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noun
Aback  n.  An abacus. (Obs.)






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Aback" Quotes from Famous Books



... having given any kind consent, but I was very willing to have it assumed, and I was glad to see that Mr Fisher, though Mr Abney did not observe it, was visibly taken aback by this piece of information. But he made ...
— The Little Nugget • P.G. Wodehouse

... who bore so high a commission as his own. He had, how ever, sufficient time to recollect in whose presence he stood, ere he replied, for the stranger had again placed the helm a-lee, and caused the foresail to be thrown aback;—a change that ...
— The Water-Witch or, The Skimmer of the Seas • James Fenimore Cooper

... Smallbones, at the baying of the dog, he started up on his knees, and looked at it as if it were an apparition, with every demonstration of terror in his countenance; his eyes glared upon the animal with horror and astonishment, and he fell down in a swoon. The whole of the ship's company were taken aback—they looked at one another and shook their heads—one only remark was made by Jansen, who muttered, "De tog is ...
— Snarleyyow • Captain Frederick Marryat

... complained, "were like his wines, all sparkle and outside—no body to them. Two thousand pounds indeed! Why, we shall be lucky if we clear four hundred!" The man's coolness absolutely took me aback. For a moment I simply stared at him. "He'll be round to see you this morning, sometime, about my character," ...
— An Amiable Charlatan • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... got it here. Old woman lost hers and Knight bought her another—he'd bring her a herd if she wanted it. All the way from the market the boys kept up a running fire of criticism. When the ringleader came too near, Knight sprang at him with a yelp like a dog's. The boy was so taken aback that he ran. Then Knight roared with laughter, and in an instant the whole crowd were his friends—two of them helped him get the calf out of town. When a French crowd laughs with you you can do anything ...
— The Man In The High-Water Boots - 1909 • F. Hopkinson Smith

... suddenly to 21/2 fathoms; and before the helm was put down the ship touched upon a rock, and hung abaft. By keeping the sails full she went off into 3 fathoms, but in five minutes hung upon another rock; and the water being more shallow further on, the head sails were now laid aback. On swinging off, I filled to stretch out by the way we had come; and after another slight touch of the keel we got into deep water, and anchored in 4 fathoms, on a bottom of blue mud. The bad state of the ship would have made our situation amongst these rocks very alarming, had we not cleared ...
— A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 2 • Matthew Flinders

... peeped out from inside the door, perceived the lictors and policemen go by two by two; and when unexpectedly in a state chair, was carried past an official, in black hat and red coat, she was indeed quite taken aback. ...
— Hung Lou Meng, Book I • Cao Xueqin

... seas, and, sailing up the coast in a native craft, you may almost fancy yourself one of the early explorers skirting the lovely shores of some undiscovered country. As you sprawl on the bamboo decking under the shadow of the immense palm leaf sail—which is so ingeniously rigged that, if taken aback, the boat must turn turtle, unless, by the blessing of the gods, the mast parts asunder—you look out through half-closed eyelids at a very beautiful coast. The waves dance, and glimmer, and shine in the sunlight, ...
— In Court and Kampong - Being Tales and Sketches of Native Life in the Malay Peninsula • Hugh Clifford

... . . . . As for me in all weathers, all times, tides and ends, Nought's a trouble from duty that springs, For my heart is my Poll's, and my rhino my friend's, And as for my life it's the King's; Even when my time comes, ne'er believe me so soft As for grief to be taken aback, For the same little cherub that sits up aloft Will look out a good ...
— Political and Literary essays, 1908-1913 • Evelyn Baring

... you know I want the empty attic?" Edwin repelled the onslaught; but he was considerably taken aback. It was a mystery to him how those girls, and Clara in particular, got wind of his ideas before he had even formulated them definitely to himself. It was also a mystery to him how they could be so tremendously interested in matters ...
— Clayhanger • Arnold Bennett

... Marmaduke, taken aback by her sharp tone, gave a long whispered whistle, and pretended to hide under the table. He had a certain gift of drollery which made it difficult not to laugh even at his most foolish antics, and Marian was giving way in spite of herself when she found Douglas ...
— The Irrational Knot - Being the Second Novel of His Nonage • George Bernard Shaw

... looked taken aback for a moment. There was a confidence in Sir Oliver's manner that did not appear to be assumed. He would have preferred another aspect in ...
— The Secret Chamber at Chad • Evelyn Everett-Green

... And Susan launched into a narration of the events that had taken place while he was in Mexico, to which he listened with the composure of a man who, having had his share of the vagaries of fate, is not to be taken aback by new surprises, however singular or tragic. Susan expected an expression of regret—by look or word—over the loss of the marquis' fortune, but either he simulated indifference or passed the matter by with ...
— The Strollers • Frederic S. Isham

... south-west,—the nor-wester of that hemisphere,—and it was fresh and howling enough, on the other side of the island. After Roswell had made a stretch out into the bay of about a mile, he laid his foretopsail flat aback, hauled over his jib-sheet, and put his helm hard down, in waiting for the other schooner to come out and join him. In a quarter of an hour, Daggett got ...
— The Sea Lions - The Lost Sealers • James Fenimore Cooper

