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Backbone   /bˈækbˌoʊn/   Listen
Backbone

noun
1.
A central cohesive source of support and stability.  Synonyms: anchor, keystone, linchpin, lynchpin, mainstay.  "The keystone of campaign reform was the ban on soft money" , "He is the linchpin of this firm"
2.
Fortitude and determination.  Synonyms: grit, gumption, guts, moxie, sand.
3.
The series of vertebrae forming the axis of the skeleton and protecting the spinal cord.  Synonyms: back, rachis, spinal column, spine, vertebral column.
4.
The part of a book's cover that encloses the inner side of the book's pages and that faces outward when the book is shelved.  Synonym: spine.
5.
The part of a network that connects other networks together.






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"Backbone" Quotes from Famous Books



... country! Why, Mahs William, I'm town-bred to de backbone. What I gwine do thar? Whar's anybody whar'll want my sponge-cake, jelly, and blue-monge, whar I can git ez much ez I wants to do in town? Who gwine want my clar-starchin' an' pickle-makin' an' ketchups? Dem tacky people doan want ...
— Southern Lights and Shadows • Edited by William Dean Howells & Henry Mills Alden

... perching on them. My arrows fled so far over mountain and valley that they turned slowly into fowls in their flight. See here," and he threw down a dead bird and laid an arrow beside it. "Can't you see they are the same structure. The straight shaft is the backbone; the sharp point is the beak; the feather is the rudimentary plumage. It is merely modification and evolution." After a silence the king nodded gravely and said, "Yes; of course everything is evolution." At this the third archer suddenly and violently ...
— Alarms and Discursions • G. K. Chesterton

... thus getting backbone from his flag, Manuel was concentrating his wits and experience on this problem ...
— Plotting in Pirate Seas • Francis Rolt-Wheeler

... vent to the root of the tail. Bend the tail gently down to the back, and while your finger and thumb are keeping down the detached parts of the skin on each side of the vent, cut quite across and deep, till you see the backbone, near the oil-gland at the root of the tail. Sever the backbone at the joint, and then you have all the root of the tail, together with the oil-gland, dissected from the body. ...
— Wanderings In South America • Charles Waterton

... well, all believed; but the forces had been but recently organized, and it was questionable how they would behave without a backbone of white troops. The experiment was quite a novel one, as never before had a war been carried on, by us, ...
— Through Three Campaigns - A Story of Chitral, Tirah and Ashanti • G. A. Henty

... know nothing? Or was it that fatal combination of Spain and Africa, when the Vandals ensconced themselves in both provinces by 428 and the Vandal fleet (with Majorca and the islands for its bases) cut off Rome from her corn supplies and broke the backbone of ancient civilization, which was the Mediterranean sea? Not once alone in the history of Europe has the triumph of a hostile rule in Africa and Spain ...
— Medieval People • Eileen Edna Power

... heart is still stout,' said one of his court. 'Else had it been out of keeping with the rest of him,' quoth the prince. 'And his arm is strong,' said another. 'So is the backbone of his horse,' quoth the prince. This very day I will send ...
— The White Company • Arthur Conan Doyle

... speaking made a chill run down Adam Adams' backbone. He was beginning to see the Englishman in a new light. The man was a master of deception, not as clumsy in thought and action as he assumed to be. And he was as heartless ...
— The Mansion of Mystery - Being a Certain Case of Importance, Taken from the Note-book of Adam Adams, Investigator and Detective • Chester K. Steele

... statement, Gen. Butler, viewing the matter from a purely military stand-point, exclaimed: "These men are contraband of war; set them at work." Here was a solution of the entire problem; here was a blow delivered at the backbone of the Rebellion. He claimed no right to act as a politician, but acting as a loyal-hearted, clear-headed soldier, he coined a word and hurled a shaft at the enemy that struck him in a part as vulnerable as the heel of Achilles. In his letter to the Lieut.-Gen. of the ...
— History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880. Vol. 2 (of 2) - Negroes as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens • George Washington Williams

... the southern from Atlanta to Jackson, Mississippi, and the western, by a network of roads, from Jackson to Memphis. The great East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, which has not inaptly been called "the backbone of the rebellion," intersected this parallelogram at Chattanooga. Thus it will be seen that to destroy the northern and eastern sides of this parallelogram isolated Beauregard, and left East Tennessee, ...
— Daring and Suffering: - A History of the Great Railroad Adventure • William Pittenger

... and the Bengalis are the backbone of Indian mercantile business. Yet in "India," by Sir Thomas Holdich, I read that out of the population of 287,000,000 the Parsis do not number even one-tenth of a million. It seems to me that we have the Parsi woman's type at home in some of our old families, as we have remains ...
— From Edinburgh to India & Burmah • William G. Burn Murdoch

... may be quoted once more to illustrate the practical nature of the Roman school teaching and the ends which it was to serve. Utilitarian to the backbone, the ordinary Roman, like the ordinary British, parent, wanted his son to get on in life; it was only the parent of a higher class who sacrificed anything to the Muses, and then chiefly because in a public career it was de rigueur ...
— Social life at Rome in the Age of Cicero • W. Warde Fowler

... own wishbone!" Solomon cried indignantly. "I've grown so thin through not eating that it's a wonder you can't feel my backbone, too." ...
— The Tale of Solomon Owl • Arthur Scott Bailey

... however, where the river flows between the mountain ranges which form the great backbone of Burma, every mile of the journey is ...
— Burma - Peeps at Many Lands • R.Talbot Kelly

... your father 'e used ter sy, "None of your small families for me, I don't approve of them," says 'e. 'E was a man of very 'igh principles, an' by politics 'e was a Radical. "No," says 'e, when 'e got talkin', "when a man can 'ave a family risin' into double figures, it shows 'e's got the backbone of a Briton in 'im. That's the stuff as 'as built up England's nime and glory! When one thinks of the mighty British Hempire," says 'e, "on which the sun never sets from mornin' till night, one 'as ter be ...
— Liza of Lambeth • W. Somerset Maugham

... his sinews, his brain was a weathercock, his strength was tireless. At last he had found a man's life. He had never had a chance before. Life had been too easy and sheltered; he had been coddled like a child; he had never roughed it except for his own pleasure. Now he was outside this backbone of the world with a task before him, and only his wits for his servant. Eton and Oxford, Eton and Oxford—so it had been for generations—an education sufficient to damn a race. Stocks was right, and he had all along been ...
— The Half-Hearted • John Buchan

... famine and cruel losses in the field to break the stubborn resistance of the German people. If it was possible to obtain a just peace, why go to the bitter end when defeat was manifestly inevitable? Obstinacy is the backbone of war, and nothing undermines a nation's power of resistance so much as doubt and faint-heartedness on the part ...
— Peaceless Europe • Francesco Saverio Nitti

... a yacht is, as in all other boats, termed the hull. The backbone of the hull is called the keelson. Attached to the keelson is a piece of lead, which is put in place to give the boat stability and power to resist the heeling movement created by the wind-pressure upon the sails. This ...
— Boys' Book of Model Boats • Raymond Francis Yates

... all over, he held the door open and they went back to the house. They fairly ducked past him in the doorway, although he hadn't said a dozen words. It was a rout. The backbone of the rebellion was broken. I knew that never again would the military discipline of Hope Springs be threatened. Thoburn might as well pack and go. It ...
— Where There's A Will • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... Lathrop!—well, Mrs. Lathrop, what do you think was my feelin's then?—I tell you boilin' lava 'n' India's sunny strand was n't hotter than me that minute. Me—the backbone of the whole thing 'n' sold out like I was a mummy while I was in ...
— Susan Clegg and Her Neighbors' Affairs • Anne Warner

