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Unsubstantial   Listen
adjective
Unsubstantial  adj.  Lacking in matter or substance; visionary; chimerical.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Unsubstantial" Quotes from Famous Books



... above which, half lying upon the carpetless floor, she had bent with drooping golden curls. She remembered, too, the remoteness of the real world from the ideal sphere in which her fancy placed her; how unimportant and unsubstantial to her had appeared the events of daily life as compared with the incidents of the world the old books in the musty library opened to her. The life of these magic tomes was the real, and that humdrum state through which her visible pathway lay was the dream. To the imaginative ...
— The Pagans • Arlo Bates

... the Sabines by Giovanni da Bologna in the Loggia itself. Spoiled a little by its too laboured detail, its chief fault lies in the fact that it is top-heavy, the sculptor having placed the mass of the group so high that the base seems unsubstantial and unbalanced. Bologna's other group here, Hercules and Nessus, which once stood at the foot of the Ponte Vecchio, is dramatic and well composed, but the forms are feeble and even insignificant. The antique ...
— Florence and Northern Tuscany with Genoa • Edward Hutton

... of the hinges; no porter at the entrance. But in the middle is a couch, raised high upon black ebony, stuffed with feathers, of a dark colour, concealed by a dark coverlet; on which the God himself lies, his limbs dissolved in sloth. Around him lie, in every direction, imitating divers shapes, unsubstantial dreams as many as the harvest bears ears of corn, the wood green leaves, the shore the sands thrown up. Into this, soon as the maiden had entered, and had put aside with her hands the visions that were in her way, the sacred ...
— The Metamorphoses of Ovid - Literally Translated into English Prose, with Copious Notes - and Explanations • Publius Ovidius Naso

... which some people consider very unsubstantial pabulum, but which forms one of the most precious and inspiring portions of the literature of the world. In all ages, the true poet has exercised an influence upon men's minds that is unsurpassed ...
— A Book for All Readers • Ainsworth Rand Spofford

... Johnson and Butler were open to the charges of inhumanity and barbarism so often levelled against them, is difficult to determine. The charges are based almost wholly on unsubstantial tradition. The greater part of the excesses complained of, it is safe to say, were perpetrated by the Indians; and Sir John Johnson and Colonel Butler can no more be blamed for the excesses of the Indians at Cherry Valley than Montcalm ...
— The United Empire Loyalists - A Chronicle of the Great Migration - Volume 13 (of 32) in the series Chronicles of Canada • W. Stewart Wallace

... Nicholson being the crazy woman who tried to stab George III. His boyish poem, Queen Mab, was published in 1813; Alastor in 1816, and the Revolt of Islam—his longest—in 1818, all before he was twenty-one. These were filled with splendid, though unsubstantial, imagery, but they were abstract in subject, and had the faults of incoherence and formlessness which make Shelley's longer poems wearisome and confusing. They sought to embody his social creed of Perfectionism, as well as a certain vague Pantheistic ...
— Brief History of English and American Literature • Henry A. Beers

... the funds needful for the undertaking, and alone he would receive the great reward that most assuredly awaited him. Very delicately did Michael hint to his partner, that his—Planner's—funds existed, with his castles and associations, in the unsubstantial air, and no where else; but not so delicately as to avoid heaping fuel on the fire which he had already kindled in the breast of the offended schemer. The latter bristled at the words, lost for an instant his self-possession, said in his anger more than he intended—more than he might easily ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. CCCXXXIX. January, 1844. Vol. LV. • Various

... the street the dark, sullen milkman; and there, too, close behind him as ever, followed his shadowy companion! It is in vain to deny it. I could feel my heart beating audibly when I beheld them, as if they were unsubstantial visitants, whose appearance I expected the grave would have interdicted from my eyes for ever. It was a dim, bitter, wintry day, and showers of sleet were drifting heavily on the fierce and angry wind, soaking the man's garments through ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 350, December 1844 • Various

... sound. "Mourning, her words in a soft dying tone "Are heard, as when of old th' expiring swan "Sung his own elegy. Wasted at length "Her finest marrow, fast she pin'd away; "And vanish'd quite to unsubstantial air. "Yet still tradition marks the spot, the muse "Of ancient days, still Canens call'd the place, "In honor of ...
— The Metamorphoses of Publius Ovidus Naso in English blank verse Vols. I & II • Ovid

... whether to feel relieved or not when I learned that the unknown was no ghost after all. Certainly not the vapory, unsubstantial kind that flit through mansions such as mine. Here was a being of solid, nay, gigantic proportions, as the creakings and huge footprints fully attested. I knew, though, that I would assuredly have the best of Dr. Matthai ...
— The Statesmen Snowbound • Robert Fitzgerald

... united with each other. To die is to get a step nearer the centre. The closer we are connected with the centre, the nearer we are to those whom we call dead. Our communion with them is spiritual, because 'God is spirit' and they are in Him. But the {71} spiritual is not the unsubstantial, the nebulous, the gaseous; it is the personal—to my mind the awful—reality. The more truly we understand persons, the more we shall find they ...
— Letters to His Friends • Forbes Robinson

... garment of custom, he exchanges his birthright of respectability for a mess of Romany pottage. Under the luminous sweep and rush of this vision, Abel laughed suddenly at the thought of his marriage to Judy. Obstacles which had appeared insurmountable at sunrise, showed now as unsubstantial and evanescent ...
— The Miller Of Old Church • Ellen Glasgow

... limit of vegetation, among some rocks; and in a depression of the sharp slope, like a small platform, they turned about and looked from on high over the sea, lonely, its colour effaced by sunshine, its horizon a heat mist, a mere unsubstantial shimmer in the pale and blinding infinity overhung by the darker blaze ...
— Victory • Joseph Conrad

... unsubstantial odour that floats about, mocking every effort to identify it. It is the will-o'-the-wisp of my olfactive experience. Sometimes I meet one who lacks a distinctive person-scent, and I seldom find such a one lively or entertaining. ...
— The World I Live In • Helen Keller

... perfection its whole gesture and movement, they could produce a correct and spirited outline, but within this correct outline marked off in dark paint there is but a vague, uniform mass of pale colour; the body of the hand is missing, and there remains only its ghost, visible indeed, but unsubstantial, without weight or warmth, eluding the grasp. The difference between this spectre hand of the Giottesques, and the sinewy, muscular hand which can shake and crush of Masaccio and Signorelli, or the soft hand with throbbing pulse and warm pressure of Perugino and Bellini,—this ...
— The Contemporary Review, Volume 36, September 1879 • Various

... light, shadowy form, hovering near the sylvan couch of Claud, like some unsubstantial being of the air; now advancing, now shrinking away, and now again flitting forward to the head of the youthful sleeper, and there pausing and preventing the light from longer revealing his features? Yes, what is it? would ask a doubting spectator of this singular night-scene. ...
— Gaut Gurley • D. P. Thompson

... sought an assurance that no "wrack"—which appears to be a term of art in the timber trade—should be used in the houses to be erected under the Government's new housing scheme. If these were not to be "the unsubstantial fabric of a vision," he implied, the official builders had better leave ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 156., March 5, 1919 • Various

