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Dullness   /dˈəlnəs/   Listen
Dullness

noun
(Written also dulness)
1.
The quality of being slow to understand.  Synonym: obtuseness.
2.
The quality of lacking interestingness.
3.
A lack of visual brightness.
4.
Lack of sensibility.  "Without him the dullness of her life crept into her work no matter how she tried to compartmentalize it."
5.
Without sharpness or clearness of edge or point.  Synonym: bluntness.



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"Dullness" Quotes from Famous Books



... grim with one another. Indeed, the mansions and their inhabitants were so much alike in that respect, that the people were often to be found drawn up on opposite sides of dinner-tables, in the shade of their own loftiness, staring at the other side of the way with the dullness of the houses. ...
— Little Dorrit • Charles Dickens

... madness. Through thy madness, O king, all the Pandavas are about to become mad. If, O monarch, these thy brothers were in their senses, they would then have immured thee with all unbelievers (in a prison) and taken upon themselves the government of the earth. That person who from dullness of intellect acts in this way never succeeds in winning prosperity. The man that treads along the path of madness should be subjected to medical treatment by the aid of incense and collyrium, of drugs applied through the nose, and of other medicines. O best of the Bharatas, I am the ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 - Books 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 • Unknown

... 'twas someone speaking this in my ear, and turn'd my head. But 'twas really the last word I had heard from Delia, now after half an hour repeated in my brain. And as I grew aware of this, the dullness fell off me, and all became very distinct. And the muscles about my wound had stiffen'd—which was vilely painful: and the country, I saw, was a brown, barren moor, dotted with peat- ricks: ...
— The Splendid Spur • Arthur T. Quiller Couch

... heart most violently, it is just the time for being most careful to restrain your tongue. And that sometimes seems to me to be a greater virtue than not being angry at all. For the latter is not always a mark of superiority to weakness, it is sometimes the result of dullness; but to govern temper and speech, however angry you may be, or even to hold your tongue and keep your indignant feelings and resentment under control, although it may not be a proof of perfect wisdom, yet ...
— The Letters of Cicero, Volume 1 - The Whole Extant Correspodence in Chronological Order • Marcus Tullius Cicero

... say, sir, none that I can render very intelligible. Admiral Bluewater, certainly, did make a few communications that I was to repeat, but when we had parted, by some extraordinary dullness of my own I fear, I find it is out of my power to give them any very ...
— The Two Admirals • J. Fenimore Cooper

... their reliability. Naturally all departments unite to develop character in the students, but the Academic Department feels this to be a special aim. Pleasure in the subject of instruction, followed by mental and moral improvement, has indicated clearly that the academic dullness which is shown at entrance comes frequently from lack of motive in former studies. The interest is all the more encouraging as there are many handicaps in the teaching, for the students enter at any time, ...
— The Making of a Trade School • Mary Schenck Woolman

... water; the patter of musketry came creeping out to sea; we are in for it now; the machine guns muttered as through chattering teeth—up to our necks in it now. But would we be out of it? No; not one of us; not for five hundred years stuffed full of dullness and routine. ...
— Gallipoli Diary, Volume I • Ian Hamilton

... it is a little dull, Donald," Minnie said, "but not being a man, I suppose desires like yours would seem improper When you go," and her voice trembled a little, "I will feel the dullness all the more keenly." ...
— The Hunted Outlaw - Donald Morrison, The Canadian Rob Roy • Anonymous

... that his choruses at times stray from rhetoric into poetry of a high order, there is in them a still more deadly monotony than in his iambics. The chorus are devoid of life; they are there partly as a concession to convention, but mainly to supply incidental music. Their inherent dullness is not relieved by the metre. Of strophic arrangement there is no clear trace; in a large proportion of cases the choruses are written in one fixed and rigid metre admitting of no variety: even where different metres alternate, the relaxation is but small, for the same monotony ...
— Post-Augustan Poetry - From Seneca to Juvenal • H.E. Butler

... President very well, and had access to his presence when officials were kept cooling their heels in the Waiting-room. The President liked to hear the Colonel talk, his voluble ease was a refreshment after the decorous dullness of men who only talked business and government, and everlastingly expounded their notions of justice and the distribution of patronage. The Colonel was as much a lover of farming and of horses as Thomas ...
— The Gilded Age, Complete • Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner

... WE COME TO MEETING? Reluctantly? No. Burdened by a feeling of obligation to attend? No. Expecting something dull and tedious? No! If a meeting evokes only dullness in its members it is a dead meeting and ought to be laid down. A live meeting evokes life. Just the prospect of attending such a meeting should quicken us. It were better to come alive doing housework than to become deadened in ...
— An Interpretation of Friends Worship • N. Jean Toomer

... be young, to bubble with springs of mirth and tenderness and folly, and to live in perpetual contact with decay and pain—to look persistently into the grey face of death without having lifted even a corner of life's veil! Now and then, when she felt her youth flame through the sheath of dullness which was gradually enclosing it, she rebelled at the conditions that tied a spirit like hers to its monotonous task, while others, without a quiver of wings on their dull shoulders, or a note of music in their hearts, had the whole wide world to range through, and saw in it no more than ...
— The Fruit of the Tree • Edith Wharton

... is your first appearance in the theater? . . ." he asked. "No doubt it's a case of the family opposing . . . inflexible determination on your part . . . the isolation and dullness of the countryside . . . your first appearance as an amateur . . . stage fright . . . success . . . the recognition of the divine spark within yourself . . . your dreams of the real stage . . . tears . . . sleepless nights . . . a struggle with an adverse environment . . ...
— The Comedienne • Wladyslaw Reymont

... the bolt hole. The beach of gravel-sand had vanished save for a narrow ribbon of land just at the foot of the cliffs, where the water curled in white lace about the barrier of boulders. There was no change in the dullness of the sky; no sun broke through the thick lid of clouds. And the green of the sea was ashened to gray which matched that overcast until one could strain one's eyes trying to find the horizon, unable to mark the dividing line here between air ...
— Storm Over Warlock • Andre Norton

... out upon a stormy sea. It does look a bit mad, doesn't it? And yet it only looks mad because of our blindness and dullness and stupid unbelief. What did Peter have under him when he was in the ship? Upon what were his fellow disciples trusting to keep them from the bottom of the sea? Just two or three planks, that is all. Upon what ...
— Sermons on Biblical Characters • Clovis G. Chappell

