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Stumble   /stˈəmbəl/   Listen
Stumble

noun
1.
An unsteady uneven gait.  Synonyms: lurch, stagger.
2.
An unintentional but embarrassing blunder.  Synonyms: misstep, trip, trip-up.  "He arranged his robes to avoid a trip-up later" , "Confusion caused his unfortunate misstep"



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"Stumble" Quotes from Famous Books



... a confused intricacy of fallen trees and clustered boughs, which had been tossed together by a hurricane. So now the little children, just beginning to run alone, may trip along the path, and not often stumble over an impediment, unless they stray from it to gather wood-berries beneath the trees. And, besides the feet of grown people and children, there are the cloven hoofs of a small herd of cows, who seek their subsistence from the native ...
— Main Street - (From: "The Snow Image and Other Twice-Told Tales") • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... replied: 'To question election, is to overthrow a great doctrine of the gospel, namely, the omnisciency, and power, and will of God; to take away the liberty of God with his creature, to stumble the faith of the town of Mansoul, and to make salvation to depend upon works, and not upon grace. It also belied the word, and disquieted the minds of the men of Mansoul; therefore by the best of laws he ...
— The Holy War • John Bunyan

... yet seemingly frank compliments, had only stimulated a new capacity in her, evoked comparisons of this delicate-looking, fine-faced gentleman with the men of the West by whom she was surrounded. But later he appeared to stumble into expressions of admiration for her, as though he was carried off his feet and had been stunned by her charm. He had done it all like a master. He had not said that she was beautiful—she knew she was not—but that she was wonderful ...
— Northern Lights • Gilbert Parker

... been sorry at their plight, for, indeed, it was a pitiable one; bruised, blistered, covered with grime and with little else, they stumbled on aimlessly, cutting their bare feet, falling often in sheer weakness, and lying for minutes where they fell before they could summon strength to stumble on. Surely no more pathetic pair than these two ever braved the mazes of ...
— Through the Wall • Cleveland Moffett

... Bad Step—which was, of course, impassable for the pony—Lionel had to separate from his companions and ford the river, following up the other side. Fortunately there was not much water in the stream; old Maggie knew her way well enough; and with nothing more than an occasional stumble among the slippery boulders and loose stones they reached the opposite bank in safety. About a mile farther up the return crossing had to be made; but this second ford was shallow and easy; and thenceforward the ...
— Prince Fortunatus • William Black

... only to hurt those who feared it, then we might have had an adequate working-out of so noble a beginning. Instead of this, Kundry kisses Parsifal, Parsifal squeals, and we see him in a moment to be only an Amfortas who has had the luck not to stumble; and he, the poor fool who is filled with so vast a pity because he sees (what are called) good and evil in entirely wrong proportion—as, in fact, a hypochondriac sees them—he, Parsifal, this thin-blooded inheritor of rickets and an ...
— Old Scores and New Readings • John F. Runciman

... tear out a single page of our lives; but we can throw the book into the fire. Though I should weep from night till morn, would that prevent Destiny from having, in a fit of ill-humour, taken me out hunting, sent me astray in the woods, and made me stumble across a Mauprat, who led me to his den, where I escaped dishonour and perhaps death only by binding my life forever to that of a savage who had none of my principles, and who probably (and who undoubtedly, I ...
— Mauprat • George Sand

... hot and close down in the rock-hewn chamber, and we are glad enough to stumble up and out again, though we are blinded by the sunshine ...
— Round the Wonderful World • G. E. Mitton

... him. It may have been, it is just possible that it may have been, against the projecting wall of the boat-house, as he turned the corner in his fright and hurry. If so, that, no doubt, caused his fall and his stumble into the water. The woman—she had children of her own: that great girl whom you saw scraping potatoes was one, and she had two others still younger—washed the wound, and tried to bring Charley round. But she could ...
— The Channings • Mrs. Henry Wood

... evident, behaved in their usual way:—without knowledge of war, without fear of death, or regard to utmost peril or difficulty; cheering their men, and keeping them steady upon the throats of the French, so far as might be. And always, after that first stumble with the French Horse was mended, they kept gaining ground, thrusting back the Enemy, not over the Dettingen Brook and Moor-ground only, but, knock after knock, out of his woody or other coverts, back and ever ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XIV. (of XXI.) • Thomas Carlyle

... was cast down. Now the light is given me by which I see the way through the labyrinth! It is our Father's beautiful garden in which we are. I have learned that all is intended for order and beauty, but as children we cannot yet walk so as not to stumble. Natural science has explained a thousand mysteries. Social science—understand the word; not schemes, plans or guessing, but genuine science, as far from guess or scheme as astronomy or chemistry is—will reveal to us as many truths and beauties as ever any other ...
— Brook Farm • John Thomas Codman

... and silver as I ran along the paths, And he would stumble after, Bewildered by my laughter. I should see the sun flashing from his sword-hilt and the buckles on his shoes. I would choose To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths, A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover, Till ...
— The Home Book of Verse, Vol. 2 (of 4) • Various

... exercise and interplay of will with will. We may well imagine God's mode of action to {105} resemble that of a human parent who entrusts a growing child with a growing measure of liberty and responsibility, well knowing that in the use of it he will have many a slip and stumble, and occasionally hurt himself; such a parent will carefully refrain from interference, preferring that the child should learn his own lessons from his own mistakes, well knowing that we profit only by ...
— Problems of Immanence - Studies Critical and Constructive • J. Warschauer

... and labour of the next few days the heat was forgotten, and the interest of the discovery amongst the old ruins was quite sufficient to keep all on the qui vive for any fresh object upon which they might stumble. ...
— Dead Man's Land - Being the Voyage to Zimbambangwe of certain and uncertain • George Manville Fenn

