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Illusion   /ɪlˈuʒən/   Listen
Illusion

noun
1.
An erroneous mental representation.  Synonym: semblance.
2.
Something many people believe that is false.  Synonyms: fancy, fantasy, phantasy.
3.
The act of deluding; deception by creating illusory ideas.  Synonyms: delusion, head game.
4.
An illusory feat; considered magical by naive observers.  Synonyms: conjuration, conjuring trick, deception, legerdemain, magic, magic trick, thaumaturgy, trick.



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"Illusion" Quotes from Famous Books



... shouting and song and public festivity. Meantime in England, as the truth dawned, there were hushed voices and an intense solemnity. The day had come, and no one doubted the severity of the ordeal. Yet neither did any one, except an unhappy few who had been nursed in folly and illusion, doubt the necessity of taking up the challenge. The country was united. Not only was the safety and existence of the British Commonwealth involved, but the great principle of civilization, difficult to name, but perhaps best called by the appealing name of decency, which ...
— The War in the Air; Vol. 1 - The Part played in the Great War by the Royal Air Force • Walter Raleigh

... vex, and hoping that I was heartily mortified, as from my silence and melancholy countenance she concluded that I was; in reality I stood deploring that so pretty a creature had so mean a mind. The only vexation I felt was at her having destroyed the possibility of my enjoying that delightful illusion ...
— Tales & Novels, Vol. IX - [Contents: Harrington; Thoughts on Bores; Ormond] • Maria Edgeworth

... "An optical illusion, my boy," said the captain quietly. "Sit down. You have heard of refraction. It is a peculiar state of the air. I daresay we look the same to them. Pull, my lads. I'm afraid the mist will be down upon us before we can reach the ship. Look ...
— Steve Young • George Manville Fenn

... the illusion perfect, she sought and found an article of dress, of which the Albionic name has been forgotten, but which is known to modern women as a petticoat. It was reddish brown in colour, and, so far, in keeping with ...
— The Hot Swamp • R.M. Ballantyne

... humourist, to say that he has undertaken a task which is manifestly beyond his powers. While Thackeray with his pen could most effectively describe a fascinating woman, like Becky Sharp, the illusion vanishes the moment his artist essays to draw her portrait with his pencil. While Thackeray's women are pretty and fascinating, well dressed and accomplished, the artist's women on the contrary are hideous; their waists commence somewhere in the region ...
— English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the Nineteenth Century. - How they Illustrated and Interpreted their Times. • Graham Everitt

... loved appears to him under celestial colors, which veil all the defects and miseries of reality. Each moment of his amorous feeling inspires sentiments which it seems to him should last eternally. He swears impossible things and believes in immortal happiness. A reciprocal illusion transforms life momentarily into mirages of paradise. The most common things, and even certain things which usually disgust him, are then the object of the most violent desire. But, as soon as the orgasm is ended and the appetite satisfied the feeling of satiety appears. A curtain falls on the ...
— The Sexual Question - A Scientific, psychological, hygienic and sociological study • August Forel

... prison camp in Germany, and she clung to this precedent with a confident tenacity that we did not try to weaken. It was foolish, of course, we said. She was pinning her faith to a case in a thousand; but the hope gave the women something to live for, and the wound would heal the better for the illusion. ...
— Pebbles on the Shore • Alpha of the Plough (Alfred George Gardiner)

... unscrupulous enough to make their followers believe that in the Socialist State they may have land for the asking, others are so unkind as to destroy that pleasing illusion. For instance, we learn from a Fabian pamphlet, "A Socialist State or municipality will charge the full economic rent for the use of its land and dwellings, and apply that rent to the common purposes of the community."[419] Another Socialist authority very pertinently remarks: ...
— British Socialism - An Examination of Its Doctrines, Policy, Aims and Practical Proposals • J. Ellis Barker

... required an appendix of notes and glossaries must be of high excellence to avoid suspicious resemblance to an elaborate literary counterfeit, since open and avowed borrowing from dictionaries of antiquities or volumes of travel must damage the illusion which is the indispensable element of romance. In Moore's fantastic metrical romance of Lalla Rookh the system was carried to an extent that now seems ridiculous, for certain passages are loaded with outlandish phrases or metaphors that are unintelligible except ...
— Studies in Literature and History • Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall

... they only think themselves great and clear—but that is enough if one has bound oneself to that strange idol and learnt the magic phrase on His Pedestal, [Greek: ARISTON MEN TI], for of all the illusions and dreams men cherish none is so grandiose as the illusion of ...
— On Nothing & Kindred Subjects • Hilaire Belloc

... consisted of two parallel lines, equally distinct and either very close together or a considerable distance apart. This curious appearance was at first thought to be due to some instrumental defect or optical illusion; but as it was soon confirmed by other observers with the best instruments and in widely different localities it became in time accepted as a real phenomenon ...
— Is Mars Habitable? • Alfred Russel Wallace

... dwelt, the ponderous well-sweep, creaking with age, at which his youthful hands were wont to tug strongly; and finally the mossy bucket, overflowing with crystal nectar fresh from the cool depths below. Yet in spite of the changes, one gets fairly well the illusion of the ancient spot, and comes away well content to have quaffed a draught of such excellent water to the memory ...
— The Romance of Old New England Rooftrees • Mary Caroline Crawford

... dainty when alone, and forming a refined division for the various scenes in a picture. It must be confessed that in the medium of aged wool they sometimes totter with the effect of imminent fall, but that they do not fall, only inspires the illusion that they belong to the marvellous age of ...
— The Tapestry Book • Helen Churchill Candee

... feared it would when he cried, "Oh—God, Molly—nothing you ever could do would make you unworthy of me—Molly, Molly, what is it?" The anguish in his face flashed back from some indefinite past to her, and then the illusion was gone, and the drama was all new. He caught her, but she fought ...
— A Certain Rich Man • William Allen White

... has materialized itself in the fact, in the supposed fact; it has attached its emotion to the fact, and how the fact is failing it. But for poetry the idea is everything; the rest is a world of illusion, of divine illusion. Poetry attaches its emotion to the idea; the idea is the fact. The strongest part of our religion today is its ...
— Selections from the Prose Works of Matthew Arnold • Matthew Arnold

