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On the sly   /ɑn ðə slaɪ/   Listen
On the sly

adverb
1.
In a furtive manner.  Synonym: furtively.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"On the sly" Quotes from Famous Books



... it's just one dreary round, with mother always whining and father always preaching. You heard what he said to the servants to-night? I wonder they stand it. I should go out of my mind myself if I didn't get a little amusement going up to the shops and sneaking into a matinee on the sly. I'm sure I don't know how you'll stand it, after the life you've led. What do you use for your hair? It's so soft and silky. I wish I had black hair like yours. Do you put anything on your hands? They're rather brown; but that's because you've lived in the open air ...
— At Love's Cost • Charles Garvice

... or in summer before the regular hour for ceasing work had arrived; and to this rule he kept, and that under far greater difficulties, on the Sunday as well. For Mistress Croale would not sell a drop of drink, not even on the sly, on the Sabbath-day: she would fain have some stake in the hidden kingdom; and George, who had not a Sunday stomach he could assume for the day any more than a Sunday coat, was thereby driven to provide ...
— Sir Gibbie • George MacDonald

... Frank does these days. You know they've had to keep a man on duty every night around that workshop, because of Percy. He ain't to be trusted, and would just as soon put a match to the place as eat his dinner—if he thought he could do it on the sly." ...
— The Airplane Boys among the Clouds - or, Young Aviators in a Wreck • John Luther Langworthy

... given me the whole day to be away, and neither Gray nor the other three Charities expected me back. I had to do it on the sly, you sassy Mag! Yes, it was partly because I love to cheat, but more because I was bound to have my chance once whether anybody else ...
— In the Bishop's Carriage • Miriam Michelson

... coyote had stolen some of the fire from the watchers in the underground world, who possess enormous quantities of it. It frightened him a little when he heard that there was so much fire in the world under us, but he was not apt to be afraid very long and so as he went on searching, and on the sly listening to the talks of windegoos and others, he found that the fire for which he had been so long searching was in the possession of a fierce old medicine warrior who guarded it with the greatest care. ...
— Algonquin Indian Tales • Egerton R. Young

... examine the details of their dresses too. If instantaneous photography had existed in those days, what an infinity of charming and picturesque groups might have been snatched. I did venture to make one or two rapid sketches on the sly; but there were too many eyes upon me, and besides it was an abuse of the toleration which was being shown us. I could not tear myself away from this most exceptional sight, which will never be seen again, now the Turkish ladies have adopted European fashions—boots ...
— Memoirs • Prince De Joinville

... of Balsora, Princess Graciosa, and Lucy Fairchild, whom, on mature consideration, I preferred to her sister Emily, as, though not so pretty, she was never guilty of such disgraceful conduct as eating "plum jam" on the sly and then denying it! And when no special "actings" were on hand, and my beautiful shell might have been supposed to be nothing but a shell, the pleasures of my fertile imagination were by no means at an end. The pretty thing then ...
— A Christmas Posy • Mary Louisa Stewart Molesworth

... something at stake in the music? for they were the children of the church who sang those strains. Among the wonder-working little company within there was no loitering, no laughing, no twitching of coat-sleeves on the sly, no malicious interruptions: all were alert, earnest, conscientious. They sang with a zeal that brought smiles to ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 13, No. 77, March, 1864 • Various

... one of the streams to try for gold on the sly. You see if he don't find out our bit one of ...
— To The West • George Manville Fenn

... house through the window; and 'jilting' is getting in on the sly, or on false pretences at the door, and sneaking what you can find. It's not a bad game to go into hotels, for instance, as a traveller, and as soon as you see a chance to sneak anything, to bolt with it. I know some fellows who make a fair ...
— Six Years in the Prisons of England • A Merchant - Anonymous

... advantages. We both of us lived forward with the men, some of whom were a little jealous of the favour I received, and not only played me tricks, ordered me to do all sorts of disagreeable jobs, and gave me a taste of the rope's-end on the sly, but tried hard to set Jim against me. They soon, however, found out that they were not likely to succeed, for though Jim did not mind how they treated him, he was always ready ...
— Peter Trawl - The Adventures of a Whaler • W. H. G. Kingston

... gift horse in the mouth, if you are prudent enough to do it on the sly? Besides, don't everybody look in the horse's mouth, as soon as the giver has departed? Suppose you're patriotic, and offer your son to Uncle SAM as a gift, to use in his civil service, isn't Mr. JENCKES's bill designed as a means of looking into your son's mouth? Maybe it's to find out if he's a ...
— Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 15, July 9, 1870 • Various

... palace of crystal that can never be destroyed—a palace at which one will not be able to put out one's tongue or make a long nose on the sly. And perhaps that is just why I am afraid of this edifice, that it is of crystal and can never be destroyed and that one cannot put one's tongue out at it even on ...
— Notes from the Underground • Feodor Dostoevsky

... as if some one were turning that rusty crank on the sly. This occurred only on particularly cold nights, and I conceived the uncomfortable idea that it was the thin family ghosts, from the neglected graveyard in the cornfield, keeping themselves warm by running each other through ...
— Miss Mehetabel's Son • Thomas Bailey Aldrich

... purchase, sometimes a young girl, and at others even a child of eleven or twelve years belonging to either sex. The pretty girl of course finds the most customers, offering to "kiss the ticket for good luck," and on the sly, perhaps the purchaser also. This must be a Spanish idea, as it is practiced both in Madrid and Cuba. The Mexican government realizes fully a million dollars per annum from the licenses granted to protect this gross swindle ...
— Aztec Land • Maturin M. Ballou

