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Mystification   Listen
Mystification

noun
1.
Confusion resulting from failure to understand.  Synonyms: bafflement, befuddlement, bemusement, bewilderment, obfuscation, puzzlement.
2.
Something designed to mystify or bewilder.
3.
The activity of obscuring people's understanding, leaving them baffled or bewildered.  Synonym: obfuscation.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Mystification" Quotes from Famous Books



... not have acquired one ell of new territory, or secured any advantage whatever for ourselves. It is for Turkey and the general system of Europe that we are struggling.' In fact, the whole matter always resolves itself into some general mystification, and at this moment we are, every man of us, almost entirely in the dark as to what are the ultimate ...
— Speeches on Questions of Public Policy, Volume 1 • John Bright

... chance to fall in with one of those simple-minded individuals, whose countenances invite mystification, he would steal from him during his sleep his coat and pantaloons, whose dimensions with needle and thread he would contrive greatly to diminish. He would then awaken his victim, begging him to dress himself as soon ...
— The Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine, January 1844 - Volume 23, Number 1 • Various

... of duty they prepared a meal on the shore, and made a pretence of eating it, each for the other's benefit. Stonor did his best to keep up Clare's spirits, while at the same time his own mystification was growing. For in circling the shack he could find no fresh track anywhere into the bush. Tracks there were in plenty, where the man had gone for wood, or to hunt perhaps, but all more than twenty-four hours old. To ...
— The Woman from Outside - [on Swan River] • Hulbert Footner

... he would have been as affable as deep in his heart he wanted to be. A minute passed. It seemed to take a very long time. He tried to resist the inclination to turn his head, but the drawing of curiosity was irresistible. What he saw only added to his general mystification. The slip of paper hung pendulent in Warrington's hand; the other hand was hidden in his beard, while his eyes seemed to be studying seriously the medallion in the Kirmanshah. A fine specimen of a man, mused the consul-general, incredibly wholesome despite his ten years' ...
— Parrot & Co. • Harold MacGrath

... listened to all this in a state of the completest mystification. Not having heard Barnworth's opening statement, he had no glimmer of a suspicion that the cause celebre occupying the attention of this august assembly was anything but a pleasant fiction from beginning to end, ...
— The Master of the Shell • Talbot Baines Reed

... of this place, and other men from the market-town, are doing their utmost; but as yet the result has been only new mystification—new conjecture." ...
— Run to Earth - A Novel • M. E. Braddon

... Gothic Story," was published in 1765.[12] According to the title page, it was translated from the original Italian of Onuphrio Muralto—a sort of half-pun on the author's surname—by W. Marshall, Gent. This mystification was kept up in the preface, which pretended that the book had been printed at Naples in black-letter in 1529, and was found in the library of an old Catholic family in the north of England. In the preface to his second edition Walpole ...
— A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century • Henry A. Beers

... new kind of spy in du Croisier's pay; du Croisier taught him his lesson, set him to track down the noble and beautiful boy through his better qualities, and sardonically prompted him to encourage his victim in his worst faults. Fabien du Ronceret was a sophisticated youth, to whom such a mystification was attractive; he had precisely the keen brain and envious nature which finds in such a pursuit as this the absorbing amusement which a man of an ingenious turn lacks in ...
— The Collection of Antiquities • Honore de Balzac

... Chatterton's life (pp. 573-619). This was reprinted in the edition (1803) of Chatterton's Works by R. Southey and J. Cottle, published for the benefit of the poet's sister. The neglected condition of the study of earlier English in the 18th century alone accounts for the temporary success of Chatterton's mystification. It has long been agreed that Chatterton was solely responsible for the Rowley Poems, but the language and style are analysed in confirmation of this view by Prof. W.W. Skeat in an introductory essay prefaced to vol. ii. of The Poetical Works of Thomas Chatterton (1871) in ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 6, Slice 1 - "Chtelet" to "Chicago" • Various

... was aware that Mrs. Adelaide Curtis, of Albany, was the artist's wife's mother; but then I looked upon the whole address as a mystification, intended especially for myself. I made up my mind, of course, that the box and contents would never get farther north than the studio of my misanthropic friend, in ...
— At Whispering Pine Lodge • Lawrence J. Leslie

... made an excellent breakfast, alone in the sun-bright dining-room. And if at times, as she sat and munched, her look was pensive and remote, this was due less to misgivings than to mystification. ...
— Nobody • Louis Joseph Vance

... from the chain of association. She knew so herself what she thought of Susie that she would have expected the lady of Lancaster Gate to think something quite different; the failure of which endlessly mystified her. But her mystification was the cause for her of another fine impression, inasmuch as when she went so far as to observe to Kate that Susan Shepherd—and especially Susan Shepherd emerging so uninvited from an irrelevant past—ought, by all the proprieties, simply to have bored Aunt Maud, her confidant agreed ...
— The Wings of the Dove, Volume 1 of 2 • Henry James

... called it wrong, likewise the next; thereby completing the mystification of The Roman, who now concentrated his attention on Macnooder and the Tennessee Shad, as being next in order of suspicion. The day ...
— The Varmint • Owen Johnson

... sides, but always with the same result. I was killed instantly and completely. People got sick of putting me out of my misery after a while and I was allowed to wander around at large in a state of great mystification and excitement, shooting my blank bullets into the face of nature in an aimless sort of manner whenever the battle ...
— Biltmore Oswald - The Diary of a Hapless Recruit • J. Thorne Smith, Jr.

