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Gossamer   Listen
noun
Gossamer  n.  
1.
A fine, filmy substance, like cobwebs, floating in the air, in calm, clear weather, especially in autumn. It is seen in stubble fields and on furze or low bushes, and is formed by small spiders.
2.
Any very thin gauzelike fabric; also, a thin waterproof stuff.
3.
An outer garment, made of waterproof gossamer.
Gossamer spider (Zool.), any small or young spider which spins webs by which to sail in the air. See Ballooning spider.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Gossamer" Quotes from Famous Books



... a dark night, did purchase from A goldsmith on the Ponte Vecchio. Small was his shop, and hoar of visage he. I did bemark that from the ceiling's beams Spiders had spun their webs for many a year, The which hung erst like swathes of gossamer Seen in the shadows of a fairy glade, But now most woefully were weighted o'er With gather'd dust. Look well now at the ring! Touch'd here, behold, it opes a cavity Capacious of three drops of yon ...
— Seven Men • Max Beerbohm

... man realized more clearly the importance of good sense; but he saw farther than that: he looked into the profundities of the soul, and measured those strange forces which brush aside the feeble dictates of human wisdom like gossamer, and lend, by their very lack of compromise, a dignity and almost a nobility to folly and even vice itself. Thus it is that he has invested the feeble, miserable Harpagon with a kind of sordid splendour, and that he has elevated the scoundrel Don Juan into an alarming image of intellectual power ...
— Landmarks in French Literature • G. Lytton Strachey

... one! We went over everything carefully twice, rejecting, trying to shake off the bonds of custom and get down to primitive needs. At last we made a judicious selection. Everything old or worn was left; everything merely ornamental, except good lace, which was light. Gossamer evening dresses were all left. I calculated on taking two or three books that would bear the most reading if we were again shut up where none could be had, and so, of course, took Shakspere first. Here I was interrupted to go and pay a farewell visit, and when we returned Max had ...
— Strange True Stories of Louisiana • George Washington Cable

... said he, 'to be bewitched by a bad woman! It metamorphoses one entirely. He loses all semblance to his former self, parts with all his reason, no more walks upright, and bids philosophy adieu. One drop from the cup of her incantations, and the gossamer net-work which she threw about him is changed into prisonbars, her silken chain into links of forged iron; strong will is dwindled, and he who on some 'heaven-kissing hill' stood up to gaze upon the stars, is fit to grovel in ...
— Continental Monthly, Vol. I. February, 1862, No. II. - Devoted To Literature And National Policy • Various

... a friend to true learning, as a sign that the glorious hopes of this century are to be quenched in gloom; nay, that they have been the delusive prologue to an age worse than that of iron—the age of tinsel and gossamer, in which no thought has substance enough to be moulded ...
— Romola • George Eliot

... looked like a sylph or a dainty shepherdess of Dresden china, and should have been arrayed in gossamer robes, rather than in the deep mourning she affected. Indeed, Lucian considered that such weeds were rather premature, as Mrs. Vrain could not yet be certain that the murdered man was her husband; but she looked so charming and childlike ...
— The Silent House • Fergus Hume

... destination, in the meridian of her glory. We have but little sympathy or patience for those who treat her as a mere Rosy Melindi—who are always fishing for pretty complements—who are satisfied by the gossamer of Romance, and who can be allured by the verbosity of high-flown words, rich in language, but poor and barren in sentiment. Beset, as she has been, by the intellectual vulgar, the selfish, the designing, the cunning, the hidden, and the artful—no wonder she has sometimes folded her ...
— The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories • Mark Twain

... unstable; And we are all too prone to clutch them fast, Though false, aye, falser than the veriest fable, To which a "thread of gossamer is ...
— The Poets and Poetry of Cecil County, Maryland • Various

... the smell, They shook the snow from hats and shoon, They put their April raiment on; And those eternal forms, Unhurt by a thousand storms, Shot up to the height of the sky again, And danced as merrily as young men. I saw them mask their awful glance Sidewise meek in gossamer lids; And to speak my thought if none forbids It was as if the eternal gods, Tired of their starry periods, Hid their majesty in cloth Woven of tulips and painted moth. On carpets green the maskers march Below May's well-appointed arch, Each ...
— Poems - Household Edition • Ralph Waldo Emerson

... cloak, and it is a literal fact that I rubbed my eyes, half believing that I dreamed. For beneath, she was arrayed in gossamer silk which more than indicated the perfect lines of her slim shape; wore a jeweled girdle and barbaric ornaments; was a figure fit for the walled gardens of Stamboul—a figure amazing, incomprehensible, in the prosaic setting of ...
— The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu • Sax Rohmer

... sadness alternated with her smile that expressed great suffering of some kind. She spoke of having been ill once, when her friends called her the White Lady of Avenel; and that is just her picture now. Her dress made her fairness so apparent,—the gossamer tissue, the bright scarlet, and raven hair and dark eyes and lashes. The tones of her voice were very airy and distant, so that I could scarcely catch her words; and this I have observed in several English ladies. "Where ...
— Memories of Hawthorne • Rose Hawthorne Lathrop

