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Background   /bˈækgrˌaʊnd/   Listen
Background

verb
1.
Understate the importance or quality of.  Synonyms: downplay, play down.



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"Background" Quotes from Famous Books



... Boy, who is a little older (and already knows enough to place the responsibility for intrusion on his sister with her innocent eyes and imperturbable calm and golden hair), stood a little in the background, pretending to be engrossed with a magnet, as though he were unaware that he was really present. Curls hopped about on one leg frankly, knowing that the others would be blamed for any naughtiness of hers. Her radiant impudence never needs ...
— Old Junk • H. M. Tomlinson

... and were glistening in purity from their feet to their white beards. Still higher, in the scenes of the tympanum, the outlines of the little saints of the arches were designed most clearly on a dark background, and this magic sect continued until the final rapture at the marriage of Agnes, which the archangels appeared to be celebrating under a shower of white roses. Standing upon her pillar, with her white branch of palm and her white lamp, ...
— The Dream • Emile Zola

... its situation, the small city of Antibes is at once a type of the old regime and of the new. Lying on the sea, with a background of snow-capped mountains, it has not entirely escaped the fate of Nice; neither has it yet lost all its old Provencal characteristics. It is a pathetic compromise between the quaint reality of the old and ...
— Cathedrals and Cloisters of the South of France, Volume 1 • Elise Whitlock Rose

... upon which they could re-appear in the arena of National politics. It had been suggested to them from friendly sources that while the memory of their part in the bloody strife was still so fresh it would be prudent for them to remain in the background, but they vigorously resented this proposed exclusion. General Forrest of Tennessee published an indignant letter, in which he referred to "the counsel of timid men" that those who had prominently borne the ...
— Twenty Years of Congress, Volume 2 (of 2) • James Gillespie Blaine

... pretty picture framed in the doorway. She wore her riding-habit of olive-green—from the hem of which peeped her soft boots. Her hat, broad, picturesque, typical of the Southwest, had slipped backward, forming a background for her pretty face. An amused smile played about ...
— The Round-up - A Romance of Arizona novelized from Edmund Day's melodrama • John Murray and Marion Mills Miller

... our claim to respect? When we have acquired a foothold of our own in the world, when we have had some share in shaping its course, then we can meet others smilingly. Till then let us keep in the background, attending to ...
— Glimpses of Bengal • Sir Rabindranath Tagore

... only the scholar, also the simple worker, the laborer, the modest mother take a deep pleasure in forming their philosophy of life and the world. Side by side with the loud triumph of our industry goes this quieter existence, which has been rather pushed into the background in the last decades, but has not, therefore, ceased to exist. And the further the belief in miracles stepped into the background, the more the belief in duty acquired a warm religious tinge. The loud complaints about the vanishing of the sense of duty among the young, which has so ...
— New York Times, Current History, Vol 1, Issue 1 - From the Beginning to March, 1915 With Index • Various

... passing out to sea, leaving the mist thin and white. Suddenly voices forward cried, excitedly: "Land ho! Land ho! There she is! Isthmus in sight! Land ho!" The cries spread, with everybody on tiptoe, peering. At one end of the mist line had been uncurtained a background of rocky, surf-washed shore, with high green hills rising behind it. Next was uncovered a lower shore, indented by a large bay, and fringed with palm-trees. Next, as on sped the mist (like a swiftly rolling curtain, indeed) there came into view a lofty headland, with trees on its ...
— Gold Seekers of '49 • Edwin L. Sabin

... moonlight, I was attracted by a brilliant light beneath the trees, and cautiously approached it. A circle of thirty or forty soldiers sat around a roaring fire, while one old uncle, Cato by name, was narrating an interminable tale, to the insatiable delight of his audience. I came up into the dusky background, perceived only by a few, and he still continued. It was a narrative, dramatized to the last degree, of his adventures in escaping from his master to the Union vessels; and even I, who have heard the stories of Harriet Tubman, and such wonderful slave-comedians, never witnessed such ...
— Army Life in a Black Regiment • Thomas Wentworth Higginson

... a charmingly pretty girl, dressed in white, with a sailor hat on her fair hair, and holding a lawn tennis racquet. She was bending half forward, with a winning smile, and in the background bloomed a mass of tropical plants. Mrs. Hableton uttered a cry of surprise ...
— The Mystery of a Hansom Cab • Fergus Hume

... Imperialism: the Elections of 1900.*—During the larger part of this Unionist decade the Liberal party, rent by factional disputes and personal rivalries, afforded but ineffective opposition.[219] The Home Rule question fell into the background; and although (p. 154) the Unionists carried through a considerable amount of social and industrial legislation, the interests of the period center largely in the Government's policies and achievements within the domain of foreign and colonial affairs. The most hotly contested issue of the ...
— The Governments of Europe • Frederic Austin Ogg

... was thinking that never in his life had he seen a girl so amazingly pretty. What it was that she had done to herself was beyond him; but something, some trick of dress, had given her a touch of the demure that made her irresistible. She was dressed in sober black, the ideal background for ...
— Something New • Pelham Grenville Wodehouse

... offering in obstinate agony, was an experience which for the time entirely robbed him of the power of seeing the elements of life in that proportion to which his mind's eye had grown accustomed—that is, seeing the things of religion as a shadowy background for life's important activities. ...
— What Necessity Knows • Lily Dougall