... was quite disappointed by the dullness of Sylvia's perceptions during that momentous first trip, which she had looked forward to as an occasion for widening the girls' horizon to new interests. Oddly enough it was Judith, usually so much less quick than Sylvia, ...
— The Bent Twig • Dorothy Canfield

... animal has a constitutional dislike for dullness and will seize upon almost any device which promises to lift him out of what he considers the monotony of daily grind. An elaborate essay might be written on the means which human beings have taken to create the sense of aliveness which they so much crave. Some of them—we call them savages—have ...
— Outwitting Our Nerves - A Primer of Psychotherapy • Josephine A. Jackson and Helen M. Salisbury

... which to their smell are more fragrant than thyme. The approach and touch of these close up the interiors of their mind, and open the exteriors pertaining to the body, from which come their quickness in worldly things and their dullness in spiritual things. ...
— Spiritual Life and the Word of God • Emanuel Swedenborg

... with regret country gentlemen, in their country-houses, reduced to the dullness of a domestic circle, and nearly led to commit suicide in the month of November, or, what is more melancholy, to invite the ancient and neighboring families of the Tags, the Rags and the Bobtails, has opened an office in Spring Gardens for the ...
— Lippincott's Magazine Of Popular Literature And Science, No. 23, February, 1873, Vol. XI. • Various

... large classroom downstairs the other thirty pupils were enjoying themselves with a zest all the greater for the dullness of the weeks which had gone before. The floor had been sponged with milk until it was quite smooth and slippery, a table supplied with such refreshments as lemonade, ginger-beer, and sweet biscuits, ...
— Pixie O'Shaughnessy • Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

... sole cause of its present form; otherwise, I should be content to let it die an easy death in the columns of the journal which first had the temerity to publish it. If the world could always know, as it may in this case, why a book is printed, it would look with kindlier eyes on dullness bound in muslin. It would say, with honest Sancho Panza: "Let us not look the ...
— Daisy's Necklace - And What Came of It • Thomas Bailey Aldrich

... no time for dullness. Every hour had its duty, and these soon became second nature to the zealous young warriors. Such rivalry to best master the manual, to hold the most soldierly stature in the ranks, to detect the drill-sergeant when, to test their attention, he gave a false command! And then the coronal joy of a ...
— The Iron Game - A Tale of the War • Henry Francis Keenan

... an adjoining room, which the danseuse filled with complaints at this prolonged detention. Copplestone remained behind. His dullness and immobility had ...
— The Crooked House • Brandon Fleming

... that will not, there are also two sorts. For the first there are the sort who are so drowned in sorrow that they fall into a careless deadly dullness, regarding nothing, thinking almost of nothing, no more than if they lay in a lethargy. With them it may so befall that wit and remembrance will wear away and fall even fair from them. And this comfortless kind of heaviness ...
— Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation - With Modifications To Obsolete Language By Monica Stevens • Thomas More

... dullness settled on the room, Master Joel was wont to cry, "Halt!" then sit down at the melodeon and play some school song as lively as the instrument admitted of, and set us all singing for five or ten minutes, chanting the multiplication tables, the names ...
— A Busy Year at the Old Squire's • Charles Asbury Stephens

... shores—Nelson, Collingwood, Cornwallis, Calder—were on the alert. Yet while England's very existence as a Nation hung in the balance, in the gay world of London those who represented the ton danced and flirted, attended routs and assemblies, complaining fretfully of the unwonted dullness of the town, or in their drawing-rooms discussed the topics of the hour—the acting of the wonder-child Roscius; the lamentable scandal relating to Lord Melville; or, ever and again—with a tremor—the possibilities ...
— The Letter-Bag of Lady Elizabeth Spencer-Stanhope v. I. • A. M. W. Stirling (compiler)

... and she bit her lip. Her dullness in not suspecting the identity of this spy, her lover, pained her acutely. She had thought to read the Sphynx, and it had its paw upon her. Her exasperation was so keen that she determined to be revenged ...
— The Son of Clemenceau • Alexandre (fils) Dumas

... however, the countenances were not so gloomy. There a real or affected joy seemed to enliven the usual dullness of these parties; some actors were repeating patriotic verses in honour of the victor; while others were singing airs or vaudevilles, to inspire our warriors with as much hatred towards your nation as gratitude towards our Emperor. It is certainly ...
— Memoirs of the Court of St. Cloud, Complete - Being Secret Letters from a Gentleman at Paris to a Nobleman in London • Lewis Goldsmith

... during the night, and I came to my room and lay down in the dullness of the dawn. But now I am sorry that I allowed her to do so, for I did not sleep, and grandfather appears to have been troubled with dreams. I fancied he shuddered a little as I left them together, and more than once through the wall I heard him cry, 'Bring him ...
— The Christian - A Story • Hall Caine

... vent. It was not lighted without a purpose. The peasant had a son, to whom the flame had been passed on; for he aimed at the priesthood. This has ever been a refuge of ambitious minds that cannot rise by any other means above the dullness of the peasant's life, which is the more endurable the more the man is able to place himself upon the animal level of his plodding ox. The son was being educated in a seminary, but he was now home for the holidays. Presently he appeared. He was a youth of about nineteen, wearing a blouse ...
— Two Summers in Guyenne • Edward Harrison Barker

... couldn't have asked a better foil; yet I'm sure she never consciously used his dullness to relieve her brilliancy. She may have felt that the case spoke for itself. But I believe her reserve was rather due to a lively sense of justice, and to the rare habit (you said she was rare) of looking at facts as they are, without ...
— The Long Run - 1916 • Edith Wharton

... brocade and purple velvet and silvery fur enshrine many a blend of villainies and brutal stupidities. What is more cruelly realistic than the leer of the satyr clothed as Francis, King of France; than the bovine dullness of Charles V and the lizard-like dullness of his son; or than that strange combination of wolfish cunning and swinish bestiality with human thought and self-command that fascinates in Raphael's portrait of Leo X and ...
— The Age of the Reformation • Preserved Smith

... to cure our dullness. Tell us a story, monsieur, if you will neither sing nor play. We love a ...
— The Justice of the King • Hamilton Drummond

