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noun
Perversity  n.  The quality or state of being perverse; perverseness.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Perversity" Quotes from Famous Books



... series of imaginary epistles, supposed to be addressed by various Obscurantists to a poet named Ortuinus. They are written with consummate skill, in the degenerate Latin used by the priests in those days, and they are made to exhibit all the secret meanness, ignorance, and perversity ...
— The Story of the Innumerable Company, and Other Sketches • David Starr Jordan

... shillings, despite Lalage's careful management, and, so far, he had not been paid for any of his work. Already, the need of money was crippling him, robbing him of his powers of imagination, and by that hideous perversity of effect which every writer knows to his cost, making him do less instead of the more he longed ...
— People of Position • Stanley Portal Hyatt

... backwards to an absurd goose-step in time with it. They are played off the stage; and the music convinces one that they must yield to it. So, we feel if we had had the music, we could have made the Prussians march their goose-step back to Potsdam; so we could play all solemn perversity off the stage of life. If we had the music—but there is solemn perversity in us too; by reason of which we can hardly listen to the music, much less play it, hardly listen to it or understand it even when Mozart makes it for us. For he had the secret ...
— Essays on Art • A. Clutton-Brock

... 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 ...
— The Moonstone • Wilkie Collins

... 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.) ...
— Adrift on an Ice-Pan • Wilfred T. Grenfell

... 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 ...
— Present at a Hanging and Other Ghost Stories • Ambrose Bierce

... thing that he can do. Dickens, like every other honest and effective writer, came at last to some degree of care and self-restraint. He learned how to make his dramatis personae assist his drama; he learned how to write stories which were full of rambling and perversity, but which were stories. But before he wrote a single real story, he had a kind of vision. It was a vision of the Dickens world—a maze of white roads, a map full of fantastic towns, thundering coaches, clamorous market-places, ...
— Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens • G. K. Chesterton

... 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, and you will discover it, being a master of your profession, which, by the by, has procured you ...
— Library of the World's Best Mystery and Detective Stories • Edited by Julian Hawthorne

... fifty Pictures; each of which he thinks the finest specimen of the finest Master, and has a long story about, how he got it, when, etc. I dare say some are very good: but also some very bad. He appeared to me to judge of them as he does of Books and Men; with a most uncompromising perversity which the Phrenologists must explain to us ...
— A Letter Book - Selected with an Introduction on the History and Art of Letter-Writing • George Saintsbury

... depreciation save the true one. They declaimed against the corruption of the ministry, the want of patriotism among the Moderates, the intrigues of the emigrant nobles, the hard-heartedness of the rich, the monopolizing spirit of the merchants, the perversity of the shopkeepers,—-each and all of these as causes ...
— Fiat Money Inflation in France - How It Came, What It Brought, and How It Ended • Andrew Dickson White

... historically and logically with the two which immediately precede it: especially between the guests here invited to the feast and the husbandmen to whom the vineyard was entrusted, there is a close resemblance in privileges enjoyed, in perversity manifested, and in judgment incurred. Yet the lessons, though in some respects parallel, are to a great extent distinct; and though both traverse partially the same ground, the latter carries the argument some steps further forward ...
— The Parables of Our Lord • William Arnot

... two things," he said to himself; "either this vision, like the preceding ones, came from God, and was a good vision, and it is my natural perversity which has misrepresented it, as wine turns sour in a dirty cup. I have, by my unworthiness, changed instruction into reproach, of which this diabolical jackal immediately took advantage. Or else this vision came, not from God, but, on the contrary, from the devil, and was evil. ...
— Thais • Anatole France

... formed; but it was an intimacy from which I was growing away. I should not have quarrelled with her if she had not discriminated: Nancy made overtures, and Maude drew back; Susan presented herself, and with annoying perversity and in an extraordinarily brief time Maude had become her intimate. It seemed to me that she was always at Susan's, lunching or playing with the children, who grew devoted to her; or with Susan, choosing ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... imperfect world perfection can never be attained, and with the best efforts mistakes will be made. With a strange perversity men often turn from those who are their true friends and give their confidence to the unscrupulous. A typical case is this: A man sold his small farm at a fair price. Those to whom he sold it were apprehensive lest he ...
— A Stake in the Land • Peter Alexander Speek

... not believe that the prosperity of the country depends upon its production, and are opposed to all labour-saving devices. They refuse co-operation because they desire the continuance of the class-war. Such perversity would seem hardly credible if it were not attested by overwhelming evidence. The Government remedy is first to create unemployment and then to endow it—the shortest and maddest road to ruin since the ...
— Outspoken Essays • William Ralph Inge