... in my chamber, but these themes have taken such hold of my imagination, that I cannot sleep. The room in which I sit is just fitted to foster such a state of mind. The walls are hung with tapestry, the figures of which are faded, and look like unsubstantial shapes melting away from sight. Over the fire-place is the portrait of a lady, who, according to the housekeeper's tradition, pined to death for the loss of her lover in the battle of Blenheim. She has a most ...
— Bracebridge Hall, or The Humorists • Washington Irving

... stretch of quaking, treacherous bog, with its population of designing beaver; indeed, they would be certain to be lured by the bright, glittering green of the liverwort that clad the level where the ground was most unsubstantial. ...
— Annette, The Metis Spy • Joseph Edmund Collins

... descended into the very streets and squares of the beautiful old town. Wisps of pink cloud were tangled in the narrow streets, against a background of intensely blue sky. The high-roofed burgher houses, with their decorated fronts, had an "unsubstantial faery" look, under the strange rich light; and the front of the Cathedral, with its single delicate spire, soared, one suffusion of rose, to an incredible height above the ...
— Fields of Victory • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... more I must make on your patience. It may perhaps seem that the inducements I have stated are of an unusual character, unsubstantial, romantic, theoretical, and not practical. Unusual, indeed, they are: because (though it is not without diffidence that I bring this sweeping charge—indeed, I should not dare to bring it were it not brought elsewhere) it is a rare thing in this world even where ...
— The Life of William Ewart Gladstone, Vol. 1 (of 3) - 1809-1859 • John Morley

... my religious wretchedness only increased the unhappiness of homelife, for how absurd it was that any reasonable human being should be so tossed with anguish over intellectual and moral difficulties on religious matters, and should make herself ill over these unsubstantial troubles. Surely it was a woman's business to attend to her husband's comforts and to see after her children, and not to break her heart over misery here and hell hereafter, and distract her brain with questions that had puzzled the greatest ...
— Annie Besant - An Autobiography • Annie Besant

... the decks were a patchwork of bright, eerie light and black shadow. The bellying sails and the woof of cordage aloft, seemed unsubstantial, like a gossamer weaving. The quiet ship noises, and the subdued murmur of voices from ...
— Fire Mountain - A Thrilling Sea Story • Norman Springer

... Providence for it in his mind. This was not unfrequently the case with him, and may account for those vague aerial flights which his commentators have referred to. Hawthorne says, "Mr. Emerson is a great searcher for facts, but they seem to melt away and become unsubstantial in his grasp." However, it was not facts but ideas that he was ...
— Sketches from Concord and Appledore • Frank Preston Stearns

... savagely, in the end the metal was steadfast. He would, certainly, overcome her natural revulsion from what she had just heard. The colour had left her cheeks, violet shadows gathered about her eyes; she seemed more unsubstantial than ever. He would repay again and again the suffering he had brought her. Having declared himself he was almost tranquil; there was a total absence of the impetuous emotionalism of youth, the blind tyranny of desire. His feeling was deeper, and accompanied by a far more involved ...
— The Three Black Pennys - A Novel • Joseph Hergesheimer

... are unseen, are eternal." It puts an affront upon nature. It does that for the unschooled, which philosophy does for Berkeley and Viasa. The uniform language that may be heard in the churches of the most ignorant sects, is, —"Contemn the unsubstantial shows of the world; they are vanities, dreams, shadows, unrealities; seek the realities of religion." The devotee flouts nature. Some theosophists have arrived at a certain hostility and indignation towards matter, as the Manichean and Plotinus. ...
— Nature • Ralph Waldo Emerson

... object along the shores, gave the varied scenery an ethereal beauty almost supernatural. The distant, forest-crowned uplands, seen dimly in the direction toward which the ark floated, looked as unsubstantial as clouds. A delightful, spicy fragrance exhaled from the blossomy thickets which fringed ...
— A Dream of Empire - Or, The House of Blennerhassett • William Henry Venable

... felt the tingle of the iron rope in his clasp, and his hold tightened and he bent forward to listen. The whole bridge now audibly shook with the pulsation of a step—a soft, furtive step, as of one cautiously groping a way over the unsubstantial flooring. Then through the starlight he distinguished a woman's figure, and drew back. A loose plank in the bridge floor rattled, and as she passed it freed itself and he heard it strike the rocks faintly far below; but the figure stole swiftly on, and he bent forward with a cry ...
— The Port of Missing Men • Meredith Nicholson

... sufficiently well, but the author has hardly enunciated his preliminary apophthegms, when he conducts into an obscurity where we can hardly grope our way, and when we emerge from that, it is to be bewildered by his gorgeous but unsubstantial pictures of sagely perfection. He has eminently contributed to nourish the pride of his countrymen. He has exalted their sages above all that is called God or is worshipped, and taught the masses of the people that with them they have need of nothing from without. In the meantime it is ...
— THE CHINESE CLASSICS (PROLEGOMENA) Unicode Version • James Legge

... the natural and impossible, that distinguishes legendary tale from fact. He is represented as suddenly coming in and going out when the doors are shut, and of vanishing out of sight, and appearing again, as one would conceive of an unsubstantial vision; then again he is hungry, sits down to meat, and eats his supper. But as those who tell stories of this kind never provide for all the cases, so it is here: they have told us, that when he arose he left his grave-clothes behind him; but they have ...
— The Writings Of Thomas Paine, Complete - With Index to Volumes I - IV • Thomas Paine

... adversity; giving an additional kick, if need be, to send him down the hill. Of all his gay companions not one stood by him on his trial, or said one word of pity, hope, or cheer, when he was condemned. The friendship of the world is a hollow thing, more unsubstantial than a bubble. It seems to me that nothing is so hardening to the heart as self-indulgence, luxurious living, idleness, the absence of any high aim in life, or any earnest effort for the life beyond. Certain it is the summer ...
— Holidays at the Grange or A Week's Delight - Games and Stories for Parlor and Fireside • Emily Mayer Higgins

... surely that difference is not a very material one. If the slave is to be surrendered, it can be of but little consequence to him or to others by which authority it is done. And should anyone in any case be content that his oath shall go unkept on a merely unsubstantial controversy as to how it shall ...
— U.S. Presidential Inaugural Addresses • Various

... solemn union, making friends Our factions with the friendship of their chiefs. Let us in marriage, King and Queen, unite Claims ever hostile else, and set thy son— No more an exile fed on empty hopes, And to an unsubstantial title heir, But prince adopted by the will of power, And future king—before this people's eyes. Consider him! consider not old hates! Consider, too, this people, who were dear To their dead king, thy husband—yea, too dear, For that ...
— Poetical Works of Matthew Arnold • Matthew Arnold

... once broken through the paper walls of everyday circumstance, those unsubstantial walls that hold so many of us securely prisoned from the cradle to the grave, he has made a discovery. If the world does not please you you can change it. Determine to alter it at any price, and you can change it altogether. You may change it to something sinister and angry, to ...
— The History of Mr. Polly • H. G. Wells