... in his impetuosity, an irregular movement, just while, coming once more upon open ground, she was again putting him to his speed. It served as an apology for me to ride close up to her, as if to her assistance. There was, however, no cause for alarm; it was not a stumble, nor a false step; and, if it had, the fair Amazon had too much self-possession to have been deranged by it. She thanked my good intentions, however, by a smile, and I felt encouraged to put my horse to the same pace, and to keep in her immediate neighbourhood. The clamour of "Whoop! dead! dead!"—and ...
— Rob Roy, Complete, Illustrated • Sir Walter Scott

... relaxation; but there were no laggards among them when there was perilous work to be done, and they went out to meet the fire joyously. Inside five minutes scarcely a horse remained in the stables, and the men were flying at a gallop across the dusky prairie laughing at the risk of a stumble in a deadly badger-hole. Yet, in the haste of saddling, they found time to arrange a twenty-dollar sweepstake ...
— Winston of the Prairie • Harold Bindloss

... off again; but as she went the fog grew thicker and thicker, and Terry soon became aware that it was freezing hard. The pony began to stumble, and several times he nearly fell, for Terry found it hard to hold him up with her little frost-bitten fingers. She worked bravely, but felt that the road was indeed downhill, and all the more difficult in its present ...
— Terry - Or, She ought to have been a Boy • Rosa Mulholland

... series of lines, or even a single line, in which the language, though naturally arranged, and according to the strict laws of metre, does not differ from that of prose, there is a numerous class of critics, who, when they stumble upon these prosaisms, as they call them, imagine that they have made a notable discovery, and exult over the Poet as over a man ignorant of his own profession. Now these men would establish a canon ...
— The Prose Works of William Wordsworth • William Wordsworth

... labyrinth of tumbled pine-clad ridges and gullies, on which I soon lost my way in a drizzling rain. The single telegraph wire came to my rescue, jumping lightly from moss-grown stick to tall slender tree-trunk across vast chasms down into and out of which I had to slip and slide and stumble pantingly upward in pursuit. Before dark I was delighted to fall upon a trail again, though not with its condition, for it was generally perpendicular and always thick with loose stones. A band of arrieros ...
— Tramping Through Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras - Being the Random Notes of an Incurable Vagabond • Harry A. Franck

... instructions to the nobleman. This despotism should not prevail against me. When the free, easy and enlightened American among the effete and crumbling monarchies of Europe shrieks for hard-boiled eggs, they must be produced, though the House of Hapsburg should reel, stumble ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. XII. No. 30. September, 1873 • Various

... For myself, I must suspend judgment; waiting to see what in these wonderful times—some further development of electricity, for example, may haply produce for us. After recent marvels of the telephone, microphone, photophone, and I know not what others, why should not some Edison or Lane Fox stumble upon a form of psychic force emanating from our personal nervous organisation, and capable of operating physically on all things round us, the immaterial conquering the material it pervades? Some such vague ...
— My Life as an Author • Martin Farquhar Tupper

... Thunder! "Variety," did you say? You must have cur'us notions 'Bout circuses, anyway. The things that look so risky Aint nothin' to us but biz. "Accidents"—falls and sich like? Sometimes, in course, there is. But it's only a slip, or a stumble, Some feller laid out flat, It don't take more'n a second; There aint no story in that. 'N' like as not, the tumble Don't do no harm at all: There's one gal here—I tell yer, She got an awful fall. ...
— Point Lace and Diamonds • George A. Baker, Jr.

... exerted ourselves to the uttermost, for we must reach it before we sank with thirst and exhaustion. A number of poplars grew in a hollow. "Let us dig here; it is a long distance to the woods"; but the spade again slipped out of our hands, and we could only stumble and crawl on eastwards. ...
— From Pole to Pole - A Book for Young People • Sven Anders Hedin

... nor to the sense So palpable and gross. Ent'ring its shade, Mine eye endured not with unclosed lids; Which marking, near me drew the faithful guide, Offering me his shoulder for a stay. As the blind man behind his leader walks, Lest he should err, or stumble unawares On what might harm him, or perhaps destroy, I journey'd through that bitter air and foul, Still list'ning to my escort's warning voice, "Look that from me thou part not." Straight I heard Voices, and each one seem'd to pray for peace, And for compassion, to the Lamb of God That taketh ...
— The Divine Comedy • Dante

... find the door; but at last I did get it, and I groped my way out, and went down as asy as I could. I felt quite sober, and I counted the steps one after another, as I was going down, that I might not stumble at the bottom. ...
— The Purcell Papers - Volume I. (of III.) • Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

... for the policeman to interfere. Whereupon the defeated competitor vowed that it was sanguinary hard lines; that for the sanguinary whole of this sanguinary day had he waited vainly for a sanguinary fare, and but for a sanguinary stumble of ...
— In the Year of Jubilee • George Gissing

... experience of bad roads in the coast range of California, there were times during our mad career over the lava-beds when visions of maimed limbs and a mutilated head crossed my mind. Should my horse stumble on a stray spike of lava, what possible chance of escape would there be? Falling head foremost on harrows and rakes would be fun to a fall here, where all the instruments capable of human destruction, from ...
— The Land of Thor • J. Ross Browne

... are endowed with all benefits of mind; others, on the contrary, are devoid of intelligence, penetration and memory. They stumble at every step in their rough life-paths. Their limited intelligence and their imperfect faculties expose them to all possible mortifications and disasters. They can succeed in nothing, and Fate ...
— Reincarnation and the Law of Karma - A Study of the Old-New World-Doctrine of Rebirth, and Spiritual Cause and Effect • William Walker Atkinson

... "You can stumble along, working at your trade of farming, and only half knowing it all your life; that's what most farmers do, in fact. They are too lazy to take up the scientific side of it and ...
— Hiram The Young Farmer • Burbank L. Todd

... freely wade, by their writings, in the deepest mysteries of monarchy and politick government. Whereupon it cannot otherwise fall out but that when men go out of their element and meddle with things above their capacity, themselves shall not only go astray and stumble in darkness, but will mislead also divers others with themselves into many mistakings and errors; the proof whereof we have lately had by a book written by Dr. Cowel, called ...
— Calamities and Quarrels of Authors • Isaac D'Israeli

