The skeleton is meaningless apart from reference to its function in the life of an organism, yet there are laws of skeleton structure which can be studied with most advantage if other characters of the organism are relegated to the background.
Whether Kutuzov was thinking of something entirely different when he spoke those words, or uttered them purposely, knowing them to be meaningless, at any rate Rostopchin made no reply and hastily left him.
After those involuntary words--that if he were free he would have asked on his knees for her hand and her love--uttered at a moment when she was so strongly agitated, Pierre never spoke to Natasha of his feelings; and it seemed plain to her that those words, which had then so comforted her, were spoken as all sorts of meaningless words are spoken to comfort a crying child.
This exquisite familiarity with bird and beast would make us love the memory of Thoreau if his egotism were triply as arrogant, if his often meaningless paradoxes were even more absurd, if his sympathies were even less humanitarian than we know them to have been.
He was without command of poetic form, and he could only be called a philosopher in an age when the term was used with such meaningless laxity as was customary in the 18th century.