... is a mad-cap sprite, full of wantonness and mischief, who laughs at those whom he misleads—"Lord, what fools these mortals be!" Ariel cleaves the air, and executes his mission with the zeal of a winged messenger; Puck is borne along on his fairy errand like the light and glittering gossamer before the breeze. He is, indeed, a most Epicurean little gentleman, dealing in quaint devices, and faring in dainty delights. Prospero and his world of spirits are a set of moralists: but with Oberon and his ...
— Hazlitt on English Literature - An Introduction to the Appreciation of Literature • Jacob Zeitlin

... growing confusion a party entered one of the most prominent boxes that drew the general attention in that part of the house. A lady in crimson velvet, with some gossamer lace about her arms and bosom, and a cobweb of the same rich material floating from the thick braids of her coal-black hair, came into the box, followed by a gentleman so like her that people exclaimed ...
— The Old Countess; or, The Two Proposals • Ann S. Stephens

... letter again, but she found a match and set fire to it, and watched it as it burned to black, gossamer-like ashes on the brick floor. It was long before she had the courage to go down and face Griggs and say that she was ready for the daily walk together before the midday meal. And all that day she went about dreamily, scarcely knowing what she did ...
— Casa Braccio, Volumes 1 and 2 (of 2) • F. Marion Crawford

... climbing now and its pallid disk was slowly flushing to the wakefulness of fiery rose. The sky overhead was livening to turquoise light and here and there along the upper slopes were gossamer dashes of opal and amethyst, but this beauty of unveiling turrets and gold-touched crests was lost on eyes in which dwelt a nightmare from which there was no hope ...
— The Roof Tree • Charles Neville Buck

... her intently for some moments. She seemed, as she stood there before him, like a thing of gossamer and sunshine that had drifted into his laboratory, ...
— Carmen Ariza • Charles Francis Stocking

... hair. Her small, warm, unwrinkled hands were without rings, being too delicately beautiful. In one she held a tiny fan, white and soft like the wing of a moth; on her lap lay a handkerchief as light as smoke or a web of gossamer. ...
— The Mettle of the Pasture • James Lane Allen

... point for notice in the chapter is the purchase of his body for its "weight in gold." Swindling angels held it up in the scales; it did not weigh so much as a web of gossamer. "Had such excellent odor, too, and came for a mere nothing of gold," says Carlyle. It is one of the first commercial transactions of Germany, but I regret the conduct of the angels on the occasion. Evangelicalism has been proud of ceasing to invest in relics, ...
— The Crown of Wild Olive • John Ruskin

... ocean-calm which the old Greek philosopher found the highest good for man. And month by month the mere material side of life grew of less moment; the body fretted the spirit less, but often seemed a tissue of gossamer lightness through which it could pass at will, as the breeze through the gleaming spider-webs upon the bushes at dawn. There were times when the ideal of the mystic seemed well-nigh accomplished, when my body might almost have been abandoned by the soul for hours upon end. The ...
— Apologia Diffidentis • W. Compton Leith

... over again; often again and again till all is crossed and muddled. If Life were to be very much longer than is the usual lot of men, one would try very hard to reform this lax habit, and clear away such a system of gossamer association: even as it is, I try to turn all wandering fancy out of doors, and listen attentively to Whately's Logic, and old Spinoza still! I find some of Spinoza's Letters very good, and so far useful as that they try to clear up some ...
— Letters of Edward FitzGerald - in two volumes, Vol. 1 • Edward FitzGerald

... bodies, mind and manner were so many self-evident arguments against the system, which no representations, however plausible, could refute; and all that I had listened to from Southerners on the voyage disappeared like gossamer in the tempest before the mute, living picture of wretchedness presented ...
— From Slave to College President - Being the Life Story of Booker T. Washington • Godfrey Holden Pike

... voice in speaking the last sentence, and looked very human. And immediately Dion was aware of a special and peculiar atmosphere in Mrs. Chetwinde's drawing-room on this Sunday afternoon, of something poignant almost, though lightly veiled with the sparkling gossamer which serves to conceal undue angularities, something which just hinted at tragedy confronted with courage, at the attempted stab and the raised shield of affection. Here Mrs. Clarke was in sanctuary. He glanced towards her again with ...
— In the Wilderness • Robert Hichens

... the two daughters of the house. When it came to Delphine's he gently drew her light shawl from her shoulders, spread it over the keyboard, and then played through it, his fingers, with every tone they produced, coming in touch with the gossamer-like fabric, still warm and hallowed for him from its contact ...
— The Loves of Great Composers • Gustav Kobb

... whirlwind. Then the instinct of self-preservation flamed up in her like a fire. Her altruism in subjecting her self-love to benevolence, and letting Swithin go away from her, was demolished by the new necessity, as if it had been a gossamer web. ...
— Two on a Tower • Thomas Hardy

... built for her use a little child's playhouse. It was just large enough for half a dozen children, and would perhaps hold nearly as many grown people. But it had a good-sized verandah and on this were tables piled with the loveliest fairy-like gossamer garments and comforts for tiny mites of humanity. Such exquisite blankets and afghans and tufted silk coverlets and such dainty frocks and caps and little coats and everything an infant could possibly use, from baskets to bibs ...
— Patty and Azalea • Carolyn Wells