... started home, Christina, with an eye for Gavin, kept carefully in the crowd. But Gavin had turned and gone away at once with the other boys who were unattached. And with the perversity of a woman's mind Christina felt a little hurt. She wondered why he seemed to have stopped trying for her favour. Was it because he was discouraged, or because he did not care? She was so far from ...
— In Orchard Glen • Marian Keith

... mounted the first rung of the ladder, and was regularly signed as a member of the crew of the Island Princess, bound for Canton with a cargo of woolen goods and ginseng. There was much that puzzled me aboard-ship—the discontent of the second mate, the perversity of the man Kipping (others besides myself had seen that wink), and a certain undercurrent of pessimism. But although I was separated a long, long way from my old friends in the cabin, I felt that in Bill Hayden I had found a friend of a sort; then, ...
— The Mutineers • Charles Boardman Hawes

... starboard supporting-column ground a trifle, as a man grits his teeth under the knife. The forward cylinder was depending on that unknown force men call the pertinacity of materials, which now and then balances that other heartbreaking power, the perversity of ...
— The Day's Work, Volume 1 • Rudyard Kipling

... the saloon being flung open, the drove of hogs ran in all directions save the right one, in accordance with their hoggish perversity, but were finally driven into the back yard of the palace. It was a sight to bring tears into one's eyes (and I hope none of you will be cruel enough to laugh at it) to see the poor creatures go snuffing along, picking up here a cabbage leaf and there a turnip-top, and rooting their ...
— The Children's Hour, Volume 3 (of 10) • Various

... that was near and not too public, to get some meat and drink? Hendon. That was a good place, not far off, and out of most people's way. Thither he directed his steps,—running sometimes, and sometimes, with a strange perversity, loitering at a snail's pace, or stopping altogether and idly breaking the hedges with a stick. But when he got there, all the people he met—the very children at the doors—seemed to view him with suspicion. Back he turned again, without the courage to purchase bit or drop, though ...
— Oliver Twist • Charles Dickens

... 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 ...
— The Rise of Canada, from Barbarism to Wealth and Civilisation - Volume 1 • Charles Roger

... 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 ...
— A Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany, Volume Two • Thomas Frognall Dibdin

... infinite purity of her blue eyes, the whole expression of chaste innocence which she assumed when it so pleased her, an expression which contrasted powerfully with her true nature, shameless creature that she really was, of the most monstrous, confessed, and openly-displayed perversity; such as, in fact, often spring up from the rotting soil of great cities. Extraordinary things were related about Silviane's tastes and fancies. Some said that she was a door-keeper's, others a doctor's, daughter. In any ...
— The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete - Lourdes, Rome and Paris • Emile Zola

... 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 ...
— The Book of Business Etiquette • Nella Henney

... faith in me," said Craft. "Mere perversity might make you fail to recognize the child. Suppose I show you further proofs of the truth of what ...
— Burnham Breaker • Homer Greene

... say, a much stronger feeling towards him had been setting in ever since that one time when she had seen him thoroughly angry. She longed and craved to stir that even, gentle courtesy to frowns or smiles; and yet there was a perversity in her nature that seem to render it impossible to her to attempt to win a smile from him, far more so to lay aside any device or desire of her own to gratify him. All she did know was, that to be all that her ambition ...
— The Three Brides • Charlotte M. Yonge

... geometer, and not like an artist. He seeks rather for the resemblance of form than the resemblance of spirit, and, failing to realize the object of his search, he endeavors to find a cause for this exquisite effect in pure reason. With equal perversity, Poe endeavored to persuade the public that his "Raven" was the result ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 7, No. 44, June, 1861 • Various

... lacked. He, though so young, had very clearly seen That Man, in every age, is prone to lean Upon an arm of flesh—most frail support! Which often fails us, oft makes us its sport. And yet, O strange perversity! we cling To that which never can us comfort bring. He knew 'twas better to feel flesh so weak As to be forced his strength from God to seek; To feel, like Paul, "However weak we be, We may still glory in Infirmity." From day to day, ...
— The Emigrant Mechanic and Other Tales In Verse - Together With Numerous Songs Upon Canadian Subjects • Thomas Cowherd

... not a man to express sentiment otherwise than by patting those he loved affectionately on the back, and the letter over which Anna hung with such tender gratitude, and such an extravagance of humility, was a mere bald statement of facts. Since Anna, with a perversity that he entirely disapproved, refused to marry, and appeared to be possessed of the obstinacy that had always been a peculiarity of her German forefathers, and which was well enough in a man, but undesirable in a woman, ...
— The Benefactress • Elizabeth Beauchamp