... is it, so much a creature of circumstance, that Norman, Scandinavian, Goth, or Icelander, deserves no sort of credit for it. All history shows that it vanishes before the temptations of any Vinland which the frozen barbarians stumble upon. None the less does it give them vigor of muscle, and power to endure hardship, which, in the end, tells, over the accomplishments of the most warlike Romans, Greeks, Persians, or other Southrons. "Fight us, if you like," said Ariovistus to Caesar; "but remember that none of us have slept ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 13, No. 76, February, 1864 • Various

... Across the face of the slope he cut obliquely, working always toward higher ground. His lips were drawn back so that the tobacco-stained teeth showed in a snarl of savage rage. It would go ill with any of the posse if they should stumble on him. He would have no more mercy than ...
— The Fighting Edge • William MacLeod Raine

... particular time the perjured monk, like Francois Keller the great orator, was looked upon as a defender of the rights of the people,—he who, not so very long before, dared not walk in the fields after dark, lest he should stumble into pitfalls where he would seem to have been killed by accident! Persecute a man politically and you not only magnify him, but you redeem his past and make it innocent. The liberal party was a great worker of miracles in this respect. Its dangerous journal, which had the ...
— Sons of the Soil • Honore de Balzac

... an hour or more. At something after midnight, when Miss Rodney had just finished writing half a dozen letters, there sounded a latch-key in the front door, and some one entered. This person, whoever it was, seemed to stumble about the passage in the dark, and at length banged against the listener's door. Miss Rodney started up and flung the door open. By the light of her lamp she saw a moustachioed face, highly ...
— The House of Cobwebs and Other Stories • George Gissing

... all ready for me?" asked the young inventor, as he took up his curious weapon, and followed Ned out into the yard. It was so dark that they had fairly to stumble along. ...
— Tom Swift and his Electric Rifle • Victor Appleton

... easy task, it will be observed, to ridicule absurdity. It is easy to pull down what has been ill built; but if we leave the ruins for others to stumble over, we do little good to society. Parents may reasonably say, if you take away from our children the books they have, give them better. They are not yet to be had, but if a demand for them be once excited, they will soon ...
— Practical Education, Volume II • Maria Edgeworth

... went back to his early experience for little vital facts to lend a colour to the fainter pictures of age. In "The Winter's Tale," a shepherd finds the child Perdita, who has been exposed; one would expect him to stumble on the child by chance and express surprise; but this shepherd of Shakespeare begins ...
— The Man Shakespeare • Frank Harris

... and Galileo, and Copernicus, and Darwin to contradict the teachings of the previous fifty thousand years. He asks us to believe that God muddled men's minds with a mysterious series of revelations cloaked in fable and allegory; that He allowed them to stumble and to blunder, and to quarrel over these "revelations"; that He allowed them to persecute, and slay, and torture each other on account of divergent readings of his "revelations" for ages and ages; and that He ...
— God and my Neighbour • Robert Blatchford

... stumble along if he's in the right road, makes him race along if he's in the wrong road," ...
— The Second Generation • David Graham Phillips

... and gazed imploring At the trembling star of evening, At the tender star of woman; And they heard him murmur softly, "Ah, showain nemeshin, Nosa! Pray, pity me, my father!" '"Listen!" said the elder sister, "He is praying to his father! What a pity that the old man Does not stumble in the pathway, Does not break his neck by falling!" And they laughed till all the forest Rang with their unseemly laughter. 'On their pathway through the woodlands Lay an oak by storms uprooted, Lay the great ...
— The Mysteries of All Nations • James Grant

... suffice to bring about a conversion to his conception of her beauty. But Don Quixote was determined that they were intolerant blasphemers who simply had to be thrashed. So he suddenly charged with such vehemence and fury that, if luck had not interfered and made his gentle steed stumble, the trader might have been killed. As Rocinante went down, our gallant hero went over his head, and after he had struck the ground he rolled for some distance. But when he tried to rise he could not: he was so weighted down with armor, helmet, spurs, buckler and lance. To make matters worse, ...
— The Story of Don Quixote • Arvid Paulson, Clayton Edwards, and Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

... absolutely necessary or not it would be hard to say, for just as the boys discharged their various weapons the huge bear was seen to stumble and fall. He gave several convulsive shudders, and ...
— Dave Porter At Bear Camp - The Wild Man of Mirror Lake • Edward Stratemeyer

... picked up the bag, closed the door softly, and carried her up-stairs—treading with caution lest a stumble or the sound of his footsteps should arouse some one and lead to the discovery of what was going on; yet with as great celerity as consistent with that caution, fearing consciousness might return too soon for the preservation of the ...
— Elsie's New Relations • Martha Finley

... answered drily; 'only mind, whatever you do, for Heaven's sake don't go and stumble and pull ME down on the top of you. It's the clear duty of a good citizen to respect the lives of the other men who are roped together with him on ...
— Philistia • Grant Allen

... endure; but now that I am dead, those dull thwacks that were scarcely audible in country lanes have become stirring music in front of the brigade; and for every blow that you lay on my old great-coat you will see a comrade stumble ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition - Vol. 1 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... straight line. He was too near exhaustion to forge ahead as was his custom. Now he was picking his way carefully so as to shun the washes out of which he must climb, and the rock patches where he would stumble, and the thick brush that would claw at him. He would have given five dollars for a drink of water, but there would be water at the car, he told himself. People were rather particular about carrying plenty of water when they ...
— Casey Ryan • B. M. Bower

... negotiation for peace, whatever the inward sentiments of the parties may be, implies some confidence in their faith, some degree of belief in the professions which are made concerning it. A temporary and occasional credit, at least, is granted. Otherwise men stumble on the very threshold. I therefore wish to ask what hope we can have of their good faith, who, as the very basis of the negotiation, assume the ill faith and treachery of those they have to deal with? The terms, as against us, must be such as imply a full security against a treacherous ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. V. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... hobbled slowly over to the stove and laid the shoes on the big shelf above it, spreading them out to the rising heat. She had barely arranged them when there was again the sound of approaching footsteps. These feet, however, did not stumble. They were heavy and certain. Mrs. Brenner snatched at the shoes, gathered them up, and turned to run. But one of the lacings caught on a nail on the shelf. She jerked desperately at the nail, and the jerking ...
— The Best Short Stories of 1920 - and the Yearbook of the American Short Story • Various

... and has grown to be rather a hump than a pack, so that there is no getting rid of it without tearing his whole structure to pieces. In my judgment, as he appears to be sufficiently comfortable under the mouldy accretion, he had better stumble on with it as long as he can. He presents a spectacle which is by no means without its charm for a ...
— Hawthorne - (English Men of Letters Series) • Henry James, Junr.