... by the fountain in the center. Her delight was quite equal to Rachel's, and the thin, wrinkled face assumed a more peaceful expression than it had carried for many a day, so that when Hooper came to summon her to luncheon, he was fairly taken aback at ...
— Five Little Peppers and their Friends • Margaret Sidney

... looked somewhat taken aback at this new question. "Oh," she stammered, "I suppose I must arrange something. I must talk to your father about it when I get out to him. In the meantime I daresay Cousin Charlotte will be able to help you a little with a few lessons. She has been a schoolmistress ...
— The Carroll Girls • Mabel Quiller-Couch

... takes him aback. He expected to find her defiance disappear with the cause of it. But pig-headed, as all Bennets, her opposition only drives him on]. Your ladyship ...
— Fanny and the Servant Problem • Jerome K. Jerome

... from 10 to 14 fathoms marked within two or three miles of it, and no mention of any shoal lying in the way, I intended to stand on half an hour longer; but in ten minutes, felt the ship lifting upon a bank. The sails were immediately thrown aback; and the weather being fine and water smooth, the ship was got off without having received any ...
— A Voyage to Terra Australis • Matthew Flinders

... was utterly taken aback, and it was his turn now to look askance at this dried-up, sinister-looking under-officer. If the unfortunate and aged guard who had fired that shot had been remiss in making a rapid report—remissness excusable enough considering the violence of the ...
— With Joffre at Verdun - A Story of the Western Front • F. S. Brereton

... made Lucien the happiest of mortals. But in the middle of the fantastic reasonings, with which Louise convinced him that they two were alone in the world, in came M. de Bargeton. Lucien frowned and seemed to be taken aback, but Louise made him a sign, and asked him to stay to dinner and to read Andre de Chenier aloud to them until people arrived for ...
— Lost Illusions • Honore De Balzac

... aye, when the famine was upon you, did the Shaman bring reward to your hunters? did the Shaman put meat in your bellies? Again I say, the Shaman is without power. Thus I spit upon his face!' Though taken aback by the sacrilege, there was no uproar. Some of the women were even frightened, but among the men there was an uplifting, as though in preparation or anticipation of the miracle. All eyes were turned upon the two central figures. The priest realized the crucial moment, felt his power ...
— The Son of the Wolf • Jack London

... appeared to be taken aback, and made a vigorous denial. It was therefore pointed out to him that if nothing had changed in the negative attitude of Germany, the terms of the suggested "note to the Press" were excessive, and likely to give French opinion a false feeling of security by creating illusions ...
— The Evidence in the Case • James M. Beck

... had taken him somewhat aback. He hardly knew what to reply. Pushing the pea-pod off, he turned ...
— Jim Spurling, Fisherman - or Making Good • Albert Walter Tolman

... of the Apple was taken aback by this arbitrary demand. He replied with dignity that his ancestors had dwelt in that village for as many years as there were hairs in his head, and that it was good that he and his people should continue there. This reasonable answer threw Chopart ...
— Historical Tales, Vol. 2 (of 15) - The Romance of Reality • Charles Morris

... aback at the other's vehemence, "this lad's English only in speech. I guess he's all Atlantean ...
— Astounding Stories, February, 1931 • Various

... customers. They all gave way to me. I made purchases worthy of my appearance and carriage, half an ox tail and some chitterlings. Then I proffered a handbill. The man in blue accepted it and, before I had opened my lips, returned it to me wrapped round the ox tail. I was too taken aback to explain. In fact, when he held out his hand, I mechanically gave him another bill for ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 156, Feb. 5, 1919 • Various

... and Portsmouth no obstacle, apparently, was offered to the invaders. At Brighton the enemy were permitted to land unharmed. Scarborough, taken utterly aback by the boyish vigour of the Young Turks, was an easy prey; and at Yarmouth, though the Grand Duke received a nasty slap in the face from a dexterously-thrown bloater, the resistance appears to have ...
— The Swoop! or How Clarence Saved England - A Tale of the Great Invasion • P. G. Wodehouse

... full dry. Dark was the night as pitch or as the coal, And at the window she put out her hole, And Absolon him fell ne bet ne werse, But with his mouth he kiss'd her naked erse Full savourly. When he was ware of this, Aback he start, and thought it was amiss; For well he wist a woman hath no beard. He felt a thing all rough, and long y-hair'd, And saide; "Fy, alas! what have I do?" "Te he!" quoth she, and clapt the window to; And Absolon ...
— The Canterbury Tales and Other Poems • Geoffrey Chaucer

... Pen, who did not look the least taken aback. "I saw by your faces that you were up to fun, and I thought I'd like to be in it. It is well I comed. I am willing to talk to you about everything. Call me a mouse if you like. I don't care. I meant to listen. I ...
— Girls of the Forest • L. T. Meade

... breezes and fair weather until near 5 o'Clock in the A.M., when a heavy Squall from the South-West, attended with rain, took us all aback, and obliged us to put before the wind, the better to take in our Sails; but before this could be done the Foretopsail was split in several places. By 6 o'clock the Topsails and Mainsail were handed, and we brought too under the Foresail and Mizen; at 8 it fell more moderate, and ...
— Captain Cook's Journal During the First Voyage Round the World • James Cook