... eloquent and inspiring, but he expected and exacted rather too much work from the average student. His own ready and affluent mind sympathized keenly with the apt, bright scholar, to whom his praise was warmly given, but he scarcely made sufficient allowance for the dullness or lack of previous preparation which failed to keep pace with him in his long and rapid strides; hence his censures were occasionally severe. His methods of examination furnished the very best kind of mental discipline, fitted alike to cultivate the memory and to ...
— The Story of My Life - Being Reminiscences of Sixty Years' Public Service in Canada • Egerton Ryerson

... their meaning. Whether he did or not I cannot tell. I am afraid he did. He used to turn silent and quiet—sullen and sulky, my father thought it: stupid, aunt Fanny used to call it. But every one said he was stupid and dull, and this stupidity and dullness grew upon him. He would sit without speaking a word, sometimes, for hours; then my father would bid him rise and do some piece of work, maybe, about the farm. And he would take three or four tellings before he would go. When we were sent to school, it was all the same. ...
— The Half-Brothers • Elizabeth Gaskell

... chamber, the dullness of her mind diminished and finally cleared away like a fog in a wind. Her dear, kind, blue-eyed father was dead, and she was virtually a prisoner, and Winnie was all alone. A queen! They were mad, or she was in the midst of some hideous nightmare. Mad, mad, mad! She began to ...
— The Adventures of Kathlyn • Harold MacGrath

... cable to-night, and in a few days we'll have some news. I'm a graybeard, an old bachelor; so I am accorded certain privileges. Sometimes I am frightfully busy; and then there will be periods of dullness. I have a few regular patients, and I take care of them in the morning. Every afternoon, from now on, I will teach you a little about life—I mean the worldly points of view you're likely to meet. ...
— The Ragged Edge • Harold MacGrath

... my friend. Indeed, he was always nice, with the niceness of people whose hearts are genuinely humane. But this time it cost him an effort. His attempts at general conversation broke down into dullness. It occurred to me he might have been indisposed. But before I could frame the ...
— A Set of Six • Joseph Conrad

... would be taken, or more than once it seemed to Murray that they completely retraced their steps; but after a time a feeling of dullness akin to despair came over the lad, and he resigned himself to his fate, satisfying himself that Roberts was being carefully carried, and then plodding on and on, plunging as it seemed to him in a state of torpidity or stupid sleep in which he kept on dreaming about ...
— Hunting the Skipper - The Cruise of the "Seafowl" Sloop • George Manville Fenn

... noblest possibilities of life are never realized without marriage. Yes, I can think of nothing finer than to have a lot of manly boys and sweet girls growing up around one. But when I marry it shall be so as to give completeness and expansion to life, not narrowness and dullness. I shall never marry and settle down. Settle down! What a damnable expression that is! A man ought to settle up. I mean to have my fling first, too. I should like to gamble a bit at Baden-Baden. I should like to go out to Colorado ...
— Stories by American Authors, Volume 8 • Various

... pilot, and was accepted by his old chief, Bixby, as full partner on an important boat. In Life on the Mississippi Mark Twain makes the period of his study from two to two and a half years, but this is merely an attempt to magnify his dullness. He was, in fact, an apt pupil and a pilot of ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... for Marie to enter. When she came, he was struck, not having seen her since the birth of the third baby, by the further alteration in her. How thin she was! And quiet! With that dullness which, in his judgment, too much domesticity always brought to women. Like most ultra-modern men, while secretly making a fetish of the softer virtues in woman, he wanted them expressed somehow in an up-to-the-minute ...
— Married Life - The True Romance • May Edginton

... was opened—out she went—walked along the pavement, turned down the close, and put the sun, I believe, into her pocket when she disappeared, so suddenly did dullness and darkness sink down on the square, when she was no longer visible. I stood for a moment as if I had been senseless, not recollecting what a fund of entertainment I must have supplied to our watchful friends on the other side of the green. ...
— Redgauntlet • Sir Walter Scott

... after screen of brown camouflage which hid the little railway line from the watchful gaze of Kemmel, he seemed to be passing through some mysterious land. By day it was hideous enough; but in the dusk the flat dullness of it was transfigured. Each pond with the shadows lying black on its unruffled surface seemed a fairy lake; each gaunt and stunted tree seemed to clothe itself again with rustling leaves. The night was silent; only the rattle of the little train, as it rumbled over bridges which ...
— Mufti • H. C. (Herman Cyril) McNeile

... grumbled because she had to rise at four that morning, get breakfast, milk the cows, bake bread, prepare seven children for school, get dinner, preserve twenty quarts of strawberries, get tea, and milk the cows again. All her days were alike as far as hard work and dullness went, but she accepted them cheerfully and uncomplainingly. But she did resent having to look after the baby when she ...
— Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1905 to 1906 • Lucy Maud Montgomery

... of schools, and churches, and libraries, and meetings for young people, you would make country life a paradise, and I tell you what you would do, too; you would empty the slums of the cities. It is the slowness and dullness of country life, and not their poverty alone, that keep the poor in dirty lanes and tenement houses. They want stir and amusement, too, poor souls, when their day's work is over. I believe they would come to the country if it were made more pleasant ...
— Beautiful Joe • Marshall Saunders

... says (Moral. ii, 26) that "the Holy Ghost gives wisdom against folly, understanding against dullness, counsel against rashness, fortitude against fears, knowledge against ignorance, piety against hardness of our heart, and fear against pride." But a sufficient remedy for all these things is to be found in the virtues. Therefore the gifts are not necessary ...
— Summa Theologica, Part I-II (Pars Prima Secundae) - From the Complete American Edition • Saint Thomas Aquinas

... therein it may perhaps lay claim to have recognized what Bagehot called the vital principle of representative government. Few discussions of the sphere of government have been so productive as that in which Adam Smith gave a new basis to economic science. Few controversies have, despite its dullness, so carefully investigated the eternal problem of Church and State as that to which Hoadly's bishopric contributed its name. De Lolme is the real parent of that interpretative analysis which has, in Bagehot's hands, ...
— Political Thought in England from Locke to Bentham • Harold J. Laski

