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Dumb show   /dəm ʃoʊ/   Listen
Dumb show

noun
1.
A performance using gestures and body movements without words.  Synonyms: mime, pantomime.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Dumb show" Quotes from Famous Books



... afterwards upon the question whether the art of miming, one of the two main elements of the ballet, is or can be serviceable to the ordinary stage. Several seemed to have the opinion that the art of dumb show is almost useless to the player, the argument being that, as far at least as modern comedies are concerned, so little gesture is used on the stage that training in the mode of employing it is superfluous. The introduction of trouser pockets was said to have destroyed the need ...
— Our Stage and Its Critics • "E.F.S." of "The Westminster Gazette"

... and intimated, in dumb show, that I must leave the caravanserai at once, as he was shutting up for the night. I bought a pound or so of the sweetmeat to pacify him, and, if possible, glean some information about the fair one, but my advances ...
— A Ride to India across Persia and Baluchistan • Harry De Windt

... fete given by the proprietor of the hotel to his numerous Malay employes, we make our first acquaintance with native music. Dancing girls, in mask and tinsel, gyrate to the weird strains of the Gamelon, an orchestra of tiny gongs, bamboo tubes, and metal pipes. Actors perform old-world dramas in dumb show, and conjurors in gaudy attire attract people of all ages to those time-honoured feats of legerdemain which once represented the sorcery of the mystic East. The simple Malay has not yet adopted the critical and unbelieving attitude which rubs the gilt off the gingerbread or the bloom off the plum, ...
— Through the Malay Archipelago • Emily Richings

... pointed wide, Sir; merely a broad hint. We are no dealers in dumb show, in the Coquette, ...
— The Water-Witch or, The Skimmer of the Seas • James Fenimore Cooper

... thunder and lightning all in black, with a burning torch in one hand, and a bloody sword in the other hand, and presently let there come forth a Lion running after a Bear or any other beast; then come forth an Archer who must kill the Lion in a dumb show, ...
— 2. Mucedorus • William Shakespeare [Apocrypha]

... number of girls who have been officially selected as the most beautiful among the youth of the place. The Japanese may visit them for a certain payment, but to Europeans they do not show themselves willingly, and only for a large sum. When this takes place at any time, it is only a dumb show for a few moments, during which no words ...
— The Voyage of the Vega round Asia and Europe, Volume I and Volume II • A.E. Nordenskieold

... suggested it to Jacker McKnight, commonly known as Jacker Mack, and now after an hour of it the boys were still jubilant. The game had to be played with great caution, and conversation was conducted in whispers when ideas could not be conveyed in dumb show. All that was going on in the room above was distinctly audible to the deserters below, and the joy of camping there out of the reach of Joel Ham, B.A., and beyond all the trials and tribulations of the Higher Fifth, and hearing other fellows being ...
— The Gold-Stealers - A Story of Waddy • Edward Dyson

... and thought they grasped hands. She turned her head slightly back, and seemed to put a question—with her lips only. He replied in the same manner. A light rushed into her face and vanished. But not a feature moved and not a word had been spoken. Neither of her companions had seen the dumb show, and her friend stood where he was till they had left the house. Malcolm stood also, much inclined to follow him when he went, but, his attention having been attracted for a moment in another direction, ...
— The Marquis of Lossie • George MacDonald

... caught glimpses of him going through the dumb show of "Social Culture in the Smart Set," and her wondering soul was filled with astonishment at his amazing evolutions. She found it in her heart to speak of it to Mrs. Betty and Maxwell, and ask for ...
— Hepsey Burke • Frank Noyes Westcott

... that if the plaintiff had any genuine affection for the defendant, or any actual intention of linking her lot with his, she would——" (the rest is a severe mumble!) "Or again, you may take into consideration——" (but precisely what they are to take is, to myself, a dumb show!). "Still, after making every possible allowance for the idealising effects of the tender passion upon the female judgment, I confess I find it a little difficult to persuade myself that——" (Again I am not in at the finish—but, from the bristling and tossing of ...
— Baboo Jabberjee, B.A. • F. Anstey

... with blank face and clasped hands. There might be further pain in store, but pleasure for her there could now be none. The Countess quite understood the dumb show, but she ...
— A Forgotten Hero - Not for Him • Emily Sarah Holt

... was speaking to him. The gesture seemed to indicate a threat! Was it possible that in that dread hour she was reviling him? I was at too great a distance, either to hear her words, or note the expression upon her face. Only by the dumb show of her gesticulations, could I tell that a scene was passing ...
— The Wild Huntress - Love in the Wilderness • Mayne Reid

... sometimes he clasped his hands, then extended his arms, then stood with them folded as in deep thought; now he snatched up his portfolio as if to draw what so much enchanted him, then threw it down and kicked it from him as if in despair. I never saw such admirable dumb show: it was better than any pantomime. At length, however, he happened to cast up his eyes, as if appealing to heaven, and they encountered mine peeping down upon him from above. He stood fixed and motionless for two seconds, ...
— The Diary of an Ennuyee • Anna Brownell Jameson

... are played in this form. Both these methods allow of development. The circle varies from examples where all perform the same actions and say the same words to that where two or more players have principal parts, the others only singing or acting in dumb show, to examples where the singing has disappeared. The form or method of play and the actions constitute the oldest remaining parts of the game (the words being subject to alterations and loss through ignorance of their meaning), and it is to this form or method, the actions and the ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 6, Slice 2 - "Chicago, University of" to "Chiton" • Various

... down, and commenced a lecture to fill the awkward pause. His sisters maintained the opera-stall posture of languid attention, contesting his phrases simply with their eyebrows, and smiling. He was no match for them while they chose to be silent: and indeed if the business of life were conducted in dumb show, women would beat men hollow. They posture admirably. In dumb show they are equally good for attack and defence. But this is not the case in speech. So, when Arabella explained that their hope was to see Mrs. Chump go that day, owing to the rigorous exclusion of all amusement and the outer world ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... I must revoke my gift (taking flowers from astonished colonel's hand), all except a single one for your buttonhole. Have you any choice, or shall I (archly) choose for you? Then it shall be this. (Begins to place flowers in buttonhole, COL. STARBOTTLE exhibiting extravagant gratitude in dumb show. Business prolonged through MISS MARY's speech.) If I am not wrong, colonel, the gentleman to whom you so kindly pointed out the road this morning was not a stranger to you. Ah! I am right. There, one moment,—a sprig of green, a single leaf, would set off the pink ...
— Two Men of Sandy Bar - A Drama • Bret Harte