... do ye mean, man?" said the captain, angry at the mystification. "I don't know of any Joe Fergusson or any new hands save those I brought on board myself at Gravesend; and there was no one of that name amongst 'em, ...
— Afloat at Last - A Sailor Boy's Log of his Life at Sea • John Conroy Hutcheson

... Parma to be Regent, with the Bishop for her prime minister—had as little reason to be satisfied with the combinations of royal and ecclesiastical intrigue as the Prince of Orange himself. Soon after this unsatisfactory mystification, William turned his attentions to Germany. Anna of Saxony, daughter of the celebrated Elector Maurice, lived at the court of her uncle, the Elector Augustus. A musket-ball, perhaps a traitorous one, in an obscure action ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... blinked in pretended mystification. But he understood perfectly, and he bitterly envied the younger man's knowledge and ability that enabled him to delve into the mysteries of nature which had always been so attractive to his own mind. And somehow, he acquired a sudden deep hatred of the coolly confident young man who ...
— Astounding Stories of Super-Science February 1930 • Various

... cows, are the reverse of, or the negatives of, cups—of symbols that are regularly received somewhere upon this earth—steep, conical hill, somewhere, I think—but that have often alighted in wrong places—considerably to the mystification of persons waking up some morning to find ...
— The Book of the Damned • Charles Fort

... on. To say that Sir William Hamilton, a man of the world with vast experience of human deceptions and intrigues, could have been put off the scent, in view of all the circumstances, is too great a tax on credulity, but it is wholly characteristic of Nelson's ideas of mystification. But even if there were any further proof needed, Lady Hamilton has settled the matter by preserving the correspondence Nelson urged her to destroy. This will ...
— Drake, Nelson and Napoleon • Walter Runciman

... feigned ignorance of the other's engagement; and it was equally desirable that all the marriages should take place on the same day, to prevent the discovery of one clandestine alliance, operating prejudicially on the others. Hence, the mystification of Mr. Calton and Mr. Septimus Hicks, and the pre-engagement of the ...
— Sketches by Boz - illustrative of everyday life and every-day people • Charles Dickens

... the Squire were dumfounded. Their mystification culminated in one grand chorus of amazement when, on Friday, the Squire came to the hotel hugging under ...
— The Tangled Threads • Eleanor H. Porter

... society, before the very eyes and in the high places of those who have hitherto always considered him as a lowly cuss, the Romany realizes far more than the common peasant the contrast-contradiction, or the humor of the drama, its bit of mystification, and especially the mystification of the house-folk. This is unto him the high hour of the soul, and it is not forgotten. It passes unto the golden legends of the heart, and you are tenderly ...
— The Gypsies • Charles G. Leland

... shuffled through the trees until he stood before Diane with a square of birch bark in his hand. Greatly astonished—for this negro was apparently too lazy to talk when he deemed it unnecessary—Diane took the birch bark and inspected it in mystification. A most amazing ...
— Diane of the Green Van • Leona Dalrymple

... draped in violet, which they find some difficulty in satisfactorily accounting for. When two more appear hung with white and gold with a harp and palette at the prows, they grow doubtful, and the entrance of the two last couples, which carry shrines and images, reduces them to hopeless mystification. The Small Boy wishes to know whether anybody will be upset in the water, and being told that this is not a fixture in the entertainment, conceives a poor opinion of the capacity of Mediaeval ...
— Punch Volume 102, May 28, 1892 - or the London Charivari • Various

... But the dedication to which the initials R.P. are affixed, speaks of the book as the work of the writer in the most unmistakeable terms. Was the S. in the place of the P. a typographical error, perpetuated by carelessness and oversight; or a mystification of the author, adopted when the success of the book was uncertain, and continued after the dedication had contradicted it, by that want of attention to minutiae which was more frequently manifest in former ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 62, January 4, 1851 • Various

... in on the way a nice batch of velvet duck, noticeable for their extremely large, oval, elevated, scarlet nostrils; we have shot at seals, and almost hit them in the most admirable manner; we have hunted for an indubitable polar bear,—and found a dog and a midnight mystification; we have played at chess, euchre, backgammon, whist, debating-club, story-telling, nightmare,—one of our number developing an incomparable genius for the last; we have played at getting tolerable cooking out of two slovens, one of whom knows nothing, ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 88, February, 1865 • Various

... the men on board, also, had discovered the perfect uselessness of the signals of distress which had excited their sympathy; and their indignation was great at what they considered a stupid mystification. They surrounded the sailor with a threatening air, while he struggled in the captain's hand, and cried ...
— The Clique of Gold • Emile Gaboriau

... frontier, with the gunners sitting on their guns in open trucks in the sunshine, the trains were loudly cheered by the French who, in that part of the country, had seen few of the sights of war. Once in Italy the official attempts at mystification mystified nobody. The engine-drivers at Modane hoisted Union Jacks on their engines and kept them flying all the way. Everyone knew who we were and where we were going, and at every station where the trains stopped there were official welcomes and immense crowds cheering like mad. ...
— With British Guns in Italy - A Tribute to Italian Achievement • Hugh Dalton

... be mastered very easily by a little painstaking practice, and much amusement may be had through the mystification of those who do not understand it. A "wigwag" flag may be easily made by sewing a white square of muslin in the centre of ...
— A Gunner Aboard the "Yankee" • Russell Doubleday

... studies of nature, cannot fairly be censured on this head. Like fairy tales they have a place of their own in art. One of the prettiest of these is Les Dames Vertes, in which the fable seems to lead us over the borders of the supernatural; but the secret of the mystification, well kept till the last, is itself so pleasing and original that the reader has no disappointing sense as of having had a hoax ...
— Famous Women: George Sand • Bertha Thomas

... instance, one of the dangers of a democracy be more clearly and ill-naturedly put than by his statement, that the whole science of government in what are called free states, is getting to be a strife in mystification, in which the great secret is to persuade the governed that he is in fact the governor? His books, moreover, while they reflect his prejudices, show an honest desire to be just. He undoubtedly preferred the Continent to England. But in his account ...
— James Fenimore Cooper - American Men of Letters • Thomas R. Lounsbury

... drafts from Eastern periodicals, and he had touched these with reverent hands: but two thousand dollars in a lump from one of the best-known publishers in the country staggered Amzi. To add to his mystification, half the amount plus one cent, to-wit, $1057.58, was immediately transferred to Thomas Kirkwood's account, and this left Amzi away up in the air. Just what right Tom Kirkwood had to participate in Nan's earnings Amzi did not know, nor did he see immediately ...
— Otherwise Phyllis • Meredith Nicholson