... How in thunder is a man to make trouble for a husband who is taking his own wife to his dishonoured bosom? Lord! Jude, you've got about as much backbone as ...
— Joyce of the North Woods • Harriet T. Comstock

... on The peritoneum, or caul wherein an organ. his bowels were wrapped, like His nails, like a gimlet. a billiard-table. His feet, like a guitar. His back, like an overgrown rack- His heels, like a club. bent crossbow. The soles of his feet, like a cru- The vertebrae, or joints of his cible. backbone, like a bagpipe. His legs, like a hawk's lure. His ribs, like a spinning-wheel. His knees, like a joint-stool. His brisket, like a canopy. His thighs, like a steel cap. His shoulder-blades, like a mortar. His hips, like a wimble. His breast, like a game at nine- His belly as big as a ...
— Gargantua and Pantagruel, Complete. • Francois Rabelais

... constantly rebelled against dictation from their rich customers. The farmers, dependent on their landlords and closely allied with them in defending the corn laws, proved more submissive to influence, and constituted the backbone of the ...
— The Political History of England - Vol XI - From Addington's Administration to the close of William - IV.'s Reign (1801-1837) • George Brodrick

... southward, his object being to take Pristina, on the east side of the Kossovo Plain and about twenty miles southeast of Mitrovitza. But this was a task that could not be accomplished without much difficulty, for before him towered the backbone of Serbia's main mountain ridges, each ravine and each ...
— The Story of the Great War, Volume IV (of 8) • Francis J. (Francis Joseph) Reynolds, Allen L. (Allen Leon)

... God grant that the need comes not. But should it come we are ready. We are bound to be ready; it would be a crime not to be ready—a crime against the Fatherland. We love peace, but the peace-lovers are just those who in war are most terrible. For who are the backbone of war when war comes? The women of the country, my friend, not the ministers, not the generals and the admirals. I don't say they make war, but when war is made they are the spirit of it, because, more than men, they love their homes. There is not a woman in Germany who will not send forth brother ...
— Michael • E. F. Benson

... the people of Pahang who, then as now, were ever ready to go upon the war-path, poured over the cool summits of the range that forms at once the backbone of the Peninsula and the boundary between Pahang and Selangor. They went, at the invitation of the British Government, to bring to a final conclusion the protracted struggles, in which Malay Rajas, foreign mercenaries, and Chinese miners had alike been engaged for years, distracting the State ...
— In Court and Kampong - Being Tales and Sketches of Native Life in the Malay Peninsula • Hugh Clifford

... to go from one place to another; and to enable it to do this, it has those strong contractile bundles of muscles attached to the bones of its limbs, which are put in motion by means of a sort of telegraphic apparatus formed by the brain and the great spinal cord running through the spine or backbone; and to this spinal cord are attached a number of fibres termed nerves, which proceed to all parts of the structure. By means of these the eyes, nose, tongue, and skin—all the organs of perception—transmit ...
— Lectures and Essays • T.H. Huxley

... monster which is to swallow up the candidates. To keep up the delusion a pair of great eyes are painted over the entrance, and above them the projecting roots of a betel-palm represent the monster's hair, while the trunk of the tree passes for his backbone. As the awe-struck lads approach this imposing creature, he is heard from time to time to utter a growl. The growl is in fact no other than the humming note of bull-roarers swung by men, who are concealed within the edifice. When the procession has come to a halt in front of the artificial monster, ...
— The Belief in Immortality and the Worship of the Dead, Volume I (of 3) • Sir James George Frazer

... square, which he folds and cuts along the dotted line, as shown in Fig. 1, he gets a perfectly square kite having all the properties of a good flyer, light and strong. He shapes two pieces of bamboo, one for the backbone and one for the bow. The backbone is flat, 1/4 by 3/32 in. and 18 in. long. This he smears along one side with common boiled rice. Boiled rice is one of the best adhesives for use on paper that can be obtained and the Chinese have used it for centuries ...
— The Boy Mechanic: Volume 1 - 700 Things For Boys To Do • Popular Mechanics

... hydrocarbons sector is the backbone of the economy, accounting for roughly 57% of government revenues, 25% of GDP, and almost all export earnings; Algeria has the fifth-largest reserves of natural gas in the world and is the second largest gas exporter; and it ranks fourteenth for oil reserves. ...
— The 1997 CIA World Factbook • United States. Central Intelligence Agency.

... higher admiration for the Pilgrim Fathers than I have—the men who believed in two great doctrines, which are the foundation of every religion that is worth anything: namely, the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of Man—these men of backbone and endowed with that great ...
— Public Speaking • Irvah Lester Winter

... referred to is the body. The single column on which it is supported is the backbone, and the nine doors are the eyes, the ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 - Books 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 • Unknown

... disgust. This is the one serious defect of kites with tails, that they cannot adapt themselves to wind currents of varying intensities; whereas the tailless kites do so without difficulty. And in tandem flying, which is the backbone of the modern system, the weight of a half dozen or more heavy tails would be a serious impediment, to say nothing of the perpetual danger of the different tails getting entangled ...
— McClure's Magazine, March, 1896, Vol. VI., No. 4. • Various

... CASSELL's, two blank pages for every two printed ones, so that a new novel might be written in MS. inside the printed one. The paper is good and clean to the touch; but I prefer the stiff cover to the limp, "there's more backbone about it," says the ...
— Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 99., September 20, 1890 • Various

... on ahead, walking swiftly, and now and then when Philip caught a glimpse of his face he saw in it a despair as great as his own. The trail led along the backbone of a huge ridge, and then twisted down into a broad plain; and across this they traveled, one after the other, two moving, silent shadows in a desolation that seemed without end. Beyond the plain there rose another ridge, and half an hour after they had struck the top ...
— Flower of the North • James Oliver Curwood

... of Sweden at once resolved to assist the Protestants in arms, and ere long will take the field. That is what has brought us here. Already in the Swedish army there are 10,000 Scotchmen, and in Denmark they also form the backbone of the force; and both in the Swedish and Danish armies the greater part of the native troops are officered ...
— The Lion of the North • G.A. Henty

... of those things that are supposed to make life worth living — health, sufficient means, and position, etc. — should from their own pleasure start out upon a wild-goose chase, from which the chances were they never would return. But then that is what Englishmen are, adventurers to the backbone; and all our magnificent muster-roll of colonies, each of which will in time become a great nation, testify to the extraordinary value of the spirit of adventure which at first sight looks like a mild form of lunacy. 'Adventurer' — he that goes out to meet whatever may come. Well, that is ...
— Allan Quatermain • by H. Rider Haggard

... Pauline passed on into the house. He had the straight backbone and well poised head of the West Pointer, but without the unnatural stiffness of the soldier's carriage; the shoulders of the "halfback," and the lean hips of a runner were his, and he had earned them in four years on his varsity football and track teams. The girl beside him, half ...
— The Perils of Pauline • Charles Goddard

... yards away, hearing a sound. I only say this that you may feel that you must take your chances. The men under me are, every one, old hunters and Indian fighters, and are a match for the redskin in every move of forest war. They are true grit to the backbone, but they are rough outspoken men, and, on a service when a foot carelessly placed on a dried twig, or a word spoken above a whisper, may bring a crowd of yelping redskins upon us, and cost every man his scalp, they would speak sharply to the king himself, if he were on ...
— With Wolfe in Canada - The Winning of a Continent • G. A. Henty

