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Mountebank   Listen
verb
Mountebank  v. i.  To play the mountebank.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Mountebank" Quotes from Famous Books



... you have not understood. You have not guessed its secret food. You have not seen its single eye; But fear and doubt and jealousy Have risen, and now your love is trembling Like a mountebank dissembling When his trick's detected. Come! To find home we ...
— Household Gods • Aleister Crowley

... ingenuity exhibited throughout is almost morbid. Nothing could be more happily imagined, as a reductio ad absurdum of the aristocratic principle, than the adventures of Gwynplaine, the itinerant mountebank, snatched suddenly out of his little way of life, and installed without preparation as one of the hereditary legislators of a great country. It is with a very bitter irony that the paper, on which all this depends, is left to float for years at the will of wind and tide. What, again, can ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 3 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... you seemed to be at Pecksniff's, or are something else and a mountebank, I don't know and I don't care,' said Jonas, looking downward with a smile, 'but I don't want you here. You were here so often when your brother was alive, and were always so fond of him (your dear, dear brother, and you would have been cuffing one another ...
— Life And Adventures Of Martin Chuzzlewit • Charles Dickens

... are but a sort of French Huguenots, or Dutch boors, brought over in herds, but not naturalised: who have not lands of two pounds per annum in Parnassus, and therefore are not privileged to poll. Their authors are of the same level, fit to represent them on a mountebank's stage, or to be masters of the ceremonies in a bear-garden; yet these are they who have the most admirers. But it often happens, to their mortification, that as their readers improve their stock of sense, as they may by reading better books, and by conversation with ...
— Essays and Tales • Joseph Addison

... it is," he said humorously, "to be born with black hair, flashing eyes and an olive skin! One can then be any kind of mountebank or robber, and yet rest assured of the ...
— The Sins of Severac Bablon • Sax Rohmer

... chemistry, philosophy, theology, and music; and he found amusement in examining gardens and collections of all sorts of virtuosities and antiquities. He had 'much discourse of chymical matters' with Sir Kenelm Digby; 'but the truth is, Sir Kenelm was an arrant mountebank.' Here, too, he wrote his second literary composition, The State of France, as it stood in the IXth yeer of this present monarch Lewis XIIII, which was published in England in 1652. Apart from these occupations, his time was chiefly spent in the pleasures and amusements ...
— Sylva, Vol. 1 (of 2) - Or A Discourse of Forest Trees • John Evelyn

... travelling on a mule which I had hired, and I counted in her master one hundred and twenty-one defects, all capital ones, and all enemies to the human kind. All muleteers have a touch of the ruffian, a spice of the thief, and a dash of the mountebank. If their masters, as they call those they take on their mules, be of the butter-mouthed kind, they play more pranks with them than all the rogues of this city could perform in a year. If they be strangers, the muleteers ...
— The Exemplary Novels of Cervantes • Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

... spoiled with praising, tries At every step to win admiring eyes,— No favourite mountebank, whose acting draws From gaping crowds loud thunder of applause, Was vainer than the King: his only thirst Was to be hailed, in every race, the first. When tournament was held, in knightly guise The ...
— Music and Other Poems • Henry van Dyke

... truth of what our Chamberlainites, hustlers, bustlers, Empire-builders, and strong, silent men, really mean by "commonsense." They mean knocking, with deafening noise and dramatic effect, meaningless bits of iron into a useless bit of wood. A man goes on to an American platform and behaves like a mountebank fool with a board and a hammer; well, I do not blame him; I might even admire him. He may be a dashing and quite decent strategist. He may be a fine romantic actor, like Burke flinging the dagger on the floor. He may even (for all I know) be a sublime mystic, ...
— Heretics • Gilbert K. Chesterton

... their way, they will not have failed to remark the materialism, the mechanical cunning, the high standard of comfort, the low standard of honesty, the spiritual indigence, the unholy alliance of cynicism with sentimentality, the degradation of art and religion to menial and mountebank offices, common in both, and in both signifying the mouldy end of what was once a vital agitation. To similise the state superstitions and observances of Rome with our official devotions and ministration, the precise busts in ...
— Art • Clive Bell

... wondered, will she shrink from me in fear Or loathing? Will she even come at all? And, as he wondered, like a light she moved Before him. "Is it you?"— "Christine! Christine," He whispered, "It is I, the mountebank, Playing a jest upon you. It's only a mask! Do not be frightened. ...
— Watchers of the Sky • Alfred Noyes

... to keep your identity secret, and to assume the character of a member of the lower classes—of a mountebank, if you please—you reflected that the care you bestow upon your person might betray you. You foresaw the impression that would be caused when the coarse, ill-fitting boots you wore were removed, ...
— Monsieur Lecoq • Emile Gaboriau

... simply unendurable. A female doctor is, under any circumstances, a creature whom I detest. She is, at her very best, a bad imitation of a man. The Medical Rubber is worse than this; she is a bad imitation of a mountebank. Her grinning good-humor, adopted no doubt to please the fools who are her patients, and her impudent enjoyment of hearing herself talk, make me regret for the first time in my life that I am a young lady. If I belonged ...
— The Legacy of Cain • Wilkie Collins

... proud prince you were promised? Rather a come down, one must admit." Lanyard laughed low, and moved nearer. "I'm sorry, I mean I might be (for myself, too) if Nogam were less a fraud than that pretentious mountebank, Prince Victor—or for the matter of that, if you were as poor of spirit as you would seem on your own valuation, if you were not at heart your mother's daughter, and mine, my child by a woman whom I loved well, and who long ago ...
— Red Masquerade • Louis Joseph Vance

