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Wisp   Listen
verb
Wisp  v. t.  (past & past part. wisped; pres. part. wisping)  
1.
To brush or dress, an with a wisp.
2.
To rumple. (Prov. Eng.)






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Wisp" Quotes from Famous Books



... defiantly just out of his reach. Mr. Raleigh attempted to seize her, but he might as easily have put his hand on a butterfly; she eluded him always when within his grasp, and led him such a dance up and down the forest-path as none other than a will-o'-the-wisp, it seemed, could have woven. All at once a dark figure glided out from another alley and snatched the sprite into its arms. It was a colored nurse, who poured out a torrent of broken French and English over the runaway, and made her acknowledgments to Mr. Raleigh in the same jargon. ...
— Atlantic Monthly Volume 6, No. 37, November, 1860 • Various

... reach the shore, but it was all in vain. The waves, racing and tumbling over each other, knocked him about as if he had been a stick or a wisp of straw. At last, fortunately for him, a billow rolled up with such fury and impetuosity that he was lifted up and thrown far ...
— Pinocchio - The Tale of a Puppet • C. Collodi

... "Der Ring des Nibelungen," and have its special home like Bayreuth; and it may have been a belief that his project would excite the sympathetic zeal of the devout Jew and pious Christian alike, as much as his lack of the capacity for self-criticism, which led him like a will-o'-the-wisp along the path which led into the bogs of failure ...
— A Second Book of Operas • Henry Edward Krehbiel

... blackberry bushes. The trees beyond the fence cut off the sunrise so that I walked in the cool broad shadows. On my left stretched the cornfield of my planting, the young corn well up, very attractive and hopeful, my really frightful scarecrow standing guard on the knoll, a wisp of straw sticking up through a hole in his hat and his ...
— Adventures In Contentment • David Grayson

... village of Lesbury toward the sea, and before long came in sight of it ... a glorious stretch of blue, smooth that day as an island lake and shining like polished steel in the light of the sun. There was not a sail in sight, north or south or due east, nor a wisp of trailing smoke from any passing steamer: I got an impression of silent, unbroken immensity which seemed a fitting prelude to the solitudes into which ...
— Ravensdene Court • J. S. (Joseph Smith) Fletcher

... too—for mile after mile of the ride to the city. Not so far ahead, however, that he could not observe every movement of her light, graceful figure as she swept down the King's Highway. She was a perfect horsewoman, firm, jaunty, free. Somehow he knew, without seeing, that a stray brown wisp of hair caressed her face with insistent adoration: he could see her hand go up from time to time to brush it back—just as if it were not a happy place for a wisp of hair. Perhaps—he shivered with the thought ...
— Truxton King - A Story of Graustark • George Barr McCutcheon

... wimpled lip, The gold-wisp, the airy-grey Eye, all in fellowship— This, all this beauty blooming, This, all this freshness fuming, Give ...
— Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins - Now First Published • Gerard Manley Hopkins

... her conduct was somewhat erratic. For three days, perhaps, she would fly to the door at her husband's ring, and hang upon his every movement. Then, for the next three, she would be a veritable will-o'-the-wisp for elusiveness, caring, apparently, not one whit whether her husband came or went until poor Bertram, at his wit's end, scourged himself with a merciless catechism as to what he had done to vex her. Then, perhaps, just when ...
— Miss Billy Married • Eleanor H. Porter

... effort and attempt to crush this insolent devil; or he might jerk his head around and catch Perris with his teeth. A third and better thought, however, immediately followed—that bound as he was he would have little chance to reach this elusive will-o'-the-wisp. He could not repress a quiver of horror and anger, but beyond ...
— Alcatraz • Max Brand

... freezing with the water; Go and wring them, Yenadizze! Go and dry them in the sunshine!" Slowly, from the ashes, Kwasind Rose, but made no angry answer; From the lodge went forth in silence, Took the nets, that hung together, Dripping, freezing at the doorway; Like a wisp of straw he wrung them, Like a wisp of straw he broke them, Could not wring them without breaking, Such the strength was in his fingers. "Lazy Kwasind!" said his father, "In the hunt you never help me; Every bow you touch is broken, Snapped asunder every arrow; Yet come with me to the forest, ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

... M. de Geslin. It would be but an unprofitable, and by no means a pleasant task to follow the commissioners in their erratic career, as they were led hither and thither by the four lights of magnetism above mentioned; the four "Wills-o'-the-Wisp" which dazzled the benighted and bewildered doctors on that wide and shadowy region of metaphysical inquiry — the influence of mind over matter. It will be better to state at once the conclusion they came to after so long and laborious an investigation, and then examine ...
— Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions - Vol. I • Charles Mackay

... He was a diminutive wisp of humanity, a starved, slender elf with a freckled face, wizened and peaked, which at times looked a thousand years old. It reminded you of the face of one of those preternaturally aged monkeys that sit motionless in a dark corner of the cage, oppressed with the ...
— The New Boy at Hilltop • Ralph Henry Barbour

... circular glasses, as though she ought to be able to tell him if anybody could. Then a thought very much like that took definite shape in his mind. He himself had no time to give to mysterious problems and will-o'-the-wisp pursuits; his book and posterity claimed it all. This girl was familiar with the city; doubtless knew all the people; she seemed intelligent and capable, as girls went. He remembered that he had consulted her about securing remunerative work, with some results; possibly she ...
— Queed • Henry Sydnor Harrison

... publicly," cried the Great White Queen, still standing erect, her black eyes flashing beneath the wisp of scanty grey hair, and her talon-like hand uplifted. "To utter such words hast thou returned from the land beyond the black seas? True, thou art my son, and some day will sit upon this my stool, but for thus opposing my will thou shalt be banished from Mo until such time as I am carried to the ...
— The Great White Queen - A Tale of Treasure and Treason • William Le Queux

... inadequate. We ask the student to consider carefully these remarks, for by so doing he will post himself, and will be saved much tedious and perplexing wandering along the dangerous places in the Swamp of Metaphysics, following the will-o'-the-wisp of Finite Mind masquerading as the Infinite Wisdom! Beware of the False Lights! They lead to the quagmire and ...
— A Series of Lessons in Gnani Yoga • Yogi Ramacharaka

... fallen as they quitted Bagshot; and it was midnight as they entered the home park, and proceeded towards the fatal oak. It was pitchy dark, and they could only distinguish the tree by its white, scathed trunk. All at once, a blue flame, like a will-o'-the-wisp, appeared, flitted thrice round the tree, and then remained stationary, its light falling upon a figure in a wild garb, with a rusty chain hanging from its left arm, and an antlered helm upon its head. They knew it to be Herne, and instantly fell down before him, while a burst ...
— Windsor Castle • William Harrison Ainsworth

... his stringy red beard was likewise perfumed! It was in his studio that I had the honor to be introduced to his sister, the fair Miss Clara: she had a large casque with a red horse-hair plume (I thought it had been a wisp of her brother's beard at first), and held a tin-headed spear in her hand, representing a Roman warrior in the great picture of "Caractacus" George was painting—a piece sixty-four feet by eighteen. ...
— The Christmas Books • William Makepeace Thackeray

... moments Mr. Beeson awoke, and seeing that his guest had retired he did likewise. But before doing so he approached the long, plaited wisp of pagan hair and gave it a powerful tug, to assure himself that it was fast and firm. The two beds—mere shelves covered with blankets not overclean—faced each other from opposite sides of the room, the little square trapdoor ...
— Can Such Things Be? • Ambrose Bierce