... turns and runs the dog will pursue. He supposed that as long as he stared at the coffin and saw nothing he could be sure that the deceased remained inside, but that if he gave the ghost opportunity to get out on the sly it might afterwards come at him from any point of the compass. He was an ignorant man, with a vulgar mind; he had some reverence for a corpse, but none whatever for a ghost. His mind had undergone a change concerning the dead the moment he had heard him move, and he looked upon his ...
— What Necessity Knows • Lily Dougall

... of "the Master's Eye." He believed in that remark. If you run a place, run it yourself. He was ever-present, absorbing at ogher people's expense his own poison, to the effects of which he seemed to be immune; and borrowing money, on the sly, from the richer and more forgetful members. His uproarious joviality, his echoing ha! ha! became a feature of the place; it deceived the simple, and amused the complex. He was ready to talk about anything with anybody who shoved ...
— South Wind • Norman Douglas

... drove her over to Elmhurst that morning, and he drives over two or three evenings a week to meet her on the sly and get her report. That may be politics, but it ain't ...
— Aunt Jane's Nieces at Work • Edith Van Dyne

... the Saturday. On the Sunday, going to church, the captain suggested that Alaric might, at any rate, just call upon Sir Jib on the sly. 'It would be a great thing for you,' said Uncle Bat. 'I'll write a note to-night, and you can take it with you. Sir Jib is a rising man, and you'll regret it for ever if you miss the opportunity.' Now Sir ...
— The Three Clerks • Anthony Trollope

... too thin. It worked all right up to ten o'clock, for Mackay and Fair both came down and spent a good quarter of an hour in the end of the drift and kept tapping around with their hammers. I was mean enough to watch them on the sly and saw them both taking samples. If you keep awake, you will see John Mackay down here again by six o'clock in the morning, and you may make up your mind not to see any more daylight for three days or a week to come; that is, if ...
— The Wedge of Gold • C. C. Goodwin

... accused of brainwashing, of making monsters, of depriving children of their heritage of happiness—and in the same ungodly howl there would be voices as loudly damning you for not tossing your process into their laps. And there would be a number trying to get to you on the sly so that they could get a head ...
— The Fourth R • George Oliver Smith

... wrong, and I told you at the time you were all wrong. I have just been reading a most interesting book, all about these things (but you must never let Peachy know about it, as it is one of father's and I have been reading it on the sly). Remember you've sworn to tear this letter up. In any case it explains all about my brown neck and my brown eyelids and knuckles. It calls it 'Pigmentation'—the 'pigmentation of the mature virgin.' Isn't it interesting? So you see it was quite natural; and I can't help it; on the ...
— Too Old for Dolls - A Novel • Anthony Mario Ludovici

... approached Geneseo was shaken to its centre, the vibrations reaching to the extreme limits of the town. Not only was Moggins who drove the village 'bus and tucked small packages under the seat on the sly, overworked, but all the regular and irregular express companies had to put on extra teams. Big box, little box, band box, bundle, began to pour in, to say nothing of precious packages that nobody but "Miss Grayson" could sign for. And then ...
— Peter - A Novel of Which He is Not the Hero • F. Hopkinson Smith

... And who began using hard words? You came here and made me out a pickpocket, just because I use a few tasty little posters which sell my goods, and all the while you're trying on the sly to take a poor old man's daughter away from him. Well, ...
— Plays of Near & Far • Lord Dunsany

... Channel For to wallop Germany; But they 'aven't got no soldiers— Not that any one can see. They plug us with their rifles An' they let their shrapnel fly, But they never takes a pot at us Exceptin' on the sly. ...
— Kitchener's Mob - Adventures of an American in the British Army • James Norman Hall

... I sung out to her. 'Effie, I've thought consider'ble about you lately. I've been tryin' to help you a little on the sly. I realized that 'twa'n't pleasant for you workin' here under Susannah Debs, and I've been tryin' to find a nice place for you. I wrote about you to Bob Van Wedderburn; he's the rich banker chap ...
— The Depot Master • Joseph C. Lincoln

... the more insolent way in which they carried off whatever they could seize. When I opposed them, the club or tomahawk, the musket or kawas (i. e. killing-stone), being instantly raised, intimated that my life would be taken, if I resisted. Their skill in stealing on the sly was phenomenal! If an article fell, or was seen on the floor, a Tanna-man would neatly cover it with his foot, while looking you frankly in the face, and, having fixed it by his toes or by bending in his great toe like a thumb to hold it, would walk ...
— The Story of John G. Paton - Or Thirty Years Among South Sea Cannibals • James Paton

... literally; and this law of forbidding clergymen to marry was evaded in many ways. Clergymen took to themselves wives, and had families. Again and again their consciences justified them in their course, whatever the Canon Law might forbid or denounce. They married on the sly—if that may be called marriage which neither the Church nor the State recognized as a binding contract, and which was ratified by no formality or ceremony civil or religious: but public opinion was lenient; and where a clergyman was living otherwise a blameless life, his people did ...
— The Coming of the Friars • Augustus Jessopp