... his pledge, in this and the following pasquinades. Mad Mullinix, or Molyneux, was a sort of crazy beggar, a Tory politician in His madness, who haunted the streets of Dublin about this time. In a paper subscribed Dr. Anthony, apparently a mountebank of somewhat the same description, the doctor is made to vindicate his loyalty and regard for the present constitution in church and state, by declaring that he always acted contrary to the politics of Captain John Molyneux. The immediate occasion for publication is assigned in the Intelligencer, ...
— Poems (Volume II.) • Jonathan Swift

... of an anecdote which is related by Addison. He says that in his time there was a man who made a living by cheating the country people. He was not a Cabinet Minister,—he was only a mountebank,—and he set up a stall, and sold pills that were very good against the earthquake. Well, that is about the state of things that we are in now. There is an earthquake in Ireland. Does anybody doubt it? I will not go into the evidence of it, but I will say that ...
— Speeches on Questions of Public Policy, Volume 1 • John Bright

... about it. Mountebank pride never found a place in our family: we have sought for happiness, not for vain connections, and Czipra belongs to those girls whom women love even better than men. I have a good friend at home, my brother, and my dear sister-in-law will use ...
— Debts of Honor • Maurus Jokai

... the last of his cloth; forced and constant jesting becoming less and less appreciated. As the jesters approached their end, they had more of the moralist and politician in them than of the mountebank. We may judge of Killegrew's wit, when we read that one day on his appearance Charles said to his gay companions, "Now we shall hear our faults." "No," replied the jester, "I don't care to trouble my head with that which all the town talks of."[57] ...
— History of English Humour, Vol. 1 (of 2) - With an Introduction upon Ancient Humour • Alfred Guy Kingan L'Estrange

... behaviour of ill men, are of the party of the latter. The common cant is no justification for taking this party. I have been deceived, say they, by Titius and Maevius; I have been the dupe of this pretender or of that mountebank; and I can trust appearances no longer. But my credulity and want of discernment cannot, as I conceive, amount to a fair presumption against any man's integrity. A conscientious person would rather doubt his own judgment, than condemn his species. ...
— Selections from the Speeches and Writings of Edmund Burke. • Edmund Burke

... "What a mountebank art thou with thy 'Ah'! Look here, now. Does some disease of the mind or body, by contracting your muscles, bring back of a morning the wild horses that tear you in pieces at night, as with Damiens once upon a time? Were you driven to sup off your own dog in a garret, ...
— The Magic Skin • Honore de Balzac

... jargon?" said the prince, in visible astonishment and secret awe. "Comest thou to menace me in my own halls, or wouldst thou warn me of a danger? Art thou some itinerant mountebank, or some unguessed-of friend? Speak out, and plainly. ...
— Zanoni • Edward Bulwer Lytton

... that witches tipple out of dead men's skulls;" and the company included "a silly fop and a worshipful justice, a griping rook and a grave citizen, a worthy lawyer and an errant pickpocket, a reverend non-conformist and a canting mountebank, all blended together to compose an oglio of impertinence." There is a delightful sketch of one named "Captain All-man-sir," as big a boaster as Falstaff, and a more delicately etched portrait of the Town Wit, ...
— Inns and Taverns of Old London • Henry C. Shelley

... appearance because the people notice him. He who attracts the attention of the world should inquire most carefully into the reason for the gathering of the crowd; for a crowd will gather as readily to listen to a mountebank as to hear an angel ...
— Their Yesterdays • Harold Bell Wright

... popular sense—will have become universal, when art shall have lost its meaning, worship its holiness, when the Bible will only exist in 'comic' editions, and Shakespeare be down-cried by 'most sweet voices as a mountebank of reactionary tendencies. ...
— Demos • George Gissing

... told himself. He had staked all on this one bold throw; no use. Probably if she thought of him at all it was to label him a cheap joker, a mountebank of the halfpenny press. Richly he ...
— The Agony Column • Earl Derr Biggers

... of instances, and they may be fairly considered as established in the opinion of the public. Yet, notwithstanding this success, I do not publish them as specifics; I am not vain enough to challenge the world, like a mountebank; I am aware that they do, in some constitutions, sometimes fail of effecting a cure; yet the great majority of instances in which they have succeeded after every other means had been tried, fully entitle them to superior consideration; more especially, ...
— Observations on the Causes, Symptoms, and Nature of Scrofula or King's Evil, Scurvy, and Cancer • John Kent

... of itinerant, mountebank, conjurer, cheat, sophist, and sorcerer, heaped upon the teachers of Christianity; sometimes to account for the report or apparent truth of their miracles, sometimes to explain their success. Our Lord was said to have learned his ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 03 • Various

... applause as each new harlequin steps upon the stage. They forget that it is as dangerous to praise ignorantly as to blame unjustly, and that the railer at genius, though he may seem more malevolent, will scarce appear so ridiculous to posterity as the dupe of the mountebank. Others of them are, no doubt, honest victims of that illusion of progress to which we are all more or less subject—to that ingrained belief that all evolution is upward and that the latest thing must necessarily be the best. They forget ...
— Artist and Public - And Other Essays On Art Subjects • Kenyon Cox

... and the most learned parish in the city, but, unless he strikes terror and pain into your conscience every Sabbath, unless he makes you tremble every Sabbath under the eye and the hand of God, he is no true minister to you. As Goodwin says, he is a wooden cannon. As Leighton says, he is a mountebank for a minister. ...
— Bunyan Characters - Third Series - The Holy War • Alexander Whyte

... before she had become the wife of John, fifth Duke of Argyll. It is from this scene and from the Stratford Jubilee fiasco that the general reader draws his picture of poor Bozzy, and the belief remains that James Boswell was a pushing and forward interloper, half mountebank and half showman. Read in the original, as a revelation of the writer's character, the very reverse is the impression; he is there presented not in any ludicrous light but rather in a good-humoured and fussy way. He met his friend the Rev. John Macaulay, one of the ministers of Inverary, who ...
— James Boswell - Famous Scots Series • William Keith Leask