... windows, and listening to the whispering of the leaves outside. The darkness was full of mystery and charm to the lonely child, but fear had no place in her thoughts concerning it. What could these lights be—lights that moved about when every one else was asleep? Could they be the will-o'-the-wisp that Peter had told her about? Could they perhaps be angels with beautiful white wings and stars on their foreheads—guardian angels watching over the house ...
— Hunter's Marjory - A Story for Girls • Margaret Bruce Clarke

... escape. I squirmed up the lade among the slippery green slime till I reached the mill-wheel. Then I wriggled through the axle hole into the old mill and tumbled on to a bed of chaff. A nail caught the seat of my trousers, and I left a wisp ...
— The Thirty-nine Steps • John Buchan

... of it, if report is true, is Mr. Winston Churchill, the strategist of the Antwerp expedition, who now aspires to be the Dardanelson of our age. Anyhow, the Sultan, lured on by the Imperial William o' the Wisp, is already capable ...
— Mr. Punch's History of the Great War • Punch

... her. Lady Bridget gave the impression of an old-fashioned, precocious child, dressed up in a picture frock of soft shining white stuff, hanging on a straight slender form and gathered into a girdle at the waist, with a wisp of old lace flung carelessly over the slight shoulders. She stood for a moment or two on the half landing, then, as the aide-de-camp murmured in the Governor's ear at the foot of the stairs, she came close to the bannisters and looked down ...
— Lady Bridget in the Never-Never Land • Rosa Praed

... of the most melancholy description—a cold, cloudy, windy, rainy December night. Not a soul was upon the streets excepting a solitary straggler, returning hither and thither from an evening sermon, or an occasional watchman gliding past with his lantern, like an incarnation of the Will-o'-wisp. I strolled up and down for half an hour, wrapped in an olive great-coat, and having a green silk umbrella over my head. It was well I chanced to be so well fortified against the weather; for had it been otherwise, ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction. - Volume 13, No. 359, Saturday, March 7, 1829. • Various

... to have been essentially the attribute of the devil, the black candles or torches being distinctive of the witches. That the lights burned blue is due to the material of which the torches were made. The evanescent character of the light, when a wisp of straw was used, is noted in the ...
— The Witch-cult in Western Europe - A Study in Anthropology • Margaret Alice Murray

... aid of a portable charcoal stove, which she placed in the shade of some noble plane-trees that were planted by accident on the day of Prince Louis Napolon's coup d'tat. They were already tall and strong when his Will-o'-the-wisp, which he had mistaken for a star, sank in the bloody swamp of Sedan. When the rising wind announced a storm, the swaying branches shed their dry bark, which was piled upon the hearth indoors, where a cheerful blaze shot up ...
— Two Summers in Guyenne • Edward Harrison Barker

... bottom-land a "nester" has his cabin and is struggling, generally in vain, to dig a living out of the soil in a region which God never made for farming. The treacherous Little Missouri is treacherous still; here and there a burning mine still sends a tenuous wisp toward the blue sky; the buttes have lost none of their wild magnificence; and dawn and dusk, casting long shadows across the coulees, ...
— Roosevelt in the Bad Lands • Hermann Hagedorn

... faint apology: "It isn't very much of a breakfas', darlin', but we'll make believe it's waffles an' chicken an'—an' hot rolls an' batter-bread an'—an' everything." She rose to her little bare feet, holding her wisp of a skirt aside, and made a sweeping bow. "Allow me, Miss Jemima, to make you a mos' delicious cup ...
— The Littlest Rebel • Edward Peple

... idiots!" said Thurston, as he strode on through the park of Luckenough, "to fancy that any one with eyes, heart and brain, could possibly fall in love with the 'Will-o'-the-wisp' Jacquelina, or worse, that giglet, Angelica; when he sees Marian! Marian, whose least sunny tress is dearer to me than are all the living creatures in the world besides. Marian, for whose possession I am now about to risk ...
— The Missing Bride • Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth

... noticed what a way a Slavey has of snuffling and saying, "Lor, Sir, oo'd 'a thought it?" on the slightest provocation. She comes into your room just as you are about to fill your finest two-handed meerschaum with Navy-cut, and looks at you with a far-away look in her eyes, and a wisp of hair winding carelessly round the neck of her print dress. You murmur something in an insinuating way about that box of Vestas you bought last night from the blind man who stands outside "The Old King of Prussia" pub round the corner. Then one of ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 99, October 4, 1890 • Various

... disdainfully. "Why, you've nothing but a wisp of straw over your shoulder, and it can't be ...
— Little Folks (Septemeber 1884) - A Magazine for the Young • Various

... Andromeda Nebula (see Frontispiece), which is so vast that notwithstanding its immense distance even the naked eye perceives it as an enigmatical wisp in the sky. Its image on the sensitive plate is the masterpiece of astronomical photography; for wild, incomprehensible beauty there is nothing that can be compared with it. Here, if anywhere, we look upon the spectacle ...
— Curiosities of the Sky • Garrett Serviss

... road to look at him. The young fellow was lying on his back on the stretcher, looking very pale. His eyes were closed, and a stiff wisp of his fair hair was clotted with blood. The bystanders, however, declared that there was no serious harm done, and, besides, the scamp had only himself to blame, for he was always playing all sorts of wild pranks in the cellars. It was generally supposed that he had ...
— The Fat and the Thin • Emile Zola

... the right direction. There came a snap, and the neck was straight. She then began to stroke it with gentle yet firm hand. In a few moments he began to breathe. As soon as she saw his chest move, she called for a wisp of hay, and having shaped it a little, drew herself from under his head, substituting the hay. Then rising without a word she walked from the yard. Stopchase lay for a while, gradually coming to himself, then scrambled ...
— St. George and St. Michael • George MacDonald

... instance, to catch and let dangle. The chance light of some shy eye had touched and then eluded him. I believe he loved the chase more than the quarry. He knew he must go a-hunting from that moment in which the light began to play will-o'-the-wisp; for action was his meat and dominion what he breathed. If you wanted to make Galors dangerous you had to set him on a vanishing trail. The girl had been a fool to run, but how was ...
— The Forest Lovers • Maurice Hewlett

... could be seen swooping down from the branch of a certain apple-tree and back again to their starting-place without having touched the ground. "Flycatchers!" said Turner exultantly. "I shall ha' to look about. They got their nest somewhere near, you may be sure o' that! A little wisp o' grass somewhere in the clunch (fork) of a tree ..." (his glance wandered speculatively round in search of a likely place) "that's where they builds. Ah! look now! There he goes again! Right in the ...
— Change in the Village • (AKA George Bourne) George Sturt

... possessions into a bag at his belt, slid the knife into a spring holster above his wrist, and picked up the bowl-shaped helmet. It seated on a plastic seal, and the little air compressor at his back began to hum, ready to turn the thin wisp of Mars' atmosphere into a barely breathable pressure. He tested the Marspeaker—an amplifier and speaker in another pouch, designed to raise the volume of his voice to a level where it would carry through even the air ...
— Police Your Planet • Lester del Rey