... archbishop wins the Pope's consent to the customs." Fresh cases arose of clerks accused of theft and murder, but as the personal quarrel between Henry and Thomas increased in bitterness, questions of reform fell into the background. "I will humble thee," the king declared, "and will restore thee to the place from whence I took thee." Thomas, on his part, knew how to awaken all Henry's secret fears. All Europe was concerned in the dispute of king and archbishop. The Pope at Sens, the French king, ...
— Henry the Second • Mrs. J. R. Green

... there is the Superior-Race Lie: I do not know where it shall not be found. Races A, B, C, and D go on preaching it for centuries; each with an eye to its sublime self. In all countries, perhaps, history is taught with that lie for mental background. Then we wonder that there are wars. But Theosophy is called onto provide a true mental background for historical study; and it alone can do so. It is the mission of Point Loma, among many other things, to float a true philosophy of history on to the currents of world-thought: and for this end it ...
— The Crest-Wave of Evolution • Kenneth Morris

... you of treacle on a marble background is scarcely greater than that of printers' ink on newspaper to me. But anything smaller than pica I do not read with comfort, and below long primer I cannot read at all. Hence the ...
— Four Max Carrados Detective Stories • Ernest Bramah

... simply on what the going will take you from, not on what it will bring you to. It means a lot to a woman, of course, to get away from a life like this." He summed up in a disparaging glance the background of indigent furniture. "The question is how you'll ...
— The Touchstone • Edith Wharton

... In the background among the trees were ranges of stables and kennels, and on the grass-plat in front of the windows was a row of beehives. A tame doe lay on the little green sward, not far from a large rough deer-hound, both close ...
— The Armourer's Prentices • Charlotte Mary Yonge

... gentle bribery. The great God of conscience is naturally the least popular object of cultus; though, were the animists right, He should be the most popular, seeing He would be the latest development demanded and created by the popular mind. But contrariwise, He tends to recede more and more into the background, behind the ever-multiplying crowd of patron-spirits, guardians, family-gods; till, as in Greece and Rome, He is almost entirely obscured, "an unknown God ignorantly worshipped"—the End, as usual, being forgotten and buried in the ...
— The Faith of the Millions (2nd series) • George Tyrrell

... and the bright blaze from the camp fire lighted up the glade, thus enabling Isaac to see the drooping figure on the log, and in the background Crow, holding a whispered consultation with the other Indians. Isaac heard enough of the colloquy to guess the facts. The chief had been desperately rounded; the palefaces were on their trail, and a march must be ...
— Betty Zane • Zane Grey

... of the transport-ships are in flames, two seem to have been sunk, and some of those further back have listed badly. The Olympia is heading straight for the enemy, but she seems to be damaged and is burning aft. There are two more cruisers in the background, but they are hidden by the smoke from the burning steamers; I can't see them ...
— Banzai! • Ferdinand Heinrich Grautoff

... rose on his elbow, watching. Charge after charge, wild and impetuous, break the slowly retreating battalions. In vain I heard Carter's stern oaths (may the angel of tears forgive him!), and Charlie Marsh's boyish calls. The men are facing us. The enemy, cheering, and in the background huge torches flaming with pitch, are ready ...
— Continental Monthly, Vol. III, No IV, April 1863 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... envy you, you know, living as you do. When you come to be a millionaire, you'll have an effective background for your millions. And then, you must know a great deal more about life than we do; and the knowledge that comes out of books must have quite another spiritual value for you than for the rest of us, who've been stuffed mechanically with 'lessons' and 'education' and so forth since ...
— The Great Hunger • Johan Bojer

... to make, I had not thought myself desperately in love with her at last, after a good many years of friendship. But now there had befallen the long days of peril and anxiety which had set her in the background altogether, and I had had time to come to more sober thoughts, as it were. Men have said that I aged more in that short time than in the next ten years of my life, and it is likely. Nevertheless, it needed ...
— A Prince of Cornwall - A Story of Glastonbury and the West in the Days of Ina of Wessex • Charles W. Whistler

... Metaxa said. He yawned. "I guess I'll have to go into my speech." He finished his drink. "Now, shut up till I give you some background. You're probably full of a lot of nonsense you picked ...
— Ultima Thule • Dallas McCord Reynolds

... these men through the background of history is to have a notion of the Day of Judgment. Old forgotten iniquities and adventures leap to light. Chirnside, like Logan and the Douglases of Whittingham, and John Colville, and the Laird of Spot, had followed ...
— James VI and the Gowrie Mystery • Andrew Lang

... taking part in the men's dances. They also act as assistants to the chief actors in the Totem Dances, three particularly expert and richly dressed women dancers ranging themselves behind the mask dancer as a pleasing background of streaming furs and glistening feathers. The only time they are forbidden to enter the kasgi is when the shaman is performing certain secret rites. They also have secret meetings of their own when all men are ...
— The Dance Festivals of the Alaskan Eskimo • Ernest William Hawkes

... obtain if and when the German tyrant is defeated and the nations of Europe commence their solemn task of reconstituting Europe. Of course, we must not press the analogy too far. The dawn of a new era might have been welcomed in 1815, but the proviso was always kept in the background that most of the older traditions should be preserved. Diplomacy was still inspired by its traditional watchwords. Above all, the transformation so keenly and so vaguely desired was in the hands of sovereigns who were more anxious about their own interests than perhaps was ...
— Armageddon—And After • W. L. Courtney