... backbone or spinal bone is surmounted by a spine. These are sharp and topped with gristle, and will not support weight, still less attrition. Hence the necessity of the wooden tree of a saddle, and even ...
— Hints on Horsemanship, to a Nephew and Niece - or, Common Sense and Common Errors in Common Riding • George Greenwood

... Haakon Bay near the head. Our path towards the whaling-stations led round the seaward end of the snouted glacier on the east side of the camp and up a snow-slope that appeared to lead to a pass in the great Allardyce Range, which runs north-west and south-east and forms the main backbone of South Georgia. The range dipped opposite the bay into a well- defined pass from east to west. An ice-sheet covered most of the interior, filling the valleys and disguising the configurations of the land, which, indeed, showed only in big rocky ridges, peaks, and nunataks. When we looked ...
— South! • Sir Ernest Shackleton

... dull memorizing of dates and names or, rising into the O Altitudo, evaporates in romantic gush over beautiful passages. This does not mean, of course, that no benefit may be obtained from such a study, but it does preclude English literature generally from being made the backbone, so to speak, of a sound curriculum. The same may be said of French and German. The difficulties of these tongues in themselves, and the effort required of us to enter into their spirit, imply some degree of intellectual gymnastics, ...
— The Unpopular Review, Volume II Number 3 • Various

... woman, neurotic from her very birth, is often the very best product of our civilization from the standpoint of character and ability, just as the male neurasthenic is often the backbone of progress and advancement. But we are concerned with these questions: "What happens to her in marriage?" "How about her ...
— The Nervous Housewife • Abraham Myerson

... who considered themselves astute were planning for the future by gobbling up stretches of land along the shore of the East River the Astors were buying across what was primitively known as the backbone ...
— Fifth Avenue • Arthur Bartlett Maurice

... I can't say," he confessed; "but you have the trick of making friends of any who may give you trouble. It's proud I am to say you can't fool Bantry Hagan and turn his backbone to jelly. Del Norte is dead, but Hagan is alive, and he'll keep you on the ...
— Frank Merriwell's Pursuit - How to Win • Burt L. Standish

... daughters do not become slaves or near-slaves, what an opportunity is yours of high thinking and noble living! The more intelligent you become, the better read, the greater the interest you take in community and public affairs, the more effectively you become what in reality and jointly you are—the backbone of this and of every nation. Teacher, poet, dramatist, carpenter, ironworker, clerk, college head, Mayor, Governor, President, Ruler—the effectiveness of your work and the satisfaction in your work will be determined by the way ...
— The Higher Powers of Mind and Spirit • Ralph Waldo Trine

... acquired formidable power, established citadels and states, governed by daring and sagacious leaders, and levied blackmail upon Christian countries for the protection of commerce. It was not until the vigorous campaign of Decatur that the backbone of this sanctioned lawlessness of the Barbary States was broken and safety upon the high ...
— Pirates and Piracy • Oscar Herrmann

... certainly magic abroad," he declared, in a rich, Irish brogue that Lady Blythebury smiled to hear. For she also was Irish to the backbone. ...
— The Tidal Wave and Other Stories • Ethel May Dell

... narrow-minded and witless, that must be attributed the very strongly developed religious revival apparent throughout Protestant Germany since the present emperor came to the throne. Prior to the present reign, church-going was as a rule eschewed by the male sex, women constituting the backbone of the congregation, while the clergy of the Lutheran persuasion was looked down upon, being treated by the territorial nobility much in the same way as upper servants, that is to say, on a par with the farm bailiffs, the ...
— The Secret Memoirs of the Courts of Europe: William II, Germany; Francis Joseph, Austria-Hungary, Volume I. (of 2) • Mme. La Marquise de Fontenoy

... were pleasantly spent visiting at Leavenworth and Fort Scott. Thanksgiving was passed at the latter place and the next day the suffrage friends, under the leadership of Dr. Sarah C. Hall, whom Miss Anthony called "the backbone of Bourbon county," gave her a very pretty reception at the home of Mrs. H. B. Brown. Saturday she spoke, morning, afternoon and evening, at the county suffrage convention. Her time for rest and recreation was very brief, and by December 4 she and Mrs. ...
— The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony (Volume 2 of 2) • Ida Husted Harper

... documents, however well-tested and established, are not the backbone of the Christian religion. It may well be that to minds inured from infancy to the worship of the letter; to believers in "the Bible and the Bible only" as the ground of their religion; Arnold's solvent methods and free handling of ...
— Matthew Arnold • G. W. E. Russell

... had paid off the Indians and seen them depart, a stormy darkness was falling, and he was left alone, a thousand feet above timber-line, on the backbone of a mountain. Wet to the waist, famished and exhausted, he would have given a year's income for a fire and a cup of coffee. Instead, he ate half a dozen cold flapjacks and crawled into the folds of the partly unrolled tent. As he dozed off he had time for only one fleeting thought, and he grinned ...
— Smoke Bellew • Jack London

... range of mountains which runs like a backbone all through Korea from north to south, and late in the evening we come to the capital, Seoul, which has 280,000 inhabitants, a fifth of whom are Japanese. The town is confined in a valley between bare cliffs, and from the heights all that can be seen is confusion of grey and ...
— From Pole to Pole - A Book for Young People • Sven Anders Hedin

... proclamation of the Empire, Germany meant Prussia to the rest of the world—Prussia officially evangelical, privately sceptical, the rigid backbone of the whole German military mammoth. The fact that about one-third of the population of the Empire is Catholic was overlooked by Prussia and ...
— Ave Roma Immortalis, Vol. 2 - Studies from the Chronicles of Rome • Francis Marion Crawford

... about time you had your darned dime-novel romance shown up to you the way it strikes somebody else. You think you're a tremendous dashing twentieth-century Young Lochinvar, don't you? You thought you had done a pretty smooth bit of work when you sneaked Ruth away! You! You haven't enough backbone in you even to make a bluff at working to support her. You're just what my father said you were—a loafer who pretends to be an artist. You've got away with it up to now, but you've shown yourself up at last. ...
— The Coming of Bill • P. G. Wodehouse

... the life of the average girl to-day. Being average, she belongs neither to the exclusive streets of the Brahman, nor to the hovels of the untouchable outcastes, but to the area of the great middle class which is in India as everywhere the backbone of society. Meenachi's father is a weaver of the far-famed Madura muslins with their gold thread border. Her earliest childhood memory is the quiet weavers' street where the afternoon sun glints under the tamarind trees and, striking the long looms set in the ...
— Lighted to Lighten: The Hope of India • Alice B. Van Doren

... like a child with croup. Antonia's father uncovered one of his long bony legs and rubbed it rhythmically. From our bench we could see what a hollow case his body was. His spine and shoulder-blades stood out like the bones under the hide of a dead steer left in the fields. That sharp backbone must have hurt him when he lay ...
— My Antonia • Willa Cather

... the bag again, and there came forth a tremendous wail, wild and piercing, and making a curious shudder run up and down Max's backbone, while directly after, as he was debating within himself whether he might not make some excuse about Kenneth waiting, so as to get away, the old man marched up and down, playing as proudly as if he were at the head of ...
— Three Boys - or the Chiefs of the Clan Mackhai • George Manville Fenn