... are but figments of the imagination—fond dreams as unsubstantial as morning mist, and deceitful as the wandering fire, which lures the ignorant traveller into ...
— The Knight of the Golden Melice - A Historical Romance • John Turvill Adams

... awe. He found a ring in a stone near the west end through which he might fasten Hamlet's lead, then, slowly pushing back the heavy door, he passed inside. The Cathedral was utterly quiet. The vast nave, stained with reflections of purple and green and ruby, was vague and unsubstantial, all the little wooden chairs huddled together to the right and left, leaving a great path that swept up to the High Altar under shafts of light that fell like searchlights from the windows. The tombs and the statues peered dimly from the shadow, ...
— Jeremy • Hugh Walpole

... drap-o'-my-heart's-blood stuff, that would waken a body out of their last linen. I wonder where the cummers will anchor their craft?'—'And I'll vow,' said another rustic, 'the wine they quaff is none of your visionary drink, such as a drouthie body has dished out to his lips in a dream; nor is it shadowy and unsubstantial, like the vessels they sail in, which are made out of a cockleshell or a cast-off slipper, or the paring of a seaman's right thumb-nail. I once got a hansel out of a witch's quaigh myself,—auld Marion Mathers, of Dustiefoot, ...
— Little Classics, Volume 8 (of 18) - Mystery • Various

... vision of ignorant purity and unconsciousness rising before him, airy and glowing as a child's soap-bubble, which one touch might annihilate; but he felt a strange remorseful tenderness, a yearning admiration, at its unsubstantial purity. There is something pleading and pitiful in the simplicity of perfect ignorance,—a rare and delicate beauty in its freshness, like the morning-glory cup, which, once withered by the heat, no second morning can restore. Agnes ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 8, No. 47, September, 1861 • Various

... later we have had a sluice down with cold water from the brass basins, eaten a most unsatisfying and unsubstantial breakfast, much like the dinner the night before, minus the fish, and are out to visit the village schools, at the suggestion of ...
— Round the Wonderful World • G. E. Mitton

... they drew near to the island. The weather was heavily hot, languidly hot even upon the water. There was a haze hanging over the world in which distant objects appeared like unsubstantial clouds, or dream things impregnated with a mystery that was mournful. The voice of a fisherman singing not far off came to them like the voice of Fate, issuing from the ocean to tell them of the sadness ...
— A Spirit in Prison • Robert Hichens

... natural self; but truly he was mentally detached from the surrounding scene. For the second time in his life, and to a greater extent than the first time, he was subjugated and controlled by one dominant idea. Throughout each day all things around him were dreamlike and unsubstantial, and he performed many actions as automatically as if he had been a somnambulist. He walked and talked or rode on the shaft of a wagon without in the least troubling to think what he was doing, and every time his thought became active it seemed to spring ...
— The Devil's Garden • W. B. Maxwell

... my fantasy a shape As of one crucified, whose visage spake Fell rancour, malice deep, wherein he died; And round him Ahasuerus the great king, Esther his bride, and Mordecai the just, Blameless in word and deed. As of itself That unsubstantial coinage of the brain Burst, like a bubble, Which the water fails That fed it; in my vision straight uprose A damsel weeping loud, and cried, "O queen! O mother! wherefore has intemperate ire Driv'n thee ...
— The Divine Comedy, Complete - The Vision of Paradise, Purgatory and Hell • Dante Alighieri

... towns in Lancashire, cursing, it would seem by their looks, the stop of trade which gives them leisure, and the laws which prevent them employing their spare time. God's justice is requiting, and will yet further requite those who have blown up this country into a state of unsubstantial opulence, at the expense of the health and morals of the ...
— The Journal of Sir Walter Scott - From the Original Manuscript at Abbotsford • Walter Scott

... Spirit, with the material universe before our eyes. The child begins by feeling this material world strange to him. But he sees in it, as it were, what he has been accustomed to see; he discerns in it its kinship with the spiritual world which he dimly remembers; it is to him "an unsubstantial fairy place"—a scene at once brighter and more unreal than it will appear in his eyes when he has become acclimatized to earth. And even when this freshness of insight has passed away, it occasionally happens that sights or sounds of unusual beauty or carrying deep ...
— Wordsworth • F. W. H. Myers

... had kept sounding its alarm to rise and seek Romley; and though at length she obeyed in a panic, she went as one walking in sleep. The front of the cathedral, as she came beneath its shadow, overhung her as a phantom drawn upon the morning sky, its tall towers unsubstantial, trembling against the light, but harmless even should they fall upon her. She entered as one might pass through a ...
— Hetty Wesley • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... settlement at the place specified, for he had not sailed anywhere near southern Van Diemen's Land. He had made direct for King Island, and was quietly continuing his exploratory work when Robbins found him. This vague and unsubstantial rumour, which Paterson had not even taken the trouble to report officially to the Governor when he heard it, was the only incident with which Baudin was connected that gave King any cause to doubt his perfect good faith; ...
— The Life of Captain Matthew Flinders • Ernest Scott

... combination, and of that calm, broad, military intelligence which distinguished General Lee."* (* Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac page 289.) And this verdict, except in the South, has been generally accepted. Yet it rests on a most unsubstantial basis. Because Jackson knew so well how to obey it is asserted that he was not well fitted for independent command. Because he could carry out orders to the letter it is assumed that he was no master of strategy. Because his will was of iron, and his purpose, once fixed, never for ...
— Stonewall Jackson And The American Civil War • G. F. R. Henderson

... adventurous lover that brief light had revealed his doubtful way clear before him. He saw, with a thrill of exultation, that henceforth he had really nothing to fear from such womanly defences as he had counted on,—coldness, prejudice, disdain,—that all he had taken for these were but unsubstantial shadows. Still he showed no premature triumph in word or look, but remained silent and humble, waiting the reply to his passionate appeal, as though life or death, in very truth, were depending upon it. And Zelma spoke at last,—briefly and coldly, but in a manner neither ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 4, No. 21, July, 1859 • Various

... some men who would say these things are not natural; but if we could see all the fine relationships of one being to another, if the mortal eye refined could view the unsubstantial as well as the substantial world, could mark the keen sympathies and near associations, and all the essences which fill up the apparent gaps between being and being, we should see, undoubtedly, that ...
— The King's Highway • G. P. R. James

... closed, though doubtless there were long files of camels and market men waiting patiently without. The great mansions of the wazeers and the green-tiled palace of Mulai Abd-el-Aziz—Our Victorious Master the Sultan—seemed unsubstantial as one of those cities that the mirage had set before us in the heart of the R'hamna plains. Salam, the untutored man from the far Riff country, felt the spell of the silent morning hour. It was a primitive appeal, to which he ...
— Morocco • S.L. Bensusan

... answered him: "Your search is vain. Why seek to know more than the Vedas teach? Why seek to learn more than the teachers know? But such is youth; the rosy tints of dawn Tinge all his thoughts. 'Excelsior!' he cries, And fain would scale the unsubstantial clouds To find a light that knows no night, no change; We Brahmans chant our hymns in solemn wise, The vulgar listen with profoundest awe; But still our muffled heart-throbs beat the march Onward, forever onward, to the grave, When one ahead cries, 'Lo! I see a light!' And others ...
— The Dawn and the Day • Henry Thayer Niles

