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Self-possession   Listen
noun
Self-possession  n.  The possession of one's powers; calmness; self-command; presence of mind; composure.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Self-possession" Quotes from Famous Books



... he had ever laid any claim to dignity and self-possession, they both deserted him now. Utterly bereft of speech, he stood for a moment as if petrified. Then ...
— The Award of Justice - Told in the Rockies • A. Maynard Barbour

... his hand on the lock, hers was there to prevent him. He then saw that she was agitated, and that she had stopped him thus because her voice had at the moment failed her. The next moment, however, she recovered it, and her self-possession as well. ...
— Donal Grant • George MacDonald

... it is generally so when the lover has not been an old friend, when even his acquaintance has been of modern date. It had been so essentially in the case of Crosbie and Lily Dale. When Crosbie came to Lily and made his offer, he did it with perfect ease and thorough self-possession, for he almost knew that it was expected. And Lily, though she had been flurried for a moment, had her answer pat enough. She already loved the man with all her heart, delighted in his presence, basked ...
— The Small House at Allington • Anthony Trollope

... decided in his own mind that the man was determined to kill him, and that the only way to save his life and his name was to pay the man the sum he had lost plus a profit, in the manner he did. But as a sidelight on the absolutely cold-blooded self-possession of the ...
— Great Fortunes from Railroads • Gustavus Myers

... a wife, as she had all that energy and decision of character which was sometimes wanting in her husband. Still there was nothing masculine in her manners or appearance; on the contrary, she was delicate in her form, and very soft in her manners. She had great firmness and self-possession, and had brought up all her children admirably. Obedience to their parents was the principle instilled into them after their duty to God—for she knew too well that a disobedient child can never prosper. If ever there was a woman fitted ...
— The Settlers in Canada • Frederick Marryat

... soon attracted the attention of Robert d'Este, who became her patron and placed her in the care of the Duchess of Carrara. This early association with a circle of cultured and elegant men and women was doubtless the origin of the self-possession and modest dignity which characterized Angelica Kauffman through life and enabled her becomingly to accept the honors that were showered ...
— Women in the fine arts, from the Seventh Century B.C. to the Twentieth Century A.D. • Clara Erskine Clement

... unruffled self-possession that Huss gave himself to martyrdom. As he had never abandoned the Romish Church, he calmly engaged in its functions preparatory to his death. Indeed, some touching scenes were witnessed in his prison—he ...
— Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 3 of 8 • Various

... upon him. The clock over the door showed upon its dial only a minute or two gone; but to Felix the time consumed in his brief foretaste of the cross seemed years. He gathered together so much of his self-possession as could be summoned at a moment's notice, and looked straight into the faces of ...
— Cobwebs and Cables • Hesba Stretton

... of soul recognition passed and then each recovered self-possession, but it was the woman who ...
— The Man of the Desert • Grace Livingston Hill

... But the self-possession and intrepidity of the brave women were equal to the occasion. While one stood in the loft the other handed her water with which she extinguished the fire. Again and again the roof was fired, and as often extinguished. When the water was exhausted, the dauntless pair held the flames at bay by breaking ...
— Woman on the American Frontier • William Worthington Fowler

... not witnessed the fact with my eyes, I should not have imagined it possible that he could so lose his self-possession. I knew him to be a man of strong emotions, but I had always believed him capable of ...
— The Recipe for Diamonds • Charles John Cutcliffe Wright Hyne

... other and of their elders. Fyne muttered sometimes deep down in his chest some insignificant remark. Mrs Fyne smiled mechanically (she had splendid teeth) while distributing tea and bread and butter. A something which was not coldness, nor yet indifference, but a sort of peculiar self-possession gave her the appearance of a very trustworthy, very capable and excellent governess; as if Fyne were a widower and the children not her own but only entrusted to her calm, efficient, unemotional care. ...
— Chance - A Tale in Two Parts • Joseph Conrad