... what the seed of love is? Has it anywhere been set down in how many ways this seed may be sown? In what various vessels of gossamer it can float across wide spaces? Or upon what different soils it can fall, and live unknown, and bide ...
— The Virginian - A Horseman Of The Plains • Owen Wister

... a short valley led down to Katmai and the sea. The day was bright, the air clear, nevertheless after the guide had stared up at the peaks for a time he shook his head, then reentered the tent and lay down. The mountains were "smoking"; from their tops streamed a gossamer veil which the travelers knew to be drifting snow clouds carried by the wind. It meant delay, ...
— The Boy Scouts Book of Campfire Stories • Various

... 'temp'ry service' should be life-long, if he could manage to please her; and little Kitty Spruce being permitted by her mother to peep at the 'new lady' through the staircase window, could only draw a long breath and ejaculate: "Oh! Ain't she lovely!" while she followed with eagerly admiring eyes the gossamer trail of Maryllia's white gown on the soft turf, and strained her ears to catch the sound of the sweet voice which suddenly broke out ...
— God's Good Man • Marie Corelli

... merino-wool. It is of varying thickness, and many ladies, both young and old, are adopting it for combinations; these and one petticoat forming the whole of the clothing. Of course, the thickness of these garments is to be suited to the season, and the gossamer clothing manufactured for the warm season leaves nothing to be desired in ...
— The Girl's Own Paper, Vol. VIII: No. 356, October 23, 1886. • Various

... Yes, it is. Because those spice islands, Cinghalese this morning, smell them leagues off. Tell you what it is. It's like a fine fine veil or web they have all over the skin, fine like what do you call it gossamer, and they're always spinning it out of them, fine as anything, like rainbow colours without knowing it. Clings to everything she takes off. Vamp of her stockings. Warm shoe. Stays. Drawers: little kick, taking them off. Byby till next time. ...
— Ulysses • James Joyce

... gastronomists complain of heaviness in London after eating a couple of mutton-chops? Do not respectable gentlemen fall asleep in their arm-chairs? Are they fit for mental labor? Far from it. But look at the difference here: after dinner here one is as light as a gossamer. One walks with pleasure, reads with pleasure, writes with pleasure—nay, there is the supper-bell going at ten o'clock, and plenty of eaters, too. Let lord mayors and aldermen look to it, this fact of the extraordinary increase of appetite in Belgium, ...
— Little Travels and Roadside Sketches • William Makepeace Thackeray

... the day preceding Palm Sunday. Every day they saw each other for hours together; and they did not even try to hide themselves any more. They no longer had any accounts to render the world. By such gossamer threads were they attached to it and so near to breaking!—Two days before, the German grand offensive had been started. The wave advanced along a front of nearly a hundred kilometers. Fast following emotions caused the ...
— Pierre and Luce • Romain Rolland

... the laces, the gossamer fabrics, the silks and velvets, the jewels, the elegant things from barbaric Russia, the wonders of the Orient, the plainer exhibit of our own land rich in mechanical wonders, the natural products, the sewing-machine ...
— A Little Girl of Long Ago • Amanda Millie Douglas

... herself she looked, handsome and stately, in characteristic elegance of attire and manner both. Her white morning dress floated off in soft edges of lace from her white arms; a shawl of precious texture was gathered loosely about them; on her head a gossamer web of some fancy manufacture fell off on either side, a mock covering for it. She came up to Daisy and kissed her, and then examined into her various arrangements, to see that she was in all respects well and properly cared for. Her mother's presence made Daisy feel very meek. ...
— Melbourne House, Volume 1 • Susan Warner

... its remoter regions—William was alone with Miss Pratt, in the conservatory. And, after a time, they went together, and looked into the door of a room where an indefinite number of little boys—all over three years of age—were playing in the firelight upon a white-bear rug. For, in the roseate gossamer that boys' dreams are made of, William had indeed ...
— Seventeen - A Tale Of Youth And Summer Time And The Baxter Family Especially William • Booth Tarkington

... high in air, trying to reach the gold cross on St. Peter's or pours its triple cascade over the Pauline granite; whether it spouts out of a great barrel in a wall in old Trastevere, or throws up into the air a gossamer as fine as Arachne's web in a green garden way where the lizards run, or in a crowded corner where the fruit-sellers sit against the wall;—in all its shapes one grows to love the water that fills Rome with an unchanging ...
— Wisdom, Wit, and Pathos of Ouida - Selected from the Works of Ouida • Ouida

... summer was glorious that year, and it was nowhere more wonderful than in the forest. One still golden day followed another, the gossamer-threaded sunshine flooding the glades of yellowing and amber trees, spilling itself headlong amid the rusting bracken, and losing itself in the tiny foliage of the whortleberry, which, all its little oval leaves, ruddy as a robin's breast, was imitating the trees, ...
— The Lowest Rung - Together with The Hand on the Latch, St. Luke's Summer and The Understudy • Mary Cholmondeley