... the absurd emotion that led her to shirk her companion's scrutiny: she was so taken aback by this unexpected complaisance in a quarter where she was prepared for opposition that she turned and laid a grateful hand on ...
— Cynthia's Chauffeur • Louis Tracy

... to her station at Key West, she sighted a schooner, which, by signal flags, reported that she had that morning passed a bark flying the reversed ensign, with her yards awry and her sails aback. On running close to the schooner the Miami learned that the bark had changed her course when the schooner approached, and when the schooner fell on her course the bark came aback again. A second time the schooner went to her relief, ...
— The Boy With the U. S. Life-Savers • Francis Rolt-Wheeler

... aback, Mary Antony's ready tongue failed her. She stood stock still and stared at the Bishop. Her gums began to rattle and she clapped her knuckles against them, horror and dismay ...
— The White Ladies of Worcester - A Romance of the Twelfth Century • Florence L. Barclay

... icily. But presently, in a more softened tone, she added, "I do feel badly about Thorny! I oughtn't to have left her. It was all so quick! And she DID have a date, at least I know a crowd of people were coming to their house to dinner. And I was so utterly taken aback to be asked out with that crowd! The most exclusive people in the ...
— Saturday's Child • Kathleen Norris

... Though the tempest topgallant-mast smack smooth should smite And shiver each splinter of wood, Clear the deck, stow the yards, and house everything tight, And under reef foresail we'll scud: Avast! nor don't think me a milksop so soft, To be taken for trifles aback; For they say there's a Providence sits up aloft, To keep watch for the life of ...
— Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 11 • Various

... Plume was so taken aback that his face became a blank. Then, whether it was that the very frankness of the speech struck home to him or that he wished to secure a fragment of esteem from Keith, he ...
— Gordon Keith • Thomas Nelson Page

... for the Viscount Auberley to join the king at once at Oxford, and bring with him all his gathering. Having gathered no men yet, but spent the time in plucking roses and the wild myrtles of Devonshire love, the young lord was for once a little taken aback at this order. Moreover, though he had been grumbling, half a dozen times a day—to make himself more precious—about the place, and the people, and the way they cooked his meals, he really meant it less and less as he came to know the neighbourhood. ...
— Frida, or, The Lover's Leap, A Legend Of The West Country - From "Slain By The Doones" By R. D. Blackmore • R. D. Blackmore

... But I never noticed anything. No; honestly I never noticed anything!" And just as her behaviour in the restaurant had shaken Chirac's confidence in his knowledge of the other sex, so now the singular behaviour of Chirac shook hers. She was taken aback. She was frightened, though she ...
— The Old Wives' Tale • Arnold Bennett

... tact." And then he paused for a moment, and continued in an amused voice, "The world is a very small place after all. I have lived long enough in it not to be surprised at running against all sorts of odd people in all sorts of odd places, but I must own I was a little taken aback when you brought Miss Sefton into my ...
— Our Bessie • Rosa Nouchette Carey

... Monday that they found Eugene Wobbles, and that voluntary expatriate was almost as much taken aback as ...
— Five Thousand an Hour - How Johnny Gamble Won the Heiress • George Randolph Chester

... He was taken aback, and not for the first time, either. She had startled and discomposed him several times in the course of their brief acquaintance; and he always resented it, priding himself in private, as he did, upon his coolness and immobility. He could not think of the right thing to say ...
— A Fair Barbarian • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... fresh wind on our starboard quarter, and for some time spanked along at a great rate, never dreaming of danger, for indeed we saw not the slightest reason to apprehend it. All at once we were taken aback by a breeze from over Helseggen. This was most unusual—something that had never happened to us before—and I began to feel a little uneasy, without exactly knowing why. We put the boat on the wind, but could make no headway at ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 2 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... aback by the directness of this answer, so different from the artificial coyness of the girls he knew best in that period of his life, Bertram ...
— The Readjustment • Will Irwin

... times on the boards of the Comedie Francaise, and after I had acted as interpreter for a quarter of an hour or so, she suddenly turned upon the master and, to the surprise of all of us, addressed him in perfect French. It was this which broke the spell. Though M. Zola was taken aback, he responded politely enough, and the conversation went on in French for some minutes, but I could already tell that he had renounced his intention of renting the house. When we drove away, after promising the lady a decisive answer within a day or ...
— With Zola in England • Ernest Alfred Vizetelly

... however, dashed aft and did this with most commendable promptitude; after which he, with the assistance of Joe and San Domingo, lost not a moment in counter-bracing the yards, when we successfully brought the ship to on the larboard tack, with her fore-topsail aback. This done, and with Joe at the wheel, Forbes and I clambered into the maintop and peered long into the fast gathering gloom, in the faint hope that even yet we might catch sight of one or both of the missing men, and be able to do something to save them; but ...
— The Cruise of the "Esmeralda" • Harry Collingwood