... arm-chairs in the center of the hall. The Duchesse de Bourgogne was surprised to see a splendid theater, adorned with her arms and monogram. . . . As soon as the princess was seated, Bari, the famous mountebank of Paris, came forward and asked her protection against the doctors, and having extolled the excellence of his remedies, and the marvels of his secrets, he offered to the princess as a little diversion a comedy such as they sometimes ...
— The Story of Versailles • Francis Loring Payne

... course; the Union was suddenly supposed to lie at the point of dissolution, and what we may call the Doctor-Brandreth style of oratory began. Every orator mounted the rostrum, like a mountebank at a fair, to proclaim the virtues of his private panacea for the morbid Commonwealth, and, as was natural in young students of political therapeutics, fancied that he saw symptoms of the dread malady of Disunion in a simple eruption of Jethro Furber at a convention ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 2, Issue 10, August, 1858 • Various

... many, and have fallen to disputing, which is the grave of all truth and all strength. I am, and always have been, artist before everything else. I know that mere politicians look on artists, with great contempt, judging them by some of those mountebank-types which are a disgrace to art. But you, my friend, you well know that a real artist is as useful as the priest and the warrior, and that when he respects what is true and what is good, he is in the right path where the divine blessing will attend him. Art belongs ...
— Famous Women: George Sand • Bertha Thomas

... ethical orientation became disturbed; all my canons got confused. I had seen this man wearing the insignia of municipal dignity; he had been mayor of his town during the previous year. Now he was acting the mountebank, to the huge amusement ...
— Reminiscences of a South African Pioneer • W. C. Scully

... a little on one side: it was a very tall hat, raked extremely, and had a narrow curling brim. His hair was all curled out in masses like an Italian mountebank—a most unpardonable fashion. He sported a huge tippeted overcoat of frieze, such as watchmen wear, only the inside was lined with costly furs, and he kept it half open to display the exquisite linen, the many-coloured waistcoat, and the profuse jewellery of watch-chains ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 20 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... like a touch of harlequin's wand, strip off their masks and dominoes from 'highly respectable' gentlemen, and leave them in their true figures of cheats and pickpockets; societies of all sorts, for teaching everybody everything, meddling with everybody's business, and mending everybody's morals; mountebank advertisements promising the beauty of Helen in a bottle of cosmetic, and the age of Old Parr in a box of pills; folly all alive in things called reunions; announcements that some exceedingly stupid fellow has been 'entertaining' ...
— Gryll Grange • Thomas Love Peacock

... intricate illusion. God is a pack of lies under which man staggers to his grave. And man—ah, here we have Nature's only mountebank; here we have Nature's humorous and ingenuous experiment in tragedy. And thought—ah, the tissue-paper chimera that ...
— A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago • Ben Hecht

... standing on is my land. Because my own land was only taken from me by a crime, and a worse crime than poaching. This has been a single estate for hundreds and hundreds of years, and if you or any meddlesome mountebank comes here and talks of cutting it up like a cake, if I ever hear a word more of ...
— The Man Who Knew Too Much • G.K. Chesterton

... largesse that Henry delighted to dispense, and peasants had poured in from all the villages around, but no sort of entertainment was lacking. Here were minstrels and story-tellers gathering groups around them; here was the mountebank, clearing a stage in which to perform feats of jugglery, tossing from one hand to another a never- ending circle of balls, balancing a lance upon his nose, with a popinjay on its point; here were ...
— The Prince and the Page • Charlotte M. Yonge

... gates to the invaders of most of our time: we expose our life to a Quotidian Ague of frigid impertinences, which would make a wise man tremble to think of. Now, as for being known much by sight, and pointed at, I cannot comprehend the honour that lies in that. Whatsoever it be, every mountebank has it more than the best doctor, and the hangman more than the Lord Chief Justice of a city. Every creature has it both of nature and art if it be any ways extraordinary. It was as often said, "This is that Bucephalus," or, "This ...
— Cowley's Essays • Abraham Cowley

... Black and white! Mountebank!" she muttered through her clenched teeth. Then as he swung to the ground every thought fell from her but the terror he inspired. She waited, breathless, the swift racing of her ...
— The Sheik - A Novel • E. M. Hull

... "Well, then, do you suppose that I will ever forgive Monsieur Hulot for the crime of having robbed me of Josepha—especially when he turned a decent girl, whom I should have married in my old age, into a good-for-nothing slut, a mountebank, an opera singer!—No, ...
— Poor Relations • Honore de Balzac

... open air the great life of chance. He had a great deal of industry and of reserve, and great skill in everything connected with healing operations, restoring the sick to health, and in working wonders peculiar to himself. He was considered a clever mountebank and a good doctor. As may be imagined, he passed for a wizard as well—not much indeed; only a little, for it was unwholesome in those days to be considered a friend of the devil. To tell the truth, Ursus, by his passion for pharmacy and his love of ...
— The Man Who Laughs • Victor Hugo

... return in such wise as this? The very instinct of a sacred sorrow seems to forbid that our beautiful, our glorified ones should stoop lower than even to the medium of their cast-off bodies, to juggle, and rap, and squeak, and perform mountebank tricks with tables and chairs; to recite over in weary sameness harmless truisms, which we were wise enough to say for ourselves; to trifle, and banter, and jest, or to lead us through endless moonshiny mazes. Sadly and soberly we say that, ...
— The Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe • Charles Edward Stowe

... GEORGE FRANCIS, that he is himself a marvel of taciturnity—that in the noble art of sounding his own trumpet he is a mere child—that as a contributor to the public amusement he is in danger of falling into paltry insignificance. Alas! he is not the marvellous mountebank which he has heretofore considered himself to be; and the nonsense upon which he so prided himself, in comparison with the nonsense of GEORGE FRANCIS, sinks into the most melancholy and insufferable wisdom. He looks forward to the future with a fear lest he may descend to the depths of serious and ...
— Punchinello, Vol.1, No. 12 , June 18,1870 • Various