... Southern Limited from Chicago to Elkhart is something of an autocrat, and he does not approve of being told how to back up to a car. None the less he handled the "Constance" as if she might have been a load of dynamite, and when the crew rebuked him they did it in whispers and dumb show. ...
— Kipling Stories and Poems Every Child Should Know, Book II • Rudyard Kipling

... of with still more distinction as connected with pantomimic dances and representations. Aeschylus appears to have brought theatrical gesture to a high degree of perfection, but Telestes, a dancer employed by him, introduced the dumb show, a dance without marked dancing steps, and subordinated to motions of the hands, arms, and body, which is dramatic pantomime. He was so great an artist, says Athenaeus, that when he represented the Seven ...
— Sign Language Among North American Indians Compared With That Among Other Peoples And Deaf-Mutes • Garrick Mallery

... how he intends to support you," broke in Olympia, washing her hands over again in dumb show, and drawing in her breath till it hissed through her white teeth, as if a snake had crept up from ...
— The Old Countess; or, The Two Proposals • Ann S. Stephens

... Caesar's doings in Gaul, Master Cook produced from his pocket a newspaper cutting. This, having previously planted a forcible blow in his friend's ribs with an elbow to attract the latter's attention, he handed to Knight, and in dumb show requested him to peruse the same. Which Knight, feeling no interest whatever in Caesar's doings in Gaul, and having, in consequence, a good deal of time on his hands, proceeded to do. The cutting was headed "Disgraceful ...
— The Gold Bat • P. G. Wodehouse

... same for a poor play-wright once. He had a Christmas piece to write, and not being an original genius, he could think of nothing that had not been done already twenty times. I saw the trouble he was in, and collecting a few stray Shadows, we acted, in dumb show of course, the funniest bit of nonsense we could think of; and it was quite successful. The poor fellow watched every motion, roaring with laughter at us, and delight at the ideas we put into his head. ...
— Adela Cathcart - Volume II • George MacDonald

... the audience sneers." The goddess to the bird replied, (Willing to have him pacified,) "You are above the rest endued With beauty and with magnitude; Your neck the em'rald's gloss outvies, And what a blaze of gemmeous dies Shines from the plumage of your tail!" "All this dumb show will not avail," Cries he, "if I'm surpass'd in voice." "The fates entirely have the choice Of all the lots—fair form is yours; The eagle's strength his prey secures; The nightingale can sing an ode; The crow and raven may forebode: All these in sheer contentment crave No other voice ...
— The Fables of Phdrus - Literally translated into English prose with notes • Phaedrus

... sibilants forbad our knowing. We suppose, by Mr. Bartley's pantomime, that Sir Bryan puts up with his hoax and his lady-loss with a good grace; for he flourished about his never-absent pocket-handkerchief with one hand, shook hands with Miss Fringe with the other, stepped forward, did some more dumb show to the dissentients, and, with the rest of the actors, ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 1, November 13, 1841 • Various

... teacher's desk, appealing in dumb show for order. A plunging horse tipped the desk over and the minister went down among the prancing legs. In a moment he was up, and again he raised both hands in a plea for silence. Douglas, laughing gaily, twirled his ...
— Judith of the Godless Valley • Honore Willsie

... dumb show, and was sometimes of considerable proportions, vide one in 1348, where there were "eighty tunics of buckram, forty-two visors, and a great variety of other whimsical dresses were provided for the disguising at court at the Feast of Christmas." A ...
— A Righte Merrie Christmasse - The Story of Christ-Tide • John Ashton

... moment several children began to cry—taking him for black[25] Robert. The consequence was, that, as they could not be pacified, the first scene was mere dumb show to the audience; and some giddy young people set up a loud 'off, off, Dreadnought!' which cry was instantly seconded by the public. Nevertheless, as the princess at that instant entered her box, Mr. Schnackenberger, ...
— The Uncollected Writings of Thomas de Quincey, Vol. 2 - With a Preface and Annotations by James Hogg • Thomas de Quincey

... a dumb show of reluctance, crossed the threshold. He noted now that the woman, who had bustled down the hall on her errand, was gray-haired and incredibly ugly, with a dark sour face, glowering black eyes, and a twisted mouth. Then he saw that he was not alone in the hall-way. ...
— The Damnation of Theron Ware • Harold Frederic

... suffering Christ. To imagine such an instrument of moral terror mingled with material violence, lay within the scope of Webster's sinister and powerful genius. But unless he had seen it with his eyes, what poet would have ventured to devise the thing and display it even in the dumb show of a tragedy? Fact is more wonderful than romance. No apocalypse of Antichrist matches what is told of Roderigo Borgia; and the crucifix of Crema exceeds the sombre fantasy ...
— Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece, Complete - Series I, II, and III • John Symonds

... This celebrated actor had letters of introduction to Monsieur S——. At a large party, which Monsieur S—— formed for the purpose of doing honour to his distinguished visitor, he exhibited several specimens of his unrivalled talents. Amongst others, he represented in dumb show, by the wonderful powers of his expressive countenance, the feelings of a father, who in looking over a lofty balcony with his only child in his arms, by accident dropped it. The disaster drove the unhappy parent mad. Garrick had visited him in his cell; ...
— The Stranger in France • John Carr

... radical difference between the 'talkies' and the movies, however." [He refers to musical comedy as the "screamies."] "The play in the theatre is largely a matter of pantomime, you know. Dialogue is employed to advance the actual plot only when it is impossible or impracticable to do it with dumb show. And when I think of some of the lines I've been called upon to spout, I can't say that I regret ...
— Laugh and Live • Douglas Fairbanks

... cotton fields, with the black people hoeing in them and looking no bigger than flocks of birds feeding. And here came another steamboat—and yonder another! The very drift logs, so countlessly frequent, vast trees from vast forests, some of them not yet dead, told to her sobering mind in tragic dumb show as they came gliding and plunging by, the age-long drama of their rise, decline, and fall. Unbrokenly green, yes, forever the one same green, were the low willow and cottonwood jungles of the creeping shores; but while the "labboard" ...
— Gideon's Band - A Tale of the Mississippi • George W. Cable