... most constantly into conflict, and in which, as a result, their habits of mind are most clearly contrasted—to the field, to wit, of monogamous marriage. Surely no long argument is needed to demonstrate the superior competence and effectiveness of women here, and therewith their greater self-possession, their saner weighing of considerations, their higher power of resisting emotional suggestion. The very fact that marriages occur at all is a proof, indeed, that they are more cool-headed than men, and more adept in employing ...
— In Defense of Women • H. L. Mencken

... indeed dare to lift her eyes. But Narcissus, already immersed in calculations, scarcely looked up from his paper. "Ah, there you are! Have you brought the India-ink?" he asked, and after a minute she marvelled at her own self-possession. Even when he left them to work out the measurements together (and it flashed upon her that henceforth they would often be left together, her immunity being taken for granted), she kept her head bowed over the papers and managed to control her voice to put one or two ordinary ...
— The Westcotes • Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... control her feelings. She bit her under lip between her teeth; she pressed her feet against the bed, and grasped the loose clothes with the hand which was disengaged. The virtue on which her husband most prided himself was calmness and self-possession in affliction. She knew that he now expected that virtue from her, and that nothing would so grieve him as to see her render herself weakly up to her sorrow, and she strove hard to control it; but all ...
— La Vendee • Anthony Trollope

... lives. So the governor's wife was at last persuaded to give an account of how she brought up her children. They are all free from self-consciousness, and though they have little manners in our sense of the word, they have a self-possession and gentleness combined which gives a very graceful appearance. The governor's wife says she has two little boys, the eldest six years of age. In the morning he has a Chinese tutor. After dinner, she teaches him music, of which she is very fond. After that he plays till five-thirty, ...
— Letters from China and Japan • John Dewey

... "feel mine!" In him, as he has become within the hour, she recognises a deliverer, but, illogically, thirsts the more for his love. From this figure with the firm, compassionate eyes and the exalted self-possession, something breathes which associates him to her sense with the figure, sought by her through the centuries, of the derided Victim. She feels herself face to face once more with the Christ-spirit. But the blind desire of her dual personality is that pardon should ...
— The Wagnerian Romances • Gertrude Hall

... that word, what little self-possession he retained gave way, and he sobbed outright. It was a sob so passionate and long suppressed, and it burst forth in spite of him with such vehemence, that it shook the little form from head to foot, and sounded through the still room so miserably ...
— Continental Monthly , Vol. 5, No. 6, June, 1864 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... words she explains all that has taken place, and their suspicions. Ethel, though paling beneath the horror and surprise occasioned by the recital, does not lose her self-possession. ...
— The Haunted Chamber - A Novel • "The Duchess"

... the father would exclaim, bringing forward his precocious boy. 'There was something about him,' says an authority, 'which excited the surprise of the most casual observer. He was a perfect man in miniature; his confidence and self-possession smacked of one-and-twenty.' ...
— Art in England - Notes and Studies • Dutton Cook

... to cane you, little boy,' said the Captain, regaining his self-possession; 'but as for you, miss, I have the honour to wish ...
— Barry Lyndon • William Makepeace Thackeray

... her heart's delight, with a profusion of mock pearl and tinsel; her hair in a shower of long curls in front, with any quantity of bows and braids behind, and a wreath!—that required all Mrs. Castleton's self-possession to look at without laughing. Her entrance excited no little sensation—for she was a striking-looking girl, being tall, and full formed, with a very brilliant complexion. Simply and quietly dressed, and she would have been decidedly handsome; but as it was, ...
— Graham's Magazine Vol XXXII. No. 3. March 1848 • Various

... off his hat, which he had not up to that time removed since his return from the drug store. As the lady moved up the aisle toward him, he was taken with stage fright. He recovered self-possession enough to escort her and the boy to the front and give them seats. The whole school divided its attention between the beautiful woman and the discomfitted teacher. They had not known that he was so ...
— Imperium in Imperio: A Study Of The Negro Race Problem - A Novel • Sutton E. Griggs