... the illusion under which I have so long rested?" said Fanny, when both were more composed. "Why tell me a truth from which no good can flow? Why break in upon my happy ignorance with such a chilling revelation? Oh, mother, mother! Forgive me, if I say ...
— True Riches - Or, Wealth Without Wings • T.S. Arthur

... be the happiest people in the world, unless you can find a people happier than those who "repose in a paradise of mental illusions." Yes! But we shall find in the end that it was neither ignorance nor illusion, but the wisdom of the wise. Let us continue ...
— The Christian Foundation, Or, Scientific and Religious Journal, - Volume I, No. 9. September, 1880 • Various

... allured; some rush toward illusion, others do not wish to admit the positive chances for success, and both lacking moderation, they start from a basis of false premises from which they draw deplorable conclusions, thus ...
— Common Sense - - Subtitle: How To Exercise It • Yoritomo-Tashi

... benefit of your extra work-holiness." Monks, friars, and all the rest of them brag that besides the ordinary requirements common to all Christians, they do the works of supererogation, i.e., the performance of more than is required. This is certainly a fiendish illusion. ...
— Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians • Martin Luther

... result, the habit once indulged became to her that luxury which writing for the eye of the world is to an author oppressed with the burthen of his own thoughts. At length she saw him, and he did not destroy her illusion. She might have recovered from the spell if she had found him ready at once to worship at her shrine. The mixture of reserve and frankness—frankness of language, reserve of manner—which belonged ...
— Ernest Maltravers, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... strikers' condition is so important that it outweighs the evils to other individuals and to society as a whole. Indeed, to one in that state of mind the evils appear very small or nonexistent. The economist can only issue the warning that the commonest illusion he encounters is the belief of each class—commercial, banking, manufacturing, wage-earning—that what is for its particular interest is, in a peculiar manner, for the general interest, so much as to justify ...
— Modern Economic Problems - Economics Vol. II • Frank Albert Fetter

... Duryodhana, as thou knowest. Thus Karna became famous on earth for the valour of his arms. When, for thy good, the Lord of the celestials begged of him his (natural) coat of mail and ear-rings, stupefied by celestial illusion, he gave away those precious possessions. Deprived of his car-rings and divested of his natural armour, he was slain by Arjuna in Vasudeva's presence. In consequence of a Brahmana's curse, as also of the curse of the ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 - Books 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 • Unknown

... whom I have murdered. Therefore I sought for them round about, in the deep beds of the mountain-torrents, and in the high nests of the eagles and vultures. And while I was searching, I sometimes—could it have been only an illusion?—seemed to meet a being who was very like myself, but far, far more powerful, and yet still paler and ...
— Sintram and His Companions • Friedrich de la Motte Fouque

... want him to think I look well, and tell them so at home," said Amy to herself, as she put on Flo's old white silk ball dress, and covered it with a cloud of fresh illusion, out of which her white shoulders and golden head emerged with a most artistic effect. Her hair she had the sense to let alone, after gathering up the thick waves and curls into a Hebe-like knot at the back ...
— Little Women • Louisa May Alcott

... Both cherished the naive conviction that to acknowledge an evil is in a manner to countenance its existence, and both clung fervently to the belief that a pretty sham has a more intimate relation to morality than has an ugly truth. Yet so unconscious were they of weaving this elaborate tissue of illusion around the world they inhabited that they called the mental process by which they distorted the reality, "taking a true view of life." To "take a true view" was to believe what was pleasant against what was painful in spite ...
— Virginia • Ellen Glasgow

... altered, whether to be corrected or falsified. An inherited defect can not be put aside, and neither can the inherited intellect. When the outer angle at the right of the eye is pressed upon, a light appears in the closed eye at the left, not at the right; not at the place touched. This optical illusion, which was known even in Newton's day, this wordless inductive inference, is hereditary and incorrigible; and, on the other hand, the hereditary wordless concept of food can neither be prevented from arising nor be set aside nor be formed otherwise than it was formed ...
— The Mind of the Child, Part II • W. Preyer

... are disposed to believe that we must have a real history before us. But such a supposition is only a compliment to the skill of the composer. Bunyan's inventive faculty was a spring that never ran dry. He had a manner, as I said, like De Foe's, of creating the illusion that we are reading realities, by little touches such as 'I do not know,' 'He did not tell me this,' or the needless introduction of particulars irrelevant to the general plot such as we always stumble on in life, and writers of fiction usually omit. Bunyan was never prosecuted ...
— Bunyan • James Anthony Froude

... the refrain in unison. Sax, the great brass-founder, who made the Last Trumpets for the 'Wandering Jew,' and the instruments for the Band of the Guides, is engaged upon the frogpipes required. The illusion will be heightened by characteristic scenery and mephitic exhalations. M. Sax visited the pool in the Bois de Boulogne, known as the Maree d'Auteuil, and brought back many useful ideas in reference to the quadruped with whose vocal ...
— Continental Monthly, Vol. I. February, 1862, No. II. - Devoted To Literature And National Policy • Various

... and fine it that it be Worthy God's altar. My beloved friend, Such was your trial; thus have I tempted you With things averse to God, with forms and faiths Outcast and separate from Him. You have seen The whole world's vanities; you have come to know That in this world's illusion is no power Whose love is refuge: even the living death Of cold Nirvana frights you. Thus at last, Knowing that you are powerless, and the world Bare of salvation for your feebleness, You stand on this great threshold; and your eyes That see despair and loneliness ...
— Mr. Faust • Arthur Davison Ficke

... Plain of Illusions." And it bears that name, "Padang-Maya," to this day. The prince sent to his brother and demanded the body of Sidi Ali; joined the head with the body, and buried both in the Plain of Illusion. Then he went back ...
— Malayan Literature • Various Authors

... feared for a time that they might not be able to regain the frontiers; and the effect of so much success had been to restore to his Majesty his former confidence in his good fortune, though this was unfortunately only a dangerous illusion. ...
— The Private Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, Complete • Constant

... persons. The basis of love is confidence; and a rude Filipino girl acquires with great difficulty confidence toward an European who is accustomed to operas and society. They may place themselves in the arms of Europeans through interest or persuasion; but after the moment of illusion is over, they do not know what to say and one gets tired of the other. The Filipino girl does not grow weary of her Filipino, for the attainments, inclinations, and acquaintances of both are the same. ...
— The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898 - Volume 40 of 55 • Francisco Colin