... brushed, she oiled, she perfumed the flowing locks and the long silky beard of Miserrimus Dexter with the strangest mixture of dullness and dexterity that I ever saw. Done in brute silence, with a lumpish look and a clumsy gait, the work was perfectly well done nevertheless. The imp in the chair superintended the whole proceeding critically by means of his hand-mirror. He was too deeply interested in this occupation to ...
— The Law and the Lady • Wilkie Collins

... boys, who, discontented at home, leave it for something more congenial to their feelings and tastes, do so simply because of the excessive dullness, and want of interest in objects to attract them there, and keep them contented. Boys, in America at least, are apt to be smart. So their parents think, at all events; and too smart they prove, to stay at home, and follow the beaten track of their fathers, as their continual migration ...
— Rural Architecture - Being a Complete Description of Farm Houses, Cottages, and Out Buildings • Lewis Falley Allen

... But the dullness of such a life as this is fully atoned for by the excitement of that which follows it in London. The men of the Internal Navigation are known to be fast, nay, almost furious in their pace of living; not that they are extravagant in any great degree, ...
— The Three Clerks • Anthony Trollope

... complete," she said. "Listen to me, all you girls, for I haven't too long in which to tell you; that horrid bell will ring us back to lessons and dullness in less than no time. The most wonderful, delightful chance is offered to us. I met her yesterday, and she decided to do it. She is a brick of bricks. She will make the most tremendous difference in our lives. You know, although you ...
— The Rebel of the School • Mrs. L. T. Meade

... crochet,—which she hated, because she said it was like everlastingly poking one's finger after a sliver,—and had caught now and then, over the still air, the laughter and bird-notes that came together from among the pines. One of the Miss Haughtleys had sat with them; but that only "stiffened out the dullness," as Etty had declared, the instant the young lady ...
— A Summer in Leslie Goldthwaite's Life. • Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney

... Homer all the deities are in armour, even Venus; so in Shakspeare all the characters are strong. Hence real folly and dullness are made by him the vehicles of wisdom. There is no difficulty for one being a fool to imitate a fool; but to be, remain, and speak like a wise man and a great wit, and yet so as to give a vivid representation of a ...
— Literary Remains, Vol. 2 • Coleridge

... fortunate, are happy, that the best of life has been given to them. We have faith in the power of money, in its sovereign efficacy to save us not only from beggary, from sneers and insults, but we believe that it can transform us, and take away the poverty of mind, the narrowness of heart, the dullness of imagination, which make us weak, hard, and common. Even our hatred of the rich is but another form of the worship of money. The poor think they are wretched, because they think money the chief good; and if they are right, then ...
— Education and the Higher Life • J. L. Spalding

... far as they knew how. The old fellows in spectacles came and looked at us proudly twice a day and saw that we had the proper food to eat, the right amount of light and that the water was not too hot or too cold. But oh, the dullness of that life! It seemed we were a kind of a show. At a certain hour every morning the big doors of the house were thrown open and everybody in the city who had nothing special to do came in and looked at us. There were other tanks filled with different kinds of fishes all round the walls ...
— The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle • Hugh Lofting

... A life where spins the sun from year to year, And where each day is ever like the next— A beauteous but unending sameness, is For woman only, but for manly souls, And most for thine, it's quiet, weary dullness. Thou thrivest best where storms are raging round. On foaming pacers o'er the heaving sea, And on thy tossing plank, come life or death, Thou mayest fight with peril for thine honor. The beauteous desert thou dost paint, would be A grave for high achievements, not yet born; And like ...
— Fridthjof's Saga • Esaias Tegner

... wooden-sworded vices that create true comedy; they belong to the realm of farce. Yet they continued to flourish long after Heywood had set another example, and with them the cuffing of ears and drunken gambolling which we may see, in the works of other men, trying to rescue prosy scenes from dullness. In Johan Johan is simple comedy, the comedy of laughter-raising dialogue and 'asides'. We do not say it is perfect comedy, far from it; but it is comedy cleared of its former alloys. It is the comedy which Shakespeare refined for his own use ...
— The Growth of English Drama • Arnold Wynne

... by the oddity and justness of his remarks upon the many strange sights which a voyage of this kind brought before him. The Nemesis steamer under weigh puzzled him at first—he then thought it was "all same big cart, only got him shingles** on wheels!" He always expressed great contempt for the dullness of comprehension of his countrymen, "big fools they," he used often to say, "blackfellow no good." Even Malays, Chinamen, and the natives of India, he counted as nothing in his increasing admiration of Europeans, until he ...
— Narrative Of The Voyage Of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Commanded By The Late Captain Owen Stanley, R.N., F.R.S. Etc. During The Years 1846-1850. Including Discoveries And Surveys In New Guinea, The Louisiade • John MacGillivray

... cries all about from people who once were fond of theater and music hall that there is an inconceivable dullness pervading the stage; the habitual patron can no longer endure the offerings of the present time with a degree of pleasure, much less with ease. It has ceased to be what it once was, what its name implies. If the old school inclined toward the rough too much, then ...
— Adventures in the Arts - Informal Chapters on Painters, Vaudeville, and Poets • Marsden Hartley

... this gas that is produced by burning charcoal in a confined portion of common air. Its effect upon the system is well known to every reader of our newspapers. It causes dimness of sight, weakness, dullness, a difficulty of breathing, and ultimately ...
— Popular Education - For the use of Parents and Teachers, and for Young Persons of Both Sexes • Ira Mayhew

... no one else, and frequently she had technical German translations in the evenings, for which she got nothing extra. Her chief did not know German, and thought she did the translations as easily as she wrote shorthand. Her whole work was moderately interesting, but the dullness of her life became insupportable. Another private secretary at the end of fifteen years in an ...
— Women Workers in Seven Professions • Edith J. Morley

... servant of a real white man. We brought him down with us to Para, but he showed no emotion at any of the strange sights of the capital— the steam-vessels, large ships and houses, horses and carriages, the pomp of church ceremonies, and so forth. In this he exhibited the usual dullness of feeling and poverty of thought of the Indian; he had, nevertheless, very keen perceptions, and was quick at learning any mechanical art. Jose, who had resumed, some time before I left the country, his old trade of goldsmith, made him his apprentice, ...
— The Naturalist on the River Amazons • Henry Walter Bates

... would die of dullness if I did! You'd be positively bored to tears. No, we all have our talents, and I consider my mission in life is to keep things humming and cheer you all up. I may do it ...
— The Madcap of the School • Angela Brazil