... threat the builder capitulated. The balloon was built, and the silk proved to be the best fabric available at that time for the purpose. A keel made of strips of pine banded together with aluminum wire formed the backbone of the Santos-Dumont craft, and from it depended the car about one quarter of the length of the balloon and hung squarely amidships. The idea of this keel occurred to the inventor while pleasuring at Nice. Later it ...
— Aircraft and Submarines - The Story of the Invention, Development, and Present-Day - Uses of War's Newest Weapons • Willis J. Abbot

... has never seen the man whom she would engage to honour and obey. If the Miss Linnets were old maids, they were old maids with natural ringlets and embonpoint, not to say obesity; Miss Pratt was an old maid with a cap, a braided 'front', a backbone and appendages. Miss Pratt was the one blue-stocking of Milby, possessing, she said, no less than five hundred volumes, competent, as her brother the doctor often observed, to conduct a conversation on any topic whatever, and occasionally ...
— Scenes of Clerical Life • George Eliot

... savages, one asks, Whence have they come? What could have tempted, or what change compelled, a tribe of men, to leave the fine regions of the north, to travel down the Cordillera or backbone of America, to invent and build canoes, which are not used by the tribes of Chile, Peru, and Brazil, and then to enter on one of the most inhospitable countries within the limits of the globe? Although such reflections must at first seize on the ...
— A Naturalist's Voyage Round the World - The Voyage Of The Beagle • Charles Darwin

... for a little time, then I told him it was no use, they could never do it. He swore louder and called to the leaders to come on with their whips, and together they lashed. There was one ox, a black ox, so thin that the ridge of his backbone almost cut ...
— The Story of an African Farm • (AKA Ralph Iron) Olive Schreiner

... Wilkins's, in Devonshire Square, which is infinitely better known among princes than in the Five Towns, and whose name is affectionately pronounced with a "V" by half the monarchs of Europe, few industrial provincials had ever seen it. The class which is the backbone of England left it serenely alone to royalty and the aristocratic parasites ...
— The Regent • E. Arnold Bennett

... tunnels at the present time are being constructed in the United States, one of these which is piercing the backbone of the Rockies is on the Atlantic and Pacific railway. It begins near Georgetown, will pass under Gray's peak and come out near Decatur, Colorado, in all a length of twelve miles. The other American undertaking is a tunnel under the famous Pike's ...
— Marvels of Modern Science • Paul Severing

... 61, during the debate on the Clodius affair, he made his first speech in the Senate. Cicero, listening with malicious satisfaction, reported that "Pompey gave no pleasure to the wretched; to the bad he seemed without backbone; he was not agreeable to the well-to-do; the wise and good found him wanting in substance;" [7] in short, the speech was a failure. Pompey applied for a second consulship. He was reminded that he had been consul eight years previously, and that the ten years' interval prescribed ...
— Caesar: A Sketch • James Anthony Froude

... in his bedroom, a waif of melancholy. He drew a chair up, lighted a cigar, eyed the young man from head to foot, and then said: "Pride, have you got any backbone? If you have, brace up. You are ruined. That's about as mild as I can ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... liable to disgrace themselves than the size of the Empire or the dignity of the Army allows. Their officers are as good as good can be, because their training begins early, and God has arranged that a clean-run youth of the British middle classes shall, in the matter of backbone, brains, and bowels, surpass all other youths. For this reason a child of eighteen will stand up, doing nothing, with a tin sword in his hand and joy in his heart until he is dropped. If he dies, he dies like a gentleman. ...
— Indian Tales • Rudyard Kipling

... but to steal a pig or a fowl, which is easily done, was a capital misdemeanour, and the offender punished with death." The judges or deemsters in this island of fishermen swore to execute the laws as impartially "as the herring's backbone doth lie in the middle of the fish."[68] The whole mythology of the Polynesians is an echo of the encompassing ocean. The cosmography of every primitive people, their first crude effort in the science of the universe, bears the impress ...
— Influences of Geographic Environment - On the Basis of Ratzel's System of Anthropo-Geography • Ellen Churchill Semple

... whimsically. "My dear, I'm afraid I'm not over-orthodox. You see, I've knocked about a bit and seen something of other men's beliefs. The love of God is the backbone of my religion, and all that doesn't go with that, I discarded long ago. If Christianity doesn't mean that, it doesn't mean anything. I've no use for the people who think that none but their own select little circle will go to heaven. Such Gargantuan smugness ...
— The Keeper of the Door • Ethel M. Dell

... broad, level road built well above the lowland, and climb through zig-zagging avenues of stately poplars to the tunnel that pierces the backbone of the ...
— "And they thought we wouldn't fight" • Floyd Gibbons

... gills, by which this little creature breathes, expel the water by which they are bathed through a single hole at the side of the head, as in the frog tadpole; while in the possession of a brain, a spinal cord, and a soft backbone, both sea-squirt and ...
— Chatterbox, 1906 • Various

... declared David. "I c'n imagine gettin' on to a hoss's back when 't was either that or walkin', but to do it fer the fun o' the thing 's more 'n I c'n understand. There you be," he continued, "stuck up four five feet up in the air like a clo'espin, havin' your backbone chucked up into your skull, an' takin' the skin off in spots an' places, expectin' ev'ry next minute the critter'll git out f'm under ye—no, sir," he protested, "if it come to be that it was either to ride a hossback fer the fun o' ...
— David Harum - A Story of American Life • Edward Noyes Westcott

... womenfolks in our family ez looked like that—stronger built is ourn, with more backbone, and none of that ...
— Flint - His Faults, His Friendships and His Fortunes • Maud Wilder Goodwin

... an advantage which he now lost by stooping to such a degree, that at a meeting, where there was some dispute concerning the sort of arch which should be thrown over a considerable brook, a facetious neighbour proposed to offer Milnwood a handsome sum for his curved backbone, alleging that he would sell any thing that belonged to him. Splay feet of unusual size, long thin hands, garnished with nails which seldom felt the steel, a wrinkled and puckered visage, the length of which corresponded with that of his person, together with a pair of little ...
— Old Mortality, Complete, Illustrated • Sir Walter Scott

... anterior portion of the chest slightly to the left of the median line and that it extends from the third to the sixth rib. It extends almost to the breastbone, and a little more than half of the distance between the breastbone and the backbone. In contracting, it rotates slightly on its axis, so that the point of the heart, which lies below, is pressed against the left chest wall at a place immediately above the point of the elbow. The heart has ...
— Special Report on Diseases of the Horse • United States Department of Agriculture

... glancing behind, noted that a certain scraggly island had once more slid into view from behind a wooded head. With his knee propped against the wheel, he surveyed the island's ridged backbone. ...
— The Skipper and the Skipped - Being the Shore Log of Cap'n Aaron Sproul • Holman Day

... all dis—my tomach bruise home to my backbone like one pancake;" and, while the short fierce bark of the noble dog was blended with the agonized cry of the gatto del monte, the shrill treble of the poor porkers rose high above both, and mulo was ...
— Tom Cringle's Log • Michael Scott

... cheap supply of "gentlemen's lounge-suits" for the so-called working-classes to lounge in. I know of no surer antidote to the spirit of Bolshevism. But let us not forget the claims of the middle classes, who are the backbone of the Empire. If Mr. MALLABY-DEELEY cannot help us in the direction I have indicated, then let Mr. KENNEDY JONES, on behalf of the Middle Class Union, put a hyphen to his name and open a shop for the sale of evening ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, March 10th, 1920 • Various

