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Mountebank   Listen
noun
Mountebank  n.  
1.
One who mounts a bench or stage in the market or other public place, boasts of his skill in curing diseases, and vends medicines which he pretends are infallible remedies; a quack doctor. "Such is the weakness and easy credulity of men, that a mountebank... is preferred before an able physician."
2.
Any boastful or false pretender; a charlatan; a quack. "Nothing so impossible in nature but mountebanks will undertake."






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Mountebank" Quotes from Famous Books



... his fine talent to the superficialness of public taste, and blots his way to emolument and oblivion. There is commonly, however, fault on both sides; in the artist for exhibiting his dexterity by mountebank tricks of the brush, until chaste finish, requiring ten times the knowledge and labor, appears insipid to the diseased taste which he has himself formed in his patrons, as the roaring and ranting of a common actor will oftentimes render apparently vapid the finished touches of perfect ...
— Modern Painters Volume I (of V) • John Ruskin

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

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 Yet, notwithstanding this success, I do not publish them as specifics; I am not vain enough to challenge the world, like a mountebank; I am aware that they do, in some constitutions, sometimes fail of effecting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

... could understand poetry. The whole matter-of-fact assembly was there by a misapprehension, nor did they, for the most part, know what they had come out for to see. There are some words that draw a public as unfailingly as the clash of cymbals, the trumpet, or the mountebank's big drum; "beauty," "glory," "poetry," are words that ...
— Lost Illusions • Honore De Balzac

... mouths, ears, and eyes were open; for the reception of all the wisdom and patriotism, with all the comicality and fun, which the orators were expected to bestow. A mob delights in being harangued; and is thrown into raptures by every kind of mountebank. ...
— The Adventures of Hugh Trevor • Thomas Holcroft

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

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

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

... bargee, after their backs were turned, told their story and made known their identity to an open-mouthed and delighted audience, no one would have suspected that the two little ragamuffins in company with the outlandish-looking mountebank were the lost children whose tragic fate had cast quite a gloom over the neighbourhood, and elicited such universal sympathy with the ladies at Firgrove and the poor bereaved father fighting for his country ...
— Two Little Travellers - A Story for Girls • Frances Browne Arthur

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

... was terribly alarmed, when he discovered instincts which in his eyes were of so low an order. He understood nothing of art, nor of the noble part which artists sustain in the world. He saw in them nothing but a sort of mountebank, who amuse the world in its idle moments. Uneasy, and almost ashamed at the inclinations of his son, the father of Handel opposed them by all possible means. He would not send him to any of the public ...
— Sketch of Handel and Beethoven • Thomas Hanly Ball

... eat a sword; another will vomit coals or pebbles; one will drink wine and send it out again at his forehead; another will cut off his companion's head, and put it on again. You will think you see a chicken dragging a beam. The mountebank will swallow fire and vomit it forth, he will draw blood from fruit, he will send from his mouth strings of iron nails, he will put a sword on his stomach and press it strongly, and instead of running into him, it will bend back to the hilt; another will run a sword through his body without ...
— The Phantom World - or, The philosophy of spirits, apparitions, &c, &c. • Augustin Calmet

... not, of course, know that that bottle of red ink was a cheap, theatrical trick of a mountebank, a creature who is the laughing-stock of the press and the public, in his idiotic attempts to draw sensational notoriety upon himself. But I do know that this effort has failed! You have dared to plant this outrageous, ...
— The Crevice • William John Burns and Isabel Ostrander

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

... Amiens, to adjust this little disorder, and walked about the town, and into the great church, but saw nothing very remarkable there; but going across a broad street near the great church, we saw a crowd of people gazing at a mountebank doctor, who made a long harangue to them with a thousand antic postures, and gave out bills this way, and boxes of physic that way, and had a great trade, when on a sudden the people raised a cry, "Larron, Larron!" (in English, "Thief, ...
— Memoirs of a Cavalier • Daniel Defoe

... ringer [Slang], spieler^, straw bidder [U.S.]. imposter, pretender, soi-disant [Fr.], humbug; adventurer; Cagliostro, Fernam Mendez Pinto; ass in lion's skin &c (bungler) 701; actor &c (stage player) 599. quack, charlatan, mountebank, saltimbanco^, saltimbanque^, empiric, quacksalver, medicaster^, Rosicrucian, gypsy; man of straw. conjuror, juggler, trickster, prestidigitator, jockey; crimp, decoy, decoy duck; rogue, knave, cheat; swindler &c (thief) 792; jobber. Phr. saint ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