... he would flee forth incontinent and go out to the gardens with the good-for-nothing lads like himself. This, then, was his case, [148] and he would not obey his parents, nor would he learn a craft. His father sickened of his grief and chagrin for his son's perversity and died, whilst Alaeddin abode on that his wise. When his mother saw that her husband had departed this life [149] and that her son was a scapegrace and a good-for-nought, she sold the shop and all ...
— Alaeddin and the Enchanted Lamp • John Payne

... 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

... come down to us inextricably involved in error to this day; dragging along with 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 pretend to be a Priest of Mankind, of Arabia ...
— Sartor Resartus, and On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History • Thomas Carlyle

... remarked; "that's what's the matter with you." But for all this, in a day or two, she again permitted him to fix her attention and on the later occasion assigned a different cause to her mysterious perversity. "I know what's the matter with you, Mr. Touchett," she said. "You think you're too good to ...
— The Portrait of a Lady - Volume 1 (of 2) • Henry James

... there is anything in life that can compensate for its every-day evils," observed Christine, in a manner of mild regret and perhaps with the perversity of grief, "it must be to have come from those who have always been known and honored among the great and happy! Even virtue and goodness, and great deeds, scarce give a respect like that we feel for the Sire de Blonay, whose family ...
— The Headsman - The Abbaye des Vignerons • James Fenimore Cooper

... is the perversity of the human heart! In vain did I point out to the sitting magistrate the absurdness of their evidence, and the fact that Sub-inspector Carter and Dr. Carr could prove the contradiction. I was so embittered and broken-hearted at the wickedness of so many ...
— The Eureka Stockade • Carboni Raffaello

... woman!" ejaculated Lady Portarles, "did ever anyone see such perversity? My Lord Grenville, you have the gift of gab, will you please explain to Madame la Comtesse that she is acting like a fool. In your position here in England, Madame," she added, turning a wrathful and resolute face towards the Comtesse, ...
— The Scarlet Pimpernel • Baroness Orczy

... week after my arrival executed a formal testament leaving to me all his land, goods, and moneys, which on his death three months later I inherited. Thus I have become rich—so rich that now, having much money to spend, by some perversity which I cannot explain, I have grown careful and spend as little as possible. After I had entered into my inheritance I made a plan to return to Judaea, for one reason and one alone—to be near to you, most sweet Miriam. At the last moment ...
— Pearl-Maiden • H. Rider Haggard

... footless proposition, it is infinitely more so if your argument is with those of less mental calibre than your own, for by the law of compensation, in proportion as a man is ignorant, he makes up in perversity and lack ...
— Dollars and Sense • Col. Wm. C. Hunter

... that the destruction of 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; ...
— The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints - January, February, March • Alban Butler

... greatest man of the older generation, who had been appreciated and loved by Plato and his friends. Plato's own most promising pupil, whom he had marked out for his successor, was killed in action in a particularly aimless recrudescence of the war. Plato's political disillusionment and perversity are easy to understand. But it is curious and interesting to watch the clash between his political bitterness and his intellectual serenity. In the intellectual and artistic sphere—as a writer, musician, mathematician, ...
— The Legacy of Greece • Various

... boasted of his doings on either side of the line. He hinted that he had put more than one Mexican out of the way—and he slapped Flores on the back—and Flores laughed. He spoke of raids on the horse-herds of white men, and through some queer perversity inspired in his drink, openly asserted that he was the "slickest hoss-thief in Arizona," turning to Pete ...
— The Ridin' Kid from Powder River • Henry Herbert Knibbs

... would not be contradicted, was little Hetty's future in this world decided. Before her brother had spoken, the lady of Amber Hill had had no intention of keeping Hetty for more than a week in her house. And now she felt bound (by the laws of human perversity) to take her and bring her up as her ...
— Hetty Gray - Nobody's Bairn • Rosa Mulholland

... shame that a man whom the Empire needs, who had before him so splendid an opportunity, who was fitting himself for so brilliant a career, should throw it all away from mere perversity? Yet I am not wrathful against him; I see many reasons ...
— The Unwilling Vestal • Edward Lucas White

... over one reserve and another, that made her, for the moment, as mysterious a being as any of those court-ladies of ancient regimes, in whose lives there were strange lacunae, and spaces of shadow. And a peculiarity of their intercourse was, that, let her depart in what freak or perversity she pleased, she seemed always to have a certainty of finding him in the same mood in which she had left him,—as some bright wayward vine of Southern forests puts out a tendril to this or that enticing point, yet, ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 6, No. 38, December, 1860 • Various

... looked as if 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. Carlisle. ...
— The Old Helmet, Volume I • Susan Warner