... was slowly evolved through the centuries. In the late 18th century, an American codified this masonic lore and established the scientific basis for a proper fireplace so cogently that even today his principles form the backbone of fireplace building. He was born Benjamin Thompson, March 26, 1753, at Woburn, Massachusetts, but is better known as Count von Rumford of ...
— If You're Going to Live in the Country • Thomas H. Ormsbee and Richmond Huntley

... climate—the North is the only home of unselfish and great union. Italy owes it to the cool breezes of her Apennines that she cherishes unity; had it not been for her northern mountains in a southern clime, she would have long ago forgotten to think of one country. But while the Alps are her backbone, she will always be at least a vertebrate among nations, and one of the higher order. Without the Alps she would soon be eaten up by the cancer of states' rights. It is the North, too, which will supply the great uniting power of America, ...
— Continental Monthly, Vol. III, No IV, April 1863 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... every point without order or sequence. In most countries mountains and hills follow some natural law. The Cordilleras can be traced from the Amazon River to Guatemala City; they make the water-shed of two continents; the Great Divide forms the backbone of the States, but these Natal hills have no lineal descent. They are illegitimate children of no line, abandoned broadcast over the country, with no family likeness and no home. They stand alone, or ...
— Notes of a War Correspondent • Richard Harding Davis

... rattler which was too sluggish from overeating to have noticed that there was any particular excitement in the village. Gripping the reptile in inexorable talons just behind its head, the great bird bit its backbone through, carried it to the nearest hillock, and proceeded to tear it to pieces. Calmly he made his meal, glancing around with eyes glassy hard and fiercely arrogant, while from every burrow in the neighborhood round, innocent heads peered forth, barking insult and defiance. They were willing enough ...
— Children of the Wild • Charles G. D. Roberts

... (Protocetus), which shows what the ancestral toothed-whale was like, and at the same time seems to connect these thoroughly marine mammals with land-animals. Though already entirely adapted to an aquatic mode of life, the teeth, skull and backbone of Protocetus display so many differences from those of the later whales and so many approximations to those of primitive, carnivorous land-mammals, as, in a large degree, to bridge over the gap between the two groups. Thus one of the most puzzling ...
— Darwin and Modern Science • A.C. Seward and Others

... thing wholly of darkness caused by someone standing in the way of the light. The Dutchman, however, is not a shadow of anything or of anybody. You can walk around him, and when you do that you find that he has not only a kindly face and a warm hand, but something called backbone, and it is that of which I am to speak to-night, for it suggests about all that I mean by ...
— Modern Eloquence: Vol III, After-Dinner Speeches P-Z • Various

... after the colony of British Columbia had taken its place on the political map, that Governor Douglas was put to the task of building a great road. Henceforth, for a few years at least, the miners would be the backbone, if not the whole body, of the new colony. How could the administration be carried on if the government had no road ...
— The Cariboo Trail - A Chronicle of the Gold-fields of British Columbia • Agnes C. Laut

... until he came upon a narrow, out-jutting ledge which overlooked the country below and the main backbone of the range to the southward and eastward. From here he could see over the bench at the base of the cliff, with its maze of tangled, down timber, and on to the edge of Shoestring Canyon, though ...
— Louisiana Lou • William West Winter

... should be at once punctured. The best instruments are the trocar and canula, but in the absence of these a pocket knife and goose quill may be made to answer. The puncture is made on the left side, at a point midway between the last rib and hook point, and but a few inches from the backbone. The thrusting instrument should point downward and slightly inward going into the paunch. With much promptness the canula or the quill should be pushed down into the paunch and held there till the gas escapes. Before the tube is withdrawn ...
— Clovers and How to Grow Them • Thomas Shaw

... crouching chimera, blinking its green eyes at its old friend. It seemed to meditate a leap on to the old man's lap over the bent back of the ordinary seaman who sat at Singleton's feet. Young Charley was lean and long-necked. The ridge of his backbone made a chain of small hills under the old shirt. His face of a street-boy—a face precocious, sagacious, and ironic, with deep downward folds on each side of the thin, wide mouth—hung low over his bony knees. He was learning ...
— The Nigger Of The "Narcissus" - A Tale Of The Forecastle • Joseph Conrad

... ladies, your sex is really the backbone of ours and not the missing rib," said the bishop who, when he was genuinely touched, often relapsed into his native humor. "But what shall we call the boat? I can't go on missionary voyages with an Indian pilot and a Scotch engineer in a slim, black, piratical looking vessel that flies ...
— The Rapids • Alan Sullivan

... action of the subconscious mind to take in and reason and argue in its own deductive way upon things of which you are not at the moment consciously thinking. Therefore it is that the realisation of that great promise of redemption, which is the backbone of the Bible from the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelations, is according to a scientific law. It is not a hocus-pocus business, it is not a thing which has been arranged this way and might just as well have been arranged in some other; it is not so because some ...
— The Hidden Power - And Other Papers upon Mental Science • Thomas Troward

... specialists, are determined almost completely by the artillery preparation. Artillery is now the most essential instrument of war. You may still get along with rather bad infantry; you may still hold out even after the loss of the aerial ascendancy, but so soon as your guns fail you approach defeat. The backbone process of the whole art of war is the manufacture in overwhelming quantities, the carriage and delivery of shell upon the vulnerable points of the enemy's positions. That is, so to speak, the essential blow. Even ...
— War and the Future • H. G. Wells

... pretence of war with England; such was the noble opposition of the States of New York and New England to that unholy coalition between the American President and the oppressor of Europe against human liberty—States which had been the head and the sinews and the backbone of American resistance to Great Britain during the struggle for American independence, and which, having achieved that independence, abhorred being buccaneers against the independence of Canada, and the acquisition of the Indian ...
— The Loyalists of America and Their Times, Vol. 2 of 2 - From 1620-1816 • Edgerton Ryerson

... the backbone out of Aunt Maria's funeral, which touched the extreme of modesty: a hearse and a one-horse coach. Mr. Povey was glad, because he happened to be very busy. An hour before his mother-in-law's departure he came into the parlour with ...
— The Old Wives' Tale • Arnold Bennett

... a tingle of excitement run up his backbone as he heard the tough skipper give him permission ...
— Danger in Deep Space • Carey Rockwell

... And so a slave set free is proverbially a helpless creature, like a bit of driftwood; and children who have been too long kept in a position of pupilage and subordination, when they are sent into the world are apt to turn out very feeble men, for want of a good, strong backbone of will in them. So, many a woman that has been accustomed to leave everything in her husband's hands, when the clods fall on his coffin finds herself utterly helpless and bewildered, just because in the long, happy years she ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture - St. Matthew Chaps. IX to XXVIII • Alexander Maclaren

... authorities did not make the mistake of throwing raw troops into the initial struggle at the Dardanelles. The backbone of the force supplied to General Sir Ian Hamilton was the Twenty-ninth Division of Regulars, made up largely of the hardiest of England's youth—the north countrymen. It comprised the Eighty-sixth Brigade of Infantry—Second Royal Fusiliers, ...
— The Story of the Great War, Volume III (of VIII) - History of the European War from Official Sources • Various

... I wrote you last brought the first event, in the shape of a letter from Rose to myself. A more thoroughly selfish and heartless epistle could not have been penned. I always knew her to be selfish, and frivolous, vain, and silly to the backbone—yea, backbone and all; but still I had a sort of liking for her withal. That letter effectually dispelled any lingering remains of that weakness. It spoke of her marriage with Reginald Stanford in the most shamelessly insolent and exultant tone. It alluded to her sister and ...
— Kate Danton, or, Captain Danton's Daughters - A Novel • May Agnes Fleming