... about in the darkness behind, I came boldly out and stood over the huddled figures. Now I saw that they were old women, very old, and both fast asleep, with their arms locked about each other for protection against the cold. Both were bare-headed and scantily dressed, and each wore a little wisp of gray hair drawn into a button at the back of her head, just as Mrs. Pringle had worn hers. I touched the nearest bundle on the shoulder. She awoke with a start, and peered around at me with a pitiful whimper. I explained that I only wanted to pass, and that ...
— The Long Day - The Story of a New York Working Girl As Told by Herself • Dorothy Richardson

... night the Moors kept regular watch, and frequently looked into the hut to see if I was asleep; and if it was quite dark, they would light a wisp of grass. About two o'clock in the morning a Moor entered the hut, probably with a view to steal something, or perhaps to murder me; and groping about he laid his hand upon my shoulder. As night visitors were at ...
— Travels in the Interior of Africa - Volume 1 • Mungo Park

... a coward, perhaps, but I did not try to dissuade her. Though she was fatherless and motherless, and loverless and friendless, I let her grasp at this wisp of hope and cling to it, though I knew it would never hold, and that her only chance for happiness was passing ...
— The Forsaken Inn - A Novel • Anna Katharine Green

... or five whales, from thirty to fifty feet in length, apparently. We could have tossed a pebble upon them. At times abreast, and then in single file, or disorderly, round and round they went, now rising with a puff followed by a wisp of vapor, then plunging into the deep again. There was something in their large movements very imposing, and yet very graceless. There seemed to be no muscular effort, no exertion of any force from within, and no more flexibility in their motions than if they had been built of timber. ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. VI.,October, 1860.—No. XXXVI. - A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics • Various

... Why do we not stop and gather it by the roadside we are passing now? We will not find it farther on. That which is enticing us onward is only the illusionary flicker of a will o'-the-wisp! We will stretch out our hands too late—when we have been caught in its fatal snares, and then in the darkness and misery that will surround us, we will feel how foolish we have been, and our cries of despair and distress will be echoed back to our own ears in ...
— Honor Edgeworth • Vera

... I am an old host, and must have my talk. This peevish humour of melancholy sits ill upon you; it suits not with a sleek boot, a hat of trim block, a fresh cloak, and a full purse. A pize on it! send it off to those who have their legs swathed with a hay-wisp, their heads thatched with a felt bonnet, their jerkin as thin as a cobweb, and their pouch without ever a cross to keep the fiend Melancholy from dancing in it. Cheer up, sir! or, by this good liquor, we shall banish thee from the joys of ...
— Kenilworth • Sir Walter Scott

... corner of the room he takes a pile of manuscript, and weary as he is, adds several pages to it. The dream of his boyhood has grown with him—that delightful dream of authorship! How this will-o'-the-wisp of the brain entices one into mental fogs! How it coaxes and pets one, cheats and ruins one! And so that appalling pile of closely-written manuscript is Mortimer's romance? Wasted hours and wasted thought—who ...
— Daisy's Necklace - And What Came of It • Thomas Bailey Aldrich

... for the key to this mysterious thing we call life? Modern biochemistry will not listen to the old notion of a vital force—that is only a metaphysical will-o'-the-wisp that leaves us floundering in the quagmire. If I question the forces about me, what answer do I get? Molecular attraction and repulsion seem to say, "It is not in us; we are as active in the clod as in the flower." The four principal elements—oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, ...
— The Breath of Life • John Burroughs

... same half-tolerant, half-amused contempt of me that it had worn in life; the drawn lips seemed to mock me, and the clenched fists to defy me still; so that I shivered, and turned to watch the oncoming light that danced like a will-o'-the-wisp among the shadows. Presently it stopped, and a voice hailed ...
— The Broad Highway • Jeffery Farnol

... the picture. In practice, thin, high white clouds against a blue sky can rarely be taken at all, or only under exceptional circumstances of illumination. The reason seems to be that there is very little light reflected at all from a thin wisp of cirrus, and what there is must pass through an atmosphere always more or less charged with floating particles of ice or water, besides earthy dust of all kinds. The light which is scattered and diffused by all ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 611, September 17, 1887 • Various

... overtures. But Ralph could look at nothing else while she was about. She loved to lead him in a long, wild-goose chase across the island, dipping almost within reach one moment, losing herself at the zenith in another, alighting here and there with a will-o'-the-wisp capriciousness. Sometimes Ralph would return in such an exhausted condition that he dropped to sleep while he ate. At such times his mood was far from agreeable. His companions soon learned not to address him ...
— Angel Island • Inez Haynes Gillmore

... of her female ancestors must have had an intimacy with one of those traveling tinkers who, have gone about the country from time immemorial, with faces the color of bistre and indigo, crowned by a wisp of light hair. ...
— The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Volume IV (of 8) • Guy de Maupassant

... in the crucible caught fire from a wisp that thrust up into it from the brazier, flared up of a sudden and lighted every corner of the old cellar. It revealed the craning neck and slack jaw of Gregory, the covetous glittering eyes and incredulous smile of Prince John, the ...
— Masters of the Guild • L. Lamprey

... younger son. 'Ted is such a saint, I'm afraid we are going to lose him. Is it Meg's sweet influence, or Daisy's fine cooking, or the pellets I catch Nan giving him on the sly? Some witchcraft has been at work during my absence, and this will-o'-the-wisp is so amiable, quiet, and ...
— Jo's Boys • Louisa May Alcott

... bided his time and kept as quiet as a mouse. Just in the nick of time the ladder was run out, and Mr Sparks tripping over it, fell violently to the ground. He sprang up and gave chase, of course, but he might as well have followed a will-o'-the-wisp. The young scamps, doubling like hares, took refuge in a dark recess under a stair with which they were well acquainted, and from that position they watched their enemy. They heard him go growling past; knew, a moment or two later, from the disappointed tone of the ...
— Life in the Red Brigade - London Fire Brigade • R.M. Ballantyne

... family, and his mother's favorite. Why, no one knew, except that he was so ugly. He had so many scars on his face, from falls and fights, that somehow he produced the impression of a target. His hair stood out like a halo of straw, and one defiant wisp reared itself above his forehead with the grace of a cat's whisker. Mrs. Lilly could never sleep until he was safe in her arms, and his life knew no cross until after the accident to Katharine Kirk, who became, in her turn, the pivot round which the family revolved. Horrible to relate, his mother ...
— Harper's Young People, October 19, 1880 - An Illustrated Weekly • Various

... with lines and groups of peoples clustering to the hilltop—and over the far-reaching slopes I could see the awaiting throngs. My guide pointed to the constellation of Perseus, and I could discern a nebulous mass of considerable diameter from which proceeded a wisp-like exhalation, just a phantasmal ...
— The Certainty of a Future Life in Mars • L. P. Gratacap

... certainly indirect. His plays on the other hand, in the production of which he spent the better part of his life, greatly outweigh his novel both in aesthetic and historical importance. To attempt to estimate Lyly's position as a novelist and as a prose writer is to chase the will-o'-the-wisp of theory over the morass of uncertainty; the task of investigating his comedies is altogether simpler and more straightforward. After groping our way through the undergrowth of minor literature, we come out upon ...
— John Lyly • John Dover Wilson

... you are my life—my life—my glorious life! I want you to see and know that but for you I am nothing—a wisp of straw blown about by all the winds of Heaven—a mere unit of consciousness in a blank, black void. See what comes of it! Here was I, before this unfortunate result of what is from my point of view a lamentable miscarriage of Destiny, a tolerably well-informed ... English male!... Well—what ...
— When Ghost Meets Ghost • William Frend De Morgan