... steamboating when you've got a good boat and a first-rate trade. Once she felt so awfully about it that I did swear off—don't tell anybody, for God's sake! but I did. I had to look out for my character along the river, though; so I swore off on the sly, and played sick. I'd give my orders to the mates and clerks from my bed in here, and then I'd lock myself in, and read novels and the Bible to keep from thinking. 'Twas awful dry work all around; but 'whole hog or none' is my style, you know. There was fun in it, though, to think of doing ...
— Romance of California Life • John Habberton

... people the Otways knew took great glory and comfort in these rumours, but Mrs. Otway heard the news with very mixed feelings. It seemed to her scarcely fair that a Russian army should come, as it were, on the sly, to attack the Germans in France—and she did not like to feel that England would for ever and for aye have to be grateful to Russia for having sent an army ...
— Good Old Anna • Marie Belloc Lowndes

... she said, blushing; 'but sometimes I could cry over the poor plants which she neglects. I daresay you will think me very ridiculous, but I do cry sometimes, and sometimes I cannot resist taking them out on the sly, and giving them a thoroughly good syringing,—only you must not tell her; we have agreed not to touch each other's flowers. But I cannot bear to see the poor things dying. How do we know that ...
— Vain Fortune • George Moore

... that she thought I was feeding Senator Biggs on the sly, and I breathed again. But my nerves were nearly gone, and when just then I heard a shot from the direction of the deer park, even Tillie ...
— Where There's A Will • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... say that of all the men the most decent is a thief or a murderer. He doesn't hide the fact that he loves a girlie, and, if need be, will commit a crime for her—a theft or a murder. But these—the rest of them! All lying, falsehood, petty cunning, depravity on the sly. The nasty beast has three families, a wife and five children. A governess and two children abroad. The eldest daughter from the first marriage, and a child by her. And this everybody, everybody ...
— Yama (The Pit) • Alexandra Kuprin

... 11. The two children I refer to were about nine years old. They seemed to think a very great deal of each other, but were very shy in the presence of others. He often sent the little girl presents of flowers and candy on the sly. They continued to love each other for three or four years, until they ...
— A Preliminary Study of the Emotion of Love between the Sexes • Sanford Bell

... in a hen-pen if it ain't run as a tavern," stated the Cap'n. "I ain't in favor of rum nor sellin' rum, and I knew that Ferd was sellin' a little suthin' on the sly, but he told me he was goin' to repair up and git in some summer boarders, and I was lettin' him work along. There ain't much business nor look-ahead to wimmen, is there?" he ...
— The Skipper and the Skipped - Being the Shore Log of Cap'n Aaron Sproul • Holman Day

... Some would persist in drinking surface water, ignoring all sanitary laws, became unwell and then cursed the climate and my so-called misrepresentations; others would ignore all instructions as to the agricultural methods essential to success in this climate, and then denounce me on the sly because their crops ...
— The Gentleman from Everywhere • James Henry Foss

... men than Grimshaw had written of Priam's tragedy. His audacity called attention to his imperfect, colourful verse, his love of beauty, his sense of the exotic, the strange, the unhealthy. People read his book on the sly and talked about it in whispers. It was indecent, but it was beautiful. At that time you spoke of Cecil Grimshaw with disapproval, if you spoke of him at all, or, if you happened to be a prophet, you saw in him the ultimate bomb beneath the Victorian literary edifice. And ...
— O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1921 • Various

... clerk was with this touch of animation. His appearance had certainly been much improved by soldiering. Vogt was quite pleased; shaking his finger good-naturedly at him, "Hullo, Heinrich!" he asked, "haven't you been liquoring up a bit on the sly? or is this one of ...
— 'Jena' or 'Sedan'? • Franz Beyerlein

... not her teachers, and I don't care what she does,—to other people. But she needn't think she can do a thing like that, and act as if we didn't know anything, when we told her she was wrong, and then when she finds she is wrong to go and fix it up on the sly and pretend she was right all along! No-sir-ee! I won't stand for it. I'll show her up in all her meanness and deceit and I'll do it before the boys, too. She ought to be made to feel ...
— Two Little Women • Carolyn Wells

... subject, it might seem as if the mass of material should have revealed very clearly what is the ideal illustration for children. But "children" is a collective term, ranging from the tastes of the baby to the precocious youngsters who dip into Mudie books on the sly, and hold conversations thereon which astonish their elders when by chance they get wind of the fact. Perhaps the belief that children can be educated by the eye is more plausible than well supported. In any case, it is good that the ...
— Children's Books and Their Illustrators • Gleeson White

... standing out round her—like they wore then; singing—singing—so young and happy—it almost breaks my heart to think about her. I've told you about Mercedes's father, too, Pavelek Okraski, and how he came out to New Orleans and gave lessons to Dolores Bastida and made love to her on the sly and got her to run away with him—poor silly thing. When I think it all over I seem to piece things out and see how Mercedes came to be what she is. Her mother was just as sweet and loving as she could be, but scatter-brained and hot-tempered. And ...
— Tante • Anne Douglas Sedgwick

... capricious, had completely disappeared. In spite of coaxing he resolutely refused all food, or took it only in the tiniest morsels, although at the same time it was thought that he sometimes took food "on the sly." A careful examination showed absolutely no sign of bodily disease. He was admitted to a ward for treatment by hypnotic suggestion, but before this could be begun he endeavoured to commit suicide by setting fire ...
— The Nervous Child • Hector Charles Cameron