... illusion of the map, where the Summer Islands glimmer a small and solitary little group of dots and wrinkles, remote from continental shores, with a straight line descending southeastwardly upon them, to show how sharp and swift the ship's ...
— Henry James, Jr. • William Dean Howells

... myself in the interior of Congo. Numerous insects, that flew with a droning noise about me, and a multitude of adders basking in the sun, or hurrying through the grass as I approached, gave new force to the illusion. ...
— A Yacht Voyage to Norway, Denmark, and Sweden - 2nd edition • W. A. Ross

... superstition against toasts." He had no wish to remain. He was angry with Aline for her smiling reception of M. de La Tour d'Azyr and the sordid bargain he saw her set on making. He was suffering from the loss of an illusion. ...
— Scaramouche - A Romance of the French Revolution • Rafael Sabatini

... body of Egyptian troops crossing this desert found their water almost at a boiling point in the skins, and nearly exhausted. They beheld, a few miles distant, an apparent lake overshadowed by a forest, and bordered with verdure and shrubbery. Although told by the guide that it was an illusion, they broke ranks, started off in pursuit of the sheet of water, chasing the aerial phantom, although it receded with the pace of their approach. At last they sunk down from thirst and fatigue, and died! Twelve hours on the Nubian Desert without water means a certain and terrible death; and ...
— Brave Men and Women - Their Struggles, Failures, And Triumphs • O.E. Fuller

... It turned out later to be due to the blunder of a naval officer who mistook some of our vessels for Spaniards, and by his report caused consternation in Washington, until by vigorous scouting on the part of our other ships the illusion ...
— Rough Riders • Theodore Roosevelt

... the cavernous lungs dispelled the illusion. The mighty head swung slowly around until the yellow eyes rested upon the man. The bristled lip curved upward, exposing yellow fangs. Another warning growl vibrated the heavy jowls, and the king of ...
— Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar • Edgar Rice Burroughs

... see the moon a trifle larger than it appears at other times. By this I mean that it really is seen larger, because it is closer to us. But you have no doubt often noticed that when the moon is near the horizon it seems to be very large indeed. This apparent increase of size is, however, an illusion, owing to our unconsciously comparing it with the apparent size of ...
— To Mars via The Moon - An Astronomical Story • Mark Wicks

... their origin from the Eleusinian Mysteries. These were pagan orgies attached to some Grecian temples. Surrounded by mysterious ceremonies and symbols, and supported by every mythical and allegorical illusion that could inspire awe or confidence, these mysteries were very popular ...
— Alvira: the Heroine of Vesuvius • A. J. O'Reilly

... to the steadfast soul, Which, unflinching and keen, Wrought to erase from its depth Mist and illusion and fear! Hail to the spirit which dared Trust its own thoughts, before yet Echoed her back by the crowd! Hail to the courage which gave Voice to its creed, ere the creed Won ...
— Poetical Works of Matthew Arnold • Matthew Arnold

... figments of the mind, perhaps hardly that; they all use the same terms and write in fixed strains, epicurean and sensuous like Ronsard, ideal and intellectualized like Dante, sentimental and adoring like Petrarch. Into this enclosed garden of sentiment and illusion Donne burst passionately and rudely, pulling up the gay-coloured tangled weeds that choked thoughts, planting, as one of his followers said, the seeds of fresh invention. Where his forerunners had been idealist, epicurean, or adoring, he was brutal, cynical and immitigably realist. ...
— English Literature: Modern - Home University Library Of Modern Knowledge • G. H. Mair

... king—copies of which were communicated—from which it was sufficiently plain that the purpose of his Majesty was not to bestow peace and tranquillity upon the Netherlands. The names of Fuentes, Clemente, Ybarra, were sufficient in themselves to destroy any such illusion. They spoke in blunt terms of the attempt of Dr. Lopez to poison Queen Elizabeth, at the instigation of Count Fuentes for fifty thousand crowns to be paid by the King of Spain: they charged upon the same Fuentes and upon Ybarra that they had employed the same Andrada to murder the King ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... Korean(s);adjective - Korean Ethnic divisions: racially homogeneous Religions: Buddhism and Confucianism; some Christianity and syncretic Chondogyo; autonomous religious activities now almost nonexistent; government-sponsored religious groups exist to provide illusion of religious freedom Languages: Korean Literacy: 99%, (male 99%, female 99%); note - presumed to be virtually universal among population under age 60 Labor force: 9,615,000; agricultural 36%, nonagricultural 64%; shortage of skilled and unskilled labor ...
— The 1992 CIA World Factbook • United States. Central Intelligence Agency.

... The Saracen Young Woman. We may presume that this appealed to him in a mood of reaction after the intensely personal quality of the Dutchman. That mood sent him back in the direction of Rienzi. About the Dutchman he never had the slightest illusion. He knew it to be so far ahead of the time that nothing in the way of a popular success was to be hoped for it. On the other hand, he had perfect faith—a faith justified by the subsequent event—in Rienzi; ...
— Richard Wagner - Composer of Operas • John F. Runciman

... look evil in the face without illusion, he will never know what it really is, or combat it effectually. The few men who have been able (relatively) to do this have been called cynics, and have sometimes had an abnormal share of evil in themselves, corresponding to the abnormal strength of their minds; but ...
— Bernard Shaw's Preface to Major Barbara • George Bernard Shaw

... death of him—besides being a scandalous trick to poor Annabella. There is no help for him now; he is past praying for. Besides, she may keep up the deception to the end of the chapter; and then he will be just as happy in the illusion as if it were reality; or perhaps he will only discover his mistake when he has ceased to love her; and if not, it is much better that the truth should dawn gradually upon him. So now, my angel, I hope I ...
— The Tenant of Wildfell Hall • Anne Bronte

... Glory long has made the sages smile; 'T is something, nothing, words, illusion, wind— Depending more upon the historian's style Than on the name a person leaves behind: Troy owes to Homer what whist owes to Hoyle:[205] The present century was growing blind To the great Marlborough's skill in giving knocks, Until his late Life ...
— The Works of Lord Byron, Volume 6 • Lord Byron