... were sitting on a bench halfway down the slope, where the path to the landing was broken. The view from here, showing the bend of the river, was very restful. The water was growing darker, heavier, gradually assuming a leadlike dullness. ...
— The Created Legend • Feodor Sologub

... motion, and expose it so little on their surfaces, that we cannot perceive the changes they undergo. All that appears to us to be at rest, does not, however, remain one instant in the same state. All beings are continually breeding, increasing, decreasing, or dispersing, with more or less dullness or rapidity. The insect called EPHEMERON, is produced and perishes in the same day; of consequence, it experiences the greatest changes of its being very rapidly, in our eyes. Those combinations which form the most solid bodies, which appear to enjoy the most perfect repose, are nevertheless ...
— The System of Nature, Vol. 1 • Baron D'Holbach

... to the scene of her former triumphs with an innocent young daughter and an infamous name. Nor, apparently, had she carried it to Rouen after she had manifestly foresworn vice for the sake of her child, even to the length of resigning herself to the dullness ...
— The Avalanche • Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton

... astonished—if you were young or had anything of the genius which is always young—at Birns Castle, which is greatly to be preferred to living in Birns Castle and having nothing to be astonished at, as has been remarked by a high authority in connection with another castle. There was no dullness in this house, although only four people lived in it, but they were all busy always. It was surrounded by a wall which enclosed not only the house, but a garden, a miniature courtyard and a stable: the premises were small, but complete and compact, ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science Volume 15, No. 89, May, 1875 • Various

... particular time the young men had been going through dull days. Beyond the fact of the mere presence of the heavily charged torpedoes at the shipyard there had been nothing like excitement, for some time. This dullness, however, was destined to turn, suddenly, into the most intense and ...
— The Submarine Boys' Lightning Cruise - The Young Kings of the Deep • Victor G. Durham

... a hospital at the front is a curious mixture of excitement and dullness. One week cases will be pouring in, the operating theatre will be working day and night, and everyone will have to do their utmost to keep abreast of the rush; next week there will be nothing to do, and everyone will mope about the building, ...
— A Surgeon in Belgium • Henry Sessions Souttar

... autumn, Calcutta is a very gay place, and makes up for its dullness during the summer. This is the season for horse-racing, hunting, shooting, and theatrical amusements, into which the numerous indigo-planters who come to town from their plantations about this time, enter with spirit, if the crops have been good ...
— Trade and Travel in the Far East - or Recollections of twenty-one years passed in Java, - Singapore, Australia and China. • G. F. Davidson

... the vision is introduced, as at Zechariah i. 9, 19, by the Prophet's question of its meaning. His angelic teacher is astonished at his dullness, as indeed heavenly eyes must often be at ours, and asks if he does not know so familiar an object. The Prophet's 'No, my Lord,' brings full explanation. Ingenuously acknowledged ignorance never asks Heaven for ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture - Ezekiel, Daniel, and the Minor Prophets. St Matthew Chapters I to VIII • Alexander Maclaren

... girl, sitting very upright in her chair, "I confess to loneliness. The sameness of life in this castle oppresses me, and in its continuous dullness I grow old before my time. I wish to enjoy a month or two in Frankfort, and, as doubtless you have guessed, I send you forth as my ambassador to ...
— The Sword Maker • Robert Barr

... sighing. 'Only fools are favored by the gods; and I am filled with wisdom from my wig to my two naked heels. If in my heart a grain of dullness lurks, it is perhaps my inability to squander, and I should not even know how to set about a work ...
— The Pharaoh and the Priest - An Historical Novel of Ancient Egypt • Boleslaw Prus

... boy came to me at thirteen. He was always a conscientious and amiable boy, but was nervous and dull. By fifteen his dullness had increased, and he complained of brain-strain and poorness of memory. Finally he began to develop St. Vitus's dance. I sent him to our school doctor, who returned him with a note saying that his condition was serious—that he must stop all work, &c. &c. I was in ...
— Youth and Sex • Mary Scharlieb and F. Arthur Sibly

... rid ourselves once and for ever of this outrageous calumny upon Shakspeare's memory, we shall pursue the story to its final stage. Even Malone has been thoughtless enough to accredit this closing chapter, which contains, in fact, such a superfetation of folly as the annals of human dullness do not exceed. Let us recapitulate the points of the story. A baronet, who has no deer and no park, is supposed to persecute a poet for stealing these aerial deer out of this aerial park, both lying in nephelococcygia. ...
— Biographical Essays • Thomas de Quincey

... of concentrating on that faint, but infinitely important sound, and the need of maintaining a semblance of weary dullness was trying Brent's soul. He thanked Heaven for the taciturnity ...
— A Pagan of the Hills • Charles Neville Buck

... these great names in letters, it was an age generally of contented dullness, well represented in the good-natured mediocrity of Queen Anne herself. During her reign the first daily newspaper (SS422, 443) appeared in England,—the Daily Courant (1703); it was a dingy, badly printed little sheet, ...
— The Leading Facts of English History • D.H. Montgomery

... his tools and ran out. That was the last I ever saw of him in his right mind. He was brought in again by midnight, nearly dead, with his poor head all bruised and cut. The fever passed off in time, but never the dullness—THAT grew worse every day. ...
— Hans Brinker - or The Silver Skates • Mary Mapes Dodge

... in radiance which the slightest pressure might disengage in silvery profusion like water wrung from a sea-maid's hair. Bright they are as a young man's visions, and, like them, would be realized in dullness, obscurity and tears. I will look on them ...
— Twice Told Tales • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... spite of its dullness, Mrs. Lansing's house was a comfortable and secure retreat. She would have to go back to it presently, and it was desirable that she should avoid any cause of ...
— Ranching for Sylvia • Harold Bindloss

... was there,—she started, looked alarmed at me, then at the earth, as if her eyes were asking for my shadow;—all her emotions were painted so faithfully on her countenance, that I should have burst into a loud laugh, had I not felt an icy dullness creeping ...
— Peter Schlemihl • Adelbert von Chamisso

... I slept all the morning, but I'm not suffering from dullness. I'm imagining things. I'm imagining how much worse off we'd be if we didn't have flint and steel. I can always find ...
— The Masters of the Peaks - A Story of the Great North Woods • Joseph A. Altsheler