... detachment, that odd American astuteness which seems the fruit of innocence rather than of experience. His nationality revealed itself again in a mild interest in the political problems of his adopted country, though they appeared to preoccupy him only as illustrating the boundless perversity of mankind. The exhibition of human folly never ceased to divert him, and though his examples of it seemed mainly drawn from the columns of one exiguous daily paper, he found there matter for endless variations on his favorite theme. If this monotony of topic did not weary the younger man, it ...
— The Hermit and the Wild Woman and Other Stories • Edith Wharton

... allowance has been made for this harmless element of poetry and pretty human perversity in the thing, I shall not hesitate to maintain here that this cult of the future is not only a weakness but a cowardice of the age. It is the peculiar evil of this epoch that even its pugnacity is fundamentally frightened; and the Jingo is contemptible not because ...
— What's Wrong With The World • G.K. Chesterton

... life in better wise in his children and, again, in their children, and still to continue to live upon this earth, ennobled and perfected in their lives, long after he is dead; to wrest from mortality the spirit, the mind, and the character with which in his day he perchance put perversity and corruption to flight, established uprightness, aroused sluggishness, and uplifted dejection, and to deposit these, as his best legacy to posterity, in the spirits of his survivors, in order that, in their turn, they may again bequeath them ...
— The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: - Masterpieces of German Literature Translated into English, Volume 5. • Various

... water, as foreshadowed by the water-blinks that Ferriss had noted in the morning, were frequent; alternating steadily with hummocks and pressure-ridges. But the perversity of the ice was all but heart-breaking. At every hour the lanes opened and closed. At one time in the afternoon they had arrived upon the edge of a lane wide enough to justify them in taking to their boats. The sledges were unloaded, and stowed upon the boats themselves, ...
— A Man's Woman • Frank Norris

... know about that," said Mr. Putney, with whimsical perversity, holding the door ajar. "I see that arch-conspirator from South Hatboro'," he said, looking at ...
— Annie Kilburn - A Novel • W. D. Howells

... schisms; but so intimate a union could never have been formed among previously discordant allies but for their overmastering fear of Napoleon. Such a treaty was without parallel in European history; and the stringency of its clauses serves as the measure of the prowess and perversity of the French Emperor. It is puerile to say, as Mollien does, that England bribed the allies to this last effort. Experiences of the last months had shown them that peace could not be durable as long ...
— The Life of Napoleon I (Volumes, 1 and 2) • John Holland Rose

... again, who will not lament the consequence of the total perversity of our human nature? Those very same priests who, when alone in the presence of God, speak so plainly of the constant temptations by which they are assailed, and who so sincerely weep over the irreparable loss of their virtue of ...
— The Priest, The Woman And The Confessional • Father Chiniquy

... strange perversity—due perhaps to our having the Declaration of Independence crammed down our throats as children—we in America seem obsessed with an ambition to create a social aristocracy, loudly proclaimed as founded on achievement, which, in point ...
— The "Goldfish" • Arthur Train

... works of Strauss, Baur, Reuss, and Volkmar, for example, would not be sensibly affected. I thought I had explained it satisfactorily already, but it seems that my explanation has only exhibited still more of my native perversity, so I ...
— Lectures and Essays • Thomas Henry Huxley

... the perversity of nature," he exclaimed, "to give the girl such features. If Jennie Burton had them, she would be the ideal ...
— A Face Illumined • E. P. Roe

... 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! ...
— What's Mine's Mine • George MacDonald

... head really was whirling, although, quite as much, perhaps, from my perversity as from any other cause. Mother turned on me one of her ...
— Painted Windows • Elia W. Peattie

... 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 read him through ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... at the rising of the curtain her nerves are in rags. Henry James finds in Ibsen a "charmless fascination," but by no means insists on the point that Hedda is disagreeable. Nor is he so sure that she is wicked, though he admits her perversity. The late Grant Allen once said to William Archer that Hedda was "nothing more nor less than the girl we take down to dinner in London, nineteen times out of twenty," which, to put it mildly, is an exaggeration. The truth is, ...
— Ivory Apes and Peacocks • James Huneker

... 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 art as she ...
— Orlando Furioso • Lodovico Ariosto

... why it had been impossible to get him to go with them to St. Mark's Church, though they had told him how beautifully High Church it was; how it had a high altar and candles, almost like the Romanists, only that it was not at all Romish, but entirely and truly Catholic! Was ever such like woful perversity? When they had just got a brother to be proud of, who could take them to theatres, concerts, balls, operas, and everywhere, for him to go and degenerate into an old solemn Presbyterian minister! It would be ...
— Hubert's Wife - A Story for You • Minnie Mary Lee