... at this fact in justification of his intimacy with Augustina Christianovna. Her husband's infidelity wounded Anna Vassilyevna deeply; she had been specially hurt by his once giving his German woman, on the sly, a pair of grey horses out of her (Anna Vassilyevna's) own stable. She had never reproached him to his face, but she complained of him secretly to every one in the house in turn, even to her daughter. Anna Vassilyevna did not care for going ...
— On the Eve • Ivan Turgenev

... was one my poor Mary liked for once, we liked for her, and was in the way of liking her—Mary, who has shared everything with her like a sister—she might have let him alone. Indeed, her aunt gave her a hint, but it only served to make her carry it on on the sly.' ...
— The Pillars of the House, V1 • Charlotte M. Yonge

... herself once more as she walked along that Godfrey could not possibly be such a cad as to throw over a poor girl who was crazy about him just before the wedding day, nor could he be meeting another girl on the sly at the same time. ...
— The Privet Hedge • J. E. Buckrose

... my shirts on the sly,'" said Mr. Brewster broodingly, "If I catch him—! What would you do ...
— Indiscretions of Archie • P. G. Wodehouse

... undressed;) while, for once in a way, Miss Tag-rag, having taken only five minutes to put her hair into papers, popped into bed directly she had blown the candle out, without saying any prayers—or even thinking of finishing the novel which lay under her pillow, and which she had got on the sly from the circulating library of the late Miss Snooks. For several hours she lay in a delicious revery, imagining herself become Mrs. Tittlebat Titmouse, riding about Clapham in a handsome carriage, going to the play every ...
— Ten Thousand a-Year. Volume 1. • Samuel Warren

... a person most unkempt, And answered to the name of Cust. He had a frenzied mass of hair, A little redder than red rust, And trousers so exceeding short It looked as if by mounting high They meant unceasingly to try To change to knickers on the sly. ...
— More Cricket Songs • Norman Gale

... PERNELLE O dearie me, his little sister! You're all demureness, butter wouldn't melt In your mouth, one would think to look at you. Still waters, though, they say ... you know the proverb; And I don't like your doings on the sly. ...
— Tartuffe • Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Moliere

... said Joe, halting his aged companion in the middle of the second flight to wag a portentous finger, "Old Un, mind this now—if there should 'appen to be cake for tea, don't go makin' a ancient beast of yourself with it—no slippin' lumps of it into your pocket on the sly, mind, because if I ketch ye ...
— The Definite Object - A Romance of New York • Jeffery Farnol

... the parrot screamed, And "Pretty Poll," repeated I, The while I stole a merry glance Across the room all on the sly, Where some one plied her needle fast, Demurely by the window sitting; But I beheld upon her cheek A ...
— The Wit of Women - Fourth Edition • Kate Sanborn

... angry, and won't say a word, and that's what I'm afraid of. I took her a shawl one day, the like of which she might never have seen, although she did live in luxury and she gave it away to her maid, Katia. Sometimes when I can keep away no longer, I steal past the house on the sly, and once I watched at the gate till dawn—I thought something was going on—and she saw me from the window. She asked me what I should do if I found she had deceived me. I said, ...
— The Idiot • (AKA Feodor Dostoevsky) Fyodor Dostoyevsky

... they could lay out this money to better advantage than the safe family adviser 'uncle John,' with his talk of the Indian railways and a guaranteed five per cent. They thought (for awhile) that they had done a very clever thing on the sly in lending their spare hundreds to the great Mr. Frank D—— at a high rate of interest, and by this time would perhaps be glad to get the money back ...
— Hodge and His Masters • Richard Jefferies

... custom houses and custom officers—which is me—to see his Majesty paid right and proper his lawful dues. But what does your smuggler do, miss—your rollicking, dare-devil chap of a smuggler? Why he lands his lace and his brandy and his 'baccy unbeknownst and sells 'em on the sly—and pockets the profit! D'ye see?—and so he cheats his Majesty, which is a very grievous breaking of the law; so much so that he might as well murder at once—Kind o' treason, you may say—and that's what makes 'em such desperate chaps. They knows ...
— The Light of Scarthey • Egerton Castle

... and an illusion of the devil; for not being able to deceive the servants of God through their first will—since the servants of God have already mortified it so far as the things of sense go—the devil catches their second will on the sly with things of the spirit. So many a time the soul receives consolation, and then later feels itself deprived thereof by God; and another experience will harrow it, which will give less consolation and more fruit. Then ...
— Letters of Catherine Benincasa • Catherine Benincasa

... maid of the princess, passed by the poet's house on her way to the river, and she never missed a day to have a few words with him on the sly. When she found the road deserted, and the shadow of dusk on the land, she would boldly enter his room, and sit at the corner of his carpet. There was a suspicion of an added care in the choice of the colour of her veil, in the setting of ...
— The Hungry Stones And Other Stories • Rabindranath Tagore

... dignity of the one, and the honour of the other, they were admitted to bail—Lord have mercy upon us! said the Parson—Amen, said the Lord; and this had the desired effect upon the Constable of the night, for he let them off on the sly, you understand: But my eyes what work there was in the morning! sixteen Jarveys, full of ...
— Real Life In London, Volumes I. and II. • Pierce Egan

