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Perversity   /pərvˈərsəti/   Listen
Perversity

noun
1.
Deliberate and stubborn unruliness and resistance to guidance or discipline.  Synonyms: contrariness, perverseness.
2.
Deliberately deviating from what is good.  Synonym: perverseness.






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"Perversity" Quotes from Famous Books



... which hath not so made men that they should so abuse one another. For even that intercourse which should be between God and us is violated, when that same nature, of which He is Author, is polluted by perversity of lust. But those actions which are offences against the customs of men, are to be avoided according to the customs severally prevailing; so that a thing agreed upon, and confirmed, by custom or law of any city or nation, may not be violated at the lawless pleasure of any, whether native ...
— The Confessions of Saint Augustine • Saint Augustine

... his character, his personal charm, his certain career, his dreadful doom, and even of his clear purpose in that great study which was to have been a supreme literary portrait, a kind of critical Vandyke or Velasquez. She had conveyed to me in abundance that she was tongue-tied by her perversity, by her piety, that she would never break the silence it had not been given to the "right person," as she said, to break. The hour however finally arrived. One evening when I had been sitting with her longer than usual I laid my hand firmly on ...
— Embarrassments • Henry James

... us to one phase of Rachel's nature which is rather sinister. She was absolutely hard. She seemed to have no emotions except those which she exhibited on the stage or the impish perversity which irritated so many of those about her. She was in reality a product of the gutter, able to assume a demure and modest air, but within coarse, vulgar, and careless of decency. Yet the words of ...
— Famous Affinities of History, Vol 1-4, Complete - The Romance of Devotion • Lyndon Orr

... on the basis of such a passion ought to open up for them a union of overflowing and indestructible felicity. They should associate as perfectly as the compensating metals of a pendulum, of which the one contracts as the other expands. And then I should be a little happier myself. But the perversity of life! Jacob would never confide in Mrs. Walter. Mrs. Walters ...
— A Kentucky Cardinal • James Lane Allen

... Callieres, who had deserved it less, had received it several years before; but he had not found or provoked so many defamers. Frontenac complained to the minister that his services had been slightly and tardily requited. This was true, and it was due largely to the complaints excited by his own perversity and violence. These complaints still continued; but the fault was not all on one side, and Frontenac himself had often just reason to retort them. He wrote to Ponchartrain: "If you will not be so good as to ...
— Count Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV • Francis Parkman

... such an old-fashioned type as to be gentlemen but by courtesy—not gentlemen in the world's count! She was of the world; they of the north of Scotland! All day Mercy had been on their side and against her! It might be from sheer perversity, but she had never been like that before! She must take care she did not make a fool of herself! It might end in some unhappiness to the young goose! Assuredly neither her father nor mother would countenance the thing! She must ...
— What's Mine's Mine • George MacDonald

... the ridiculous follies, peevishness, and perversity of our masters; we have been behind the shows and shams of ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol 6, No 5, November 1864 - Devoted To Literature And National Policy • Various

... felt a savage joy in the privation thus imposed upon his family. Mrs. Peak could not forgive her husband, and in this case, though she had but dim appreciation of the point of honour involved, her censures doubtless fell on Nicholas's vulnerable spot; it was the perversity of arrogance, at least as much as honesty, that impelled him to incur taxation. His wife's perseverance in complaint drove him to stern impatience, and for a long time the peace ...
— Born in Exile • George Gissing

... be necessarily opposed to it, and opposed in proportion to art's vigour. While, on the other hand, the seeking, the realisation of greater harmony, whether harmony visible, audible, thinkable, and livable, is as necessarily opposed to anomaly and perversity as the great healthinesses of air and sunshine are opposed to bodily disease. Hence, in whatever company we find art, even as in whatever company we find bodily health and vigour, let us understand that in so far as truly art, it is good and a source of good. Let us never waver in our faith ...
— Renaissance Fancies and Studies - Being a Sequel to Euphorion • Violet Paget (AKA Vernon Lee)

... lesson, but Toinette was writing a letter. This, she knew quite well, was not what she was supposed to be doing, but the five weeks had not sufficed to undo the mischief done in seven years, and she was writing simply from a spirit of perversity. There was ample time to do it during her hours of freedom, but the very fact of doing it when she knew full well that she ought to be at work on her German added piquancy to the act. Moreover, the letter was to a boy with whom she had become ...
— Caps and Capers - A Story of Boarding-School Life • Gabrielle E. Jackson

... and frankly extended her hand. He blackened and scowled like a thunder-cloud, and kept his fists resolutely clenched, and his gaze fixed on the ground. Catherine, by instinct, must have divined it was obdurate perversity, and not dislike, that prompted this dogged conduct; for, after remaining an instant undecided, she stooped and impressed on his cheek a gentle kiss. The little rogue thought I had not seen her, and, drawing back, she took her former station by the window, quite demurely. I shook my ...
— Wuthering Heights • Emily Bronte

... agrees with what precedes. God shows that he is displeased with the perversity of men. He is full of solicitude and quite ready to forbear. Against his will, so to speak, he permits the flood to rage. Therefore, he decided upon a fixed and adequate time for them to come to ...
— Commentary on Genesis, Vol. II - Luther on Sin and the Flood • Martin Luther

... manner, as though his mind were occupied with thoughts which he did not care to interrupt, and turned toward the window, when Virginia, who had greeted him simultaneously with a smile obviously designed to convey a similar impression, and, piqued to perversity by the fact that Dan had so readily interpreted her wishes, paused in the middle of a sentence and looked back ...
— Dan Merrithew • Lawrence Perry

... miners were perverse people. In Scotland, according to one Wesleyan minister,[51] the miners read Adam Smith. In Northumberland, with still greater perversity, they preferred Plato. 'A translation of Plato's Ideal Republic is much read among those classes, principally for the socialism and unionism it contains; in pure ignorance, of course, that Plato himself subsequently ...
— Recent Developments in European Thought • Various

... of Mardyn, in Mesopotamia, and the Armenian Catholics, he says: "It behooves us not to lose courage, nor to believe that the triumph of iniquity will be of long continuance. For, does not the Scripture say: 'The wicked man is caught in his own perversity; he is bound by the chains of his crimes, and he who digs a pit for others will fall into it himself: he who casts a stone into the path of his neighbor, will strike against it and stumble; finally, he who lays a snare for another will be caught therein ...
— Pius IX. And His Time • The Rev. AEneas MacDonell

... this was particularly the case on this day, he seemed to be discovering nothing but the incurable perversity and militancy of human nature. It was a day under an east wind, when a steely-blue sky full of colourless light filled a stiff-necked world with whitish high lights and inky shadows. These bright harsh days of barometric high pressure in England rouse and thwart every expectation ...
— Soul of a Bishop • H. G. Wells

... A few hints of sexual irregularity in certain plays have brought crowded audiences. A scandalous divorce case, reported as freely as the law allows, is a choice morsel for average readers of newspapers. Everywhere it is the sexual abnormality, perversity, and even bestial vulgarity, that seems to attract the most attention. Books and magazines and theaters and preachers who extol the normal and bright side of sex-life are not now extremely popular with the masses of people. As a well-known magazine recently summarized the present situation, "it has ...
— Sex-education - A series of lectures concerning knowledge of sex in its - relation to human life • Maurice Alpheus Bigelow

... brought up, he sometimes defied Malcourt's authority—as in the matter of the dam—enjoying his own perversity. But he always got into hot water and was glad enough ...
— The Firing Line • Robert W. Chambers

... of those unfortunate persons who always blushed when I most wished to look indifferent; and now, to my inexpressible chagrin, with its accustomed perversity, I felt the blush mount to my cheeks, and glow even on ...
— Uncle Silas - A Tale of Bartram-Haugh • J.S. Le Fanu