... solitary heron to the evening tryst of his tribe. Where is the hawk? Will he not rise from some fair wrist among the gay troop we see cantering across yonder glade? Only the addition of that little gray speck circling into the blue is needed to round off our illusion. But it comes not. In place of it comes a spirt of steam from the railway viaduct, and the whistle of an engine. Froissart is five hundred years dead again, and we ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science - February, 1876, Vol. XVII, No. 98. • Various

... more he came to rely for support in his conflicts with his rivals upon the God of the Christians. The sign of the cross, which he said that he beheld in the sky, and which led him to make the cross his standard, may have been an optical illusion occasioned partly by his own mental state at the moment, when, after prayer, he was standing at noon-day in the door of his tent. He remained, like many others in that day, not without relics of the old beliefs, as is seen from inscriptions on his coins, and other evidences. ...
— Outline of Universal History • George Park Fisher

... time the momentous combat which so many have to pass through, and which he understands so well, because in it his own life has developed itself; therefore in no instance can he be said to present to the reader what belongs to the world of illusion, but only that which bears witness to truth, and which, as is the case with all such testimony, has a universal and ...
— The True Story of My Life • Hans Christian Andersen

... Admiral's chief difficulty had come to be the impatience of his crews at not finding land. On that day there was a mirage, or some such illusion, which Columbus and all hands supposed to be a coast in front of them, and hymns of praise were sung, but at dawn next day they were cruelly undeceived. Flights of strange birds and other signs of land kept raising hopes which were presently ...
— The Discovery of America Vol. 1 (of 2) - with some account of Ancient America and the Spanish Conquest • John Fiske

... in a spot so inaccessible. One fir had an enormous bole fantastically branched like that of an English elm, and on its mossy bark was a spot such as the hand might cover, fired by a wandering beam, that awoke recollections of the dream-haunted woods before the illusion ...
— Two Summers in Guyenne • Edward Harrison Barker

... like that of a desert traveller who should see a mirage of palms and pools grow swiftly before his delighted eyes into a substantial oasis, and then anon, or ever he could approach it, shimmer back, with all its sheen and shade, into mocking illusion again. For thus did it fare with his hopes as his grandfather talked of renouncing Mr. Polymathers's bequest. Moreover, the grounds which the old man alleged forbade his grandson, lothfully though he listened, to utter a word of protest, and even made him half ashamed ...
— Strangers at Lisconnel • Barlow Jane

... the windows, with its vases on pedestals, and its open fireplaces, its carved doors and gloomy reception rooms, hung with pictures—this palazzo did much, by its very appearance after they had moved into it, to confirm in Vronsky the agreeable illusion that he was not so much a Russian country gentleman, a retired army officer, as an enlightened amateur and patron of the arts, himself a modest artist who had renounced the world, his connections, and his ambition for the sake of ...
— Anna Karenina • Leo Tolstoy

... the objections that may be made to my story. I expect, as a matter of course, to be told that this was an optical illusion, or that I was suffering from pressure on the brain, or even that I laboured under an attack of temporary insanity. I have heard all these arguments before, and, if I may be forgiven for saying so, I ...
— Mugby Junction • Charles Dickens

... abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it, then, to the flames, for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion." To this Huxley says: "Permit me to enforce this wise advice, Why trouble ourselves about matters of which, however important they may be, we do know nothing, and can know nothing? We live in a world which is full of misery and ignorance, ...
— Was Man Created? • Henry A. Mott

... wished it to be considered that he was coming to join them as their monarch. They were going to consider it surrendering to them as their prisoner. The king himself must have known how it would be, but it made his sense of humiliation a little less poignant to carry this illusion with him as long as it was possible to ...
— Charles I - Makers of History • Jacob Abbott

... defy the constitutional authority of the government, the Secessionists were immeasurably encouraged. The Southern men had for three generations been cherishing the belief that they were as a class superior to Northern men, and they were more than ever confirmed in this pleasing illusion when they saw a Northern President, with the power of the nation in his hands, deliberately affirming that he could exercise no ...
— Twenty Years of Congress, Vol. 1 (of 2) • James Gillespie Blaine

... already disappeared. Napoleon still persisted in his opinion, obstinately affirming that the whole enemy's army was in front of him, and that it was necessary to advance with circumspection; this occasioned a considerable delay. At length he mounted his horse; every step he took destroyed his illusion; and he soon found himself in the midst of the camp which ...
— History of the Expedition to Russia - Undertaken by the Emperor Napoleon in the Year 1812 • Count Philip de Segur

... unpleasant to his gentle listener, whose inclinations, for a few minutes, blinded her to the resolutions already made on principle. So urgent was her suitor, indeed, that she should solemnly plight her faith to him, ere he sailed, that a soft illusion came over the mind of one as affectionate as Mary, and she was half-inclined to believe her previous determination was unjustifiable and obdurate. But the head of one of her high principles, and clear views of duty, ...
— The Sea Lions - The Lost Sealers • James Fenimore Cooper

... closed to him, whom I loved and respected, but between whose mind and my own the point of contact was wanting. Of Henry, for many reasons, I had rather not talk to you. You know that I have never hesitated to tell myself the truth, or to destroy an illusion, which in the secrecy of my heart I have felt to be such; but it requires a courage and a strength which, to-day especially, I do not find in myself, to trace the progress of estrangement in an affection once as intense as a mother's; and which ...
— Ellen Middleton—A Tale • Georgiana Fullerton

... have been roaming amid that Alpine scenery and basking again in the soft moonlight of Venice. I heard you singing, though," she said, when Anna was presented to her, "and it helped to keep up the illusion—it was so like the music heard from a gondola that night, when Mr. Leighton and myself made a voyage through the streets of Venice. Oh, it was so beautiful," and the blue eyes turned to Mr. Leighton for confirmation of what ...
— The Rector of St. Mark's • Mary J. Holmes

... a myth, and the prophets a disagreeable fraud, and the whole lesson of Jesus Christ's life and death an illusion, God is deeply concerned with man. That concern extends to man's whole nature, his whole existence, his whole environment; and most of all it is manifest with regard to his sin. God puts Himself forward ...
— Our Master • Bramwell Booth