... me in it, for to tell the truth she rather liked the fragrance of a good cigar, and dearly loved to see me enjoying it. It was my nature to defy the whole world and be master of my own habits, but I had felt a mean inclination, after mother-in-law joined the party, to slink away and smoke on the sly. There was nothing for it now, however, but to put on a bold face, or play the hypocrite and pretend I didn't smoke. The latter I would not do, and if I had attempted it, it wouldn't go down with Fred, and I should have been in a worse predicament than ever. I went boldly ...
— That Mother-in-Law of Mine • Anonymous

... eyes flashed fire at this, and her cheek lost color; but she parried the innuendo skilfully. "Taking my perquisites on the sly,—that is not so ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 102, April, 1866 • Various

... their breath when they heard of Jesse's death, And wondered how he ever came to die. It was one of the gang called little Robert Ford, He shot poor Jesse on the sly. ...
— Cowboy Songs - and Other Frontier Ballads • Various

... once have blossomed. He stroked the paw of the Indian lion the first morning, but the day was not over when he was stroking the cheek of the puma; while all he could do with the grizzly at the end of the month was to feed him a little on the sly, and get for thanks a growl of the worse hate. There are men that would soonest tear their benefactors, loathing them the more that they cannot get at them. I suspect that in some mysterious way Glum Gunn and the bear were own brothers. With the elephant ...
— A Rough Shaking • George MacDonald

... hop he's using on that horse," said O'Connor, "I wish you'd tell me what it is. A month ago Fairfax was a bum; now he's pretty near a stake horse and getting better every time he starts. Why couldn't we have a smart 'vet' look him over on the sly before he goes to the post the next time? Then we could send word to the judge that Curry ...
— Old Man Curry - Race Track Stories • Charles E. (Charles Emmett) Van Loan

... things that made me break away from her in the beginning. She'd had more love affairs than one; her late father's masquerading as a doctor for another. They had only used that as a cloak. They had run a gambling-house on the sly—he as the card-sharper, she as the decoy. They had drained one poor fellow dry, and she had thrown him over after leading him on to think that she cared for him and was going to marry him. He blew out his brains in front of her, poor wretch. They say she never turned a hair. You wouldn't ...
— Cleek: the Man of the Forty Faces • Thomas W. Hanshew

... an ominous tone of voice, "I want to know if what that old busybody of a Mary Keane came here today gossiping about is true. If it is—well, I've something to say about the matter! Have you been courting that niece of Susan Oliver's all summer on the sly?" ...
— Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1907 to 1908 • Lucy Maud Montgomery

... Let her have some one she can hold on to, and reckon on to blame her when she's wrong and praise her when she's right. If she breaks your best jug by accident don't go for to scold her, but if she takes a bit of sugar on the sly ye may take the birch to her." If young master's like most of the little lads I've known, Miss Angel, he'll put them first that loves him well enough to put what's fair before what's pleasant ...
— Two Maiden Aunts • Mary H. Debenham

... state. They, all admiration, published everywhere that he was a saint. Madame d'Heudicourt and a few others who listened to these discourses, and who knew the pilgrim well, and saw him loll out his tongue at them on the sly, knew not what to do to prevent their laughter, and as soon as they could get away went and related all they had heard to their friends. Courcillon, who thought it a mighty honour to have Madame de Maintenon every day for nurse, but who, nevertheless, was dying of weariness, used ...
— Marguerite de Navarre - Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois Queen of Navarre • Marguerite de Navarre

... you," declared Mrs. Floyd. "I hid behind the curtains in the parlor and watched him on the sly while he was waiting for you to come down. I never saw a man show love plainer; he kept looking up at your window, and his face fairly shone when you come out. You can't fool me. He's in love, but he's trying to overcome it for—for some reason ...
— Westerfelt • Will N. Harben

... Melbourne, 47; goes to hear Mr. Cesar Malan, 49; impressions of Drs. Channing, Dewey, Bellows, Furness, Follen, Wm. and Henry Ware, Frederick Maurice, Dean Stanley, Martineau and Robertson, 49; school life at Mrs. Rowden's, 54; schoolmates, ib.; a companion's funeral, 55; reading Byron on the sly, 57; my music and dancing masters, 58; passion for dancing, 63; private theatricals, 67; first indications of dramatic talent, 70; a new home in the Champs Elysees, 70; an old-fashioned wedding, 72; home from school, 74; cottage at Weybridge, ...
— Records of a Girlhood • Frances Anne Kemble

... heard it twenty times already," commented Sir Toady Lion, trying his hardest to pinch his brother's legs on the sly. ...
— Red Cap Tales - Stolen from the Treasure Chest of the Wizard of the North • Samuel Rutherford Crockett

... you do—remain in Cincinnati and meet that vulgar carpenter on the sly, I suppose," retorted ...
— His Heart's Queen • Mrs. Georgie Sheldon

... very ordinary little sentiment, Miss Kay. The Spanish cavalier, having settled himself under his lady's window, thrums a preliminary chord or two, just to let her and the family know he's not working on the sly; then he says in effect: 'I think of thee, my little Tessie, when the moonlight is shining on the world; your bright eyes have me going for fair, kid, and due to a queer pain in my interior, I ...
— The Pride of Palomar • Peter B. Kyne

... quietly, "you want to get clear o' me. You're took up with Kate Channing, the proper Miss Channing that rides over here o' Sundays to meet you on the sly." ...
— The Ebbing Of The Tide - South Sea Stories - 1896 • Louis Becke

