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Fiddling   /fˈɪdlɪŋ/   Listen
Fiddling

adjective
1.
(informal) small and of little importance.  Synonyms: footling, lilliputian, little, niggling, petty, picayune, piddling, piffling, trivial.  "A footling gesture" , "Our worries are lilliputian compared with those of countries that are at war" , "A little (or small) matter" , "A dispute over niggling details" , "Limited to petty enterprises" , "Piffling efforts" , "Giving a police officer a free meal may be against the law, but it seems to be a picayune infraction"






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"Fiddling" Quotes from Famous Books



... take gun, basket, rod or violin? If I know whether she's gone shooting berrying, fishing or fiddling, it may give me a clue—or did she take ...
— The Eyes of the World • Harold Bell Wright

... incumbency of Coxwold in 1760, whereas two volumes of Tristram Shandy had already been published in 1759. Of his life at Coxwold one gathers that the vicar was more devoted to his books than to his parish. In the intervals of writing and his clerical duties he amused himself with painting, fiddling, dining out and telling stories, at the same time suffering from ill-health and other discomforts. His gift of humour, however, helped him to bear his troubles better than might otherwise have been the case. He was firmly persuaded that "every time a man smiles, but much more so when he laughs, ...
— What to See in England • Gordon Home

... was bailing water from the boat, and Gunnar was fiddling with the motor that had conked out again, the dwarf looked back at the cliff. It was shadowy now. Dust was still rising as it shook loose ...
— Hunters Out of Space • Joseph Everidge Kelleam

... Performance sits before the curtain on the boards, and looks into the Fair, a feeling of profound melancholy comes over him in his survey of the bustling place. There is a great quantity of eating and drinking, making love and jilting, laughing and the contrary, smoking, cheating, fighting, dancing, and fiddling: there are bullies pushing about, bucks ogling the women, knaves picking pockets, policemen on the lookout, quacks (other quacks, plague take them!) bawling in front of their booths, and yokels looking up at the tinselled dancers and poor old rouged tumblers, ...
— The Art Of Writing & Speaking The English Language - Word-Study and Composition & Rhetoric • Sherwin Cody

... ours that brought down on us the severest anathemas. We were idlers forever singing and fiddling and dancing when honest folk were at work. This criticism was in part true. We certainly did devote more time and more attention to recreation than was customary among working folk. The two half-holidays ...
— My Friends at Brook Farm • John Van Der Zee Sears

... gathering, whereupon all his neighbors hurried to his aid like faithful allies; attacked the task with the desperate energy of lazy men eager to overcome a job; and, when it was accomplished, fell to eating and drinking, fiddling and dancing for very joy that so great an amount of labor had been vanquished with so little sweating of ...
— Wolfert's Roost and Miscellanies • Washington Irving

... few negro slaves. Not to dwell on the sacrifice of mother and sons, your own learning, fortune, and extraordinary mental powers—your genius for dealing with men—are here employed, not in the service of mankind, but in—" Burr was tempted to say "fiddling," but he substituted the words—"gazing at the stars through a telescope. Pardon me for speaking strongly. It is only a few hours since we first met, but I am drawn to you. I admire and esteem you, and my motive in this perhaps impertinent ...
— A Dream of Empire - Or, The House of Blennerhassett • William Henry Venable

... when I wished to return to Ternate. I obtained the use of a good-sized house in the Campong Sirani (or Christian village), and at Christmas and the New Year had to endure the incessant gun-firing, drum-beating, and fiddling of the inhabitants. ...
— The Malay Archipelago - Volume II. (of II.) • Alfred Russel Wallace

... the names Spencer and Grenville—your invitation is meant kindly, but—the city in the summer-time for me. Here, while the bourgeoisie is away, I can live as Nero lived— barring, thank heaven, the fiddling—while the city burns at ninety in the shade. The tropics and the zones wait upon me like handmaidens. I sit under Florida palms and eat pomegranates while Boreas himself, electrically conjured up, blows upon me his Arctic breath. As for trout, you know, ...
— Options • O. Henry

... criticisms. The fiddling did not suit him at all. It was too quick, or else it was too slow. He failed to perceive how any one could tolerate such music even in the infernal regions, and he expressed himself in plain words to that effect. In fact, he damned the performance ...
— The Ruling Passion • Henry van Dyke

... truth, Yet had some useful cunning from his youth; A cunning never to dishonour lent, And rather for defence than conquest meant; 'Twas fear of power, with some desire to rise, But not enough to make him enemies; He ever aim'd to please; and to offend Was ever cautious; for he sought a friend. Fiddling and fishing were his arts, at times He alter'd sermons, and he aimed at rhymes; And his fair friends, not yet intent on cards, Oft he amused with riddles and charades, Mild were his doctrines, and not one discourse But gained in softness ...
— The Parish Clerk (1907) • Peter Hampson Ditchfield

... Three against the World (CHAPMAN AND HALL) colours up life with lavish brush. We have a returned convict who fiddles in the rain for the benefit of dancing village children; we have impresarios who stand at the doors of inns and hear him thus fiddling; an untidy heroine who speaks in gasps and gurglings; and a lover who goes to literary parties in London and therefore (the inference is implied by the author) falls in love with two ladies at once. Such a novel is refreshing after the mathematical accuracy with which clerks, barmaids ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, June 3, 1914 • Various

... went to church. Our first preacher was name Prince Jones. The biggest games I played was ball and card. I was one of the best dancers. We danced the old juland dance, swing your partner, promonate. Danced by fiddling. The fiddlers could beat the fiddlers of today. Get your partners, swing them to the left and to the right, hands up four, swing corners, right hands up four promonate all around all the way, git your partners boys. I shoot dice, ...
— Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves - Arkansas Narratives Part 3 • Works Projects Administration

... softened. She was fiddling with a spoon and when she spoke she seemed speaking to it, turning it about as if to examine ...
— The Ghost Girl • H. De Vere Stacpoole

... the road in front of the hospital I couldn't get the motor-bicycle to work, and sat crouched in the dark fiddling with spanners. ...
— A Diary Without Dates • Enid Bagnold