... his invention, in propagating the report that I had a quarrel with a mountebank's merry Andrew at Gloucester: but I have too much respect for every appendage of wit, to quarrel even with the lowest buffoonery; and therefore I hope Mansel and I shall always be good friends. I cannot, ...
— The Expedition of Humphry Clinker • Tobias Smollett

... between joy and grief, were half hysterical. They talked to the toad-like mountebank in the most endearing tones, evidently believing it was their dead baby toddling before them. Two or three times the same horrible imposture was repeated. Bott never made his appearance without somebody recognizing him as a dear departed ...
— The Bread-winners - A Social Study • John Hay

... saw the beautiful prints in Boydell's Shakespear. Lavater is to come home in a coach to-day. My father seems to think much the same of him that you did when you saw him abroad, that to some genius he adds a good deal of the mountebank. My father is going soon to Bath, Madame de Genlis is there, and he means to present the translation of Adele and Theodore to her: [Footnote: Maria Edgeworth, by her father's advice, had made a translation of Adele et Theodore in 1782, but the appearance of Holcroft's ...
— The Life And Letters Of Maria Edgeworth, Vol. 1 • Maria Edgeworth

... promise to leave off, and I was so terribly concerned at the apprehensions of his venturous humor that I would not so much as stir out of my lodging; but it was in vain to persuade him. He went into the market and found a mountebank there, which was what he wanted. How he picked two pockets there in one quarter of an hour, and brought to our quarters a piece of new holland of eight or nine ells, a piece of stuff, and played three or four pranks more in less ...
— Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 11 • Various

... and drove it with such daredevilry that the parts must have held together only through sheer breathless wonder. Had it not been for the car, he told me, he would not have undertaken the undignified employment in which he was then engaged—the mountebank selling of a corn-cure in the public places of small towns and villages. It was not a fitting pursuit for a late managing director of a public company and an ex-Professor of French in an English Academy ...
— The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol • William J. Locke

... lured the crucified soul of a murderer into his verses. Confoundedly conceited about it, too, he was ... called it The Ballad of Reading Gaol. Bah! It would have taken him a lifetime to put a murderer's socks into a poem. He was a mountebank ... a posturer! And what is this winged thing men name the soul? And who did make the stars?' Ombos turned demon-like eyes on me, and his whole face seemed lit up ...
— War and the Weird • Forbes Phillips

... DEAR LOVE,— ... I had some fun yesterday with a class of people I detest—those who, because a man has been studious, and has written books, count that he is public property, who may be hailed by any one like a mountebank ...
— The Book-Hunter - A New Edition, with a Memoir of the Author • John Hill Burton

... account of a phase in the career of Andrew Lackaday, I must wring my feelings and do no more than make a passing reference to their long and, from my point of view, somewhat monotonous partnership. It sheds, however, a light on the young manhood of this earnest mountebank. It reveals a loneliness ill-becoming his years—a loneliness of soul and heart of which he appears to be unconscious. Again, we have here and there the fleeting shadow of a petticoat. In Stockholm—during these years he went far afield—he fancies himself in love with one Vera Karynska ...
— The Mountebank • William J. Locke

... said Jonah, "I appeal to you all to let that dog-eared mountebank rake over his muck-heap, and attend ...
— Jonah and Co. • Dornford Yates

... event occurred at D—— A man was condemned to death for murder. He was a wretched fellow, not exactly educated, not exactly ignorant, who had been a mountebank at fairs, and a writer for the public. The town took a great interest in the trial. On the eve of the day fixed for the execution of the condemned man, the chaplain of the prison fell ill. A priest was needed to attend ...
— Les Miserables - Complete in Five Volumes • Victor Hugo

... it was, of a sudden, drowned in a cry hoarse and woeful. Then Beltane, hasting back soft-treading, stood to peer through the leaves, and presently, his cock's-comb flaunting, his silver bells a-jingle, there stepped a mountebank into the clearing—that same jester with whom Beltane ...
— Beltane The Smith • Jeffery Farnol

... ideas that I feel springing to life in me for a moment's folly.... What rot it is, these modern duels in which they try to equalize the chances of the two opponents! That's a fine sort of equality that sets the same value on the life of a mountebank as on mine! Why don't they let us go for each other with fists and cudgels? There'd be some pleasure in that. But this cold-blooded shooting!... And, of course, he knows how to shoot, and I have never had a pistol in my hand.... They are right: I must learn.... He'll try to kill ...
— Jean Christophe: In Paris - The Market-Place, Antoinette, The House • Romain Rolland

... Government. I will guarantee you would see a change for the better before twenty-four hours were over. I doubt if you could see a change for the worse. Jules Fauvre with his ridiculous phrase, not one foot of our territory, not one stone of our fortresses, is no better than a mountebank, and the others are as bad. Would that either Ducrot or Vinoy had the firmness and half the talent of a Napoleon. They would march the troops in, sweep away this gathering of imbeciles, establish martial law, disarm Belleville and Montmartre, shoot Floureus, Pyat, Blanqui, and a hundred of the most ...
— A Girl of the Commune • George Alfred Henty

... watch them occupied with the unserious business of their lives. With that luxuriant tropical nature, its green clouds and illusive aerial spaces, full of mystery, they harmonized well in language, appearance, and motions—mountebank angels, living their fantastic lives far above earth in a ...
— Green Mansions - A Romance of the Tropical Forest • W. H. Hudson

... thrilled Europe during every hour after ten o'clock on Thursday morning, but the thrills felt in Germany, Russia, and Turkey were supplemented by agonized squirming on the part of official Austria. That an upstart, a masquerader, a mountebank of a King, should actually have traversed Austria from west to east, without ever a soul cased in uniform knowing anything about him, was ill to endure, and the minions of Kosnovia's truculent neighbor swore ...
— A Son of the Immortals • Louis Tracy