... up between the two main buildings of the Michaelville front. The air was clear as far as they could see, but from under the north building, a tiny wisp of fog was coming. As it came under the glare of the three huge arc-lights which flooded the ground with light, it grew more tenuous and gradually dissipated into nothingness. With an exclamation of satisfaction, Dr. Bird bent down and thrust the end of a cylinder under the building. He removed ...
— Poisoned Air • Sterner St. Paul Meek

... ways of Heaven. From the plain, From mere and holt and hollow rose amain The haunters of the silence; from the streams And wells of water, from the country demes, From plough and pasture, bottom, ridge and crest The rustic Gods rose up and joined the rest. Like a long wisp of cloud from out his banks Streamed Xanthos, that swift river, to the ranks Of flying shapes; and driven by that same mind That urged him to it came Simoeis behind, And other Gods and other, of stream and tree And hill and vale—for nothing there can be On earth or under Heaven, but ...
— Helen Redeemed and Other Poems • Maurice Hewlett

... on her back, the little emaciated wisp of humanity, hardly raising the piecework quilt enough to make the bed seem occupied, and to account for the thin, worn old face on the pillow. But as I entered the room her eyes seized on mine, and I was aware of nothing but them and some fury of determination behind ...
— Hillsboro People • Dorothy Canfield

... Dundee had been the youngest of Margaret's four brothers, and, as Clara told me, she had well-nigh worshipped him. He was going to sea at the time, skipper of one of the sailing ships of the Bank Line, when he married Agnes Hewitt. She was described as a slender wisp of a girl, delicately featured and with a nervous organization of the supersensitive order. Theirs had been the first marriage in the "new" church, and after a two-weeks' honeymoon Samuel had kissed his bride good-bye and sailed in command of the ...
— The Strength of the Strong • Jack London

... happy result is loving children, and yet while this happy family, free from Nature's pitfalls and snares, are living in a peaceful and blissful state, there exists the ever-menacing "devil" who tempts the loving wife and mother to follow the will-o'-the-wisp—and thereby undoes and destroys the greatest ...
— Tyranny of God • Joseph Lewis

... the next fort assailed, stubbornly held out, and officers and men fell in the unsuccessful attempt to storm it. In three weeks Sale marched to and fro through the Kohistan, pursuing will-o'-the-wisp rumours as to the whereabouts of the Dost, destroying forts on the course of his weary pilgrimage, and ...
— The Afghan Wars 1839-42 and 1878-80 • Archibald Forbes

... breast; I hugged him from behind desperately. Oh! he was heavy, heavy; heavier than any man on earth, I should imagine. Then without more ado I tipped him overboard. The current snatched him as though he had been a wisp of grass, and I saw the body roll over twice before I lost sight of it for ever. All the pilgrims and the manager were then congregated on the awning-deck about the pilot-house, chattering at each other like a flock of excited magpies, and there ...
— Heart of Darkness • Joseph Conrad

... politely astonished, as well she might be. By a happy chance she did not perceive the wisp of steam. She was not looking for steam. People do not expect steam from the interior ...
— The Matador of the Five Towns and Other Stories • Arnold Bennett

... the baskets, Willow-grouse sewed them with an over-and-over stitch. In this way she made the soft grasses into a firm basket. She began by taking a wisp of grass in the left hand and a flat splint in the other. She wound the splint around the wisp a few times then turned the wrapped portion upon itself. When she had fastened it with a firm stitch, again she wound the splint around the wisp and took ...
— The Later Cave-Men • Katharine Elizabeth Dopp

... glad to sleep three hours on the hard ground, or once in a month of Sundays on a wisp of straw, glad to turn out at three o'clock in the morning and warm up by marching thirty kilometres with a knapsack on one's back, sweating freely for eight or ten hours at a time.... Glad above all to get in touch with the enemy, and rest a little lying down under a bank, while one peppered ...
— Clerambault - The Story Of An Independent Spirit During The War • Rolland, Romain

... greater numbers than anywhere else. The best places were quickly taken, the hollows in the trees, the holes in the walls, the forks of the apple-trees and the elms, and you could see a brown beak, like the point of a sword, sticking out of a wisp of straw between all the rafters of the roof. One year, when all the places were taken, I suppose, a tomtit, in her embarrassment, spied the slit of the letter-box protected by its little roof, at the right of the parsonage gate. She slipped in, was satisfied with the result ...
— International Short Stories: French • Various

... Carlyle would prefer, I suppose, to go down into the dark vaults under the castle. The Man in the Moon, the Old Harry, and William of the Wisp would be valuable additions, and the Laureate Tennyson might compose an official ode upon the occasion: or I would ask "They" to say ...
— Prue and I • George William Curtis

... completely forget it. For Love, and Death, and Pain are only symbols to him who is enslaved by the pen. Moreover, he suffers always the pangs of an unsatisfied hunger, the exquisite torture of an unappeased and unappeasable thirst, for something which, like a will-o'-the-wisp, hovers ever above and beyond him, past the power of ...
— At the Sign of the Jack O'Lantern • Myrtle Reed

... to-day a charred cinder lapped about by the blue Pacific. At times gulls circle over its blackened and desolate surface devoid of every vestige of life. From the squat, truncated mass of Lakalatcha, shorn of half its lordly height, a feeble wisp of smoke still issues to the breeze, as if Vulcan, tired of his forge, had banked ...
— O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1920 • Various

... slightly, with a wavering smile. She was a strange wisp of a girl, and Polly was not in the least disappointed when she made no answer, only watched the fingers that were ...
— Polly of the Hospital Staff • Emma C. Dowd

... mysterious voice of little Mary Alice Smith herself that so often queried and responded as above— every word accented with a sweet and eery intonation, and a very gaiety of solemn earnestness that baffled the cunning skill of all childish imitators. A slender wisp of a girl she was, not more than ten years in appearance, though her age had been given to us as fourteen. The spindle ankles that she so airily flourished from the sparse concealment of a worn and shadowy calico skirt seemed scarce ...
— Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley • James Whitcomb Riley

... another turn, and in front of them shone out a light, gleaming dully like a will-of-the-wisp. It looked close at hand, but the creek turned upon itself, coiled and writhed through the marsh, and trebled ...
— Prisoners of Hope - A Tale of Colonial Virginia • Mary Johnston

... brightened, and within an hour, as we ran down upon it at something like eight knots, the Island began to take shape. A wisp of morning fog floated horizontally across it, dividing its shore-line from the hills in the interior, which, looming above this cloudy base, appeared considerably higher than, in fact, they were. The shore itself along the eastern side showed almost uniformly ...
— Poison Island • Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch (Q)

... He is pallid, even in bronze, and his face is lined as he muses over the problem that has stumped the wisest of us: how to make a man by stuffing a child with books! It cannot be done, but we follow this will-o'-the wisp through the swamps of experience with the pitiable enthusiasm ...
— Germany and the Germans - From an American Point of View (1913) • Price Collier

... They were slender as sky-sail-poles; standing in a row, resembled a picket- fence; and were surmounted by enormous heads of hair, combed out all round, variously dyed, and evened by being singed with a lighted wisp of straw. Like milliners' parcels, they were very neatly done up; wearing ...
— Mardi: and A Voyage Thither, Vol. II (of 2) • Herman Melville