... buy fiddles, and collect a number, being in no wise given to fiddling, nor fond of music: or if, being no cobbler, he collected awls and lasts, or, having no mind for sea-adventure, bought sails, every one would call him a madman, and deservedly. But what difference is there between such a man and one who ...
— The Crown of Wild Olive • John Ruskin

... led his horse away from the gate, back where she could not see him, and stood fiddling with his cinch a bit, although it ...
— The Duke Of Chimney Butte • G. W. Ogden

... "the matches are burning much more rapidly than I anticipated; and if we are not pretty lively we shall be caught by the first explosions. That's your sort; that will do, Parsons, don't stand there fiddling with that match, it is burning all right. Now, lads, away you go; over ...
— Two Gallant Sons of Devon - A Tale of the Days of Queen Bess • Harry Collingwood

... in it. But the frame that lies so quiet and motionless here, thrills, when awaked to life, with a soul only less marvellous than man's. In short, the coffin is a violin-case, and the mysterious frame the violin. The Doctor must have been fiddling overnight, after getting into bed; to the dissatisfaction, perhaps, of his neighbor on the ...
— Idolatry - A Romance • Julian Hawthorne

... a set speech, one he had recited year after year, and every Lord Chairman of the Presidium before him. The splendid traditions. The glories of the Masterly race. The all-conquering Space Vikings. The proud heritage of the Sword-Worlds. Lanze was fiddling with the control knobs, stepping up magnification and focusing on the speaker's head and shoulders. Then everybody laughed; Nikkolon had a small plug in one ear, with a fine wire running down to vanish under his collar. Degbrend brought ...
— A Slave is a Slave • Henry Beam Piper

... Fear, of emanations from the Gallows and from Dr. Graham's Celestial-Bed? Happiness of an approving Conscience! Did not Paul of Tarsus, whom admiring men have since named Saint, feel that he was "the chief of sinners"; and Nero of Rome, jocund in spirit (wohlgemuth), spend much of his time in fiddling? Foolish Word-monger and Motive-grinder, who in thy Logic-mill hast an earthly mechanism for the Godlike itself, and wouldst fain grind me out Virtue from the husks of Pleasure,—I tell thee, Nay! To the unregenerate Prometheus Vinctus ...
— Sartor Resartus, and On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History • Thomas Carlyle

... intended to continue with them, but as their passengers seemed to be more disposed to dancing than fighting, and as soon after dark, notwithstanding the remonstrances of Captain Hubbell, they commenced fiddling and dancing instead of preparing their arms, and taking the necessary rest preparatory to battle, it was wisely considered more hazardous to be in such company, than to be alone. It was therefore determined to proceed rapidly forward by the aid of the oars, and leave those thoughtless ...
— Heroes and Hunters of the West • Anonymous

... fiddling," ejaculated one of the sailors; "I'd like to have 'em here just awhile. I'd bowstring 'em and show 'em what black eyes, and good old English ...
— Jack Harkaway and his son's Escape From the Brigand's of Greece • Bracebridge Hemyng

... somehow. I've only hired it, and can give it up any time I like." I repeated my question: "Are you justified in this extravagance?" He replied: "Look here, Guv., excuse me saying so, but you're a bit out of date. It does not pay nowadays, fiddling about over small things. I don't mean anything personal, Guv'nor. My boss says if I take his tip, and stick to big things, I can make big money!" I said I thought the very idea of speculation most horrifying. Lupin ...
— The Diary of a Nobody • George Grossmith and Weedon Grossmith

... disgust a human being of the scene which he inhabits; and you would not fancy there was a green or habitable spot in a universe thus awfully lighted up. And yet it is by the blaze of such a conflagration, to which the fire of Rome was but a spark, that we do all our fiddling, and hold domestic tea-parties ...
— Virginibus Puerisque • Robert Louis Stevenson

... not," said Pat. "I was the 'cello myself, fiddling with a ruler on me own knees, double pedalling with two knees! I had no thought for flutes. Ye made the most noise, I'll ...
— The Love Affairs of Pixie • Mrs George de Horne Vaizey

... at intervals. The lower operations and the delights that go with them have a medicinal power to restore the vigour that has become enfeebled by a lengthened exercise of the higher faculties. At those "dead points" food and fiddling are ...
— Moral Philosophy • Joseph Rickaby, S. J.

... an abstracted air, Lord James sank down on the chair opposite her and began fiddling with the cord of ...
— Out of the Primitive • Robert Ames Bennet

... blacking-bottle below his daidly, as he was bidden. There being a wire over the cork for some purpose or other, or maybe just to look neat, we had some fight to get it torn away, but at last we succeeded. I had turned about for a jug, and the wife was rummaging for the screw, while Benjie was fiddling away with his fingers at the cork—Save us! all at once it gave a thud like thunder, driving the cork over poor Benjie's head, while it squirted there-up in his eyes like a fire-engine, and I had only just time to throw down the jug, and up with the bottle ...
— The Life of Mansie Wauch - Tailor in Dalkeith, written by himself • David Macbeth Moir

... moment he heard a tap at the door, and opening it, Lawrence was standing on the threshold. He entered, taking off his cap and loosening his heavy uniform greatcoat. Once he had been a handsome fellow, but he had danced too long to the devil's fiddling, and that always spoils a ...
— Betty at Fort Blizzard • Molly Elliot Seawell

... her father in the orchestra. There he sat, under the leader, sullenly fiddling the prelude to the second play, like a man ashamed, and one of the beaten in this world. Flight had been her first thought. She had cause to dread him. The more she lived and the dawning knowledge of what ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... has told us that his usual method in a poor man's cabin was to make them forget that he was there, but in Aran on these visits he always tried to add to the fun, and to his personal prestige with conjuring tricks, fiddling, piping, taking photographs, etc. Some of the Islanders were much attached to him. I suppose that their main impression was that he was a linguist who had committed a crime somewhere and had ...
— John M. Synge: A Few Personal Recollections, with Biographical Notes • John Masefield

... Spohf, who, of course, out of mere envy, mere spite, mere jealousy, would try to overturn that harmony that is not to be broken so easily—that unity that is not to be severed, no, not for a hundred Spohfs! "Go—go, sir, to your fiddling garret-friend—go and blow his hurdigurdy!—Go, sir!—Tell him the affections of innocent females are not to be played upon like a base vile!—Tell him there are ears to pull, horsewhips to be had, ay, and noble gentlemen ever ready to lay on in defence of those scandalously ...
— Christmas Comes but Once A Year - Showing What Mr. Brown Did, Thought, and Intended to Do, - during that Festive Season. • Luke Limner