... the opinion, might partly account for the comparative slight increase of population on highland regions; and he is of the opinion that, when the debility is transmitted, it may become a source of degeneration that operates upon the perversity of the sexual sense. ...
— Woman under socialism • August Bebel

... history, therefore in a few words. Madame Moritz, her mother, was a widow with four children, of whom Justine was the third. This girl had always been the favourite of her father, but through a strange perversity, her mother could not endure her, and after the death of M. Moritz, treated her very ill. My aunt observed this, and when Justine was twelve years of age, prevailed on her mother to allow her to live at our house. The republican institutions of our country ...
— Frankenstein - or The Modern Prometheus • Mary Wollstonecraft (Godwin) Shelley

... African explorers and travellers have been much amazed at the diversity of color and stature among the tribes they met. This diversity in physical and mental character owes its existence to the diversity and perversity ...
— History of the Negro Race in America From 1619 to 1880. Vol 1 - Negroes as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens • George W. Williams

... they talked of the curious happening, and the perversity of fate that should provide for such a vital piece of the letter being missing. Then, after Amy had provided refreshments, the young men and girls prepared to ...
— The Outdoor Girls in a Winter Camp - Glorious Days on Skates and Ice Boats • Laura Lee Hope

... infirm perversity Had been at work with him to bring him back? Never among the ghosts, assuredly, Would he originate a ...
— The Man Against the Sky • Edwin Arlington Robinson

... should use, and it is to be noted that she set down the amount of the obligation incurred by Irons as the greater because she had really become in a way fond of Greenfield, and she was too clever not to understand the fact, to which the senator with singular perversity remained obstinately blind, that he could not but injure his political prestige by the course he was taking. She had aroused his combativeness by telling him that if his convictions forced him to vote against the Feltonville interest, people ...
— The Philistines • Arlo Bates

... from day to day. The wonder that was hers in guiding this mind and will, in teaching our Lord His first prayers, in telling Him the story of the people of whom He had assumed our nature! There was here no self-will, no resistance to guidance, no perversity to wound a mother's heart. In the training of an ordinary child there are from time to time hints of characteristics or tendencies which may develop later into spiritual or moral disaster. There are growls of the sleeping beast which make us tremble ...
— Our Lady Saint Mary • J. G. H. Barry

... pursue with him the fortunes of Mirabella. Like her type and prototype, we find that she has to suffer those mortifications which a good wife cannot but experience on witnessing the scorn, disdain, and enmity which follow the perversity of a wayward husband. Such, at least, we understand to be the meaning of those allegorical passages in which, as a punishment for her cruelty and pride, she is committed by the legal decree of Cupid to the custody ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. II., November, 1858., No. XIII. • Various

... another chance like it, Helen," went on the other, with sledge-hammer remorselessness. "For if you behave in this perfectly insane way and lose this opportunity, I shall simply give you up in despair at your perversity." ...
— King Midas • Upton Sinclair

... made with the buttons on the left side, and the button-holes on the right. (The occult reason for this curious distinction, which has long engaged the attention of philosophers, has never yet been discovered, but it is probably to be accounted for by the perversity of women.) Well, if a man tries to put on a woman's waterproof, or a woman to put on a man's ulster, each will find that neither hand is readily able to perform the part of the other. A man, in buttoning, grasps the button in his right hand, pushes it through with his right ...
— Falling in Love - With Other Essays on More Exact Branches of Science • Grant Allen

... perhaps of depreciating sectarians in their own country, are apt to look down upon the Oriental Christians as being “dissenters” from the established religion of a Mahometan empire. I never did thus. By a natural perversity of disposition, which my nursemaids called contrariness, I felt the more strongly for my creed when I saw it despised among men. I quite tolerated the Christianity of Mahometan countries, notwithstanding ...
— Eothen • A. W. Kinglake

... punishments in the future state. But these penalties are not always mortifications and trials of the flesh. There are punishments of the soul; the spirit; the sensibilities; the intellect—which are most usually the consequences of one's own folly. There is a perversity of mood which is the worst of all such penalties. There are tortures which the foolish heart equally inflicts and endures. The passions riot on their own nature; and, feeding as they do upon that bosom from which they spring, and in which they flourish, may, ...
— Confession • W. Gilmore Simms

... the acquisitions of half my waking lifetime should be blotted out, if so be in exchange I might be shown the record of what I had seen and known during those hours of which my waking memory showed no trace. None the less for the conviction of its hopelessness, but rather all the more, as the perversity of our human nature will have it, the longing for this forbidden lore grew on me, till the hunger of Eve in the ...
— The Blindman's World - 1898 • Edward Bellamy