... very full of books, and grinding and pressing down the great accumulation of grapes that it had gathered from so many vineyards, and squeezing out rich viscid juices,—potent wine,—with which the reader might get drunk. Some of it, moreover, seemed, for the further mystification of the officer, to be written in cipher; a needless precaution, it might seem, when the writer's natural chirography was so full of ...
— Septimius Felton - or, The Elixir of Life • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... a corner was a small brush bearing traces of luminous paint, and in a heap of rubbish I discerned the very lid of a small tin of that effective spiritualistic medium. No further proof was needed. By lucky chance I discovered what appeared to be a clue to the reason of all this mystification. Loosened stones in the chimney and by the hearth suggested that a search had been made for something supposed to be hidden in the hut. The spiritual visitor had evidently been bent upon seizing the material ...
— Up in Ardmuirland • Michael Barrett

... of mirth-satyrs and follies, clowns and devils wheeled wildly by, waving torches, clashing cymbals, or screaming at the top of their voices, while sedater spirits, masked and muffled in mantles of sombre hue, moved through the tumultuous throng and found their abated pleasure in mystification and intrigues. ...
— If I Were King • Justin Huntly McCarthy

... variety in her eyes, and entertained her greatly. Where the bounds of banter ended, was not easy to define, but whenever he tried a little mystification, she either entered merrily into the humour, or threw it over with keen wit that he kept constantly on the stretch. They were always discovering odd, unexpected bits of knowledge in each other, and a great deal more accordance in views ...
— The Daisy Chain, or Aspirations • Charlotte Yonge

... secret, through the unveiling of which they would be more admired, or less esteemed, and which they well know how to hide under the subtle smile of an almost imperceptible mockery. Delighting in the pleasure of mystification, from the most spiritual or comic to the most bitter and melancholy, they may perhaps find in this deceptive raillery an external formula of disdain for the veiled expression of the superiority which they internally claim, but which claim they veil with the caution and astuteness natural ...
— Life of Chopin • Franz Liszt

... lingo, compounded of bad French, grafted upon worse Latin, forming a mongrel and incomprehensible race of words, with French heads and Latin tails, which answered the purpose intended—that of mystification.—Flotsam and jetsam are of this breed. Flot, derived from the French flottant, floating; and jet from the verb jeter, to throw up; both used in seignoral rights, granted by kings to favourites, empowering them to take possession of the property of any man who might happen to ...
— Newton Forster • Frederick Marryat

... (first series of Poems and Ballads), Verlaine (Parallelement), and Pierre Louys (Chansons de Bilitis). The last-named book, a collection of homosexual prose-poems, attracted considerable attention on publication, as it was an attempt at mystification, being put forward as a translation of the poems of a newly discovered Oriental Greek poetess; Bilitis (more usually Beltis) is the Syrian name for Aphrodite. Les Chansons de Bilitis are not without charm, but have been severely dealt with by Wilamowitz-Moellendorff ...
— Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 2 (of 6) • Havelock Ellis

... Monsieur de Pepicot was a stranger to me, how I had never spoken to him before yesterday, how I knew nothing of his business, and so forth. Of course I said nothing of his midnight walk or of having conversed with him at all after going to bed. The Count's mystification and annoyance were manifest, the more so when, after some time, the servants returned to say that the missing man could not be found. When he had heard their report, the Count was ...
— The Bright Face of Danger • Robert Neilson Stephens

... distasteful, so Melicent would not burden herself with the suspicion. It was far more agreeable to believe that affairs were shaping themselves according to her wishes regarding her brother and her friend. Yet her mystification was in no wise made clearer, when David left them to go ...
— At Fault • Kate Chopin

... long and bitter hostility to ourselves, to France and Holland, and her close alliance with Turkey, Persia, etc., etc. Just at this moment, apprehension of Russia causes her to dilate a little more than usual on the encouragement of liberty; but it is a mystification that can deceive no one of the least observation. Of whatever sins England is to be accused, as a nation, she cannot be accused of that of political propagandism. Even her own recent progress in liberty has been the ...
— A Residence in France - With An Excursion Up The Rhine, And A Second Visit To Switzerland • J. Fenimore Cooper

... saw McClellan sweeping toward it from the Chickahominy, when senators and clergymen gathered with the slaves to raise the breastworks, and men turned blankly to ask one another "Where is the army?" With the girl the question meant only mystification; she felt none of the white terror that showed in the faces round her. There was in her heart an unquestioning, childlike trust in the God of battles—sooner or later he would declare for the Confederacy and until then—well, there was always General Lee to stand between. Her chief ...
— The Battle Ground • Ellen Glasgow

... and physical ideas, such application of moral conceptions to material phenomena, was characteristic of the alchemical method of regarding nature. The necessary results were; great confusion of thought, much mystification of ideas, and a superabundance of ...
— The Story of Alchemy and the Beginnings of Chemistry • M. M. Pattison Muir

... and she'll be right.... Was that her voice?..." A sound had come from the cottage. Keziah might be wanted. She wished the farmer good-night; and he drove off, no longer mystified, but dumfoundered with what had removed his mystification. ...
— When Ghost Meets Ghost • William Frend De Morgan

... The mystification of Fergus was now complete. Unimaginative as he was by practice and profession, he had an explanation a minute until the time was up, when the truth beat them all for wild improbability. Macbean had risen, lifting the lamp; holding it on high he led the way through baize doors into the banking ...
— Stingaree • E. W. (Ernest William) Hornung

... the outer ribs of the board and the sides of the vehicle. To this he added a roll of rag carpet, the end of which hung from the tailboard, and a roll of pink calico temptingly displayed on the seat. The mystification and curiosity of the young girl grew more intense at these proceedings. It looked like the ordinary exhibition of a traveling peddler, but the gloomy and embattled appearance of the man himself scouted so peaceful and commonplace a suggestion. Under the pretense ...
— Susy, A Story of the Plains • Bret Harte

... question lying on the writing-table, a little crumpled from use, but with a certain "displayed-headed" article of three columns' length in full view, he turned round and stared at Cleek with an air of awe and mystification. "My dear fellow, you must be under the guardianship of some uncanny familiar. You surely must, Cleek!" he went on. "Do you mean to tell me that is what kept you at home? That you have been reading about the preparations for the forthcoming ...
— Cleek, the Master Detective • Thomas W. Hanshew