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

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

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

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

... "Peace, good mountebank, I did but utter the truth that was in my heart. San Paolo be my witness that did ye but find the stout Count Leonardo in his cups, sheer from the castle's topmost battlements would he hurl ye all! Alack-a-day, the ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... idea of their unbridled madness, and the terrorism with which they surrounded themselves. The horrors of the French revolution, then raging, aided them mainly, and using that as a raw-head and bloody-bones, they were enabled by their stratagems of X. Y. Z. in which ——— was a leading mountebank, their tales of tub-plots, ocean-massacres, bloody-buoys, and pulpit-lyings and slanderings, and maniacal ravings of their Gardiners, their Osgoods, and Parishes, to spread alarm into all but the firmest breasts. Their Attorney General had the impudence to say ...
— Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The Papers Of Thomas Jefferson - Volume I • Thomas Jefferson

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

... large, whose mission directed him to the households of well-to-do people throughout the city. His brother clergymen held him in slight esteem. In private talk with Martin Warricombe, Mr. Lilywhite did not hesitate to call him 'a mountebank', and to add ...
— Born in Exile • George Gissing

... what sort of man is the father? I know him, but what do you make of him—a mountebank, ...
— The Brothers Karamazov • Fyodor Dostoyevsky

... ii. sc. 2, after Mosca and Volpone have erected a stage upon the stage, Volpone enters, disguised as a mountebank, and abuses those 'ground ciarlatani' (charlatans, impostors) 'who come in lamely, with their mouldy tales out of Boccaccio.' Then there is a most clear allusion to Hamlet (act iv. sc. 6), where he informs his friend Horatio, by letter, of ...
— Shakspere And Montaigne • Jacob Feis

... I concluded, "you will be dressed like a lady." She opened the book at a gaudy picture, "France, XVI(ieme) Siecle—Saltimbanque et Bohemmienne," and pointed to the female mountebank. This young person wore a bright green tunic, bordered with gold and finished off at the elbows and waist with red, over an undergown of flaring pink, the sleeves of which reached her wrist; she was crowned with red and white carnations stuck ...
— The Morals of Marcus Ordeyne • William J. Locke

... being masked, took no rank there. Mme. la Duchesse de Bourgogne and Madame had arm-chairs in the center of the hall. The Duchesse de Bourgogne was surprised to see a splendid theater, adorned with her arms and monogram. . . . As soon as the princess was seated, Bari, the famous mountebank of Paris, came forward and asked her protection against the doctors, and having extolled the excellence of his remedies, and the marvels of his secrets, he offered to the princess as a little diversion a comedy such as they sometimes played at Paris. ...
— The Story of Versailles • Francis Loring Payne

... the battlefield of life, What spite and envy follow in your train! See, for this crown the State conferred on me. A gift, a thing I sought not, for this crown The trusty Creon, my familiar friend, Hath lain in wait to oust me and suborned This mountebank, this juggling charlatan, This tricksy beggar-priest, for gain alone Keen-eyed, but in his proper art stone-blind. Say, sirrah, hast thou ever proved thyself A prophet? When the riddling Sphinx was here Why hadst thou no deliverance for this folk? And yet the ...
— The Oedipus Trilogy • Sophocles

... "He is a mountebank—a meddler, that's what he is. The sooner we come to realise it, the better," exclaimed the over-heated Duke. "He has greater influence over our beloved Prince than any one else in the royal household. He has no business here—none whatsoever. His presence and his meddling ...
— Truxton King - A Story of Graustark • George Barr McCutcheon

... cruelties and your crimes. You have murdered your mother. You have murdered your wife. You are an incendiary. And not content with perpetrating these enormous atrocities, you have degraded yourself in the eyes of all Rome to the level of the lowest mountebank and buffoon, so as to make yourself the object of contempt as well as abhorrence. ...
— Nero - Makers of History Series • Jacob Abbott

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

... cried the lackeys indignantly. "Dost thou imagine the king would wear anything contrived by the likes of thee. Be off, old mountebank, ere thou and thy shoes are flung into ...
— Fifty-Two Stories For Girls • Various

... talk like a mountebank. I don't want any of your roundabout words for truth; we're not writing a Bible essay. I try my best to ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... quack, arrives at the village in great state to vend his nostrums. Nemorino applies to him for a bottle of the Elixir of Love,—with the magical properties of which he has become acquainted in a romance Adina has been reading that very morning. The mountebank, of course, has no such liquid, but he passes off on the simple peasant a bottle of wine, and assures him that if he drinks of it he can command the love of any one on the morrow. To thoroughly test its efficacy, Nemorino drinks the whole of it. When he encounters ...
— The Standard Operas (12th edition) • George P. Upton