... so taken aback by your announcement to-day, that I really could not find words in which to express the sincere regret with which I heard it. You are so thoroughly identified in my mind with the Council Office, ...
— Memoirs of the Life and Correspondence of Henry Reeve, C.B., D.C.L. - In Two Volumes. VOL. II. • John Knox Laughton

... and looking aloft to see what could be done to help his craft along; "a bloody revenue cutter, as I'm a wicked sinner! There she lies, sir, within musket shot of the shore, hid behind the point, as it might be in waiting for us, with her head to the southward, her helm hard down, topsail aback, and foresail brailed; as wicked looking a thing as Free Trade and Sailor's Rights ever ran from. My life on it, sir, she's been put in that precise spot, in waiting for the Molly to arrive. You see, as we stand on, it places her as handsomely ...
— Jack Tier or The Florida Reef • James Fenimore Cooper

... resembled a map of the coast of some smooth, romantic country not mentioned in geographies. When she looked at him—well, the effect on him astonished him; but it enchanted him. He was discovering for the first time the soul of a girl. If he was a little taken aback he is to be excused. Younger men than he have been taken aback by that discovery. But James Ollerenshaw did not behave as a younger man would have behaved. He was more like some one who, having heard tell ...
— Helen with the High Hand (2nd ed.) • Arnold Bennett

... came another knock at the door, and who should enter the room but John Eames. Lily for a moment was taken aback, but it was only for a moment. She had been thinking so much of him that his presence disturbed her for an instant. "He probably will not know that I am here," she had said to herself; but she had not yet been three hours in London, and he was already with her! At ...
— The Last Chronicle of Barset • Anthony Trollope

... last he summoned up courage to pay a visit to the object of his adoration with due formality, but was scornfully repulsed by the lady herself. "Did he think she received visits from gentlemen?" That took him woefully aback. "When she's got the house full of men boarders!" ...
— The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries - Masterpieces of German Literature Vol. 19 • Various

... Tom were taken aback at the sight of the weapon. But they had seen such arms before, and had faced them, consequently they were not as greatly alarmed as they right otherwise have been. They knew, too, that Dan Baxter ...
— The Rover Boys in the Jungle • Arthur M. Winfield

... feel lonely and unhappy in his country, separated from our own people. Agreeably to the instructions they had received, on arriving at a short distance from our encampment, they sent to inform us of their arrival, and requested permission to present themselves before us. I was never so much taken aback as at the sight of these Europeans wearing the Abyssinian gala dress, silk shirts of gaudy colours, trousers of the same material, the shama thrown over the left shoulder, many with naked feet, several without covering to their ...
— A Narrative of Captivity in Abyssinia - With Some Account of the Late Emperor Theodore, - His Country and People • Henry Blanc

... a coward too. I'se warrant there waur plenty o' room 'twixt his carcase and the wa'. That I'd bin there i'stead! There shouldn't ha' bin room to cram a herrin' tail atween me an' the ghost's substance. I would ha' hedged him up thus, an' then master ghost, taken aback, says, 'Friend, by yere sweet leave I would pass;' but I make out elbows, and arms this'n, facing ...
— Traditions of Lancashire, Volume 2 (of 2) • John Roby

... Smith wore a strained, desperate look. Madden stared at him for several seconds, quite taken aback by finding him in such an unexpected place. One thing, however, filled the American with deep gratification. The man ...
— The Cruise of the Dry Dock • T. S. Stribling

... getting into our saps were instantly killed; the remainder were dealt with by bomb and rifle fire from the 7th and 8th Light Horse. By 2 A.M. the enemy broke, and many were killed while withdrawing. The enemy's attack was strongest on his right. They were completely taken aback by a concealed sap constructed well ahead of our main line, and the dead are lying thickly in front of this. Some got into the sap and several across it; all these were wiped out by fire from the ...
— New York Times Current History; The European War, Vol 2, No. 5, August, 1915 • Various

... delay, to deprive the Russians of their beards and the tails of their coats. He had scarcely arrived before the boyars and leading citizens of Moscow, who flocked to congratulate him on his return, were taken aback by the edict that whiskers were condemned, and that the razor must be set at work without ...
— Historic Tales, Vol. 8 (of 15) - The Romance of Reality • Charles Morris

... full height. He buttoned his coat quickly, and drew the strap of his cap firmly under his chin. "If I stay," he said to the councilman, as he turned to go, "remember my father, my brother's wife and the children." The councilman was taken aback. The young man's "if I stay" sounded like "I shall stay." A presentiment came over the friend that here was something that had to do with the salvation of Apollonius' soul. But the expression on Apollonius' face was no longer one of suffering; nor was it anxious ...
— The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Vol. IX - Friedrich Hebbel and Otto Ludwig • Various

... came within a few hundred yards, Vincent stood up and waved his cap, and a minute later the ship was brought up into the wind and her sails thrown aback. The captain appeared at the side and shouted to the boat, now but fifty ...
— With Lee in Virginia - A Story of the American Civil War • G. A. Henty

... stepped into the office, Fru Falkenberg was there. I was taken aback at finding her there. I made a bow and ...
— Wanderers • Knut Hamsun