... of the world, and all its virtue, all its pleasures and all its pains, will have effected nothing. They will all have faded like an unsubstantial pageant, and not ...
— Is Life Worth Living? • William Hurrell Mallock

... prisoner he had read of, who saw the walls of his cell slowly closing together upon him, and drawing nearer and nearer till they should crush him between them. The inexperience of youth denies it perspective; in that season of fleeting and unsubstantial joys, of feverish hopes, despair wholly darkens a world which after years find full of chances ...
— The Minister's Charge • William D. Howells

... fathomless abysses of the Earth, As from the cells of an awakened soul, Fling your hoarse murmurs and aspiring groans To the strong winged winds, that puff them on In sport and in derision; that art stirred To tumult and to madness by the breath Of unseen currents, unsubstantial air, That passes on, and leaves a foaming train To wonder at the thing that angered them. O wild, wild sea! soul of indifference! Lashing eternally the rifted sands And lonely shores about ye; swallowing The wreck of man's dependence, ...
— Eidolon - The Course of a Soul and Other Poems • Walter R. Cassels

... virgins vesper hymn, Whose spirit, happily dead to earthly hopes Already lives in Heaven. Abrupt the song Ceas'd, tremulous and quick a cry Of joyful wonder rous'd the astonish'd Maid, And instant Madelon was in her arms; No airy form, no unsubstantial shape, She felt her friend, she prest her to her heart, Their tears of rapture mingled. She drew back And eagerly she gazed on Madelon, Then fell upon her neck again and wept. No more she saw the long-drawn lines of grief, The emaciate form, the ...
— Poems, 1799 • Robert Southey

... sent up the hill with a note to Seth Plumfield, and brought home a favorable answer. Fleda thought as she went to rest that it was well the mind's strength could sometimes act independently of its servant the body, hers felt so very shattered and unsubstantial. ...
— Queechy • Susan Warner

... had been taken, and the chances of rescue upon which they had reckoned—all those elaborate calculations of hours and distances—were as unsubstantial as the mirage which shimmered upon the horizon. There would be no alarm at Halfa until it was found that the steamer did not return in the evening. Even now, when the Nile was only a thin green band upon the farthest horizon, the pursuit had probably not ...
— The Tragedy of The Korosko • Arthur Conan Doyle

... and greet you. Withal, no trace of literalism, of obvious contours or tricky effects. Honest, solid paint, but handled by the greatest master of the brush that ever lived—save Velasquez. How thin and unsubstantial modern painting is if compared to this magician, how even his greatest followers, Manet and Sargent, seem incomplete. Manet, with his abridgments, his suppressions, his elliptical handling, never had the smiling confidence of Hals in facing a problem. The Frenchman is more subtle, also ...
— Promenades of an Impressionist • James Huneker

... relief, and waving her aside from the ladder, dragged it after me to the eaves of the rear wing. As I had foreseen, this ladder reached easily to the eaves of the house behind the rear wing, and formed a passable though unsubstantial-looking bridge. I ...
— The Cords of Vanity • James Branch Cabell et al

... remember from his essay on Mrs. Meynell, seemed to him but 'a splendid insect'; Keats, we learn from Mr. Champneys' life, seemed to him 'to be greatly deficient in first-rate imaginative power'; Shelley 'is all unsubstantial splendour, like the transformation scene of a pantomime, or the silvered globes hung up in a gin-palace'; Blake is 'nearly all utter rubbish, with here and there not so much a gleam as a trick of genius.' All this, when he said it, had a queer kind of delightfulness, and, to those able to understand ...
— Figures of Several Centuries • Arthur Symons

... much as one of the Fathers, early or late, who gives it as his opinion that these verses are spurious:—and, That the argument derived from internal considerations proves on inquiry to be baseless and unsubstantial as a dream. ...
— The Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel According to S. Mark • John Burgon

... Of course it was simple enough to see what had occurred. In 1896 a mysterious man, named Clark, without vestige of right or title, so far as the records showed, had conveyed Ebbe Petersen's property to a man named Keilly, equally unsubstantial, who had passed it over to one O'Rourke. Then Browne had suddenly recorded Mrs. Petersen's deed giving O'Rourke the very same property. Thus this O'Rourke, whoever he may have been, held all the Petersen property by two chains of title, one through Clark and Keilly, and ...
— True Stories of Crime From the District Attorney's Office • Arthur Train

... are not so fatal there as in Europe, few instances occurring of lives being lost or buildings destroyed by the explosions, although electrical conductors have never been employed. Perhaps the paucity of inhabitants in proportion to the extent of country and the unsubstantial materials of the houses may contribute to this observation. I have seen some trees, however, that have been shattered in Sumatra by the ...
— The History of Sumatra - Containing An Account Of The Government, Laws, Customs And - Manners Of The Native Inhabitants • William Marsden

... goods to barter; her society ceased to revel, for her people were called upon to preserve themselves. Her arts were forgotten; only religion held its own and that from very fear. Egypt was on her knees, but the gods were aghast and helpless in the face of the hideous power of the unsubstantial, unimaged God ...
— The Yoke - A Romance of the Days when the Lord Redeemed the Children - of Israel from the Bondage of Egypt • Elizabeth Miller

... sitting-room he looked on a melancholy street. The unsubstantial houses tried to seem—not respectable, no word so honest could be applied to them, but—genteel, and failed even in that miserable ambition. Percival used to watch the plastered fronts, flaking in the sun and rain, old while yet new, with no grace of bygone memory ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Volume 22. July, 1878. • Various

... something of the youth and strength of Enidymion, and sees the dear white goddess shining at him from his Lady's eyes. The firm substantial daylight things become ghostly and elusive, the hills beyond are a sea of unsubstantial texture, the world a visible spirit, the spiritual within us rises out of its darkness, loses something of its weight and body, and swims up towards heaven. This road that was a mere rutted white dust, hot underfoot, blinding to the eye, is now a soft grey silence, with the glitter ...
— The Wheels of Chance - A Bicycling Idyll • H. G. Wells

... years the progress of building societies in general was steady, but there were not wanting signs that their prosperity was unsubstantial. A practice of receiving deposits repayable at call had sprung up, which must lead to embarrassment where the funds are invested in loans repayable during a long term of years. It was surmised, if not actually known, that many societies had large amounts of property ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 3 - "Brescia" to "Bulgaria" • Various

... are then, in the realms below, Spirits and spectres, unsubstantial all; For through the night Patroclus' shade hath stood, Weeping and wailing, at my side, and told His bidding; th' ...
— The Iliad • Homer

... to his feet. His eyes were fixed upon the opposite corner of the hall. Lady Angela, who had just descended the stairs, was standing there, pale and unsubstantial as a shadow, and it seemed to me that her eyes, as she looked across at me, were full of trouble. She came slowly towards us. Blenavon laid his hand ...
— The Betrayal • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... quite natural and justifiable. After all, this second theory of inconstancy rested upon the first theory of supposed love, and that upon guesses and surmises, so that the whole edifice was just as shadowy and unsubstantial as it could well be. But then it is curious to see how much real torment people manage to extract ...
— A Canadian Heroine - A Novel, Volume 3 (of 3) • Mrs. Harry Coghill