... exhibitions of strong individual attachment for the king and queen which would, for a moment, create the illusion that a reaction had commenced in the public mind. One day the queen was sitting in her apartment at St. Cloud, in the deepest dejection of spirits, mechanically working upon some tapestry to occupy the joyless and lingering hours. It was four o'clock in the afternoon. The palace was deserted and ...
— Maria Antoinette - Makers of History • John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott

... civil engineer of prominence, and a member of the British Association and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He wrote (1863) on "Pepper's Ghost," an ingenious optical illusion invented by him. There was a second edition of the Perpetuum Mobile ...
— A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume II (of II) • Augustus de Morgan

... I think of forests and groves; it is my triumph when the leaves strike the window pane, and this is not a sound like a lament. Books and thoughts and dreams (almost too consciously dreamed, however, for me—the illusion of them has almost passed) and domestic tenderness can and ought to leave nobody lamenting. Also God's wisdom, deeply steeped in His love, is as far as we can ...
— The Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1 of 2) • Frederic G. Kenyon

... arose at length from personal perception and authority into common credit, the fact remains equally prominent and interesting that throughout the traceable history of human opinion there is a line of dissenters who have thought death the finality of man, and the next world an illusion. The history of this special department of thought opens a wide and fertile subject. To gain a comprehensive survey of its boundaries and a compact epitome of its contents, it will be well to consider it in these two lights and divisions, all the time ...
— The Destiny of the Soul - A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life • William Rounseville Alger

... been a boat or the shadow of a boat, he could not be sure. In fact, there were moments when he doubted whether it was not some ocular illusion, brought about by too intently gazing ...
— Middy and Ensign • G. Manville Fenn

... watched for hours with delight the sleep of one who is tenderly beloved, whose eyes will smile to them at waking, can understand the sweet yet terrible emotion that shook the colonel's soul. To him, this sleep was an illusion; the waking might be death, death in its most awful form. Suddenly, a little goat jumped in three bounds to the bench, and smelt at Stephanie, who waked at the sound. She sprang to her feet, but so lightly that the movement ...
— Adieu • Honore de Balzac

... irritation was forgotten and healed as they stood gazing raptly at the beautiful view. The cliffs looked as if volcanic fires were again burning within their hearts, and the mist from the valley crept up to form an illusion of smoke rising from the sharply outlined peaks. A purple haze enveloped the mountains and the dusky-red streaks in the sky perfected the appearance of a vast ...
— Polly of Pebbly Pit • Lillian Elizabeth Roy

... repossess herself, to regain some sort of normal contact with life. And the customary, the recurring, gradually reclaimed her, the net of habit tightened again—her daily life became real, and her one momentary escape from it an exquisite illusion. Not that she ceased to believe in the miracle that had befallen her: she still treasured the reality of her one moment beside the river. What reason was there for doubting it? She could hear the ring of truth ...
— The Hermit and the Wild Woman and Other Stories • Edith Wharton

... Mind, and not as matter. Matter cannot talk; and hence, whatever it appears to say of itself is a lie. This lie, that Mind can be in matter,—claiming to be something beside God, denying Truth and its demonstration in Christian Science,—this lie I declare an illusion. This denial enlarges the human intellect by removing its evidence from sense to Soul, and from finiteness into infinity. It honors conscious human individuality by showing God as ...
— Unity of Good • Mary Baker Eddy

... it is as difficult to do business as to search for scientific truth, arrive at religious harmony, or attain to justice. When one must first question words and intentions, and start from the premise that everything said and written is meant to offer us illusion in place of truth, life becomes strangely complicated. This is the case to-day. There is so much craft, so much diplomacy, so much subtle legerdemain, that we all have no end of trouble to inform ourselves on the simplest ...
— The Simple Life • Charles Wagner

... reason of that success is that nature meant Forbes-Robertson to play Hamlet. Temperament, personality, experience, and training have so worked together that he does not merely play, but is, Hamlet. Such, at all events, is the complete illusion he is able ...
— Vanishing Roads and Other Essays • Richard Le Gallienne

... to see how German statesmen regarded the situation? Russia, in their eyes, was playing a game of bluff, and strong measures against her were in the interest of Germany. But, though under no illusion as to German preparations, M. Sazonof offered on July 30 to stop all military preparations if Austria 'would eliminate from her ultimatum to Servia points which violate the principle of the sovereignty of Servia'.[85] 'Preparations for general mobilization will ...
— Why We Are At War (2nd Edition, revised) • Members of the Oxford Faculty of Modern History

... of all genuine delight that we should not be deceived; in the latter, stage-scenery (inasmuch as its principle end is not in or for itself, as is the case in a picture, but to be an assistance and means to an end out of itself), its very purpose is to produce as much illusion as its nature permits. These, and all other stage presentations, are to produce a sort of temporary half-faith, which the spectator encourages in himself and supports by a voluntary contribution on his own part, because he knows that it is at all times in his power to ...
— Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher • S. T. Coleridge

... lassitude is a foretaste of the impotence of death. To see a purpose in the cold light of intellectual conviction, and to lack the inspiring fervour which can glorify a struggle with the obstacles nature will interpose, is to realise intensely the rugged baldness of life stripped of illusion, life as we shall see it when the end approaches and the only voice that convinces tell us that all is vanity. It is the mood known by the artist when, viewing the work complete within his mind, his heart lacks its joy and his hand is cold to execute. ...
— A Life's Morning • George Gissing

... and went towards the door. He even moved differently, like a man who has lost illusion and doubts whether it is worth while to ...
— Forsyte Saga • John Galsworthy

... or Kellar might completely deceive even the most intelligent and thoughtful scholars. In scoffing at the credulity of such an age, it should not be forgotten that the "Keely motor" was a late nineteenth-century illusion. ...
— A History of Science, Volume 2(of 5) • Henry Smith Williams

... have an identity with one of those numerous ways of being a fool that seemed so to abound for him. It would remain none the less the way to which he should be in advance most reconciled. His mature motive, as to which he allowed himself no grain of illusion, had thus in an hour taken imaginative possession of the place: that precisely was how he saw it seated there, already unpacked and settled, for Milly's innocence, for Milly's beauty, no matter how short a time, to be housed with. There were things she would never recognise, ...
— The Wings of the Dove, Volume II • Henry James