... McCOMAS (taken aback, but rallying his humor to meet the emergency). Because eighteen years is too long for a solicitor to go without having ...
— You Never Can Tell • [George] Bernard Shaw

... Stuart was taken aback. This difficulty had not occurred to him. It was true. Not only the boys, but practically nine men out of ten in Haiti go barefoot. This Stuart could not do. Accustomed to wearing shoes, he would cut his feet on the stones at every step he took ...
— Plotting in Pirate Seas • Francis Rolt-Wheeler

... suddenly sprang up when this insult fell on his ear. Bill of 1886 not a tempting topic; led to downfall of his Ministry; but to hear it publicly called a "buffer," more than he could stand—or, rather, sit. Leaped to feet, and, with thrilling energy, repudiated gross imputation. Prince ARTHUR taken aback; hadn't meant anything particular. To call a thing or a person a buffer not necessarily a term of opprobrium. Everything depends on inflection of tone. Suppose, now, leaning across the table, he had addressed Mr. ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 98, 1890.05.10 • Various

... her say she did not dance, that dancing was an insipid pleasure. With that, he started away from the railing, went up to the Canadian, and in a peculiar, fiery German manner ruthlessly drew her away from the young American, who was completely taken aback. It was evident that the delicate, exotic woman, whose breast rose and fell convulsively, took pleasure in that strong conqueror's arm as they ...
— Atlantis • Gerhart Hauptmann

... stopped playing, Nelly was regarding me with round open eyes, and Kenneth took me quite aback by saying, with cool deliberation, 'There are moments, Goody Two-Shoes, when you and your fiddle are before my eyes, that I think I should like to marry you and take you away with me somewhere where you should charm me with those strains continually. Don't look ...
— Dwell Deep - or Hilda Thorn's Life Story • Amy Le Feuvre

... seemed a trifle taken aback, but concealed his emotion and passed the menu to Jimmy Doon. Mr. Doon, it was clear, found in this choosing of a dish an intellectual crisis of the ...
— Tell England - A Study in a Generation • Ernest Raymond

... of the Greek land, Called Thersites, if ye will me know: Aback, give me room, in my way do ye not stand; For if ye do, I will soon lay you low. In Homer of my acts ye have read, I trow: Neither Agamemnon nor Ulysses I spared to check: They could not bring me to be at their beck. Of late from the Siege ...
— A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Volume I. • R. Dodsley

... aback. "'Tis the infallibility of the Pope that is shaken," he explained. "But in itself the Christian faith is more abhorrent to Reason than the Jewish. The things it teaches about God ...
— Dreamers of the Ghetto • I. Zangwill

... if you've wished to say something special?" He spoke as if she might have seen he had been waiting for it—not indeed with discomfort, but with natural interest. Then he saw that she was a little taken aback, was even surprised herself at the detail she had neglected—the only one ever yet; having somehow assumed he would know, would recognise, would leave some things not to be said. She looked at him, however, an instant as if to convey that ...
— The Ambassadors • Henry James

... personal interest in him, but a desire to see whether I dare let him wait on me again. So, recalling that a caster was off a chair yesterday, one is entitled to make sure that it is on to-day before sitting down. If the expression is not too strong, I may say that I was taken aback by William's manner. Even when crossing the room to take my orders he let his one hand play nervously with the other. I had to repeat "Sardine on toast" twice, and instead of answering "Yes, sir," as if my selection of sardine on toast was a personal gratification to ...
— Stories By English Authors: London • Various

... the girl replied, though somewhat taken aback by the suddenness of the encounter. The man spoke slowly and with evident refinement. His voice was the same she had heard at Nice on that memorable night of gaiety. She recognized ...
— Mademoiselle of Monte Carlo • William Le Queux

... the colonel, and he asked me how Ray was behaving, and was beginning something about not letting him drink, when I could hold in no longer, and told him flatly that Ray hadn't taken as many drinks in a month as he had in a day. You ought to have seen him; he was struck all aback, and stammered something about his having been led to suppose Ray was doing a good deal of that sort of thing. I replied that that wasn't the only thing he had been misinformed about by a jugful, and he looked as though he'd like to put me in arrest too—the old ...
— Marion's Faith. • Charles King

... overhead became covered over with those long wavy white lines which go by the name of "mares' tails," and which always betoken wind. Still we stood on as before. Every now and then, however, a puff would come which threw the sails aback; but it quickly passed away, to be succeeded shortly by a stronger and more continuous one. At last the breeze headed us altogether, freshening up rapidly, till Mr Ronald called all hands to reef sails. The wind soon got the sea up, and ...
— Old Jack • W.H.G. Kingston

... either that she had already met the squire of Rushbrooke Grange or that she expected to meet him here to-night; so that, when presently a tall man of about thirty-five with brick-dust cheeks came into the close, he was not taken aback when Esther greeted him by name with the assurance of old friendship. Nor was he astonished that even in the wan light those brick-dust cheeks should deepen to terra-cotta, those hard blue eyes glitter with recognition, and the small thin-lipped mouth lose for a moment its ...
— The Altar Steps • Compton MacKenzie