... her,—that she had mistaken his character in supposing that she could be more firm than he. He was so strong that he treated her almost as a child;—and yet she loved him infinitely the better for so treating her. Of course, she knew now that her objection, whether true or unsubstantial, could not avail. As he stood with his arm round her, she was powerless to contradict him in anything. She had so far acknowledged this that she no longer struggled with him, but allowed her hand to remain quietly within his. If there was no going back from this bargain that had ...
— He Knew He Was Right • Anthony Trollope

... 'Thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.' Then the assurance that He whom we know to be good and wise and strong will shape the future, and Himself be the Future for us, will take all the fear out of that forward gaze, will condense our light and unsubstantial hopes into solid realities, and set before us an endless line of days, in each of which we may gain more of Him whose face has brightened the past and will brighten the future, till days shall end and time open ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture - Isaiah and Jeremiah • Alexander Maclaren

... may be better. I learned, love, that something had been said or done during your journey,—or perhaps only something thought, that had made you melancholy, and filled your mind for a while with those unsubstantial and indefinable regrets for the past which we are all apt to feel at certain moments of our life. There are few of us who do not encounter, now and again, some of that irrational spirit of sadness which, when over-indulged, drives men to madness ...
— Can You Forgive Her? • Anthony Trollope

... delirium of joy at the recovery of one whom he thought dead, had done their work with him; and in this broken state some ancient, secret superstition became dominant, and, strive as he would to suppress it, even in the presence of a stranger, had burst from his lips in hints of unsubstantial folly. ...
— Stella Fregelius • H. Rider Haggard

... who were seized with the same speculative mania which prevailed in the United States, and the large importations of funds from abroad—the result of stock sales and loans—no one can be surprised at the apparent but unsubstantial state of prosperity which everywhere prevailed over the land; and as little cause of surprise should be felt at the present prostration of everything and the ruin which has befallen so many of our fellow-citizens in the sudden withdrawal from circulation of so large an amount of ...
— State of the Union Addresses of John Tyler • John Tyler

... not even the actor who uttered them, could ever remember the last words of the piece that were spoken that night—the last that Abraham Lincoln heard upon earth; for the tragedy in the box turned play and players alike to the most unsubstantial of phantoms. For weeks hate and brandy had kept Booth's brain in a morbid state. He seemed to himself to be taking part in a great play. Holding a pistol in one hand and a knife in the other, he opened the box door, put the ...
— The Boys' Life of Abraham Lincoln • Helen Nicolay

... glamour was all gone, and life looked as practical and hard as the stones of the street. Even the pictures on the walls seemed to him but things for sale, representing money values; and money appeared the beginning, middle, and ending of the world's creed. Like the unsubstantial mirage had vanished the beautiful, happy life of the past few weeks. Around him were the rocks and sands of the desert, through which he must toil with weary, bleeding feet till he reached the land watered by the river ...
— Barriers Burned Away • E. P. Roe

... reality of her.... And well might she have seemed to him a pale little wraith of the night, the shimmer of grey that she made against the shimmer of light on the water,—a shape almost transparent, slight, and unsubstantial—seeming to contemplate, and ...
— The Brass Bowl • Louis Joseph Vance

... and services of Mr. Bentham himself, the quackery of much that is promulgated by his followers presented, it must be owned, ample scope. Romantic, indeed, as was Lord Byron's sacrifice of himself to the cause of Greece, there was in the views he took of the means of serving her not a tinge of the unsubstantial or speculative. The grand practical task of freeing her from her tyrants was his first and main object. He knew that slavery was the great bar to knowledge, and must be broken through before her light could come; that the work of the sword must therefore ...
— Life of Lord Byron, Vol. 6 (of 6) - With his Letters and Journals • Thomas Moore

... "Well, sir,—pardon my frankness—but I must say that I have never found your company so interesting before; and I shall be equally frank in saying that—I have never been able yet to believe half the tales I have heard about the mysterious discovery of buried treasure. There is something so unsubstantial about most of them. Of course, there may ...
— Money Island • Andrew Jackson Howell, Jr.

... Fire, but Fire of a mystical nature, "self-kindled and self-extinguished," the vital quickening power of the universe. It was that Universal Life, by participation in which all things have their being, and apart from which they are unsubstantial and unreal. This is the "Tree of ...
— Simon Magus • George Robert Stow Mead

... structure, built with no thought of giving access to fresh air, and sometimes no provision is made for the escape of smoke from the fireplace. But the people are very hospitable; they gladly received us in their houses, and allowed me, for purposes of ventilation, to demolish temporarily part of the unsubstantial wall, which consisted of bark or stiff mats. The high ladder is generally provided with a railing leaning ...
— Through Central Borneo: - An Account of Two Years' Travel in the Land of Head-Hunters - Between the Years 1913 and 1917 • Carl Lumholtz

... marching, but cold in bivouac. My notes say that I was chilled through until my teeth chattered; that I slept in the hollow made by a sunken grave to get warm; that my dreams were not disturbed by any unsubstantial hobgoblins of the defunct member of an F. F. V. whose remains might have been resting below me. The letters F. F. V. meant much in those war days. They stood for "First Family of Virginia," an expression much in use by her slave-proud aristocracy, and, of course, much satirized by us of the North. ...
— War from the Inside • Frederick L. (Frederick Lyman) Hitchcock

... often thrust before my path; but although they are most unsubstantial, it is not easy to destroy them. There is not a more difficult feat known than to cut through a cushion ...
— Pearls of Thought • Maturin M. Ballou

... themes have taken such hold upon me that I can not sleep. The room in which I sit is just fitted to foster such a state of mind. The walls are hung with tapestry, the figures of which are faded and look like unsubstantial shapes melting away from sight.... The murmur of voices and the peal of remote laughter no longer reach the ear. The clock from the church, in which so many of the former inhabitants of this house lie buried, has chimed ...
— Continental Monthly, Vol. I, No. VI, June, 1862 - Devoted To Literature and National Policy • Various

... doors hang the longest,' and Mrs Pulchop, of Carthage Cottage, Richmond, was an excellent illustration of the truth of this saying. Thin, pale, with light bleached-looking hair, and eyebrows and eyelashes to match, she looked so shadowy and unsubstantial, than an impression was conveyed to the onlooker that a breath might blow her away. She was often heard to declare, when anything extra-ordinary happened, that one might 'knock her down with a feather', which, ...
— Madame Midas • Fergus Hume

... pilloried by his descendants. A little while ago and Villon was almost totally forgotten; then he was revived for the sake of his verses; and now he is being revived with a vengeance in the detection of his misdemeanours. How unsubstantial is this projection of a man's existence, which can lie in abeyance for centuries and then be brushed up again and set forth for the consideration of posterity by a few dips in an antiquary's inkpot! This precarious tenure of fame goes a long way to justify ...
— Familiar Studies of Men & Books • Robert Louis Stevenson