... Waterhouse, first introduced this new inoculation into America, in the year 1800, what an opposition the practice met with; and nothing but the most persevering and unwearied exertions, and public experiments, could overcome the reluctance, in numbers, to receive this great blessing. The same perversity of judgement was observable among individuals in this ...
— A Journal of a Young Man of Massachusetts, 2nd ed. • Benjamin Waterhouse

... it had been made for Eleanor to settle her two life-questions in it. Accordingly she took them up without delay; but Eleanor's mind that night was like a kaleidoscope. Images of different people and things started up, with wearying perversity of change and combination; and the question, whether she would be a servant of God like her aunt Caxton, was inextricably twisted up with the other question; whether she could escape being the baroness of Rythdale and the wife of Mr. ...
— The Old Helmet, Volume I • Susan Warner

... of some thousand individuals swaying the destinies of Poland, the whole nation had enjoyed equal rights, and, instead of being plunged in darkness and ignorance, the people had been free and consequently capable of feeling and thinking, the national cause, imperilled by the indolence and perversity of one part of the citizens, would have been saved by those who now looked on without giving a sign of life. The "some thousands" here spoken of are of course the nobles, who had grasped all the political power and almost all the ...
— Frederick Chopin as a Man and Musician - Volume 1-2, Complete • Frederick Niecks

... arrived at Clonmel from Dunkirk. The day after its arrival the regiment was disbanded; and yet a few days later, on the 24th of the month, the wife of one of its subalterns gave birth to a son. The child who thus early displayed the perversity of his humour by so inopportune an appearance was Laurence Sterne. "My birthday," he says, in the slipshod, loosely-strung notes by which he has been somewhat grandiloquently said to have "anticipated ...
— Sterne • H.D. Traill

... see all things out of plumb and in false relations with each other? If you answer these questions in the affirmative, then you will be glad of a hint as to the method of dealing with your friends who have a touch of cerebral strabismus, or are liable to occasional paroxysms of perversity. Let them have their head. Get them talking on subjects that interest them. As a rule, nothing is more likely to serve this purpose than letting them talk about themselves; if authors, about their writings; if artists, about their ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... when she sat at the table trying to eat, nothing that she began was ever finished until Gabriella took it out of her hands. She did her best, for she was as conscientious in her way as poor Jane, yet through some tragic perversity of fate her best seemed always to fall short of the simplest requirements of life. Her face, like Jane's, was long and thin, with a pathetic droop at the corners of the mouth, a small bony nose, always slightly reddened at the tip, and faded blue eyes beneath an even row of little flat round ...
— Life and Gabriella - The Story of a Woman's Courage • Ellen Glasgow

... the anathemas that burned on my tongue, when the wretched animal, who seemed to have an insane attraction to me, floundered about my legs as I moved, or flapped his stump tail under my chair when I sat still. Dora alone, with strange perversity, persisted in ignoring his bad habits, his vulgar manners, his uselessness, his ugliness, and his impudence, and set me at defiance when I objected to him, by pressing him in her beautiful arms—happy cur that he was!—and laying her soft cheek against his villainous bristles, till in very disgust ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol 2, No 6, December 1862 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... with what feelings Kit heard this colloquy. He had no confidence in the humanity of his captors, and considered them, Dick Hayden in particular, as capable of anything. He did not dare to remonstrate lest in a spirit of perversity the two ...
— The Young Acrobat of the Great North American Circus • Horatio Alger Jr.

... bad not been whitened for twenty years, and the birds and animals on "hat-pegs," in cases with small panes of glass, etc, were frightfully contrasted by a backing of crude, deep ultramarine-blue! Three primary colours. Could human perversity and bad taste go ...
— Practical Taxidermy • Montagu Browne

... passion. She quietly threw the mantle of Mentor over his shoulders, deferred to his judgment, had recourse to him as a store-house of knowledge; and seemed so fully impressed with the fact that he had a head, as utterly to forget the probability of his having a heart. With a strange perversity, L'Isle was at once flattered and annoyed at the use she made of him. It was an unequal game he was playing, like a moth fluttering round a candle. His temper began to be worn threadbare, and oftener than ever he repeated to himself, "She is a ...
— The Actress in High Life - An Episode in Winter Quarters • Sue Petigru Bowen

... that his chief was taking the opposing side out of perversity and replied: "I admit that as you read, they seem reasonable, and I also admit that the experiments with Eusapia, especially the recent ones, ought to be conclusive to my mind, but they are not. That is the ...
— The Tyranny of the Dark • Hamlin Garland

... feeling passed over him. His wife was beautiful, a creature of various charms, a centre of attraction. Yet he had never really loved her—so many sordid elements had entered into the thought of marriage with her, lowering the character of his affection. With a perversity which only such men know, such heart as he had turned to the unknown Quaker girl who had rebuked him, scathed him, laid bare his soul before himself, as no one ever had done. To Eglington it was a relief that there was one human being—he thought there was only one—who ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... cannot find exactly what you want here, import men from abroad, by all means. I have a great deal of sympathy for want and suffering when they are the result of misfortune; but when they are brought on by a man's own laziness or perversity he must go elsewhere for sympathy and help; I have none to spare ...
— The Log of the Flying Fish - A Story of Aerial and Submarine Peril and Adventure • Harry Collingwood

... mantle. At the end of six weeks he felt he had learnt St. George's lesson by heart, had tested and proved its doctrine. Nevertheless he did a very inconsistent thing: before crossing the Alps he wrote to Marian Fancourt. He was aware of the perversity of this act, and it was only as a luxury, an amusement, the reward of a strenuous autumn, that he justified it. She had asked of him no such favour when, shortly before he left London, three days after their dinner in Ennismore Gardens, he went to take leave of her. It was true she had had ...
— The Lesson of the Master • Henry James

... lords. No one shall undertake to abuse, carry off, or break to pieces images, paintings and crucifixes. Whatever of church-revenues they possess, shall be guaranteed to the houses of God. And because much discord and perversity have been stirred up by the preachers, so that this may be done away and the Gospel in its true meaning preached to us and the common people, as the ancient teachers have left it behind recorded in many valuable books, it is ...
— The Life and Times of Ulric Zwingli • Johann Hottinger

... those occupations, pandering to evil, in which the soul is sacrificed for the sake of the livelihood, in which the workman works with the consciousness, not of the uselessness merely, but of the social perversity, of his work, manufacturing the poison that will kill him, the weapon, perchance, with which his children will be murdered. This, and not the question of wages, is ...
— Tragic Sense Of Life • Miguel de Unamuno

... neck, we know the great force and activity of the animal nature, and unless the upper surface of the brain is well developed all over, we may expect some excess in the way of violence, temper, selfishness, perversity, sensuality, dishonesty, avarice, rudeness of manners, moral insensibility, slander, contentiousness, jealousy, envy, revenge, or some other form of wickedness, according to ...
— Buchanan's Journal of Man, July 1887 - Volume 1, Number 6 • Various

... one of his uncles, General Cochrane, gave him a shilling on condition that he would pray for King George, which he accordingly did. So you see that Whigs of all ages are made the same way.' It may have been these early signs of perversity that led his father to be strict in dealing with him, for we cannot doubt that Boswell in the London Magazine for 1781, is giving us a picture of domestic life when he writes as follows:—'I knew a father who was a violent Whig, and used to upbraid ...
— James Boswell - Famous Scots Series • William Keith Leask