... put up, an awkward silence prevailed, which the oil-suits hanging on the walls, broadly displaying their arms and legs, seemed to mock, in dumb show. ...
— Stories by American Authors, Volume 6 • Various

... disappointed. The bearer spoke with Mr. Burrham, in answer to his questions, and, with a good deal of ostentation, he opened a check-book, filled a check and passed it to her, she signing a receipt as she took it, and transferring to him her ticket. So far, in dumb show, all was well. What was more to my purpose, it was rapid, for we should have been done in five minutes more, but that some devil tempted some loafer in a gallery to cry, "Face! face!" Miss Stillingfleet's legatee was ...
— If, Yes and Perhaps - Four Possibilities and Six Exaggerations with Some Bits of Fact • Edward Everett Hale

... slackened, and we had a dead calm, during which the waves banged us about frightfully, and our masts were in much jeopardy. Then a foul wind, S.E., increased into a gale, lasting five days, during which orders were given in dumb show, as no one's voice could be heard; through it we fought and laboured and dipped under water, and I only had my dry corner by the wheel, where the kind pleasant little third officer lashed me tight. ...
— Letters from the Cape • Lady Duff Gordon

... backwards, and took refuge among their party, bringing the victim in with them, however. Mr Enderby declared this retreat too bad, and was gone before the entreaties of his little nieces could stop him. He held his ground longer; and the dumb show he made was so energetic as to cause a laugh in the summer-house, in the midst of the uneasiness of his friends, and to call forth shouts of mirth from the crowd at ...
— Deerbrook • Harriet Martineau

... the Palace, made offerings and commenced the sacrificial riles. When the Chorus turn towards the Stage, the whole Scene is ablaze with fires and trembling with clouds of incense, rich unguents perfume the whole Theatre, while a solemn Religious ritual is being celebrated in dumb show. ...
— Story of Orestes - A Condensation of the Trilogy • Richard G. Moulton

... without really stirring at all, had the effect of withdrawing into the background, where, indeed, I tacitly joined him; and the two ladies remained in charge of the drama, while he and I conversed, as it were, in dumb show. Apart from my sympathy with her in the matter, I was very curious to see how my wife would play her part, which seemed to me far the more difficult of the two, since she must make all ...
— A Pair of Patient Lovers • William Dean Howells

... advancing and retiring in perfect time to the music, crossing over and whirling swiftly around, the man apparently making love to the lady, and the lady repulsing all his advances, turning away and hiding her face with her handkerchief. After a few moments of this dumb show the lady retired and another took her place; the music doubled its energy and rapidity, the dancers began the execution of a tremendous "break-down," and shrill exciting cries of "Heekh! Heekh! Heekh! Vallai-i-i! Ne fstavai-i-i!" resounded from all parts ...
— Tent Life in Siberia • George Kennan

... sudden tweak, which abstracted a silver thread from his head; and Mab showed somewhat greater displeasure at a similar act of plunder upon her white chemisette. But the spying was followed by a sigh; and, in dumb show, Ethel was made to perceive that the Vintry hair had more affinity with the canine than the human. As to the scrapings of the window, nothing but vegetable fibre could there be detected; but on the stile, there was undoubtedly a mark containing human blood-disks; Tom proved ...
— The Trial - or, More Links of the Daisy Chain • Charlotte M. Yonge

... dignity with which he could suddenly exalt a jester's part, and call forth tears in the startled hush of laughter; he whom the Cobbler had rightly said, "might have made a fortune at Covent Garden." There was the remnant of the old popular mime!—all his attributes of eloquence reduced to dumb show! Masterly touch of nature and of art in this representation of him,—touch which all who had ever in former years seen and heard him on that stage felt simultaneously. He came in for his personal portion of dramatic tears. "Waife, ...
— What Will He Do With It, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... continued, made a pounce into the grass—as I had heard it said that foxes did when mousing. Instantly two spry brown hands from out the nest clutched me with a most vengeful grip. As a fox, I struggled tremendously. But Tom overcame me forthwith, choked me nearly black in the face, then, in dumb show, knocked my ...
— The Junior Classics Volume 8 - Animal and Nature Stories • Selected and arranged by William Patten

... such regular acting as the last," said Beatrice, "I do not think it would do to take another half-play for so many spectators, but a scene or two mostly in dumb show would make a very nice diversion. Only say that you ...
— Henrietta's Wish • Charlotte M. Yonge

... at last, though, and the next day nothing else could be thought of or talked of. The Indians were questioned in dumb show, with the skin of the trogon for a text, and we got on more, Uncle Dick's spirits rising as it grew more plainly that the Indian fully understood about the birds we wanted. In fact, in dumb show he at last began to teach us ...
— Through Forest and Stream - The Quest of the Quetzal • George Manville Fenn

... the Armenians showed their hospitality in an original way. First, when one of the congregation went forward to the chancel railing and received from the priest the triple kiss of peace, which he then proceeded to communicate to another person, who passed it on in dumb show, and so on through the whole assembly, neither men nor women would run the risk of offending us by offering the simulated kiss. Secondly, and more peculiar, besides throwing light on their motives in omitting the kiss, they deliberately passed us by when they brought ...
— Russian Rambles • Isabel F. Hapgood

... of the garden scene was to me but little more than dumb show. Perhaps it was more vividly remembered for that very reason. I recollect being busy filling a little basket with strawberries, while I watched with a pleased, childish curiosity the two young people, as they ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 1, Issue 2, December, 1857 • Various

... them. He also gave them two turkeys which were in the canoe. But, for all this, it was evident that the Sioux were about to treat their prisoners with their wonted ferocity. In fact, one of the warriors signified to the friar in dumb show that he was to be brained with a war-club. On the spot he hastened to the canoe and returned loaded with presents which he threw down before them. This had the effect of so far softening the savage breasts that the prisoners were given food and were ...
— French Pathfinders in North America • William Henry Johnson