... the Charge to Peter in Pope Sixtus his new Chapel, and listen to me. The first thing your painter must seek to do is to fill his wall. Let there be no mistake about this. He is at first no prophet or man of God; he is no juggler nor mountebank who shall be rewarded according to the enormity of his grins; his calling, maybe, is humbler, for all he stands for is to wash a wall so that no eye be set smarting because of it. Now that seems a very simple matter; ...
— Earthwork Out Of Tuscany • Maurice Hewlett

... might be termed a local Will-o'th-Wisp. He has been everything by turns, and nothing long. Now, a lean faced lad, "a mere anatomy, a mountebank, a thread bare juggler, a needy, hollow-ey'd, sharp looking wretch;" now acting the pert, bragging youth, telling quaint stories, and up to a thousand raw tricks; now tumbling and adventuring into manhood with yet the oil and fire and force of ...
— Adventures and Recollections • Bill o'th' Hoylus End

... literally nothing more than "clear-seeing," and it is a word which has been sorely misused, and even degraded so far as to be employed to describe the trickery of a mountebank in a variety show. Even in its more restricted sense it covers a wide range of phenomena, differing so greatly in character that it is not easy to give a definition of the word which shall be at once succinct and accurate. It has been called ...
— Clairvoyance • Charles Webster Leadbeater

... curious tales related of the mystic henbane may be quoted one noticed by Gerarde, who says: "The root boiled with vinegar, and the same holden hot in the mouth, easeth the pain of the teeth. The seed is used by mountebank tooth-drawers, which run about the country, to cause worms to come forth of the teeth, by burning it in a chafing-dish of coles, the party holding his mouth over the fume thereof; but some crafty companions, to gain money, convey ...
— The Folk-lore of Plants • T. F. Thiselton-Dyer

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

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

... velveteen suit whose magnificence he had enhanced by newly purchased steel-buckled shoes and black stockings, and to a less bigoted worshipper than me I suppose he must have looked a mountebank Tomfool; but I ...
— The Beloved Vagabond • William J. Locke

... I played the mountebank to a degree that astonished myself, but apparently to some purpose, for the ...
— The Brother of Daphne • Dornford Yates

... ramble in the Park, he passes by the Hall where his favourite Mountebank was to lecture on the Gospel of Soap. But not having the price of admittance that evening, and being anxious to hear the orator whom he had idolised, Khalid bravely appeals to his generosity in this quaint and touching note: "My pocket," he wrote, "is empty and my ...
— The Book of Khalid • Ameen Rihani

... associate with gentlemen, should have managed to get the best of the Duke of Vallombreuse, hitherto by common accord pronounced invincible? He must be a professional prize-fighter, disguised as a strolling mountebank." ...
— Captain Fracasse • Theophile Gautier

... promised the citizens of Carthage to discover to them their most secret thoughts, in case they would come, on a day appointed, to hear him. Being all met, he told them, they were desirous to buy cheap and sell dear. Every man's conscience pleaded guilty to the charge; and the mountebank was dismissed with applause and laughter. Vili vultis emere, et care vendere; in quo dicto levissimi scenici omnes tamen conscientias invenerunt suas, eique vera et tamen improvisa dicenti admirabili favore plauserunt. S. August. l. xiii. de ...
— The Ancient History of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians, • Charles Rollin

... "What mountebank trick is this?" demanded the stranger, angrily; but, as his eye glanced over the figure of the page, his countenance rapidly changed, and in an ...
— The Rivals of Acadia - An Old Story of the New World • Harriet Vaughan Cheney

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

... what she meant for a crushing rebuke, and the indignant colour rose in the cheeks of the guests; but Fergus persisted, 'But he makes a guy of himself and a mountebank.' ...
— Beechcroft at Rockstone • Charlotte M. Yonge

... him, a constable stepped up upon the stage, and told him that a gentleman had sworn a robbery directly against him, and he must go immediately before the mayor. This put him into a lamentable confusion. He knew himself innocent, but the character of a mountebank was sufficient to make the thing believed at first, and therefore he could not be blamed for his apprehensions, especially considering he took it as a just return for that robbery which he had committed in town, and for which he made no satisfaction ...
— Lives Of The Most Remarkable Criminals Who have been Condemned and Executed for Murder, the Highway, Housebreaking, Street Robberies, Coining or other offences • Arthur L. Hayward