... became the old cat that he did not possess spirit enough to put up his tail and "phit" and "fiz" at Burgher Jans' terrier, when that predatory animal made an occasional excursion into the parlour at meal times, to see what he could pick up, either on the sly or in that sneaking, fawning fashion which a well-trained dog would have despised. This continued almost to the end of the month; but then came a bright little bit of intelligence to gladden their hearts. It was like a gleam of sunshine ...
— Fritz and Eric - The Brother Crusoes • John Conroy Hutcheson

... has a fierce and yellow eye And eats up all our fishes on the sly; There seems to be but one he deigns to like, For all I hear him say is ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, May 19, 1920 • Various

... thus learn'd, that, despite Of physic, the Gout may be cured by a fright: And, since this affair, now and then on the sly In similar cases same means he will try.— To show that no malice or envy he knew, He shook hands with Pug, and each ...
— The Monkey's Frolic - A Humorous Tale in Verse • Anonymous

... an elegant lady. She kept all Lillie's dresses and laces and wardrobe, and had something ready for her to put on when she changed her toilet every day. If this very fine lady wore her mistress's skirts and sashes, and laces and jewelry, on the sly, to evening parties among the upper servant circles of Springdale, who was to know it? Mrs. John Seymour knew nothing about where her things were, nor what was their condition, and never wanted to trouble herself ...
— Pink and White Tyranny - A Society Novel • Harriet Beecher Stowe

... school, and to have a home of my own. So I married him, and did my best to be a good nurse to him,—but he did not live long, poor man—you see he always would eat things that did not agree with him, and if he could not get them at home he went out and bought them on the sly. There was no romance there, my dear! And of course he died. And he left me nothing at all,—even our little home was sold up to pay our debts. Then I had to work again for my living,—and it was by answering an advertisement in the Times, which applied for ...
— The Master-Christian • Marie Corelli

... mile a-head, in a species of delirious complacency. Here was luck indeed, filling up the promise of his dreams. His head was full of thoughts, pleasant holiday thoughts, of the many little useful things, the many small indulgences, that bit of gold should buy him. He would change it on the sly, and gradually bring the shillings home as extra pay for extra work; for, however much his wife might glory in the chance, and keep his secret, well he knew that Grace would have a world of things to say about it, and he feared to ...
— The Complete Prose Works of Martin Farquhar Tupper • Martin Farquhar Tupper

... day then I chased them — 'course they had friends on the sly, Friends who were willing to sell them to those who were willing to buy. Early one morning we found them in camp at the Cockatoo Farm One of us shot at O'Maley and wounded him under the arm: Ran them ...
— Rio Grande's Last Race and Other Verses • Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson

... the necessary objects! How to secure black corn, and how and where to get the feathers of an owl! Both were so well known and so generally tabooed that inquiry after them would forthwith arouse suspicion. Black maize might be procured on the sly; but the other could be found by chance only,—by meeting with the body of a dead owl on the heights surrounding ...
— The Delight Makers • Adolf Bandelier

... service whatever it may have been like. Why was he alone to be an exception? He had no money at all. He was ashamed to pass by the shop and look at the woman who owned it. He owed thirty-two roubles for beer already. There was money owing to the landlady also. Daryushka sold old clothes and books on the sly, and told lies to the landlady, saying that the doctor was just going to receive a ...
— The Horse-Stealers and Other Stories • Anton Chekhov

... summer winds is sniffin' round the bloomin' locus' trees; And the clover in the pastur is a big day fer the bees, And they been a-swiggin' honey, above board and on the sly, Tel they stutter in theyr buzzin' and stagger as they fly. The flicker on the fence-rail 'pears to jest spit on his wings And roll up his feathers, by the sassy way he sings; And the hoss-fly is a-whettin'-up his forelegs fer biz, And the off-mare ...
— The Wit and Humor of America, Volume VI. (of X.) • Various

... found?" cried a growling old sheet-anchor-man, one of your malicious prophets of past events: "I though so; I know'd it; I could have sworn it—just the chap to make sail on the sly. I ...
— White Jacket - or, the World on a Man-of-War • Herman Melville

... after a dancer has danced a jig, and he brings beer for the actors, and helps lace up corsets, and anything he can do to add to the effect of the play. Privately, now, I have been acting as a supe for a long time, on the sly, and my folks didn't know anything about it, but since I reformed and decided to be good, I felt it my duty to tell Ma and Pa about it. The news broke Ma all up, at first, but Pa said some of the best actors in this country were supes once, and some ...
— The Grocery Man And Peck's Bad Boy - Peck's Bad Boy and His Pa, No. 2 - 1883 • George W. Peck

... and said, "How can I talk to him, except on the sly, in this place? Never fear, Jack Smith and I know one another too well to ...
— My Friend Smith - A Story of School and City Life • Talbot Baines Reed

... clergymen and women take in private, and by advice, I do not know why one should not make them palatable and heat them with his own poker. Cold whiskey out of a bottle, taken as a prescription six times a day on the sly, is n't my idea of virtue any more than the social ancestral glass, sizzling wickedly with the hot iron. Names are so confusing in this world; but things are apt to remain pretty much the same, whatever ...
— Baddeck and That Sort of Thing • Charles Dudley Warner

... slip in on the sly, or else somebody may ask some unpleasant questions," remarked Slugger Brown on the way to ...
— The Rover Boys at Colby Hall - or The Struggles of the Young Cadets • Arthur M. Winfield