... which paralyzes my vocal cords. However, I got out of this scrape, and many times afterward when I chanced with other operators to meet some of the young ladies on their way home from school, they would smile and nod, much to the mystification of the operators, who were ignorant of ...
— Edison, His Life and Inventions • Frank Lewis Dyer and Thomas Commerford Martin

... their readers with a little more outward respect, however much they may mislead them with falsehoods. Your London and Paris publics are not to be dealt with as if composed of credulous old women, but require something like a plausible mystification to throw dust in their eyes. They have a remarkable proneness to believe that which they wish, it is true; but, beyond that weakness, some limits are placed to their faith and appearances must be a good ...
— The Crater • James Fenimore Cooper

... that's your part," answered Wyndham, enjoying his mystification. "S'posing we go for the old game—'Hot boiled beans and very good butter'? Hallo!" The smile died from his face as his glance went to the roadway. "Here are some of your lot! They haven't got wind of our ...
— The Hero of Garside School • J. Harwood Panting

... infirmity of a pose which is impressive only by its correctness; he may be cynical, if the cynicism is wholly free from emphasis; he may be ironical, if the irony is sufficiently disguised; he may mystify his fellows, if he keeps the pleasure of mystification for his private amusement. Should he happen to be an artist, he must appear to be only a dilettante. He must never incur ridicule, and yet his whole ...
— A History of French Literature - Short Histories of the Literatures of the World: II. • Edward Dowden

... thy sacrilege," was the prompt and forcible reply. "Osiris with chin in hand and a look of mystification on his brow, pondering over the misdeeds of a soul! Mystification on Osiris! And with that, thou didst affront the sacred walls of the royal tomb and call it the Judgment of the Dead. Not one law of the sculptor's ritual but thou hadst broken, ...
— The Yoke - A Romance of the Days when the Lord Redeemed the Children - of Israel from the Bondage of Egypt • Elizabeth Miller

... In ghastly mystification, the two watchers stared at the last weird gleams that marked the foundered schooner. The waves reached the dinghy, raised it and dropped it with a slow gurgling, then died away in firefly glimmers. ...
— The Cruise of the Dry Dock • T. S. Stribling

... The originals are again lost; should the passages in question really be underlined, it would follow that Boswell was not unintentionally or unconsciously ridiculous; that all his life he practised an elaborate mystification; that he succeeded in hoodwinking the world; that he enlightened Temple alone, who nevertheless appears to have treated him as though he were what the world took him for; and that Francis, who saw these underlined manuscripts, and ...
— Pot-Boilers • Clive Bell

... pole and announcing the results, to the mystification of Joe, who could not comprehend their intimate knowledge of the bottom of ...
— The Cruise of the Dazzler • Jack London

... to the coast of Guiana. Nothing, it may confidently be asserted, was ever farther from his thoughts than the surrender of territory he might appropriate to any foreign Crown. All simply was a game of mystification devised for one purpose by Winwood, and, for a different purpose, joined in by James and the rest. The Spanish faction wished to give Spain cause to fancy its foe was being unchained to do his worst ...
— Sir Walter Ralegh - A Biography • William Stebbing

... replied Robert with equal composure, though he felt inclined to laugh at Playdon's mystification. "I only wished to secure a sufficient number of witnesses for a verbal declaration. When I have a few minutes to spare I will affix a legal notice on the wall in front ...
— The Wings of the Morning • Louis Tracy

... as well he did so; the evidence is too clear for doubt or mystification; he knew he had no chance, and has taken the seemliest course; and, doubtless, the best for his ...
— The Evil Guest • J. Sheridan Le Fanu

... than you and I have, remains yet to be proved, and, indeed, does not much matter for the understanding of the rest of Mrs. B.'s adventures. And though people will say that Bluebeard's settlement of his whole fortune on his wife, in event of survivorship, was a mere act of absurd mystification, seeing that he was fully determined to cut her head off after the honeymoon, yet the best test of his real intentions is the profound grief which the widow manifested for his death, and the fact that he left her mighty well to do ...
— Stories of Comedy • Various

... sprang to his feet. Queen of Heaven! the girl was real. She had stepped from the page of an old romance into life and laughter, wearing for the mystification of chance beholders, an old-time gown of gold brocade! The mystery of her gown, the river setting, the laughing sweetness of her face, rooted him to the spot in wonder and delight. He knew every subtlety of her coloring in one glance. Her soft ...
— Kenny • Leona Dalrymple

... to see that Japp had not suffocated himself, then shut up the store, and went back to my room to think out this new mystification. ...
— Prester John • John Buchan

... rendered harsh by mystification and foreboding, "tell me what you're talking about. Come to the ...
— Lifted Masks - Stories • Susan Glaspell

... up that morning, and much to the mystification of his companions he had been working since daybreak in a thicket of young timber not far behind the camp. Just as the tent was being rolled up he made his appearance with a lurking smile on his face, and under ...
— Canoe Boys and Campfires - Adventures on Winding Waters • William Murray Graydon

... French MS. (Z), generally termed Tornaesianus from its owner, Jean de Tournes, a printer of Lyons, probably identical with No. 492 in the old Cluny catalogue, used by Turnebus, Lambinus and Bosius. A strange mystification was practised by the last named, a scholar of singular brilliancy, who claimed to have a mutilated MS. which he called his Decurtatus, bought from a common soldier who had obtained it from a sacked monastery; also to have been furnished by a friend, Pierre de Crouzeil, ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 6, Slice 3 - "Chitral" to "Cincinnati" • Various

... and soberer part of the afternoon the phrenologist had skilfully steered his way by the safe stars of flattery. Now, as he ran his hands uncertainly through the miner's thick hair, a look of mystification crept into his bleary eyes. ...
— Gold • Stewart White

... and his character as involved in this matter, the fact is beyond dispute that he believed himself the father, and Lady Hamilton the mother, of the girl, whose origin he sought to conceal by an elaborate though clumsy system of mystification. This might possibly have left the subject covered with clouds, though not greatly in doubt, had not Lady Hamilton, after wildly unnecessary lying on her own part, recklessly preserved her holdings of a correspondence which Nelson ...
— The Life of Nelson, Vol. II. (of 2) - The Embodiment of the Sea Power of Great Britain • A. T. (Alfred Thayer) Mahan