... beyond all this brave show the ridges of red war, and a noble perversity of soul made her turn her senses inward. Then her eyes grew dim, and her heart rose in pitying prayer for that small band of heroes standing together for life and liberty in the grim Alamo. No pomp of war was theirs. They were isolated from all their fellows. They were surrounded by their enemies. ...
— Remember the Alamo • Amelia E. Barr

... through Sophie's open door; her sister held out her arms, her eyes overflowing with tears, but smiling with the strange perversity that possesses some people on these occasions. Cornelia was troubled with no such misplaced self-dental; she threw herself impatiently down by Sophie, and sobbed with all her might. Possibly it was more than one regret that ...
— Bressant • Julian Hawthorne

... in ours. She was clearly a favorite among the ladies with whom she conversed. Several middle-aged gentlemen approached her with their wives and met a kind reception, but she avoided young men with a perversity that was amusing. In a person speaking to her he recognized an acquaintance, and, awaiting his opportunity, addressed him. After the first salutations he asked, "Mr. Allen, do ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. 15, - No. 90, June, 1875 • Various

... and in the name of God to say, with poor human ink, desirous much that I had divine thunder to say it with, Awake, arise,—before you sink to death eternal! Unnamable destruction, and banishment to Houndsditch and Gehenna, lies in store for all Nations that, in angry perversity or brutal torpor and owlish blindness, neglect the eternal message of the gods, and vote for the Worse while the Better is there. Like owls they say, 'Barabbas will do; any orthodox Hebrew of the Hebrews, and peaceable believer in M'Croudy and the Faith ...
— Latter-Day Pamphlets • Thomas Carlyle

... said, "I might have lived here (since I had my opportunity early in life); I might have put in here all these years. Then everything would have been different enough—and, I dare say, 'funny' enough. But that's another matter. And then the beauty of it—I mean of my perversity, of my refusal to agree to a 'deal'—is just in the total absence of a reason. Don't you see that if I had a reason about the matter at all it would have to be the other way, and would then be inevitably a reason of dollars? There are ...
— The Jolly Corner • Henry James

... meditation. My reflections, be sure, were of no consolatory kind. A thousand vague and lachrymatory fancies took possession of my soul—and even the idea of suicide flitted across my brain; but it is a trait in the perversity of human nature to reject the obvious and the ready, for the far-distant and equivocal. Thus I shuddered at self-murder as the most decided of atrocities while the tabby cat purred strenuously upon the rug, and the very water dog wheezed assiduously under the table, each ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 4 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... is that the fathers of the Society do not desire other orders than their own to enter into Japon, giving as a reason that others would not know the method which must be followed in preaching to those heathen, whose perversity has need of cunning to overcome it. This the fathers say they know, as they have been occupied in this conversion for fifty years; and they say that there would be great occasion for weakening the belief of the natives in the doctrine which is preached to them, ...
— The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898: Volume XIV., 1606-1609 • Various

... his simplicity because people now, who judge him by his drawings, would so much rather insist upon his perversity and his affectation. How can you reconcile that sort of thing with simplicity? They will ask, pointing to drawings of little mocking satyrs and twisted dwarfs and grotesques and extravagant forms and leering faces and a suggestion of one can hardly say what. But it might ...
— Nights - Rome, Venice, in the Aesthetic Eighties; London, Paris, in the Fighting Nineties • Elizabeth Robins Pennell

... hour, and the moment, who will find or invent a style best suited to themselves. Attempts at excessive individualism will never create true individualistic expression, no affected surprise in personal perversity of image or metaphor will make a real poet, or real poetry. There must be first and last of all, a sure ardour, the poet's very own, which will of itself support obvious, or even slightly detectable, influences. It is not enough to declaim oneself, or propose continually ...
— Adventures in the Arts - Informal Chapters on Painters, Vaudeville, and Poets • Marsden Hartley

... see not yet all things put under Him" (Heb. ii. 8). Although He "gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works" (Tit. ii. 14), the perversity of man has spoilt the perfection of His work, and hindered the results of His self-sacrifice. Eighteen hundred years have passed, and still His rule is imperfect; and not one third of the human race, whom He redeemed unto ...
— The Kingdom of Heaven; What is it? • Edward Burbidge

... are not all supremely happy. Then we naturally fall to speculating as to the cause. This was the case with Claire. She speculated a little as to why the eyes of Dr. Vaughan rested upon her, with that half-sad expression in them. Then she wondered why the spirit of perversity had possessed Madeline, and induced her to extend to Doctor Vaughan so shabby a welcome. Then, without realizing it, she fell to observing the manner of these ...
— Madeline Payne, the Detective's Daughter • Lawrence L. Lynch