... to sleep, child,—to an eternal sleep! God bless and protect you," said Peters, taking him up and kissing him. "And now, sir, I am ready," continued Peters, who had recovered his self-possession; "Captain A—-, I forgive you, as I trust to be forgiven myself. Mr —-," said he, addressing the first-lieutenant, "take this child by the hand, and do not permit him to come forward—remember, he is the 'King's Own.'" Then, bowing to the chaplain, ...
— The King's Own • Captain Frederick Marryat

... at this unexpected gentleman for a second or two, and then, recovering my self-possession, looked ...
— The Morals of Marcus Ordeyne • William J. Locke

... on yourself and to regard yourself as a scoundrel or a lost sinner. Provided that you do not abandon yourself to mere enjoyment or wantonness, but are content with what is necessary to restore your peace of mind, self-possession, and cheerful capacity for work, and also that you observe the precautions which physicians or experienced ...
— Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 6 (of 6) • Havelock Ellis

... with astonishment; and doubted at first, whether the Brahmin's late severe attack had not had the effect of unsettling his brain: but on looking in his face, the calm self-possession and intelligence which it exhibited, dispelled the momentary impression. I was all impatience to know the adventures he met with in the moon, asking him fifty questions in a breath, but was most anxious to learn if it had inhabitants, and what sort ...
— A Voyage to the Moon • George Tucker

... and passions that can only interest us, as it might be, for a day. Fortunately I knew nothing of the offence that was taken at the time, nor did I see any of my kinsmen but John Wallingford that evening; his presence in my room being owing altogether to a certain self-possession and an a plomb that caused him to do very much as he ...
— Miles Wallingford - Sequel to "Afloat and Ashore" • James Fenimore Cooper

... detail of the library—the richness and heaviness of the furniture, the insipid fixed smiles in the family portrait, the costly fragility of the china ornaments—all these seemed to unite in some occult power which overthrew her self-possession and paralyzed her emotions. ...
— The Miller Of Old Church • Ellen Glasgow

... cautiously out, and begins to ascend again. Here he comes toward us—slowly, majestically! Strike at him with a fan, and lo! he retreats in great disorder to a remote corner of the room, dodging about in most eccentric fashion, when, recovering his self-possession after a time, he goes about examining the pictures on the wall with the air of a critic. You lie down on your back, on the comfortable sofa in the corner, watching the balloon as it sails slowly about, and wondering what it will do next, ...
— St. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls, Vol. 5, May, 1878, No. 7. - Scribner's Illustrated • Various

... voyagers, satisfied with their experience, and not wishing to make a longer course, agreed to descend, but, perceiving that the wind was driving them upon the houses of the Rue de Sevres, preserved their self-possession, renewed the hot air, rose anew and continued their course ...
— Wonderful Balloon Ascents - or, the Conquest of the Skies • Fulgence Marion

... medical officer, noted for his self-possession, was proceeding along the road and came across a private soldier who had been hurt in an accident. At the same time a car stopped and a young lieutenant stepped out to see whether he could be of use. The M.O. examined the injured man and said to the lieutenant rather brusquely, ...
— On the Fringe of the Great Fight • George G. Nasmith

... men appeared coming towards them round the dreaded corner. In another moment the adventure was over—the ponies had been stopped by one of the two strangers, and were standing panting but subdued; and Helen, recovering her self-possession the moment she was out of danger, was leaning forward to ...
— A Canadian Heroine, Volume 1 - A Novel • Mrs. Harry Coghill

... His self-possession seemed to have deserted him for the moment. He looked at Hermione swiftly, searchingly, then ...
— A Spirit in Prison • Robert Hichens

... original attraction towards unity in Rome, and hence the great charm when that unity is once attained." The sharp contrast between the actual restlessness and uncertainty of the dissident Churches, and the calm assurance and self-possession of the Catholic Church, is not that an abiding proof of the security of the ...
— Catholic Problems in Western Canada • George Thomas Daly

... importance of industry than Sir Walter Scott, who was himself one of the most laborious and indefatigable of men. Indeed, Lockhart says of him that, taking all ages and countries together, the rare example of indefatigable energy, in union with serene self-possession of mind and manner, such as Scott's, must be sought for in the roll of great sovereigns or great captains, rather than in that of literary genius. Scott himself was most anxious to impress upon the minds of his own ...
— Character • Samuel Smiles