... we lost the trade-wind, and were suddenly taken aback, with the wind from the N.N.W. At this time our latitude was 29 deg. 50', and our longitude 170 deg. l'. As the old running ropes were constantly breaking in the late gales, we reeved what new ones we had left, and made such other preparations ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17 • Robert Kerr

... very severe. McDuffie replied, and was equally caustic, and this to the astonishment of every one; for all supposed the young member was annihilated—as so many before had been by Randolph—and would not reply. His antagonist was completely taken aback, and evidently felt, with Sir Andrew Ague-cheek: "Had I known he was so cunning of fence, I had seen him damned ere I had fought him." But he was in for it, and must reply. His rejoinder was angry, and wanting in his usual biting sarcasm. ...
— The Memories of Fifty Years • William H. Sparks

... very intimate with the old fellow. You could not help it. He had a way about him that drew you out. I told him I was going to New Orleans to pay a visit to friends there. He said, 'Got a sweetheart there?' I was rather taken aback; but I told him, 'Yes.' He said he knew it as soon as I spoke to him on the platform. He asked me who she was, and I told him her name. He said to me, 'Ah! you lucky dog.' I told him I did not know ...
— The Burial of the Guns • Thomas Nelson Page

... about the Barnes story—"feels, so I gathered, very strongly about it, and on the man's side; and when I told him that Roger had just arrived and was coming to take counsel with you and me this afternoon, he suddenly asked if he might come, too. I was rather taken aback. I told him that we were going, of course, to consider the case entirely from the English point of view. He still said, 'Let me come; I may be of use to you.' So I could only reply it must rest with Roger. They'll show him first ...
— Marriage a la mode • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... aback with this mark of confidence. He would decline the offer, sure that it sprang from some ...
— Stories by American Authors, Volume 6 • Various

... was not disagreeable to either. Bridget was taken aback, to begin with, by some very liberal proposals of Sarratt's on the subject of her and Nelly's joint expenses during his absence. She was to be Nelly's guest—they both wished it—and he said kindly that he quite understood Nelly's marriage had made a difference to her, ...
— Missing • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... White, there were several things I wanted to talk to you about," said Pinto, taken aback by her calm. "Have you ...
— Jack O' Judgment • Edgar Wallace

... Samuels, rather taken aback, stared uncertainly. He had been lured from his vantage ground of force to that of argument; how he scarcely knew. It had ...
— The Rules of the Game • Stewart Edward White

... river, I found M.M., le Directeur de la Quarantine, and general manager of all the other departments. He accompanied me to the hotel, which, though not exactly first-rate, appeared luxurious after my three months of khans and tents. I was somewhat taken aback at finding that the steamer to Belgrade was not due for two days, and moreover that the fogs had been so dense that it had not yet passed up on its voyage to Sissek; whence it would return to Belgrade, calling at Brod, and other places ...
— Herzegovina - Or, Omer Pacha and the Christian Rebels • George Arbuthnot

... was never taken aback. "Ah, my darling, and how are you? come to see we are drinking parliament and ...
— The Macdermots of Ballycloran • Anthony Trollope

... endeavoured to get the courses hauled up, and the top-gallant-sails clewed up, neither of which we could do, as we had neither clue-garnets, bunt-lines, or leach-lines left. However, we got the top-gallant-sails down, with most of the stay-sails, and the mizen-topsail aback; but finding we still outsailed him, I had no other method left but that of sheering across his hawse, first on one bow, then on the other, raking him as we crossed, always having in view the retarding his way, by obliging him ...
— The Life of Admiral Viscount Exmouth • Edward Osler

... is. It is 'the situation of the sails when their surfaces are flatted against the masts by the force of the wind.' I do not understand, though. The sails are said to be 'taken aback.'— Oh, I have heard mother say that. What could she mean? I have heard her ...
— The End of a Coil • Susan Warner

... moment was taken aback, and Mrs. Witham got fiery red and turned away; but the doctor was a frank and ready man, and he answered ...
— Dracula's Guest • Bram Stoker

... was a reason for her changing, and ever since, every day and every night, I've been trying to make out what it could have been. I've thought the idea might come to me. But it never has. That's partly why I'm so anxious to find her—to make her explain. I was too taken aback, too—sort of stunned—to go about it the right way when she changed to me at the last minute there on the dock. Once I could understand, why, I might start with her again at the beginning and work up. It would give me a chance—the chance I once thought I ...
— Winnie Childs - The Shop Girl • C. N. Williamson

... though you'd been standing double watch for a week of Sundays! I never see the beat! Has that crazy gal coming here set ye all aback this way?" ...
— Sheila of Big Wreck Cove - A Story of Cape Cod • James A. Cooper

... all aback by this mass of odd-looking little notes. I had spent the afternoon in drilling Singleton, the kindest of friends, as to what he should do in any probable contingency of news of the next forty-eight hours, for I did not intend to be absent on a wedding tour even longer than that ...
— If, Yes and Perhaps - Four Possibilities and Six Exaggerations with Some Bits of Fact • Edward Everett Hale