... Voltaire heralds a new Sparta and Athens; she calls her grandson Constantine, and surrounds him with Greek nurse and servants. Her famous progress southward, the most eccentric pageant in history, is typical of Patiomkin's regime. This extraordinary man—mountebank, writes the English envoy, "esprit reveur," says the keener-eyed Prince de Ligne—a barbarian, of terrific appearance; fantastic beyond the verge of madness, acquired a greater influence with Catharine than any other man of her reign. He had been created "Prince ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, v. 13 • Various

... still by envious malice dogged! This place of power, which now I hold, by me Unsought, was by the city's will bestowed. Yet the thrice-loyal Creon, my fast friend, Seeks now to oust me by foul practices, Using for tool this knavish soothsayer, This lying mountebank, whose greedy palm Has eyes, while in his science he is blind. Show me the proofs of thy prophetic gift. Why, when the riddling Sphinx was here, didst thou Fail by thy skill to save the commonwealth? The riddle was not such as ...
— Specimens of Greek Tragedy - Aeschylus and Sophocles • Goldwin Smith

... strained from one place to the other. At the back of this plate is Lee and Harper's great booth, where, by the picture of the wooden horse, we are told, is represented "The Siege of Troy." The next paintings consist of the fall of Adam and Eve, and a scene in Punch's opera. Beneath is a mountebank, exalted on a stage, eating fire to attract the public attention; while his merry-andrew behind is distributing his medicines. Further back is a shift and hat, carried upon poles, designed as prizes for the best runner or wrestler. In front is a group ...
— The Works of William Hogarth: In a Series of Engravings - With Descriptions, and a Comment on Their Moral Tendency • John Trusler

... chateau, the daring words uttered by Fanfar dwelt in her memory: "Make yourself beloved." She had entered the booth where the exhibition had taken place, in a moment of idle curiosity, and was surprised at the impression made on her by the place and the people. She was greatly irritated withal. This mountebank, this rope-dancer, had taken a great deal upon himself, certainly. Why had she not answered him as he deserved? What did he mean—"Make yourself beloved"—as if she were not already beloved! She remembered the eyes which the peasants riveted on her. Could ...
— The Son of Monte Cristo • Jules Lermina

... the voice of La Tour d'Azyr, who had half-risen from his seat: "Mountebank! This is not ...
— Scaramouche - A Romance of the French Revolution • Rafael Sabatini

... Who are these men who in the middle of the night, in the security of a completely shuttered building, busy themselves, not with the inestimable treasures surrounding them, but with an odd and seemingly mountebank adventure totally out of keeping with the place and their absorbed demeanor? We ...
— The Mystery of the Hasty Arrow • Anna Katharine Green

... never more in request than since the Seeresses of Rochester commenced their levees at Barnum's Hotel. The journals have been filled with jesting and speculation upon the subject,—mountebank tricksters and shrewd professors have plied their keenest wits to discover the processes of the rappings—and Mrs. Fish and the Foxes in spite of them all preserve their secret, or at least are as successful as ever in persuading themselves and others ...
— International Weekly Miscellany, Vol. 1, No. 5, July 29, 1850 • Various

... from the circumstance of their being silenced by the two censors [b], Crassus and Domitius. They were ordered, says Cicero, to shut up their school of impudence. Those scenes, however, are open at present, and there our young students listen to mountebank oratory. I am at a loss how to determine which is most fatal to all true genius, the place itself, the company that frequent it, or the plan of study universally adopted. Can the place impress the mind ...
— A Dialogue Concerning Oratory, Or The Causes Of Corrupt Eloquence • Cornelius Tacitus

... the sodden mountebank who dares to cast a stone into the limpid pool of my character. That ...
— Berry And Co. • Dornford Yates

... of those days; with force in it, nevertheless, and something of grandeur, that will exist in spite of taste, and is born of energetic will. A man, disposed to write comparisons of characters, might, for instance, find some striking analogies between mountebank Murat, with his irresistible bravery and horsemanship, who was a kind of mixture of Dugueselin and Ducrow, and Mountebank David, a fierce, powerful painter and genius, whose idea of beauty and sublimity seemed ...
— The Paris Sketch Book Of Mr. M. A. Titmarsh • William Makepeace Thackeray