... to the neighboring village, strict instructions being given him to ride carefully in the middle of the track, as, treading in the deep snow, the horse might "ball,"—an expression applied to taking up snow in the hollow of the hoof, which causes the animal to stumble. An unusually long time elapsed before the messenger made his appearance from his mission, and then he was seen making his way painfully through the snow, leading the horse after him by ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 4, No. 25, November, 1859 • Various

... story, Theodore, I could throw statistics at you till you wuz black and blue, about our country spendin' for what is useless and ruinous to soul, body and estate, one billion four hundred millions a year, and about the hundred thousand drunkards that stumble along into the staggerin' slobberin' ranks every year, and drop into the drunkard's grave. I could eppisode eloquent to you about all this but what's the use; you're real smart and you know all about it. You've seen on every side on you the beast drivin' out the angel in man, you've ...
— Samantha at the St. Louis Exposition • Marietta Holley

... And how? By teaching it. I do not recommend that method to anybody. Happy the man who is guided by a master's word and example! He has a smooth and easy road before him, lying straight ahead. The other follows a rugged path, in which his feet often stumble; he goes groping into the unknown and loses his way. To recover the right road, if want of success have not discouraged him, he can rely only on perseverance, the sole compass of the poor. Such was my fate. I taught myself by teaching others, by passing on to them the ...
— The Life of the Fly - With Which are Interspersed Some Chapters of Autobiography • J. Henri Fabre

... what thou hast; to wit, that it is for thy sinning against him, and that thou mightest be turned to him? If so, thy summer is not quite ended; thy harvest is not yet quite over and gone. Take heed, stand out no longer, lest he cause darkness, and lest thy feet stumble upon the dark mountains; and lest, while you look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it ...
— The Works of John Bunyan • John Bunyan

... you suppose, fellows, that officer was hazed, and did some hazing on his own account, when he was a cadet midshipman here years ago? Of course! And that's why the officer didn't question us any more closely than he did. He was afraid he might stumble on something that would oblige him to report the whole crowd for hazing. He didn't want to do it. That officer, I'm certain, knew that, if he questioned us too closely, he'd find a lot more beneath the surface that he simply didn't want ...
— The Submarine Boys and the Middies • Victor G. Durham

... was borne by two men. The task for the foot soldiers was far less than for the horsemen. The latter clambered up on foot, dragging their horses after them. The descent was very dangerous. The dragoon, in the steep and narrow path, was compelled to walk before his horse. At the least stumble he was exposed to being plunged headlong into the abysses yawning before him. In this way many horses and several riders perished. To transport the heavy cannon and howitzers pine logs were split in the centre, the parts hollowed out, and the guns sunks into grooves. A long string ...
— Napoleon Bonaparte • John S. C. Abbott

... country, that her lips were observed to be always in motion, and that there was not a switch about her house which her neighbours did not believe had carried her several hundreds of miles. If she chanced to stumble, they always found sticks or straws that lay in the figure of a cross before her. If she made any mistake at church, and cried Amen in a wrong place, they never failed to conclude that she was saying her prayers ...
— The Coverley Papers • Various

... consideration. When one of the heathen is converted, especially an intelligent one, how would it do to put into his hands our orthodox Confessions of Faith? Would he not stumble at the doctrine of endless torment? He would think reasonably, of course; not like ourselves who are so dominated by tradition. Then, I say, would he not stumble? If we tried to substantiate the doctrine, would it not be a serious ...
— Love's Final Victory • Horatio

... Walter, by sheer will, regained his mental balance. "I am tired and nervous, or I would never imagine such foolish things," he said. "Of course it is as you say, produced by natural causes, and I will likely laugh at my fears as soon as we stumble on the key to the mystery. And now I am going to insist upon your going back inside, Charley. It won't do for us to have you down with the fever again. For our sakes, as well as your own, you must be ...
— The Boy Chums in the Forest - or Hunting for Plume Birds in the Florida Everglades • Wilmer M. Ely

... not stumble at such easy Scripture; behold, the meaning is quite clear! They who travel on the so-called King's Highway are continually exaggerating the merits of the way, thereby making it appear greater and ...
— Mr. World and Miss Church-Member • W. S. Harris

... "I will allow nothing of the kind under this roof. It's not a safe thing to have dealings with such people. We know that the Church forbids it. Perhaps it's a witch we might stumble on; and would it not be a frightful thing to see one of those who are leagued with the devil bringing their unconsecrated breaths about us this week, as it were, and, perhaps, burned the next? No, we will have a regular physician, ...
— The Evil Eye; Or, The Black Spector - The Works of William Carleton, Volume One • William Carleton

... grizzled old soldier who was an officer in the Civil War tell of a raw recruit who came into his regiment. This recruit was awkward and uncouth and unattractive. He seemed to be little more than an incarnate blunder. He would stumble and fall down over his own musket. Naturally he was the butt of many jokes. He was the laughing stock of all his comrades. But this officer said that he tried to befriend him. But if the uncouth fellow appreciated his efforts to help him he never said so. He seemed as awkward in expressing ...
— Sermons on Biblical Characters • Clovis G. Chappell