... except the throbbing of their machinery, and a fairy fiddling of unseen crickets, which seemed to make the silence more intense, under the great sparkling dome that hung ...
— The Golden Silence • C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson

... surely," quoth the minstrel, and through the palace he went a-fiddling, his stout sword ringing often in his hand. Great thanks were tendered by the warriors from the Rhine. Bold Folker spake to Dankwart: "Great discomfiture have ye suffered to-day, therefore your brother bade me hasten to your aid. ...
— The Nibelungenlied • Unknown

... heavenly orchestration is going on while Xerxes is possibly in an Apocalyptic hell, and his hosts either bearing him company or wandering aimlessly about in the same stupid, stolid, unmoral, unspiritual condition in which they were the moment they were engulfed in those blue waters. Why, Nero fiddling while Rome was burning is a pleasant memory ...
— Morality as a Religion - An exposition of some first principles • W. R. Washington Sullivan

... upon me almost as a god, and to-morrow hundreds of people will be turned away, for want of space, from the Hall where I am to play, just I alone, my last Fantaisie, it was not so very many years ago that I trudged along, fiddling for half-pence in the streets. Ninette and I—Ninette with her barrel-organ, and I fiddling. Poor little Ninette—that air was one of the four her organ played. I wonder what has become of her? Dead, I should hope, poor child. Now that I am successful and famous, a Baron of the French Empire, ...
— The Poems And Prose Of Ernest Dowson • Ernest Dowson et al

... the crevices or windows of the Shian, and sounds of revelry came forth, among which fiddling was conspicuous. The tune played at that moment ...
— Old-Fashioned Fairy Tales • Juliana Horatia Gatty Ewing

... began to settle nearby, and there was Van Artevelde leaning over its rail and fiddling frantically with whatever it was that stuck up on it—a weird, angled contraption of pipes and belts topped by a whirring blade. A boy stood at his shoulder and tried to help him. As the platform descended to a few meters above ground, the Dutchman slashed at ...
— Wind • Charles Louis Fontenay

... that nothing less than a side of beef could take out of his mouth the taste of those fiddling little lamb chops and the restaurant fare of ...
— Half Portions • Edna Ferber

... been bestirring myself to put amateurs upon a more convenient and, I think, a better mode of examining double stars than by the wire micrometer, with its faults of illumination, fiddling, jumps, and dirty lamps. This is by the beautiful method of rock-crystal prisms, not the Rochon method of double-image, but by thin wedges cut to given angles. I have told Mr. Alvan Clark my "experiences." ...
— Maria Mitchell: Life, Letters, and Journals • Maria Mitchell

... gravity. Then came the Schuetzhallen, where the marksmen stationed themselves three feet from the target and cracked away at it with no other visible effect than that produced on a monkey doing its tricks close by: at every shot the poor little creature stopped fiddling and looked over its shoulder with a distressed air of "If I'm not hit this time!" Hand-organs, penny trumpets and rattles quite drowned the voice of a street-songstress with a large assortment of vocal music before her, from which she was giving ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science - February, 1876, Vol. XVII, No. 98. • Various

... said, "ta preacher is a goot feller after all, she will tance with her hern ainsel;" and fiddling his way up to him again, he danced a jig with Jehu, to the infinite amusement of us all. The familiarity which Mr Judd exhibited with the steps and the dance, convinced me that he must have often indulged ...
— Nature and Human Nature • Thomas Chandler Haliburton

... never in the room with the queen! that's the drawing-room, beyond, where the queen sits; we go no farther than the fiddling-room. As to the queen, we don't see her week after week sometimes. The king, indeed, comes there to us, between whiles, though that's all as it happens, now Price is gone. He used to play ...
— The Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay Volume 1 • Madame D'Arblay

... fiddle roused Forester from his reverie; he looked up, and saw a thin, pale man fiddling to a set of dancing dogs, that he was exhibiting upon the flags, for the amusement of a crowd of men, women, and children. It was a deplorable spectacle; the dogs appeared so wretched, in the midst of the merriment of the spectators, ...
— Tales And Novels, Volume 1 • Maria Edgeworth

... came over with Baron Castine to America, what would the whole line of ancestors, from the crusaders down, say to see their descendant in such a place as this? He has always held his head high, though he has earned his bread by fiddling, varied by shoemaking in the winter-time. He has always kept good company, he would tell you, and would rather go hungry any day than earn a dinner among people who do not regard the decencies of life. Even in this place, people come to feel ...
— Melody - The Story of a Child • Laura E. Richards

... king ambled up and down the apartment in a piteous state of uncertainty, which was made more ridiculous by his shambling circular mode of managing his legs, and his ungainly fashion on such occasions of fiddling with the bunches of ribbons which fastened the lower part ...
— The Fortunes of Nigel • Sir Walter Scott

... in a musical country [Italy], where singing, fiddling, and piping are not only the common topics of conversation but almost the principal objects of attention, I cannot help cautioning you against giving in to those—I will call them illiberal—pleasures, ...
— The World's Greatest Books, Vol IX. • Edited by Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton

... we came to an island with a little landing-place where a score or two of boats were moored against the alders by the water's edge. A tall flag-staff gay with streamers peeped above the tree-tops, and a cheerful sound of piping and fiddling, mingled with the hum of many voices, came and went with the passing breeze. As Dalrymple rested on his oars to listen, a boat which we had outstripped some minutes before, shot past us to the landing-place, and its ...
— In the Days of My Youth • Amelia Ann Blandford Edwards

... I am wretched at leaving it. What could I ever mean by thinking it was not gay, and less lively than Genoa? To-night, as I came home from riding, the shore was covered with lazaroni and throngs of people, dancing, singing, harping, fiddling—all so merry, and as if the open air and their own elastic spirits were happiness enough. I suppose I shall never come again, for when I have measured back the distance to my own foggy country, there I shall settle for ever, and Naples and her sunny shores and balmy winds will only ...
— The Greville Memoirs - A Journal of the Reigns of King George IV and King William - IV, Volume 1 (of 3) • Charles C. F. Greville