... little station, and with his head out of the window, Aynesworth waved his hand to the black-frocked child with her pale, eager face already stained with tears—a lone, strange little figure, full of a sort of plaintive grace as she stood there, against a background of milk cans, waving ...
— The Malefactor • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... once went tramping through the primeval forests, tearing down the branches of gigantic trees for food, and died in the dismal swamps of an unknown age. For a long time these strange creatures haunted my dreams, and this gloomy period formed a somber background to the joyous Now, filled with sunshine and roses and echoing with the gentle beat ...
— Story of My Life • Helen Keller

... diminished after marriage by that antagonism between individuation and reproduction everywhere operative throughout the organic world." I don't know why, but that passage made me as hot as a hornet. In the background of my brain I carried some vague memory of George Eliot once catching this same philosophizing Spencer fishing with a composite fly, and, remarking on his passion for generalizations, declaring that he even fished with a generalization. So I could afford to ...
— The Prairie Wife • Arthur Stringer

... bloodshed enough to make a Turk turn faint. The "art" illustrating that "literature" represents in vivid and shining colours a large and enraged black bull stamping upon a yellow snake writhing in emerald-green grass, with a cobalt-blue sky for a background. It is atrocious and it is an allegory. The snake symbolizes disease, weakness—perhaps mere hunger, which last is the chronic disease of the majority of mankind. Of course everybody knows the B. O. S. Ltd., with its unrivalled products: Vinobos, Jellybos, and the latest unequalled ...
— A Set of Six • Joseph Conrad

... definition can fully describe an art, but the relations between employers and men form without question the most important part of this art. In considering the subject, therefore, until this part of the problem has been fully discussed, the other phases of the art may be left in the background. ...
— Shop Management • Frederick Winslow Taylor

... on the verge of an altogether desperate scuffle. Never for a moment had violence come between these two since long ago he had, in spite of her mother's protest in the background, carried her kicking and squalling to the nursery for some forgotten crime. With something near to horror they found ...
— Ann Veronica • H. G. Wells

... friend,— Kind-hearted to the poor, and to the sick A double help and kindly comforter. In manner thus the seasons quickly pass, One after one,—the flowery Summer and The golden Autumn, with her bounty hand; Then, in the background, Winter, and again, When Spring, the early Summer; it was then, Her full time having come, the lady went Unto her chamber, and brought forth a child. And it was robed, and brought, and put into The father's hand, and he was very glad With ...
— A Leaf from the Old Forest • J. D. Cossar

... Till I could meet Sinclair's eye and discern in it the happy clearing-up of all his doubts, I should not feel free to be my own ordinary and sociable self again. But Sinclair showed every evidence of wishing to keep in the background; and while this was natural enough, so far as people in general were concerned, I thought it odd and very unlike him not to give me an opportunity to express my congratulations at the turn affairs had taken and the frank attitude assumed by Gilbertine. I own I felt much disturbed ...
— Room Number 3 - and Other Detective Stories • Anna Katharine Green

... wanting in all that human invention could produce. When we picture to ourselves the theatrical talent and the splendid costumes of the actors, the scenes constructed in the style of the architecture of the period, and hung with garlands and tapestry, and in the background the noble buildings of an Italian piazza, or the slender columns of some great courtyard or cloister, the effect is one of great brilliance. But just as the secular drama suffered from this passion for display, ...
— The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy • Jacob Burckhardt

... surroundings. Above, the cold moon; all about, the grim, stolid, half-hostile natives; close by, that strange, serpentine, savage wife, guarding, cat-like, the sleep of her cannibal husband; behind, the watchful Eyes of Tu-Kila-Kila, waiting ever in the background, ready to raise a loud shout of alarm and warning the moment the fatal branch was actually broken, but mute, by their vows, till that moment was accomplished. Then a sudden wild impulse urged him on to the attempt. The banyan had dropped ...
— The Great Taboo • Grant Allen

... abstract idea is creeping into art, although, only yesterday, it was scorned and obscured by purely material ideals. Its gradual advance is natural enough, for in proportion as the organic form falls into the background, the abstract ideal ...
— Concerning the Spiritual in Art • Wassily Kandinsky

... harbour, erected at tremendous cost, permits ships of heavy burden to discharge passengers and cargo with comfort and safety at a long wharf, without that unpleasant interlude of rocking sampans and reckless boatmen common to Eastern travel. A background of blue peaks and clustering palms rises beyond the long line of quays and breakwaters flanked by the railway, and a wealth of tropical scenery covers a marshy plain with riotous luxuriance. No Europeans ...
— Through the Malay Archipelago • Emily Richings

... the village and passing round the wood. At its corner, the sudden shape of a woman arose against the sportive sunbeams that outlined her with light. Alertly erect she stood, before the faintly violet background of the wood's marge and the crosshatched trees. She was slender, her head all afire with fair hair, and in her pale face we could see the night-dark caverns of great eyes. The resplendent being gazed fixedly upon us, trembling, then plunged abruptly ...
— Under Fire - The Story of a Squad • Henri Barbusse

... reach home in the evening—a very late time they would say; but, as the delay was a pure accident, they would deem her marriage to Mr Heddegan tomorrow still practicable. Then Charles would have to be produced from the background. It was a terrible undertaking to think of, and she almost regretted her temerity in wedding so hastily that morning. The rage of her father would be so crushing; the reproaches of her mother so bitter; and perhaps Charles would answer hotly, and perhaps cause estrangement till ...
— Victorian Short Stories, - Stories Of Successful Marriages • Elizabeth Gaskell, et al.