... type than he had toiled for; but the guise in which his sorrow came to him, the sense that the angel of his life had been snatched away and given to a rude man of earth and iron, who could neither need nor appreciate her ministrations,—this was the very perversity of fate that makes human existence appear too absurd and contradictory to be the scene of one other hope or one other fear. There was nothing left for Owen Warland but to sit down like a man that had ...
— Mosses from an Old Manse and Other Stories • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... an unpardoned offence, in the present dreadful state of Rachel's mind. Moving blindfold in this matter, you have added to the burden of anxiety which she has had to bear, by innocently threatening her secret with discovery, through your exertions. It is impossible for me to excuse the perversity that holds you responsible for consequences which neither you nor I could imagine or foresee. She is not to be reasoned with—she can only be pitied. I am grieved to have to say it, but for the present, you and Rachel are better apart. The only advice I can offer you ...
— The Moonstone • Wilkie Collins

... how vile such service may be in the studios of any of the canaglia poor Rosina knew, but Camille, that sheep in wolf's clothing, was safe enough. What there was in him of perversity, of brute force, he expended in the portrayal of his subtly beautiful furies. His art was feverishly decadent, and those who judge a man by his work might suppose him to be a monster of iniquity. He was, in fact, an extremely clever and rather ...
— Olive in Italy • Moray Dalton

... I dared not kill him? Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him? Was it humility, to feel ...
— Georgian Poetry 1920-22 • Various

... fully agree with Mr. Hallam in reprobating their treatment of Laud. For the individual, indeed, we entertain a more unmitigated contempt than, for any other character in our history. The fondness with which a portion of the church regards his memory, can be compared only to that perversity of affection which sometimes leads a mother to select the monster or the idiot of the family as the object of her especial favour, Mr. Hallam has incidentally observed, that, in the correspondence of Laud with Strafford, there are no indications of a sense of duty towards ...
— Critical and Historical Essays Volume 1 • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... his disquietude, and confound all his suspicions. From this moment, and ever afterward, every shadow was effaced from his mind; for the ability to imagine such a plot as that in which his wife in her despair had sought refuge, or to comprehend such depth of perversity, was not in the General's ...
— Monsieur de Camors, Complete • Octave Feuillet

... can play in the kitchen. [He takes his violin. Exit to kitchen. MENDEL sighs and shrugs his shoulders hopelessly at the boy's perversity, then fingers the ...
— The Melting-Pot • Israel Zangwill

... love which I have for Ra, who reneweth the breath of life in my nostrils, that, in my opinion, to have allowed my horses to suffer hunger is the worst of all the evil things which thou hast done in the perversity of thy heart.'" A list was made of the goods that were handed over to Piankhi, and a portion of them was reserved for the temple of Amen ...
— The Literature of the Ancient Egyptians • E. A. Wallis Budge

... stood stupefied with horror by this ghastly spectacle and still holding open the door, by some unaccountable perversity my attention was diverted from the shocking scene and concerned itself with trifles and details. Perhaps my mind, with an instinct of self-preservation, sought relief in matters which would relax its dangerous tension. Among other things, I observed that the door that I was holding ...
— Present at a Hanging and Other Ghost Stories • Ambrose Bierce

... to mention the last phenomenon, which I will tell you. Yes, I, a criminal, feel a terrible wish for somebody to know of my crimes, and when this requirement is satisfied, my secret has been revealed to a confidant, I shall be tranquil for the future, and be freed from this demon of perversity, which only tempts us once. Well! Now that is accomplished. You shall have my secret; from the day that you recognize me by my eyes, you will try and find out what I am guilty of, and how I was guilty, ...
— Masterpieces of Mystery In Four Volumes - Mystic-Humorous Stories • Various

... resolves are those which are late and tardy, especially when they have to be made in behalf of a friend. For from their lateness they help none, and hurt ourselves. Tardy resolves are due to want of spirit or want of strength, or to the perversity of those who have to determine, who being moved by a secret desire to overthrow the government, or to carry out some selfish purpose of their own, suffer no decision to be come to, but only thwart and hinder. Whereas, good ...
— Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius • Niccolo Machiavelli

... his eyes from his letter-writing. The young man had turned, and was actually going out without another word. What perversity moved the physician no one will ever know; but ...
— Dr. Sevier • George W. Cable

... biassed to ignore our mental imperfections and to talk and act as though our minds were exact instruments,—something wherewith to scale the heavens with assurance,—and also we are biassed to believe that, except for perversity, all our minds work ...
— First and Last Things • H. G. Wells

... to see the face of this maid, who showed a perversity that was unequalled in an experience by no means limited, but she stood in the duskiest part of the dim hall, and he failed. He knew merely that she was tall and slender, and when she turned to lead the way he heard a faint sound like the light tinkle ...
— The Candidate - A Political Romance • Joseph Alexander Altsheler

... which a woman of the old school speaks of die Herren is enough to make a French, American, or Englishwoman think there is something to be said for the modern revolt against men. For any woman with a spice of feminine perversity in her nature will be driven to the other camp when she meets extremes; so that in Germany she feels ready to rise against overbearing males; whilst in America she misses some of the regard for masculine judgment and authority that German women show in excess. ...
— Home Life in Germany • Mrs. Alfred Sidgwick

... there was any treaty binding Britain to Teutonism it is, to say the least of it, a lost scrap of paper; almost what one would call a scrap of waste-paper. Here again the pedants under consideration exhibit the illogical perversity that makes the brain reel. There is obligation and there is no obligation: sometimes it appears that Germany and England must keep faith with each other; sometimes that Germany need not keep faith with anybody and anything; sometimes that we alone among European peoples are almost ...
— The Barbarism of Berlin • G. K. Chesterton

... artistic, something as to which she was prepared not to care a rap whether or no it should sell. She brought home to me further that it had been mainly seeing what her brother-in-law did and how he did it that had wedded her to this perversity. As he didn't sell, dear soul, and as several persons, of whom I was one, thought highly of that, the fancy had taken her—taken her even quite early in her prolific course—of reaching, if only once, the same heroic eminence. She yearned ...
— Embarrassments • Henry James

... Jeremiah Abershaw, better known as Jerry Abershaw, 1773?-1795, a notorious highwayman, who was the terror of the roads from London to Wimbledon and Kingston. Borrow with characteristic perversity persisted in regarding the redoubtable Jerry as a hero, in spite of the fact that he justly met his death on ...
— Old Familiar Faces • Theodore Watts-Dunton

... alone, the night journeys which Fitzpiers had frequently to take were dismal enough, a serious apparent perversity in nature ruling that whenever there was to be a birth in a particularly inaccessible and lonely place, that event should occur in the night. The surgeon, having been of late years a town man, hated ...
— The Woodlanders • Thomas Hardy

... a colonist, added to the interest of the scene. At last, those who had been agitating so long for self-government had the boon apparently within their grasp. In their eyes it was a great occasion—the true commencement of national life in the Colony. The irony of fate, or the perversity of man, turned it into a curious anticlimax. The Parliament, indeed, duly assembled. But it dispersed after weeks of ineffectual wrangling and intrigue, amid scenes which were discreditable and are still ridiculous. Those ...
— The Long White Cloud • William Pember Reeves

... of the cardinal symptoms to be considered is negativism. This term, which is often loosely used, we would define as perversity of behavior which seems to express antagonism to the environment or to the wishes of those about the patient. Naturally it is only in the minor stupors that we see it in well-developed form as active opposition and cantankerousness. For example, Harriett C., who ...
— Benign Stupors - A Study of a New Manic-Depressive Reaction Type • August Hoch

... between floor and ceiling, which imagination is not, indeed, here so far from the truth? If, over and above this, the window stops short of the ceiling, then the patient's head may literally be raised above the stratum of fresh air, even when the window is open. Can human perversity any farther go, in unmaking the process of restoration which God has made? The fact is, that the heads of sleepers or of sick should never be higher than the throat of the chimney, which ensures their being in the current of best ...
— Notes on Nursing - What It Is, and What It Is Not • Florence Nightingale