... his maturer years he had so little respect for himself, his mother, wife, and daughters as to present in a dignified legislative assembly the following report on a grave question of human rights—a piece of buffoonery worthy only a mountebank in ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume I • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage

... submitted, because your mockery was more desirable than the adoration of any other woman. And all this helped to make a master-poet of me. Eh, why not, when such monstrous passions spoke through me—as if some implacable god elected to play godlike music on a mountebank's lute? And I made admirable plays. Why not, when there was no tragedy more poignant than mine?—and where in any comedy was any figure one-half so ludicrous as mine? Ah, yes, Fate gained her ...
— The Certain Hour • James Branch Cabell

... cannot for a moment consider that Vicente, friend and adviser of King Jo[a]o III, the grave town-councillor whose influence could check the fanaticism of the monks at Santarem—can we imagine them bowing before a mere mountebank, a strolling player?—was looked upon simply as a Court jester. The impression left by his plays is, rather, that of the worthy thoughtful face of Velazquez as painted in his Las Meninas picture, a figure closely familiar with the Court yet still somewhat aloof, apartado. like Gil Terron. ...
— Four Plays of Gil Vicente • Gil Vicente

... boy," said Josh, with his grave good humor of the great man tolerating the antics of a mountebank, "you'll appreciate it wasn't the subject that was dull, but the ears. For the day'll come when everybody'll be thinking and talking about me most of ...
— The Fashionable Adventures of Joshua Craig • David Graham Phillips

... God to His face for a monster and come to hell to burn with me forever—come with a joke and a song, telling me never to mind, that we'd have a fine time there in hell in spite of everything! That was what I knew of my poor, cheap, fiddle-playing mountebank of a father. Just a moment more—this is what you must remember of me, in whatever I have to say hereafter, that after that night I never ceased to suffer all the hell my father could be suffering, and I suffered it until my mind went out in that sickness. But, listen now: whatever ...
— The Seeker • Harry Leon Wilson

... could out of him, for the sake of the Republican party, as well as for the sake of the sacred cause of "liberty, equality, and fraternity." But he soon saw that he was dealing with one who was a cross between a mountebank and a madman, as we learn from a letter of Madison to Jefferson, written within two months of Jefferson's first interview with Genet. "Your account of Genet," says the letter, "is dreadful. He must be brought right if possible. His folly will ...
— James Madison • Sydney Howard Gay

... a mountebank's grin! But I'm sure she means well. And I'll agree she is the most wonderful thing ...
— Patty and Azalea • Carolyn Wells

... that Dr. Busby had published his apologetical letter and postscript [2], or I should have recalled them. But, I confess, I looked upon his conduct in a different light before its appearance. I see some mountebank has taken Alderman Birch's name [3] to vituperate the Doctor; he had much better have pilfered his pastry, which I should imagine the more valuable ingredient—at least for a Puff.—Pray secure me a copy of Woodfall's new ...
— The Works of Lord Byron: Letters and Journals, Volume 2. • Lord Byron

... will appear to eat a sword; mother will vomit coals, or pebbles. One will drink wine, and send it out again at his forehead; another will cut off his companion's head, and put it on again. You will think you see a chicken dragging a beam. The mountebank will swallow fire, and vomit it forth; he will draw blood from fruit; he will send from his mouth strings of iron nails; he will put a sword on his stomach, and press it strongly, and instead of running into him, it will bend ...
— International Weekly Miscellany Vol. I. No. 3, July 15, 1850 • Various

... looked less like a hell-cat than any vision of the animal I ever imagined) "wants to make out that seventy-one times seven annas and three pice is forty-nine rupees, eleven annae! Oh, you charlatan! You mountebank! You black-blooded robber! You miscreant! Cut your ...
— The Ivory Trail • Talbot Mundy

... A mountebank in Leicester Fields had drawn a huge assembly about him. Among the rest, a fat unwieldy fellow, half stifled in the press, would be every fit crying out, "Lord! what a filthy crowd is here. Pray, good people, give way a little. Bless need what a devil has ...
— A Tale of a Tub • Jonathan Swift

... means which are essential to the prosecution of an investigation of this kind: its conclusions are hastily formed from a superficial inspection of the more prominent features of a question. Hence it often assents to the clamor of a mountebank who knows the secret of stimulating its tastes, while its truest friends frequently ...
— Democracy In America, Volume 1 (of 2) • Alexis de Tocqueville

... must pass through pain to ease;—that the prescriber is not an empiric who proceeds by vulgar experience, but one who grounds his practice[1] on the sure rules of art, which cannot possibly fail. You have read, Sir, the last manifesto, or mountebank's bill, of the National Assembly. You see their presumption in their promises is not lessened by all their failures in the performance. Compare this last address of the Assembly and the present state of your affairs with the early ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. IV. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... Nor is an Undertaking that shall be one of high Duty, to be entered upon without Prayer and Discipline:—it woulde be Presumption indeede, to commence an Enterprise which I meant shoulde delighte and profit every instructed and elevated Mind without so much Paynes-takinge as it should cost a poor Mountebank to balance a Pole ...
— Mary Powell & Deborah's Diary • Anne Manning

... have been defeated or routed. I pity our children when I reflect that their tranquillity and happiness will, perhaps, depend upon such a corrupt and unprincipled people of soldiers,—easy tools in the hands of every impostor or mountebank. ...
— The Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte • Bourrienne, Constant, and Stewarton

... but he will awake," said the Emperor curtly. "Hark you—you seem to be a clever mountebank, and I know what power fellows of your sort have over the mob—add to your play lines to be spoken by your puppet King. They should convey this meaning—that although he is a King he is but a puppet incapable of independent action. Puppets that go wrong are broken up and burned in the fire. ...
— Masters of the Guild • L. Lamprey