... she seemed to suck the radiance along. It became a great cone of glowing light that, arrow-like, raced away upward. For a long instant the black length of the ship, and the greenish fan of flame, were outlined against the scarlet background of Jupiter. Then the freighter rocket, flinging herself upward at three gravities or better, passed the edge of the planet ...
— The Indulgence of Negu Mah • Robert Andrew Arthur

... Parsonage, where Ursula was most eager that her friend should come in. And here Mr. May joined them, who was impressed, like everybody else, by Phoebe's appearance, and made himself so agreeable that Reginald felt eclipsed and driven into the background. Ursula had never been so satisfied with her father in her life; though there was a cloud on Mr. May's soul, it suited him to show a high good-humour with everybody in recompense for his son's satisfactory decision, and he was, indeed, in a state of high complacence with himself for having managed ...
— Phoebe, Junior • Mrs [Margaret] Oliphant

... returned, but he was too poor to marry, and she was persuaded and almost forced to marry a rich man. Dear old Abbe, always taking snuff while he told me his agonies, and then finishing up by saying that he became a priest so as to put an end for ever to his passion. Who would have suspected such a background to his jovial face? I don't know how it was that people, much my seniors, so often confided to me their secret sufferings. I may have to mention some other cases, and I feel that after my friends are gone, and so many years have passed over their graves, there is no indiscretion in speaking of their ...
— My Autobiography - A Fragment • F. Max Mueller

... forest leaves, and as it approached the house, the fine old building, with its many gable ends and curiously twisted chimneys, its steep roofs and latticed windows—all monuments of the old colonial days—came more and more distinctly into view from its background of mountains. Lights were gleaming from upper and lower and all sorts of windows, and the whole aspect of the grand old hospitable mansion ...
— Cruel As The Grave • Mrs. Emma D. E. N. Southworth

... they were standing together at the space between the windows outside, the long-leaved creepers mingling with the decorations of her hat, and making a very effective background ...
— Phyllis of Philistia • Frank Frankfort Moore

... penetrated, from beginning to end, by the demonological beliefs of which the Gadarene story is a specimen; and, if the fourth Gospel indicates the existence of another and, in some respects, irreconcilably divergent narrative, in which the demonology retires into the background, it is ...
— Collected Essays, Volume V - Science and Christian Tradition: Essays • T. H. Huxley

... the ups and downs and circuits had quite wearied us. Gradually the rocks decreased in size, and were more widely spread; a plain slightly depressed in the centre, dotted here and there with thinly growing thickets, was reached. In the background there was a clump of firs and a glittering lake, quite a liquid oasis hidden in ...
— Adventures of a Young Naturalist • Lucien Biart

... little or no improvement in the type for a long period; it remained practically unchanged till the thirteenth century. Thus, while a Byzantine Madonna is to be found in nearly every old church in Italy, to see one is to see all. They are half-length figures against a background of gold leaf, at first laid on solidly, or, at a somewhat later date, studded with cherubs. The Virgin has a meagre, ascetic countenance, large, ill-shaped eyes, and an almost peevish expression; her head is draped in a heavy, dark blue veil, ...
— The Madonna in Art • Estelle M. Hurll

... back to it again and again. And to-night, sometimes Richard was himself, sometimes his personality seemed merged in that of Witherington, the crippled fighting-man, of whose maiming and deadly courage that stanza tells. And the battle was long and fierce, as from out a background of steeple-shaped, honey-combed rocks and sparse trees with large golden leaves—like those on the panels of the great, lacquered cabinets in the Long Gallery—innumerable hordes of fanatic Chinamen poured down ...
— The History of Sir Richard Calmady - A Romance • Lucas Malet

... he should have been, with a revolutionary background. He dressed somberly in black, like most of the other Argentine men on board. There was Senora Pages, very fat, very indolent, very blank, much given to pink satin and diamonds at dinner. Senorita Pages, over-powdered, overfrizzed, marvelously gowned, with overplumpness just a few years ...
— Emma McChesney & Co. • Edna Ferber

... order' crowd out there; they're afraid. But I want forbidden books—sharp, pointed books. I'll slip them through their fingers. When the police commissioners or the priest see that they are illegal books, they'll think it's the teachers who circulate them. And in the meantime I'll remain in the background." ...
— Mother • Maxim Gorky

... a wad; then drawing his cutlass he handed it to Martin, exclaiming, "Come, lad, we're in for it now. Take you the cutlass and I'll try their skulls with the butt o' my pistol: it has done good work before now in that way. If there's no more o' the blackguards in the background ...
— Martin Rattler • R.M. Ballantyne

... rising crescendo as their speed increased. Then, abruptly, the sound broke off into deathly silence as the limit of audibility was passed. Against the brilliant background of swift color changes and geometric light-shapes that so quickly merged into the familiar blur, Bert saw his companions as dim wraithlike forms. He moved ...
— Wanderer of Infinity • Harl Vincent

... they halted anywhere for a rest or a view, the Lamont girl was sure to take an artistic pose, which the artist couldn't resist, and his whole occupation seemed to be drawing her, with the Catskills for a background. "There," he would say, "stay just as you are; yes, leaning a little so"—it was wonderful how the lithe figure adapted itself to any background—"and turn your head this way, looking at me." The artist began to draw, and every time he gave a quick glance upwards from his book, there were ...
— Baddeck and That Sort of Thing • Charles Dudley Warner