... Borrow himself thrown such a needless mystery around it. In considering any matter in connexion with Borrow it is always necessary to take into account the secretiveness of his disposition, and also his passion for posing. He had a child’s fondness for the wonderful. It is through his own love of mystification that students like Dr. Knapp must needs pry into these matters—must needs ask why Borrow drew the veil over seven years—must needs ask whether during the “veiled period” he led a life of squalid misery, compared with which his sojourn with Isopel Berners in Mumpers’ Dingle ...
— Old Familiar Faces • Theodore Watts-Dunton

... worm taught the wisdom of remaining in bed until a later hour. Then an illustration may be even less clear than the argument to be illustrated. We have heard scientific illustrations of this character, from which the hearer derived a supplementary dose of mystification rather than an elucidation of the problem with which he was already manfully grappling. An illustration may be too pathetic, and people may weep from the wrong cause, an event which often occurs in church. ...
— The Message and the Man: - Some Essentials of Effective Preaching • J. Dodd Jackson

... countess, retreating into her bedroom. "Can it be that I am the victim of some noble mystification?" she asked herself. The thought had hardly crossed her mind when Constantin brought her the following letter written by ...
— Paz - (La Fausse Maitresse) • Honore de Balzac

... was now settled in that city. Yes! she had met a Mr Judge. Robert Judge, was it not? Her husband knew him quite well. He had dined at their house. Quite a dear man. She had heard of his marriage, "but"—here came a look of mystification—"to a young wife; ...
— The Independence of Claire • Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

... The cardinal is not the man to forget a mystification until he has settled account with the mystifier; and the mystifier appears to me to have the air of being a certain young ...
— The Three Musketeers • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... was a real Colonel Clay, in the Indian Army. I also found out he chanced to be coming home on leave this season. I might have made more out of him, no doubt; but I disliked annoying him, and preferred to give myself the fun of this peculiar mystification. I therefore waited for him to reach Paris, where the police arrangements suited me better than in London. While I was looking about, and delaying operations for his return, I happened to hear you wanted a detective. So I offered myself as out of work ...
— An African Millionaire - Episodes in the Life of the Illustrious Colonel Clay • Grant Allen

... and mistaking mystification for mastery, enters the fog of dilettantism, and, graduating connoisseur, ends its days in a bewilderment of bric-a-brac ...
— The Gentle Art of Making Enemies • James McNeill Whistler

... were most interesting. There was a box of aerial bombs, which Godfrey turned over to Simmonds with the injunction to go and amuse himself. For Sylvester's contemplation and further confusion were the gloves with which Silva had managed his parlour mystification scheme, six pairs of them; and there was also the very simple apparatus with which the finger-print reproductions had been made—an apparatus, as Godfrey had suggested, similar in every way to that used for making rubber stamps. There, too, ...
— The Gloved Hand • Burton E. Stevenson

... eyes; one said, Is this a joke, and, if so, where is the point of it? And then, as if not content with so much mystification, Mr. Whistler assured his ten o'clock audience that there was no such thing as nationality in art, and that you might as well speak of English mathematics as of English art. We do not stop to inquire if such answers contain one grain of truth; we ...
— Modern Painting • George Moore

... his three years' probation, run away is indisputable. His mother was living at Chester, and the calf was not killed for this prodigal son; but he had liberty given him to wander about Wales on an allowance of a guinea a week. That there is some mystery, or mystification, about all this is nearly certain. If things really went as he represents them, his mother ought to have been ashamed of herself, and his guardians ought to have had, to say the least, an experience of the roughest ...
— Essays in English Literature, 1780-1860 • George Saintsbury

... of the underworld itself; but he found his way around easily enough in daylight, and had his labor for his pains. For when he went back to the hotel at the luncheon-hour he brought little with him save a stench in his nostrils and a slightly increased fund of mystification. Gryson had disappeared as completely as if the earth had opened and swallowed him. And Blount knew the disappearance was real, because the ward-heeler's own henchmen were searching ...
— The Honorable Senator Sage-Brush • Francis Lynde

... no less interesting symptom that the State Church seems more and more anxious to repudiate all complicity with the principles of the Protestant Reformation and to call itself "Anglo-Catholic." Inspiration, deprived of its old intelligible sense, is watered down into a mystification. The Scriptures are, indeed, inspired; but they contain a wholly undefined and indefinable "human element"; and this unfortunate intruder is converted into a sort of biblical whipping-boy. Whatsoever scientific investigation, historical or physical, ...
— Lectures and Essays • Thomas Henry Huxley

... alarmed them. But in his old high-handed, secret way the Admiral told them nothing; he even took away from the other captains all the charts that they had made of this coast, so that no one but himself would be able to find the way back to it; and he took a kind of pleasure in the complete mystification thus produced on his fellow-voyagers. "None of them could explain whither I went nor whence I came; they did not know the way to return thither," he ...
— Christopher Columbus, Complete • Filson Young

... the last with unconscious pathos in her tones, but in his increasing interest and mystification the man who called himself "Botts" was unaware of it. What on earth could she mean about L day, and if she were running away why did she appear so serenely unconcerned about the future as her ...
— Anything Once • Douglas Grant

... for a brother tar, though a passenger, and a due respect is paid to Neptune in answering his inquiries, while half the time the maiden traveller meets with a grave equivoque, a marvel, or a downright mystification. ...
— Homeward Bound - or, The Chase • James Fenimore Cooper

... mother as they came together over the lawn, and felt it rest upon her mother and Sir Basil steadily and somberly, while they sat about the tea-table. The long drive, Sir Basil's radiance, her mother's serenity, how must they look to Imogen? Jack could conjecture, though knowing, for his own bitter mystification, that what they looked like was perhaps not what they meant. Imogen must be truly at bay, and he felt a cruel satisfaction in the thought of her hidden, her gnawing anxiety. He was aware of every ring of falsity in her placid voice and of every flash of fierceness under the steeled calmness ...
— A Fountain Sealed • Anne Douglas Sedgwick