... turned to ridicule; But our bold Briton, without fear or awe, O'erleaps at once the whole Apocrypha; Invades the Psalms with rhymes, and leaves no room For any Vandal Hopkins yet to come. But when, if, after all, this godly gear Is not so senseless as it would appear, Our mountebank has laid a deeper train; His cant, like Merry Andrew's noble vein, Cat-calls the sects to draw them in again. At leisure hours in epic song he deals, Writes to the rumbling of his coach's wheels; Prescribes in haste, and seldom kills by rule, But rides triumphant between ...
— The Dramatic Works of John Dryden Vol. I. - With a Life of the Author • Sir Walter Scott

... upon your sentry of small stature and hurls him down the terraces! He calls to his trick horse,—trained in the circus, I do not doubt,—and rides away in the dark, and thinks no one will ever know! But I know. I have seen his tricks in America. He is a clown—a mountebank! No gentleman ...
— The Rose of Old St. Louis • Mary Dillon

... gates to the invaders of most of our time; we expose our life to a quotidian ague of frigid impertinences, which would make a wise man tremble to think of. Now, as for being known much by sight, and pointed at, I can not comprehend the honor that lies in that; whatsoever it be, every mountebank has it more than the best doctor, and the hangman more than the lord chief-justice of a city. Every creature has it, both of nature and art, if it ...
— The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to prose. Volume III (of X) - Great Britain and Ireland I • Francis W. Halsey

... masks and dominoes of the mind! what mountebank ever wore so many disguises as the heart of man? If some potent spirit of evil had suddenly converted Elm Lodge into the palace of Truth, the light of its master's countenance would have grown dark as he read the thoughts that were passing in my breast; and instead of bestowing upon me the attentions ...
— Frank Fairlegh - Scenes From The Life Of A Private Pupil • Frank E. Smedley

... the reason, may it please your reverences, that in all our numerous family, for these four generations, we count no more than one archbishop, a Welch judge, some three or four aldermen, and a single mountebank...
— The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman • Laurence Sterne

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

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

... therefore the Anglo-Saxon version of Saint Mark's Gospel states Herodias to have vaulted or tumbled before King Herod. In Scotland these poor creatures seem, even at a late period, to have been bondswomen to their masters, as appears from a case reported by Fountainhall: 'Reid the mountebank pursues Scot of Harden and his lady for stealing away from him a little girl, called the tumbling-lassie, that dance upon his stage; and he claimed damages, and produced a contract, whereby he bought her ...
— The Lady of the Lake • Sir Walter Scott

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

... anything that he carries. He is an expeditious messenger, for no man may stop him; and he can travel cheaply for whom there is free entertainment on every road. "For the belly one will play many tricks"; and Asirvadam, in financial straits, may teach dancing to nautch-girls; or he may play the mountebank or the conjurer, and with a stock of mantras and charms proceed to the curing of murrain in cattle, pip in chickens, and short-windedness in old women,—at the same time telling fortunes, calculating nativities, finding ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. II, No. 8, June 1858 • Various

... understand, in a feeble way, that no harm could come to them if they faced the situation boldly. The Americans would not land on British soil; it would precipitate war with England. They would not dare to attempt a bombardment: Chase was a liar, a mountebank, a dog! After shouting himself hoarse in his frenzy of despair, he finally succeeded in forcing the men to get up steam in the company's tug. All this time, the officers of the American warship were dividing their attention between ...
— The Man From Brodney's • George Barr McCutcheon

... without Prayer and Discipline:—it woulde be Presumption indeede, to commence an Enterprise which I meant shoulde delighte and profit every instructed and elevated Mind without so much Paynes-takinge as it should cost a poor Mountebank to balance a ...
— Mary Powell & Deborah's Diary • Anne Manning

... artifice. He seemed come upon the stage to do the poet's message simply, and he did it with as genuine fidelity as the nuncios in Homer deliver the errands of the gods. He let the passion or the sentiment do its own work without prop or bolstering. He would have scorned to mountebank it; and betrayed none of that cleverness which is the bane of serious acting. For this reason, his Iago was the only endurable one which I remember to have seen. No spectator from his action could divine more of his artifice ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, Volume 2 • Charles Lamb

... to Kramer?" he asked. And the German told him a strange story. Kramer was a queer mountebank sort of a chap who before conscription claimed him had been clown in a circus, and his antics and gymnastic feats had made him very popular with his fellow-troopers. He had been a good soldier too; and when ...
— A Rip Van Winkle Of The Kalahari - Seven Tales of South-West Africa • Frederick Cornell