... taste nothing more till midnight. There was something so delightfully fresh and out of the common in having tea at a wayside inn; they felt true pilgrims of the road, and civilization and school seemed to have faded into a far background. The love of travel is in the blood of both Celt and Anglo-Saxon; our forefathers visited shrines for the joy of the journey as well as for religious motives, and maybe our Bronze Age ancestors, who flocked to the great Sun Festivals at Stonehenge or Avebury Circles, derived pleasure from the ...
— A Popular Schoolgirl • Angela Brazil

... presented by some of those who stood to watch him go—yielding to the vast speculation how the poor creatures were to get on without him, was great, and sad, but not absorbed. He patted children on the head like Sir Roger de Coverley going to church, spoke to people in the background by their Christian names, and ...
— The World's Greatest Books, Vol III • Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton, Eds.

... beautiful sky effects on the march with the sun circling low on the southern horizon. Bright pink clouds hovered overhead on a deep grey-blue background. Gleams of bright sunlit mountains appeared through ...
— Scott's Last Expedition Volume I • Captain R. F. Scott

... as the necessary keyboard technic to give expression to the work,—but the veil is torn from the composer's hidden meaning, only becoming intimate with his creative personality as a master, by studying his life environments, by investigating the historical background of the period in which he worked, by learning of his joys and his sufferings, by cultivating a deep and heartfelt sympathy for his ideals and by the scrupulous and constant revision of one's own ...
— Great Pianists on Piano Playing • James Francis Cooke

... looking very beautiful," she went on. "Much more beautiful than before, but in such a different way! From diaphanous she has become opaque; from airy, solid. She brought a most wonderful wardrobe, and, kept in the background with ...
— Aurora the Magnificent • Gertrude Hall

... were trees. Of the faces which came out fresh and vivid as though painted in yellow and red, the most prominent was a girl's face. By a trick of the firelight she seemed to have no body. The oval of the face and hair hung beside the fire with a dark vacuum for background. As if dazed by the glare, her green-blue eyes stared at the flames. Every muscle of her face was taut. There was something tragic in her thus staring—her age ...
— Jacob's Room • Virginia Woolf

... itself was invisible to Winfried and his companions. A great throng of people were gathered around it in a half-circle, their backs to the open glade, their faces towards the oak. Seen against that glowing background, it was but the silhouette of a crowd, ...
— The First Christmas Tree - A Story of the Forest • Henry Van Dyke

... Frank's father. Then, for the first time, the matter of the return home was seriously discussed. So happy had been the months since their arrival, nearly a year before, that even the discussion of the return trip had been kept in the background as much as possible. But now they were face to face with it, and sharp and quick must be their decision if they would avail themselves of the first opportunity for their departure. This would be by the return of these Hudson ...
— Winter Adventures of Three Boys • Egerton R. Young

... produced, I changed my mind. There again was that disturbing loveliness. It was a story of the passionate Florence of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and Esther Levenson drifted through the four long acts against a background of Tuscan walls, scarlet hangings, oaths, blood-spilling, dark and terrible vengeance. Grimshaw took London by the throat and put ...
— O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1921 • Various

... Lady Jane was her mother's greatest friend when they were both girls together; and when she had married a certain Mr. Ashleigh, a man of great wealth, although their acquaintance had very much dropped into the background, yet still the stories about the beautiful and willful Lady Jane had delighted Rosamund when she was a little girl herself. Now, it seemed that Lady Jane was blessed with a daughter, and as naughty as she must have been in her own early days. This made matters exceedingly interesting ...
— A Modern Tomboy - A Story for Girls • L. T. Meade

... reign of the third Edward of England is illuminated with such a blaze of glory, that the dazzled eye can with difficulty distinguish the dark background of its domestic life. Cressy and Poitiers carried the military fame of England throughout the world, and struck terror into her enemies; but at home dwelt turbulence, corruption, rapine, and misery. The barons quarrelled and ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 109, November, 1866 • Various

... for pleasure that is stolen or forbidden. It is a mistake to suppose that this is an indication of viciousness or perversity. It appears to be an impulse that occurs quite naturally in altogether innocent women. The exciting charm of the risky and dangerous naturally arises on a background of feminine shyness and timidity. We may trace its recognition at a very early stage of history in the story of Eve and the forbidden fruit that has so often been the symbol of the masculine organs of sex. It is on this ground that ...
— Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 1 (of 6) • Havelock Ellis

... scenery: a woodland, a Poor Interior, and a Rich Interior, the last also useful for railway stations, offices, and as a background for the Swedish Quartette from Chicago. There were three gradations of lighting: full on, half on, ...
— Main Street • Sinclair Lewis

... spite of its public monuments. These little flights or frights in marble are as snug in their little squares, in front of their little halls, as are the majestic ruins in their poplar groves. In both instances, Nature and Circumstance have harmonised between the subject and the background. Come along. And let the rhymsters chisel on the monument whatever they like about sculptures and the wali. To condemn in this case ...
— The Book of Khalid • Ameen Rihani

... of the arch stood out with gloomy distinctness against a cold, lowering background of vapourous sky. Like a man who was still half dreaming, he crossed the road and entered the Park, making his way towards the trees. There was a spot about half-way down, where, in the afternoons, he usually ...
— Berenice • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... beheld the other yacht standing out in bold relief upon a blacker, more dismal background. She was beautiful at that moment—her sides and sails unnaturally whitened against the gloom, suggesting a cameo set on a piece of slate. Our blocks began to creak, sails bulged into huge scoops, masts tilted ...
— Wings of the Wind • Credo Harris