... who is evidently ready with a neat little speech which shall sum the applause that never comes, is disconcerted at this unwonted stillness. You might hear a pin fall as the old gentleman, in dumb show, places the certificate into the boy's hand and tries to get at the words which ...
— The Fifth Form at Saint Dominic's - A School Story • Talbot Baines Reed

... so as to shade his forehead. Not a word was spoken; and as we rose to do them homage, they still presented the same surface to the view. Not being bona-fide representations of living people, we got rid of the splendid apparitions by signs and dumb show. As soon as they had melted into thin air, there was a loud noise at the outer door, and we found it was Giotto, Cimabue, and Ghirlandaio, who had been raised from the dead by their earnest desire to see ...
— Hazlitt on English Literature - An Introduction to the Appreciation of Literature • Jacob Zeitlin

... and introduced us through it in dumb show; but he contrived to give the impression that I was the ...
— A Diversity of Creatures • Rudyard Kipling

... Dublin Police by L1000; proposed to show at some length charge is excessive. Committee thought Irish Members might be left to look after that for themselves. Howled at ALPHEUS continuously for space of ten minutes; then he sat down, moving reduction in dumb show. ...
— Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 101, August 8, 1891 • Various

... extinguished. Upon this, Calderon pressed forward to the steps, hastily ascended them, and passed into the vestibule. Catalina followed on his traces. What succeeded was all one scene of continued, dreadful dumb show; different passions of panic, or deadly struggle, or hellish malice ...
— Narrative And Miscellaneous Papers • Thomas De Quincey

... returning home from a visit to a friend in Polymnia street, had scarcely got well seated in the omnibus before he witnessed from its window a singular dumb show. He had handed his money up to the driver as they crossed Euterpe street, had received the change and deposited his fare as they passed Terpsichore, and was just sitting down when the only other passenger ...
— Dr. Sevier • George W. Cable

... assembly, he was neither a dumb show, nor an automaton; nor the tool of party; but independent, intelligent, and energetic, delivered his opinions freely, spoke often, and always ...
— Biographical Memorials of James Oglethorpe • Thaddeus Mason Harris

... his body, I was passing through the ward, when I came upon a young Philadelphia Zouave in a perfect paroxysm of anguish. Three nurses stood around him, and to my inquiry "What is the matter?" replied by dumb show that coming death was the matter, and that soon all would be over; while in words they told me he had not ...
— Half a Century • Jane Grey Cannon Swisshelm

... himself like some elastic snake. One gentleman on the front bench below the gangway actually fell from his seat and rolled upon the floor, and the House laughed itself almost into hysteria, whilst the hapless orator stood waving in apologetic dumb show. Now here was a tragedy indeed: to have the dream of a whole lifetime at last actually realised and concrete and then to see it go to ruin in that way. So swift a transition from the very height of triumph to the very gulf! When our laugh was over I am sure ...
— Recollections • David Christie Murray

... notary's clerk, enter my feeble protest against the tame and unimpressive manner in which that supernatural personage is permitted to make his appearance. It should seem that our managers reserve all their decorations for the inexplicable dumb show of the Wood Daemon (that diphthong is my delight), the Castle Spectre, &c. &c. The Bleeding Nun in Raymond and Agnes is ushered in with a pre-scent-iment of blue flame and brimstone. Angela's mother advances in a minuet step, to soft music, ...
— The Mirror of Taste, and Dramatic Censor, Vol. I, No. 4, April 1810 • Various

... on, and he, too, caught sight of the exquisite design. He looked quickly at Patty, and, in dumb show, begged her not to sell the garment. Nor had she any intention of doing so. The moment she saw it, she wanted it for herself, and began hastily to fold it ...
— Patty Blossom • Carolyn Wells

... dear,' remonstrated Parsons once more, very pettishly. Mrs. P. turned up her hands and eyebrows, and appealed in dumb show to Miss Lillerton. 'As I turned a corner of the road,' resumed Gabriel, 'the horse stopped short, and reared tremendously. I pulled up, jumped out, ran to his head, and found a man lying on his back in the middle of the road, with his eyes fixed on the sky. I thought ...
— Sketches by Boz - illustrative of everyday life and every-day people • Charles Dickens

... in groups as though they had accidentally met as neighbors of the same village. They should stand at the same place whence they had started to go to the "field" in the preceding dance. The groups should be talking in dumb show. Suddenly each group should act as if its attention had been arrested by a sound, and while in this attitude of arrested attention all should begin to sing the ...
— Indian Games and Dances with Native Songs • Alice C. Fletcher

... was all turning up the land in the valley as quiet as bees and much prettier, and the priests heard all the complaints and told Dravot in dumb show what it was about. 'That's just the beginning,' says Dravot. 'They think we're Gods.' He and Carnehan picks out twenty good men and shows them how to click off a rifle, and form fours, and advance in line, and they was very pleased to do so, and clever to see the hang of ...
— Short Stories Old and New • Selected and Edited by C. Alphonso Smith

... with an air of faint surprise, and looked pointedly away again. It was hard to be more offensive in dumb show. ...
— The Ebb-Tide - A Trio And Quartette • Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne

... and the ladies retired to the drawing-room, leaving the gentlemen to discuss coffee, cigars and the paradoxes of Sidney, who, tired of religion, looked to dumb show plays for the salvation of ...
— Children of the Ghetto • I. Zangwill

... produced no effect; and then in a despairing howl that quickly brought his mistress to a sense of her cruelty. She apologized to the victim so earnestly and caressed him so tenderly that Joshua grew ashamed of his want of doghood, and began to assure his mistress, in eloquent dumb show, that it was all a misapprehension on her part; that he wasn't hurt at all; that she never did hurt him and never could; that, in face, he was howling at—well, at the squirrel over yonder on the tree; or, yes, at the turkey ...
— Her Mother's Secret • Emma D. E. N. Southworth

... but to remark how the shadows lengthen as the sun declines." It is beautifully said: but in my opinion, this continual comparing of notes interferes with the involuntary impression of things upon the mind, and hurts the sentiment. If you only hint what you feel in a kind of dumb show, it is insipid: if you have to explain it, it is making a toil of a pleasure. You cannot read the book of nature, without being perpetually put to the trouble of translating it for the benefit of others. I am for the synthetical method on a journey, in preference ...
— English Prose - A Series of Related Essays for the Discussion and Practice • Frederick William Roe (edit. and select.)