... write his prescription; when, as he sat before the table with eyes upturned, and pen suspended over the paper, Salvator approached him on tiptoe, and drawing the pen gently through his fingers, with one of his old Coviello gesticulations in his character of the mountebank, he said, "fermati dottor mio! stop doctor, you must not lay pen to paper till I have leisure to dictate the idea and conceit of the prescription I may think proper for the malady of ...
— Anecdotes of Painters, Engravers, Sculptors and Architects, and Curiosities of Art, (Vol. 2 of 3) • Shearjashub Spooner

... women in all ages, from Messalina, who waded recklessly through blood to the gratification of her passions, to that Royal mountebank, Queen Christina of Sweden, whose laughter rang out while her lover Monaldeschi was being foully done to death at her bidding by Count Sentinelli, his successor in her affections; and in this baleful company the notorious ...
— Love Romances of the Aristocracy • Thornton Hall

... have too much stir in the view of his wife; therefore must be laid aside; and away he goes then to a High German Doctor, who without stop or stand, according to the nature of his country, Mountebank-like begins to vaunt, as followeth: Ach Herr, ihr zijt ein hupscher, aber ein swaccher Venus-Ritter; ihr habt in des Garten der Beuchreiche Veneris gar zu viel gespatzieret, und das Jungfraulicken Roszlein zu oftmaal gehantiret; ihr werd ein grosze ...
— The Ten Pleasures of Marriage and The Confession of the New-married Couple (1682) • A. Marsh

... name, who does not practise the rules of this profession, and who has not its spirit, without which, a man may perform exterior duties, but will upon occasions betray himself, and forget his obligation. When a mountebank at Alexandria had taught an ape dressed in woman's clothes to dance most ingeniously, the people took it for a woman, till one threw some almonds on the stage; for then the beast could no longer contain, ...
— The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints - January, February, March • Alban Butler

... present, indeed! What humbug! The fact is, you didn't like to think of the poor fellow whom you had murdered. So you restored the money to the widow, publicly, of course, because you love playing to the gallery and ranting and posing, like the mountebank that you are. That was all very nicely thought out. Only, my fine fellow, you ought not to have sent me the selfsame notes that were stolen from Dugrival! Yes, you silly fool, the selfsame notes and no others! We knew the numbers, Dugrival and I did. And you were stupid ...
— The Confessions of Arsene Lupin • Maurice Leblanc

... the flag of England in front of the house of the sheriff. Curiosity assembled a large concourse to witness what was transpiring. Scott addressed them at much length. "He jabbered away," writes a Dutch historian, "in English, like a mountebank." ...
— Peter Stuyvesant, the Last Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam • John S. C. Abbott

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

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

... black satin waistcoat, overlaid with gold chains, a black velvet Spanish cloak and hat, red beard and whiskers, and a face resembling the Saracen's on Snow-Hill, completed his ensemble." He was probably some travelling mountebank ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. 327 - Vol. 53, January, 1843 • Various

... susceptible no more to the same impression. The circle may widen to other lands and other ages, but around him it is weak and faint. The trifles of the day, the low politics, the base intrigues, occupy the tongue, and fill the thought of his contemporaries. He is less known than a mountebank, or a new dancer; his glory comes not home to him; it brings no present, no perpetual reward, like the applauses that wait the actor, or the actor-like murmur of the senate; and this, which vexes, also lowers him; his noble ...
— The Pilgrims Of The Rhine • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

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

... word, he was a Jack-pudding to a mountebank, and turned off for want of wit: my master picked him up before a puppet-show, mumbling a half-penny custard, to send him with a ...
— Literary Remains (1) • Coleridge

... must see him do the headwaiter—hear him blarney and flabbergast the complaining guest, observe him reckon up his criminal bill, see the subtle condescension of his tip grabbing. This Tich, I assure you, is no common mountebank, but a first-rate comic actor. Given legs eighteen inches longer and an equator befitting the role, he would make the best Falstaff of our generation. Even as he stands, he would do wonders with Bob Acres—and I'd give four dollars any day to ...
— Europe After 8:15 • H. L. Mencken, George Jean Nathan and Willard Huntington Wright

... see how this grotesque but wonderful actor—a mountebank sometimes and sometimes a living truth—would play at home after driving us all mad in America, I went to see him in Sir Giles Overreach. He played with more spirit, more of settled purpose, than with us, being more in earnest, I think, and ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 106, August, 1866 • Various

... man who was. Much for James Scarlett, tamer of lions and general mountebank," I said, laughing down the rising tide of bitterness. Why had she stirred those dark waters? I had drowned myself in them long since. Under them lay the corpse of a man ...
— The Maids of Paradise • Robert W. (Robert William) Chambers

