Page 27. " 'You bet it snows. We are in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains "

Foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains
Creative Commons AttributionFoothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains - Credit: mollypop

The Blue Ridge Mountains make up the northern and southern regions of the larger Appalachian Mountain range. The Appalachians are located in eastern North America. Blue Ridge does see a lot of sports action including skiing and snowboarding.

Page 31. " Do they have some invisible afflictions not apparent to the eyes? "

Olivia Foxworth's question is alluding to the fact that an incestuous couple bear a higher risk of producing children subject to birth defects such as autism or Down syndrome.

Page 37. " Yeah, you bet, sweet - sweet as a boa constrictor. "


Boa constrictor
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBoa constrictor - Credit: Tod Baker

Boa constrictor snakes are in fact far from sweet. Chris is of course being Mr. Sarcastic. However, perhaps the grandmother's visage does resemble that of a boa constrictor. Also, the boa is known for its dexterous prey strategy - to suffocate by tight captivation and then squeeze its prey to death for breakfast. Similarly, the grandmother appears to be suffocating her grandchildren within the confines of a room where they find it hard to breathe.


Page 38. " Large, but with two double beds, a massive highboy, a large dresser "

A highboy
Public DomainA highboy
A highboy is a piece of furniture incorporating drawers and a wardrobe. They were all the rage in the mid-18th century, namely in North America. In fact, they became extremely ornate in Philadelphia city, just northeast of and not far from Charlottesville.

Page 38. " Unearthly monsters devoured other pitiful souls. Evens as their legs still kicked, they dangled from slobbering mouths filled with long, shiny, sharp teeth. "


Saturn Devouring His Son, 1819
Public DomainSaturn Devouring His Son, 1819 - Credit: Francisco de Goya
Courtyard with Lunatics, 1794
Public DomainCourtyard with Lunatics, 1794 - Credit: Francisco de Goya


As Chris promptly confirms, what hangs on the wall is the works of Spanish Romantic painter, Francisco Goya. The paintings described most probably include Saturn Devouring His Son and Courtyard With Lunatics by Goya.



Page 42. " a unicorn ridden by a gallant knight wearing pure white shining armour, with a green dragon's head perched on the point of his lance! "

Here, we are reminded of Cathy's tender age. She is painting a picture of chivalric romance. This literary genre was popular with the aristocracy and highly concerned with medievalism. Saint George and the Dragon and the legend of King Arthur are two very significant examples of Medieval romance.


Page 43. " we males are gifted with the perfect instrument for picnic bathrooming "

Chris is delightfully smug about the fact that a male can urinate virtually anywhere and that too with greater ease than a female. This art he effectively coins 'picnic bathrooming'.

Page 46. " you will use the chamberpots that you will find in the attic "


GNU Free Documentation LicenseChamberpot - Credit: Audrius Meskauskas

Chamberpots are no longer used in North America, or hardly anywhere. They were containers used as urinals until flush toilets began to replace them. The Dollengangar children had a water closet with a flush toilet at their disposal because the use of chamberpots had faded away by the mid-19th century.

A deeper look into the chamberpot


Page 49. " Four sets of deep dormer windows stretched across the front, four sets across the back. "


A pair of dormer windows
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA pair of dormer windows - Credit: Oast House Archive

A dormer is a structure usually protruding from the sloping roof of an attic. Windows are then set into these dormers. Grand homes such as Foxworth Hall often commonly display a horizontal strip of dormers.


Page 50. " pitchers set in larger bowls, perhaps twenty or thirty set of them. "


Creative Commons AttributionPitcher - Credit: Horia Varlan

A pitcher is akin to a jug -  it is used to pour liquids. In fact, a pitcher is a jug. The Americans call it a pitcher and the British call it a jug. Yep.


Page 50. " We saw both Union and Confederate uniforms, giving Christopher and me much to speculate upon "


Confederate soldier's uniform
Public DomainConfederate soldier's uniform


Union soldier's uniform
Public DomainUnion soldier's uniform

These two uniforms represent the two sides that fought against each other - the Union and the Confederacy - in the American Civil War, 1861-1865.  The latter comprised the Southern States, including Virginia, who declared secession from the USA while the former opposed the Union in support of the federal government.

A glimpse into the uniforms

More on the American Civil War



Page 50. " The War Between the States sounds better "

The Civil War had turned into something of a naming game ever since it was waged in 1861. It was titled differently according to region and the various perceptions of it. Christopher indicates his preference to 'War Between the States' because this was the term used prevalently in the Southern States, mainly post-war. The Conferacy avoided calling it 'The Civil War'.

The American Civil War (according to most)