... the horse-hair arm-chair where Mrs Verloc's mother was generally privileged to sit, Karl Yundt giggled grimly, with a faint black grimace of a toothless mouth. The terrorist, as he called himself, was old and bald, with a narrow, snow-white wisp of a goatee hanging limply from his chin. An extraordinary expression of underhand malevolence survived in his extinguished eyes. When he rose painfully the thrusting forward of a skinny groping hand deformed by gouty ...
— The Secret Agent - A Simple Tale • Joseph Conrad

... Ferguson proclaimed, "and, by God, she drew! Never a wisp of smoke anywhere save in the pointed channel, and that during the ...
— Burning Daylight • Jack London

... John's Court? One evening, when he returned home, Dion found that old phenomenon in the house paying his respects to Robin. He was quite neatly dressed, and wore beneath a comparatively clean collar a wisp of black tie that was highly respectable, though his top hat, deposited in the hall, was still as the terror that walketh in darkness. His poor old gray eyes were pathetic, and his long, battered old face ...
— In the Wilderness • Robert Hichens

... rudiment of a hint of a ghost of a sunny, funny old French remembrance long forgotten—a brand-new old remembrance—a kind of will-o'-the-wisp. Chut! my soul stalks it on tiptoe, while these earthly legs bear this poor old body of clay, by mere reflex action, straight home to the beautiful Elisabethan house on the hill; through the great warm hall, up the broad oak stairs, into the big cheerful ...
— The Martian • George Du Maurier

... was never ripe for anything but frolic. Had not Stephen been influenced by a desire to do good, and possibly by another feeling too embryonic for detection, he would never have dreamed of making an errand boy of a will-o'-the-wisp. As such, however, he was installed, and from that moment an anxiety unknown before took possession of Stephen's bosom. He was never at ease, for he never knew what the boy might be about. He would have parted with him the first fortnight, ...
— Stephen Archer and Other Tales • George MacDonald

... circumstance which recalls to mind the Pyrenean legend of the spirit of the Lord of Orthez, mentioned by Miss Costello, which appeared as two straws moving on the floor. Query, Has the name of "Will o' the Wisp" any connexion with the supposed habit ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 54, November 9, 1850 • Various

... and yet, under the whip of party policy, Douglas supported Polk. Slowly he deteriorated in his moral fibre. One by one the moral lights seem to have gone out. He was intoxicated by his own success. Ambition deluded him. He began to follow the will-o'-the-wisp, the light that rises from putrescence and decay in the swamp, and forgot the eternal stars in God's sky. In 1854 he entered the valley of decision, and like the rich young ruler made the great refusal, and chose compromise instead ...
— The Battle of Principles - A Study of the Heroism and Eloquence of the Anti-Slavery Conflict • Newell Dwight Hillis

... me through a short passage, and then, striking a match, lit a big old-fashioned lantern. As the light fell upon her features I saw they were thin and hard, with deep-set eyes and a stray wisp of silver across her wrinkled brow. Around her head was a kind of hood of the same stuff as her dress, a black, coarse woolen, while around her neck was a broad linen collar. In an instant I recognized that she was a member ...
— The Czar's Spy - The Mystery of a Silent Love • William Le Queux

... cataracts tumble; away through the dark pine-forests, where the hungry wolves are howling away over the dreary wolds, where the wild wind walks alone; away through the plashing quagmires, where the will-o'-the-wisp slunk frightened among the reeds; away through light and darkness, storm and sunshine; away by tower and town, high-road and hamlet. Once a turnpike-man would have detained him; but, ha! ha! he charged the pike, and cleared it at a bound. Once the Cologne ...
— Burlesques • William Makepeace Thackeray

... toward them, and he sank on the settle beside them, with perhaps half a dozen spans of the hand between. He smoked till the cigarette scorched his fingers, then he dropped it, extinguishing the coal with the toe of his pump. He observed the women frankly. Not a single wisp of hair escaped the veils, not a line of any feature could be traced, and yet the tint of flesh shone dimly behind the silken bands of crape; and ...
— The Lure of the Mask • Harold MacGrath

... labour she had expended on it with curling-iron and brush. As to her face, the more noticeable features were a very broad, flat nose; a comparatively chinless under jaw, on which grew an accidental wisp of hair or two; a narrow and permanently decorated upper lip. When she smiled—well, the effect was discouraging, to say the least. Her eyes were pale and prominent. In spite of all this, practice in rouging might have helped her a little, but she had had no practice. Young men ...
— Her Weight in Gold • George Barr McCutcheon

... spent in Lava, pulled his horse down to a walk and then stopped him in the trail while he stared hard at the Whipple shack. Five horses walked uneasily around inside the corral, manes and tails whipping in the gale that blew cold from out the north. From the bent stovepipe of the shack a wisp of smoke was caught and bandied here and there above the pole-and-dirt roof. It seemed incredible to Tom that squatters could have come in and taken possession of the place in his short absence, but there was no other explanation that ...
— Rim o' the World • B. M. Bower

... pacific agreement with England is a will-o'-the-wisp which no serious German statesman would trouble to follow. We must always keep the possibility of war with England before our eyes, and arrange our political and military plans accordingly.—GENERAL ...
— Gems (?) of German Thought • Various

... shaft, was open. Madan looked into the little den, where the lamp was still burning on the wall, and groaned. The young fellow who was generally to be found there was a great friend of his, and they attended the same chapel together. A little farther an open cupboard was noticed with a wisp of spun yarn hanging out from it—inflammable stuff, quite untouched. But about thirty yards farther they came upon the first signs of mischief. A heavy fall of roof had to be scrambled over, and beyond it afterdamp was ...
— Sir George Tressady, Vol. II • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... cloud, that already its gloom was exchanged for that diffused light which fills vapours from within and lends them their mystery. A belt of thick brushwood and low trees lay before me, clinging to the slope, and as I pushed with great difficulty and many turns to right and left through its tangle a wisp of cloud enveloped me, and from that time on I was now in, now out, of a deceptive drifting fog, in which it was most difficult to ...
— The Path to Rome • Hilaire Belloc

... any ornament at all. And on her hair was not a star, but a great yellow moonstone, that shone with a dull glimmer like a rival moon of her own, and over her left shoulder a long coil of dark hair came out from behind her head and hung down like a serpent, ending in a soft wisp like a yak's tail that was tied round with yellow silk. And the only thing that she retained of what she was before was the intoxicating charm of the upright poise of her whole figure, which seemed to ...
— The Substance of a Dream • F. W. Bain

... characteristic of the place, the sky fades towards night through a surprising key of colours. The latest gold leaps from the last mountain. Soon, perhaps, the moon shall rise, and in her gentler light the valley shall be mellowed and misted, and here and there a wisp of silver cloud upon a hilltop, and here and there a warmly glowing window in a house, between fire and starlight, kind and homely in the fields ...
— Essays of Travel • Robert Louis Stevenson

... it is true, sir," Mr. Cowper asserted, a little severely. "Your services, Mr. Bunsome, are necessary to us, but I beg that you will not confound the enterprise in which you will presently find yourself engaged, with any of the hazardous, will-o'-the-wisp undertakings which spring up day by day, they tell me, in the city, and which owe their very existence and such measure of success as they may achieve, to the credulity of fools. Let me impress upon you, Mr. Bunsome, that you are, on this occasion, associated ...
— The Double Life Of Mr. Alfred Burton • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... whatever to meddle with the movements of the suspicious parties, except that he might have obtained some description of Columbus' right by discovery. However, the reasons being what they might, the fact was patent—they were now in full chase of a will-of-the-wisp ...
— Shoulder-Straps - A Novel of New York and the Army, 1862 • Henry Morford