... returned to the boat. The oars dipped and rose, the bright water broke from them; and these Englishmen in Old Virginia proceeded up the Potomac. Could they have seen—could they but have seen before them, on the north bank, rising, like the unsubstantial fabric of a dream, there above the trees, a vast, white Capitol ...
— Pioneers of the Old South - A Chronicle of English Colonial Beginnings, Volume 5 In - The Chronicles Of America Series • Mary Johnston

... These alone are concrete, definite, actual and personal. All except these is ambiguous, half-real and unstable as water. These and the universe which they create are the true truth; and compared with these every other "truth" is dubious, shadowy and unsubstantial. ...
— The Complex Vision • John Cowper Powys

... bench, covered with purple cloth and plentifully loaded with session papers, does to some Gothic throne, rough with barbaric pearl and gold. But what would you have?—SUA QUEMQUE TRAHIT VOLUPTAS. And my visions of preferment, though they may be as unsubstantial at present, are nevertheless more capable of being realized, than your aspirations after the Lord knows what. What says my father's proverb? 'Look to a gown of gold, and you will at least get a sleeve of it.' Such is my pursuit; ...
— Redgauntlet • Sir Walter Scott

... like Moses from the mountain, we have sights of that House Beautiful of art which we shall never enter. They are dreams and unsubstantial; visions of style that repose upon no base of human meaning; the last heart-throb of that excited amateur who has to die in all of us before the artist can be born. But they come in such a rainbow of glory that all subsequent achievement appears ...
— The Pocket R.L.S. - Being Favourite Passages from the Works of Stevenson • Robert Louis Stevenson

... lost the power of expansion which would have allowed them to resume their place in my consciousness. But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, still, alone, more fragile, but with more vitality, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the ...
— Swann's Way - (vol. 1 of Remembrance of Things Past) • Marcel Proust

... never sounded; and certainly it sometimes happened that, even in his most domestic colloquialisms, my mother was in doubt whether he was the simple, straightforward person he was mostly taken for. There was, indeed, a kind of suppressed, subtle irony about him, too unsubstantial to be popularly called humor, but dimly implying some sort of jest, which he kept all to himself; and this was only noticeable when he said something that sounded very grave, or appeared to the grave ...
— The Caxtons, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... all the grand functions of life, while the Cinderellas were relegated to the chimney corner. And the godmother must come out of fairy land, if she came at all, and transformed one with a wand. That was why the glories were so unsubstantial, and why the dream must ...
— A Modern Cinderella • Amanda M. Douglas

... was only Mrs. Manstey; and she was dying, as she had lived, lonely if not alone. The doctor had sent a trained nurse, and Mrs. Sampson, with muffled step, came in from time to time; but both, to Mrs. Manstey, seemed remote and unsubstantial as the figures in a dream. All day she said nothing; but when she was asked for her daughter's address she shook her head. At times the nurse noticed that she seemed to be listening attentively for some sound which did not come; then ...
— The Early Short Fiction of Edith Wharton, Part 1 (of 10) • Edith Wharton

... encounter his boundless resources; his dangerous subtlety and acuteness in detecting flaws, and raising objections; his matchless art in concealing defects in his own case; and building up, with easy grace, a superstructure equally unsubstantial and imposing, and defeating all attempts to assail or overthrow it. Even very strong heads would be often at fault, conscious that they were the victim of some subtle fallacy, which yet they could not then and there detect and expose; and by their hazy and inconsistent efforts to do so, only supplied ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 363, January, 1846 • Various

... ineffectual passion, and it argued a great nature in him, that at the moment when his wishes were to be crowned, he should look with such slight touches of spleen at the gorgeous composite fabric of Parisian cookery and Roman antiquities crumbling into unsubstantial mockery. Assuredly very few even of the philosophers would have turned away uncomplainingly to meaner delights the ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... know what was spoken by the Saviour, that a city or a house divided against itself cannot stand, as our Saviour has shown us. And besides, the Apostle says that the creation of the world was His work (all things were made by Him and without Him nothing was made), refuting the unsubstantial wisdom of lying men, the work not of a god working ruin, but a just one who hates wickedness. This is the opinion of rash men who do not understand the cause of the providence of the Creator [Demiurge] and have lost the eyes not only of their soul, but of their body. How ...
— A Source Book for Ancient Church History • Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr., Ph.D.

... after a prolonged pause, during which he stared at the white-faced man before him. A smile was upon that white face. George was deeply affected. He seemed to have stepped out of a world of visions—a world that had a visionary Church, visionary preachers, visionary doctrines—all unsubstantial as words, which are but breath—into a world of realities—such realities as life and death and——Ah, there were no other realities in existence but the ...
— Phyllis of Philistia • Frank Frankfort Moore

... fluttering, that might not tend to direct his destiny or give warning of what was in store for him; and he watches the world of nature around him as the astrologer watches the stars. So closely is he linked with it that his guardian spirit, no unsubstantial creation of the fancy, is usually embodied in the form of some living thing—a bear, a wolf, an eagle, or a serpent; and Mene-Seela, as he gazed intently on the old pine tree, might believe it to inshrine the fancied guide and protector of ...
— The Oregon Trail • Francis Parkman, Jr.

... in the nick of time. Infantry, cavalry, and artillery, charge to the right or the left, or straight before them, dash through the enemy's front, or scour the flanks, or sweep the rear, perambulate squares, and perforate encampments, just as if the serried ranks of the Sikhs had been unsubstantial creatures of the imagination, or mist-wreaths from the "wet nullah," which a lively fancy had invested with human form and warlike panoply. But one hundred and fifty-one gallant men killed, and four hundred ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 367, May 1846 • Various

... perfection. But then we cannot have all we want in life, and especially such a delightful life as ours. Do you know, however deeply you love, however constant you may prove, you can never realise your ideal. It exists alone in the realms of fancy; it is as unsubstantial as a dream—in fact, it is ...
— When the Birds Begin to Sing • Winifred Graham

... ladies, bright in Bond Street toilets, flashed like deities upon the village street; my Lady Bountiful left a quarter of a pound of tea at half a dozen cottages; and then the whole vision faded like an unsubstantial pageant. The blinds were drawn down again, the lodge-keeper went to sleep, and the monotonies of life submerged everything like a wave. The clergyman alone remained as the symbol of a fuller life, sometimes doing ...
— The Quest of the Simple Life • William J. Dawson

... simple duty. Tradition, when not positively disproved, should be allowed to have its full value; and a sounder historic sense is exercised in adopting its testimony with due caution, than in recklessly rejecting it and substituting guesses which the lack of knowledge renders unsubstantial. Tradition may err about dates, details, and names. It is just here that antiquarian research can render valuable help. But there are occasions when the perusal of documents and the exercise of what is called the higher criticism afford no surer basis for opinion. If in ...
— Renaissance in Italy Vol. 3 - The Fine Arts • John Addington Symonds

... since you are not I, you can know nothing certainly. Now my theory explains many things, and, among others, the adamantine, imperishable, impenetrable nature of the substance vanity upon which the showman, Nature, projects in fast fading colours the unsubstantial images of men. Why do you drag me through ...
— The Witch of Prague • F. Marion Crawford