... sun topped the summit of the bluff, its red rays seeming to bridge with spans of gossamer the little valley up which we toiled. I had lost my interest, and was walking doggedly on, with eyes bent upon the ground, when the girl beside me cried out suddenly, a new excitement ...
— The Devil's Own - A Romance of the Black Hawk War • Randall Parrish

... terrace. Below us was a wide parterre whose flower-beds, laid out by a celebrated landscape-gardener in the days of the Stuarts, were filled with vegetables. The day was like our New England Indian summerthough the trees were still heavy with leaves—and a gossamer-blue veil of haze stained the hills between which the shining river ran. If the social revolution, or evolution, takes place, one wonders what will become ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... on the wing, the snail dragging its shell up the pendulous woodbine, the bee adding to his golden treasure as he swung in the bells of the campanula, the green fly darting hither and thither like an animated seedling, the spider weaving her gossamer from twig to twig, the woodpecker heedfully scrutinising the lichen on the gnarled oak-hole, the passage of the wind through leaves or across grass, the motions and shadows of the clouds, and so forth. These were his golden holidays. Much of the rest of his time, ...
— Life of Robert Browning • William Sharp

... poles, had long ignominiously withered in the wind; perhaps it was now only buried overnight for the nonce? Being dug up, or being cut down, and put into the balance, it weighed—less than was expected. It was as light as gossamer, said pious rumor, Had such an excellent odor too;—and came for a mere nothing of gold! This was Adalbert's first miracle after death; in life he had done many hundreds of them, and has done millions since,—chiefly upon paralytic nervous-systems, and the element of pious rumor;—which ...
— History Of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol, II. (of XXI.) - Frederick The Great—Of Brandenburg And The Hohenzollerns—928-1417 • Thomas Carlyle

... she remembered sundry gossamer fabrics which were dignified by the title of party dresses, and which, with many tears, she had folded away as something she should never need in the country, she exclaimed aloud, "Why, can't I have a party here as well as at home? The house is a great deal larger ...
— Dora Deane • Mary J. Holmes

... morning. The fields lay yellow below; the rich colours of decay hung heavy on the woods, and seemed to clothe them as with the trappings of a majestic sorrow; but the spider webs sparkled with dew, and the gossamer films floated thick in the level sunbeams. It was a great time for the spiders, those visible Deaths of the ...
— Malcolm • George MacDonald

... glimpse, as they passed through the hall, of the ladies taking their preprandial cups of tea in the library, an enchanting group of lace and silks, of delicate hue and scented hair, of blond cheeks and brunette tresses, of dark velvets and gossamer tissue; and when he had changed the scarlet for dinner-dress, went down among them to be the darling of that charmed circle, to be smiled on and coquetted with by those soft, languid aristocrats, to be challenged by the lustrous eyes of his chatelaine ...
— Under Two Flags • Ouida [Louise de la Ramee]

... scroll-work is bona fide embroidery, worked through the stuff. The delicate network of fine stitching, which once covered the whole of the background, is for the most part neither more nor less than a floating gossamer of lacework. One cannot deny that that is embroidery, though it has to be said that lace-stitches are employed ...
— Art in Needlework - A Book about Embroidery • Lewis F. Day

... saying this as they surge out in great waves of furs and silks, with black crush hats floating on billows of white wraps among the foam of gossamer scarfs. Through it all is the squawk of the motor horn, the call of the taxi numbers and the inrush of the fresh ...
— Behind the Beyond - and Other Contributions to Human Knowledge • Stephen Leacock

... unreturning days of our youth! "Carry, O Youths and Maidens," he seems to say. "Carry with infinite devotion that vase of many odours which is your Life on Earth. Spill as little as may be of its unvalued wine; let no rain-drops or bryony-dew, or floating gossamer-seed, fall into it and spoil its taste. For it is all you have, and ...
— Visions and Revisions - A Book of Literary Devotions • John Cowper Powys

... rendered necessary by the nature of the country she traversed, Mehetabel reached Thor's Stone, that gleamed white in the moonbeam beside a sheet of water, the Mere of the Pucksies. This mere had the mist lying on it more dense than elsewhere. The vapor rested on the surface as a fine gossamer veil, not raised above a couple of feet, hardly ruffled by a passing sigh of air. A large bird floated over it on expanded wings, it looked white as a swan in the moonlight, but cast a shadow black as pitch on the vaporous sheet that covered ...
— The Broom-Squire • S. (Sabine) Baring-Gould

... his tail, as a hungry gentleman dining with the Lord Mayor agitates his coat. With one dexterous whirl, untaught by any of the many-books upon the subject, John Pike laid his Yellow Sally (for he cast with one fly only) as lightly as gossamer upon the rapid, about a yard in front of the big ...
— Crocker's Hole - From "Slain By The Doones" By R. D. Blackmore • R. D. Blackmore

... August now; the summer was past, yet the weather was fit for the height of summer. Warm, spicy, dry air, showing misty in the distance like a gossamer veil, and near by a still glow over everything. The two young people wandered over the bridge and slowly mounted the bank among the oaks and beeches, keeping in the shade as much as might be. There was a glorious play of shadow and sunlight all over the ...
— The End of a Coil • Susan Warner