... to be sure, some human agencies at work even under the shadow of Cape Eternity to restore the spirit to self-possession, and perhaps none turns from it wholly dismayed. Kitty, at any rate, took heart from some works of art which the cliff wall displayed near the water's edge. One of these was a lively fresco portrait of Lieutenant-General Sherman, with the insignia of his rank, and the other ...
— A Chance Acquaintance • W. D. Howells

... the time being, the position of an honourable man, he presented himself at cruel disadvantage. He was not master of his own glorious voice; he was without the self-possession indispensable to the perfect performance of his magnificent bow. "I have waited to have a word with you," he began abruptly, "before you ...
— Heart and Science - A Story of the Present Time • Wilkie Collins

... he would say no more to me. But this tame nursery business was assuredly gall to him. For though utterly a man in countenance and in his self-possession and incapacity to be put at a loss, he was still boyishly proud of his wild calling, and wore his leather straps and jingled his spurs with obvious pleasure. His tiger limberness and his beauty were rich ...
— The Virginian - A Horseman Of The Plains • Owen Wister

... Doctor lightly, recovering his self-possession as she released his hand. "You make too much of it—it is nothing. I am only too pleased to be able to serve you. You will write to ...
— A Bachelor's Dream • Mrs. Hungerford

... the clock," cried Jenny, simultaneously recovering speech and self-possession. "Take the clock, Abel Guppy, and take yourself off. There ben a mistake, but it be ...
— North, South and Over the Sea • M.E. Francis (Mrs. Francis Blundell)

... knowing this, we do not wonder that Swedenborg would sometimes call unannounced on men in high station, and forgetting his letters, would ask for an interview. The audacity of the request would break down the barriers, and his calm, quiet self-possession would do the rest. The man wanted nothing but knowledge. Returning home at twenty-seven, he wrote out two voluminous reports of his travels, one for his father and one for the King. These reports were so complete, so learned, so full of allusion, suggestion and advice, that it is probable ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great Philosophers, Volume 8 • Elbert Hubbard

... my sister," said Mr. Acton. And Gertrude Wentworth put her arm round the young girl and led her forward. It was not, apparently, that she needed much leading. She came toward the Baroness with a light, quick step, and with perfect self-possession, rolling her stocking round its needles. She had dark blue eyes and dark brown hair; ...
— The Europeans • Henry James

... a direct appeal Gwendolen recovered some of her self-possession. She spoke with dignity and looked straight at Grandcourt, whose long, narrow, impenetrable eyes met hers, and mysteriously arrested them: mysteriously; for the subtly-varied drama between man and woman is often such as can hardly be rendered in words ...
— Daniel Deronda • George Eliot

... Colline played a crossfire with his eyes, and while munching his napkin, as his habit was, kept pinching the leg of the table, which he took for Phemie's knee. Marcel and Rodolphe maintained the stirrups of self-possession, expecting the catastrophe, ...
— Bohemians of the Latin Quarter • Henry Murger

... mania]—inspired exaltation), when phrensy is the gift of God. The prophetess of Delphi, and the priestess of Dodona, many are the benefits which in their phrensies (moments of inspiration) they have bestowed upon Greece; but in their hours of self-possession, few or none. And too long were it to speak of the Sibyl, and others, who, inspired and prophetic, have delivered utterances beneficial to the hearers. Indeed, this word phrenetic or maniac is no reproach; it is identical with mantic—prophetic.[966] And often when diseases and plagues have fallen ...
— Christianity and Greek Philosophy • Benjamin Franklin Cocker

... young man, recovering some of his self-possession tho his tone was apologetic, "since I have been on the road I saw what happened once when the police came with their clubs and revolvers. There was a free fight and two men were killed. I thought I saw ...
— The Rainy Day Railroad War • Holman Day