... noble blood; and a healthy robust appearance is so disgraceful in a man of quality, that the world concludes his real father to have been a groom or a coachman. The imperfections of his mind run parallel with those of his body, being a composition of spleen, dullness, ...
— Gulliver's Travels - into several remote nations of the world • Jonathan Swift

... Broek, men as well as cattle flied into the church, which lies so much higher and remained quite free of water. By the exhalations of the cows, the cow-damp, has the wood been blemished and made dull at many places, chamois nor polish could help, the dullness remained." The church has beauties to set against the phenomenon of cow-damp, and among them a very elaborate carved pulpit in various preclious woods, and some ...
— A Wanderer in Holland • E. V. Lucas

... he wished that he could be with Eleanor and watch the gradual growth of the baby into a recognising being. His work at the Sensation office had become mechanical, and he worked at the table in the sub-editors' room without any consciousness of it; but he consoled himself for the fatigue and the dullness by promising himself a swift and brilliant release from Fleet Street when his second book was published. Even if his book were not to make money, it would establish his reputation, and when that was done, he could surely persuade Eleanor to believe that his life must be lived elsewhere than ...
— The Foolish Lovers • St. John G. Ervine

... my dear Sir, conceive you to be of that sophistical, captious spirit, or of that uncandid dullness, as to require, for every general observation or sentiment, an explicit detail of the correctives and exceptions which reason will presume to be included in all the general propositions which come from reasonable men. You do not imagine that I wish to confine ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. III. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... Clara because she was rich, but it was something to his credit that she had not suspected this. Clara was dull, and her dullness often ...
— Lister's Great Adventure • Harold Bindloss

... sure I wish he could! Anything to relieve this hideous dullness. What's the matter with ...
— Ladies-In-Waiting • Kate Douglas Wiggin

... whose recreation is reading and whose intellectual sport is controversy. They banish the Bible from their houses, and sometimes put into the hands of their unfortunate children Ethical and Rationalist tracts of the deadliest dullness, compelling these wretched infants to sit out the discourses of Secularist lecturers (I have delivered some of them myself), who bore them at a length now forbidden by custom in the established pulpit. Our minds have reacted so violently towards provable logical theorems and demonstrable ...
— Back to Methuselah • George Bernard Shaw

... Princess, or how her loveliness put to shame all the sparkling jewels and magnificent luxury that surrounded her in this her royal palace. Whatever else was beautiful or dainty or delightful of itself faded to dullness when contrasted with Ozma's bewitching face, and it has often been said by those who know that no other ruler in all the world can ever hope to equal the gracious charm of ...
— The Road to Oz • L. Frank Baum

... Manet, knew (two of them happily know it still) the moment they left off arguing and bolted the studio door on that brilliant theorist, Claude Monet. Some of them, to be sure, turned out polychromatic charts of desolating dullness—Monet towards the end, for instance. The Neo-Impressionists—Seurat, Signac, and Cross—have produced little else. And any Impressionist, under the influence of Monet and Watteau, was capable of making a poor, soft, formless thing. But more often ...
— Art • Clive Bell

... law are partly due to the system of courts and partly to the dullness of court procedure. The inefficiency of the system of courts and judicial procedure is shown in the practical workings of the civil courts of New York City. The antiquated organization of all the courts is like a patchwork quilt where ...
— The Man in Court • Frederic DeWitt Wells

... peaks were visible. These rooms Aurora seldom left, but their airy spaces, the brilliant landscape and sky, the plentiful sunlight, the musical instruments, books, pictures, curiosities, with the company of Watho, who made herself charming, precluded all dullness. She had venison and feathered game to eat, milk and pale ...
— Harper's Young People, December 2, 1879 - An Illustrated Weekly • Various

... "System of Nature" is a book of which Dugald Stewart speaks, as "the boldest, if not the ablest work of the Parisian Atheists," and it has undoubtedly obtained great popularity. Voltaire, who has written against the "System of Nature" in a tone of bitter sarcasm, and who complains of its general dullness and prolixity, yet admits that it is "often humorous, sometimes eloquent." It certainly is not written in that lively, but rather superficial style, which has characterized many of the French writers, ...
— Ancient and Modern Celebrated Freethinkers - Reprinted From an English Work, Entitled "Half-Hours With - The Freethinkers." • Charles Bradlaugh, A. Collins, and J. Watts

... though they had been selected by Fate to play strenuous parts—whether Columbine, clown or star. Something is always happening to them. Wherever they appear, they seem to hold the centre of the stage, and when they disappear a dullness falls and life seems flat for a time. You think of them more often than you realize, perhaps with a smile, perhaps with a frown, and generally you dismiss them from your mind with some such thought as this—"He'll ...
— Mary Minds Her Business • George Weston

... In this hour of dullness, many are reflecting on the repose and abundance they enjoyed once in the Union. But there are more acts in this drama! And the bell may ring any moment for the curtain ...
— A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital • John Beauchamp Jones

... presents a constant temptation to seize every advantage, fair or unfair, which promises immediate profit. It is unfortunately true that the successful cleverness which sacrifices honor to gain is more easily condoned by public opinion than honest dullness which is caught in the snares laid for it by the cunning manipulators of speculation. The man who fails to deliver what he has bought, to meet his paper at maturity and make good the certifications ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 530, February 27, 1886 • Various

... rest and took the path she well remembered, through the woods. The excessive hilarity of the morning had faded from her spirits. There was something indescribable about Mittie that annoyed and pained her. The gleam of kindness with which she had greeted her had all gone out, and left dullness and darkness in its stead. She could not get near her heart. At every avenue it seemed closed against her, and resisted the golden key of affection as effectually as the wrench ...
— Helen and Arthur - or, Miss Thusa's Spinning Wheel • Caroline Lee Hentz

... with Baron Sonnino and the Premier. What were they offering? We know now that at this last moment of the eleventh hour Austria had wakened to the real gravity of the situation, and with Teutonic pertinacity and Teutonic dullness of perception made her first real offer—the immediate cession and occupation of the ceded territories she had set as her maximum, a thing she had refused all along to consider, insisting that the transfer be deferred to the vague settlement time of the "Peace." I do not know ...
— The World Decision • Robert Herrick