... world that this testimony of the coincident burning of the woman and the toad was regarded as damning proof, nor is there any reason to believe that the court deemed it necessary to go behind the mere say-so of a single witness for the fact. Along with this sort of unsubstantial testimony there was presented a monotonous mass of spectral evidence. Apparitions of the witches were the constant occasions for the paroxysms of the children. In another connection it will be observed that this form of proof was becoming ...
— A History of Witchcraft in England from 1558 to 1718 • Wallace Notestein

... all that seems now to be more unsubstantial than the fabric of a dream. I cannot think of Clara or of my mother without despair. For oh, Herbert, between me and them there seems to yawn a dishonored grave! Herbert, they talk, you know, of an attack upon the Molino-del-Rey, ...
— Capitola the Madcap • Emma D. E. N. Southworth

... and, as it were, to release her mind from the burden of actual things, Aylmer now put in practice some of the light and playful secrets which science had taught him among its profounder lore. Airy figures, absolutely bodiless ideas, and forms of unsubstantial beauty came and danced before her, imprinting their momentary footsteps on beams of light. Though she had some indistinct idea of the method of these optical phenomena, still the illusion was almost perfect enough to warrant the belief that her husband possessed sway over the spiritual ...
— Mosses from an Old Manse and Other Stories • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... vast mimicries of human or of monster shapes, striding across the gloom, hurtling one upon the other, and vanishing swiftly into the turbulent abyss of shade; so that, to the eyes and fancies of the affrighted wanderers, the unsubstantial vapors were as the bodily forms of gigantic foes—the agents ...
— The Last Days of Pompeii • Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

... garden stood in golden mist, Still, like a river of molten amethyst, The Seine slipt through its spans of fretted stone, And, near the grille that once fenced in a throne, The fountains still unbraided to the day The unsubstantial silver ...
— The Sisters' Tragedy • Thomas Bailey Aldrich

... him an imbecile and a blunderer, he blandly lights another cigar; if you praise him as the greatest general living, he placidly returns the puff from his regalia; and if you tell him he should run for the presidency, it does not disturb the equanimity with which he inhales and exhales the unsubstantial vapor which typifies the politician's promises. While you are wondering what kind of creature this man without a tongue is, you are suddenly electrified with the news of some splendid victory, proving that behind the cigar, and behind the face discharged of all tell-tale expression, is the ...
— Architects of Fate - or, Steps to Success and Power • Orison Swett Marden

... memories of the martyred patriot that I can recall seem almost a dream to me. It seems almost a vision of the unsubstantial imagination, when I think that I have known the one immortal man of the century, and enjoyed his friendship. He was the very impersonation of humanity; his stature was above and beyond all others. One hand reached back to the very portals of Mount Vernon, ...
— Fifty Years of Public Service • Shelby M. Cullom

... changed, not so gay, but wiser and more happy. I read your letter again, and sat awhile looking down over the tawny plain and at the fantastic outline of the city. The hills seemed just fainting into the sky; even the great peak above Carpentras (Lord knows how many metres above the sea) seemed unsubstantial and thin in the breadth and ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 23 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... severe architectural friends will tell us), the work on these beautiful porches has exquisite grace; the fourteenth-century sculptor gave free scope to his fancy, his hands have played about the soft white stone till it took forms so delicate and strange, so unsubstantial and yet so permanent, that it is a marvel of ...
— Normandy Picturesque • Henry Blackburn

... cannot drop into conversation more easily than by here venturing upon the expression of a purely personal feeling—his own enjoyment in the weaving of the unsubstantial webs of improbable adventure that fill the preceding pages. With an ironic satisfaction was it that a writer who is not unaccustomed to be called a mere realist here attempted fantasy, even though the results of his effort may reveal invention only and not imagination. It may even be ...
— Tales of Fantasy and Fact • Brander Matthews

... we have no grosser representation of folly than that of short-sighted and credulous old men. But somehow or other I have strayed away from the friendship of the perfect, that is of the "wise" (meaning, of course, such "wisdom" as human nature is capable of), to the subject of vulgar, unsubstantial friendships. Let us then return to our original theme, and at length bring that, too, ...
— Treatises on Friendship and Old Age • Marcus Tullius Cicero

... ruffs? A slender spiral of flame shootin' up through the shadows, and on Dreamland tower a rosy blush seemed to grow on its whiteness. As I watched the flame, it grew larger and larger, and my heart most stopped beatin', for I knowed what a fire would mean in them unsubstantial buildin's. And somewhere there under them flimsy ...
— Samantha at Coney Island - and a Thousand Other Islands • Marietta Holley

... noted that it is essentially an individual, a personal solution, the artist's solution of the world-problem in terms of what is personally significant to individuals. But when applied to men and women in the mass, how thin and watery this ideal becomes, how unsubstantial and shadowy, how unsuited to the collective needs of society, which are practical and material. Every man in his public, social capacity must necessarily express his ideals in a material and practical form; the mystical ...
— Personality in Literature • Rolfe Arnold Scott-James

... I live, too, it's plum; So plain, Susan makes them on purpose for me I never refuse, when the plum puddings come, To finish my dinner, if finished 't can be On things unsubstantial, like puddings and pies, So made up of suet, and currants, and flour, Like this one before us, to get up the size, And stirred up and beaten with eggs by the hour, With bread crumbs, and citron, and small piece of mace; ...
— Nothing to Eat • Horatio Alger [supposed]

... idolised by his people as the perfect pattern of a warrior king, but he had neither the gifts of statesmanship nor the foresight of Edward I., to whom he is compared, and the English dominion which he established in France was too unsubstantial to endure (1388-1422). ...
— The Nuttall Encyclopaedia - Being a Concise and Comprehensive Dictionary of General Knowledge • Edited by Rev. James Wood

... custom, I was endeavoring to give a sufficiently life-like aspect to admit of their figuring in a romance. As I make no pretensions to state-craft or soldiership, and could promote the common weal neither by valor nor counsel, it seemed, at first, a pity that I should be debarred from such unsubstantial business as I had contrived for myself, since nothing more genuine was to be substituted for it. But I magnanimously considered that there is a kind of treason in insulating one's self from the universal fear and sorrow, and thinking one's idle thoughts in the dread time of civil ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 10, No. 57, July, 1862 - A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics • Various

... phenomena of so-called male superiority bears a certain stamp of spuriousness and sham. It is to natural history what chivalry was to human history; ... a sort of make-believe, play, or sport of nature of an airy unsubstantial character. The male side of nature shot up and blossomed out in an unnatural, fantastic way, cutting loose from the real business of life, and attracting a share of attention wholly disproportionate to ...
— The Truth About Woman • C. Gasquoine Hartley

... shed every drop of blood in his veins for me, will not open up before me the least corner in his heart. Friendship, I repeat, is nothing but an unsubstantial shadow—a lure, like everything else in this bright, ...
— The Man in the Iron Mask • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... articles which had formed his spiritual diet since the war began. "Or, indeed, are they not both God or both Mammon? If what Joe says is true, and nothing is recorded save what seems good to this Unseen Power, have I not been listening to ghosts and shadows; and am I, indeed, myself anything but the unsubstantial image of a public man? For it is true that I have no knowledge of anything save what is recorded in the papers." And perceiving that the very basis of his faith was endangered, he threw off the bedclothes, ...
— Forsyte Saga • John Galsworthy