... the new-fledged secretary was married and wrote poetry on the sly. He had four children. He would make an ideal helpmate, worshipping his employer with that rare quality of being interested in his ideas and aims beyond the mere earning of a salary; seeing, too, in that employer more than he, the latter, supposed. For, while he wrote verses on the ...
— A Prisoner in Fairyland • Algernon Blackwood

... fellow you are!" said the Otter. "But, holloa, are you going off on the sly?" Yes, surely the Fox was ...
— Seven Little People and their Friends • Horace Elisha Scudder

... traffic. Some of the old inns had been good big houses, well kept and looked after then. Now lots of them were empty, with broken windows and everything in ruins; others were just good enough to let to people who would live in them, and make a living by cultivating a bit and selling grog on the sly. Where we pulled up was one of these places, and the people were just what you ...
— Robbery Under Arms • Thomas Alexander Browne, AKA Rolf Boldrewood

... folks larnt to read and write till after slavery. My oldes' brother was larnin' to read on the sly, but the overseer found out 'bout it and stopped him. He found some letters writ on the wall of the quarter with charcoal and made the darkies tell him who writ it. My brother Jack done it. The overseer didn't whip him, but told him he ...
— Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves. - Texas Narratives, Part 2 • Works Projects Administration

... he laughed. "There, that's enough for to-night. Feng will put up grub in the morning. What have you done with Kitty Wade and her husband? Hadn't we better look them up? They may be making love on the sly." ...
— Desert Conquest - or, Precious Waters • A. M. Chisholm

... seat on the stove-couch, and quietly, in the course of their conversation on one thing and another, she managed to ascertain her age, her native village and other such particulars, and then setting her mind diligently to put, on the sly, her conversation and mental capacity to the test, she discovered how deeply worthy she was to be respected and loved. But in a while Pao-yue arrived, and Pao-ch'ai at once ...
— Hung Lou Meng, Book I • Cao Xueqin

... she tried to sulk and sigh, And threw away my posies, I'd catch my darling on the sly, And smother her ...
— The Book of Humorous Verse • Various

... those disreputable-looking boys put it into the box. I wasn't going to have that bold girl sending billy-doos on the sly to my son.' ...
— Beechcroft at Rockstone • Charlotte M. Yonge

... that very thing but it did n't seem to give her much comfort. She give a little yell an' said oh, Heaven preserve her from havin' to sit by an' watch Lucy Dill raise Hiram's children, for she was sure as she'd never be able to give 'em enough pie on the sly to keep 'em happy an' any one with half an eye could see they'd be washed an' brushed half to death. She says Lucy won't wash a dish without rinsin' it afterwards or sweep a room without carryin' all the furniture out into ...
— Susan Clegg and a Man in the House • Anne Warner

... man looked around the room before replying, as though he feared someone might be listening on the sly. ...
— Tom Swift in Captivity • Victor Appleton

... suffered under the rigorous regime of the doctors of those days—who would not allow anything except warm water and sugared cardamom seeds during feverish attacks—my sister-in-law could not bear my privation and used to bring me delicacies on the sly. What a scolding she got one day when she ...
— The Home and the World • Rabindranath Tagore

... him, Mellot? the attorney's son from Brompton, who sold out;—we shaved his mustachios, put a bear in his bed, and sent him home to his ma—And he said that Major Campbell might be very pious, and all that: but he'd warrant—they were the fellow's own words,—that he took his lark on the sly, like other men— the snob! so I told him, I was no better than the rest, and no more I am; but if any man dared to say that the Major was not as honest as his own sister, I was his man at fifteen paces. And ...
— Two Years Ago, Volume II. • Charles Kingsley

... fact; it's awfully ridiculous! He doesn't dare say his soul's his own, if I say it's mine, and I snub him in every other thing. But then it's another thing to go and marry him. Maybe he wouldn't like me to snub him, if I was his wife. Mamma don't dare do it to papa, I know; unless she does it on the sly.' ...
— The Gold of Chickaree • Susan Warner

... after the rosary. Do not deny my request. Turn up with a veil and black bag. Dusk and the light behind her. She might be here with a ribbon round her neck and do the other thing all the same on the sly. Their character. That fellow that turned queen's evidence on the invincibles he used to receive the, Carey was his name, the communion every morning. This very church. Peter Carey, yes. No, Peter Claver ...
— Ulysses • James Joyce

... he's goin' a sparkin'," suggested one of the idlers. "The gal up ter the squire's holds herself pooty high an' mighty, but like as not she's as plaguey fond of bundling with a good-looking man on the sly ...
— Janice Meredith • Paul Leicester Ford

... be in the hands of the Preventive men by to-morrow," I replied, "and Richard Tresidder will know that a man has come to his house for years at midnight on the sly." ...
— The Birthright • Joseph Hocking

... husbands who do not like to see their wives eating and drinking in their company only teach them to take their food on the sly, so those husbands who are not gay and jolly with their wives, and never joke or smile with them, only teach them to seek their pleasures out ...
— Plutarch's Morals • Plutarch

... exhausted to their last fibre the energies of a lesser man, he found time not only to pour out a constant flow of writing in a multitude of miscellaneous forms—in dramas, in art criticism, in philosophical essays, and in a voluminous correspondence—but also to create on the sly as it were, and without a thought of publication, two or three finished masterpieces which can never be forgotten. Of these, the most important is Le Neveu de Rameau, where Diderot's whole soul gushes out in one clear, strong, sparkling jet of incomparable prose. In the ...
— Landmarks in French Literature • G. Lytton Strachey