... and he brought recruits, famous recruits; he changed their backbone and made 'em dogs of war, fit to set their teeth into anything; and he brought a guard of honor, a fine body indeed!—all bourgeois, who melted away ...
— Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol 3 • Various

... basket, as the packer wrapped up and protected one article after another. I had been compelled to abandon a visitation of the West and of the small communities everywhere, and I was sorry. But here in a microcosm I thought I saw the simple reality of the backbone of all America, a symbol of the millions of the little plain people, who ultimately make possible the glory of the world-renowned streets ...
— Your United States - Impressions of a first visit • Arnold Bennett

... begun, and they continued till darkness grew apace. At length Le Beau Disconus struck such a blow that the giant's right arm was shorn off. Thereupon Maugis fled, but Le Beau Disconus ran swiftly after him and with three stern strokes clove his backbone. Then Le Beau Disconus smote off the giant's head, and went into the town; and ...
— The Junior Classics, V4 • Willam Patten (Editor)

... Dick; fair and easy. There ain't no manner o' hurry, ez I allow. Whenst I've got to tussle with a wheen o' full redskins, and me with my stummick growed fast to my backbone, I jest ez soon wait till them same redskins are asleep. Bime-by they'll settle down for the night, and then we'll go up yonder and pizen 'em immejitly, if not sooner. But there ain't no kind o' use to spile it all by rampaging ...
— The Master of Appleby • Francis Lynde

... I wish we had a few more of them. I like a well-conducted regiment, but these pasty-faced, shifty-eyed, mealy-mouthed young slouchers from the depot worry me sometimes with their offensive virtue. They don't seem to have backbone enough to do anything but play cards and prowl round the married quarters. I believe I'd forgive that old villain on the spot if he turned up with any sort of explanation that I ...
— Life's Handicap • Rudyard Kipling

... the range. We kept to the highest parts, and at every vantage-ground we scanned the glens for human traces. By this time I had found my hill legs, and could keep pace even with the Indian's swift stride. The ridge of mountains, you must know, was not a single backbone, but broken up here and there by valleys into two and even three ranges. This made our scouting more laborious, and prevented us from getting the full value out of our high station. Mostly we kept in ...
— Salute to Adventurers • John Buchan

... turning round, was horrified at the apparition of Captain Peleg in the act of withdrawing his leg from my immediate vicinity. That was my first kick. Is that the way they heave in the marchant service? he roared. Spring, thou sheep-head; spring, and break thy backbone! why don't ye spring, i say, all of ye—spring! Quohog! spring, thou chap with the red whiskers; spring there, Scotchcap; spring, thou green pants. Spring, I say, all of ye, and spring your eyes out! And so saying, ...
— Moby-Dick • Melville

... on Poopendyke. They thanked him so profoundly, that I couldn't help feeling a bit sorry for myself, a tyrant without a backbone. ...
— A Fool and His Money • George Barr McCutcheon

... simplicity; that the facades of a house must be the envelope of the rooms within and adapted to them, as the rooms are to the habits and requirements of them "that dwell therein;" that proportion is the backbone of the decorator's art and that supreme elegance is fitness and moderation; and, above all, that an attention to architectural principles can alone lead ...
— Worldly Ways and Byways • Eliot Gregory

... and General von Buelow into subordinate positions. Field Marshal von Heeringen held a deserved reputation as one of the most brilliant as well as one of the most iron-willed of the German military leaders. He had been the backbone of the crown prince's movement against Troyon, a movement which, given a day or two longer, might have ...
— The Story of the Great War, Volume III (of 12) - The War Begins, Invasion of Belgium, Battle of the Marne • Francis J. Reynolds, Allen L. Churchill, and Francis Trevelyan

... answered. "The Eskimo would have been wiped off the face of the earth but for that one man's work. He started the reindeer idea, he brought in a few himself, he got the Government interested an' now reindeer are the backbone of northern Alaska. Our steam whalers had driven the whales an' the walrus an' the seal so far north that the Eskimo couldn't reach them. They were slowly starvin' to death by hundreds when Uncle Sam stepped in. And your captain commandant, that's Bertholf, who I'm ...
— The Boy With the U. S. Life-Savers • Francis Rolt-Wheeler

... this much," said her companion. "That man is honest to the backbone, honest as the good daylight on the hills, where there are no houses to darken it ...
— A Cigarette-Maker's Romance • F. Marion Crawford

... upward from the middle with the thumb and finger. To open large fish split them from the gills halfway down the body toward the tail; remove the entrails and scrape and clean, opening far enough to remove all the blood from the backbone, and wiping the inside thoroughly with a cloth wrung out of cold, ...
— The International Jewish Cook Book • Florence Kreisler Greenbaum

... you who went with me, it was Emily. I am sure he felt bound to be on guard all the time against any young officer's attentions to his poor little sister-in-law,' said Ada, with her Maid-of-Athens look. 'The smallest approach brought those hawk's eyes of his like a dart right through one's backbone. It all came back to me to-night, and the way he used to set ...
— Beechcroft at Rockstone • Charlotte M. Yonge

... about fifty. Danton and {159} Robespierre were the two most conspicuous; among their immediate supporters not hitherto mentioned may be noted Carnot, Fouche, Tallien, and St. Just. A much larger group, of which the moderate Jacobins formed the backbone, were inclined to look to Brissot for leadership and are generally described as Girondins. This name came from the small group of the deputies of the Gironde, that represented perhaps better than any other, the best force of provincial liberalism but at the same time a revolt ...
— The French Revolution - A Short History • R. M. Johnston

... three o'clock, and took particular note of the succession of the rocks, as I had become much interested in finding these quartz and gneissoid beds, which I had no doubt were the same Laurentian rocks that I had seen in Canada and Brazil—the very backbone of the continent, ribbing America from Patagonia to the Canadas—the fundamental gneiss which is covered, in other parts of Central America that I had visited, by strata of much more recent origin. Going down the valley of the Depilto the massive beds of quartz ...
— The Naturalist in Nicaragua • Thomas Belt

... negroes generally throughout the South are more dissatisfied with conditions than they have been for several years and there are just reasons why they should be. Every negro newspaper and publication in this broad land, including pamphlets and books, and the intelligent negro pastor with backbone and courage are constantly protesting against the injustices done the negro. And possibly these agents have been the greatest incentives to help create and crystallize ...
— Negro Migration during the War • Emmett J. Scott

... ignorant, even the most extravagant of the claims of the Mormon leaders had influence. One man, when he heard an elder in the midst of a sermon "speak with tongues," in a language he had never heard before, "felt a sudden thrill from the back of his head down his backbone," and was converted on the spot. John D. Lee, of Catholic education, was convinced by an elder that the end of the world was near, and sold his property in Illinois for what it would bring, and moved to Far West, ...
— The Story of the Mormons: • William Alexander Linn

... I found my excellent friend, Captain B——n, was still resident at Fuller's: my old rooms had that day been vacated for me, a few hours beheld me comfortably installed, and the rough-work of the past trip across the backbone of the continent only served to ...
— Impressions of America - During the years 1833, 1834 and 1835. In Two Volumes, Volume I. • Tyrone Power