... that two could seldom come up abreast, and so steep that the enemy had much ado to struggle and stumble upwards. The men seemed half unwilling to proceed, and hung back more than once; but Amyas could hear an authoritative voice behind, and presently there emerged to the front, sword in hand, a figure at which Amyas and ...
— Westward Ho! • Charles Kingsley

... understanding, she had the book at great advantage, and soon subdued every question and answer in it. As much as possible, the doctor was kept aloof on such occasions. His grave questions were not to edification, and often they caused Rose to stumble, and brought down sorely the exultation with which she rolled forth, "They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification, adoption, sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow ...
— Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol 4 • Charles Dudley Warner

... the followers lost him in the darkness of the unlighted vestibule. Presently, however, a light was seen to glimmer through the partially closed blinds, and then John Burrill crept cautiously nearer, and feeling his way carefully, lest some obstacle at his feet should cause him to stumble; he gained the window, pressed his face close to the ...
— The Diamond Coterie • Lawrence L. Lynch

... since, to expose her to the snares and dangers inevitably encircling a house of which the master is dissipated and unprincipled, without the guidance of a mother, or any prudent and sensible female, seemed to me no less than suffering her to stumble into some dreadful pit, when the sun is in its meridian. My plan, therefore, was not merely to educate and to cherish her as my own, but to adopt her the heiress of my small fortune, and to bestow her upon some worthy man, with whom she might spend her days in tranquility, ...
— Evelina • Fanny Burney

... thy book, The witty ancient you enrobe, You make the graceful Horace look As pitiful as Tom M'Lobe.[1] Ye Muses, guard your sacred mount, And Helicon, for if this log Should stumble once into the fount, He'll make it ...
— Poems (Volume II.) • Jonathan Swift

... incomplete, Standing in these walls of Time, Broken stairways, where the feet Stumble as they ...
— Poems Teachers Ask For • Various

... winding defile, and they kept vigilant eyes upon the serrated sky-line. The savages were moving north, and so were they. It would be remarkably good fortune if they escaped running into some wandering band, or if some stray scout did not stumble upon their trail. So they continued ...
— Bob Hampton of Placer • Randall Parrish

... out my thoughts: "Men become accustomed to live from youth up as it were in a cage, and when they are once in the open air they dare not venture to use their wings, fearing, if they fly, that they may stumble ...
— Memories • Max Muller

... the meal she insisted on completing the task by washing the dishes, putting all to rights in the camp; then mended a rent in his coat which he had got from a stumble in the dark the night before. He laughed, but ...
— Together • Robert Herrick (1868-1938)

... ugliness. They were also deaf, as I have said, and they were scrofulous; one of them was disfigured by the small pox; they had glimmering eyes, red, like the eyes of ferrets, and scarcely half open; and they did not walk so much as stumble along. There, you have the worst of them. Now, hear something on the other side. What first won my pity was, their affection for each other, united to their constant sadness; secondly, a notion which had crept into ...
— Autobiographic Sketches • Thomas de Quincey

... had somebody to lift him from his seat, and hold him till he was firm on his crutches. Then he carefully moved forwards one crutch at a time, and then the other; and he put so much strength into it, that he was quite tired when he had been once across the room and back again. Every stumble made him shake all over. He made Agnes try; and he was almost provoked to see how lightly she could hop about; but then, as he said, she could put a second foot down to save herself, whenever she pleased. Every day, however, walking ...
— The Crofton Boys • Harriet Martineau

... eddies, like a leaf in autumn; a wild activity of thoughts, imaginations, feelings, and impulses of motion rises up from within me; a sort of bottom wind, that blows to no point of the compass, comes from I know not whence, but agitates the whole of me; my whole being is filled with waves that roll and stumble, one this way, and one that way, like things that have no common master. I think that my soul must have pre-existed in the body of a chamois chaser. The simple image of the old object has been obliterated, but the feelings, and impulsive habits, and incipient actions, are in me, and the ...
— Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey • Joseph Cottle

... respect for the method in which I was compelled to spell the English language. It was severe, no doubt. We stood in a class of forty, and lost our places for the misfit of a syllable, a letter, a definition, or even a stumble in elocution. I remember once losing the head of the class for saying: L-u-ux—Lux. It was a terrible blow, and I think of it yet with burning ...
— McClure's Magazine, Volume VI, No. 3. February 1896 • Various

... before the dump boss could speak again Hogan had started down and around the dump to the powder house, near the saloon. He went into the powder house, and then came out, carrying a heavy box. At the sidewalk edge, Hogan, who was yawning, stumbled—they saw him stumble, two men standing in the door of the Hot Dog saloon a block away, and they told the people at the inquest that that was the last they saw. A great explosion followed. The men about the dump huddled for a long minute under ...
— In the Heart of a Fool • William Allen White

... the moment, of all my thinking, this is my unfinal conclusion. There is no reason in tangible things, and no system in the ordinary ways of the world. Hands were made to grope, and feet to stumble, and the only things you may count on are the unaccountable things. System is a fairy and a dream, you never find system where or when you expect it. There are no reasons except reasons you and I ...
— This Is the End • Stella Benson

... curtness he did not use when the civs were present. "Only don't delay too long. Remember, our boy's roaming around out there. He might just be picked off by something before these stumble-footed civs catch ...
— Star Hunter • Andre Alice Norton

... our shoes; if too small, they gall and pinch us; but if too large, they cause us to stumble and to trip.—Colton. ...
— Pearls of Thought • Maturin M. Ballou

... accustomed to work. She could generally reach it in a quarter of an hour, but to-day it had taken more than four times as long and she herself did not know how she had managed to hold herself up, and to walk-limp-stumble along, in spite of the acute pain she was suffering. She would willingly have clung to every passer-by, have held on to every slow passing vehicle, to every beast of burden that overtook her—but man and beast mercilessly went on their way, without ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... same facilities were not likely to be accorded to anything which bore the name of John Milton, ex-secretary to Oliver, and himself an austere republican. Tomkyns—that was the young chaplain's name—did stumble at a phrase in ...
— Milton • Mark Pattison