... tints of her clear brunette complexion, suggested a nature that was not cold and unresponsive, yet many who would gladly have won the heiress for her own sake found her as elusive as only a woman of perfect tact and self-possession can be. She had no vulgar ambition to count her victims who had committed themselves in words. With her keen intuition and abundant experience she recognized the first glance that was warmer than mere friendliness, and this was all ...
— Nature's Serial Story • E. P. Roe

... fullness of self-possession is our goal, if goal there be any. But there are two great ways of fulfillment. The first, the way of fulfillment through complete love, complete, passionate, deep love. And the second, the greater, the fulfillment through the accomplishment of religious ...
— Fantasia of the Unconscious • D. H. Lawrence

... children of singular beauty, and dressed, if possible, more fancifully and brilliantly than their mamma. They resembled each other, and had the same brilliant complexion, rich chestnut hair, delicately arched brows, and dark blue eyes. Though only eight years of age, a most unchildlike self-possession distinguished them. The expression of their countenances was haughty, disdainful, and supercilious. Their beautiful features seemed quite unimpassioned, and they moved as if they expected everything to yield to them. The girl, whose long ringlets were ...
— Endymion • Benjamin Disraeli

... uninvited. Kondo[u] stammered protests and his delight at the opportunity of meeting Yanagibara Dono. Cho[u]bei smiled inward and outward delight at thus summarily removing any too pointed objections of Kondo[u]. For absolute self-possession in this awkward situation the younger man easily carried the palm. Kazuma acted as would a man double his years. Cho[u]bei was not only delighted, but astonished. "Whence had the Sensei produced ...
— The Yotsuya Kwaidan or O'Iwa Inari - Tales of the Tokugawa, Volume 1 (of 2) • James S. De Benneville

... my head, my "nostrils all wide," and my limbs trembling to such a degree that I could scarcely stand. The audience received me very kindly, however, and after a little while I recovered my breath and self-possession, and got on very comfortably, considering that, what with nervousness and the short time they had had to study them in, none of the actors were perfect in their parts. My father acted Evander, which added, no doubt, to the interest ...
— Records of a Girlhood • Frances Anne Kemble

... effect of being more prudent and observant than the rest. Then he looked at his program, and calculated how soon his turn to sing would come. Then he unrolled his music, and placed two copies of Le Vallon ready to his hand upon the table. Having made these arrangements with a self-possession that quite disconcerted the clergyman, he turned to examine the ...
— The Irrational Knot - Being the Second Novel of His Nonage • George Bernard Shaw

... amiable and kind; was patient under contradiction, and placid in manners; had great self-possession, and extraordinary dignity. His person was beautiful, and his address commanding. He was feared as a general, but loved as a man. He never lost his affections for his home, and loved to idolatry his imperious wife, his equal, ...
— A Modern History, From the Time of Luther to the Fall of Napoleon - For the Use of Schools and Colleges • John Lord

... so quickly that he almost fell into the girl's arms. She received him with a smile of self-possession: "Chahmed, ...
— In a Little Town • Rupert Hughes

... returned. He could not, however, conscientiously take the oaths to Government, and therefore never had any other military employment. "With much truth, honour, and humanity," relates Mrs. Grant, "he inherited his father's wit and self-possession, with a vein of keen satire which he indulged in bitter expressions against the enemies of his family. Some of these I have seen, and heard many songs of his composing, which showed no contemptible power of poetic ...
— Memoirs of the Jacobites of 1715 and 1745 - Volume II. • Mrs. Thomson

... he has yet to face that awful bugbear—the old folk. There is something terrible about age, it would seem, not only to its possessor, but even to those who must encounter it second hand, and Steve was not without his qualms. Although in his wooing he had not for one moment lost his gentle self-possession, he had entirely forgotten about the ordeal of an interview with Nannie's guardians until she reminded him by ...
— The Gentle Art of Cooking Wives • Elizabeth Strong Worthington

... said nothing, but she soothed the agitated girl with a few gentle and caressing touches of her hand, and stood waiting quietly till her passion had spent itself and she had regained her self-possession. Presently Theresa was sufficiently composed to ask ...
— Captain Mansana and Mother's Hands • Bjoernstjerne Bjoernson