... opera, though the director, Duponchel, laughed at him as a lunatic, and the whole company already regarded the work as damned in advance. The result was a most disastrous and eclatant failure, and it would have crushed any man whose moral backbone was not forged of thrice-tempered steel. With all these back-sets Hector Berlioz was not without encouragement. The brilliant Franz Liszt, one of the musical idols of the age, had bowed before him and called him master, the great musical protagonist. ...
— Great Italian and French Composers • George T. Ferris

... I can't stand him. In fact, I cannot understand those fellows on my sub-committee. Sometimes they are—if anything—too civil. A bit servile, in fact. Then they turn out and look as though they would like to make their teeth meet in my backbone. They sulk, and whisper in groups, and snicker. I am getting sick of it. I must get rid of them. By Jove! there's David Rennes, the painter. I thought he was at Amesbury—with the Carillons, doing Agnes's portrait. It can't be finished. ...
— Robert Orange - Being a Continuation of the History of Robert Orange • John Oliver Hobbes

... in sublimer grandeur, snowclad, upreared against the nearer sun, are seen the towering Andes; to the poet's eye, the Cordillera lies no huge backbone of earth; but lives, a Rhoetus or ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 61, No. 378, April, 1847 • Various

... They then separate the weasand from the windhole and throw out the guts.] [Sidenote J: The shoulders are cut out, and the breast divided into halves.] [Sidenote K: The numbles are next removed.] [Sidenote L: By the fork of the thighs,] [Sidenote M: the flaps are hewn in two by the backbone.] ...
— Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight - An Alliterative Romance-Poem (c. 1360 A.D.) • Anonymous

... with contempt, while Captain Ormond stood behind him, smiling languidly and lifted a warning finger unobserved to Grace. There was something forbidding about Colonel Carrington, and to the last few men liked him. I remember Harry Lorraine once comparing him to Coriolanus—"Steeped in pride to the backbone," said Harry, "but it's a clean pride, and there's a good deal of backbone ...
— Lorimer of the Northwest • Harold Bindloss

... conceived, he was not conceived or even born fully grown: he had to go back and begin as a speck of protoplasm, and to struggle through an embryonic lifetime, during part of which he was indistinguishable from an embryonic dog, and had neither a skull nor a backbone. When he at last acquired these articles, he was for some time doubtful whether he was a bird or a fish. He had to compress untold centuries of development into nine months before he was human enough to break loose as an independent being. And ...
— Back to Methuselah • George Bernard Shaw

... part covering the back dissected from one to two inches thick, over the whole surface left between the longitudinal cuts that had been made in the sides, and extending from the head to the transverse incision near the tail. The divisions then consist of three pieces, one comprising the head, backbone, and tail, another the fleshy part that covered the back, and the third the belly and sides. The last is the most prized of the three. This method of dividing the fish is well adapted for ensuring rapid preparation in the process of cooking; ...
— Journals Of Expeditions Of Discovery Into Central • Edward John Eyre

... declared Killigrew emphatically. "He's the real article. American to the backbone; a millionaire who doesn't splurge. Well," sighing regretfully, "he was born to it, and I had to dig for mine. But I can't get it through my head why he wants to excavate mummies when he could dig up potatoes with ...
— The Voice in the Fog • Harold MacGrath

... cut a canal that divide half and half de western part of de whole world. Us niggers was powerful scared, 'til Marse David Gailliard took a hold of de business. Why us scared? Why us fear dat de center of de backbone of de world down dere, when cut, would tipple over lak de halfs of a watermelon and everybody would go under de water in de ocean. How could Marse David prevent it? Us niggers of de Gaillard generation have confidence in de Gaillard race and us willin' to sink or swim wid them ...
— Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves • Works Projects Administration

... territories from the Adriatic to the North Sea and the Baltic. Their close union is due also to historical national and political conditions. Austrians have fought shoulder to shoulder with Prussians and Germans of the Empire on a hundred battlefields; Germans are the backbone of the Austrian dominions, the bond of union that holds together the different nationalities of the Empire. Austria, more than Germany, must guard against the inroads of Slavism, since numerous Slavonic races are comprised in her territories. ...
— Germany and the Next War • Friedrich von Bernhardi

... rapped for order. It was wonderful how much backbone and dignity and self-respect the justice's very flattering remarks had injected into the nine trustees—no, eight, for the Scotchman fully understood and despised Rowan's ...
— Tom Grogan • F. Hopkinson Smith

... it had to use force, its most decisive victories in the field were won by armies in which Indian troops fought shoulder to shoulder with British troops. At Plassey in 1757 and at Buxar in 1764, when the destinies of India were still in the balance, the British, though the backbone of the Company's forces, formed only a tithe numerically of the victorious armies that fought under Clive and Munro. The traditions of loyal comradeship between the Indian and the British army, only once and for a short time seriously broken during the Mutiny of 1857, can be traced back ...
— India, Old and New • Sir Valentine Chirol

... all right, believe me," muttered Jack. "But it'll have to be a scuttle policy. Those Huns are licked, yes, licked good and hard. They're just beginning to know it, too. We're proving too much for their backbone to stand. Well, two cars means we're going to have a double chance to get our little bucket filled ...
— Air Service Boys Flying for Victory - or, Bombing the Last German Stronghold • Charles Amory Beach

... Never fear! the white laborer shall have his turn too. But I am not now defending the illusory forms the great ideas take. I am giving you examples of the fact that this creature Man, who in his own selfish affairs is a coward to the backbone, will fight for an idea like a hero. He may be abject as a citizen; but he is dangerous as a fanatic. He can only be enslaved whilst he is spiritually weak enough to listen to reason. I tell you, gentlemen, if you can ...
— Man And Superman • George Bernard Shaw

... dragon, The pitiless dragon, The dragon that knew no law? Lo, just as the word to charge rang out, And before they could give their battle shout, On a stony ledge Of the ridge's edge, With its lips curled back and its teeth laid bare, And a hiss that ripped the morning air, With its backbone arched And its tail well starched, With bristling hair and flattened ears, What shape of courage and wrath appears? A cat, a tortoiseshell mother-cat! And a very diminutive cat at that! And below her, nesting ...
— The Vagabond and Other Poems from Punch • R. C. Lehmann

... few days in visiting Omdurman and other scenes connected with the British conquest of the Mahdists, less than a dozen years before, the Roosevelts went down the river to Cairo, where the ex-President addressed the Egyptian students. These were the backbone of the so-called Nationalist Party, which aimed at driving out the British and had killed the Prime Minister a month before. They warned Roosevelt that if he dared to touch on this subject he, too, would be assassinated. But such threats did not move him then or ever. Roosevelt reproved them point-blank ...
— Theodore Roosevelt; An Intimate Biography, • William Roscoe Thayer

... produces another peculiar effect. We know that every strong sensation, emotion, or excitement— extreme pain, rage, terror, joy, or the passion of love— all have a special tendency to cause the muscles to tremble; and the thrill or slight shiver which runs down the backbone and limbs of many persons when they are powerfully affected by music, seems to bear the same relation to the above trembling of the body, as a slight suffusion of tears from the power of music does to weeping from any strong ...
— The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals • Charles Darwin

... not call for the filets of anchovies prepared for hors d'oeuvre, but the less expensive and larger whole anchovies in salt to be had in bulk or cans at large dealers. Wash them thoroughly in plenty of water. Remove head, tail, backbone and skin and they are ready ...
— The Italian Cook Book - The Art of Eating Well • Maria Gentile