... and Aunt Clara, maiden sisters of my wife, who lived with us after Winchester fell the fourth time, I got the "Scotch Harebell," two of each. For my own mother I got one "Belle of the Prairies" and one "Invisible Combination Gossamer." I did not forget good old Mamma Chloe and Mamma Jane. For them I got substantial cages, without names. With these, tied in the shapes of figure eights in the bottom of my trunk, as I said, I put in an assorted cargo of dry-goods above, and, favored by a pass, and Major Mulford's courtesy ...
— The Wit and Humor of America, Volume VII. (of X.) • Various

... rising sun; running like silver threads through all the other music, could be heard the fine trills of the field sparrows; the swinging chant of the creeping warblers and the loud rattle of the Tennessee warblers ran high up in the scale, furnishing a gossamer tenor; that golden optimist, the Baltimore oriole, piped his cheery recitative in the tops of the trees; chickadees supplied the minor strains and tufted titmice the alto; four or five turtle doves soothed the ear with their meditative cooing; while the calls and songs of numerous ...
— Our Bird Comrades • Leander S. (Leander Sylvester) Keyser

... smell in the elephant, and so indispensable is it to go against the wind in approaching him, that on those occasions when the wind is so still that its direction cannot be otherwise discerned, the Panickeas will suspend the film of a gossamer to determine it and ...
— Sketches of the Natural History of Ceylon • J. Emerson Tennent

... the hunting spiders are equal to flying, or at least manage to be wafted along by the breeze, when they want to take a trip. The silk these throw out is occasionally called 'gossamer;' it is slight, and not unlike the true gossamer, made by web-spinners of various sorts, which we usually notice in autumn, covering bushes and grassy spaces. The family to which the airy spiders belong is notable, because it contains those species which have a likeness to crabs ...
— Chatterbox, 1906 • Various

... line of the limbs and of the light draperies suggesting motion and glee. How did he know that some of these were men, and some were women? He had never seen such dresses as they wore, which seemed to be composed of tunics and gossamer veils of blue and red. Yet he did know quite distinctly which were men and which were women, and he knew that it was a marriage scene. The bride wore a wreath of flowers; the bridegroom carried a sheaf or garland of fruit or grain, which seemed ...
— The Mermaid - A Love Tale • Lily Dougall

... young soldier takes the long, poplar-lined road from —— his heart is stirred with the romance of his mission. It is morning and he is bound for the trenches; the early sunshine is tangled in the branches, and silvery gossamer, beaded with iridescent jewels of dew, hang fairylike from the green leaves. Birds are singing, crickets are thridding in the grass and the air is full of the minute clamouring, murmuring and infinitesimal shouting of little ...
— The Red Horizon • Patrick MacGill

... leaves were dropping one by one, and lay in little hillocks upon the faded grass. The blue hills which embosomed the lake were encircled with a misty veil, while the sunshine seemed to fall with a somber light upon the fields of yellow corn. Everything, even the gossamer thistle-top which floated upon the autumnal air, conspired to make the day one of those indescribable days when all hearts are pervaded with a feeling of pleasurable sadness—a sense of ...
— Cousin Maude • Mary J. Holmes

... picking about with her beak. All at once she spread out her wings, with a sound like a whirlwind, and flew off to bathe in the sea; and then the spiders began to drop from her in all directions on their gossamer wings. The children had to hold fast to keep the wind of the eagle's flight from blowing them off. As soon as it was over, they looked into the nest, and there lay the giant's heart—an awful ...
— Adela Cathcart, Vol. 3 • George MacDonald

... false veneer of civilisation peeled off long ago," the Maluka said, adding, with a sly look at my discarded gloves and gossamer, "It's wonderful how quietly the Territory ...
— We of the Never-Never • Jeanie "Mrs. Aeneas" Gunn

... of the Sierras, the low temperature of the Rockies farther east is unknown; and although there is snow to the right, snow to the left, snow all around, and ice under foot, I travel all through the gloomy sheds in my shirt-sleeves, with but a gossamer rubber coat thrown over my shoulders to keep off the snow- water which is constantly melting and dripping through the roof, making it almost like going through a shower of rain. Often, when it is warm and balmy outside, it is cold and frosty under the sheds, and the dripping ...
— Around the World on a Bicycle V1 • Thomas Stevens

... to be blown away like gossamer threads. The chain is strong enough to bind life even to the world beyond the grave. Do you always ...
— Behind the Scenes - or, Thirty years a slave, and Four Years in the White House • Elizabeth Keckley

... crooked corners of your seesaw mouth, with the broken ridges and ditches in your shrivelled half-inch forehead, you would make an outcry about my ugliness! Why the bit of a dwarf can hardly peer out of its pulpit when it is hubbubbing there, and is so gossamer-shankt it durst not walk across the great square if the wind chance to be blowing strong; the congregation are hard put to find him out when he is grimacing and gesticulating before the altar, and need all their christian faith and hope to believe him actually corporeally ...
— The Old Man of the Mountain, The Lovecharm and Pietro of Abano - Tales from the German of Tieck • Ludwig Tieck