... to Holland and its nearest neighbours. He took measures to recover what he claimed had been usurped by Utrecht, and he initiated proceedings to make good the title of Lord of Friesland, that will-o'-the wisp to successive Counts of Holland and never acknowledged by the Frisians. In efforts to weld together the various provinces the months passed, until a new turn of foreign events began to absorb the ...
— Charles the Bold - Last Duke Of Burgundy, 1433-1477 • Ruth Putnam

... touching her fringe, giving little pats and pulls to her dress, preparatory to descent, and Sophia whispered, 'Just see, Caroline, that wisp of hair near my ear—so tiresome! I can never be sure ...
— THE MISSES MALLETT • E. H. YOUNG

... clear field for the stars. The evening wind arose; at last the day died; unheralded by any dusk, on came the night. Color of blood changed to color of gold, gleamed and glistened the sea, sparkled the fire-flies, shone the deep stars; over the marsh flared the will-o'-the-wisp like a ...
— Sir Mortimer • Mary Johnston

... were not certain. Then they stopped playing and talked, and their voices sounded goblin-like in their dark recess, where candles were carried about in an uncertain wavering manner, reminding Ruth of the flickering zigzag motion of the will-o'-the-wisp. ...
— Ruth • Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

... her sisters and swept them out, she did not know to what. She never even wondered. She had not been taught to care. She had never been taught anything. The knowledge that she must be famous danced through her dreams like a will-o'-the-wisp; had grown within her in the shape of a great pain that never ceased; only eased a little as she ...
— O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1921 • Various

... minutes bubbled and dripped from the old wooden clock. By noon the room was as murky as dish-water, and Stanton lay and fretted in the messy, sudsy snow-light like a forgotten knife or spoon until the janitor wandered casually in about three o'clock and wrung a piercing little wisp of flame out of the electric-light bulb over the sick man's head, and raised him clumsily out of his soggy pillows and fed him indolently with a sad, thin soup. Worst of all, four times in the dreadful interim ...
— Molly Make-Believe • Eleanor Hallowell Abbott

... and in trouble we are at hand. Things are as we take them—the gravest face may have a wart, upon which a jest can be made. When you have once laughed at a misfortune, its sting loses its point. We deaden it—we light up the darkness—even though it be with a will 'o the wisp—and if we understand our business, manage to hack the lumpy dough of heavy sorrow into little pieces, which even a princely stomach ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... pink cloud-tips lay bright and still as a sheet of steel. The fields of lucerne, under the morning light, were softly turning from black to emerald, and beyond the aloe hedge a native kraal that was scattered on the side of a hill slowly woke to life. A dog barked; a wisp of smoke curled between the thatched huts, and one or two blanketed figures crept from the low doors. The simple yet secret lives of these people intrigued Christine deeply. She knew little of Kafirs, ...
— Blue Aloes - Stories of South Africa • Cynthia Stockley

... off all the straps. In moving round him for the purpose of gentling him, walk slowly always from the head round the tail, and again to the head: scrape the sweat off him with a scraper; rub him down with a wisp; smooth the hair of his legs, and draw the fore one straight out. If he has fought hard, he will lie like a dead horse, and scarcely stir. You must now again go over him as conscientiously as if you were a mesmeric doctor or shampooer: every ...
— A New Illustrated Edition of J. S. Rarey's Art of Taming Horses • J. S. Rarey

... in a high and stately fashion to-night. She wore a gown of gold brocade and a necklace and little tiara of emeralds and diamonds; she was looking very handsome and very regal. Thornton was a thin, dark, nervous wisp of a man, who had borne his share of the burdens laid upon his city in the cataclysm of 1906, but if his wife had demanded an enormous historic ruby he would have done his best to gratify her. But how ...
— The Avalanche • Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton

... candles, that appeared to issue from his horse's ears. He certainly is as little likely to be affected by superstition as most men; but never before having heard of such a circumstance, and the idea of electricity not then occurring to his mind, he could not help thinking that Will o' the wisp and he, hoping it was nothing worse, had got into rather ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction - Vol. XIX. No. 554, Saturday, June 30, 1832 • Various

... Hyalonemas, or glass-rope ocean floor by a twisted wisp of strong flexible flint needles, somewhat on the principle of a screw-pile. So strange and complicated is their structure, that naturalists for a long while could literally make neither head nor tail of them, as long as they had only Japanese ...
— Glaucus; or The Wonders of the Shore • Charles Kingsley

... rays of the love-star burned low upon the grey horizon, that star towards which the eyes of women yearn and which women's feet are fain to follow, though, like a will-o'-the-wisp, it leads them through strange and difficult places, ...
— Master of the Vineyard • Myrtle Reed

... the window, watching his progress, and wondering with what sudden madness he was bitten. Indeed, I could not credit my senses, could not believe that I heard and saw aright. Yet there out in the darkness on the moor moved the will-o'-the-wisp, and ten yards along the gutter crept my friend, like a great gaunt cat. Unknown to me he must have prospected the route by daylight, for now I saw his design. The ledge terminated only where it met the ancient wall ...
— The Devil Doctor • Sax Rohmer

... grove of Egeria was, however, dispelled when the valley was turned into a place of imprisonment for the Jews. Domitian drove them out of the Ghetto, and shut them up here, with only a basket and a wisp of hay for each person, to undergo unheard-of privations and miseries. The Horticultural Gardens, where the shrubs and plants are grown that ornament the public squares and terraces of the city, now occupy the site of the celebrated ...
— Roman Mosaics - Or, Studies in Rome and Its Neighbourhood • Hugh Macmillan

... he looked up to find that her eyes were not on him, and that she was twisting her wisp of a handkerchief between her fingers quite as if considering whether such fury, disappointment and humiliation could ever be forgiven. He felt that he was on trial and that his ...
— Mixed Faces • Roy Norton

... He peered for a long time at the prone and motionless body beneath him. After a while the stranger sat down on the edge of the hole so that he could see into it, and rested the revolver on his knee. Reaching his hand into a pocket, he drew out a wisp of brown paper. Into this he dropped a few crumbs of tobacco. The combination became a cigarette, brown and squat, with the ends turned in. Not once did he take his eyes from the body at the bottom of the hole. He lighted the cigarette and drew its smoke into his lungs with a caressing intake ...
— Brown Wolf and Other Jack London Stories - Chosen and Edited By Franklin K. Mathiews • Jack London

... like criminals to receive your sentence, if you will not show us mercy. Pity those who condemn themselves and come to ask forgiveness. It is you who have given strength to the nation by dwelling with it; and if you leave us, we shall be like a wisp of straw torn from the ground to be the sport of the wind. This country is an island drifting on the waves, for the first storm to overwhelm and sink. Make it fast again to its foundation, and posterity ...
— The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century • Francis Parkman

... said Mary. As she bumped the chair under the porch she straightened her long back. The exertion had given her a colour, and the wind had loosened a wisp of hair across her forehead. Miss ...
— A Diversity of Creatures • Rudyard Kipling