... called news from Turtle Bay, that turns out to be falsehood, at any rate in what it is said to signify, and which if you could get the nation to believe it true might disturb our equilibrium and our self-possession. We ought not to deal in stuff of that kind. We ought not to permit things of that sort to use up the electrical energy of the wires, because its energy is malign, its energy is not of the truth, its energy is ...
— New York Times Current History; The European War, Vol 2, No. 3, June, 1915 - April-September, 1915 • Various

... Philippines. How better, in this time of anxious questioning and perplexed policy, could we show our confidence in the principles of liberty, as the source as well as the expression of life, how better could we demonstrate our own self-possession and steadfastness in the courses of justice and disinterestedness than by thus going calmly forward to fulfill our promises to a dependent people, who will now look more anxiously than ever to see whether we have indeed the liberality, the ...
— Complete State of the Union Addresses from 1790 to the Present • Various

... one of pretty constant peril and adventure, and after the manner of wilderness dwellers he had learned resourcefulness and self-possession. It is indeed a part of the daily training of every lad of the wilderness, that he acquire these attributes, until at last they become second nature to him, and instinctively he does the thing he should do when he comes suddenly face ...
— Bobby of the Labrador • Dillon Wallace

... worthy Hofarchitect understood somewhat, and continuing to reply in German, our conversation grew pretty close. It is singular that I can talk to a man and pay him compliments with the utmost gravity, whereas, to a woman, I at once lose all self-possession, and have never said a pretty thing ...
— The Fitz-Boodle Papers • William Makepeace Thackeray

... herself against them all. Recoiling upon herself, she became hard and self-completed, like a jewel. She was bright and invulnerable, quite free and happy, perfectly liberated in her self-possession. Her father had to learn not to see her blithe obliviousness, or it would have sent him mad. She was so radiant with all things, in ...
— Women in Love • D. H. Lawrence

... by this time. The kindness of this older girl broke down her self-possession. They heard somebody coming up the stairs, and Miss ...
— The Girl from Sunset Ranch - Alone in a Great City • Amy Bell Marlowe

... were startled by the sound of a coach. Triplet turned as pale as ashes. Mrs. Woffington had her misgivings; but, not choosing to increase the difficulty, she would not let Triplet, whose self-possession she doubted, see any sign of ...
— Peg Woffington • Charles Reade

... neatly trimmed beard is prematurely gray; his brows are lowering—his eyes keen. On the floor of Congress he manifested marvelous power and nerve. His voice is rich and melodious; his delivery is fluent and vigorous; his gestures are full of grace and force; his self-possession is never lost. He has appeared on the stump in almost every Northern State, and is an exceedingly popular and effective campaign speaker. But it is not when on the platform, speaking alone, that he has shown his greatest ...
— Bay State Monthly, Vol. II, No. 1, October, 1884 - A Massachusetts Magazine • Various

... in her brown eyes which made the Cinnamon Creek forest ranger outdistance Carver Standish III in his haste to ask her for the grand march. Carver, in white trousers and an air a little too pronounced to be termed self-possession, was leisurely crossing the floor toward her when his chap-clad rival of Cinnamon Creek slid past him unceremoniously and reached Priscilla first. Even then Carver could not believe she would choose a forest ranger in place ...
— Virginia of Elk Creek Valley • Mary Ellen Chase

... painfully; and shrank back, glancing at his lame foot and mutilated hand. In another instant he recovered his self-possession and burst ...
— The Gadfly • E. L. Voynich

... could not deny the masterly fashion in which he had managed this business. Daubrecq's coolness, the assurance with which he hoaxed the police-officials, the contempt with which he lent himself to their visits at his house and, above all, his wonderful self-possession, his easy bearing and the impertinence of his conduct in the presence of the ninth person who was spying on him: all this denoted a man of character, a strong man, with a well-balanced mind, lucid, bold, sure of himself and of ...
— The Crystal Stopper • Maurice LeBlanc