... March, had made his obeisance to Henry, and had been presented by him to King James, Alice, standing close behind her queen, recollected that she had once heard Esclairmonde say, 'Till I came to England I deemed chivalry a mere gaudy illusion.' ...
— The Caged Lion • Charlotte M. Yonge

... see the tomb of the excellent Ganganelli, by Canova. Then to Sant' Ignazio, to see the famous ceiling painted in perspective by the jesuit Pozzo. The effect is certainly marvellous, making the interior appear to the eye, at least twice the height it really is; but though the illusion pleased me as a work of art, I thought the trickery unnecessary and misplaced. At the magnificent church of the Gesuiti (where there are two entire columns of giallo antico) I saw a list of relics for which the church is celebrated, and ...
— The Diary of an Ennuyee • Anna Brownell Jameson

... nations have not this time fallen prey to the dangerous illusion that treaties alone will stop an aggressor. By a series of vigorous actions, as varied as the nature of the threat, the free nations have successfully thwarted aggression or the threat of aggression in many different parts of ...
— Complete State of the Union Addresses from 1790 to the Present • Various

... feast-days on which he had to receive Communion, his superiors, discovering that there was no fault on his part, ruled that he was not to refrain from communicating on that account, and the demoniacal illusion ceased. ...
— Summa Theologica, Part III (Tertia Pars) - From the Complete American Edition • Thomas Aquinas

... enthusiasm was connected with a habit of thought that was rather critical than sentimental. Hamlet had a shrewd judgment, a lively and caustic wit, an exacting standard, and a turn for satire. He was fond of question and debate, an enemy to all illusion, impatient of dulness,[typo for dullness?] and not indisposed to alarm and bewilder it; and he had brought with him from Wittenberg a philosophy half stoical and half transcendental, with whose eccentricities ...
— The Contemporary Review, January 1883 - Vol 43, No. 1 • Various

... was lifting slowly over the sands and sea, and the police boat was gone. She no longer hesitated, but ran quickly in the direction of Jarman's cabin. As she ran, her mind seemed to be swept clear of all illusion and fancy; she saw plainly everything that had happened; she knew the mystery of Jarman's presence here,—the secret of his life,—the dreadful cruelty of her remark to him,—the man that she knew now she loved. The sun was painting the black arms of the semaphore ...
— Mr. Jack Hamlin's Mediation and Other Stories • Bret Harte

... much of him, and of coaxing, and getting round the black gentleman. But beside all this, there lies in the physical temperament of the other sex a peculiar susceptibility of derangement of the nervous system, a predisposition to all the varieties of trance, with its prolific sources of mental illusion—all tending, it is to be observed, to advance the belief and enlarge the ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 61, No. 380, June, 1847 • Various

... under the illusion that I was Valmai that I had no occasion to tell a lie, and I only spoke the truth when I told him that I hated him, and that my greatest desire was never to see his face again. He was wounded to the quick. I saw it, ...
— By Berwen Banks • Allen Raine

... his feet, gave Robert one glance and then disappeared through the open window, with incredible dexterity and speed. Robert stared again. The man was there and then he was not. It could not be Garay, but his ghost, some illusion, a trick of the eye or mind. Then he knew it was no fancy. With extraordinary assurance the man had come there to rifle the drawer—for what purpose Robert ...
— The Sun Of Quebec - A Story of a Great Crisis • Joseph A. Altsheler

... disposal. It is clear that he will be deprived of some gratification to the amount of one franc; and that the workman, whoever he may be, who would have received it from him, will be deprived of a benefit to that amount. Let us not, therefore, be led by a childish illusion into believing that the vote of the 60,000 francs may add anything whatever to the well-being of the country, and to national labour. It displaces enjoyments, ...
— Essays on Political Economy • Frederic Bastiat

... as some illusion of fever to me was the ocean— Storm-swept, scourged with bitter rains, and wandering always Onward from sky to sky with endless processions of surges, Knowing not life nor death, but since the light was, the first day, Only enduring unrest till the darkness ...
— Poems • William D. Howells

... pocketful of nuts, or little string of fish they palled upon me and I began immediately to feel an uneasy sense of disappointment, of disillusion, knowing I had miserably failed. The bombastic brag to my mother and her praise were a kind of mockery and falsehood. Illusion followed illusion, defeat followed defeat, yet the morrow was ever to be their healer and compensation. How often have I been soothed by the waveless waters of the Charles river, its whispering ripples scarcely reaching the shores and making no impression upon it. ...
— Confessions of Boyhood • John Albee

... I changed the illusion by making the pig's ear grow out three feet long, and then turning him into an elephant with one leg ...
— Buchanan's Journal of Man, January 1888 - Volume 1, Number 12 • Various

... last few centuries, adoration of femininity has become a sort of instinct in men, reaching its climax in romantic love. The modern lover is like a sculptor who takes an ordinary block of marble and carves a goddess out of it. His belief that his idol is a living goddess is, of course, an illusion, but the feeling is real, however fantastic and romantic it may seem. He is so thoroughly convinced of the incomparable superiority of his chosen divinity that "it is marvellous to him that all the world does not want her too, and he is in a panic when he thinks of it," as Charles Dudley Warner ...
— Primitive Love and Love-Stories • Henry Theophilus Finck

... upon the garden path, or the petal of apple-blossom that floats down into my coffee, is as relevant as the egg I open or the bread and butter I bite. And all sorts of things that inevitably mar the tense illusion which is the aim of the short story—the introduction, for example, of the author's personality—any comment that seems to admit that, after all, fiction is fiction, a change in manner between part and part, burlesque, parody, invective, ...
— An Englishman Looks at the World • H. G. Wells

... simply to the old conditions, and the older orthodox doctrines of religion can never again be accepted as a mere matter of course. But the great question has again come to the forefront—is there a higher world, or is the fundamental truth of religion a mere illusion? This is the question that calls for answer to-day, an answer which must be different, as man is different, from the answers that were given in the past. A satisfactory answer is impossible without understanding clearly the relation between the Old and the New, and without taking ...
— Rudolph Eucken • Abel J. Jones

... beginning to the end. With us it has been popularly applied to what has been well characterized as "a jargon of alternate speech and song," outraging probability in a far higher degree than the opera properly so called, and singularly destructive of that illusion or deception in which the pleasure derived from dramatic representations principally consists. Music is in itself no mean vehicle of expression; but, when connected with speech or language, it gives ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine—Vol. 54, No. 333, July 1843 • Various