... was not alone. He found Mademoiselle de Cressy in charge of the tea-table and the conversation. Like many Frenchwomen, she had a high-pitched voice; she also had definite opinions on matter-of-fact subjects. Now when you have come to talk gossamer with an attractive and sympathetic woman, it is irritating to have to discuss Tariff Reform and the position of the working classes in Germany with somebody else, especially when the attractive and pretty woman does not give you in any way to understand that she would prefer gossamer to ...
— The Fortunate Youth • William J. Locke

... slender, almost wasplike insects with lacy wings and long, thread-like legs, that whirled and danced with the mad joyousness of life, the mass of swirling creatures seemingly spinning a net of sheerest gossamer that curtained the interior from the prying eyes of the wrens and ant birds hopping inquisitively through ...
— The Black Phantom • Leo Edward Miller

... of the submarine life of the brook the muskrat has given me with the musky odor of his passing. After a little all is quiet down there and I have a chance to admire the life which flits above the surface. The hawking dragonflies weave gossamer fabrics of dreams in their unending flight to and fro and the lull of the forest symphony bids one yield to these as the waning afternoon builds up its shadows from all hollows and glens. In the open pastures the heat still quivers, ...
— Old Plymouth Trails • Winthrop Packard

... was soon checked by the steepness of the hill. Gradually it subsided to a foot pace, swinging and lumbering upward among the many sweet scents of a summer night. The postilions, with a thousand gossamer gnats circling about them in lieu of the Furies, quietly mended the points to the lashes of their whips; the valet walked by the horses; the courier was audible, trotting on ahead into ...
— Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 11 • Various

... tumbling sleepily now and then against my father's shoulder. Slowly the scene comes back, in every least detail, the smallest sights and sounds of that morning all here, but all thin and faint and frail, spun of the gossamer web of memory. Can I hold them till they are set down? I shall have to eat another precious ...
— Penguin Persons & Peppermints • Walter Prichard Eaton

... magnificent Youantee, and the peerless Chaoukeun, seated in a massive car of gossamer richly studded with the eyes of live humming-birds, drawn by twelve beautiful blue load-stars, presented by the heavenly bodies to the brother of the ...
— The Pacha of Many Tales • Frederick Marryat

... comparable with Lester Wallack; that he could thoroughly identify himself with character,—though it did not always please him to do so; that his acting was so imaginative and so earnest as to make reality of the most gossamer fiction; and that his vivacity—the essential element and the crown of comedy-acting—was like the dew on the opening rose. And therewithal the veteran may quaff his glass to the memory of another member of the Wallack family, and speak of James Wallack as Cassius, ...
— Shadows of the Stage • William Winter

... incident, the proposed picnic, might prove a shipwrecking reef. One cannot predict what will happen. Life is so full of incidents; a woman's jealous tongue or the arrival of some acquaintance might bring about a catastrophe. A love affair hangs upon a gossamer thread, you know, and that is why I tried to persuade Doris ...
— Memoirs of My Dead Life • George Moore

... expression, (eluding those highly-refined imported and gilt-edged themes, and sentimental and butterfly flights, pleasant to orthodox publishers—causing tender spasms in the coteries, and warranted not to chafe the sensitive cuticle of the most exquisitely artificial gossamer delicacy,) lies sleeping far away, happily unrecognized and uninjur'd by the coteries, the art-writers, the talkers and critics of the saloons, or the lecturers in the colleges—lies sleeping, aside, unrecking itself, in some western idiom, or native Michigan ...
— Complete Prose Works - Specimen Days and Collect, November Boughs and Goodbye My Fancy • Walt Whitman

... attempt to treat her seriously. She had left all that was serious in that other life that had ended with the fall of the safety-curtain on a certain night in England many aeons ago. Her personality now was light as gossamer, irresponsible as thistledown. The deeper things of life passed her by. She seemed wholly ...
— The Safety Curtain, and Other Stories • Ethel M. Dell

... and sheer force, crushing down beneath his chariot wheels their mountainous and howling ridges into one level plain of foaming water. Our chainplates, strong fastenings, and clenched bolts, drew like pliant wires, shrouds and stays were torn away like the summer gossamer, and our masts and spars, crackling before his fury like dry reeds in autumn, were blown clean out of the ship, over ...
— Tom Cringle's Log • Michael Scott

... turned. It was a strange and arresting sight, for over the dark rich mould there was drawn a veil of shimmering grey light wider and less earthly than any mist or dew. The whole plough land was alive with gossamer; and Old Woking lay beyond the gossamer as if that magic veil were meant to shield it from ...
— Highways and Byways in Surrey • Eric Parker

... Company, Wharfage department, thus writes:—'I am one of the persons whom Mr. Ellerthorpe has saved from a watery grave. In the year 1844, and during a voyage from Scarborough to Hull, in the yacht, "Gossamer," I fell overboard while crossing Burlington Bay. He sprang to my assistance and saved me, otherwise I should have been drowned. I remember also, when coming over the Humber Dock Bridge, one night, about nine o'clock, I saw an old ...
— The Hero of the Humber - or the History of the Late Mr. John Ellerthorpe • Henry Woodcock