... Annie had recovered her self-possession. She knew that the best way to help Howard was to keep cool and to say nothing which was likely to injure his cause. Boldly, therefore, ...
— The Third Degree - A Narrative of Metropolitan Life • Charles Klein and Arthur Hornblow

... other persons of a refined and sensitive organization, you suffer from the very uncommon disease of shyness. At the very time, perhaps, when you desire most to please, to interest, to amuse, your over-anxiety defeats its own object. The self-possession of the indifferent generally carries off the palm from the earnest and the anxious. This is ridiculous; this is degrading. What you wish to do you ought to be able to do, and you will be able, if you habitually exercise control over the physical ...
— The Young Lady's Mentor - A Guide to the Formation of Character. In a Series of Letters to Her Unknown Friends • A Lady

... that he scarcely knew her. It was another, and yet it was she herself. It was some one who had been born and had formed and grown since he had left her. It was she, indeed; she whom he had loved, but who was now altered, with a more assured smile and greater self-possession. There were two women in one, mingling a great part of what was new and unknown with many sweet recollections of the past. There was something singular, disturbing, exciting about it —a kind of mystery of love in which ...
— Maupassant Original Short Stories (180), Complete • Guy de Maupassant

... speeches, and happy was the audience, at the unveiling of a monument or at a literary dinner, that had the privilege of listening to Mr. Lowell. Seldom in England, where this kind of speaking is not cultivated as an art, have we witnessed such a perfect union of self-possession, sense, and salt. The speech on Henry Fielding, the speech in which he compared the sound of London to "the roaring loom of time," the address on Democracy—to mention but a few—will not be easily forgotten. Nor will those who had the privilege of experiencing it, in ...
— Stories of Authors, British and American • Edwin Watts Chubb

... were alone, her sister could not help expressing her wonder at the self-possession with which Lady Staunton ...
— The Heart of Mid-Lothian, Complete, Illustrated • Sir Walter Scott

... closing the door behind her. She was very pale, and there were dark circles under her eyes. She showed the unnatural self-possession that a brave woman forces on herself in the presence of a great emergency. Her ...
— The Fur Bringers - A Story of the Canadian Northwest • Hulbert Footner

... time to recover her self-possession. Fortunately, thanks to the thick folds of hair which almost entirely concealed her cheeks, the rapid and sudden changes from pallor to blush escaped the notice of Lady Morinval, who gayly replied: "What, my dear, do you not perceive those ...
— The Wandering Jew, Complete • Eugene Sue

... old Rudolph. And somehow he wished he had not treated the old fellow as he did when he left. His self-possession returned. A wave of hot ...
— Astounding Stories of Super-Science, December 1930 • Various

... untouched by the fret and fury of life; she had lived in sunshine and rain among her silly sheep, and been refined instead of coarsened, while her touching patience with a ramping old mother, stung by the sense of defeat and mourning her lost activities, had given back a lovely self-possession, and habit of sweet temper. I had seen enough of old Mrs. Hight to know that nothing a sheep might do could vex a person who was used to the uncertainties and ...
— The Queen's Twin and Other Stories • Sarah Orne Jewett

... what has our author in common? While they make literary demands after their own heart, and expect every candidate for their not evergreen laurels to conform to their rules, Mr Taylor calmly unfolds his theory, that it is from 'deep self-possession, an intense repose' that all genuine emanations of poetic genius proceed, and expresses his doubt whether any high endeavour of poetic art ever has been or ever will be promoted by the stimulation of popular applause.[2] He denies that youth is the poet's prime. He contends that what ...
— Chambers' Edinburgh Journal - Volume XVII., No 422, New Series, January 31, 1852 • Various

... in a flash, as if thankful to be out of the room, and when she reappeared, conducting the agitated underling, Mary had regained her self-possession, and ...
— Tales Of Men And Ghosts • Edith Wharton

... possible principals Constance became obsessed with sudden shyness. The majority of the girls were of the upper classes, and she felt lonely and ill at ease. She noted that she and Mignon La Salle were the only representatives of the sophomore class. Mignon, looking radiant self-possession in a smart old-rose suit and hat to match, carried herself with the air of one whose success was already assured. Her black eyes were snapping with excitement as they darted from the professor to the two young men standing beside the piano. She ...
— Marjorie Dean - High School Sophomore • Pauline Lester