... Christ's College, and had been a benefactress to Oxford as well. On the outer gateways of both her colleges, therefore, we see the great antelopes of the Beauforts supporting the arms of Lady Margaret, with her emblem, the daisy, forming a background. Sprinkled freely over the buildings, too, are the Tudor rose ...
— Beautiful Britain—Cambridge • Gordon Home

... morning's mail, Dr. Britt's card came in, bringing with it instant, vivid recollection of Colorow. The beauty of his days there had by no means faded from his mind, although he had succeeded in putting his romance in the background of his working brain, and had given up all thought ...
— The Tyranny of the Dark • Hamlin Garland

... led was small and obscure, concerned only in keeping out of trouble as long as it could. The nation which Wilson ruled was a powerful State whose attitude from the very first was of supreme importance to both sides. And the issues raised by the war pushed into the background questions which had seemed important in 1913—and which, when the war was over, became ...
— Woodrow Wilson's Administration and Achievements • Frank B. Lord and James William Bryan

... plot runs through them; they simply analyse and describe with extraordinary minuteness the feelings of a nervous and morbid boy—a male Marie Bashkirtseff. They are tales rather of the developments of the thoughts, than of the life of a child, with a pale background of men and events. The distinct charm lies in the sincerity with ...
— The World's Greatest Books, Vol X • Various

... poisonous tooth of bodily pain. Without any effort of his will, or power to restrain himself, he shrieked aloud; an outcry that went pealing through the night, and was beaten back from one house to another, and reverberated from the hills in the background; as if a company of devils, detecting so much misery and terror in it, had made a plaything of the sound, and were bandying ...
— The Scarlet Letter • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... mixes her own colors. She grinds them with a pestle in the fashion of the old masters, and out of the most strange pigments she produces often only soft neutral tints for background and shadow, kneading a vast deal of bright colors away among the grays and browns; but now and then she takes a palette loaded with strong paint, and a great brush, and splashes a startling full ...
— An American Politician • F. Marion Crawford

... These are the gin-palaces." Naturally, among so much poverty gin-palaces and public-houses abounded. It is curious to note how many of Hogarth's pictures of misery and vice were drawn from St. Giles's. "Noon" has St. Giles's Church in the background, while his "Gin Lane" shows the neighbouring church of St. George, Bloomsbury; the scene of his "Harlot's Progress" is Drury Lane, and the idle apprentice is caught when wanted for murder in a ...
— Holborn and Bloomsbury - The Fascination of London • Sir Walter Besant

... abstractions. To Paul the realities of which they speak were more real than the firm and solid earth. And is it any wonder that a man with such a magnificent sense of the reality of the redemptive works of Christ, who felt the eternal purpose throbbing in the dark background and abyss of time, who conceived it operating upon our race in floods of grace and glory, and who realized in his own immediate consciousness the varied wealth of the resultant emancipation—is it any wonder ...
— The World's Great Sermons, Volume 10 (of 10) • Various

... understand how you can be so hard," his mother wailed, huskily. "You know why they don't run after her the way they do the other girls she goes with, Walter. It's because we're poor, and she hasn't got any background. ...
— Alice Adams • Booth Tarkington

... the language of their love. Gabrielle replied to Etienne's gifts by nosegays of her own,—nosegays which told the wise old doctor that his ignorant daughter already knew enough. The material ignorance of these two lovers was like a dark background on which the faintest lines of their all-spiritual intercourse were traced with exquisite delicacy, like the red, pure outlines of Etruscan figures. Their slightest words brought a flood of ideas, because ...
— The Hated Son • Honore de Balzac

... now stepped into the background, and the doors opened to admit the tall figure of the head mollah, who entered with eyes fixed upon the floor; and, on finding himself in presence of the Caliph, knelt down and touched ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 57, No. 352, February 1845 • Various

... Melanchthon, immediately after the presentation of the Apology, resolved to revise and recast it, the original draft was forced into the background. It remained unknown for a long time and was published for the first time forty-seven years after the Diet. Chytraeus embodied it in his Historia Augustanae Confessionis, 1578, with the caption, "Prima ...
— Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church • Friedrich Bente

... in the jungle, and the splashing in the water announced continual arrivals of game to the lonely drinking-place. Notwithstanding the immense quantity of animals that were congregated together, we could not distinguish them plainly on account of the dark background of jungle. Elk, deer, buffaloes, and hogs were all bathing and drinking in immense numbers, ...
— The Rifle and The Hound in Ceylon • Samuel White Baker

... and yonder, rich just in the joy of being alive. Shashai had never quite overcome his jealousy of his young half-brother, and now laid back his ears in reproof of his unseemly gambols; Shashai's own babyhood was not far enough in the background for ...
— Peggy Stewart: Navy Girl at Home • Gabrielle E. Jackson

... liked by his fellow-workers. I have been told that it was the same in his diocese, and that he was always a greater favourite with his laymen than with his priests. There can be no doubt that he put every one about him into the background. But his very violence made us like him, for we felt that all his thoughts were concentrated on us. He was without an equal in the art of rousing his pupils to exertion, and of getting the maximum amount of work out of each. Each pupil had a distinct existence in his mind, and for ...
— Recollections of My Youth • Ernest Renan