... you, if you don't mind," said the other, coming up beside him. "I'm not in the habit of beating about the bush. When I've got anything to do, I do it without much fiddling. Barry Lapelle is down at my place. He has asked me to represent him in a little controversy that seems to call for physical adjudication. How will day after to-morrow at five ...
— Viola Gwyn • George Barr McCutcheon

... achieved her stocking feet in the first round until now, and she was in high glee over it. If she had been admired before, she was looked upon as a raving, tearing beauty to-night—and so she was. Fortunately 'Pollo had his fiddling to do, and this saved him from any conspicuous folly. But he kept his eyes on her, and when she grew too ravishingly lovely to his fond vision, and he couldn't stand it a minute longer in silence, he turned to the man next him, who played the bones, ...
— Moriah's Mourning and Other Half-Hour Sketches • Ruth McEnery Stuart

... the river, where a small town of booths, tents, &c., is erected, and where shooting at targets with wooden darts, sham railway-trains and riding-horses, confectionery of every kind, beer of every name, strength, and colour, pipes, cigars, toys, gambling, organ-grinding, fiddling, dancing, &c., goes on incessantly. The great attraction, however, is the shooting at the bird, which occupies the attention of every Saxon, and is looked upon as the consummation of human invention and physical science. A great pole, nearly 80 feet ...
— Life of John Coleridge Patteson • Charlotte M. Yonge

... I'm going to earn both our livings for us, and take care of you forever. You've taken care of me till now, and now it's my turn. You don't suppose I'm a great hulking person of twenty two, and five foot ten high, and with this lucky facility in fiddling, for nothing? It's a good thing it is summer now, or soon will be, and you can work away in your garden, for I know that is where you are happiest; and by the time it's winter you'll be used to my not being there, and besides ...
— Christine • Alice Cholmondeley

... miles he rode leisurely on, a striking figure in the dim moonlight—a tall young man on a gray horse, fiddling wildly to ...
— The Desert Fiddler • William H. Hamby

... The custom of the land is to drag the scuffle and dust of an election over several months—to the improvement of business and manners; but the noise of that war comes faintly up the valley of the Connecticut and is lost among the fiddling of the locusts. Their music puts, as it were, a knife edge upon the heat of the day. In truth, it is a tropical country for the time being. Thunder-storms prowl and growl round the belted hills, spit themselves away in a few drops of rain, and leave ...
— Letters of Travel (1892-1913) • Rudyard Kipling

... the key in your cashbox this morning, uncle," said Helen, glancing up from a book, "while you were fiddling with your safe in ...
— Helen with the High Hand (2nd ed.) • Arnold Bennett

... street, so that the street itself was almost as bright as day, and Dorothy thought she recognized it as a place she had once read about where nobody but astrologers lived. There was a confused sound of fiddling going on somewhere, and as Dorothy walked along she could hear a scuffling noise inside the houses as if the inhabitants were dancing about on sanded floors. Presently, as she turned a corner, she came upon a number of storks who were dancing a sort of solemn quadrille up and down the ...
— The Admiral's Caravan • Charles E. Carryl

... sang out boldly the old air from the Trovatore, "Ah, che la morte ognora e tarda nel venir." Every blind fiddler in the streets plays it, though he would be sufficiently scared if death came any the quicker for his fiddling. But old and worn as it is it has a strain of passion in it, and Nino threw more fire and voice into the ring of it than ever did famous old Boccarde, when he sang it at the first performance of the opera, thirty and odd years ago. As he played the chords after ...
— A Roman Singer • F. Marion Crawford

... truth. So kindly is the world arranged, such great profit may arise from a small degree of human reliance on oneself, and such, in particular, is the happy star of this trade of writing, that it should combine pleasure and profit to both parties, and be at once agreeable, like fiddling, ...
— The Art of Writing and Other Essays • Robert Louis Stevenson

... with it; spurred too, perhaps, by an after-dinner demon. The cafe was the bier-halle of the 'Fifties, with a door at either end, and lighted by a large wooden lantern. On a small dais three musicians were fiddling. Solitary men, or groups, sat at some dozen tables, and the waiters hurried about replenishing glasses; the air was thick with smoke. Swithin sat down. "Wine!" he said sternly. The astonished waiter brought him wine. Swithin pointed to a beer glass ...
— Forsyte Saga • John Galsworthy

... yesterday's disasters, and longing more than ever to do everything in his power to please the lady of the castle. But in spite of his good-will, the sheep strayed away as before, and he spent a toilsome day in vainly running after them, and fiddling away to no purpose. As before they seemed to merge into mist at the close of the day, and it was with a heavy heart he presented himself at the foot of the hill where the lady was awaiting him. Again she gave him a draught of the delicious wine, and again took ...
— Up! Horsie! - An Original Fairy Tale • Clara de Chatelaine

... them all the time," she rejoined. "And I hate them. They make one lose one's sense of proportion. After all, it is our own individual and internal life which counts. I can understand Nero fiddling while Rome burned, if he really had no power to call ...
— The Great Prince Shan • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... it; it had a living, expressive air, and you could see that his eyes took things in. My companion and I wondered greatly who and what he could be. It was fair-time in Chateau Landon, and when we went along to the booths, we had our question answered; for there was our friend busily fiddling for the peasants to caper to. He ...
— An Inland Voyage • Robert Louis Stevenson

... day was not half gone before all the wild creatures in Pleasant Valley had heard all about Kiddie Katydid and his fiddling. At least twenty-seven people came to Mr. Frog at different times and told him the ...
— The Tale of Kiddie Katydid • Arthur Scott Bailey

... if he'd been taking some of the Venus drugs. But after one long, hungry look at me, he faced the captain. "Yes, sir. This guy came down here ahead of me. Didn't think nothing of it, sir. But when he started fiddling with the panel there, I got suspicious." He pointed to the external control panel for the engine room, to be used in case of accidents. "With all that's been going on, how'd I know but maybe he was gonna dump the fuel? And then I seen he had keys. I didn't wait, ...
— Let'em Breathe Space • Lester del Rey