... slowly to the pavilions. And as they gained the open space, where the gaudy tents still shone against the setting sun, they beheld the mob of that day, whom Shakspeare hath painted with such contempt, gathering, laughing and loud, around the mountebank and the conjurer, who had already replaced in their thoughts (as Gloucester had foreseen) the ...
— The Last Of The Barons, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

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

... long as it suits me." A sort of cold ferocity was growing in Blenheim's tones. "And you have yourself to thank for your position, let me remind you; you would thrust yourself in. I don't know what you are doing in the business—a ridiculous mountebank in a leather cap and coat! It's a way you Yankees have, meddling in things that don't concern you. You seem to think that you have special rights under Providence, that you own everything in the universe, even to the high seas. Well, ...
— The Firefly Of France • Marion Polk Angellotti

... the mountebank, 'are only revealed after long preparation. For them must he gaze into the dark poor of the future. The present and the past he can divine by the mere touch of what has belonged ...
— The Chaplet of Pearls • Charlotte M. Yonge

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

... none of them. Work I abhorred with a detestation worthy of a scion of nobility; and, I believe, you could just as soon have persuaded the lineal representative of the Howards or Percys to exhibit himself in the character of a mountebank, as have got me to trust my person on the pinnacle of a three-legged stool. The rule of three is all very well for base mechanical souls; but I flatter myself I have an intellect too large to be limited to a ledger. "Augustus," said my poor mother to me, while stroking my hyacinthine ...
— Stories by English Authors: Scotland • Various

... orator and dramatist, an English Gavazzi," or, "mountebank," "humbug," or "backslider," Mr. Gough was, even at that early period, an antagonist not to be despised. He had been out of pocket and out at the elbows—indeed, his wardrobe now was mean and scanty; want and privation had been ...
— The Strollers • Frederic S. Isham

... arm, Of hawker's wares—books, pictures, combs, and pins— Some aged woman finds her way again, 30 Year after year, a punctual visitant! There also stands a speech-maker by rote, Pulling the strings of his boxed raree-show; And in the lapse of many years may come [7] Prouder itinerant, mountebank, or he 35 Whose wonders in a covered wain lie hid. But one there is, [8] the loveliest of them all, Some sweet lass of the valley, looking out For gains, and who that sees her would not buy? Fruits of her father's orchard, are her wares, 40 And with the ruddy produce, she walks round [9] ...
— The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Vol. III • William Wordsworth

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

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

... call this nonsense and its author a mountebank. I call it poetry and its author a poet. You never heard anything like it before; but do not be afraid of your own enjoyment. Read it aloud a dozen times, and you, too will hear roaring, epic music, and you will see the mighty, golden river ...
— The Advance of English Poetry in the Twentieth Century • William Lyon Phelps

... assumption of Repeal; for its address is, 'To the People of Ireland.' So placing himself, a writer has it not within his choice to play the fool; it is not within his competence to tumble or 'come aloft' or play antics as a mountebank; his theme binds him to decency, his audience to gravity. Speaking, though it be but by the windiest of fictions, to a nation, is not a man pledged to respectful language? speaking, though it is but by a chimera as wild as Repeal to a question of national welfare, a man is ...
— The Posthumous Works of Thomas De Quincey, Vol. 1 (2 vols) • Thomas De Quincey

... for base lucre divorced the arts of writing and reciting and stole other men's thunder. Their social degeneracy may be traced in the dictionary. The chanter of the "gests" of kings, gesta ducum regumque, dwindled into a gesticulator, a jester: the honored jogelar of Provence, into a mountebank; the jockie, ...
— The Bay State Monthly, Volume 3, No. 2 • Various

... there not be motives he could not fathom? Might not the actress and the Corsican be in league with each other? Might not all this jargon of prophecy—and menace be but artifices to dupe him,—the tool, perhaps, of a mountebank and his mistress! Mistress,—ah, no! If ever maidenhood wrote its modest characters externally, that pure eye, that noble forehead, that mien and manner so ingenuous even in their coquetry, their pride, assured him that Isabel was not the base and guilty thing he had dared for a moment ...
— Zicci, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... that Louis Napoleon deceived Europe twice—once when he made it think he was a noodle, and once when he made it think he was a statesman. It might be added that Europe was never quite just to him, and was deceived a third time, when it took him after his fall for an exploded mountebank and nonentity. Amid the general chorus of contempt which was raised over his weak and unscrupulous policy in later years, culminating in his great disaster, there are few things finer than this attempt of Browning's ...
— Robert Browning • G. K. Chesterton

