graveyard shift was the night shift of people who were assigned to the cemetery to LISTEN for said “dead ringers”. Also, the practice had less to do with embalming, and more to do with the lead with which they soldered their tin dining/drinking wares. They found far too many “dead” people who had recovered enough from a lead-poisoning coma to have then died a lingering death buried deep beneath.
Raining cats and dogs were from the animals sleeping in the thatch roofs of houses, who wouldn’t bail out in a modest rain, but would in a torrent..
Nose to the grindstone. Grindstones (used as ballast on ships from Europe) came only from Italy. A special, hard limestone, 3 ft in diameter, about 6 inches thick, they were grooved in such a way that, if positioned slightly apart, grain dropping through a hole in the top would be pulverized, and the flour walked by centrifugal force out of the stones. The stones, spinning a fraction of an inch apart, could not touch. If they touched, the flour would be burnt, or worse, ignited, and the batch would be ruined by the tainted flour… or the mill would go up in an explosion that would rival the best action movies today.
So, the first job, the child-labor job, the apprentice 3rd-class job in a mill was for little boys… they had to sit all day inches from the rumbling stone, in a cloud of flour, sniffing for that HINT of burn. If their attention wandered, as you might imagine for little boys, they were cuffed or kicked and told to ... ” “