... perfection the art of rousing the spirit of opposition in the gentlest people, and enjoyed doing it. The best of us have a spice of perversity in us, especially when we are young and in love. If Aunt March had begged Meg to accept John Brooke, she would probably have declared she couldn't think of it, but as she was preemptorily ordered not to like him, she immediately ...
— Little Women • Louisa May Alcott

... Conyngham, apparently too timid to leave the shadow of Sister Magdalen, stole into a back room with Judy, and haunted the beach for a few days. For Judy's sake he turned aside to entertain her, and with the perversity which seems to follow certain actions he told her the pathetic incident of the dancer. Why he should have chosen this poor nun to hear this tale, embellished as if to torture her, he could never make out. Often in after years, when events had given the story significance, ...
— The Art of Disappearing • John Talbot Smith

... these little stratagems utterly disgusts me. I would so willingly reverence and trust any man of high standing and ability. I am so utterly unable to comprehend this petty greediness. And yet withal you will smile at my perversity. I have a certain pleasure in overcoming these obstacles, and fighting these folks with their own weapons. I do so long to be able to trust men implicitly. I have such a horror of all this literary pettifogging. I could be so content myself, if the necessity of making ...
— The Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley Volume 1 • Leonard Huxley

... intrusion of self, for do not I rank myself among the nonentities— men whose lives matter nothing, whose deaths none need deplore. How great my bewilderment to find that my efforts at concealment—to make myself even more remote than my Island—had had by impish perversity a contrary effect! On no consideration shall I part with all my secrets. Bereave me of my illusions and I am bereft, for they are "the stardust ...
— My Tropic Isle • E J Banfield

... useless interruption of the forward movement. Here Saint-Simon learned from the religious reaction. He saw that religion has a natural and legitimate social role and cannot be eliminated as a mere perversity. He expounded the doctrine that all social phenomena cohere. A religious system, he said, always corresponds to the stage of science which the society wherein it appears has reached; in fact, religion is merely science clothed in a form suitable to the ...
— The Idea of Progress - An Inquiry Into Its Origin And Growth • J. B. Bury

... There is a certain perversity in this furious contemplation of stupidity, this fanatical insistence on the exasperating attraction of the sordid and the disagreeable; and it is by such stages that we come to A Rebours. But on the way we have to note a volume of Croquis Parisiens ...
— Figures of Several Centuries • Arthur Symons

... perversity entered into Ted, and merely because he was told not to tease Don he went on doing it, pretending that it was for the dog's good. Don took no heed of his pats, commands, reproaches, or insults, till Ted's patience ...
— Jo's Boys • Louisa May Alcott

... Masters was at the whole expense of the entertainment, mentally; and he talked with the ease and pleasantness that seemed natural to him, of things that could not help interesting the others; even Diana in her deadness of heart, even Mrs. Starling in her perversity, pricked up their ears and listened. I don't believe, either, he even found it a difficult effort; nothing ever seemed difficult to Mr. Masters that he had to do; it was always done so graciously, and as if he were enjoying it himself. So no doubt ...
— Diana • Susan Warner

... against the increasing irrationality of mere Victorian comfort and compromise. So far as the present purpose is concerned, his protest died with him: he left few imitators and (it may easily be conceived) no successful imitators. The suggestion of him lingers on in the exquisite Elizabethan perversity of Coventry Patmore; and has later flamed out from the shy volcano of Francis Thompson. Otherwise (as we shall see in the parallel case of Ruskin's Socialism) he has no followers in his own age: but very many ...
— The Victorian Age in Literature • G. K. Chesterton

... pecuniary anxieties; it was bad because it led him to devote himself exclusively to subjects which certainly should not occupy exclusively the attention of any man. Henceforth every translation was to be annotated from a certain point of view. [538] One can but regret this perversity, for the old Roman and other authors have unpleasantnesses enough without accentuating them. Thus in reading some sweet poem of Catullus, spoilt by perhaps a single objectionable line, we do not want our attention drawn particularly to the blemish. Unfortunately, Sir Richard ...
— The Life of Sir Richard Burton • Thomas Wright

... the good shepherd took to his heels and ran to the Rue des Marmouzets, to the house where Captain Cochegrue was feasting with La Pasquerette, the prettiest of town-girls, and the most charming in perversity that ever was; according to all the gay ladies, her glance was sharp and piercing as the stab of a dagger. Her appearance was so tickling to the sight, that it would have put all Paradise to rout. Besides which she was as bold as a woman who has no other virtue than her insolence. ...
— Droll Stories, Volume 1 • Honore de Balzac

... he retorted. "Recklessness! The vanity of boasting in the evening to all their chums: 'We've just shipped in that there Apse Family. Blow her. She ain't going to scare us.' Sheer sailorlike perversity! A sort of curiosity. Well—a little of all that, no doubt. I put the question to them in the course of the voyage. The answer of the ...
— A Set of Six • Joseph Conrad

... look here, when Shoepack Sam came plucking him at the elbow, saying, "Was I right or was I wrong?" then Rainbow Pete stared at him with his eyes like drills, and he said to him, "You were curious and nothing more." Oh my, isn't this the perversity of ...
— The Best Short Stories of 1917 - and the Yearbook of the American Short Story • Various

... With that strange perversity of the human intellect, the first thing I thought of was what trophies I could carry with my luggage from the pan, and I pictured the dog-bone flagstaff adorning my study. (The dogs actually ate it afterwards.) I thought of preserving my ...
— Adrift on an Ice-Pan • Wilfred T. Grenfell

... teaching, unless it is in writing a story. I cast about in my mind for various models, as a sort of guide; but the only spirits that emerged from the vasty deep were Dr. Blimber and Cornelia. With an inconvenient perversity, they refused to be laid, and kept dancing before me all day. In entering upon my career, I was firmly impressed with two convictions: one was that I didn't know anything, and the other was that my pupils would speedily find ...
— Continental Monthly , Vol IV, Issue VI, December 1863 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy. • Various

... With all the force of this new and tumultuous emotion, she hoped for her own defeat: yearned over him that he should refuse that for which she had unworthily pressed. Yet, such is the perversity of that strange struggle against the great surrender, that she gathered every power of her sex to gain the dreaded victory. By an effort she commanded her voice, releasing herself from ...
— The Clarion • Samuel Hopkins Adams

... was her usual comment on Miss Bell's behests; and this cheerful acceptance threw into strong relief the dark shadows of Lily Bell's perversity. Once or twice she ...
— Many Kingdoms • Elizabeth Jordan

... religious aspiration—that is, if it was the Goths who invented Gothic architecture; I do not suppose it was. Anyway, there is said to be but one Gothic church in Rome, and this I did not visit, perhaps because I felt that I must inure myself to the prevalent baroque, or perhaps from mere perversity. I can merely say in self-defence that, on the outside, Santa Maria sopra Minerva no more promised an inner beauty than Il Gesu, which is the most baroque church in Rome, without the power of coming together for ...
— Roman Holidays and Others • W. D. Howells

... was over, and after Henry Fenn's great pride had been fairly sated, Margaret Mueller mingled with the guests and knew more of the names and stations of the visiting nobility from the state house and railroad offices than any other person present. And such is the perversity of the male sex that there were more "by Georges," and more "Look—look, looks," and more faint whistles, and more "Tch—tch tchs," and more nudging and pointing among the men when Margaret appeared than when ...
— In the Heart of a Fool • William Allen White

... AND THE CYNICS.—Aristippus, in his praises of pleasure as the one good for man (see above, p. 126), remarks that there were some who [209] refused pleasure "from perversity of mind," taking pleasure, so to speak, in the denial of pleasure. The school of the Cynics made this perverse mood, as Aristippus deemed it, the maxim of their philosophy. As the Cyrenaic school was the school of the rich, the courtly, the self-indulgent, ...
— A Short History of Greek Philosophy • John Marshall