... Miss Tonker, with a gaze of mingled amazement, mystification, and contempt, at the poor old maiden ...
— The Other Girls • Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney

... parabola, struck its subjective with fearful impact, Sir," replied the bad boy imperturbably, misquoting from his latest fiction (and calling it a "parry-bowler," to "Grandfather's" considerable and very natural mystification). ...
— Snake and Sword - A Novel • Percival Christopher Wren

... the outcome of this, her first step in the meadows of meditation, which she took without help and without intention, and in which she has become so versed, to the mystification of those about her, who look upon woman as a bearer of children, a plaything for sunny hours, useful in time of rain, endowed with the brain of a pea-hen, and as much soul as the priests see fit to mete ...
— Desert Love • Joan Conquest

... could these bloody proceedings be reconciled with the terms of capitulation which had been already granted? If we may believe Cromwell's official account, a matchless specimen of craft and mystification, he was not to blame that they had been broken. He was perfectly innocent of all that had happened. Could he not then have ordered his men to keep within the castle, or have recalled them when they forced an entrance into the town? Undoubtedly ...
— The History of England from the First Invasion by the Romans - to the Accession of King George the Fifth - Volume 8 • John Lingard and Hilaire Belloc

... conceal it, overlaid by all sorts of cryptic sentences and self-deprecatory phrases, half hidden by the protective coloring taken on by a sensitive mind commonly employing paradox and delighting in perverse and teasing mystification. One can never be sure what the book means; but taken at its face value the Education seems to be the story of a man who regarded life from the outside, as a spectator at the play, a play in ...
— Modern American Prose Selections • Various

... these pieces were, in manuscript, in this volume, and as there were circumstances of mystification attendant upon their prior publication, what does the captain do but claim them all, Songs of Zion and sentimental ballad alike, as Marvell's. This of course brought the critics, ever anxious to air their erudition, ...
— Andrew Marvell • Augustine Birrell

... in many things mistaken and wrong-headed was strictly incomprehensible to him, and from this angle the curious relations which existed between him and Dr Richard Garnett of the British Museum are of uncommon interest. They afford a strange example of mutual mystification. ...
— Aspects of Literature • J. Middleton Murry

... affectionate family, in fact. The sort of thing I don't want is the Athanasian Creed. I can't regard it simply as a picturesque monument of ancient and ferocious piety. It seems to me an overhanging cloud of menace and mystification! It doesn't hurt the unintelligent Christian, of course—he simply doesn't understand it; but to the moderately intelligent it is like a dog barking furiously which may possibly get loose; a little more intelligence, and it is all right. You know the dog is safely tied up! Again, I don't mind the ...
— Father Payne • Arthur Christopher Benson

... mingled with a very deep and heartfelt affection for us, and with a vehement, feverish devotion when either of us was ill. And this woman possessed an energetic character, a force of will, a skill in mystification, to which nothing can be compared. Yes, yes, all those frightful secrets kept under lock and key, hidden, buried deep in her own heart, so that neither our eyes, nor our ears, nor our powers of observation ever detected aught amiss, even in her hysterical attacks, when nothing escaped ...
— Germinie Lacerteux • Edmond and Jules de Goncourt

... say paanengro-gujo means sailor, or water gentile, another Gipsy would say it means an Irishman, or potato gentile; another would say poovengri-gujo meant a sailor; another would say it means an Irishman. They glory in contradictions and mystification. I was at an encampment a few days ago, and out of the twenty-five men and women and forty children there were not three that could talk Romany, and there was not one who could spell a single word of it. Their language, like themselves, was ...
— Gipsy Life - being an account of our Gipsies and their children • George Smith

... events, the party of Order converted this bloodless battle into a second Austerlitz. Tribune and press lauded the army as the power of order against the popular multitude, and the impotence of anarchy; and Changarnier as the "bulwark of society"—a mystification that he finally believed in himself. Underhand, however, the corps that seemed doubtful were removed from Paris; the regiments whose suffrage had turned out most democratic were banished from France to Algiers the restless heads among the troops were consigned to penal quarters; finally, ...
— The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte • Karl Marx

... appearing to my mind to be an invention of the learned to mystify this poor world, I was not sorry to see my uncle suffering the pangs of mystification. At least, so it seemed to me, judging from his fingers, which were beginning to work ...
— A Journey to the Interior of the Earth • Jules Verne

... from instruments, played in the next room, to the lyre through a steel rod. The young man spent much time experimenting with the transmission of sound. Having conveyed music through the steel rod to his enchanted lyre, much to the mystification of the Londoners, he proposed to transmit sounds over a considerable distance by this method. He estimated that sound could be sent through steel rods at the rate of two hundred miles a second and suggested the use of such a rod as a telegraph between London and ...
— Masters of Space - Morse, Thompson, Bell, Marconi, Carty • Walter Kellogg Towers

... monstrous mystification for the lady of honor, who told Boehmer to instantly go and see his official superior, the chief of the king's household. She herself being very soon afterwards summoned to the Queen's presence, the affair came up, and she told ...
— The Humbugs of the World • P. T. Barnum

... painted card; then for a moment they stood side by side, gazing round the room, seeing in imagination the scene which would follow the return of the family from church . . . the incredulity, the amaze, the blind mystification, the joy. . . . Peg beamed in anticipation of the delight of the youngsters; Margaret had the strangest, eeriest feeling of looking straight into a sweet, worn face; of feeling the clasp of work-worn hands. It was imagination, she told herself, ...
— The Empire Annual for Girls, 1911 • Various

... hour's chat in the actor's big, comfortable library Mr. Southard proposed that they call upon Mr. Forest that morning. Miss Pierson had written Miss Harlowe about the part, he declared, to the complete mystification of both Kathleen and Evelyn. He was glad Miss Ward had been able to come. He was sure she would be exactly suited to the part in "The Reckoning." Kathleen managed to shoot a warning glance at Evelyn not to betray herself. Later, by adroitly questioning Anne, she managed ...
— Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus • Jessie Graham Flower