... after that period of political unrest, there were few applicants for pictorial cards. A sprinkling of old friends of previous years began to bring their drawings, but they did this in the face of a sarcastic opposition which few had sufficient backbone to withstand for long. But fortunately we had at that time many exceptionally attractive pictures, which people had sent us from England. The few gallant boys who braved the opposition got rewards which soon awakened longings throughout ...
— India and the Indians • Edward F. Elwin

... sounded when he said, "Help me, help me, help me!" sounded as though he was in hell. "Made me feel as if I was bracing up a chap that was going to be electrocuted," he thought, feeling sickish again. "I've not got backbone enough to face that sort of thing. Got ...
— T. Tembarom • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... result of an increased expenditure in wages will be to crush the small factories and workshops, which are the backbone of the sweating System, and to assist the industrial evolution which makes in favour of large well-organized factories ...
— Problems of Poverty • John A. Hobson

... ten shillings a week will bring us much good,' Mrs. Ede answered sourly; and she went upstairs, backbone and principles equally rigid, leaving Kate to fume at what she ...
— A Mummer's Wife • George Moore

... as if he enjoyed his own coarse directness, "I reckon you all have a sort of general idea what you were picked up for, or you wouldn't be here. But you may or may not know that for the present you are honest, hard-working miners,—the backbone of the State of Californy,—and that you have formed yourselves into a company called the 'Blue Jay,' and you've settled yourselves on the Bar below Heavy Tree Hill, on a deserted claim of the Marshall Brothers, ...
— The Three Partners • Bret Harte

... probably find it useful on some other occasion. The second was to ask whether I was an Irishman. I suppose the air of modesty about my appeal must have struck him. I satisfied the Director-General that I was English to the backbone, and he made some inquiries as to my student career, finally desiring me to hold myself ready for examination. Having passed this, I was in Her Majesty's Service, and entered on the books of Nelson's old ship, the Victory, ...
— Lectures and Essays • Thomas Henry Huxley

... of this begins to grow upon your once blank canvas, and some lucky pat matches the exact tone of blue-gray haze or shimmer of leaf, or some accidental blending of color delights you with its truth, a tingling goes down your backbone, and a rush surges through your veins that stirs you as nothing else in your whole life will ever do. The reaction comes the next day when, in the cold light of your studio, you see how far short you have come and how crude and false is your best touch compared with the glory of the landscape ...
— Outdoor Sketching - Four Talks Given before the Art Institute of Chicago; The Scammon Lectures, 1914 • Francis Hopkinson Smith

... laziness,—and government administered for the whole people, and not merely dealing out treasury-pap and fat offices for the pensioned few. Punch is loyal, sings lustily, "God Save the Queen," and stands by the Constitution. He is a true-born Englishman, and patriotic to the backbone; but none are too high in place or name for his merciless ridicule and daring wit, if they countenance oppressive abuses. It is a tall feather in his fool's-cap, that his fantastic person is a dread to evil-doers ...
— The Atlantic Monthly , Volume 2, No. 14, December 1858 • Various

... looking it. But I know that condition. After a sickness you plump up, you get back your color, and all the while you can be so weak you could burst out crying if any one pointed a finger at you. You're trembling with nervousness this minute. You're all sunk together, as if your backbone couldn't hold you up. It's because the weakness of your illness is still on you, as anybody could see. Now you listen to what I've got to say. The wisest thing you can do, young man, instead of keeping away and having ideas and waiting till these gradually wear off—the best thing ...
— Aurora the Magnificent • Gertrude Hall

... foot, if we don't study and keep up. Doctor said I might study sometimes, if I'd lie still as long as he thought best, and Molly brought home my books, and Merry says she will come in every day and tell me where the lessons are. I don't mean to fall behind, if my backbone is cracked," said Jill, with a decided nod that made several black rings fly out of the net to dance on ...
— Jack and Jill • Louisa May Alcott

... interest himself. It is of them that he will think when he is reading the book. It is by them that he will judge the book when he has read it. There was no doubt a feeling with the public that though satire may be very well in its place, it should not be made the backbone of a work so long and so important as this. A short story such as Catherine or Barry Lyndon might be pronounced to have been called for by the iniquities of an outside world; but this seemed to the readers to have been addressed almost to themselves. Now men and women like to be painted ...
— Thackeray • Anthony Trollope

... producing company protesting that it is impossible for a child to draw poison into its system in the manner described. And the physician knows! In other words, what happened in the picture could not happen in real life. The backbone of the plot has been broken! Seven in ten people might not know the difference; they would never question the probability of the scene. The other three in ten would know, and, seeing your name on the film, would put you down as a first-class "nature faker," or else as a very careless and badly ...
— Writing the Photoplay • J. Berg Esenwein and Arthur Leeds

... are so strongly chosen that they are a great element in his great plays. And a translation at best is something of a parody, especially a translation from a northern tongue, with its force and backbone, so to speak, into a southern, serpentine, gliding language. You have heard the absurd rendering of that passage from Macbeth where the witches salute him with 'Hail to thee, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!' into such French as 'Comment vous portez vous, Monsieur ...
— Mae Madden • Mary Murdoch Mason

... second was under repair, one of its wheels being in the hands of the wheelwright on the ground in front of the inn. The third had been engaged by two Italian gentlemen, father and son, and its appearance suggested doubts as to whether it would take five persons and our luggage over the backbone of the island. There was a diligence, but it started at 2 a.m., and the drivers tried to persuade us to sleep at Besca, saying they could take us on at 6 a.m. The dejeuner we had had, however, inspired so little confidence that we determined to get on to Veglia that night, sharing the third carriage ...
— The Shores of the Adriatic - The Austrian Side, The Kuestenlande, Istria, and Dalmatia • F. Hamilton Jackson

... Jack, sir," cried Ned excitedly; "that did me good. I like that, sir. Let 'em see that you're Briton to the backbone, and though they've tied me up again with these bits of cane, Britons never shall be slaves. Here, ugly: come and stand in front and ...
— Jack at Sea - All Work and no Play made him a Dull Boy • George Manville Fenn

... was carried off by the ball. Melvil was not slow in returning the compliment, which, as it was deliberate, proved the more decisive. For the shot entering the Count's right breast, made its way to the backbone with such a shock, as struck him to the ground; upon which the other alighted, in order to improve the advantage he ...
— The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom, Complete • Tobias Smollett

... identified with it, that his removal creates a void it will be impossible to fill." Any one looking through the volumes of this most admirably-conducted boys' paper will see that Talbot Reed's work is indeed the backbone of it. In Number One, Volume One, the first article, "My First Football Match," is by him; and during that year (1879) and the following years he wrote vivid descriptions of cricket-matches, boat-races; "A Boating Adventure at Parkhurst;" ...
— Kilgorman - A Story of Ireland in 1798 • Talbot Baines Reed

... and without them the national industries would be non-existent. They are a picturesque, poor and generally ignorant class, although possessed of excellent natural elements and traits which must develop as time goes on. They form a strong, virile backbone to the country, but the conditions of their life are at present but little removed from serfdom, due to their general poverty as a class and to the monopolisation of the ownership of land by the upper classes. In this connection it is to be recollected ...
— Mexico • Charles Reginald Enock

... the Rhodesian corporal, who, having played a gallant part in the defence, had returned to his errand of mercy. "I've extracted the bullet; it had lodged only a quarter of an inch under the skin and close to the right of his backbone. I don't fancy the lungs are touched. He'll pull through if ...
— Wilmshurst of the Frontier Force • Percy F. Westerman



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