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

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

... as a thing of the mountebank or pantomime, and appears himself without a Jezebel's paint or a Jacob's clothing, so that you may know at once who he is, what he says, and ...
— Talkers - With Illustrations • John Bate

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

... tongues, And only knoweth what t' all states belongs. Made of th' accents and best phrase of all these, He speaks one language. If strange meats displease, Art can deceive, or hunger force my taste; But pedant's motley tongue, soldier's bombast, Mountebank's drug-tongue, nor the terms of law, Are strong enough preparatives to draw Me to hear this, yet I must be content With his tongue, in his tongue call'd Compliment; In which he can win widows, and pay scores, Make men speak treason, cozen subtlest whores, Outflatter favourites, or outlie ...
— English Satires • Various

... the Five Towns would or could have done what I am doing. Moreover, this chap is a mountebank. In the Five Towns they would kow-tow to him, but they would laugh at him. They would mighty soon add him up. Why should I be nervous? I'm as good as he is." He finished with the thought which has inspired many a timid man with new courage ...
— The Regent • E. Arnold Bennett

... ye yon reverend lad Mak faces to tickle the mob; He rails at our mountebank squad,— It's ...
— Poems And Songs Of Robert Burns • Robert Burns

... this mountebank decides As great Authority, not Reason, guides. "'Tis not for him, degenerate wight, to say Faults can be mended at this time of day, For Coke himself declared—no matter what— Can Justice suffer ...
— The Complete Prose Works of Martin Farquhar Tupper • Martin Farquhar Tupper

... I"—With a little hysterical, disdainful laugh, as of the soul at itself, she leaned upon the window, looking into the village below, alternately smiling and frowning at the thought of this adventurer down at the Louis Quinze. "Yet, who can tell? Disraeli was half mountebank at the start," she said. "Napoleon dressed infamously, too, before he was successful." But again she ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... confound the fellow, he is not her father!" There was a sharp sting in the speech which ran into him suddenly, and put him in a worse mood. So he had National Participled the unconscious Corporal with most hearty emphasis, and had made up his mind to think no more about such a mountebank. ...
— Somebody's Luggage • Charles Dickens

... looked around and saw a young man riding into the square from another street than that I had come from. He was followed by a servant on horseback, and was bound for the same inn. It seems strange in the telling, that a gentleman should ride singing into a public square, as if he were a mountebank or street-singer, yet it appeared quite natural as this young fellow did it. The song was something about brave soldiers and the smiles of ladies—just such a gay song as so handsome a young cavalier ought to sing. ...
— The Bright Face of Danger • Robert Neilson Stephens

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

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

... pine plantations in which the countryside abounded. Paul smoked pipe after pipe, and he knew very well that if anybody had been there to look at him, he would have seemed unmoved, and yet he seemed to himself more than once to be playing the mountebank with his own trouble, as when, for instance, the ...
— Despair's Last Journey • David Christie Murray

... than his soul in an octavo? 'We know what we are, but we know not what we may be,' and it is to be hoped we never shall know, if a man who has passed through life with a sort of eclat is to find himself a mountebank on the other side of Styx, and made, like poor Joe Blackett, the laughing-stock of purgatory. The plea of publication is to provide for the child. Now, might not some of this 'sutor ultra crepidam's' friends and seducers have done a decent ...
— Life of Lord Byron, Vol. II - With His Letters and Journals • Thomas Moore

... got more by this distich than Mr. Dryden did by all his works. There would be no end of enumerating the several imaginary perfections and unaccountable artifices by which this tribe of men ensnare the minds of the vulgar and gain crowds of admirers. I have seen the whole front of a mountebank's stage from one end to the other, faced with patents, certificates, medals, and great seals, by which the several princes of Europe have testified their particular respect and esteem for the doctor. Every great man with a sounding title has ...
— Isaac Bickerstaff • Richard Steele

... pay, or his jingling sword, or even his rank; he may perhaps consent, but ask him to rip off his embroidery, and he will answer, never! How can you imagine a man of sense consenting not to look like a mountebank? ...
— Paris under the Commune • John Leighton

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

... throng surrounding the mountebank three persons seemed especially amused by the peroration. They were two gentlemen, very elegant and distinguished, in evening clothes, and with them a pretty woman wearing a loose silk ...
— The Exploits of Juve - Being the Second of the Series of the "Fantmas" Detective Tales • mile Souvestre and Marcel Allain



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



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