... Her friends' and her servants' manners were not alike, to be sure, but as far as intent went, they came to the same thing. They presented, whatever passions, misfortunes, dislikes, uncomfortable facts of any sort might lie in the background, a smooth and practically frictionless, bearing surface. A person accustomed to that surface develops a soft skin. This was about ...
— The Real Adventure • Henry Kitchell Webster

... The mist made a puzzling background and her eyes were getting dazzled; but there was something. Then she heard a chair jar on the flags and glanced at Railton, ...
— The Buccaneer Farmer - Published In England Under The Title "Askew's Victory" • Harold Bindloss

... background to this picture lies the Vettern—the bottomless lake as the commonalty believe—with its transparent water, its sea-like waves, and in calm, with "Hegring," or fata morgana on its steel-like surface. ...
— Pictures of Sweden • Hans Christian Andersen

... into contact with the traditional culture of the whites through the study of Latin, Greek, mathematics, and sometimes Hebrew, especially in the case of students for the ministry. The attempt was made to take the negro, fresh from slavery and with no cultural background, through the course generally pursued by whites. Numerous "universities" and "colleges" were founded with this end in view. Hampton Institute with its insistence upon fitting education to the needs of the race was unique for a time, ...
— The New South - A Chronicle Of Social And Industrial Evolution • Holland Thompson

... constitute what may be called the background of our life. My first ideas of men and women, and of the world at large, that is of the unknown world, were formed within the narrow walls of Dessau, for Dessau was still surrounded by walls, and the gates of the city ...
— My Autobiography - A Fragment • F. Max Mueller

... irradiated, and that the marriage of the hero is as subordinate to the main bent of the story as Henry the Fifth's courtship of Katherine is to the battle of Agincourt. Nay, the fortunes of the person who is nominally the subject of the tale are often little more than a background on which grander figures are to be drawn, and deeper fates forthshadowed. The judgments between the faith and chivalry of Scotland at Drumclog and Bothwell Bridge owe little of their interest in the mind of a sensible reader to the fact that the captain of the Popinjay ...
— On the Old Road, Vol. 2 (of 2) - A Collection of Miscellaneous Essays and Articles on Art and Literature • John Ruskin

... general in reply; and a volunteer company, doing duty as a guard, pricked ruthlessly with their bayonets at any particularly quiet person among the throng. So Ernest, being of an unobtrusive character, was thrust quite into the background, where he could see no more of Old Blood-and-Thunder's physiognomy than if it had been still blazing on the battle-field. To console himself, he turned toward the Great Stone Face, which, like a faithful and long-remembered friend, looked back and smiled upon him through the vista of the forest. ...
— Junior Classics, V6 • Various

... very white, her red mouth was very red. She was extravagantly slender— the merest thread of a girl, though not without little curves beneath her thin frock where little curves should be. She was looking out across the bay, and was sharply defined against the background of empty blue. She was full in the sun. Her feet dangled among the leaves and flowers of the lilies just as if it did not matter that they should be bent ...
— The Enchanted April • Elizabeth von Arnim

... for two Birmingham operatives fresh from the Black Country. The fairy city, with its crescent background of Alps; the port crowded with strange shipping; the marvellous blue sky and bluer sea; the painted houses on the quays; the quaint cathedral, faced with black and white marble; the street of jewellers, like an Arabian Nights' bazaar; the street of palaces, ...
— Mugby Junction • Charles Dickens

... be remembered that in every direction arose bergs of equal beauty; while in the background were lofty hills covered with snow, tinted of a pinkish hue, and above them, of dazzling whiteness, ranges of eternal glaciers, towering to the sky. I could scarcely have believed that a scene of such enchanting beauty could have existed in the arctic regions, and was inclined ...
— Peter the Whaler • W.H.G. Kingston

... details. Presently he lifted his arm and pointed. The son followed the direction of that long, strong, useful-looking forefinger, until his gaze rested upon a sign: "No Smoking"—big, black letters on a white background. ...
— The Second Generation • David Graham Phillips

... was very still, and the far-off, muffled rumble of omnibuses and cabs gave a background of dignity to this interior peace and luxurious quiet. For long she sat unmoving—nearly two hours—alone with her inmost thoughts. Then she went to the little piano in the corner where stood the statue of Andromeda, and began to play softly. ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... with Burne-Jones. This was the use of long stiff lily-stalks or other upright details in his compositions. Examples of this idea, which produced so weird an effect, will be found in his allegory of "Spring," where stiff tree-trunks form a part of the background. In the "Madonna of the Palms" upright lily-stalks are held in pale and trembling hands. Like Michael Angelo, who came years afterward, Botticelli was a guest of the great Lorenzo the "Magnificent," in Florence. It was by Botticelli's hand that the greater painter sent a letter to ...
— Pictures Every Child Should Know • Dolores Bacon

... completed, on the Sunday following his Majesty's return the Griselda of M. Paer was presented in this magnificent hall. Their Majesties' boxes were situated in front of the curtain, opposite each other, and presented a charming picture, with their hangings of crimson silk draped above, and forming a background to broad, movable mirrors, which reflected at will the audience or the play. The Emperor, still impressed with the recollections of the theaters of Italy, criticised unsparingly that of the Tuileries, saying that it was inconvenient, badly planned, ...
— The Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte • Bourrienne, Constant, and Stewarton