... pause here to say a few words about Sinfi Lovell. Some of my readers must have already recognised her as a famous character in bohemian circles. Sinfi's father was a 'Griengro,' that is to say, a horse-dealer. She was, indeed, none other than that 'Fiddling Sinfi' who became famous in many parts of England and Wales as a violinist, and also as the only performer on the old Welsh stringed instrument called the 'crwth,' or cruth. Most Gypsies are musical, but Sinfi was a genuine musical genius. Having become, through the good-nature of Winifred's ...
— Aylwin • Theodore Watts-Dunton

... the reinforcements did arrive. "Now we can really begin to work," he told me. "Now we can begin to fight back in a big way. No more of this sneaking around, doing fiddling little jobs—" ...
— The Man Who Played to Lose • Laurence Mark Janifer

... a resolution to rise early in the morning, and so I rose by candle, which I have not done all this winter, and spent my morning in fiddling till time to go to the office, where Sir G. Carteret did begin again discourse on Mr. Holland's proposition, which the King do take very ill, and so Sir George in lieu of that do propose that the seamen should have half in ready money and tickets for the ...
— Diary of Samuel Pepys, Complete • Samuel Pepys

... relish for their want of fat. Bring them in, the Cimabues With all or each that horribly true is, Francias, Giottos, Masaccios, That tread on the tops of their bony toes, And every one with a long sharp arrow Cleverly shot through his spinal marrow, With plenty of gridirons, spikes, and fires And fiddling angels in sheets ...
— The Germ - Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature and Art • Various

... now fiddling with all their might & as the peeple didn't understan anything about it they applaudid versifrusly. Presently old Ed cum out. The play was Otheller or More of Veniss. Otheller was writ by Wm. Shakspeer. The seene is laid in Veniss. Otheller was a likely man ...
— The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. X (of X) - America - II, Index • Various

... reproachfully before tea-time. Now his imagination had ripened into certainty—so he thought. The young people must be for ever separated. He said roughly: "There are other things which are more important than fiddling, one of them is to know how ...
— The Silver Lining - A Guernsey Story • John Roussel

... of yours who looks as if she had just come out of the wash, and your sweet-smiling grandmother who is always fiddling with knitting-pins—" ...
— It Might Have Been - The Story of the Gunpowder Plot • Emily Sarah Holt

... gypsy played well, and his sister touched the harp and sang, the ale circulated, and the villagers, assembling, gazed in a crowd into the hall. Then the girl danced solo, just as I have seen her sisters do in Egypt and in Russia, to her brother's fiddling. Even so of old, Syrian and Egyptian girls haunted gardens and taverns, and danced pas seul all over the Roman empire, even unto Spain, behaving so gypsily that wise men have conjectured that they were gypsies in very truth. And who shall say they were not? For ...
— The Gypsies • Charles G. Leland

... the window. The air is heavy with mosquitoes and tobacco-smoke. But joy reigns. Nobody is too old or too obese to dance. Old Mr. Loutit and lame Jimmy Flett each secures a sonsy partner. There are three fiddlers, and these relieve each other in turn, for fiddling, beating time with your moccasin on the earthen floor, and "calling out" is hard work for one man. There are but two kinds of dances,—the Red River jig, and a square dance which probably had for honourable ancestors the ...
— The New North • Agnes Deans Cameron

... cussed if I understand wimmen," declared Captain Candage, fiddling his finger under his nose. "That feller she has picked out for herself must ...
— Blow The Man Down - A Romance Of The Coast - 1916 • Holman Day

... the way of business without an explicit understanding, and a clearly-defined con-si-de-ra-tion. He was alive to the advantages of honor, but he loved money with a paramount affection. I knew that he had received enormous terms, such as L150 and L200 for fiddling at private parties in London, and I trembled for the vice-regal purse; but I undertook to manage the affair, and went to work accordingly. The aid-de-camp in waiting called with me on Paganini, was ...
— The International Monthly, Volume 3, No. 2, May, 1851 • Various

... lass Will blench to hear the date of it—Forty-five,— Poor souls! Why will the men be fighting so, Running away to find out death, as if It were some tavern full of light and fiddling? And when the doors are shut, what of the girls Who gave themselves away, and still must live? ...
— Emblems Of Love • Lascelles Abercrombie

... to take her down, but was taken down by her own gentlemen. She looked mighty out of humour, and had a yellow plume in her hat (which all took notice of), and yet is very handsome. I followed them up into Whitehall, and into the queene's presence, where all the ladies walked, talking and fiddling with their hats and feathers, and changing and trying one another's by one another's heads, and laughing. But it was the finest sight to me, considering their great beautys and dress, that ever I did see in my life. But, above all, Mrs. Stuart in this ...
— Royalty Restored - or, London under Charles II. • J. Fitzgerald Molloy

... vat, so nearly the color of the metal that unless it moved it was difficult to distinguish. As far as Dane could see the Hoobat was paying it no attention. Queex might be lost in a happy dream, the result of its own fiddling. Nor did the rhythm ...
— Plague Ship • Andre Norton

... enthusiasm of the people. I looked forward with a great deal of joy to the day when we should make our entry into the city, and I thought it would be much more beautiful; but now I am greatly tired of the whole thing; I should be glad if they would cease fiddling, and clear a passage for the carriage to move on more rapidly. I am hungry, and I would I were already at the tavern ...
— Andreas Hofer • Lousia Muhlbach

... even to the most necessary purposes of the state. When you see the people of this republic banishing and murdering their best and ablest citizens, dissipating the public treasure with the most senseless extravagance, and spending their whole time, as spectators or actors, in playing, fiddling, dancing, and singing, does it not, my lord, strike your imagination with the image of a sort of complex Nero? And does it not strike you with the greater horror, when you observe, not one man only, but a whole city, grown drunk with pride and power, ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. I. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... "I'll go and see," he said, and entered the door. "Boys, Mrs. Field wants to look in a minute. Go on with your fiddling, Sam—only I wanted to see that you ...
— Other Main-Travelled Roads • Hamlin Garland

... she fell to thinking. Many things that had been dark to her suddenly became light. She seemed to see Royal Lee fiddling while the world was in travail, but beside him rose a vision of David in sailor's blue, ready to do his whole ...
— Patchwork - A Story of 'The Plain People' • Anna Balmer Myers