... synonym for dullness. The theaters offer nothing of importance; only trivialities are to be found on "the trestles." Musical directors appeal only to the ears—chiefly the long ears mentioned by Mozart. Bookstores offer "best sellers," ...
— The So-called Human Race • Bert Leston Taylor

... wit had begun to pall upon the tastes of people who found themselves face to face with problems so grave and issues so vital. There was a slight reaction towards nature and simplicity. "They may be growing wiser," said Walpole, "but the intermediate change is dullness." For nearly half a century learned men and clever women had been amusing themselves with utopian theories, a few through conviction, the majority through fashion, or egotism, or the vanity of saying new things, just as the world is doing ...
— The Women of the French Salons • Amelia Gere Mason

... worn old bench at the side of Ba'tiste's cabin and picked thorns from the palm of his hand,—thorns from the stems of wild roses which she had brought him! The enigma was too great for Houston. He could only gasp with the suddenness of it and sink back into a dullness of outlook and viewpoint which he had lost momentarily. It was thus that old friends had passed him by in Boston; it was thus that men who had been glad to borrow money from him in other days had looked the other way when the clouds had come. A ...
— The White Desert • Courtney Ryley Cooper

... have been almost frantically resolved to keep the empire of the sea. But have we really done all that could have been done? I ask it with all diffidence, but has our naval preparation been free from a sort of noisy violence, a certain massive dullness of conception? Have we really made anything like a sane use of our resources? I do not mean of our resources in money or stuff. It is manifest that the next naval war will be beyond all precedent a war of mechanisms, giving such scope for invention and scientifically ...
— An Englishman Looks at the World • H. G. Wells

... Life, having for a little while drifted perilously near to the shores of dullness, again bobbed merrily on the waters of farce. What a lot of funny things there were, all waiting to be done! This that Urquhart suggested should certainly, if ...
— The Lee Shore • Rose Macaulay

... alone in attacking. If I had talked about "true Imperialism," or "our loyalty to our gallant leader," you might have thought you knew what I meant; because I meant nothing. But I do mean something; and I do want you to understand what I mean. I will, therefore, state it with total dullness, in separate paragraphs; and I will ...
— Gilbert Keith Chesterton • Maisie Ward

... some Fortunatus' gift Is lying there within his hand, More costly than a pot of pearls, His dullness does not understand. ...
— The Home Book of Verse, Vol. 3 (of 4) • Various

... luxurious room. There came to her, like a dullness from a drug, the fancy that this world had no existence except that with which her credulity had endowed it. "All my life I have been dreaming this dream in which Lawrence and David, Hamoud and Anna Zanidov, America and Africa, are figments. Presently I shall wake and wonder why all these figments ...
— Sacrifice • Stephen French Whitman

... commonplace authors are never more than half-conscious when they write, would be enough to account for their dullness of mind and the tedious things they produce. I say they are only half-conscious, because they really do not themselves understand the meaning of the words they use: they take words ready-made and commit them to memory. Hence when they write, it is not ...
— The Art of Literature • Arthur Schopenhauer

... looseness of the organization was fatal. With a more compact and energetic administration, either the dissatisfied elements would have been eliminated quietly, or the causes of dissatisfaction, mainly, as far as I could understand, the dullness of the life and the lack of amusements, would have been removed. But with a loose organization there appears to have been, what is not unnatural, rigidity of discipline. There was no power any where to make changes. "The discontented ones wanted a change, but no change was possible: ...
— The Communistic Societies of the United States • Charles Nordhoff

... that afternoon with a droop to his head, and a dullness about his dark eyes, which Jim noticed with vague discomfort, and which made him wish heartily that he had not confided to the postmaster the story of Billings and the brake. He had quarreled with Gertrude—everything else seemed insignificant to Allison beside that. He had quarreled ...
— McClure's Magazine, Vol 31, No 2, June 1908 • Various

... suspense. She was now as much concerned to escape the ordeal of Mr. Pomeroy's visit as she had been earlier in the day to see him. And she had her wish. He did not come; she fancied he might be willing to let the dullness and loneliness, the monotony and silence of her prison, work their effect ...
— The Castle Inn • Stanley John Weyman

... the antiquary endeavors to decipher the mutilated inscription on some old monument, you build up a history on a gesture or on a word! These are the stirring sports of the mind, which finds in fiction a relief from the wearisome dullness of the actual. ...
— Serge Panine • Georges Ohnet

... will the sweetest delight of gardens afford much comfort in sleep; wherein the dullness of that sense shakes hands with delectable odours; and though in the bed of Cleopatra, can hardly with any delight raise up the ghost ...
— Books and Characters - French and English • Lytton Strachey

... that it might be so. It would be rare sport to hunt the old rat out of his hole, or, better still, burn him in it. It would be a pleasant change from the dullness of mounting eternal guard, marching and countermarching every day, and all to what purpose? For my part I am tired of it, and long for a little more of the sport we had in dear Paris. Ah! it was worth living for, to see fifty or sixty of the ...
— Under the Meteor Flag - Log of a Midshipman during the French Revolutionary War • Harry Collingwood

... Josie's intimates had often wondered at her histrionic powers when she pretended to be stupid, which was her usual way of disarming persons who might have been suspicious of her. She had found out much about those archvillains Felix and Hortense Markle by an assumption of supreme dullness. But no one of her acquaintances had ever seen Josie assume the role of a skittish, dressed-up miss, painted and brazen, ...
— Mary Louise and Josie O'Gorman • Emma Speed Sampson

... came near to anticipating the greenwood scenes of Ivanhoe. The decking and trappings of chivalry filled him with boyish delight, and he found in the glitter and colour of the middle ages a refuge from the prosaic dullness of the eighteenth century. A visit from "a Luxembourg, a Lusignan and a Montfort" awoke in his whimsical fancy a mental image of himself in the guise of a mediaeval baron: "I never felt myself so much in The Castle of Otranto. ...
— The Tale of Terror • Edith Birkhead

... the anthropologists being a bete noire to scientific men, I am not surprised, for I have just skimmed through the last "Anthrop. Journal," and it shows, especially the long attack on the British Association, a curious spirit of insolence, conceit, dullness, and vulgarity. I have read with uncommon interest Travers' short paper on the Chatham Islands. (362/1. See Travers, H.H., "Notes on the Chatham Islands," "Linn. Soc. Journ." IX., October 1865. Mr. Travers says he picked up a seed of ...
— More Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume I (of II) • Charles Darwin