... please hear me. The count's plan was excellent, and shows a superior kind of perversity; the execution alone was defective. This is because the plan was conceived and perfected in safety, while when the crime had been committed, the murderer, distressed, frightened at his danger, lost his coolness and only half ...
— The Mystery of Orcival • Emile Gaboriau

... some such disaster Father Danvers was well aware. My faults, as he did not fail to remind me week by week, were obstinacy and pride of intellect; my weaknesses, lack of proportion and what he was pleased to call perversity, by which I suppose he meant a disposition to accept the consequences of my own acts. I freely admit a personal trait which will be obvious as I proceed. Trivial as it may seem, and does, at this time of writing, I must record an instance of it, the last I ...
— The Fool Errant • Maurice Hewlett

... nations, has in its turn made such independence less necessary, and tends to attach a different function to the church. A basis of association narrower than the whole complex of human powers and interests will not serve. National organization provides such a basis. The perversity of human nature may cause its ultimate failure; but it will not fail because it omits any essential constituent in the composition of a permanent and fruitful human association. So far as it fulfills its responsibilities, it guarantees protection against predatory powers at home ...
— The Promise Of American Life • Herbert David Croly

... indignation at being spoken to thus rudely, and in his heart he believed that if he was indeed fit for nothing, his sad condition was due much more to his uncle's neglect than to his own perversity. He did not, however, give utterance to the thought, because he was of a respectful nature; he merely flushed and said,—"Really, uncle, you do me injustice. I may not be fit for much, and every day I live I feel bitterly the evil of ...
— Digging for Gold - Adventures in California • R.M. Ballantyne

... soundless breath. She looked as long as she dared, then moved away. But she had barely got her head back on her pillow when "Was that you, mother?" came from the next room. Her mother always said of Sally that nothing was certain but the imprevu, and ascribed to her a monstrous perversity. It was this that caused her to sleep profoundly through that most awakening of incidents, a person determined not to disturb you, and then to wake up short into ...
— Somehow Good • William de Morgan

... everyone in Jimmie's unit, and put an alarm bell in the shed, and made everybody practise putting on the masks in a hurry. Jimmie was so scared that he thought seriously of running away; but—such is the perversity of human nature—what he did was to run in the opposite direction! His officer in command came into the shed and demanded, "Can any of you men ride?" And imagine any fellow who worked at repairing motor-cycles admitting ...
— Jimmie Higgins • Upton Sinclair

... on Chatterton by S.R. Maitland, D.D., F.R.S., and F.S.A. A very monument of ignorant perversity. The writer shamelessly distorts facts to show that Chatterton was an utterly profligate blackguard and declares finally that neither Rowley nor ...
— The Rowley Poems • Thomas Chatterton

... Mark meditated upon bishops. The perversity of night thoughts would not allow him to meditate upon the pictures of some child-loving bishop like St. Nicolas, but must needs fix his contemplation upon a certain Bishop of Bingen who was eaten by rats. Mark could not remember why he was eaten by rats, ...
— The Altar Steps • Compton MacKenzie

... softened veteran, "how many of my day-dreams have been destroyed by thy perversity! nay, I know not that Kit, discreet and loyal as he is, could have found such a favor in my eyes as thyself; there is a cast of thy father in that face and smile, Ned, that might have won me to anything short of treason—and then Cicely, provoking, ...
— The Pilot • J. Fenimore Cooper

... the uses of perversity," he said, with inimitable inflection. For a moment his wife eyed him, ...
— The Brother of Daphne • Dornford Yates

... mystery—and they sent word up to all the old-timers on Sea Lion. But it's ten miles farther than Dawson, and when they arrive they'll find the creek staked to the skyline by the Dawson chechakos. It isn't right, it isn't fair, such perversity ...
— Smoke Bellew • Jack London

... genial influence of his wife's disposition than most people, it at last in some degree thawed even his frigidity. She ascribed his apathy and apparent dislike to female society rather to the neglect or malice of his early tutors than to any natural defect of capacity or perversity of disposition; and often lectured him on his deficiencies, and even on some of his favorite pursuits, which she looked upon as contributing to strengthen his shyness with ladies. She was not unacquainted with English literature, in which the rusticity and coarseness of the fox-hunting ...
— The Life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France • Charles Duke Yonge

... with the least possible injury, just as in the case of maniacs,—and when you have got rid of them, or got them tied hand and foot so that they can do no mischief, sit down and contemplate them charitably, remembering that nine tenths of their' perversity comes from outside influences, drunken ancestors, abuse in childhood, bad company, from which you have happily been preserved, and for some of which you, as a member of society, may be fractionally ...
— Elsie Venner • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

... obeyed the law sincerely, to say how far the hope held out to them by the law-giver has been fulfilled. The worst "children of disobedience" are those who accept, of the Word, what they like, and refuse what they hate: nor is this perversity in them always conscious, for the greater part of the sins of the Church have been brought on it by enthusiasm which, in passionate contemplation and advocacy of parts of the Scripture easily grasped, neglected the study, and at last betrayed the ...
— Our Fathers Have Told Us - Part I. The Bible of Amiens • John Ruskin

... see it between man and man, between class and class, and most of all between nation and nation. People reproach this great country and other great countries with being unreasonable or unwilling to make concessions. If you look deeply into it you will find always the same cause. It is not mere perversity; it is fear and fear alone that makes men unreasonable and contentious. It is no new thing; it has existed from the foundation of the world. The Prime Minister the other day said, and said quite truly, that the provisions of the Covenant, however admirable, ...
— Essays in Liberalism - Being the Lectures and Papers Which Were Delivered at the - Liberal Summer School at Oxford, 1922 • Various

... dead, two younger children remained to Pilumnus, Damon and Urania. In the course of years it fortuned that Urania and Amyntas fell in love, and though misliking of the match, Pilumnus went so far as to consult the oracle concerning his daughter's dowry. With the uncalled-for perversity characteristic of ...
— Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama - A Literary Inquiry, with Special Reference to the Pre-Restoration - Stage in England • Walter W. Greg

... Each in its day seemed to be what I least could bear; and I would have cried, 'Anything but this!' And yet, now when I look back, I cannot see one of these sorrows that has not been made a joy to me. With every one some perversity or sin has been subdued, some chain unbound, some good purpose perfected. God has taken my loved ones, but he has given me love. He has given me the power of submission and of consolation; and I have blessed him many times in my ministry for all I have suffered, for by it I have stayed ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. I, No. 1, Nov. 1857 • Various

... course, that it was a real child in the water, and they wasted no time in marvelling as to why it should continue to ride blithely on top of the waves. They simply put forth every effort to reach the white object, whatever it might be, but the perversity of wind and wave continued to ...
— Two Little Women • Carolyn Wells

... they would never have a chance to see him again. Clemens in after years blamed himself harshly for not making the trip, declaring that their whole reason for not going was an irritable reluctance on his part to take the troublesome journey and a perversity of spirit for which there was no real excuse. There is documentary evidence against this harsh conclusion. They were, in fact, delayed here and there by misconnections and the continued terrific ...
— Mark Twain, A Biography, 1835-1910, Complete - The Personal And Literary Life Of Samuel Langhorne Clemens • Albert Bigelow Paine

... as the days went by. A short time after his introduction to Greengates Anstice received a summons to Cherry Orchard, and on repairing thither found that his patient on this occasion was Cherry Carstairs. With all her demure dignity Cherry was at times possessed of a very spirit of perversity; and being, although of such tender years, absolutely devoid of fear, she had tried conclusions in secret with a shaggy pony in a field close by her home, with the result that, owing to the pony's stubborn refusal to allow her ...
— Afterwards • Kathlyn Rhodes