... a sport," the young barkeeper was saying. "It's early yet, and we want to hear more of your fiddling. Give us that 'Darling, I Am Growing Old' stuff, with all the variations. Sentiment! Sentiment! Oh, hullo! Evening, Miss! What can I ...
— How Janice Day Won • Helen Beecher Long

... waiting for you? She was so fatigued by her journey that she didn't even want to have her baggage looked after, something unusual for her. That is the reason we got here so early. And now she is positively faint for a cup of tea, and you are fiddling around here over a lot ...
— Revelations of a Wife - The Story of a Honeymoon • Adele Garrison

... commune, and the older members of the family had a desire to keep up the old traditions. The church is at Quincy, just a step off the route nationale to Meaux. Pere walked ahead,—he could not be accused of marching,—fiddling away for dear life. The pretty young godmother carried the baby, in its wonderful christening finery, walking between the grandmother and the father, and the guests, all in their gayest clothes, followed on as they liked behind, all stepping out a little on account ...
— A Hilltop on the Marne • Mildred Aldrich

... on a summer meadow, a white silence fell from his imagination across that fiddling, jigging, gleaming atmosphere, and everywhere the dead sat around him, watching in a trance strange antics of the grimacing dead. Curiously, in these moods, he never thought of himself as dead. Alas! life was too cruel to release him so soon ...
— The Romance of Zion Chapel [3d ed.] • Richard Le Gallienne

... not at all another case of The Blackport Beacon but a case of the very opposite. The proprietor, the great Mr. Bousefield, had approached him precisely because his name, which was to be on the cover, didn't represent the chatty. The whole thing was to be—oh, on fiddling little lines of course—a protest against the chatty. Bousefield wanted him to be himself; it was for himself Bousefield had picked him out. Wasn't it beautiful and brave of Bousefield? He wanted literature, he saw the great reaction coming, the way the cat was going to jump. "Where will ...
— Embarrassments • Henry James

... a lot of trouble getting the Ford into the stable, all of which he liked because of that luncheon-table; and having got it in he still lingered fiddling about with it, examining its engine and wiping its bonnet; and then when he couldn't do that any longer he went out and lingered in the yard, looking down at the cat with his hands in his pockets. "I must think," he kept on saying ...
— Christopher and Columbus • Countess Elizabeth Von Arnim

... fiddling out of a barn. With a pair of bag-pipes under her arm: She could sing nothing but fiddle cum fee, The mouse has married the bumble-bee; Pipe, cat—dance, mouse, We'll have a wedding at ...
— The Little Mother Goose • Anonymous

... He ceased, fiddling absently with the dull-colored weapon on his knee; and for a while they remained silent, not looking at each other. And when Drene spoke again he was still intent ...
— Between Friends • Robert W. Chambers

... are cut down to the quick, it is a shrewd sign that the man is a mechanic, to whom long nails would be troublesome, or that he gets his bread by fiddling; and if they are longer than his fingers ends, and encircled with a black rim, it foretells he has been laboriously and meanly employed, and too fatigued to clean himself: a good apology for want of ...
— The Young Gentleman and Lady's Monitor, and English Teacher's Assistant • John Hamilton Moore

... more confidential. "There is good stuff here; you have talent, great talent, and, as I have observed to-day, you are not wanting in intelligence. But," and again his voice grew harsher, his eye more piercing, "understand me, if you please, no trifling with other studies; let us have no fiddling, no composing. Who works with me, works for me alone. And a lifetime, I repeat it, a lifetime, is not long enough to master such an ...
— Maurice Guest • Henry Handel Richardson

... her face and turn my back upon her, and suffer her to leave my rooms as though she's a charwoman detected in prigging silver from my cash-box! [Clasping his brow and groaning.] Oh—! [In sudden fury at seeing ROOPE thoughtfully examining his hat.] Damn it, Robbie, stop fiddling with your hat ...
— The Big Drum - A Comedy in Four Acts • Arthur Pinero

... who were returning home from a suburban picnic. As they passed out of hearing, and the dog was peacefully cannibalizing on a link of sausage that had been condemned by the board of health, owing to a piece of brass padlock that showed through the silky nickel plating made of fiddling string material, a soft cry of a child was heard in an upper room of a mansion owned by a prosperous business man. The head of the house heard it and sat up in bed to still the small voice, but couldn't, ...
— Peck's Compendium of Fun • George W. Peck

... the best-natured people on earth! Here was a man whose house was nearly tumbling down about his ears—always bating the principle in architecture just named—and he could smile as Nero may be supposed to have done when fiddling over the conflagration ...
— The Redskins; or, Indian and Injin, Volume 1. - Being the Conclusion of the Littlepage Manuscripts • James Fenimore Cooper

... quarter-staff, a wrestling match, running matches, a contest of singing among "a dozen blushing maidens," and of fiddling among twenty bold musicians: and the day is wound up with a ...
— Southern Literature From 1579-1895 • Louise Manly

... window. Devereux smiled and nodded, and the doctor stopped short at the railings, and grinned up in return, and threw out his arms to express surprise, and then snapped his fingers, and cut a little caper, as though he would say—'Now, you're come back—we'll have fun and fiddling again.' And forthwith he began to bawl his enquiries and salutations. But Devereux called him up peremptorily, for he wanted to hear the news—especially all about the Walsinghams. And up came Toole, and they had a great shaking ...
— The House by the Church-Yard • J. Sheridan Le Fanu

... it was furnished by two very old men, relics of the days when there were contests in fiddling; a stout fellow of middle age, with cheeks swelled almost to bursting as he thundered out terrific blasts on a slide trombone; a youth who rattled two sticks on an overturned dish-pan in lieu of a drum, and a cornetist ...
— Riders of the Silences • Max Brand

... cat came fiddling out of a barn, With a pair of bagpipes under her arm; She could sing nothing but fiddle cum fee, The mouse has married the bumble-bee. Pipe cat—dance, mouse, We'll have a wedding at our ...
— Cole's Funny Picture Book No. 1 • Edward William Cole

... within her, and she hardly heard her own cheery words. What kind of union was this likely to be, with such a beginning! Why had she not realised, before it was too late, how set Jacques was in his ways, and how he never would give in to the heathen notions and fiddling ways of the ...
— Marie • Laura E. Richards