... Mathisen (a good name in the city, with only a letter changed), striking a sixteenth century flint, for the purpose of lighting a candle, but, failing in the attempt, compelled to destroy sixteenth-century illusion, and employ, in a sneaking kind of way, the nineteenth-century match, which strikes only on its own box. Mlle. NUOVINA, not so good here as in the part of Marguerite, but there is very little for a soprano to do. JEAN reckless in the ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 99, July 5, 1890 • Various

... he had seen. Then it was all an illusion? a fragment of his drunken dreams? But no drunken dream was ...
— The Drummer Boy • John Trowbridge

... began to quiver, and in consequence of an illusion of the eyes it seemed to the riders that the sands quivered. The Bedouin took his sweaty cowl ...
— In Desert and Wilderness • Henryk Sienkiewicz

... political sense, therefore, my only objection is that it is an illusion of comfort; that an Empire whose heart is failing should be specially proud of the extremities, is to me no more sublime a fact than that an old dandy whose brain is gone should still be proud of his legs. ...
— What's Wrong With The World • G.K. Chesterton

... illusion, as the canoe came to the quay the sun sank, a gun boomed out from the tallest of the four towers, and the flag ran down its staff; all as if by clockwork. As if by clockwork, too, the taller of the two old gentlemen on the quay—the one in a gold-laced coat—stepped forward ...
— Fort Amity • Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... a dream of beauty and peace. There is not much difference between the height of high and low water on this coast, and the lake-like illusion would have been perfect had it not been that the rocks were tinged with gold for a foot or so above the sea by a delicate species of fucus. In the exquisite inlet where I spent the night, trees and trailers drooped into the water and were mirrored in it, their green, heavy shadows lying ...
— Unbeaten Tracks in Japan • Isabella L. Bird

... not to be cheated out of them by any phantom of virtual representation or any other fiction of law or politics." Again: "No such phrase as virtual representation is known in law or constitution. It is altogether a subtlety and illusion, ...
— The History of Woman Suffrage, Volume IV • Various

... humanitarianism also it is beyond a doubt that much less human blood was spilt in the Balkan peninsula during the five hundred years of Turkish rule than during the five hundred years of Christian rule which preceded them; indeed it would have been difficult to spill more. It is also a pure illusion to think of the Turks as exceptionally brutal or cruel; they are just as good-natured and good-humoured as anybody else; it is only when their military or religious passions are aroused that they become more reckless and ferocious than other people. It was not the Turks who taught cruelty to ...
— The Balkans - A History Of Bulgaria—Serbia—Greece—Rumania—Turkey • Nevill Forbes, Arnold J. Toynbee, D. Mitrany, D.G. Hogarth

... instantaneously; you are non-existent; and you exist again, just a little changed from before. Thus you pass, not with a flow of persisting existence, but by a series of little jerks. There is, then, like the illusion of a motion picture film, only a pseudo-movement. A change, from ...
— Astounding Stories, May, 1931 • Various

... venerable creature of sixteen, who delivered them to me with such paternal directions, that it only needed a pat on the head and an encouraging—"Now run home to your Ma, little girl, and mind the crossings, my dear," to make the illusion quite perfect. ...
— Hospital Sketches • Louisa May Alcott

... body—life has been for us the supreme physical fact. Now, however, we know that Life is much more than this; but, as the greater includes the less, it includes physical life as one mode of its manifestation. The true order does not require us to deny the reality of physical life or to call it an illusion; on the contrary it sees in physical life the completion of a great creative series, but it assigns it the proper place in that series, which is what the old mode of ...
— The Dore Lectures on Mental Science • Thomas Troward

... to many lands, From whose ice altars flow, to fainting sands, Rivers that each libation poured expands. Too much is known, O Ganges-giving sire: Thy people fathom life, and find it dire; Thy people fathom death, and, in it, fire To live again, though in Illusion's sphere, Behold concealed as grief is in ...
— The Home Book of Verse, Vol. 3 (of 4) • Various

... but moulded of every earth which enters into the formation of the weak and passionate man; of lofty aspirations, and narrow wings; of great desires, and short hands to reach whither they are extended; sublime in ideal, vulgar in reality; with fire in the heart, illusion in the mind, and tears in the eyes; human statues, which attest by the diversity of the elements that compose them, the mysterious failings of our poor nature; in which, as in the metal of Corinth, we find after the fire the traces of all the melted metals which were mingled and confounded ...
— International Miscellany of Literature, Art and Science, Vol. 1, - No. 3, Oct. 1, 1850 • Various

... King. His honour is involved in protecting us if we enter into the strong city of which the builder and maker is God. And 'for David's sake,' too, He defends Zion, because He had sworn to David to dwell there. But Zion's security becomes an illusion if Zion breaks away from God. If it becomes as Sodom, it shares ...
— Expositions Of Holy Scripture - Volume I: St. Luke, Chaps. I to XII • Alexander Maclaren

... and hills and forest; nothing reminded her of despairing hunger, of the disbelief that had stolen upon her in the possibility of eking out much longer a life that was too hard to sustain. What if her errand seemed fantastic, unreal, since this new world also was like some illusion of a dream? The great stillness appeared to be friendly—the bent tops of snow-laden trees surely bowed a welcome to her—the shining sun and the pure air, in spite of bitter cold, drove the blood more rapidly through her veins and ...
— The Peace of Roaring River • George van Schaick

... anything else comes old age, to which all wish to attain, and at which all grumble when attained. Such is Folly's inconsistency and unreasonableness! They say that it is stealing upon them faster than they expected. In the first place, who compelled them to hug an illusion? For in what respect did old age steal upon manhood faster than manhood upon childhood? In the next place, in what way would old age have been less disagreeable to them if they were in their eight-hundredth year than in their eightieth? For their ...
— Treatises on Friendship and Old Age • Marcus Tullius Cicero

... in order to clear away a possible preconception by the reader, to try and dispel the illusion that army and navy officers are eager for war, in order that they may get promotion. This idea has been exploited by people opposed to the development of the army and navy, and has been received with so much credulity that it seriously handicaps the endeavors of officers to get an unbiassed ...
— The Navy as a Fighting Machine • Bradley A. Fiske