... the world into disorder. Purity, intelligence, spirituality and subtlety constitute the vital spirit of right which pervades heaven and earth, and the persons gifted with benevolence are its natural fruit. Malignity and perversity constitute the spirit of evil, which permeates heaven and earth, and malicious persons are affected by its influence. The days of perpetual happiness and eminent good fortune, and the era of perfect peace and tranquility, which now prevail, are the offspring of the pure, ...
— Hung Lou Meng, Book I • Cao Xueqin

... number of 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 somersault ...
— Robert Elsmere • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... and all snow, when you come to that," Thorpe insisted, with jocose perversity. "You're on mountains yourself, ...
— The Market-Place • Harold Frederic

... exclaiming against the perversity of reason—the indifference of power—the complication of folly—and the ascendancy of turpitude, which, separately or conjointly, continue to produce circumstances so cruel and preposterous! Let it be recorded, said I, to the eternal disgrace of all ...
— A Morning's Walk from London to Kew • Richard Phillips

... made large fortunes in India, were concentrated against him who was the highest, both in rank and fortune; while his ostentatious display of wealth and grandeur increased the unfavorable impression on the public mind. The dreadful famine which desolated Bengal in 1770, was, with strange perversity, attributed to Lord Clive's measures, and his parliamentary influence was greatly weakened by the death of George Grenville. Such was his position in the session of 1772, when the state of India was brought before Parliament, and all the evils of its condition made subjects of ...
— Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 2 of 8 • Various

... show the perversity of the sex," continued Barbemouche, "that same day I saw another man kiss her, and she gave him back two kisses for ...
— An Enemy To The King • Robert Neilson Stephens

... pale and speechless, all unconscious of the dainty, empty pink box clasped in both hands, and of her own heroism in sacrificing her complexion to save the houseboat. As it turned out, we had no need to row ashore. With little or nothing to account for it, except the perversity of gasoline, or perhaps the contents of the little pink box, the flames with a final ...
— Virginia: The Old Dominion • Frank W. Hutchins and Cortelle Hutchins

... evil, it became necessary to devise some new expedient suited both to the piety and self-complacency of the inventor, such as the perversity of woman, or an agent distinct from God, a Typhon or Ahriman, obtained either by dividing the Gods into two classes, or by dethroning the Ancient Divinity, and changing him into a Dev or Dæmon. Through a similar want, the Orientals devised the inherent ...
— Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry • Albert Pike

... say little or nothing about the condition of the country of Gambia, on my return to Portugal, on account of being obliged to leave it so suddenly; partly owing to the intractable and fierce disposition of the natives, and partly through the perversity of our sailors, who refused to proceed in exploring the river; the Genoese gentleman, Antonio, who had been with me in the former voyage, and I, resolved next season to fit out two caravels, in order to return to the river Gambia, and Don Henry, who was much pleased with our ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. II • Robert Kerr

... a peculiar perversity in meeting the objection by alleging other singularities in the ordinance as for example, that the vessels of the tabernacle are appointed (chap. xxv.) before the tabernacle itself (chap. xxvi.). This last is no eccentricity; the order in commanding is first the end, and then ...
— Prolegomena to the History of Israel • Julius Wellhausen

... incessant misery on the part of the people. On this matter, if on no other, De Beaumont, Froude, and Lecky are at one. As to the guilt of the failure or the cause of the misery, men may and do differ; that England, whether from her own fault or the fault of the Irish people, or from perversity of circumstances, has failed in Ireland of achieving the elementary results of good government is as certain as any fact of history or of experience. Every scheme has been tried in turn, and no scheme has succeeded or has even, it may be suggested, produced its natural effects. Oppression of ...
— Handbook of Home Rule (1887) • W. E. Gladstone et al.

... law of God, 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 or foreigner. ...
— The Confessions of Saint Augustine • Saint Augustine

... would lend 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 ...
— The Nigger Of The "Narcissus" - A Tale Of The Forecastle • Joseph Conrad

... 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, and by two years of a savage, piratical, and unjust war, carried on against ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.III. - From George III. to Victoria • E. Farr and E. H. Nolan

... we can make a bed for Karl on the floor, and Mr. Brown can have his bed," said Dora quietly, seeing nothing deeper in Kitty's refusal than a little impulse of perversity. ...
— Outpost • J.G. Austin