... not bruise the delicate little flower was the fat servant woman, Adele. Adele would go up and warm her bed,—doing it on the sly after a certain evening when Sylvie had scolded her for giving that comfort ...
— Pierrette • Honore de Balzac

... without some shame and confusion that she heard the ignorant coachman pass her off as his sweetheart, and ask his brother, the night-watchman, to admit her on the sly, as she was one of the ...
— Jolly Sally Pendleton - The Wife Who Was Not a Wife • Laura Jean Libbey

... Mountjoy, would still be on his side. If he could talk over his circumstances with Mrs. Mountjoy, he thought that he might be encouraged to recover his position as an English gentleman. His debts at the club had already been paid, and he had met on the sly a former friend, who had given him some hope that he might be re-admitted. But at the present moment his mind turned to Brussels. He had learned that Florence and her mother were at the embassy ...
— Mr. Scarborough's Family • Anthony Trollope

... proofs in his shirt-sleeves, swigging his stout, smoking on the sly, working with all the genius of an inspired mechanic one moment and dropping into absolute idleness the next, spending infinite pains in finishing one bit of work, as if his very life depended on the ...
— Amaryllis at the Fair • Richard Jefferies

... felt Foe could help. And yet he didn't help very much. He read a heap of poetry—on the sly, as it were; and one night I coaxed him off to a talk about Browning. His language on the ...
— Foe-Farrell • Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... was conjecturing at the motive of this order from the Court of France. "No doubt we are suspected. I never had a hope that we should not be. The Court of France, you see, can do no less than forbid us, but I should not be surprised if it winks at us on the sly. We will give them a month. Colonel Lally is a friend of mine and a friend of the King. We will get an abatement of that order, so that not one ...
— Clementina • A.E.W. Mason

... back of Ted were as smart as anything, too," observed Max. "Think of them finding that there was a whole lot of ginseng growing wild in the woods around Carson, and gathering it in on the sly." ...
— The Strange Cabin on Catamount Island • Lawrence J. Leslie

... here we are! That's about where it lights; here we are! Now, when you take me in hand in my learning, Pip (and I tell you beforehand I am awful dull, most awful dull), Mrs. Joe mustn't see too much of what we're up to. It must be done, as I may say, on the sly. And why on the sly? I'll tell ...
— Great Expectations • Charles Dickens

... shouts and whacks, mingled with the patter of hoofs on the street. It was so dramatic that even the women came to their doors to witness the pageant. We tried not to laugh, and so did the delicately mannered spectators, but I suspect that a good deal of laughing was done on the sly, in spite of the ...
— Birds of the Rockies • Leander Sylvester Keyser

... a good Pennsylvania family. A sister of his had married a brother of James Buchanan. There were two daughters of this marriage, nieces of the President, and when they were visiting the White House we had—shall I dare write it?—high jinks with our nigger-minstrel concerts on the sly. ...
— Marse Henry, Complete - An Autobiography • Henry Watterson

... not deny That your eyes were wet as dry, Reading novels on the sly! And review them, if you can And the same warm tears will fall— Only faster, that is all— Over Little Nell ...
— Songs of Friendship • James Whitcomb Riley

... then that I thought it time to put my pipe in my pocket, for, you see, I had been havin' a puff on the sly as we was bearin' down; an' I put up my fore-finger to shove the baccy down, when one o' them stingin' little things comes along, whips my best cutty out o' my mouth, an' carries the finger along with it. Of coorse I warn't goin' below for such a small matter, so I pulls out my hankerchief, ...
— The Lonely Island - The Refuge of the Mutineers • R.M. Ballantyne

... he cried, as he stood upright again, and shook his fist in Tom's face. "I guess theft's jest the ticket, ye thunderin' liar! Ye've been shamming Abraham in yer watch, an' sneaked down thaar to hev a pipe on the sly, when ye should hev bin mindin' yer dooty, thet's what's the matter, sirree; but, I'll make ye pay for it, ye skulkin' rascallion. I'll stop ye a month's wages fur the damage done to the ship—if not by the fire, by the water we've hove in to put it out, an' ye ...
— The Island Treasure • John Conroy Hutcheson

... acute researches to explain the synonyms of the English language, does not appear to have been down to the interpretation of Daffy; nor indeed does Bailey or Sheridan seem at all fly to it; and even slang Grose has no touch of its extensive signification. The squeamish Fair One who takes it on the sly, merely to cure the vapours, politely names it to her friends as White Wine. The Swell chaffs it as Blue Ruin, to elevate his notions. The Laundress loves dearly a drain of Ould Tom, from its strength to ...
— The English Spy • Bernard Blackmantle

... from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in ...
— The Four Million • O. Henry

... and stewed with honey; zho's milk, curds and cheese, sour cream, peas, beans, balls of barley dough, barley porridge, and 'broth of abominable things.' Chang, a dirty-looking beer made from barley, was offered with each meal, and tea frequently, but I took my own 'on the sly.' I have mentioned a churn as part of the 'plenishings' of the living-room. In Tibet the churn is used for making tea! I give the recipe. 'For six persons. Boil a teacupful of tea in three pints of water for ten minutes with a heaped dessert- spoonful of soda. Put the infusion into ...
— Among the Tibetans • Isabella L. Bird (Mrs Bishop)



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