... how to cook and do things generally. It was rather an amusing piece of work, seeing that I knew nothing of the language. Each order I gave him was a comedy in two or three acts, all played out in dumb show. In telling him what I wished purchased I was obliged to imitate sounds which are peculiar to certain beasts and birds, which when he understood, he announced that fact by opening wide his eyes and emitting a loud "Ah!" which was ...
— James Gilmour of Mongolia - His diaries, letters, and reports • James Gilmour

... and knew full well that it would prove our destruction, should we not get to a safe distance. Still, the remainder of the crew were not to be deserted. Three were men, the other two boys. I could see the poor fellows, as I looked back, lashed to the rigging, holding up their hands in dumb show, imploring us not to desert them. Neither the coxswain nor his crew were men to do that; but already the boat was crowded, and should the sea break on board, some of those saved might be washed out of her. Sea after sea rolled in on the wreck; ...
— A Yacht Voyage Round England • W.H.G. Kingston

... elk have perished in the Jackson Hole country, from starvation and exposure. The ranchmen of that region have had terrible times,—in witnessing the sufferings of thousands of elk tamed by hunger, and begging in piteous dumb show for the small and ...
— Our Vanishing Wild Life - Its Extermination and Preservation • William T. Hornaday

... globe-trotting tourist could pass through Mangadone without buying a set of tea-cups, a dancing devil, a carpet, or a Burmese gong, from Mhtoon Pah. A strange-looking effigy in tight breeches, with pointing yellow hands and a smiling yellow face, stood outside the shop, eternally asking people in wooden, dumb show, to go in and be robbed by the proprietor. He had stood there and pointed for so long that the green glaze of his coat was sun-blistered, but he invariably drew the attention of passing tourists, and acted as a sign-board. He pointed at a small door up a flight of steps, and behind the small door ...
— The Pointing Man - A Burmese Mystery • Marjorie Douie

... wandered in it like a soul outside the gates of paradise, with an anticipation of bliss, and the pain of my exclusion. There was only one man in the way. I was certain he had been watching us across the blackness of the patio. He must have seen the dimly-lit dumb show of our parting at Sera-phina's door. I hoped he had understood, and that my shadow, bearing the two lights, had struck him as triumphant and undismayed, walking upon air. I strained ...
— Romance • Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

... extravagant and unintelligible as those of a dumb show that could not by the beholder be interpreted; gestures ...
— The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark - A Study with the Text of the Folio of 1623 • George MacDonald

... before a magistrate. The merchant had never seen Mr. Phelim O'Mooney, but could swear to his handwriting and signature, having many of his letters and drafts. The draft in question was produced. Sir John Bull would neither acknowledge nor deny the signature, but in dumb show made signs of innocence. No art or persuasion could make him speak; he kept his fingers on his lips. One of the bailiffs offered to open Sir John's mouth. Sir John clenched his hand, in token that if they used violence he knew his remedy. To the magistrate he was all bows and respect: ...
— Tales and Novels, Vol. IV • Maria Edgeworth

... Bob replied in dumb show with his sculls, dipping them as fast as he could, and looking very pale the while, till they were well out of reach, when he rested for a moment, and yelled back in defiant tones ...
— Quicksilver - The Boy With No Skid To His Wheel • George Manville Fenn

... neither difficulty nor danger—except the danger that there always must be, in such a place, of a horse stumbling on the brink of an immeasurable precipice. In which case no piece of the unfortunate traveller would be left large enough to tell his story in dumb show. You may imagine something of the rugged grandeur of such a scene as this great passage of these great mountains, and indeed Glencoe, well sprinkled with snow, would be very like the ascent. But the top itself, so wild, and bleak, ...
— The Letters of Charles Dickens - Vol. 1 (of 3), 1833-1856 • Charles Dickens

... us of his victory, but his poor opponent could only point to his untouched plate and to the waves dashing against the portholes, and with that shrug of the shoulders, so suggestive to witness but so difficult to describe, would thus in dumb show explain the cause of ...
— The Confessions of a Caricaturist, Vol 2 (of 2) • Harry Furniss

... dialogue for the present," he said. "We'll play the rest of our act in dumb show. Get a move on you, and I'll take you out in the bubble—the automobile, the car, the chug-chug wagon, the thing we came here in, if you want to know what bubble is—and we'll ...
— The Coming of Bill • P. G. Wodehouse

... made almost in dumb show, by action rather than in dialogue, was soon given. He was surprised, simply enchanted, at the entire frankness of her recognition; she acknowledged openly that it mattered to her tremendously whether or not he was on intimate terms or flirting with little Miss Argles, or ...
— Tenterhooks • Ada Leverson

... was the next triumph: her acting was that of a triumphant fiend. I must follow these recollections no further; but the most admirable piece of dumb show that perhaps ever was conceived, was her "Banquet scene." That scene, from the terrible business on the stage—the entrance of Banquo's ghost, the horrors of Macbeth, stricken in the moment of his royal exultation, and the astonishment and alarm of ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. CCCXXXII. - June, 1843.,Vol. LIII. • Various

... with which his case is investigated by a company of maskers, who poke their stupid, pasteboard faces close to his, still with the unchangeable grin; or when a gigantic female figure singles out some shy, harmless personage, and makes appeals to his heart, avowing her passionate love in dumb show, and presenting him with her bouquet; and a hundred other nonsensicalities, among which the rudest and simplest are not the least effective. A resounding thump on the back with a harlequin's sword, or a rattling blow with a bladder half full of dried pease or corn, answers a ...
— Hawthorne and His Circle • Julian Hawthorne

... himself into an arm-chair, and began to turn over the leaves. After a few minutes he became absorbed. It was the strangest book that he had ever read. It seemed to him that in exquisite raiment, and to the delicate sound of flutes, the sins of the world were passing in dumb show before him. Things that he had dimly dreamed of were suddenly made real to him. Things of which he had never ...
— The Picture of Dorian Gray • Oscar Wilde

... the scene, so trance-like its mild pictorial effect, so distant from her blasted bower and her common sense of things, that Hunilla gazed and gazed, nor raised a finger or a wail. But as good to sit thus dumb, in stupor staring on that dumb show, for all that otherwise might be done. With half a mile of sea between, how could her two enchanted arms aid those four fated ones? The distance long, the time one sand. After the lightning is beheld, what fool shall ...
— The Piazza Tales • Herman Melville