... some think he's a spy, some guess he's a mountebank, some say one thing, some another: but, for my own part, I ...
— The Beaux-Stratagem • George Farquhar

... of taking fees at Westminster Abbey is of very ancient date, and was always unpopular. Shirley alludes to it in his pleasant comedy called The Bird in a Cage, when Bonomico, a mountebank, observes— ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 76, April 12, 1851 • Various

... famous painters or plaiers in Rome. Till this daie not a Romane (if he be a right Romane in deed) will kill a rat, but he will haue some registred remembrance of it There was a poore fellowe during my remainder ther, that for a new trick he had inuented of killing Cymess & scorpions, had his mountebank banner hung vp on a high piller, with an inscription about it longer than the king of Spaines stile. I thought these Cymesses like the Cimbrians had bene some strange nation hee had brought vnder, & they were no more but ...
— The Vnfortunate Traveller, or The Life Of Jack Wilton - With An Essay On The Life And Writings Of Thomas Nash By Edmund Gosse • Thomas Nash

... attracted attention in Paris. Paillasse, in five acts, by MM. Dennery and Marc Fournier, produced at the Gaiete in November, was one of the greatest hits during the latter part of 1850. The character of the conventional French mountebank, Paillasse, the vagabond juggler of fairs and streets, was regarded as one of the finest creations of Frederic Lemaitre, and in one of the Christmas revues a symbol of the piece passed before the eyes of the audience as one of the types of the past year. It has since been brought ...
— The International Monthly, Volume 2, No. 4, March, 1851 • Various

... petticoat tyranny? In this matter the man distinguishes himself from the beast, seeing that no animal ever yet lost his senses through blighted love, which proves abundantly that animals have no souls. The employment of a lover is that of a mountebank, of a soldier, of a quack, of a buffoon, of a prince, of a ninny, of a king, of an idler, of a monk, of a dupe, of a blackguard, of a liar, of a braggart, of a sycophant, of a numskull, of a frivolous fool, of a blockhead, of a know-nothing, ...
— Droll Stories, Volume 3 • Honore de Balzac

... good people of England,' and professing at the outset that he was an author writing for the public, who expected from the public payment for his work, and that he preferred this course to gambling for the patronage of men in office. Having pleasantly shown the sordid spirit that underlies the mountebank's sublime ...
— The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 - With Translations and Index for the Series • Joseph Addison and Richard Steele

... is charlatanism? Does it imply false and extravagant claims to qualities we do not possess? Or is there the spirit of the Mountebank in it? If one were a deliberate Machiavel of dissimulation, if one fooled the people thoroughly and consciously, would one be a charlatan? Or are charlatans simply harmless fools who are too embarrassed to confess their ignorance and too childish to ...
— Suspended Judgments - Essays on Books and Sensations • John Cowper Powys

... treasure." While spinning out this lengthy yarn, Messer Alfonso did not look at me, because we were not previously acquainted. But when that precious clay model appeared, he displayed it with such airs of ostentation, pomp, and mountebank ceremony, that, after inspecting it, I turned to Messer Alberto and said: "I am indeed lucky to have had the privilege to see it!" [2] Messer Alfonso, quite affronted, let some contemptuous words escape him, and exclaimed: "Who are you, then, you ...
— The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini • Benvenuto Cellini

... every day intelligent men find themselves surrounded by oceans of what is quaintly called "reading matter." Most of it is turgid, lumpy, fuzzy in texture, squalid in intellect. The rewards of the literary world—that is, the tangible, potable, spendable rewards—go mostly to the cheapjack and the mountebank. And yet here was a man who in every paragraph spoke to the keenest intellectual sense—who, ten times a page, enchanted the reader with the surprising and delicious pang given by the critically chosen word. We sat up late at night reading that book, marvelling ...
— Pipefuls • Christopher Morley

... equal in intelligence to the very birds whose feathers they wear in their bonnets. If by chance they happen to feel, not love nor even a caprice, but a common place desire, it is for some counter jumping mountebank, whom the crowd surrounds and applauds at public balls, and whom the papers, courtiers of all that is ridiculous, render celebrated by their puffs. Although she was obliged to live in this circle Musette had neither ...
— Bohemians of the Latin Quarter • Henry Murger

... cannot grasp that there is foam upon deep seas." That was the matter in dispute about himself, and very furiously disputed it was during these years. Was G.K. serious or merely posing, was he a great man or a mountebank, was he clear or obscure, was he a genius or a charlatan? "Audacious reconciliation," he pleaded—or rather asserted, for his tone could seldom be called a plea, "is a mark not of frivolity but ...
— Gilbert Keith Chesterton • Maisie Ward

... seen which were covered with fancy sketches of Cheret, that represented two strong, well-built men who looked like ancient athletes. The younger of them, who was standing with his arms folded, had the vacant smile of an itinerant mountebank on his face, and the other, who was dressed in what was supposed to be the costume of a Mexican trapper, held a revolver in his hand. There were large type advertisements in all the papers, that the Montefiores would appear without fail at the Eden Reunis, ...
— The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Volume II (of 8) • Guy de Maupassant

... doubt now of the superiority of our manner of treating this impertinent Cholera? Has he dared even to touch our sacred battalion?" said a magnificent mountebank-Turk, one of ...
— The Wandering Jew, Complete • Eugene Sue

... hearing, as men sometimes do: for I thought that my mother and I were walking to mass through the snow on a Christmas day, but my mother carried a live goose in her hand, holding it by the neck, instead of her rosary, and that I went along by her side, not walking, but turning somersaults like a mountebank, my head never touching the ground; when we got to the chapel door, the old priest met us, and said to my mother, 'Why dame alive, your head is turned green! Ah! never mind, I will go and say mass, but don't let little Mary there go,' and he pointed ...
— The World of Romance - being Contributions to The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, 1856 • William Morris

