In a story by A. Blackwood, I am unable to find out the correct meaning of "screen" in the following sentence:

Of the mutinous forces that lie so thinly screened behind life, dropping from time to time their faint, wireless messages upon the soul, Field-Martin hardly discerned the existence.

In addition, how "upon the soul" can be understood? Messages that are left for the souls, or messages that are, as it were, left "on" the souls (as if written inside them)?

I would assume, from the rest of the sentence, that it could mean something like "thinly explored?"

2 Answers 2


dropping messages upon the soul means sending messages to the soul.

screened means hidden or protected (a screen of trees can hide your messy garden, glasses can screen your eyes from the bright light). To screen means to shelter or conceal.

  • Thanks..but does "thinly hidden" make sense?
    – John V
    Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 13:43
  • 1
    @JohnV That makes me wonder as well... I believe thinly here could mean any of subtly/slightly/poorly/barely Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 13:56
  • 2
    Hidden behind a thin screen! Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 14:01

"screened" here means "hidden" or "veiled".

The author is saying that we all have "mutinous forces" inside of us, that we do not outwardly display.

"wireless messages upon the soul" means that this presumably subconscious layer is coming to the surface and being noticed by "the soul," presumably representative of our consciousness.

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