... have been its greatest satirist. Bismarck, pursuing the gruesome trade of politics, concealed the devastating wit of a Moliere; his surviving epigrams are truly stupendous. And Beethoven, after soaring to the heights of tragedy in the first movement of the Fifth Symphony, turned to the sardonic bull-fiddling of the scherzo. ...
— Damn! - A Book of Calumny • Henry Louis Mencken

... directly and simply: I need not tell the author of "Elder Conklin" that sweetness and simplicity of expression take more out of one than fiddling harmonics on one string. I felt it my duty to write, but it has been a distressing one. It would have been better for me to have lain in the brown grass on the cliff, or to have walked slowly by the sea. It would have been kinder of you to have written to me ...
— Oscar Wilde, Volume 2 (of 2) - His Life and Confessions • Frank Harris

... upon them from London. "Mamma" came with them—and I hope that she, at least, was welcome. Then followed show and ceremony, and amusements of the common, unpoetic, unparadisiacal, Courtly order. There were "fiddling and dancing every night," and feasting, and full-dressing, and all that. Still nothing seems to have interfered much with the Queen's happiness and content, for Lady Lyttleton wrote of her about this time,—"I understand she is ...
— Queen Victoria, her girlhood and womanhood • Grace Greenwood

... was over; September, bright, sunny and tonic, was come to revive the world. Rank foliage was shaking off the summer dust, and a myriad noisy insects were strumming, chirping, fiddling, buzzing, screeping in the dense undergrowth. It was evening when they boarded the train for the West and took the trail that both had taken before, but never with such a background of events or such an eagerness for what was in the future. As the ...
— The Preacher of Cedar Mountain - A Tale of the Open Country • Ernest Thompson Seton

... Sir Doctor, to go out walking Is at all times honor and gain enough; But to trust myself here alone would be shocking, For I am a foe to all that is rough. Fiddling and bowling and screams and laughter To me are the hatefullest noises on earth; They yell as if Satan himself were after, And call it music and call ...
— Faust • Goethe

... obliged to give it up, for how could I run up the ladder with a patten on my foot, which they put on to make my broken leg as long as the other. Well your hanner, being obliged to give up my bricklaying, I took to fiddling, to which I had always a natural inclination, and played about the streets, and at fairs, and wakes, and weddings. At length some Orange men getting acquainted with me, and liking my style of playing, invited me ...
— Wild Wales - Its People, Language and Scenery • George Borrow

... do? What shall I do? Tell me what to do, you fellows.' We didn't take much notice; but his pony tried to bite me in the leg, and I said, 'Pull out a bit, old man, till we've settled the attack.' He kept edging in, and fiddling with his reins and his revolvers, and saying, 'Dear me! Dear me! Oh, dear me! What do you think I'd better do?' The man was in a deadly funk, and his teeth ...
— This is "Part II" of Soldiers Three, we don't have "Part I" • Rudyard Kipling

... "The fiddling ex-Emperor Nero," said Bacon, loudly enough to be heard all about the room, "is mistaken when he attributes ...
— A House-Boat on the Styx • John Kendrick Bangs

... few minutes polished our party off, and found us on board of the ferry-boat; none of your little fiddling things, where a donkey-cart and an organ-boy can hardly find standing-room, but a good clear hundred-feet gangway, twelve or fourteen feet broad, on each side of the engine, and a covered cabin outside each gangway, extending half the length ...
— Lands of the Slave and the Free - Cuba, The United States, and Canada • Henry A. Murray

... my poor oppressed friend, Mr. Herbert Spencer, 'compelled to speak with bated breath' (p. 338) certainly for the first time in my thirty-odd years' acquaintance with him!" My alarm and horror at the supposition that while I had been fiddling (or at any rate physicking), my beloved Rome had been burning, in this fashion, ...
— Collected Essays, Volume V - Science and Christian Tradition: Essays • T. H. Huxley

... their doors ajar? The Carmine's my cloister: hunt it up, Do—harry out, if you must show your zeal, Whatever rat, there, haps on his wrong hole, And nip each softling of a wee white mouse, 10 , , that's crept to keep him company! Aha, you know your betters! Then, you'll take Your hand away that's fiddling on my throat, And please to know me likewise. Who am I? Why, one, sir, who is lodging with a friend Three streets off—he's a certain . . . how d'ye call? Master—a . . . Cosimo of the Medici, I' the house that caps the corner. Boh! you were best! Remember and tell me, the day you're hanged, ...
— Men and Women • Robert Browning

... adventures of the once little Fiddling Girl and tells of her triumphs and hardships abroad, of her friends, her love affairs, and finally of Virginia's wedding bells and return to America. The previous two books in this series have been pronounced excellent and uplift stories, but "The Violin Lady" is ...
— The House in the Water - A Book of Animal Stories • Charles G. D. Roberts

... a small guard, we advanced quite near them, in the dark without being discovered; for so little thought had they of Marion, that they had not placed a single sentinel, but were, all hands, gathered about the fire: some cooking, some fiddling and dancing, and some playing cards, as we could hear them every now and then bawling out, "Huzza, at him again, damme! aye, that's the ...
— The Life of General Francis Marion • Mason Locke Weems

... some more. I've had a frightful row with Dora. She says I've been fiddling with her things. It's all because she's so untidy. As if her things could interest me. Yesterday she left her letter to Erika lying about on the table, and all I read was: He's as handsome as a Greek god. I don't know who "he" was for she came in at that ...
— A Young Girl's Diary • An Anonymous Young Girl

... friend and companion of Jefferson. He was a jovial young fellow noted for mimicry, practical jokes, fiddling and dancing. Jefferson's holidays were sometimes spent with Henry, and the two together would go off on hunting excursions of which each was passionately fond. Both were swift of foot and ...
— Thomas Jefferson • Edward S. Ellis et. al.