... Gerald, "that he joined the Wills-of-the-Wisp, that company which was got up by Sir Lewis Willingham, and played at Devereux Castle a year or two ago. Some one told me they were wonderfully effective ...
— The Long Vacation • Charlotte M. Yonge

... The roads became appalling. There were only three broken-down horses on the estate and not a wisp of hay. The horses had to be fed on rye straw chopped up with an axe and sprinkled with flour. One of the horses was vicious and there was no getting it out of the yard. Another was stolen in the fields and a dead horse left ...
— Letters of Anton Chekhov • Anton Chekhov

... at Manassas. The chaplain, still talking, was persuaded stiffly to dismount, to give Pluto's bridle into Stafford's hand, and to enter. There were other occupants, two rows of them. Stafford saw his old friend laid in a corner, on a wisp of straw; then, finding Fontaine in the ranks, gave over the grey, and joined the staff creeping, creeping on tired horses ...
— The Long Roll • Mary Johnston

... came repeated notes from the horn, the baying of hounds, and the screams that celebrate with orthodox excitement the death of a fox. The rat-hunt was over. Joker lifted his spare, aristocratic head from the grass, and listened, with a wisp of dewy green stuff in his mouth. Christian looked at her watch. It was early still, not eight o'clock. A grey horse and its rider came forth from the dark grove of laurels. Larry was looking for her. She sighed; she did not know why. She thought ...
— Mount Music • E. Oe. Somerville and Martin Ross

... It was delightful to bowl over the country in that way. I laughed all the time. Miles and miles of somber landscape were made bright with merry song, and when the sun shone and all the golden summer lay spread out before us, it was glorious just to drift on through it like a wisp, of thistle-down, careless of how, or when, or where the wind should anchor us. 'There's a tang of gipsy blood in my veins that pants for ...
— The Complete Works • James Whitcomb Riley

... pocket of my coat I had the lace handkerchief which I had stolen on the night of the ball. As Dick questioned Carmona, and Carmona answered, I flashed out the wisp of lace and passed it across my lips, not turning to look full at the slim, grey-coated figure on the front seat, yet conscious by a side glance that ...
— The Car of Destiny • C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson

... Bruges. But Ambrose was found to have gone abroad in the train of Sir Thomas More, and nothing was heard till their return six weeks later, when Ambrose brought home a small packet which had been conveyed to him through one of the Emperor's suite. It was tied up with a long tough pale wisp of hair, evidently from the mane or tail of some Flemish horse, and was addressed, "To Master Ambrose Birkenholt, menial clerk to the most worshipful Sir Thomas More, Knight, Under Sheriff of the City of London. ...
— The Armourer's Prentices • Charlotte M. Yonge

... bondman could follow the free in all but the flesh, through every corridor of the prison and every street outside, to the hotel where you read the English papers on the veranda, or to the little restaurant where the Chianti was corked with oil which the waiter removed with a wisp of tow. ...
— Stingaree • E. W. (Ernest William) Hornung

... instant it was out of the question to think of putting out the flame that leaped from wisp to wisp ...
— The High School Boys' Training Hike • H. Irving Hancock

... her bare right breast stood out and shone like a great moonlit sea pearl, while the other was hiding behind the curling fold of the pale green garment that ran around her, embracing her with clinging clasp like a winding wisp of emerald foam fondly wrapping the yielding waist of Wishnu's sea-born wife. And she was very tall, and shaped like Shri, and she stood with her head a little bent, and her sightless eyes fixed as it were on empty space, just as though ...
— An Essence Of The Dusk, 5th Edition • F. W. Bain

... Ah bet Ah knows just the woman for you-all, ef you-all ain't lookin' for a young gal with a figger like a wisp of hay." ...
— Polly of Pebbly Pit • Lillian Elizabeth Roy

... the least,' she replied, in her measured way. Loerke laughed, wrinkling up his face oddly. There was a thin wisp of his hair straying on his forehead, she noticed that his skin was of a clear brown colour, his hands, his wrists. And his hands seemed closely prehensile. He seemed like topaz, so strangely ...
— Women in Love • D. H. Lawrence

... frightful wilderness. In a journey of forty miles Avaux counted only three miserable cabins. Every thing else was rock, bog, and moor. When at length the travellers reached Omagh, they found it in ruins. The Protestants, who were the majority of the inhabitants, had abandoned it, leaving not a wisp of straw nor a cask of liquor. The windows had been broken: the chimneys had been beaten in: the very locks and bolts of the doors had been carried ...
— The History of England from the Accession of James II. - Volume 3 (of 5) • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... being finished, the table-furniture is rinsed in hot water and set aside until morning. A wisp of dry prairie-grass is supposed in most cases to render the knife fit to be restored to the scabbard, and there being, at this season of the year, no amusement but that of watching the awkward movements of the spancelled ...
— Wau-bun - The Early Day in the Northwest • Juliette Augusta Magill Kinzie

... gesticulating, walked one after the other clean through him! Neither manifested the slightest consciousness of his presence. It is difficult to imagine the sensation he felt. They came against him, he says, with no more force than a wisp of mist. ...
— The Country of the Blind, And Other Stories • H. G. Wells

... baronet. He stopped short, for he suddenly got his answer. Into the hall limped a boy. Never was there seen so ruinous a child. He was dripping wet, his shirt was all but torn off his back, his bleeding nose was poorly staunched by a wisp of handkerchief, his breeches were in ribbons, and his poor bare legs looked as if they had been comprehensively kicked and scratched. Limpingly he entered, yet with a kind of pride, like some small cock-sparrow who has lost most of his plumage but ...
— Huntingtower • John Buchan

... highest peak the sun shone, only there were mists, which it did not pierce, in the valleys below. Just, it caught one wisp of the vapour, and twirled it about in the wind. The errant thing flung into a sign—Federation of the English-speaking People; and ...
— The Romance of a Pro-Consul - Being The Personal Life And Memoirs Of The Right Hon. Sir - George Grey, K.C.B. • James Milne

... Octavia in the play-ground, and was surprised to find what a vivid picture he retained of her lingering in the porch to put it up; her rounded arms held above her head, her pretty shoulders, full throat, and glowing face thrown back, and a wisp of the very hair between her white teeth! He began ...
— Cressy • Bret Harte

... it that she always had chickens and eggs to sell? It is true that in the summer she was often seen collecting cock-chafers, grasshoppers, and all kinds of worms, and on moonless nights she was seen gliding like a wil-o'-the-wisp among the graves in the churchyard, where she would be carrying a burning torch and collecting the large black worms that crept out, all the time muttering to herself. It was even said that in the quiet winter nights she held wonderful conversations with her goat and ...
— The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Vol. VIII • Various

... she called out, "the pretty baby's gone. But there's no call to be afraid for her. She ran off when she was playing with your little sisters in front of the house, and chase her as we might, we couldn't catch her. She danced away like a will-o'-the-wisp, laughing as I've never heard a child laugh, so fine and pretty and mischievous it was. And I've bethought me what it means. 'Twas the day for the moor-fairies to show themselves, it comes but once in seven years, and we've ...
— Miss Mouse and Her Boys • Mrs. Molesworth

... their appearance. They all had at their backs large baskets bound by withes passing across the forehead and chest. They were but lightly clothed. A small poncho covered their shoulders, and the usual cloth and kilt was worn round the loins, a wisp of leaves preventing their backs being chafed by their burdens. Each man also carried a long staff in his hand, and a bag of roasted corn as provision for the journey. The burdens were soon adjusted. One of them had a sort of chair at his back, which Don Jose had ordered to carry ...
— On the Banks of the Amazon • W.H.G. Kingston