... soul to secure a dominion of very long duration over a manly and well-constituted mind, which is itself desirous to will its freedom. The memory of Augusta had long faded from Josiah's thoughts, or was remembered only as a pleasing, but melancholy and unsubstantial dream, while he was straining forward in pursuit of a yet nobler and coyer mistress, in a word, ...
— St. Ronan's Well • Sir Walter Scott

... strength, but curved and soft and subtly aware of her feminine allure, strongly interested and pleased at the awe and pleasure in my face. Her, rounded, fully adult body was sketched over with a web of silkily gleaming black net, light and unsubstantial as a dream, clinging and wholly revealing. Her eyes were dark-lidded and wide-set, her brow high and proud, and about her neck hung a web of emeralds set in a golden mesh of ...
— Valley of the Croen • Lee Tarbell

... small-clothes to an Indian powwow, who parted with them to the old witch for a gill of strong waters, at one of their dances in the forest. Furthermore, Mother Rigby produced a pair of silk stockings, and put them on the figure's legs, where they showed as unsubstantial as a dream, with the wooden reality of the two sticks making itself miserably apparent through the holes. Lastly, she put her dead husband's wig on the bare scalp of the pumpkin, and surmounted the whole with a dusty three-cornered hat, in which was ...
— The International Monthly Magazine - Volume V - No II • Various

... on the limes, and the fresh green leaves seemed to thrill and shiver with life: a lazy breeze kept up a faint soughing, a white butterfly was hovering over the pink may, the girls' shrill voices sounded everywhere; a thousand undeveloped thoughts, vague and unsubstantial as the sunshine above us, seemed to blend with the sunshine ...
— Esther - A Book for Girls • Rosa Nouchette Carey

... the conflagration flared afresh with formidable intensity, a last great flame shot up from Paris, illumining its entire expanse, and even its hitherto hidden suburbs. Then it seemed as if a grey, ashy dust were falling; and though the clustering districts remained erect, they wore the gloomy, unsubstantial aspect of coals which ...
— A Love Episode • Emile Zola

... were washouts all along the line. Rachael sat in the dark, stuffy little sitting-room with the placid Barwick baby drowsing in her lap, and at last her face reflected the nervous uneasiness of the other women. Every time an especially heavy rush of rain or wind struck the unsubstantial little house, Mrs. Barwick said, "Oh, my!" in patient, hopeless terror, and the two young women looked at each other with a quick hissing breath ...
— The Heart of Rachael • Kathleen Norris

... their thirty millions of inhabitants to some convenient wilderness in the great West, and putting half or a quarter as many of ourselves into their places. The change would be beneficial to both parties. We, in our dry atmosphere, are getting too nervous, haggard, dyspeptic, extenuated, unsubstantial, theoretic, and need to be made grosser. John Bull, on the other hand, has grown bulbous, long-bodied, short-legged, heavy-witted, material, and, in a word, too intensely English. In a few more centuries ...
— Our Old Home - A Series of English Sketches • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... power cannot be comprehended by those who know nothing about the spiritual world and its influx into the natural world. Such think that angels can have no power because they are spiritual and are even so pure and unsubstantial that no eye can see them. But those who look more interiorly into the causes of things take a different view. Such know that all the power that a man has is from his understanding and will (for apart from these he is powerless to move a particle of his body), and ...
— Heaven and its Wonders and Hell • Emanuel Swedenborg

... my thoughts to bed with me, since the morning is wiser than the evening. It is all very mysterious. I certainly hope that Annie won't find these things here in the morning when she comes to clear up. I wonder what the Museum would give me for them if they were not, as I think they are, the unsubstantial ...
— The Mummy and Miss Nitocris - A Phantasy of the Fourth Dimension • George Griffith

... part of their self-sustaining nature and towering spirit to wreak their own will. Once let them give their love to man, and it is the passion of their lives. Of gossip and the wagging tongue of scandal, and of that vague, shadowy phantom, reputation, they reck not. These unsubstantial fleeting barriers are dissipated in an instant before the mighty breath of their omnipotent passion. Their love is the great fact of their lives. Why should it yield to less powerful sentiments, to inferior satisfactions. If the laws and sentiments of the commonalty ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol III, Issue VI, June, 1863 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... of Aladdin's Palace, familiar as it already was to Carroll, struck him that afternoon as looking more than usually unreal, ephemeral, and unsubstantial. The Moorish arches, of the thinnest white pine; the arabesque screens and lattices that looked as if made of pierced cardboard; the golden minarets that seemed to be glued to the shell-like towers, ...
— Maruja • Bret Harte

... anonymous communications for the Morning Chronicle relative to these matters, and being unwilling to occupy the paper with vague and unsubstantial conjectures or remarks on a subject of such importance, I am induced to apply directly to yourself as an authentic source of information. I do this with the more confidence, from a persuasion that you can have no wish to suffer false ...
— Memoirs of Aaron Burr, Complete • Matthew L. Davis

... boyhood, Mildred, than you have been since, until this hour. We are travelling daily further from the East, until we are summoned home again. The light of heaven is about us at the beginning and the close of life. We lose it in middle age, when it is hid by the world's false and unsubstantial glare." ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 54, No. 337, November, 1843 • Various

... food. She burnt the papers as regularly as she perused them; and as they consumed into vapour and tinder, regarded them with a smile upon her compressed lips, and an exultation in her steady eye, which showed her confidence that the hopes of the writers should soon be rendered equally unsubstantial. ...
— Bride of Lammermoor • Sir Walter Scott

... George Francis Train, who bequeathed his "damages" against the British Government—5,000,000 dols. for his arrest in Cork harbour—to the Irish Republic. The legacy and the legatee have proved equally unsubstantial. But these men have now died out, or become respectable citizens. The colonials may be said to resemble the Americans only in one point, in their aptitude for business. Some people have come out here in the expectation of "taking in" the guileless colonist, ...
— Six Letters From the Colonies • Robert Seaton

... acknowledgment of such deceit, or will you? Where would be my honor, then, stripped of my fair estates—my son—myself—beggars—dependent on the bounty of an upstart? Does honor ask you to bear this? It is a phantom sense of honor, unsubstantial as your father's shade, of which you just now spoke, that would prompt ...
— Rookwood • William Harrison Ainsworth

... recovering himself and eying the throng with a derisive smile—"Laugh, ye witless bantlings born of folly!—and cling as you will to the unsubstantial dreams your Laureate blows for you in the air like a child playing with soap- bubbles! Empty and perishable are they all,—they shine for a moment, then break and vanish,—and the colors wherewith they sparkled, colors deemed immortal in their beauty, shall pass away like ...
— Ardath - The Story of a Dead Self • Marie Corelli



Words linked to "Unsubstantial" :   substantiality, unreal, unsubstantialize, aeriform, nonmaterial, insubstantial, wraithlike, substantial



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