... in revelling roundelays, Belched out with hickups at bacchanal Go, Bellowed, till heaven's high concave rebound the lays, Are all for college carousals too low. Of dullness quite tired, with merriment fired, And fully inspired with amity's glow, With hate-drowning wine, boys, and punch all divine, boys, The Juniors combine, boys, in friendly HIGH-GO. Glossology, by William Biglow, inserted in Buckingham's ...
— A Collection of College Words and Customs • Benjamin Homer Hall

... nature. It was an embodiment of all that was skillful and beautiful in manly action. It was a compendium of biologic research but more important still, it brought to our ears the latest band pieces and taught us the most popular songs. It furnished us with jokes. It relieved our dullness. It gave ...
— A Son of the Middle Border • Hamlin Garland

... rather shabby clerks who passed along with their out-of-fashion chimney-pot and badly rolled umbrella; his gait was that of a man who takes no exercise beyond the daily walk to and from his desk; the casual glance could see nothing in his features but patient dullness tending to good humour. He might be thirty, he might be forty—impossible to decide. Yet when a ray of sunshine fell upon him, and he lifted his eyes to the eastward promise, there shone in his countenance something one might vainly have sought through the streaming concourse ...
— The House of Cobwebs and Other Stories • George Gissing

... by amateurs who regard the Orlando Furioso as the perfection of poetic art. In a word, he hopes to produce something midway between the strict heroic epic, which had failed in Trissino's Italia Liberata through dullness, and the genuine romantic epic, which in Ariosto's masterpiece diverged too widely from the rules of classical pure taste. This new species, combining the attractions of romance with the simplicity of epic poetry, was the gift which Tasso at the age of eighteen sought to ...
— Renaissance in Italy, Volumes 1 and 2 - The Catholic Reaction • John Addington Symonds

... turned his eyes toward the object, which certainly was moving slowly, as though tired, and, as the boys watched, sure enough, began to resolve itself into the shape of a dog. Here at last was something happening to break the dullness of the day. A strange dog twenty-five miles from any place in which ...
— Injun and Whitey to the Rescue • William S. Hart

... vision of the encounter of True and False Wit," he discovers, "in a very dark grove, a monstrous fabric, built after the Gothic manner and covered with innumerable devices in that barbarous kind of sculpture." This temple is consecrated to the God of Dullness, who is "dressed in the habit of a monk." In his essay "On Taste" (No. 409) he says, "I have endeavored, in several of my speculations, to banish this Gothic taste which ...
— A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century • Henry A. Beers

... such a basis. If we can imagine an artist confining himself to this single issue, relying on no finenesses outside it, then we might have a work of art which men and women, representing in other respects any degree of imagination and dullness, might all almost equally enjoy. In practice it is seldom that an artist is content to confine himself so exclusively to this issue; it is not in the nature of the imaginative temperament to limit itself in that way. But I think we have an example approximating to the supposed type in Emily Bronte's ...
— Personality in Literature • Rolfe Arnold Scott-James

... hear a woman's fretful voice, and the impatient jerk and jar of kitchen things, indicative of ill temper or worry. The longer he stood absorbing this farm scene, with all its sordidness, dullness, triviality, and its endless drudgeries, the lower his heart sank. All the joy of the homecoming was gone, when the figure arose from the cow and approached the gate, and put the pail of milk down on the platform ...
— Main-Travelled Roads • Hamlin Garland

... and volumes heap, Our dullness we no more betray; To know the stars, or shear a sheep— To live on air, or polo play; The trick is ours, or we may stray Beneath the seas, with science cooks, And sprint by some reflected ray The easy ...
— The Wit and Humor of America, Volume III. (of X.) • Various

... heartier squeeze. I was at a loss to explain this sudden friendship; for I was pretty sure this exceedingly agreeable gentleman had never seen me till that moment. How long this might have lasted I know not, had not a person in the dogana, compassionating my dullness, stepped up to me, and whispered into my ear to give the searcher a few paulos. I was a little scandalized at this proposal to bribe his Holiness's servant; but I could see no chance otherwise of having the iron gate opened. Accordingly, I got ready the requisite douceur; and, waiting his ...
— Pilgrimage from the Alps to the Tiber - Or The Influence of Romanism on Trade, Justice, and Knowledge • James Aitken Wylie

... next day. Sybil keeps on as she began, on the night when she listened to her father and husband, while they held council in her mother's room. She is full of energy and nervous excitement always, and the old stupor of dullness, and apathetic killing of time, never once returns. But Mrs. Lamotte likes this last state not much better than the first; neither does Constance; but they say nothing, for the reason that it would be useless, as they know too well. Sybil goes out oftener, sits with the ...
— The Diamond Coterie • Lawrence L. Lynch

... though something of a poet at heart, he was much more of a cynic. He was too deeply imbued with modern fashionable atheism to think seriously about angels or Resurrection trumps, but there was a certain love of mysticism and romance in his nature, which not even his Oxford experiences and the chilly dullness of English materialism had been able to eradicate. And there was something impressive in the sight of the majestic orb holding such imperial revel at midnight,—something almost unearthly in the light and life of the heavens, ...
— Thelma • Marie Corelli

... inside four walls: and turning up his coat collar, he began to walk slowly along the curved GRIMMAISCHESTRASSE. But the streets were by this time black with people, most of whom came hurrying towards him, brisk and bustling, and gay, in spite of the prevailing dullness, at the prospect of the warm, familiar evening. He was continually obliged to step off the pavement into the road, to allow a bunch of merry, chattering girls, their cheeks coloured by the wind beneath the dark fur of their hats, or a line of gaudy capped, ...
— Maurice Guest • Henry Handel Richardson



Words linked to "Dullness" :   unfeelingness, lustrelessness, dreariness, shape, dimness, vapidness, jejuneness, vapidity, contour, tameness, callousness, boringness, tiresomeness, matt, lusterlessness, mat, insipidity, tedium, stupidity, insipidness, hardness, oscitance, visual property, conformation, brightness, tediousness, matte, sharpness, jejunity, subduedness, uninterestingness, flatness, insensibility, configuration, callosity, form, dull, oscitancy



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