... time," says Keith, the notorious Fleet parson, "I was at a public-house at Ratcliffe, which was then full of Sailors and their Girls. There was fiddling, piping, jigging and eating. At length one of the Tars starts up and says: 'Damn ye, Jack! I'll be married just now; I will have my partner.' The joke took, and in less than two hours Ten Couples set out for the Flete. They returned in ...
— The Press-Gang Afloat and Ashore • John R. Hutchinson

... then talk of Whistler and "the boys" reminded Duveneck of his own student days, and would lead him into personal reminiscences, when the stories were of his adventures; sometimes on Bavarian roads, singing and fiddling his way from village to village, or in Bavarian convents, teaching drawing to pretty novices, receiving commissions from stern Reverend Mothers; and sometimes in American towns painting the earliest American mural decoration that prepared the way, through various stages, ...
— Nights - Rome, Venice, in the Aesthetic Eighties; London, Paris, in the Fighting Nineties • Elizabeth Robins Pennell

... country was not a lonely one for all that. Every now and then the frightened prairie-chickens ran across the road or rose with their quick, whirring flight; ten thousand katydids and grasshoppers were jumping, fluttering, flying, and fiddling their rattling notes, and the air seemed full of life. They were considerably delayed by Albert's excursions after new insects, for he had brought his collecting-box and net along. So that when, about the middle of the afternoon, as they stopped, in fording ...
— The Mystery of Metropolisville • Edward Eggleston

... questions asked as to his family, fortune or business, would be rated socially as on an equal footing with the owner of a L10,000 estate, though this might be discounted one-half if he were unfashionably ignorant of dancing, boxing, fencing, fiddling and cards.[15] He was attracted by the buoyancy, the good breeding and the cordiality of those whom he met, and particularly by the sound qualities of Colonel and Mrs. Carter with whom he dwelt; but as a budding Presbyterian preacher he was a ...
— American Negro Slavery - A Survey of the Supply, Employment and Control of Negro Labor as Determined by the Plantation Regime • Ulrich Bonnell Phillips

... credit. I have taken a nap on horseback; I have marched for miles, a musket on my shoulder, in complete slumberous unconsciousness; I have nodded while Phelps was acting, snoozed while Mario was singing, and played the marmot while Remenyi was fiddling; awful confession, I have dozed through an important debate in the House of Commons! I am yawning at present. It is to be hoped the reader is not. And so I burned daylight the while we drove through a country reputed to be pregnant with surprises of scenery until, at long last, the ...
— Romantic Spain - A Record of Personal Experiences (Vol. II) • John Augustus O'Shea

... restoration, he was of course neglected by the fiddling, gambling, wenching, royal buffoon, who succeeded the royal martyr, and whose necessities he had supplied, when an outcast pauper exile in a foreign land, from the proceeds of those very estates which he had so nearly lost in fighting for ...
— Graham's Magazine Vol XXXII No. 1 January 1848 • Various

... military tactics, and wishing to learn,—and not too proud to learn, being born with disdain of conventionalities and precedents,—entered the regiment as drummer, in sight of his own subjects, who perhaps looked upon the act as a royal freak,—even as Nero practised fiddling, and Commodus archery, before the Roman people. From drummer he rose to the rank of corporal, and from corporal to sergeant, and so on through all ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume VIII • John Lord

... flourishing estate, to ruin and decay. And certainly whose degenerate arts and shifts, whereby many counsellors and governors gain both favor with their masters, and estimation with the vulgar, deserve no better name than fiddling; being things rather pleasing for the time, and graceful to themselves only, than tending to the weal and advancement of the state which they serve. There are also (no doubt) counsellors and governors which may be held sufficient ...
— Essays - The Essays Or Counsels, Civil And Moral, Of Francis Ld. - Verulam Viscount St. Albans • Francis Bacon

... brushes flicked at, and streaked across, the canvas she stood idly watching him. He was in paint-smeared, baggy trousers and a soft shirt whose open collar gave a glimpse of a deep chest matted with hair and whose rolled-up sleeves revealed forearms that seemed absurdly large to be fiddling with those slender sticks. A crowbar would have seemed more in harmony. He was unromantically old—all of thirty-five Maggie guessed; and with his square, rough-hewn face and tousled, reddish hair he was decidedly ugly. But for the fact that he really did work—though ...
— Children of the Whirlwind • Leroy Scott

... positions of the market). Nathan cries out, 'Where done at 3/4ths?' 'Here—there, there, there!' Mr. Doubleface, going out at the door, meets Mr. Ambush, a brother bear, with a wink, 'Sir, they are 3/4ths, I believe, sellers; you may have L2,000 thereat, and L10,000 at 5/8ths.' This is called fiddling: it is allowable to jobbers thus to bring the turn to 1/16th, or a 32nd, but not to brokers, as thereby the public would not be fleeced 1/8th, to the house benefit. 'Sir, I would not take them at 1/4th,' replies Mr. Ambush. 'Offered at 3/4ths and 5/8ths,' bawls out an urchin scout, holding up his ...
— Old and New London - Volume I • Walter Thornbury

... eyelids; and, as they closed, her head sank on my shoulder. For ten minutes I sat, listening to her breathing. Dinah rose heavily from her bed and lay down again, with a long sigh; another cow woke up and rattled her rope a dozen times through its ring; up at the house the fiddling grew more furious; but the little maid slept on. At last I wrapped the sack closely round her, and lifting her in my arms, carried her out into the night. She was my master's daughter, and I had not the courage to kiss so much as her ...
— Noughts and Crosses • Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... into the world with a fiddle in his hand," says Mrs. Warrington, with a toss of her head. "I am sure I hated the harpsichord when a chit at Kensington School, and only learned it to please my mamma. Say what you will, dear sir, I can not believe that this fiddling is ...
— The Virginians • William Makepeace Thackeray

... now; that glass was warming— You rascal! limber your lazy feet! We must be fiddling and performing For supper and bed, or starve in the street.— Not a very gay life to lead, you think. But soon we shall go where lodgings are free, And the sleepers need neither victuals nor drink;— The sooner, the better ...
— Poems Teachers Ask For, Book Two • Various

... was now coming back to it in an hour that it looked not for me. My situation was similar to that of the master who went into a far country and expected on his home coming to find everything as he left it. But returning he found his servants giving a party. Confusion was rampant. There was fiddling and dancing and the babble of many tongues, so that the voice of the master could not be heard. Though he shouted and beat upon the gate, it ...
— The World I Live In • Helen Keller



Words linked to "Fiddling" :   unimportant, colloquialism



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