... Across this gossamer-barred arch of light, a black figure was projected, and swelled as it neared in silent approach. It came through the last portiere, on into the circle of light, and stood, a turbaned negro, ...
— Double Trouble - Or, Every Hero His Own Villain • Herbert Quick

... 3. "YOUR myriad trains o'er stagnant ocean's tow, Harness'd with gossamer, the loitering prow; Or with fine films, suspended o'er the deep, Of oil effusive lull the waves to sleep. You stay the flying bark, conceal'd beneath, 90 Where living rocks of worm-built coral breathe; ...
— The Botanic Garden - A Poem in Two Parts. Part 1: The Economy of Vegetation • Erasmus Darwin

... milky white. The height, the breeze, the giddy gradient of the isle, delighted me. I observed a spider plant its abhorred St. Andrew's cross against the sea and sky, certainly fifty yards from where I rode, and five feet at least from either tree: so wide was its death-gossamer spread, so huge the ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 18 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... him. Far down in the valley lay a still blue lake with a great white peak shining ethereally at its northern end. Dark pines rolled about it, growing smaller and smaller up the hillside until they dwindled with spires clean cut against the azure into a gossamer filigree. Between them and the water stupendous forest shrouded all the valley, save where an oblong of pale verdure ran back from the fringe of boulders and was traversed by the frothing streak of a river whose roar came ...
— Alton of Somasco • Harold Bindloss

... what his poems are fundamentally—the Skylark, and the Witch of the Atlas, and the Sensitive Plant no less than the grander pieces. He infused into his gossamer world the strength of his heroic conscience. He felt that what his imagination pictured was a true symbol of what human experience should and might pass into. Otherwise he would have been aware of playing with idle images; his poetry would have been mere millinery ...
— Winds Of Doctrine - Studies in Contemporary Opinion • George Santayana

... fields of space, he beheld the gossamer shapes, whose choral joys his spirit had so often shared. There, group upon group, they circled in the starry silence multiform in the unimaginable beauty of a being fed by ambrosial dews and serenest light. In his ...
— Zanoni • Edward Bulwer Lytton

... began with a fairy play acted by the juniors. They looked very pretty in their gauzy garments, and little Desiree, in a gossamer robe of elfin green, made an attractive queen, so dainty and ethereal that the audience almost expected to see through her. "What a sweet child!" was the general comment, as she tripped back in response to a storm of clapping, to give an ...
— The Jolliest School of All • Angela Brazil

... on either side, and on the east side the brook, which is a river in earliest spring, flows with broken gurgles over a stony bed, and slackened her pace, thinking she would walk leisurely there, for the young willows screened the sun like green veils of gossamer, and the wind did not press her back so hard, and then she heard the trot, trot of a horse's ...
— Jerome, A Poor Man - A Novel • Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

... the chairs were pushed back, and Peter, with this fairy-like creature in a dinner-gown of most fetching pink gossamer clinging to his arm, took to the deck for ...
— Peter the Brazen - A Mystery Story of Modern China • George F. Worts

... destroy five of the proudest fleets of Christendom. And how had he done it? Nobody knew. The scientists lay down in the dust of the common road and wailed and gibbered. They did not know. Military experts committed suicide by scores. The mighty fabric of warfare they had fashioned was a gossamer veil rent asunder by a miserable lunatic. It was too much for their sanity. Mere human reason could not withstand the shock. As the savage is crushed by the sleight-of-hand of the witch doctor, so was the world crushed by ...
— Revolution and Other Essays • Jack London

... of the earth-life! On pearly wings of gossamer-down we float down from our shining speers to bring you messages of the higher life. Let your earth-soul be lifted to meet our sperrut-soul; let your earth-heart blend in sweet accordion with our heaven-heart; that the beautiful and the true in this weary earth-life may receive ...
— The Bread-winners - A Social Study • John Hay

... abated; but the sea still ran dangerously high, and the wind sobbed through the rigging mournfully. The heaven was spangled with tremulous stars, and at the horizon the clouds hung down in gossamer folds—God's robe ...
— Daisy's Necklace - And What Came of It • Thomas Bailey Aldrich

... any order of architecture with which I had been acquainted. The avenue by which it was approached was decorated alternately with statues of representative Americans, and a peculiar flowering tree, whose green leaves and yellow blossoms, of gossamer texture, resembled the fine mist of a summer morning. Terminating, this avenue was the main entrance, surmounted by the grand dome of the edifice. In the rear of this rotunda, extending on either side, appeared the ...
— Strange Visitors • Henry J. Horn

... dots, cased in a filament of jelly. The lines were destined for his backbone and stomach; the dots for his eyes and mouth. The latter was ready for immediate work, given only the impulse. As he sank slowly, head downwards, the impulse was supplied. Out from his neck there floated two sprays of gossamer network, of such delicate texture, such dainty tracery, that nothing but the gentle laving of water could have unravelled them and left them whole. Through them the water flowed, and with it came the dim consciousness of individual life, the dim instinct of self-preservation. As he touched ...
— "Wee Tim'rous Beasties" - Studies of Animal life and Character • Douglas English