... gate seen through the door on the left. Also there are the "sharks" waiting to follow out the released prisoners, to prey upon them as the circumstances may favor; and a number of curiosity seekers watching intently. For them it can be nothing but a morbid dumb show, for they are so far from the bench that not a word of the proceedings could be heard. Only once in a while the shrieks and imprecations of a struggling hysterical woman as she is hurried out of court ...
— The Man in Court • Frederic DeWitt Wells

... come upon the gold boxes, and they wished to impress upon the visitors, in underwater dumb show, that the find had only been made that very minute. It was a strange enough performance. Half-seen hands snapped red fingers in triumph. Ponderously booted feet did a dance of ecstasy in three feet of gluey mud. And meanwhile, Kettle, with a hand on the ...
— A Master of Fortune • Cutcliffe Hyne

... the signal for that issue between the two remaining parties for which each was preparing in his own fashion. Ralph had not beheld the dumb show, in which Edith was dismissed, without a rising impulse of choler. The manner of the thing had been particularly offensive to him. But the father of Edith, whatever his offence, had suddenly risen into new consideration in the young man's mind, from the moment ...
— Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia • William Gilmore Simms

... postures, and comes to rest leaning over a high chair, whence, in dumb show, he addresses a gathering. CRICHTON, with the best intentions, gives him a footstool to stand on, and departs, happily unconscious that ERNEST in some dudgeon has kicked the footstool ...
— The Admirable Crichton • J. M. Barrie

... eyes looked up, with saintly resignation, at the dirty ceiling—and asked in dumb show what she had done to deserve the injury ...
— Blind Love • Wilkie Collins

... attempt to drown her voice, but she serenely went on with her pantomime. This seemed to continue an interminable time, when the audience, tiring of its prank and in order to hear, suddenly stilled its clamor, and discovered the dumb show she had been making. For a moment all was silent, save for the orchestra, her lips moving on without a sound, and then the audience realized that it had been sold, and broke out afresh, this time with genuine applause in acknowledgment of her victory. She chose this as the happy ...
— Moon-Face and Other Stories • Jack London

... 'Myra'—the yells, howls, whistles, cat-calls which made the whole three acts a pantomime in dumb show. The moral tiger ...
— Despair's Last Journey • David Christie Murray

... expectation would exceed his control, when he would spring from the floor, and caper and strut about like a pigeon—soft as a shadow, for he knew his father could not bear noise in the morning—or behind his back execute a pantomimic dumb show of delight, in which he seemed with difficulty to restrain himself from jumping upon him, and hugging him in his ecstasy. Oh, best of parents! working thus even on a Sunday for his Gibbie, when everybody else was at church ...
— Sir Gibbie • George MacDonald

... But whether from the narrowing of the road or some present sense of decorum, as the cart passed on, the company fell to the rear in couples, keeping step, and otherwise assuming the external show of a formal procession. Jack Folinsbee, who had at the outset played a funeral march in dumb show upon an imaginary trombone, desisted from a lack of sympathy and appreciation,—not having, perhaps, your true humorist's capacity to be content with the enjoyment of ...
— Modern Prose And Poetry; For Secondary Schools - Edited With Notes, Study Helps, And Reading Lists • Various

... grandest proportions, and made a courtesy which was nothing less than a triumph of polite satire in dumb show. Sir Patrick answered by a profound bow and a smile which said, eloquently, "I believe every word of that charming ...
— Man and Wife • Wilkie Collins

... entered in his wake. Margarita, to make up for this want of courtesy, formed herself the last of the procession. She may have had another motive, for she took occasion there to whisper something to Farina, bringing sun and cloud over his countenance in rapid flushes. He seemed to remonstrate in dumb show; but she, with an attitude of silence, signified her wish to seal the conversation, and he drooped again. On the door step she paused a moment, and hung her head pensively, as if moved by a reminiscence. The youth had hurried away some strides. Margarita looked ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... invitation in dumb show completed this species of summons, and I was obliged to execute it. I returned to the King in the space of a few minutes, bringing back in its new case the fugitive present, which a monarch asked back again so politely and with such ...
— The Memoirs of Madame de Montespan, Complete • Madame La Marquise De Montespan

... he resisted the unspeakable temptation, his fingers visibly itching and twittering about his pocket, even his interest in the landscape and in sporadic anecdote entirely lost. Presently the pipe was in his hands again; he fitted, unfitted, refitted, and played upon it in dumb show ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 20 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... briefly addressed the meeting in dumb show, called upon one eminent Liberal after another to move the preliminary resolutions. Not a word that any one of these gentlemen said could be heard a yard beyond the limits of the platform. It seemed that nothing could be done to reduce the vast audience to ...
— Memoirs of Sir Wemyss Reid 1842-1885 • Stuart J. Reid, ed.

... great dumb show, Mr. Mayor," he observed once to Borchardt, quietly, and the latter replied, with a smile and a kindly eye, that as far as he was concerned, it was a form of procedure which was ...
— The Financier • Theodore Dreiser

... passed down into the gullies and ravines that broke the ground adjacent to the Fork to the westward of the stream. Once, indeed, he saw the figures of the hunters, painted dark against the sky, rise over a distant swell and disappear just as one of them turned and waved a signal in dumb show to the solitary ...
— The Boy Settlers - A Story of Early Times in Kansas • Noah Brooks

... if my eardrums would split. In the midst of it all up came my aunt, whose fortitude and presence of mind at that moment I can never sufficiently admire; and with forced smiles and courteous gestures made them to understand, in dumb show, that the first course of their meal was served. Instantly the drums ceased; one of them seized her by the shoulders, and hurried her down stairs before him, the others clattering after him. I turned, and ...
— Jacques Bonneval • Anne Manning

... from Moliere's Tartuffe, and what audience would bear its mere stage-business? Imagine the scene in which Iago poisons Othello's mind against Desdemona, conveyed in dumb show. What becomes of the difference between Shakespeare and Sheridan Knowles in the film? Or between Shakespeare's Lear and any one else's Lear? No, it seems to me that all the interest lies in the new opening for the mass of dramatic talent formerly disabled by incidental deficiencies ...
— The Art Of The Moving Picture • Vachel Lindsay