... Far indeed went he in his bitter defiance of High God! His attendants looked on in frightened mystification at the changes now preparing in the inner of the two up-stairs rooms in which their master had been wont to work. Some simple carpentry; a large number of unusual articles commanded from Moscow: one, more expensive than ...
— The Genius • Margaret Horton Potter

... to themselves what they knew, and to resort to all kinds of stratagems to avoid making any disclosure, were certainly no less pleased at being rid of the secret; now they could talk freely to their heart's content. If we had previously had to resort to mystification, there was now nothing to prevent our laying our cards on the table. So many a conversation had come to a standstill because those who had a number of questions to ask did not dare to put them, and those who could have told ...
— The South Pole, Volumes 1 and 2 • Roald Amundsen

... "We have got up a little mystification," she said after a pause, "and I am sure I can trust you; besides, you don't know the parties. There is a gentleman here who is supposed to be with his regiment at Moscow; but there is a sweetheart in the case, and you know when there ...
— Condemned as a Nihilist - A Story of Escape from Siberia • George Alfred Henty

... fear of his sarcasms prevented Dr Johnson from hearing one literal version during his whole sojourn in the Highlands. Sir Walter Scott wished that somebody might have the manliness to recover Highland poetry from the mystification of paraphrase or imposture, and to present it genuine to the English reader. In that spirit we promise to execute our task; and we shall rejoice if even a very moderate degree of success should attend our endeavours to obtain for the sister muse some share ...
— The Modern Scottish Minstrel , Volume I. - The Songs of Scotland of the past half century • Various

... of the inconsistency of arousing Arjuna to the mighty activities of the battle-field, and at the same time indoctrinating him in the spirit of a dead and nerveless asceticism, struggles hard with the awkward task of bridging the illogical chasm with three chapters of mystification. ...
— Oriental Religions and Christianity • Frank F. Ellinwood

... dripping and his nose in the trough—his plate I should say. You could hear him chew across the room. Suddenly, however, he ceased eating and began to pour forth an account of his day's observation; in response to which M. Fontenette, to my amused mystification, led us all in the interest with which we listened. The Baron forgot his food, and when reminded of it, pushed it away with a grunt and talked on and on, while we almost forgot ...
— Strong Hearts • George W. Cable

... loved him, Borachio. But if Theobald's emendation be received, difficulties still remain. Margaret must have been persuaded to answer to the name of Hero. After Borachio's arrest he tells us that Margaret wore Hero's garments. But Shakespeare, deserting Spenser, from whom this mystification appears to be borrowed, gives no reason which induced ...
— More Pages from a Journal • Mark Rutherford

... never, ah never more be put together again. I have, dear Miss Wenham," Granger went on, happy himself in his extravagance, which was yet all sincere, and happier still in her deep but altogether pleased mystification—"I've found, do you know, just the thing one has ever heard of that you most resemble. You're the Sleeping Beauty in ...
— Some Short Stories • Henry James

... of the process from the cane to the crystal lest the sucrose should invert to the less sweet and non-crystallizable glucose. He has tested with polarized light every shipment of sugar that has passed through the custom house, much to the mystification of congressmen who have often wondered at the money and argumentation expended in a tariff discussion over the question of the precise angle of rotation of the plane of vibration of infinitesimal waves ...
— Creative Chemistry - Descriptive of Recent Achievements in the Chemical Industries • Edwin E. Slosson

... the receipt was the only one of the kind he had seen in the course of a long experience.) Very much surprised was the old lady, of whom I made the purchase in my capacity of stage-manager, at so uncommon a customer in her line of business; and when, after enjoying her mystification for some time, I let her into the secret, so delighted was she at the notion, that she gave me sundry hints as to the management of the female toilet, and offered to get made up for me any dresses that might be required. So I introduced Leicester and his fellow-heroines to my friend Mrs ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 54, No. 338, December 1843 • Various

... accent of the most utter surprise and mystification. "Good Heavens, no! What has come to the child? Oh!"—(with a little look of dawning intelligence)—"I see! You mean, do not you smite them too much? Are not you sometimes a little too hard ...
— Nancy - A Novel • Rhoda Broughton

... [A well-known teacher of singing and writer on music (1807-88); collaborator of the Neue Zeitschrift.] letter, in your last number, must be regarded as a mystification. In the first few lines a glaring falsehood, founded on facts, is conspicuous, for the Societe de Ste. Cecile has been in existence for years, and was formerly [1848-54] conducted by Seghers [Pupil of Baillot (1801-81)]—not ...
— Letters of Franz Liszt, Volume 1, "From Paris to Rome: - Years of Travel as a Virtuoso" • Franz Liszt; Letters assembled by La Mara and translated

... choice—which he had successfully done half an hour before I myself made my way up the Passage Corneille—I would pass out of her life for ever. This she could not endure. Life at once would become intolerable. And, aided and abetted by Rochez and Leah, she had planned and contrived my mystification and won me by foul means, since she could not do so by fair; and it seemed as if her volubility then was the forecast of what my life with her would be in the future. Talk! Talk! Talk! She ...
— Castles in the Air • Baroness Emmuska Orczy

... along with the military array of the tribe. Observing that they were making preparations for an engagement, she inquired the reason, and, after some attempt at mystification on the part of the sheikh, was informed that war had been declared against the tribe on account of its alliance with the English princess, and they were consequently exposed to attack by a highly superior force. The sheikh contrived to let Lady ...
— Celebrated Women Travellers of the Nineteenth Century • W. H. Davenport Adams

... rate, it seemed to Patty the funniest show she had ever seen, and she couldn't help laughing. The man didn't seem to mind, however, and after he had bowed silently for a moment or two with great enjoyment of their mystification, he pulled off his astonishing head-gear and disclosed ...
— Patty's Summer Days • Carolyn Wells

... time they came laden with a wonderful assortment. Coffee, sugar, condensed milk, canned corned beef, potted ham, canned corn and tomatoes, some flour and yeast powders, a skillet or two, the coffee pot, some cups, dishes, etc., and these, too, were placed close to the ambulance, to Kate's entire mystification; and then, sending Jim down for another little load, Pike set to work to build a tiny fire far back in a cleft ...
— Sunset Pass - or Running the Gauntlet Through Apache Land • Charles King