... crushed one of the folds in his hands and was surprised to discover how thin it was and into how small space it could be compressed. Not far away stood several pairs of large slippers of soft black felt. The white robes were also of thinnest gossamer—flimsy stuff that swayed like smoke ...
— The Girl and The Bill - An American Story of Mystery, Romance and Adventure • Bannister Merwin

... of a maiden's yes, Not the light gossamer stirs with less; But never a cable that holds so fast Through all the battles of wave and blast, And never an echo of speech or song That lives in the babbling air so long! There were tones in the voice that whispered then, You may hear ...
— The Arena - Volume 4, No. 20, July, 1891 • Various

... friend, Miss Scrumpkins, ran home to tell all about it. And, as everybody knew the Scrumpkinses, a shining gossamer of news was soon woven from one end of the street to ...
— Hans Brinker - or The Silver Skates • Mary Mapes Dodge

... too, he explains to the kindergartner what he is inventing, and for what purpose; he weaves gossamer threads of fancy about the objects constructed, or describes the forms of beauty and knowledge he has ...
— Froebel's Gifts • Kate Douglas Wiggin

... bee, buzzing about in the air, For once be not busy, a moment pray spare, And tell me, pray tell me, how honey you make From the flowerets of garden, soft meadow, and brake. You rise with the sun, and your gossamer wing Bears you swiftly away where the heather-bells spring; Whence you come heavy laden with nectary spoil, For the sweet winter stores ...
— Featherland - How the Birds lived at Greenlawn • George Manville Fenn

... more than the interpretation of one's real self instead of the artificial self which traditions, mistaken advisors and our own natural sense of mimicry impose upon us. Seek for originality and it is gone like a gossamer shining in the morning grass. Originality is in one's self. It is the true voice of the heart. I would enjoin students to listen to their own inner voices. I do not desire to deprecate teachers, but I think that many teachers are in error when they fail to encourage their pupils ...
— Great Pianists on Piano Playing • James Francis Cooke

... glad, she was so much afraid of being disappointed. Besides, she had her dear Mrs. Hamley the more to herself; the quiet sit in the morning-room, talking poetry and romance; the mid-day saunter into the garden, brilliant with autumnal flowers and glittering dew-drops on the gossamer webs that stretched from scarlet to blue, and thence to purple and yellow petals. As they were sitting at lunch, a strange man's voice and step were heard in the hall; the door was opened, and a young ...
— Wives and Daughters • Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

... pocket, and fell upon my knees in the customary manner; perceiving which, the beautiful being motioned for me to rise, and with the most unassuming grace received my burden. As she unfolded the lace from its silken cover a cry of delight escaped her, and shaking out its gossamer folds she threw it over her head. With all the care I could use I had laid bare the block of ice, which shone like silver in the moonbeams, and now with a sudden blow of my dagger I cleft the ice, and lifted out the wreath, placing it as I did so on the ...
— Prince Lazybones and Other Stories • Mrs. W. J. Hays

... old and wistful Drifts my dream. Petal-patined the dream, white-mistful As the dew-sweet haunt of the dim whitebeam Because of memory, a little wind ... It is the gossamer-float of the butterfly This drift of dream From the sweet of to-day to the sweet Of days long drifted by. It is the drift of the butterfly, it is the fleet Drift of petals which my noon has thinned, It is the ebbing out of my ...
— Georgian Poetry 1918-19 • Various

... sincere to play with ideas for their own sake. He takes no pleasure in the mere spinning of gossamer webs for display. All his beliefs are practical. They are geared into his life. By them he lives or dies, stands or falls for this world and for all time to come. From the insincere ...
— The Pursuit of God • A. W. Tozer

... conclusions injurious to the character, and irreconcilable both with the generous conduct and noble features, of the Master of Ravenswood. And in this belief Lucy reposed her hope, and went on weaving her enchanted web of fairy tissue, as beautiful and transient as the film of the gossamer when it is pearled with the morning dew and glimmering ...
— Bride of Lammermoor • Sir Walter Scott

... was to be a bird, till I was lightly swung around a curve beneath which yawned a precipice twenty-five hundred feet in depth, or crossed a chasm by a bridge which looked in the distance like a thread of gossamer, or saw that I was riding on a scaffolding, built out from the mountain into space. For five appalling miles of alternating happiness and horror, ecstasy and dread, we twisted round the well-nigh perpendicular ...
— John L. Stoddard's Lectures, Vol. 10 (of 10) - Southern California; Grand Canon of the Colorado River; Yellowstone National Park • John L. Stoddard

... methods had previously led him. It was, for all who heard it or came to know it, a revelation of the possibilities of tonal effect—this dim and wavering and elusive music, with its infinitely subtle gradations, its gossamer fineness of texture, its delicate sonorities, its strange and echoing dissonances, its singular richness of mood, its shadowy beauty, its exquisite and elaborate art—this music which drifted before the senses like iridescent vapor, suffused with rich lights, pervasive, imponderable, ...
— Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande - A Guide to the Opera with Musical Examples from the Score • Lawrence Gilman



Words linked to "Gossamer" :   thin, ethereal, gauze, transparent, fibril, delicate, vapourous, cobwebby, diaphanous, gauze-like, strand, netting



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