from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Nautical, blocks underneath a yard close in amidships, for the clew-lines and the sheets of the sail set above them to reeve through.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
All upper sails have their sheets running through sheave-holes in the yardarms next below, then through quarter-blocks underneath these yards and beside the masts, and then down to the deck.
They talked of blocks, quarter-blocks, and the choice acreage they had bought, and of the profits they had made in this and other cities and towns (where this same speculative fever was epidemic), until Alice fled to the Trescott farm -- as she said, to avoid the mixture of real estate with her meals.
Now, when a skipper loses his nerve, he loses his rights; so I didn't hesitate to sing out to the mate in the main-topmast-crosstrees to clear away downhaul-blocks, quarter-blocks, or anything handy and heavy, and try and drop them on the lion and the rhino, the two most dangerous of the bunch.