... rule. Habit no doubt counts for a great deal, but apart from habit there are differences of temperament and peculiar sensibilities. Some men write best when they sign what they write; they find impersonality a mystification and an incumbrance; anonymity makes them stiff, pompous, and over-magisterial. With others, however, the effect is just the reverse. If they sign, they become self-conscious, stilted, and even pretentious; it is only when they are anonymous that they recover ...
— Studies in Literature • John Morley

... tore open the letter and scanned it. His brows contracted in astonished mystification, then slowly ...
— The Lighted Match • Charles Neville Buck

... Ellen was telling them something about the picture of the white-satin lady, and mamma said, "Oh, if it is only that young man, no doubt it is a mere mystification;" and papa said, "Poor young fellow, he seems very amiable and well disposed;" and mamma said, "If he can invent such a story it shows that Horace was right, and he is not to be believed." Then they stopped, ...
— Chantry House • Charlotte M. Yonge

... him. The lion-hunters hoped that Beardsley would be like his drawings. Strange, decadent, morbid, bizarre, weird, were adjectives bestowed upon them, and he played up to the adjectives for the edification or mystification of the people who invented them and for his own infinite amusement. But with us he did not have to play up to anything and could be just the simple, natural youth he was—as simple and natural as I have always found the ...
— Nights - Rome, Venice, in the Aesthetic Eighties; London, Paris, in the Fighting Nineties • Elizabeth Robins Pennell

... own old twenty-five tin of purely popular cigarettes; there were a few in it still, but between the cigarettes were jammed lumps of sugar wadded with cotton-wool. I saw Raffles weighing the lot in his hand with subtle satisfaction. But the clerk saw merely the mystification which he ...
— A Thief in the Night • E. W. Hornung

... again. If Mr. Malthus had frequented the place for two years there could be little danger for the Prince in a single evening. But Geraldine was none the less astonished, and began to suspect a mystification. ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 4 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... after all, that you should go away, Stuart," she announced with a calm abruptness to Farquaharson's complete mystification. "Last night I was in the grip of something like hysteria, I think. Perhaps I'm still young enough to be influenced by such things ...
— The Tyranny of Weakness • Charles Neville Buck

... to add that if Mrs. Limbert was not directly illuminating she was yet rich in anecdote and example, having found a refuge from mystification exactly where the rest of us had found it, in a more devoted embrace and the sense of a finer glory. Her disappointments and eventually her privations had been many, her discipline severe; but she had ended by accepting the long grind of life and was ...
— Embarrassments • Henry James

... charlatanism of necromancy effected a thousand years ago, was now effected by the charlatanism of genius. If I had seen the Prussian troops only at Potsdam, I should probably have mistaken the truncheon for a talisman, like the rest of the world. But the field suffers no mystification. I had seen that the true secret of this great tactician, for such unquestionably he was, consisted in his rejecting the superfluities and retaining the substance; in reducing tactics to the ready application of force, and in simplifying ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 347, September, 1844 • Various

... have become naturalized—may be divided into several categories. First, there are the publicistes, occupied in scratching the pimples of the body politic. From these pimples they extract a book which is a mystification. Not far removed from the publicistes are the chief managing editors and proprietors general, big wigs who sometimes become prefects, receivers general, or theatrical directors. The type of this class is glory's porter, speculation's ...
— Balzac • Frederick Lawton

... ought not to be numerous," said Fritz; "I will, therefore, take Willis, in case this mystification has anything to ...
— Willis the Pilot • Paul Adrien

... colonel, without waiting to question further, and as the trumpet gave out the "Forward—gallop!" the Hussar troop went sweeping through the gate, leaving the guard-sergeant and his men in a state of great mystification and no little chagrin; he, their chief spokesman, saying with ...
— The Free Lances - A Romance of the Mexican Valley • Mayne Reid

... be talking merely for the sake of mystification," said Brain. "If you have any practical advice to give you might ...
— The Man Who Knew Too Much • G.K. Chesterton

... madam,' said Mr Meagles, at great pains to restrain himself, 'I hope I may, without offence, ask to have no such mystification played off upon me.' 'Mama Meagles,' observed Mrs Gowan, 'your good man ...
— Little Dorrit • Charles Dickens

... were ill, or had a secret to confide, or a favour to request, they betook themselves to the heedless Mollie, rather than to herself. Dearly as she loved her sister, Ruth felt a little rankling of soreness mingling with her mystification. She did not yet realise the magic power which cheerfulness wields in this world, or the charm of a sunny face and a ready rippling laugh. Hearts turn to the sun as instinctively as plants, and forgive much for the sake of the warmth ...
— The Fortunes of the Farrells • Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

... been at war with the English constitution. First of all they captured the King; then they vanquished the House of Commons; now they have laid siege to the House of Lords. But here the fallacy of their grand scheme of political mystification begins to develop itself. Had, indeed, their new constituency, as they have long impudently pretended, really been 'the people,' a struggle between such a body and the House of Lords would have been brief but final. The absurdity of supposing that a ...
— Sketches • Benjamin Disraeli

... Agnes Walters and Edna Hayden were discussing the matter in great mystification in ...
— Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1896 to 1901 • Lucy Maud Montgomery

... and in two hours the summer night would be past. After that, further mystification as to our course would be impossible; but could we hold on till then, with half a gale of wind behind us, we should be well over to the Dutch side, and clear at any rate of the mutinous atmosphere which infected Yarmouth ...
— Kilgorman - A Story of Ireland in 1798 • Talbot Baines Reed

... next proof (so called), though not so amusing, is equally decisive of the mystification of the Commissioners. A deaf and dumb lad, eighteen years of age, and subject to attacks of epilepsy, was magnetised fifteen times by M. Foissac. The phenomena exhibited during the treatment were a heaviness of the eyelids, a general numbness, ...
— Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions - Vol. I • Charles Mackay



Words linked to "Mystification" :   artifact, bewilderment, mental confusion, confusedness, confusion, activity, muddiness, artefact, mystify, disarray



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