... sufferings, were completely intimidated, and men of fickle and time-serving dispositions were fixed in its interests. Add to all this, that where spirit was not wanting, it was accompanied with a degree and species of perversity wholly inexplicable, and which can hardly gain belief from any one whose experience has not made him acquainted with the extreme difficulty of persuading men who pride themselves upon an extravagant love of liberty, rather to compromise upon some points with those who have in the ...
— A History of the Early Part of the Reign of James the Second • Charles James Fox

... He taunts us, poor English, with always drawing comparisons against other nations, in favour of the splendour and opulence of our own Hospitals and Charitable Foundations—a thought, that never possessed me while writing the above, and which would require the peculiar obliquity, or perversity of talents, of my translator to detect. I once thought of dissecting his petulant and unprovoked note—but it is not worth blunting the edge of one's ...
— A Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany, Volume Two • Thomas Frognall Dibdin

... criticism anywhere to be found, asking bluntly and pointedly whether the exceptionableness of the subject is not what constitutes the merit of Ford's greatest play, pronouncing the famous last scene of The Broken Heart extravagant, and fixing on "a certain perversity of spirit" in Ford generally. It is pretty clear that Hartley Coleridge (who might be paralleled in our own day as a critic, who seldom went wrong except through ignorance, though he had a sublime indifference as to the ignorance that sometimes ...
— A History of English Literature - Elizabethan Literature • George Saintsbury

... air not only of a hero, but of the hero of a tragedy. Something Oriental in his own mysticism, something most of his countrymen would have called moonshine, something perverse in his courage, something childish and beautiful in that perversity, marked him out as the man who walks to doom—the man who in a hundred poems or fables goes up to a city to be crucified. He had gone to Khartoum to arrange the withdrawal of the troops from the Soudan, the Government having decided, if possible, ...
— Lord Kitchener • G. K. Chesterton

... imaginative, its lesson is not destroyed, since it sufficiently shows that what man chooses to consider good in this world is good, and that most of its strife and deformities proceed from his own perversity. ...
— The Wept of Wish-Ton-Wish • James Fenimore Cooper

... was a pleasant little patent moraliser, with a double escapement action for great occasions. On this evening all the family was gathered together, including the inevitable infant, whose prattle serves to soothe the gloomy perversity of morose heroes. On such an evening as this SONOGUN had seen them all years ago, and, though he was standing in the garden and all the windows were shut, he had heard every single whisper of the family conversation. ...
— Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 100. March 7, 1891. • Various

... prove what is my chivalry, On other ground I to thy wish incline; Yet deem me not of such perversity As to tilt with thee for this prize of thine. Or fair or foul, let her remain thy fee; I would not, I, such amity disjoin. Well are ye paired, and safely would I swear That thou as valiant ...
— Orlando Furioso • Lodovico Ariosto

... reproduce as accurately as possible the spirit and the method of the life of Jesus. It would seem that if this interpretation of the term be correct there could be no difficulty in adjusting even unconscious misinterpretation of Christ to the true facts of the case: but here we are met by that perversity of vision which springs not from ignorance, but from thoughtlessness, and is in its nature much more obdurate than the worst perversity of ignorance. Ignorance can be enlightened; thoughtlessness, being usually associated with vanity, recognizes ...
— The Empire of Love • W. J. Dawson

... infinitesimal little figures dancing fantastically under the stimulus of an electric current, generated by the simplest means. She hung over it absorbed, calling to her brother every now and then, as though by sheer perversity, to come and look whenever the pink or the blue danseuse executed a more surprising ...
— Robert Elsmere • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... immature fancy, and kept herself well in the twilight of the old ideal of imagination as the mother of unrealities. There could be no doubt, the philosopher thought, that the recrudescence which her best wits recognized as the effects of this perversity, was the origin of the preposterous fiction which we now feed to the new reading public, and which we think must somehow be right because it was hers and is ours, and has the ...
— Imaginary Interviews • W. D. Howells

... to the want of information, and the too great confidence in ministers, who though in duty bound to ascertain the temper and disposition of the Americans, had totally failed for want of that knowledge. An appeal to the sword was denounced as a most dangerous precedent, and by a strange perversity of mind the leaders of the American revolution were described and especially by Wilkes, as men averse to a change of government, and as being only driven to extremities by an accumulation of neglect, insult and injury, ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.III. - From George III. to Victoria • E. Farr and E. H. Nolan

... forgive him, but when she has genuinely forgiven him, the glamour of love will usually have disappeared. If she insists upon shutting herself up from other love for his sake, she should question herself as to the part sentimentality and perversity ...
— Girls and Women • Harriet E. Paine (AKA E. Chester}

... do sixty miles. A bucket invited me; I washed my hot hands and face, and walked away from the buildings into the open. Then very suddenly and without any warning I understood why the Boer existed, and why, in his absurd perversity, he rather preferred existing as he was; and I saw that even I, like other Englishmen, could be subdued to the veldt. The air was crisp and chill; the dawn began to break in a pale olive band in the lower east; the stars were bright overhead; the ...
— A Tramp's Notebook • Morley Roberts

... activity was greater than ever. Slender still, but lovelier than before, she had gained no great maturity of aspect; yet there was an amplitude and a brilliancy in her personal arrangements that gave a touch of insolence to her beauty. Poor human-hearted Isabel, what perversity had bitten her? Her light step drew a mass of drapery behind it; her intelligent head sustained a majesty of ornament. The free, keen girl had become quite another person; what he saw was the fine lady who was supposed to represent something. What did Isabel represent? Ralph asked himself; ...
— The Portrait of a Lady - Volume 2 (of 2) • Henry James

... Jerusalem is to be ascribed, not to the power of the Romans, for God had often delivered it from no less dangers; but to a special providence, which was pleased to put it out of the power of human perversity to delay or respite the extinction of those ceremonial observances. "As a physician," says that father, "by breaking the cup, prevents his patient from indulging his appetite in a noxious draught; so God withheld the Jews from their sacrifices by destroying ...
— The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints - January, February, March • Alban Butler

... single thing, would not go a single step out of his way, to conciliate the affections of Lady Alice's daughter. He had never in his life looked more of a Bohemian than he did just then. And Miss Brooke suspected him of wilful perversity. ...
— Brooke's Daughter - A Novel • Adeline Sergeant

... biggest mail order house in America never questions a check. As soon as an order is received they fill it and attend to the check afterward. Their percentage of loss is extraordinarily small. Distrust begets distrust, and the perversity of human nature is such that even an honest man will be tempted to cheat if he knows another suspects him of it. The converse is equally true. There are, of course, exceptions. But the only rule in the world to which there are no exceptions is that ...
— The Book of Business Etiquette • Nella Henney

... trees; or seriously altering (by large semicircular mouthfuls) the exquisite outline of the mountains. This feeling for expressing a fresh solidity by the image of eating is really a very old one. So far from being a paradox of perversity, it is one of the oldest commonplaces of religion. If any one wandering about wants to have a good trick or test for separating the wrong idealism from the right, I will give him one on the spot. It is a mark of false religion that ...
— Alarms and Discursions • G. K. Chesterton

... and her eyes turned, ruefully and without a ray, to the lamplit room where various books at which I had been looking were pulled out of their places on the shelves and the fumes of tobacco hung in mid-air. I bade her good-night and then, without intention, by a kind of fatality, a perversity that had already made me address her overmuch on that question of her husband's powers, I alluded to the precious proof-sheets with which Ambient had entrusted me and which I nursed there under my arm. "They're the opening chapters of his new book," I said. "Fancy my satisfaction ...
— The Author of Beltraffio • Henry James

... 'What he told in the book,' says Jacopo, 'was not as much as he had really seen, because of the tongues of detractors, who being ready to impose their own lies on others, are over hasty to set down as lies what they in their perversity disbelieve or do not understand. And because there are many great and strange things in that book, which are reckoned past all credence, he was asked by his friends on his death-bed to correct the book, by removing everything that went beyond ...
— Medieval People • Eileen Edna Power