... d'Albornoz has been, then, a puppet in the hands, a stepping-stone in the rise, of the plebeian demagogue of Rome. You but played upon me for your own purposes; and nothing short of a Cardinal of Spain, and a Prince of the royal blood of Aragon, was meet to be the instrument of a mountebank's juggle! Madam, yourself and your husband might justly ...
— Rienzi • Edward Bulwer Lytton

... speak to you to-night about one of those old despotic empires which were in every case the earliest known form of civilisation. Were I minded to play the cynic or the mountebank, I should choose some corrupt and effete despotism, already grown weak and ridiculous by its decay—as did at last the Roman and then the Byzantine Empire—and, after raising a laugh at the expense of the old system say: See what a superior people you are now—how ...
— Historical Lectures and Essays • Charles Kingsley

... floor of the Bizarre, to descend heavy-laden with languid laughing parties of gaily-costumed ladies and gentlemen no less brilliantly attired—prince and pauper, empress and shepherdess, monk, milkmaid, and mountebank: all weary yet reluctant in ...
— The Day of Days - An Extravaganza • Louis Joseph Vance

... flattered and amused! Give her anything, anything that shall help her to forget her own abasement. Panem et circenses! that is always her cry. And who can wonder that her sovereigns and statesmen are willing to humour her, when even her poets stoop to play the mountebank for her diversion?" The speaker, ruffling his locks with a hand that scattered the powder, turned on the brilliant audience his strange corrugated frown. "Fools! simpletons!" he cried, "not to see that in applauding the Achilles of Metastasio they are smiling at the allegory of ...
— The Valley of Decision • Edith Wharton

... came to Paris, and inquired what wine they drank there, and what learning was to be had. Everybody in Paris looked upon him with great admiration. For the people of this city are by nature so sottish, idle, and good-for-nothing, that a mountebank, a pardoner come from Rome to sell indulgences, or a fiddler in the crossways, will attract together more of them than a good preacher of the Gospel. So troublesome were they in pursuing Gargantua, that he was compelled to seek a resting-place on the ...
— The World's Greatest Books, Vol VII • Various

... sophistry, Catherine," said Mrs. Arrowpoint. "Because you don't wish to marry a nobleman, you are not obliged to marry a mountebank ...
— Daniel Deronda • George Eliot

... thought that if any man ought to have been free from persecution it was George Whitefield, bringing great masses of the people into the kingdom of God, wearing himself out for Christ's sake: and yet the learned Dr. Johnson called him a mountebank. Robert Hall preached about the glories of heaven as no uninspired man ever preached about them, and it was said when he preached about heaven his face shone like an angel's, and yet good Christian John Foster writes of Robert Hall, ...
— T. De Witt Talmage - As I Knew Him • T. De Witt Talmage

... pillory, or throw them into the galleys, it is another affair; they give them this justice gratis. If they cut their throats, it is again gratis—always gratis. Ta-a-a-ake your tickets!" added Pique-Vinaigre, imitating a mountebank; "it is not ten sous, two sous, one you, a centime that it will cost you. No, ladies and gentlemen, it will cost you the trifle of nothing at all; it suits every one's pockets; you have only to furnish the head—the cutting and ...
— Mysteries of Paris, V3 • Eugene Sue

... as thorough a mountebank, when he got started, as Blenkiron himself. All the way back to Lisbon he yarned about Maritz and his adventures in German South West till I half believed they were true. He made a very good story of our doings, and by his ...
— Greenmantle • John Buchan

... of carnival of empiricism prevailed. Quack was king. A spurious leaven of charlatanism was traceable in politics, in science, in religion—pervaded all things indeed. The world was mad to cheat or to be cheated. The mountebank enjoyed his saturnalia. Never had he exhibited his exploits before an audience so numerous and so sympathetic—so eager to be swindled, so liberal in rewarding the swindler. Gravely does Miss Hannah More address Mr. Horace Walpole, concerning what she terms the 'demoniacal mummery'—'the operation ...
— Art in England - Notes and Studies • Dutton Cook

... their memory. Yet they appear to have no real veneration for any of their idols; nor do they hesitate to profane the temples, by smoking their pipes, and taking refreshments, and even by gambling, within the consecrated precincts. The priests are shameless impostors. They practise the mountebank sciences of astrology, divination, necromancy, and animal magnetism, and keep for sale a liquid, which, they pretend, will confer immortality ...
— The Book of Religions • John Hayward

... up there in the clear April days, by the side of that beautiful river, and I shall be playing the mountebank here, among the London ...
— Prince Fortunatus • William Black

... there, he began to deliver an extemporaneous and coarse caricature of a monkish sermon. Some of the bystanders applauded, some cried shame, some shouted "long live the beggars!" some threw sticks and rubbish at the mountebank, some caught him by the legs and strove to pull him from the place. He, on the other hand, manfully maintained his ground, hurling back every missile, struggling with his assailants, and continuing the while to pour forth a malignant and obscene ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... of anonymous popular traditions, largely of medieval origin, which in the latter part of the sixteenth century came to be associated with an actual individual of the name of Faustus whose notorious career during the first four decades of the century, as a pseudo-scientific mountebank, juggler and magician can be traced through various parts of Germany. The Faust Book of 1587, the earliest collection of these tales, is of prevailingly theological character. It represents Faust as a sinner and reprobate, and it holds up his compact with Mephistopheles ...
— The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, • Editor-in-Chief: Kuno Francke

... celebrated Mr. George Whitefield, he said, 'Whitefield never drew as much attention as a mountebank does; he did not draw attention by doing better than others, but by doing what was strange.[1247] Were Astley[1248] to preach a sermon standing upon his head on a horse's back, he would collect a multitude to hear him; but no wise man would say he had made a better ...
— The Life Of Johnson, Volume 3 of 6 • Boswell