... snort or a growl, dashed away in front of me. This only added speed to my footsteps, and frightened now I would hurry on, until utterly worn-out and exhausted I threw off my heavy burdens and sank down on the nearest rock or log, tired out. Perhaps in my ignorance and perversity I had wandered far away, even in an opposite direction from that which ...
— On the Indian Trail - Stories of Missionary Work among Cree and Salteaux Indians • Egerton Ryerson Young

... right,' he would say, or 'the thing's wrong'; and there was an end of it. There was a contained, prophetic energy in his utterances, even on the slightest affairs; he SAW the damned thing; if you did not, it must be from perversity of will; and this sent the blood to his head. Apart from this, which made him an exacting companion, he was one of the most upright, hot-tempered, hot-headed old gentlemen in England. Florid, with white hair, the face of an old Jupiter, ...
— Tales and Fantasies • Robert Louis Stevenson

... which they had unrolled from a reel when they came. I joined them for a few minutes in their retreat below the skyline and listened to their remarks about Brother Low Visibility, who soon was to have the world for his own in winter mists, rain and snow, limiting the army's operations by his perversity until ...
— My Second Year of the War • Frederick Palmer

... affection, their inspiring faith, and their rule of life, and facing together the cruelty of the persecutor and the scorn of the philosopher. To this writer, all who are outside of the Christian fold and the Christian belief seem leagued together by the power of evil. The secret of their perversity and the seal of their doom is unbelief. Let them accept the Christ he portrays, and good shall supplant evil in their hearts. The ground of the acceptance is to be simply the self-evident beauty and therefore the self-evident truth of ...
— The Chief End of Man • George S. Merriam

... a branch, the bird tugs at it again and again to free it from entanglement, but I have never seen any evidence of impatience or spite against branch or string, as would be pretty sure to be the case did my string show such a spirit of perversity. Why your dog bites the stone which you roll for him when he has found it, or gnaws the stick you throw, is not quite clear, unless it be from the instinct of his primitive ancestors to bite and kill the game run down in the chase. Or is the dog trying to punish the ...
— The Wit of a Duck and Other Papers • John Burroughs

... for a time—would go, moreover, without a reason—without so much as a woman's easy "because." This circumstance, while it froze in the bud every available objection to her course, quelled none of the displeasure that was felt at her woman's perversity. ...
— The Seeker • Harry Leon Wilson

... trouble; in the beginning, when this learning was undertaken, I must be whipped to answer as he would have me. Ay, and many a night have I gone sore to bed for my perversity, for in respect to obedience his severity was unmitigated, as with all seafaring men. But I might stand obstinate for a moment—a moment of grace. And upon the wall behind his chair, hanging in the dimmer light, was a colored print portraying a blue sea, spread with rank upon ...
— The Cruise of the Shining Light • Norman Duncan

... really bent on finding my black Forister, but yet, as Jem Bottles and I rode toward Bath, I thought of a cloaked figure and a pair of shining eyes, and it seemed to me that I recalled the curve of sweet, proud lips. I knew that I should be thinking of my papers, my future; but a quick perversity made me dwell for a long trotting time in a dream of feminine excellence, in a dream of feminine beauty which was both ascetic and deeply sensuous. I know hardly how to say that two eyes, a vision of lips, a conception of a figure, should properly move me as I bounced along the ...
— The O'Ruddy - A Romance • Stephen Crane

... of passion—singular perversity of reason! At some period before his marriage, it not unfrequently happens that a man actually is fond of his mother-in-law! At this time our good General vowed, and with some reason, that he was jealous. Mrs. Lambert made much more ...
— The Virginians • William Makepeace Thackeray

... under the knowledge that it was he who, through wrong-headedness or wrongheartedness, had contrived to make all the world besides the boy's enemy. Both wrongheaded and wronghearted he was, he sometimes told himself. For even now it still seemed to him that he had not judged amiss, that only the perversity of fate had thwarted him. Was it so fantastically improbable, so hopeless a solace that he had planned, that he should have thought his wife might take comfort for the death of their own child in making for its sake a home ...
— The Moonshiners At Hoho-Hebee Falls - 1895 • Charles Egbert Craddock (AKA Mary Noailles Murfree)

... pattern of the disreputable little genii attendant upon a Venus of a bad school. That same instinct which degraded a youthful Eros into the childish Cupid was the death-stroke to the pristine dignity and holiness of angels. Nowadays, we see the perversity of it all; we have come to our senses and can appraise the much-belauded revival at its true worth; and our modern sculptors will rear you a respectable angel, a grave adolescent, according to the best canons ...
— Old Calabria • Norman Douglas



Words linked to "Perversity" :   orneriness, cussedness, wilfulness, fractiousness, perverseness, evilness



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