... strolling players were exhibiting in an extemporary theatre, and here Hal incited both the youths to obtain seats. The drama was on one of the ordinary and frequent topics of that, as of all other times, and the dumb show and gestures were far more effective than the words, so that even those who did not understand the language of the comedians, who seemed to be Italians, could enter into it, especially as it was interspersed ...
— The Armourer's Prentices • Charlotte Mary Yonge

... course. A murder and its detection were given in dumb show. Then it was the turn of card-guessing, bank-note-finding, and the various other forms of telepathic hide and seek. Mr. Flaxman superintended them all, his restless eye wandering every other minute to the farther drawing-room in which ...
— Robert Elsmere • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... fatigue. She took his travesty seriously, and pointed to the house, inviting him by gesture to go in and rest there. Evidently she believed that, being a stranger, he could not speak or understand much of her language. He did not even try to undeceive her. It amused him to watch her dumb show, for her face spoke eloquently and her pretty, brown hands knew a language that was delicious. He had no longer any thought of sleep, but he felt curious to see the interior of the cottage, and he nodded his head in response to her invitation. ...
— The Call of the Blood • Robert Smythe Hichens

... only through the feelings of the body grew upon me; the thought of perpetual silence began to appal me. I could feel the sound of the oars in the rowlocks, and the dash of the waves against the boat, but though I could see men's lips moving it was all no more to me than dumb show. ...
— Carette of Sark • John Oxenham

... shouted, quite forgetting where he was; "just let me get at him, I'll have his wig off!" and then, without waiting for any more, the entire audience burst out into a roar of laughter, which, however, unseemly, was perfectly reasonable; during which Mr. Fiddlestick could be seen apologising in dumb show, with a bland smile upon his countenance, while Mr. News and Mr. Roscoe between them dragged the outraged Addison to his seat, and proffered him handkerchiefs ...
— Mr. Meeson's Will • H. Rider Haggard

... usual, was the life of the feast. Mr. Howard, who sat next to Miss Bridget, conversed with her between the courses, "in dumb show." Mr. Onslow and the physician played second and third to Lord Vargrave. When the dinner was over, and the ladies had retired, Vargrave found himself seated next to Mr. Onslow, and discovered in his neighbour a most agreeable companion. They talked principally ...
— Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... scene of sorrow: but a silent one; for they spoke only by their eyes, and by sighs, looking upon the lid, and upon one another, by turns, with hands lifted up. The presence of their young master possibly might awe them, and cause their grief to be expressed only in dumb show. ...
— Clarissa Harlowe, Volume 9 (of 9) - The History Of A Young Lady • Samuel Richardson

... "Miching mallecho." Hamlet's description of the meaning of the Dumb Show in the play-scene, Act III, Sc. 2. "Hidden treachery"—see any ...
— Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson • Robert Louis Stevenson

... help out the stage action, Shakespeare's collaborator introduced John Gower, the mediaeval poet, as a "Prologue," to the acts. He was supplemented, when his affectedly antique diction failed him, by dumb show, the last straw clutched at by the desperate playwright. But at the beginning of Act III the master's music swells out with no uncertain note, and we are lifted into the upper regions of true dramatic poetry as Pericles speaks to the ...
— An Introduction to Shakespeare • H. N. MacCracken

... to convey everything by grimaces and dumb show, but Mrs. Hall was obdurate. She raised her voice. So Hall and Henfrey, rather crestfallen, tiptoed back to the bar, gesticulating ...
— The Invisible Man • H. G. Wells

... that reigned placards were exhibited demanding "half-price." In vain the managers attempted to obtain a hearing—in vain favourite actors came forward, hoping to be heard—the play proceeded, but all in "inexplicable dumb show and noise." These riots were repeated on the nights of the 14th and 16th, when it was found necessary to close the theatre. Each night the same riotous behaviour was exhibited. In fact, to such an extent had it arrived that ...
— Recollections of Old Liverpool • A Nonagenarian

... house themselves minister on these occasions, it will be easily understood that all flinching is out of the question. What is a man to do, when a wicked little golden-haired maiden insists on pouring him out a bumper, and dumb show is his only means of remonstrance? Why, of course, if death were in the cup, he must make her a leg, and drain it to the bottom, as I did. In conclusion, I am bound to add that, notwithstanding the bacchanalian character ...
— Letters From High Latitudes • The Marquess of Dufferin (Lord Dufferin)

... disposition on his part to court a similar scrutiny on the part of the inn-keeper; then, observing in the countenance of the latter no other expression than extreme surprise at his own want of attention to an inquiry so courteously worded, he deemed it as well to terminate this dumb show, and therefore said, speaking with a strong Italian accent, "You ...
— The Count of Monte Cristo • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... crossing her hands before her, and nodding at the bowl with a significant smile, as much as to say, "Yes, you may really eat it." For, in the excitement of carrying out her deed, she had forgotten her previous thought that the stranger would not be deaf, and had fallen into her habitual alternative of dumb show and shouting. ...
— Romola • George Eliot

... was happening at the Boston end of the wire while all this dumb show was being enacted in the Wilmington court-house. My directors and officials were lined up against the walls of the directors' room in the Boston Gas Light Company's office like so many members of young John D. Rockefeller's Sunday-school class, inasmuch ...
— Frenzied Finance - Vol. 1: The Crime of Amalgamated • Thomas W. Lawson

... was out of all proportion to the wedding march. Cousin Martha from Glenoro, in a panic of nervousness, was laboring hard to get to the end of it, but long after the bridal party was in position the faint, jerky sounds still wavered on, now vanishing altogether in a dumb show, now, just as the people were hopefully thinking the ordeal over, becoming huskily audible. There seemed enough of the thing, Mrs. Long said afterward, to give Arabella time to walk over to the next concession ...
— Treasure Valley • Marian Keith

... innocence of her aspect, and began to repent of having pretended ignorance of the language, by which he was restrained from exercising his eloquence upon her heart; he resolved, however, to ingratiate himself, if possible, by the courtesy and politeness of dumb show, and for that purpose put his eyes in motion without ...
— The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom, Complete • Tobias Smollett