... replied Spurge. "I know a man just aback of here that'll run up to the town with a message—chap that can be trusted, sure and faithful. 'Bide here five minutes, sir—I'll send a message to Mr. Vickers—this chap'll know him and'll find him. He can come down with the rest—and ...
— Scarhaven Keep • J. S. Fletcher

... of this anecdote, I am so taken aback that, for a moment, I am unable to utter. Seeing, however, that some comment is expected from me, I stammer something about its being a great age. He, however, imagines that I am asking whether they were ...
— Nancy - A Novel • Rhoda Broughton

... a little taken aback by the sight, as indeed any man would have been, for most women of his acquaintance arranged things so as not to do their ...
— Audrey Craven • May Sinclair

... must provide himself with all the necessaries for such an important and lofty position; and he assured his master that he would bring along his very best donkey. The mention of this ignoble animal somewhat took the knight aback. He ransacked his memory for any instance in which any other mount than a horse had been used, but he could recall none. However, he could not very well have an attendant on foot, so he decided to ...
— The Story of Don Quixote • Arvid Paulson, Clayton Edwards, and Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

... I was taken aback with the vision of the Wolf figure in the grimy passage, a fiend in the intoxication of opium, and ...
— Blindfolded • Earle Ashley Walcott

... had taken M. de Bois aback, chiefly because he was confounded by a new proof of his own awkwardness (stupidity, he plainly termed it) in leaving his handkerchief behind him, as a witness of his presence at the chalet. But there was no such ...
— Fairy Fingers - A Novel • Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie

... magnificent. I had had the platform carried forward to our "Frozen Deep" point, and my table and screen built in with a proscenium and room scenery. When I went in (there was a very fine hall), they applauded in the most tremendous manner; and the extent to which they were taken aback and taken by storm by "Copperfield" was really ...
— The Letters of Charles Dickens - Vol. 2 (of 3), 1857-1870 • Charles Dickens

... for they were old hands who had sailed with him many years. There were dark looks and murmurs among them too, and one of them openly declared that the ship was haunted. Harton helped to lay the poor skipper out, and we did him up in canvas between us. At twelve o'clock the foreyard was hauled aback, and we committed his body to the deep, Goring reading the Church of England burial service. The breeze has freshened up, and we have done ten knots all day and sometimes twelve. The sooner we reach Lisbon and get away from this accursed ship the better pleased ...
— The Captain of the Pole-Star and Other Tales • Arthur Conan Doyle

... tight little craft! Come, come, she's not for you, Dick, and yet—she's fit to marry Lord Nelson! By the Flag of Old England, I can't look at her unmoved. ROSE. Sir, you are agitated— RICH. Aye, aye, my lass, well said! I am agitated, true enough!—took flat aback, my girl; but 'tis naught—'twill pass. (Aside.) This here heart of mine's a-dictatin' to me like anythink. Question is, Have I a right to disregard its promptings? ROSE. Can I do aught to relieve thine anguish, for it ...
— The Complete Plays of Gilbert and Sullivan - The 14 Gilbert And Sullivan Plays • William Schwenk Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan

... brow-beating and examination of the counsel, and sometimes give such replies as turn the sting upon their examiners; having like the Irish a sort of tact for repartee, they are not often to be taken aback; the lower classes in Paris are naturally extremely shrewd and penetrating, they recognise a foreigner instantly, before he speaks, as a friend of mine found to his cost, who although an Englishman would anywhere in his own country ...
— How to Enjoy Paris in 1842 • F. Herve

... Horncastle was taken aback by the audacity of the woman before her. She knew the simple confidence and boyish trust of Barker in his wife in spite of their sometimes strained relations, and she knew how difficult it would be to shake it. And she had ...
— The Three Partners • Bret Harte

... and, sure enough, his hand was red with blood. Billy Fish and two of his matchlock men catches hold of Dan by the shoulders and drags him into the Bashkai lot, while the priests howls in their lingo, 'Neither God nor Devil, but a man!' I was all taken aback, for a priest cut at me in front, and the Army behind began firing into the ...
— The Works of Rudyard Kipling One Volume Edition • Rudyard Kipling

... Taken aback by this, I was on the point of giving him a jolly good blowing up, but her ready acquiescence caused me to desist. Really, I began to wonder if he had her hypnotized; and, furious—indeed, quite a good deal hurt—by the cool way she obeyed him and began ...
— Wings of the Wind • Credo Harris

... story of destitution and want, and concluded by requesting the usual trifle. I replied, with some severity, that if I gave him a dime he would probably spend it for drink. "Be Gorra! but you're roight—I wad that!" he answered promptly. I was so much taken aback by this unexpected exhibition of frankness that I instantly handed over the dime. It seems that Truth had survived the wreck of his other virtues; he did get drunk, and, impelled by a like conscientious sense of duty, exhibited himself to me in that state a few hours after, to show that my bounty ...
— Urban Sketches • Bret Harte

... that divell's damned charmes, Aback did Robin come at last, And Madge, ye hoyden, sprad her arms and gave a cry and held him fast; And as she clong to him and cried, her patient harte with joy did brast, ...
— A Little Book of Western Verse • Eugene Field