... three-headed, or two-headed, Greek Kerberos. Is it not likely that the chthonic hell visions of the Greeks were also preceded by heavenly visions, and that Kerberos originally sprang from heaven? Consider, too, the breadth and the persistence of these ideas, their simple background, and their natural transition from one feature to another in the myth of Cerberus; that is, the notions of sun and moon (day and night) in their relation to the precarious life of man upon the earth, his death, and his future life. ...
— Cerberus, The Dog of Hades - The History of an Idea • Maurice Bloomfield

... easy for you to talk that way, my dear boy; but finally there must be something in the background in order to assume responsibility for another's debts. I must tell you frankly that if you can't meet this payment of three thousand marks of last month, there will be the devil to pay for me, since I went ...
— A Little Garrison - A Realistic Novel of German Army Life of To-day • Fritz von der Kyrburg

... his virtues, weren't much a man for a joke, and at another time this speech would have earned a rebuke from him in the name of law and order. But afore Cicely, and in sound of her voice, he felt amazed to find law and order sink into the background for a minute, though for a ...
— The Torch and Other Tales • Eden Phillpotts

... and forth between the houses, but Nan found him silent and, she decided, cross. Every day he went up to the hut to see whether the fire had been lighted, and every day found the place in its chilly order. It seemed to him as if the whole tragic background against which Tira had been moving had been wiped away by some wide sweeping sponge of oblivion, as if he had dreamed the story or at least its importance in his own life, as if Nan had always been living alone ...
— Old Crow • Alice Brown

... life there. There had been only one little blot to mar her perfect enjoyment of freshman year, and that was Eleanor's unexplainable defection. And now Eleanor had come back, fascinating as ever, but wonderfully softened and sweetened. The old hauteur had not left her face, but it was in the background, veiled, as it were, by a determination to be different,—to meet life in a more friendly spirit, and to make the most of it and of herself. Betty could have hugged her for her cordial greetings to Katherine ...
— Betty Wales, Sophomore • Margaret Warde

... boat, shining like a jewel against the dark background of the trader's dun mantle, stood a most splendidly arrayed young warrior. The fading sunbeams that played on his gilded helm revealed shining armor and a golden cross embossed upon a gold-rimmed shield. Still nearer, and it could be seen that his cloak was of crimson ...
— The Thrall of Leif the Lucky • Ottilie A. Liljencrantz

... banana, thinking lazily that he wished he owned this car. For the first time in many a day his mind was not filled and boiling over with his trouble. Marie and all the bitterness she had come to mean to him receded into the misty background of his mind and hovered there, an indistinct memory of something painful in ...
— Cabin Fever • B. M. Bower

... instincts for which a democracy has neglected to provide. Wentworth, with its "tone," its backward references, its inflexible aversions and condemnations, its hard moral outline preserved intact against a whirling background of experiment, had been all the poetry and history of Margaret Ransom's life. Yes, what she had really esteemed in her husband was the fact of his being so intense an embodiment of Wentworth; so long and closely identified, for ...
— The Hermit and the Wild Woman and Other Stories • Edith Wharton

... dream of suspicions on his part had come to her, but it was enough that something had happened to intensify his dislike of Hubert. Of her many fears, here was one which couched dark and shapeless in the background. ...
— Demos • George Gissing

... French thrift makes existence on this sum quite possible; but when it becomes a question of children to be fed and clothed, more than mere existence is impossible, and starvation stands always in the background. For the younger workers the great establishments, offer many advantages over the old system, and hours have been shortened and attempts made in a few cases to improve general conditions of those employed. But there ...
— Prisoners of Poverty Abroad • Helen Campbell

... age. The atmosphere of the place, with its disorderly surroundings and ill kept buildings, indicated that Hades Ranch was bachelor quarters exclusively. Half a dozen Mexicans and one or two Chinamen were in the background, curious onlookers. ...
— Aunt Jane's Nieces and Uncle John • Edith Van Dyne

... smoking his corn-cob pipe; the slick and carpetless oak floor faintly mirroring the flame tongues, and freckled with black indentations where fire-coals had popped out and died a leisurely death; half a dozen children romping in the background twilight; splint-bottom chairs here and there—some with rockers; a cradle —out of ...
— Mark Twain, A Biography, 1835-1910, Complete - The Personal And Literary Life Of Samuel Langhorne Clemens • Albert Bigelow Paine

... had ceased to trouble him with the irritating uncertainty of their first meetings. She apparently accepted him and his mutilated face as part of Doris Hollister's background and gave him no more thought or attention. Always in the little gatherings at his house Hollister contrived to keep in the shadow, to be an onlooker rather than a participant,—just as Charlie Mills did. Hollister was still sensitive about his face. ...
— The Hidden Places • Bertrand W. Sinclair

... Sebastopol. But I have no desire to interrupt yours, knowing how serious it is. Mr. Rogers brought off the news—this disquieting, not to say dumbfounding, news—to the yacht just now; and I hardly need to tell you that it puts my own errand into the background. Sir,"—he turned to the Commandant again—"I allowed Mr. Rogers to bring me here only on his surmise that your business would be over. If you will give me, having announced myself, your ...
— Major Vigoureux • A. T. Quiller-Couch

... said, "I think that you understand how it is that the burden, after all, is easier for me. A man may forget his troubles here, for all the while there is this eternal background ...
— A Lost Leader • E. Phillips Oppenheim



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