeness; incivility. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

impertinent. Exceeding the limits of propriety or good manners; improperly forward or bold. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

indigent. Experiencing want or need; impoverished. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

indignant. Affected with indignation; wrathful; passionate; irate; feeling wrath, as when a person is exasperated by unworthy or unjust treatment, by a mean action, or by a degrading accusation. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893), and Coco--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

ineffaceable. Impossible to efface; indelible. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

inquisition. The act of inquiring into a matter; an investigation. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

insatiable. Impossible to satiate or satisfy. See, Moonlight--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

insolence. The quality of being insolent; pride or haughtiness manifested in contemptuous and overbearing treatment of others; arrogant contempt; brutal impudence. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

intemperate. Not temperate or moderate; excessive, especially in the use of alcoholic beverages. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

John Calvin. French-born Swiss Protestant theologian who broke with the Roman Catholic Church (1533) and set forth the tenets of his theology, known today as Presbyterianism, in Institutes of the Christian Religion (1536). See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

jonquils. A widely cultivated ornamental plant (Narcissus jonquilla) native chiefly to southern Europe, having long narrow leaves and short-tubed yellow flowers. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

legitimist. One who supports legitimate authority; especially, one who believes in hereditary monarchy, as a divine right. Specifically, a supporter of the claims of the elder branch of the Bourbon dynasty to the crown of France. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

lethargy. A state of sluggishness, inactivity, and apathy. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

lissome. Easily bent, supple; capable of moving with ease; limber. See, A Passion in the Desert--Honore de Balzac (1799-1850).

listless. Lacking energy or disinclined to exert effort; lethargic. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893), and Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

livery. A distinctive uniform worn by the male servants of a household. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

magnates. A powerful or influential person, especially in business or industry. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

Mangrabins. Derived from the word, "Maghreb," which sort of means, northern Arabic-speaking Africa, most commonly referring to Algeria. Maghrebins are generally the indigenous people that lived in this area that would later be subject to French colonization starting in the early 19th century. I could not find a definition for this term, but one was kindly offered by Jeremy Patlen, an undergraduate at Middlebury College in Vermont. See, A Passion in the Desert--Honore de Balzac (1799-1850).

Masonic. Of or pertaining to Freemasons or to their craft or mysteries. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

mire. An area of wet, soggy, muddy ground; a bog. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

mirthfulness. Full of gladness and gaiety. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

misdemeanors. A misdeed. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

morbid. Morbid is sometimes used interchangeably with diseased, but is commonly applied, in a somewhat technical sense, to cases of a prolonged nature; as, a morbid condition of the nervous system; a morbid sensibility, etc. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

naivety. From French, the word means a person who is young and inexperienced; someone who has not yet been affected by the ways of the world. See, A Passion in the Desert--Honore de Balzac (1799-1850).

nonce. The present or particular occasion. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

obstinate. Stubbornly adhering to an attitude, opinion, or course of action; obdurate. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

odious. Arousing or meriting strong dislike, aversion, or intense displeasure. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

omnipotence. Having unlimited or universal power, authority, or force; all-powerful. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

Omphale. The Lydian queen Omphale actually owned Hercules, as a slave. She bought the hero from the god Hermes, who sold him following an oracle which declared that Hercules must be sold into slavery for three years. See, The Kiss--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

Pagliacci. Music. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

pantomime. The telling of a story without words, by means of bodily movements, gestures, and facial expressions. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

parvenue. Characteristic of someone who has risen economically or socially but lacks the social skills appropriate for this new position. See, Yvette--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

peony. Any of various garden plants of the genus Paeonia, having large, variously colored flowers with numerous stamens and several pistils. See, Indiscretion--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

perennially. Lasting or active through the year or through many years. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

petite maitresse. Little lady (fr). See, A Passion in the Desert--Honore de Balzac (1799-1850).

pianissimo. In a very soft or quiet tone. Used chiefly as a direction. See, A Telephonic Conversation--Mark Twain (1835-1910).

plaintive. Expressing sorrow; mournful or melancholy. See, Two Little Soldiers--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

poignard (poniard). To stab with a dagger. See, A Passion in the Desert--Honore de Balzac (1799-1850).

porter. A person employed to carry burdens, especially an attendant who carries travelers' baggage at a hotel or transportation station. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

Prefect. A chief administrative official of a department of France. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

pretensions. A specious allegation; a pretext. A claim to something, such as a privilege or right. The advancing of a claim. Ostentatious display; pretentiousness. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

proclivities. A natural propensity or inclination; predisposition. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

prosy. Matter-of-fact and dry; prosaic. Dull; commonplace. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

provender. Dry food, such as hay, used as feed for livestock. See, A Passion in the Desert--Honore de Balzac (1799-1850).