... epochs of a close relation, patience and justice are not qualities on which we can rely. But the look or the gesture explains things in a breath; they tell their message without ambiguity; unlike speech, they cannot stumble, by the way, on a reproach or an allusion that should steel your friend against the truth; and then they have a higher authority, for they are the direct expression of the heart, not yet transmitted through the unfaithful ...
— Virginibus Puerisque • Robert Louis Stevenson

... Fred as he passed out, and drew up against the wall to allow a drunken man to stumble heavily ...
— Fighting the Flames • R.M. Ballantyne

... care! The blessed child!" shrieked poor Foster-mother as a more than usually bad stumble sent the umbrella ...
— The Adventures of Akbar • Flora Annie Steel

... of the hill. Meyer did not speak again; all his attention seemed to be concentrated upon finding a safe path on which the horses would not stumble. Nor did Benita speak; she was too utterly exhausted—so exhausted, indeed, that she could no longer control her mind and imagination. These seemed to loose themselves from her and to acquire new powers, notably that of entering into the secret thoughts of the man at her side. She saw them ...
— Benita, An African Romance • H. Rider Haggard

... point of history begins by consulting indexes and catalogues.[38] Novices set about this important operation so slowly, with so little skill, and with so much effort, as to move more experienced workers to mirth or pity, according to their disposition. Those who find amusement in watching novices stumble and strain and waste their time in the labyrinth of catalogues, neglecting those which are valuable, and thoroughly exploring those which are useless, remember that they also have passed through similar ...
— Introduction to the Study of History • Charles V. Langlois

... rabbit and said several things to the dog in a clear, musical voice. He spoke the guttural, Nez Perce dialect, which is one of the most difficult in the world, and One-eye seemed almost to understand him—and yet there are white boys of fifteen who stumble dreadfully over such easy tongues ...
— Two Arrows - A Story of Red and White • William O. Stoddard

... All the three men had, on the previous day, complained of a peculiar smarting of the eyes, but little did they think at the time of what it portended. As they proceeded the smarting sensation increased, till at length David Saunders began to stumble, and exclaimed that all was dark. His words struck dismay into the hearts of his companions, for both Andrew and Foubister had for some time found a difficulty in seeing objects before them, and in a short time the latter cried out that he too was blind. It would have ...
— Archibald Hughson - An Arctic Story • W.H.G. Kingston

... of thought or deliberation" out of this, or to get Parliament out of it, or even to get sense out of it, he will only follow the fortune which FRANCISCUS says has befallen all his predecessors, and stumble in limine. The presence of r, and the turning of mens into mentum, are minor difficulties. If FRANCISCUS be not a wag, he is perhaps an anti-ballot man, bent on finding an argument against the ballot in the etymology of Parliament: but whatever he be, I trust your readers ...
— Notes & Queries, No. 39. Saturday, July 27, 1850 • Various

... if you please, and be as careful as possible of branches, and don't stumble." She uttered this as if she were giving Jim his evening lesson: and then with a sudden cry she laughed out: "Oh! but I haven't played you your tune, and you must ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... very uninteresting, almost without exception, and yet some of the pictures were done cleverly enough. There is very little talent in this world, and what there is, it seems to me, is pretty well known and acknowledged. We don't often stumble upon geniuses in ...
— Passages From the English Notebooks, Complete • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... covered with such an abundance of hair that it looks larger than it really is, while the legs appear smaller. But the bison not only can run swiftly, but possesses great endurance. They will often dash at full speed over ground so rough that the more graceful horse will stumble. ...
— The Life of Kit Carson • Edward S. Ellis

... lamentably wanting. Till now, however, none had suspected his perplexity. He had impressed his client—had bounced, noted, cross- examined, measured; and during every bounce, note, cross-examination and measurement fervently had prayed that luck—or the reward—would help him stumble upon something he could claim as outcome of his skill. George's violent attack alarmed him; he ...
— Once Aboard The Lugger • Arthur Stuart-Menteth Hutchinson

... she went up to the horse, and patted and caressed him, and did bridle and saddle on him, and was going to climb upon him, when, of a sudden, she thought she would lead him across, lest there should be a hole near the other bank and he might stumble into it unwarily; so she bared her feet once more and trussed up her gown skirts, and so took the ford, leading the beast; the water was nowhere up to mid-leg of her, and she stepped ashore on to short and fine grass, which spread like ...
— Child Christopher • William Morris

... climbed a steep and rocky hill, crossing on its summit another section of the rocky plateau, a regular dome of grey volcanic rock. Then, descending from this second tableland on its eastern side, we had to struggle and stumble through most rugged country, where I found an extinct circular crater some 50 ft. in diameter and 50 ft. deep, with a vent at an angle in its bottom going apparently to a great depth. Near that spot was also a strange giant natural ...
— Across Unknown South America • Arnold Henry Savage Landor

... am my brother's keeper, In all that I can do To save him from temptation, To help him to be true; To stay him if he stumble, To lift him if he fall; To stand beside him though his sin Has severed ...
— Successful Recitations • Various

... put new courage into Tilda, she scarcely knew why, and henceforth she followed more confidently. With a stumble or two, but no serious mishap, they groped their way down the coombe, and coming to the ledge, saw the beach spread at their feet in the moonlight and out on the water the dark boat heaving gently, a ...
— True Tilda • Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... Jeanette! Why, of course! How absurdly simple the whole thing was! Why, this was the very scene of M. Charloix's amazing story. But that she, Lucile, should stumble into the very midst of all ...
— Lucile Triumphant • Elizabeth M. Duffield

... What? ... It is a cuff link, the Pippin's cuff link, that was dropped in the struggle.... What? ... No, I do not know why; I have told you all I know. There is nothing more, Mr. Carruthers—except that I should advise you to work as quickly as possible, as otherwise some one may stumble on the crime before you do. ...
— The Further Adventures of Jimmie Dale • Frank L. Packard