... was inevitable. It was a rather long one. After it, Betty took back her half-sovereign and returned it to her bag, but she pleased a certain perversity in him by looking ...
— The Shuttle • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... such perversity?" said the doctor, his colour rising. "Who is the real donor of a thing to man? he who plants it secretly in the dark recesses of man's body, or the learned wight who reveals it to his intelligence, and so enriches his mind with the knowledge of ...
— The Cloister and the Hearth • Charles Reade

... enchanted, I draw near 40 To mate with words the various theme, Life seems a whiff of kitchen steam, History an organ-grinder's thrum, For thou hast slipt from it and me And all thine organ-pipes left dumb, Most mutable Perversity! ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of James Russell Lowell • James Lowell

... began to intoxicate her even while she still went about Clarence's house, bore his moods in silence, and imparted to Billy that half-scornful, half-humorous advice that alone seemed to penetrate the younger woman's shell of utter perversity. Mrs. Breckenridge, as usual followed by admiring and envious and curious eyes, walked in a world of her own, entirely oblivious of the persons and events about her, wrapped in a breathless dream too exquisitely bright ...
— The Heart of Rachael • Kathleen Norris

... this intention as the perverse delirium of an unbridled sensuality. It was certainly the gross act of a madman, but there was perhaps more politics in his madness than perversity; for it was an attempt to introduce into Rome the dynastic marriages between brothers and sisters which had been the constant tradition of the Ptolemies and the Pharaohs of Egypt. This oriental custom certainly seems a horrible aberration to us, who have been educated according to the ...
— The Women of the Caesars • Guglielmo Ferrero

... wish to prolong the conversation, so utterly disgusted was I with my own perversity. I had sown the seed,—a very small and pitiable seed to produce anything; and yet I clung to it tenaciously. One thing revived my hope. At the moment when I tried to make him believe that a ruined man ought to set his wife free, there was a certain constraint and trouble in his expression. ...
— Without Dogma • Henryk Sienkiewicz

... it such a coil of fables, impurities, intolerances, as makes it a questionable step for me here and now to say, as I have done, that Mahomet was a true Speaker at all, and not rather an ambitious charlatan, perversity and simulacrum; no Speaker, but a Babbler! Even in Arabia, as I compute, Mahomet will have exhausted himself and become obsolete, while this Shakspeare, this Dante may still be young;—while this Shakspeare may still ...
— Sartor Resartus, and On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History • Thomas Carlyle

... moans of utter despair, those poor dear women crawled into their lair beneath the deck—to die, as they and I verily believed. As for Julius, he was nearly as bad as they were, but those last days in the wreck and the nine days in the boat had wrought a miracle in him. All the perversity and selfishness of character that had before distinguished him had gone, and he had come out of the fires of adversity and suffering purged, a new and a right gallant, manly boy—how manly I did not know until ...
— The First Mate - The Story of a Strange Cruise • Harry Collingwood

... repetitions of the mournful eternal chorus of the nullity of man and the vanity of all the things that are under the sun, how alert a watch he kept on incident and character, with what keen and open ear he listened for any curious note of pain, or voice of fine emotion, or odd perversity of fate. All this he does, not in the hard temper of a Balzac, not with the calm or pride of a Goethe, but with an overflowing fulness of spontaneous and uncontrollable sympathy. He is a sentimentalist in the rationalistic century, not with the sentimentalism of misanthropy, ...
— Diderot and the Encyclopaedists (Vol 1 of 2) • John Morley

... lady cares nothing for me; if anything, she dislikes me, and I do not wonder at it: most women would under the circumstances. But whatever befalls, I honour you and always shall honour you. I must go this journey, it is laid on me that I should, and she insists upon going also, more from perversity than for any other reason, I fancy. So you are coming too: well, we will do our best to protect her, both of us, and the ...
— The People Of The Mist • H. Rider Haggard

... Berkeley, argumentatively. "She'll never do any better; Jim's a handsome fellow, as men go, brave, honorable and sweet-tempered. What more does she want? It looks to me like sheer perversity." ...
— Princess • Mary Greenway McClelland

... default of evidence to the contrary, I am fain to suppose it did.—A few words must be added as to one branch of our immediate subject,—the doubt or disbelief of the sincerity of the North on the question of Slavery. Had no prejudice or perversity of argument been imported into the subject, it would, I imagine, have been apparent to most of my countrymen that the dominant party at the North was genuinely antagonistic to slavery; that, as long as the ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 100, February, 1866 • Various

... been possible to predict, from the mere look with which he had risen to his feet, the kind of cross-examination in store for each witness called by the prosecution, so it was obvious now that his own witness had come forward from her own wilful perversity and in direct ...
— The Shadow of the Rope • E. W. Hornung

... shocked with the perversity of unbelief which she detected in this harmless remark, that, nudging Miss Branly, she solemnly arose and moved to break up the circle for the night. And as it was already past nine o'clock, no violent objection was ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 13, No. 80, June, 1864 • Various

... any such subtlety. It cannot be expected to understand the paradox or perversity of the Englishman, who thus can feel friendly and avoid friends. That is the truth in the suggestion that Dickens was sentimental. It means that he probably felt most sociable when he was solitary. In all these attempts to describe the indescribable, to indicate ...
— What I Saw in America • G. K. Chesterton

... night Betty had her trunk packed and her simple belongings gathered up. She knew that Peabody was fully aware of her intention to leave, but, as her board was paid for nearly a week in advance, he could make no possible objection. It was sheer perversity, she decided, that kept him from mentioning ...
— Betty Gordon in Washington • Alice B. Emerson

... right," the architect wrote, "to fix the plan of your house on the lot before it is made on paper, provided first the lot is a good one. Nothing shows the innate perversity of mankind more forcibly than the average character of the sites chosen for human habitations in cities, in villages and in the open country. Or does it rather indicate the instinctive struggle for supremacy over nature? The 'dear old nurse' is most ...
— The House that Jill Built - after Jack's had proved a failure • E. C. Gardner

... eyes, he saw her drooping on the opposite side of the table, and in spite of her declaration that she wanted her breakfast, making nothing of it, after the preliminary melon, while to his inward vision she was passionately refusing, by every charming perversity, to be ...
— Questionable Shapes • William Dean Howells

... and variety of expression in a pig's eye can only be appreciated by those who have studied pigs as Morland must have studied them. The pertness, the liveliness, the humor, the love of mischief, the fiendish ingenuity and perversity of which pigs are capable, can be fully known to the careworn pig-minder alone. When they are running away,—and when are they not running away?—they have an action with the hind legs very like a donkey in a state of revolt. But they have ...
— Jan of the Windmill • Juliana Horatia Ewing

... of Holy Scripture, we have only to look into ourselves to be convinced that our nature has undergone a rude shock. How else can we account for the miseries and infirmities of our bodies, the blindness of our understanding, the perversity of our will—inclined always to evil rather than to good—the violence of our passions, which are constantly waging war in our hearts? How well does the Catholic doctrine explain this abnormal state. Hence, Paschal truly says that man is a greater mystery to ...
— The Faith of Our Fathers • James Cardinal Gibbons

... catastrophe. "Have you any information about him? I am ready to pay for it." She had been warned a hundred times that eagerness in proffering money, in making the reward so obviously sure, was not conducive to accelerating the disclosure, bringing into play the innate perversity of human nature, and a desire to trade on the situation and increase the gains; yet try as she might, she could not refrain from invoking always the cogent aid ...
— The Ordeal - A Mountain Romance of Tennessee • Charles Egbert Craddock