... shown, has been while hunting after a successful shot. The paddlers at once re-enact the scene, put imaginary guns to their shoulders give a loud bang and then describe circles with their hands to give a dumb show of the bird falling, laughing and shouting all the time. They are really just like young children and are easily pleased by trifles. After walking some distance the sergeant becomes wildly excited and clutches me violently by the arm but ...
— A Journal of a Tour in the Congo Free State • Marcus Dorman

... quietly observant of recent comings and goings, was standing at the door of the shop, and missed no item of this dumb show. He raised both hands in silent condemnation of Elkin's childishness, whereupon the horse-dealer jerked a thumb toward Grant's retreating figure, and went through a rapid pantomime of the hanging process. His crony disapproved again, and went in. Now, both those men were on the jury panel, ...
— The Postmaster's Daughter • Louis Tracy

... with this dumb show, eloquent as it was. As the crowd parted and these two imposing figures took their way down the steps to the carriage which had been sent for them, Mr. Sutherland cast one deep and long glance about him on faces he knew and on faces he did not know, on those who were near and those who were far, ...
— Agatha Webb • Anna Katharine Green

... him. In the afternoon we proceeded to court accordingly, but found it scantily attended; and after the first sitting, which was speedily over, retired to another court, and saw the women. Of this dumb show the king soon got tired; he therefore called for his iron chair, and entered into conversation, at first about the ever-engrossing subject of stimulants, till we changed it by asking him how he liked the ...
— The Discovery of the Source of the Nile • John Hanning Speke

... he could not exactly comprehend the meaning of this dumb show; and yet felt that some dire mystery was connected with these phantoms, which he was called upon to unravel. After breakfast he wandered out, and lost in the maze of thought, sauntered, ere he was aware ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 14, - Issue 386, August 22, 1829 • Various

... emotion as distinguish "A Challenge for Beauty": and for all its simple grace of writing and ingenuous ingenuity of plot it may not improbably be best remembered by the average modern reader as remarkable for the most amusing and astonishing example on record of anything but "inexplicable" dumb show—to be paralleled only and hardly by a similar interlude of no less elaborate arrangement and significant eccentricity in the sole dramatic venture of Henri de ...
— The Age of Shakespeare • Algernon Charles Swinburne

... troop, being unaccustomed to study, found the utmost difficulty in committing the simplest sentences to memory. O'Riley turned out to be the sharpest among them, but having agreed to impersonate the First Bear, and having to act his part in dumb show—bears not being supposed capable of speech—his powers of memory had not to be exerted. Grim was also pretty good; but Davie Summers could not be got to remember even the general arrangements of the piece; and as for ...
— The World of Ice • Robert Michael Ballantyne

... their blood, proclaimed the growing deadly accuracy of the fire on either side. The pandemonium of sound was such that the human voice could no longer make itself heard, and the officers on the bridges were obliged to give their orders in dumb show. Even the shrieks of the wounded went unheard in that hellish babel of sound. As the distance between the contending ships decreased one began to realise the terrific character of the forces employed by man for the destruction of his fellow-man, for now it could be seen that the Tsarevich, ...
— Under the Ensign of the Rising Sun - A Story of the Russo-Japanese War • Harry Collingwood

... penitent. His wife in his arms. The young lady conveying in dumb show how platonic has been her attachment, of which, nevertheless, she seems a little ashamed. The sheriff benignant; the turnkeys amused; the comic servant, obviously in liquor, brandishing his fiddlestick, and the orchestra playing ...
— M. or N. "Similia similibus curantur." • G.J. Whyte-Melville

... eyes, diverted from the churchyard, saw a good deal of dumb show which was not so intelligible to her as she could have desired, and could not repress the question, "Who is ...
— Middlemarch • George Eliot

... political import behind it, this was going to be in all the press to be understanded of the people; the Bishops about to fight for their own order were passing before the steps of the throne to indicate in dumb show that allegiance to Crown and Constitution ...
— King John of Jingalo - The Story of a Monarch in Difficulties • Laurence Housman

... was this dumb show of farewell, for no word passed between them while he was present, that not only his barbed gibes, but the questions that he meant to ask, died upon the lips of Montalvo. Try as he might he could ...
— Lysbeth - A Tale Of The Dutch • H. Rider Haggard

... nearly set to sleep by discourses in Latin from a pulpit. There were some purple, and some gold, some robes and some wigs, a great crowd, and some stir at times, while a deal of humdrum speaking and dumb show was followed by the noisy demonstrations of the students, as they applauded or condemned the honours bestowed; but in the main I tired of the heat and the mob, and the worry of these mornings, and so, depend upon it, did poor Lord Grenville, who sat up in the chair of state among the dignitaries, ...
— My Autobiography - A Fragment • F. Max Mueller

... slightly obstructed in your perambulations on a fine afternoon by a small knot of loiterers pausing before a shop window in which an active young man of admirably mobile countenance is holding forth in dumb show. Your progress is slackened as you edge about the throng with the intention of proceeding on your way. As it were, you poise on the wing. Then, like a warming liquor stealing through the veins, the ...
— Walking-Stick Papers • Robert Cortes Holliday

... she rehearsed her discourse before me, reading from her type-written manuscript in a clear voice, in which I could scarcely discern a tremor. Then we went through the dumb show of exhibiting the uxen eggs to a frantically applauding audience; she responded to countless supposititious encores, I leading her out repeatedly before the green curtain to face the ...
— In Search of the Unknown • Robert W. Chambers

... here the proud triumphal arches rise, Where the old Romans' deathless acts displayed, Their base, degenerate progeny upbraid: 80 Whole rivers here forsake the fields below, And wondering at their height through airy channels flow. Still to new scenes my wandering Muse retires, And the dumb show of breathing rocks admires; Where the smooth chisel all its force has shown, And softened into flesh the rugged stone. In solemn silence, a majestic band, Heroes, and gods, and Roman consuls stand; Stern tyrants, whom their cruelties renown, ...
— The Poetical Works of Addison; Gay's Fables; and Somerville's Chase • Joseph Addison, John Gay, William Sommerville



Words linked to "Dumb show" :   playacting, acting, performing, mime, panto, playing



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