... come to their rendezvous feeling particularly safe. A confederate had been posted right on the other side of the estate with instructions to stumble on the alarm-guns set there. These guns were to be set off about a quarter-past one, and the poachers expected that the keepers would be drawn to the sound of the guns, and thus leave them undisturbed at their ...
— The Wolf Patrol - A Tale of Baden-Powell's Boy Scouts • John Finnemore

... here have I been toiling under press Of glory. Should I not stumble in my gait, Were there no Vashti, and with her a welcome I do not need to buy, since all she wants Is that I love her? Going in unto her I may unstrap my burdenous pack of kingship, Shift me of reign, and escape my splendour. ...
— Emblems Of Love • Lascelles Abercrombie

... am active, cheerful, communicative, a natural talker and story-teller. I am not noisy, like the ocean, except occasionally when I am rudely interrupted, or when I stumble and get a fall. When I am silent you can still have pleasure in watching my changing features. My idlest babble, when I am toying with the trifles that fall in my way, if not very full of meaning, is at least musical. I am not a dangerous friend, like the ocean; no highway ...
— A Mortal Antipathy • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

... in the dense darkness of the forest with no gleam of light to guide him on his way, and his feet were constantly snared in the knotted roots of the trees intersecting the path. So must he stumble along a dark and rugged track through the rest of his years. There was no cheering gleam beckoning him to a happy future. But though it was thorny and obscure it was not an ignoble path, and it might end at last even for him in the welcome words, "Well done, good and faithful servant; ...
— Cobwebs and Cables • Hesba Stretton

... which we constantly stumble upon is a lame, totally inadmissible application of certain one-sided systems as of a formal code of laws. But it is never difficult to show the one-sidedness of such systems, and this only requires to be done once to throw discredit for ever on critical judgments which are based on them. We ...
— On War • Carl von Clausewitz

... next week's lesson. I stood and watched. The master called upon first one, then another, to read aloud a sentence or two out of the textbook with which each was provided; and one after another the boys stood up, shamefaced or dogged, to stumble through sentences which seemed to convey absolutely no meaning to them. If it had been only the hard words that floored them—such as "cotyledon" and "dicotyledon"—I should not have been surprised; but they blundered ...
— Change in the Village • (AKA George Bourne) George Sturt

... Lord lays down this law to all those who would enter into life—'pluck it out and cast it from thee; for it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell-fire.' Does your eye offend you, my brethren? Does your eye cause you to stumble and fall, as it is in the etymology? The right use of the eye is to keep you from stumbling and falling; but so perverted are the eye and the heart of every sinner that the city watchman has become a partaker ...
— Bunyan Characters - Third Series - The Holy War • Alexander Whyte

... distinction, was appealing; as were her exquisite, smooth baby skin and the downward drooping, almost childlike, curves of her lips. The inequalities of the ribbed gangplank were sufficient to cause her to stumble. ...
— The Gray Dawn • Stewart Edward White

... are entitled to some indulgence from the reader, when they occur in a work of real genius. Those, who do not strive at excellence, will seldom fall into absurdity; as he, who is contented to walk, is little liable to stumble. ...
— The Works of John Dryden, Vol. 6 (of 18) - Limberham; Oedipus; Troilus and Cressida; The Spanish Friar • John Dryden

... the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his Holy Spirit within him? that led them by the right hand of Moses, with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name? that led them through the deep as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble? As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name. Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory; where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels, ...
— The Book of Common Prayer - and The Scottish Liturgy • Church of England

... if the captain was right, made no farther sign, and now began the most interesting part of the journey. With the exception of having to be careful not to stumble over the blocks of coral limestone which lay here and there in their road, it was easy walking in spite of the darkness, while this latter was modified by the brilliant stars overhead, the dazzling scintillations of the fireflies, which flittered out ...
— Jack at Sea - All Work and no Play made him a Dull Boy • George Manville Fenn

... flight. His nose said, "I smelt the hounds"; his eyes said, "We looked for the shortest way"; his ears said, "We listened for the breathing of the hounds"; and his legs said, "We ran away with you." Then he asked his tail what it had done, and it said, "Why, I got caught in the bushes or made your leg stumble; that is all I could do." So, as a punishment, the Fox stuck his tail out of his den, and the hounds saw it and caught hold of it, and dragged the Fox out of his den by it and ate him all up. So that was the ...
— Europa's Fairy Book • Joseph Jacobs

... is purely mental and is the mother of fear. This habit gets itself fixed on men because they lack vision. They start out to do something that reaches from A to Z. At A they fail, at B they stumble, and at C they meet with what seems to be an insuperable difficulty. They then cry "Beaten" and throw the whole task down. They have not even given themselves a chance really to fail; they have not given their vision a chance to be proved or disproved. They have simply let themselves ...
— My Life and Work • Henry Ford

... to be real—it was so unlikely an adventure to tumble into such a well of sympathy. One might stray into the desert easily—that was on the cards and that was the law of life; but it was too rare an accident to stumble on a crystal well. Yet if her aspirations seemed at one moment too extravagant to be real they struck him at the next as too intelligent to be false. They were both high and lame, and, whims for whims, he preferred them to any ...
— The Lesson of the Master • Henry James

... OF STUMBLING.—In 1 Peter ii. 8 it is written: "And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed." This text is supposed to teach that the parties spoken of were appointed to be disobedient. At the first glance it would seem to teach this. ...
— The Doctrines of Predestination, Reprobation, and Election • Robert Wallace

... of this non-smoke device because any one buying and repairing an old house is likely to be smoked out and might not immediately stumble upon the simple remedy. I know when later, at the club, I explained it to an architectural friend, he confessed that the notion had not occurred to him, adding, with some shame, that he had more than once left a considerable crack under a door ...
— Dwellers in Arcady - The Story of an Abandoned Farm • Albert Bigelow Paine