... you doing?" said Emile, checking his movement. "Gentlemen," he added, addressing the company, who were rather taken aback by Raphael's behavior, "you must know that our friend Valentin here—what am I saying?—I mean my Lord Marquis de Valentin—is in the possession of a secret for obtaining wealth. His wishes are fulfilled as soon as he knows them. He will make us all rich together, or he is a flunkey, ...
— The Magic Skin • Honore de Balzac

... sorrow. All Sat with unbraided hair and pitiful breasts Scored with their fingers. On their cheeks there lay Stains of dried tears, and streamed thereover now Fresh tears full fast, as still they gazed aback On the lost hapless home, wherefrom yet rose The flames, and o'er it writhed the rolling smoke. Now on Cassandra marvelling they gazed, Calling to mind her prophecy of doom; But at their tears she laughed in bitter scorn, In anguish for the ruin of ...
— The Fall of Troy • Smyrnaeus Quintus

... six feet tall, and leggy—was to fasten with a good grip on to her tail, that he might serve not only as a 'drag,' as our commander phrased it, but as a pilot as well, 'if she should get to yawing or be suddenly taken aback, and be unable to come up into the wind promptly,' while I was held in reserve to guard against emergencies. I did not quite like the position assigned to me, and so intimated to the captain, but he said no ...
— The Busted Ex-Texan and Other Stories • W. H. H. Murray

... environed by dint of his massive shoulders; "ay, brother, and a man, know-much or know-nothing, who would never advise his officer to keep so much after-sail on a ship, when there was the likelihood of the wind taking her aback." ...
— The Red Rover • James Fenimore Cooper

... out of the shop. Before he could find himself, a superb serjeant-major strode up, saluted in the highest and strictest perfection, and passed. The encounter was unfortunate. George, taken aback, muddled his share of the rite. Further, the self-consciousness of the potential Vice-President of the Royal Institute of British Architects was so extreme in uniform that it could scarcely have been more extreme had he been thrust by destiny into Oxford Street naked. He returned ...
— The Roll-Call • Arnold Bennett

... gave this proof of having those linguistic attainments which all bad spirits possess, he and those with him would be convinced that the possession was genuine and no deception. Barre, without being in the least taken aback, replied that he would make the demon say it if God permitted, and ordered the spirit to answer in Gaelic. But though he repeated his command twice, it was not obeyed; on the ...
— CELEBRATED CRIMES, COMPLETE - URBAIN GRANDIER—1634 • ALEXANDRE DUMAS, PERE

... my bein' taken in by it," Mr. Cheeseman went on, "and I wonder myself. But I was startled, you see, and took aback, and—well, that's all over. Now, what are you goin' to do about ...
— The Wooing of Calvin Parks • Laura E. Richards

... affairs, ensued upon Liegnitz; everything taking the backward course, from which it hardly recovered, or indeed did not recover at all, during the rest of this Campaign. Details on the subsequent Daun-Friedrich movements—which went all aback for Daun, Daun driven into the Hills again, Friedrich hopeful to cut off his bread, and drive him quite through the Hills, and home again—are not permitted us. No human intellect in our day could busy itself with understanding these thousand-fold ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XX. (of XXI.) • Thomas Carlyle

... to happen, and pressed it to her eyes. There was an interval of silence. The Master closed his book and laid it on the table. The Young Astronomer did not look as much surprised as I should have expected. I was completely taken aback,—I had not thought of such a sudden breaking up of our ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... for the numerous progeny we left behind us. But let us revert to the merry meeting previously alluded to. It is half-past two in the afternoon, we are gaily going through the figures of a country-dance, 'Speed the plough' perhaps, when the music stops short, everyone is taken aback, and wonders at the cause of interruption. The arrival of two prelates, Bishop Plessis and Bishop Mountain, gave us the solution of the enigma; an aide-de-camp had motioned to the bandmaster to ...
— Picturesque Quebec • James MacPherson Le Moine

... see you all," I said, shaking hands with each one till I came to the Fish, who held out a fin. "Er-er-how do you do?" I stammered, somewhat taken aback by this strange proceeding. ...
— The Wallypug in London • G. E. Farrow

... the signal to raise the curtain. The bell tinkled, and the curtain slowly rose, revealing the gorgeous scene and the actors standing in a blaze of light. Instantly the tumult ceased, and a deep sudden hush succeeded. Those roughs were evidently taken aback by the dazzling splendor that burst upon them. It was a new revelation to them, and for the moment they seemed to forget the object of their coming, and to be wholly absorbed in ...
— The Great Riots of New York 1712 to 1873 • J.T. Headley

... was the husband and house-master, into the saloon and made him sit down congratulating herself on her cunning contrivance. Presently in walked the lady, who no sooner set eyes on her husband sitting by the old trot than she knew him and guessed how the case stood; nevertheless, she was not taken aback and without stay or delay bethought her of a device to hoodwink him. So she pulled off her outer boot and cried at her husband, "Is this how thou keepest the contract between us? How canst thou betray me and deal thus with me? Know that, when I heard of thy coming, I sent this old woman ...
— The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 6 • Richard F. Burton



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