... appeared therefore to her a moral madness, under the malign influence of which people were like the mentally deranged who with strange perversity hate their best friends and cunningly watch for chances of self-destruction. While on one hand she shrunk from them with something of the repulsion which many feel toward the unsound in mind, on the other she cherished the deepest pity for them. Knowing how ...
— Opening a Chestnut Burr • Edward Payson Roe

... England, by this one affair of the Privateers, had there been no other: and in dark cellars of men's minds (empty and dark on this matter), there arose strange caricature Portraitures of Friedrich: and very mad notions—of Friedrich's perversity, astucity, injustice, malign and dangerous intentions—are more or less vocal in the Old Newspapers and Distinguished Correspondences of those days. ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XVI. (of XXI.) - Frederick The Great—The Ten Years of Peace.—1746-1756. • Thomas Carlyle

... question about it, Tina Lenz was a flirt, as she had a perfect right to be, living as she did on the romantic shores of Como, celebrated in song, story, and drama as the lover's blue lake. Tina had many admirers, and it was just like her perversity to favor the one to whom her father most objected. Pietro, as the father truly said, was a beggarly Italian driver, glad of the few francs he got from the travellers he took over the humble Maloga to the Engadine, or over the elevated Stelvio to the Tyrol, the lowest and the highest passes ...
— Revenge! • by Robert Barr

... too strenuously upon his rights, the imps of perversity invariably combine to thwart him. Percival was aware of their pursuing footsteps from the moment he went ashore and lost his umbrella, to the hour of his return to the dock, when he found himself face to face with a situation ...
— The Honorable Percival • Alice Hegan Rice

... formed a little circle of his own, he willingly leaves society at large to itself. Egotism originates in blind instinct: individualism proceeds from erroneous judgment more than from depraved feelings; it originates as much in the deficiencies of the mind as in the perversity of the heart. Egotism blights the germ of all virtue; individualism, at first, only saps the virtues of public life; but, in the long run, it attacks and destroys all others, and is at length absorbed in downright egotism. Egotism is a vice as old as the world, which does not ...
— Democracy In America, Volume 2 (of 2) • Alexis de Tocqueville

... The former, the greatest of blessings, the wickedness of mankind seems to have banished from our part of the world to theirs: but our avarice and insatiable desire of the luxuries of the table has urged us to seek for spices even in those distant lands. To such a degree has the perversity of human nature persisted in driving away as far as possible that which is conducive to happiness, and in seeking for articles of luxury in the remotest parts of the world. Our men having carefully examined the position of the Moluccas, and ...
— The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803 • Emma Helen Blair

... Piazza della Signoria on the last day of the Carnival of 1497, little more than a year before he was himself burned there, is so intrinsically probable—and accords so well with the extreme paucity of early copies of the work—that it would be the very perversity of scepticism to doubt it. It is by no means to the credit of our country that, except to scholars, it long remained in England, an almost entirely closed book. (2) Indeed the first nominally complete English translation, a sadly mutilated and garbled rendering of ...
— The Decameron, Volume I • Giovanni Boccaccio

... never before seen, or even in dreams imagined. In truth, they were like the work of dreams: they were Kubla Khan, only more so. Here and there was radiance like the flash of a diamond, but each poem, almost each verse and line, was marred by some fault or lack which seemed wilful perversity, like the work of an evil sprite. It was like a case of jeweller's wares set before you, with each ring unfinished, each bracelet too large or too small for its purpose, each breastpin without its fastening, each necklace purposely broken. I turned the pages, marvelling. When ...
— Stories by American Authors (Volume 4) • Constance Fenimore Woolson

... kept from any worldly taint, and by-and-by his saintliness may gain you forgiveness in spite of your heretical perversity. I cannot permit you to give him unconsecrated milk, and as we wish to treat you kindly, the holy Father Certificatus has allowed me to make an arrangement with you, to which you can have no objection—I mean, that you should let me make the sign of the cross ...
— Ginx's Baby • Edward Jenkins

... despair hath settled on my soul. Knowing the nature of man, the perversity of those who govern, and the debasement of the governed—this knowledge hath disgusted me with life; and since there is no choice but to be the accomplice or the victim of oppression, what remains to the man of virtue but to mingle his ashes with ...
— The Ruins • C. F. [Constantin Francois de] Volney

... had prefixed a preface to the sixth volume, in which he deliberately went out of his way to rouse the active enmity of the very men on whom depended his annual re-election to the post of examiner for the Polytechnic School. The result of this perversity was that by and by he lost the appointment, and with it one half of his very modest income. This was the occasion of an episode, which is of more than ...
— Critical Miscellanies (Vol. 3 of 3) - Essay 10: Auguste Comte • John Morley

... light from his eyes and reduced the tempo of his movements, but, in spite of all, he had preserved certain vivid features of his personality. He had the long, educated hands of the surgeon and the tyrannical aspect of the physician who has struggled all his life with disobedience and perversity. He returned Kate's ardent little storm of kisses with some embarrassment, but he was unfeignedly pleased at her appearance, and as the three of them sat about the table in their old juxtaposition, his face relaxed. However, Kate had seen her mother look up wistfully as her husband passed her, ...
— The Precipice • Elia Wilkinson Peattie

... same punishment which has so long shocked the sight and tormented the patience of the people, that now, in their turn, they practice in revenge upon their oppressors. But it becomes us to be strictly on our guard against the abomination and perversity of monarchical examples: as France has been the first of European nations to abolish royalty, let her also be the first to abolish the punishment of death, and to find out a milder and more ...
— The Writings Of Thomas Paine, Complete - With Index to Volumes I - IV • Thomas Paine

... him a warm jersey. Once Donkin reviled him for half an hour; reproached him with the extra work his malingering gave to the watch; and ended by calling him "a black-faced swine." Under the spell of our accursed perversity we were horror-struck. But Jimmy positively seemed to revel in that abuse. It made him look cheerful—and Donkin had a pair of old sea boots thrown at him. "Here, you East-end trash," boomed Wait, "you ...
— The Nigger Of The "Narcissus" - A Tale Of The Forecastle • Joseph Conrad

... of government; exposed the warrings and bickerings among men; told of the manner in which a people escaped from bondage and raised themselves on the wreck of thrones, principalities, and powers, to greatness; published the laws by which that most chosen people were governed; and dwelt upon the perversity of human nature; and as other men, divinely inspired, have sublimely represented the highest stages of Jewish civilisation, so did I propose to myself to exhibit the rise of Canada from a primitive condition to its present state of advancement. My first great difficulty was to obtain ...
— The Rise of Canada, from Barbarism to Wealth and Civilisation - Volume 1 • Charles Roger

... perversity runs in her own head. If you had been unkind she could have forgiven that; but as you were good-natured and she was cross, she can't forgive that.' John Crumb again scratched his head, and felt that the depths of a woman's ...
— The Way We Live Now • Anthony Trollope

... Or even, though you may be denied so close an association with the elements, or the arts, you may be the pen to some subtle legal confidante of human nature. Your office may be stored with records of human perversity and whimsicality. You may be the witness to fantastic wills, or assist in the administration of the estates of lunatics. At all events, you will come within hearing of the human passions. Misers will visit you at times, ...
— Young Lives • Richard Le Gallienne

... year. Upon coming out of the dining-room Lila caught sight of Bea waiting at the elevator door. Dodging three seniors, a maid with a tray, and a man with a truck full of trunks, she made a dash for the new arrival who in a sudden freak of perversity ...
— Beatrice Leigh at College - A Story for Girls • Julia Augusta Schwartz

... I was talking the other day about the perversity of your sex. You either cannot or will not understand your husbands: they hide nothing, extenuate nothing, yet you fail to grasp the idea of that side of their minds which is at once the best and the most dangerous. If Philip ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Volume 22. October, 1878. • Various



Words linked to "Perversity" :   orneriness, cussedness, evilness, wilfulness, unruliness, fractiousness, evil, willfulness, perverse



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