Prussians. Any of the western Balts inhabiting the region between the Vistula and Neman rivers in ancient times. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

Pullman. A railroad parlor car or sleeping car. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

Raffelli. Jean-Francois Raffelli, artist. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

rancor. Bitter, long-lasting resentment; deep-seated ill will. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

recitation. The act of reciting memorized materials in a public performance. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

reproach. To express disapproval of, criticism of, or disappointment in (someone). To bring shame upon; disgrace. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

resplendent. Brilliant, filled with splendor. See, A Passion in the Desert--Honore de Balzac (1799-1850), and Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

retrospection. A review, survey, or contemplation of things in the past. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

Rigoletto. An opera written by Giuseppe Verdi. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

roguery. A mischievous act. See, Yvette--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

roseate. Resembling a rose in color or fragrance; esp., tinged with rose color; blooming; as, roseate beauty; her roseate lips. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

rotund. Rounded in figure; plump. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

ruddy. Having a healthy, reddish color. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

Sabines. A member of an ancient people of central Italy, conquered and assimilated by the Romans in 290 B.C. See, The Kiss--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

sagacity. The quality of being discerning, sound in judgment, and farsighted; wisdom. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

sanguine. Having the temperament and ruddy complexion formerly thought to be characteristic of a person dominated by this humor; passionate. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

Saracen. A pre-Islamic people of the Syrian-Arabian deserts. See, A Passion in the Desert--Honore de Balzac (1799-1850).

Schenley. A building. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

scimitar. A curved Oriental sword with a single edge on its convex side. See, A Passion in the Desert--Honore de Balzac (1799-1850).

Sedan. A town of northeast France on the Meuse River near the Belgian border. It was the site of the decisive defeat and surrender of Napoleon III (September 2, 1870) in the Franco-Prussian War. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

shako. A stiff, cylindrical military dress hat with a metal plate in front, a short visor, and a plume. See, Two Little Soldiers--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

slatternly. Slovenly; untidy. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

smacks. A fishing boat sailing under various rigs, according to size, and often having a well used to transport the catch to market. See, Two Little Soldiers--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

sonorous. Having or producing a full, deep, or rich sound. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

stenographers. One skilled in stenography, especially one employed to take and transcribe dictation or testimony. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

stoops. A small porch, platform, or staircase leading to the entrance of a house or building. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

stupefied. To amaze; astonish. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

stupor. A state of mental numbness, as that resulting from shock; a daze. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

subaltern. Lower in position or rank; secondary. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

Sully-Prudhomme. French poet whose early works are melancholic and whose later poems are concerned with scientific and philosophical theories. He won the 1901 Nobel Prize for literature. See, The Kiss--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

supposition. That which is supposed; hypothesis; conjecture; surmise; opinion or belief without sufficient evidence. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

surmount. To overcome (an obstacle, for example); conquer. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

synopsis. A brief outline or general view, as of a subject or written work; an abstract or a summary. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

taboret. A low stool without a back or arms. A low stand or cabinet. An embroidery frame. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

tempest. A violent windstorm, frequently accompanied by rain, snow, or hail. Furious agitation, commotion, or tumult; an uproar. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

tepid. Lacking in emotional warmth or enthusiasm; halfhearted. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

theorems. An idea that has been demonstrated as true or is assumed to be so demonstrable. A proposition that has been or is to be proved on the basis of explicit assumptions. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

tiara. An ornamental, often jeweled, crownlike semicircle worn on the head by women on formal occasions. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

tinge. To apply a trace of color to; tint. To affect slightly, as with a contrasting quality. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

togs. Clothes; garments; toggery. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

usurped. To seize another's place, authority, or possession wrongfully. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

Valenciennes. A city of northern France near the Belgian border southeast of Lille. An important medieval town, it became noted for its lace industry in the 15th century. See, A Telephonic Conversation--Mark Twain (1835-1910).

varicose vein. The condition of having abnormally dilated or swollen veins, especially in the legs. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

vehemence. Characterized by forcefulness of expression or intensity of emotion or conviction; fervid. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

Venus de Milo. A famous statute. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

verdure. The fresh, vibrant greenness of flourishing vegetation. See, A Passion in the Desert--Honore de Balzac (1799-1850).

veritable. Being truly so called; real or genuine. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

vindictive. Disposed to seek revenge; revengeful. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

Viscount. A nobleman ranking below an earl or count and above a baron. See, An Affair of State--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

vocation. A regular occupation, especially one for which a person is particularly suited or qualified. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

voltigeurs. A body of troops raised by the government to assist the gendarmerie (the French military police) in maintaining law and order. They were sort of mercenary shock troops, the our army's rangers. The word literally means troops which go this-way-and-that-quickly. At that time a voltigeur wore a brown uniform with a yellow collar. See, Mateo Falcone--Prosper Merimee (1803-1870).

Wallachian. A historical region of southeast Romania between the Transylvanian Alps and the Danube River. See, Yvette--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

writhe. To twist, as in pain, struggle, or embarrassment. To move with a twisting or contorted motion. To suffer acutely. See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

Yale. Colonial-born English merchant and philanthropist who made a series of contributions to the Collegiate School in Connecticut, which was renamed in Yale's honor (1718). See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

zealous. The word holds an illusion to the old testament about a group of Jews who died rather than surrender. See, Mateo Falcone--Prosper Merimee (1803-1870).

zinc. A bluish-white, lustrous metallic element that is brittle at room temperature but malleable with heating. It is used to form a wide variety of alloys including brass, bronze, various solders, and nickel silver, in galvanizing iron and other metals, for electric fuses, anodes, and meter cases, and in roofing, gutters, and various household objects. Atomic number 30; atomic weight 65.39; melting point 419.4C; boiling point 907C; specific gravity 7.133 (25C). See, Paul's Case--Willa Cather (1873-1947).

Bibliography ||| Front Page ||| Interesting Links
Message Board ||| B&L Associates

This page, and all contents (except, naturally, the stories), are © 1995-2007 B&L Associates, Bangor, Maine, U.S.A.
All Rights Reserved.