... day, with its height of 1700 feet, riding southwards out in the surf, while his cloak fluttered from his shoulder towards the north, and, besides the giant himself in his might, had seen, in prefect illusion, the horse's head, his ear, his neck, his snaffle and ...
— The Visionary - Pictures From Nordland • Jonas Lie

... atrocious noises emitted in the name of musical comedy; while lovers and sound judges of music are quite as often woefully remiss in their knowledge of stagecraft, accepting scenery and stage management in their opera which would put men less skilled in the creation of theatric illusion than David ...
— Penguin Persons & Peppermints • Walter Prichard Eaton

... been bombed from aerial trains, and for a moment he fancied that Washington Square had declared war on Central Park and that this was a north-bound menace loaded with battle and sudden death. But as it passed the illusion faded; it diminished to the faintest of drums—then to ...
— The Beautiful and Damned • F. Scott Fitzgerald

... to have been with you, but I remember at the same time, that I have since lived ten years at Damascus. Now, if I was actually in bed with you this night, I cannot have been from you so long. These two points are inconsistent. Pray tell me what I am to think; whether my marriage with you is an illusion, or whether my absence from you is only a dream?" "Yes, my lord," cried she, "doubtless you were light-headed when you thought you were at Damascus." Upon this Buddir ad Deen laughed heartily, and said, "What a comical fancy is this! I assure you, madam, this dream of mine will be very pleasant ...
— The Arabian Nights Entertainments vol. 1 • Anon.

... ten-foot hole they would refuse it and demand ten million more, and if he offered them nothing they immediately scented a conspiracy to starve them out and gain possession of their mine. It was the illusion of hidden wealth, of buried treasure, which keeps half the mines in the West closed down and half of the rest in litigation; except that in Keno it seemed to be associated with gun-plays and a marked tendency towards homicide. So, upon his return ...
— Shadow Mountain • Dane Coolidge

... of course, that it could not be a real voice, for I was a stranger here, yet there was nothing disturbing to me in this illusion. It came rather like a comforting benediction, as if some higher part of me had inwardly expressed approval of my prayerful aspirations, and had confirmed my belief that Christopher would ...
— Possessed • Cleveland Moffett

... there. No beavers would waste time cutting up a twelve-inch log into lengths like that. And there had been no lumberman in the neighbourhood. Then, in a flash, his eyes cleared themselves of their illusion. The log had moved, ever so slightly. It was no longer a log, but a big gray lynx, creeping slowly, inexorably, down upon the unsuspecting ...
— The House in the Water - A Book of Animal Stories • Charles G. D. Roberts

... figure could be seen advancing in the direction of the college, seeming from a distance to be that of a child, and reminding one of Little Red Riding-Hood in the fairy tale. The height of the side walls of snow aided the distance in producing this illusion. Upon coming nearer, one would have seen the child gradually assume the stature of a woman, and had he been a citizen of Warwick, he ...
— The Mayor of Warwick • Herbert M. Hopkins

... grandparents, of the good Thagaste servants, of all the humble Christian souls whose virtues he had been taught to respect, and at the same time to rival a Plato by the strength of thought—what a dream! Was it possible?... He tells us himself that the illusion was brief, and that he grew cool about the Hortensius because he did not find the name of Christ in it. He deceives himself, probably. At this time he was not so Christian. He yields to the temptation of a fine phrase: when he wrote ...
— Saint Augustin • Louis Bertrand

... undertake the study of local documents of the middle ages without having learnt to date their forms approximately, and to decipher their abbreviations correctly. The resemblance which most mediaeval writing bears to modern writing is sufficiently close to foster the illusion that ingenuity and practice will be enough to carry him through. This illusion is dangerous. Scholars who have received no regular palaeographical initiation can almost always be recognised by the gross errors which they commit from time to ...
— Introduction to the Study of History • Charles V. Langlois

... represent. In the latter case they are nearly always made double, the mythical beings who inhabited the early world being regarded as able to change from animal to human shape, by merely pushing up or pulling down the upper part of the face as a mask. Such masks are often hinged to complete the illusion, the actor changing ...
— The Dance Festivals of the Alaskan Eskimo • Ernest William Hawkes

... he had on a skintight suit of dark-brown drilling, painted from crown to toe with thick white paint to represent the skeleton of a human being; even the mask that covered the entire head was perfect as a skull. The illusion was a great success, but it made one shiver to see the awful thing walking about, the grinning skull towering over the heads of the tallest. And ever at its side was a red devil, also tall, and so thin one wondered what held the bones together. This red thing had a long tail. ...
— Army Letters from an Officer's Wife, 1871-1888 • Frances M.A. Roe

... There is no such illusion as gloomy pessimism, and it has been truly said that a man's cheerfulness is the measure of his faith. Gloom, despondency, the pale cast of thought, are very amenable to the will. Sturdy and courageous effort will ...
— The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali • Charles Johnston

... is dawn, is it not? We might have the stage quite dark when the curtain goes up, and turn up a lamp very slowly behind the scene, so that it shines on my face. A lamp being turned up very slowly is wonderfully effective. It produces a perfect illusion. Could you manage that with one hand and play the music of the ...
— Queen Lucia • E. F. Benson

... victim. Where is there in fiction another man Friday? From the beginning of his misfortunes until he is again sailing for England, after nearly thirty years of captivity, he holds us spellbound by the reality, the simplicity, and the pathos of his narrative; but, far beyond the temporary illusion of the modern novel, everything remains real: the shipwrecked mariner spins his yarns in sailor fashion, and we believe and feel every word he says. The book, although wonderfully good throughout, is unequal: the prime interest only lasts until he is rescued, and ends with his embarkation ...
— English Literature, Considered as an Interpreter of English History - Designed as a Manual of Instruction • Henry Coppee



Words linked to "Illusion" :   fancy, appearance, bubble, irradiation, sleight of hand, phantom limb, card trick, will-o'-the-wisp, apparition, misconception, deception, optical illusion, illusionary, conjuring trick, illusory, prestidigitation, phantasma, phantasm, dissembling, fantasm, phantasy, shadow, wishful thinking, ignis fatuus, dissimulation, phantom, performance, trick, deceit



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