... mistake about it. I heard Quick! Quick! Quick! as plainly, at least, as I ever heard a word from the phonograph. I stood watching the dial one day,—it was near one o'clock,—and a strange attraction held me fastened to the spot. Presently something appeared to trip or stumble inside of the infernal mechanism. I waited for the sound I knew was to follow. How nervous I got! It seemed to me that it would never strike. At last the minute-hand reached the highest point of the dial. Then there was a ...
— Over the Teacups • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

... into "chambers of imagery" erected by her own folly; and there, with the light shut out from her, may sink into a slumber disturbed only, now and then, by some dream of superstition; or, with the light still shining on her, her eye may be dim or disordered, and she may stumble at noonday. But the light is as pure as in the days of the apostles; and, if we have eyes to profit by it, we may "understand more than the ancients." The art of printing has supplied us with facilities for the study of the Scriptures which were denied ...
— The Ancient Church - Its History, Doctrine, Worship, and Constitution • W.D. [William Dool] Killen

... transformed them 'in bees, in crows, and they flew to such and such remote places; which was impossible for the devil to doe, to rarefy the substance of their body into so small a matter ... thir confessions made many intelligent sober persons stumble much what faith was to be adhibite to them.' In another case from Haddington a woman confessed and accused five others and a man. Lauder saw the man examined and tested by pricking. He says, 'I remained very unclear and dissatisfied with this way ...
— Publications of the Scottish History Society, Vol. 36 • Sir John Lauder

... courting us with kindnesses, lavishing on us its treasures, seeking to win our poor love. It is sometimes said that this is a state of probation. But that phrase suggests far too cold an idea. God does not set us here as on a knife edge, with abysses on either side ready to swallow us if we stumble, while He stands apart watching for our halting, and unhelpful to our tottering feebleness. He compasses us with His love and its gifts, He draws us to Himself, and desires that we should stand. He offers all the help of His angels to hold us up. ...
— Expositions Of Holy Scripture - Volume I: St. Luke, Chaps. I to XII • Alexander Maclaren

... the best, unsatisfactory, but to abandon the cruise is the only alternative. However, considering I had but a few hours to look about me, I have been more fortunate than might have been expected. I have had the luck to stumble on a young fellow, very highly recommended by the Captain of the Port. He returned just a fortnight ago from a trip to Australia, and having since married a wife, is naturally anxious not to lose this opportunity of going to sea again for ...
— Letters From High Latitudes • The Marquess of Dufferin (Lord Dufferin)

... Rabbit! Away jumped the Monkey! Away leaped the Jack who lived in a Box. At the far end of the toy counter the Bold Tin Soldier and his men had placed some sofa cushions from the upholstery department. That was in case either of the three might stumble and fall. ...
— The Story of a Lamb on Wheels • Laura Lee Hope

... trained for an office like this, to make the way of the Lord clear through all the generations, reason is that we should see everything, and learn all that man is and can be. These things are too deep for us; we stumble on, and know not till after. But now to me ...
— A Little Pilgrim • Mrs. Oliphant

... Esquimaux, the despised Skroeling—or they may have amalgamated with them—or conceivably they might have held their own. Very little is known yet of that portion of the coast. It would be strange if some Nansen or Peary were to stumble upon the remains of the old colony, and find possibly in that antiseptic atmosphere a complete mummy ...
— Through the Magic Door • Arthur Conan Doyle

... march. Here we turned off to the right and left the pave road which runs on to Ypres, and after this the roads were much more difficult to travel. Shell holes were frequent and generally full of water, so that in the dark it was only too easy to stumble into them. 'Shell-hole on the right,' 'Shell-hole on the left,' 'Shell-hole in the middle,' 'Keep to your right' were being passed back continually. Progress was slow of course under these conditions and with the heavy loads that we all carried. But it ...
— Q.6.a and Other places - Recollections of 1916, 1917 and 1918 • Francis Buckley

... the invaluable opportunity of beginning its discussion in a dignified and human spirit; and if there were enough who did so in our public press neither the public nor the parliament would find it in their minds to drop to meaner thoughts. The writer has the chance to stumble, by the way, on something pleasing, something interesting, something encouraging, were it only to a single reader. He will be unfortunate, indeed, if he suit no one. He has the chance, besides, to stumble on something that a dull person shall be able to comprehend; and for a dull person to ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 16 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... another youth in gray uniform to stumble inside. One of the guards in the corridor beyond shoved the newcomer forward, and Phillips' eyebrows twitched as he had a closer look. This ...
— This World Must Die! • Horace Brown Fyfe

... did they stumble in order that they should fall? Far be it! But by their fall salvation is come to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy. (12)But if their fall is the riches of the world, and their diminution the riches of the Gentiles, how much more ...
— The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. • Various

... subtle flesh, its pink and springy bone, its juices and ferments, and all the sensateness that informed it) to the chicken farm, the hide-house, the glue-rendering works, and the bone-meal fertiliser factory. To the last stumble of its stumbling end this dray horse must abide by the mandates of the lesser truth that is the truth of life and that makes ...
— John Barleycorn • Jack London

... among piled-up masses of ice, many of them big enough to hide a couple of hundred men, the stalking appeared to be simplicity itself, and the three bearers of firearms stepped jauntily along toward the walrus herd, screening themselves behind the masses of ice with more than one slip and stumble. ...
— Steve Young • George Manville Fenn

... rather the stumble home, proved to be the worst part of the expedition. Not a ray of starlight had we to guide us,—nothing but inky blackness around and over us. We tried to make Nettle go first, intending to follow his lead, and trusting to his keeping the track; but Nettle's place ...
— Station Amusements • Lady Barker



Words linked to "Stumble" :   flub, founder, stumbler, boner, mistake, pratfall, come into, blooper, err, slip, gait, fuckup, bungle, move, come by, bloomer, foul-up, boo-boo, blunder, walk, botch



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