... sometimes even done away with, its instincts of carnage and rape, but it has replaced them by the monomania of business, the passion for lucre. It has done worse. It has sunk to such a state of abjectness as to be attracted by the doings of the lowest of the low. The aristocracy disguises itself as a mountebank, puts on tights and spangles, gives public trapeze performances, jumps through hoops, and does weight-lifting stunts ...
— La-bas • J. K. Huysmans

... should not quite mean it—this excellent advice. We have grown accustomed to these gew-gaws, and we should miss them in spite of our knowledge of their trashiness: you, your palace and your little gold crown; I, my mountebank's cap, and the answering laugh that goes up from the crowd when I shake my bells. We want everything. All the happiness that earth and heaven are capable of bestowing. Creature comforts, and heart and soul comforts also; and, ...
— The Second Thoughts of An Idle Fellow • Jerome K. Jerome

... representing a skull, and when her sharp and clear "Sono la Morte" rang through the theatre, were just those whose disgusting habits rendered it impossible for women to pass through some of the principal streets in Venice,—just those who formed the gaping audience, when a mountebank offered a new quack medicine on the Riva dei Schiavoni. And, as fearful imagery is associated with the weakness of fever, so it seems to me that imbecility and love of terror are connected by a mysterious link throughout the whole ...
— Modern Painters, Volume IV (of V) • John Ruskin

... battle of Worcester. Whilst the monarch was hiding in Boscobel Wood, the duke betook himself to London, where, donning a wizard's mask, a jack-pudding coat, a hat adorned with a fox's tail and cock's feathers, he masqueraded as a mountebank, and discoursed diverting nonsense from a stage erected at Charing Cross. After running several risks, he escaped to France. But alas for the duke, who was born as Madame Dunois avows, doubtless from experience—"for ...
— Royalty Restored - or, London under Charles II. • J. Fitzgerald Molloy

... spreading of false intelligence, for the purpose of elevating the funds, if he actually appeared to Lord Cochrane stripped of his great coat, and with that red coat and aid-de-camp's uniform, star and order, which have been represented to you, he appeared before him rather in the habit of a mountebank than in his ...
— The Trial of Charles Random de Berenger, Sir Thomas Cochrane, • William Brodie Gurney

... near, the Emperor put a cartridge into his gun and shot him. . . . Yes, that was it: that was what had happened. The marvellous peacemaker of Europe, the fire-engine who, as Hermann had said, was ready to put out all conflagrations, the fatuous mountebank who pretended to be a friend to England, who conducted his own balderdash which he called music, had changed his role and shown his black heart ...
— Michael • E. F. Benson

... this account.—"Being under an unlucky accident, which obliged him to keep out of the way, he disguised himself so, that his nearest friends could not have known him, and set up in Tower Street for an Italian mountebank, where he practised physic for some weeks, not without success. In his latter years he read books of history more. He took pleasure to disguise himself as a porter, or as a beggar; sometimes to follow some mean amours, ...
— The Memoirs of Count Grammont, Complete • Anthony Hamilton

... grove of acacias, where the fair was going on, I lost sight of the two sisters. I went alone among the sights: there were lotteries going on, mountebank shows, places for eating and drinking, and for shooting with the cross-bow. I have always been struck by the spirit of these out-of-door festivities. In drawing-room entertainments, people are cold, grave, often listless, and most ...
— An "Attic" Philosopher, Complete • Emile Souvestre

... criminal mystery attached to that most diabolical intrigue against the fair fame of Marie Antoinette. The Count could not bear the idea of the Queen's name being coupled with those of the vile wretches, Lamotte and the mountebank Cagliostro, and therefore wished the King to chastise the Cardinal by a partial exile, which might have been removed at pleasure. But the Queen's party too fatally ...
— The Memoirs of Louis XV. and XVI., Volume 5 • Madame du Hausset, and of an Unknown English Girl and the Princess Lamballe

... see him a serious youth, absorbed in his profession, striving towards success, not for the sake of its rewards in luxurious living, but for the stamp that it gives to efficiency. The famous mountebank of Notre Dame did not juggle with greater fervour. Here and there a woman crosses his path, lingers a little and goes her way. Not that he is insensible to female charms, for he upbraids himself for over-susceptibility. But it seems that from the atavistic ...
— The Mountebank • William J. Locke

... rascality of their faces would at once have declared their purpose. The vulture is a filthy, unclean wretch—the bird of Mars—preying upon the eyes, the hearts, the entrails of the victims of that scoundrel-mountebank, Glory; whilst the magpie is a petty-larceny vagabond, existing upon social theft. To use a vulgar phrase—and considering the magistrates we are compelled to keep company with, 'tis wonderful that we talk so purely as we do—'twould have let the cat too much out of the bag to have ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 1, August 14, 1841 • Various

... they will know what you are really like, Gerty—instead of buying your photograph in a shop from a collection of ballet-dancers and circus women. That is where you ought to be—in the Royal Academy: not in a shop-window with any mountebank. Oh, Gerty, do you know who is your latest rival in the stationers' windows? The woman who dresses herself as a mermaid and swims in a transparent tank, below water—Fin-fin they call her. I suppose you have not ...
— Macleod of Dare • William Black

... with a detestation worthy of a scion of nobility; and, I believe, you could just as soon have persuaded the lineal representative of the Howards or Percys to exhibit himself in the character of a mountebank, as have got me to trust my person on the pinnacle of a three-legged stool. The rule of three is all very well for base mechanical souls; but I flatter myself I have an intellect too large to be limited to a ledger. "Augustus," said my poor mother to me, ...
— Stories by English Authors: Scotland • Various



Words linked to "Mountebank" :   trickster, craniologist, cheater, slicker, cheat, quack, beguiler



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