... she took one from his case and gave it to him. Then, striking a match, held it for him, till the wisp of paper and tobacco was well alight; while he lay back, drawing in the fragrant smoke, with a sigh in which contentment and despair ...
— Captain Desmond, V.C. • Maud Diver

... twisted and hammered, to keep the common folk from tumbling into the cellars, and in the peaked roof of fair white plaster were driven great nails from which hung fags of rope, and from one something which was no rope, but a poor wisp of humanity staring horribly ...
— The Justice of the King • Hamilton Drummond

... at the table, cleaning a crisp head of celery. The position showed me her profile, with a little wisp of black hair escaping ...
— War and the Weird • Forbes Phillips

... conceive, is a positive paradox. True method appertains to the ordinary and the obvious alone, and cannot be applied to the outre. What definite idea can a body attach to such expressions as "methodical Jack o' Dandy," or "a systematical Will o' the Wisp"? ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 4 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... tall thin girl, with a flat dirty face, that would have been pale, if it had not been burnt to a yellowish brown with the sun, till it was only a shade lighter than the old battered straw hat that had let a wisp or two of yellow hair through a great slit in the back just above the brim. She wore a tattered cotton frock that had nearly all the pattern washed out, which must have been a long time before, because it was so stained and worn, so thin that it ...
— Little Folks (November 1884) - A Magazine for the Young • Various

... it in the long, long Arctic night, The musk-ox knows the standard that flouts the Northern light. * * * * * * * * * Never was isle so little, never was sea so lone, But over the scud and the palm-trees an English flag has flown. I have wrenched it free from the halliard to hang for a wisp on the Horn; I have chased it north to the Lizard—ribboned and rolled and torn; I have spread its folds o'er the dying, adrift in a hopeless sea; I have hurled it swift on the slaver, and seen the ...
— Deeds that Won the Empire - Historic Battle Scenes • W. H. Fitchett

... too,' say the impatient audience, and with this I must agree; for, looking from my tent as I write, I can see the smoke-puff bulging on Bulwana Hill as 'Long Tom' toils through his seventy-second day of bombardment, and the white wisp seems to beckon the relieving ...
— London to Ladysmith via Pretoria • Winston Spencer Churchill

... Lewald, entitled England and Schottland. The authoress, when in London, visited the theatre in order to see a play founded on Cooper's novel The Wept of Wish-ton Wish; and being unable to understand the title, she calls it the "Will of the Whiston Wisp,'' which she tells us ...
— Literary Blunders • Henry B. Wheatley

... them, and two of the others were police soldiers, also armed with revolvers. He was evidently at their mercy. Short of throwing at least three of the party out of the window, nothing could avail. Such things are done without an effort on the stage by the merest wisp of a man, but in real life one must be a Hercules or a gladiator even to attempt them. Malipieri thought of what Sabina had said in the vault. Had any two people ever been in such ...
— The Heart of Rome • Francis Marion Crawford

... can't think what's the matter with me, and I've lost all my hair. You've no idea, Mrs. White, of the beautiful hair I used to have; it used to fall in armfuls over my shoulders; now, it's no more than a wisp.' ...
— A Mummer's Wife • George Moore

... desire to laugh was almost irresistible. The little girls in calico dresses were fifteen, and taller than Miss Brooks, who was just sixteen; but then, dear me, she had on a train of party length, bushels of banged hair, a little wisp of a bonnet, and little fine black marks along her lower eyelid, so altogether she looked about twenty, and was perfectly satisfied with herself. She could not look ahead to the dissatisfaction that would be hers when she became twenty, ...
— Six Girls - A Home Story • Fannie Belle Irving

... have turned towards the north. The fatal idea, that the empires of Asia might be reached through the northern seas already asserted its sway. The search for a north-west passage, that will-o'-the-wisp of three centuries, had already begun. Many years later Sebastian Cabot related to a friend at Seville some details regarding this unfortunate attempt of his father to reach the spice islands of the East. The fleet, he said, with its three hundred men, first ...
— The Dawn of Canadian History: A Chronicle of Aboriginal Canada • Stephen Leacock

... myself, the monster had pulled himself together, his crutch under his arm, his hat upon his head. Just before him Tom lay motionless upon the sward; but the murderer minded him not a whit, cleansing his blood-stained knife the while upon a wisp of grass. Everything else was unchanged, the sun still shining mercilessly on the steaming marsh and the tall pinnacle of the mountain, and I could scarce persuade myself that murder had been actually done, and a human life ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 6 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... weeks' halt at Bloemfontein. De Wet, the most enterprising and aggressive of the Boer commanders, was attacking his eastern posts and menacing his line of communications. A fussy or nervous general would have harassed his men and worn out his horses by endeavouring to pursue a number of will-of-the-wisp commandos. Roberts contented himself by building up his strength at the capital, and by spreading nearly twenty thousand men along his line of rail from Bloemfontein to Bethulie. When the time came he would strike, but until then he rested. His army was not only being ...
— The Great Boer War • Arthur Conan Doyle

... Now and then there was a wisp of breeze from the lake, but not often.... How red Lil's eyes had been ... poor girl. Moved by a sudden impulse Ma Mandle thudded down the hall in her bare feet, found a scrap of paper in the writing-desk drawer, scribbled a line on it, turned out the light, and went into the empty front room. With ...
— Half Portions • Edna Ferber

... dance). fanega acre, bushel. fantasma m. phantasm, vision. farmaceutico druggist. fatiga fatigue. fatigar to fatigue. fatuo fatuous, vain, false; fuego —— ignis fatuus, will o' the wisp. faz f. face. fe f. faith, certificate; a —— mia upon my honor; a —— que in truth. febrero February. fecundo fruitful, fertile. fecha date. fechoria action, misdeed. fehacientes (faith-inspiring) conclusive. felicidad f. happiness. ...
— Novelas Cortas • Pedro Antonio de Alarcon

... rather. I said it must generate an antigravity field that was keyed to the body of the plane but nothing else, so that we didn't feel lighter, nor any of the objects in the cabin—it just worked on the dull silvery metal—and I proved my point by using Mother to shave a little wisp of metal off the edge of the control board. The curlicue stayed in the air wherever you put it and when you moved it you could feel the faintest sort of gyroscopic resistance. ...
— The Night of the Long Knives • Fritz Reuter Leiber

... his relatives in different groups to see the strange sights,—instantaneous fire-making, and a light, without the annoyance of having fire and smoke in the middle of the floor. When they wish to look for anything in the dark, a wisp ...
— A Popular Account of Dr. Livingstone's Expedition to the Zambesi and Its Tributaries • David Livingstone

... and for some days he wandered there, eating berries, sleeping on tussocks of grass, with water-snakes crawling over him and poisonous plants shedding their baneful dew on his flesh. He came to the lake at last. A will-o'the-wisp played along the surface. "'Tis she!" he cried. "I see her, standing in the light." Hastily fashioning a raft of cypress boughs he floated it and pushed toward the centre of the pond, but the eagerness ...
— Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete • Charles M. Skinner



Words linked to "Wisp" :   small person, tuft, packet, parcel, will-o'-the-wisp, bundle, snipe



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