... among the young girls, filled with divided wonder at their self-possession and their extreme decolletage, Ri-Ri gazed at the glass timidly, determinedly, fatefully, as one approaches an oracle, and out from the glittering surface was flung back to her a radiant image of reassurance—a ...
— The Innocent Adventuress • Mary Hastings Bradley

... whom I had as usual been overkind, impertinently called me in fault for some particular too small to mention; and I, annoyed that I had allowed her the freedom upon which she thus presumed, ordered her to leave my presence. She stood a moment dumb, and then, recalling her self-possession, 'Your bill,' said she, 'shall be ready this evening, and to-morrow, madam, you shall leave my house. See,' she added, 'that you are able to pay what you owe me; for if I do not receive the uttermost farthing, no box of yours shall pass ...
— The Dynamiter • Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny van de Grift Stevenson

... had fitted this cap was in the center of the roof. Gervaise stood watching him, soothed by his calm self-possession. Nana ...
— L'Assommoir • Emile Zola

... intelligence of the death of his father. It was some time before he recovered his self-possession, and then only when the landlord again reminded him that he might be late for the funeral. His good friend walked down to the wharf with him, carrying a basket of provisions he had ordered for him; but the skipper did not feel like eating now. He took the basket, and the Goldwing ...
— All Adrift - or The Goldwing Club • Oliver Optic

... sir," said the good little woman, her courage and self-possession returning under the emergency. "She had better come up to the ...
— Adrien Leroy • Charles Garvice

... other portals and I knew not whither I should wend this night. Presently I saw this street and noting the goodly fashion of its ordinance and its cleanliness, I sheltered me therein against break of day.' When I speak these words to thee with complete self-possession,[FN17] the Chief of the watch will have no ill suspicion of me, but will say, 'There's no help but that we leave her with one who will take care of her till morning.' Thereto do thou rejoin, ''Twere best that she night with Amin al-Hukm and lie with his wives[FN18] and children until ...
— Supplemental Nights, Volume 2 • Richard F. Burton

... her: With the faint voice of one who, having spoken, Relapses into blessedness, I vow'd it: That solemn Vow, a whisper scarcely heard, A murmur breath'd against a lady's Cheek. 310 Oh! there is Joy above the name of Pleasure, Deep self-possession, an intense Repose. No other than as Eastern Sages feign, The God, who floats upon a Lotos Leaf, Dreams for a thousand ages; then awaking, 315 Creates a world, and smiling at the bubble, Relapses into bliss. Ah! was that bliss Fear'd ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Vol I and II • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

... and shook hands gravely. "And this is the rest of the Mess." He included the remainder with a wave of his hand, and Sir William acknowledged the informal general introduction with the grave, smiling self-possession of the perfectly ...
— The Long Trick • Lewis Anselm da Costa Ritchie

... the inward vision, nor by any sympathy with the modifying powers with which the genius of the poet had united and inspirited all the objects of his thought; that it is therefore a species of wit, a pure work of the will, and implies a leisure and self-possession both of thought and of feeling, incompatible with the steady fervour of a mind possessed and filled with the grandeur of its subject. To sum up the whole in one sentence. When a poem, or a part of a poem, shall be adduced, which is evidently ...
— English Critical Essays - Nineteenth Century • Various

... the disagreeable attitude of the Chapleys, regained her self-possession and lost her temper. She sat up in bed and said in her haughtiest voice, "I do not know when you were born, or where, but it must have been somewhere where very peculiar manners were taught. If you will have the decency to leave my room—er—this room—until ...
— Rilla of Ingleside • Lucy Maud Montgomery

... and out of the dressing-room the prize model flew, each time wearing a new costume and looking more stunning with every change. She posed with absolute self-possession before the stricken buyer, who stood, tongue-tied and motionless, while Zizzbaum orated oilily of the styles. On the model's face was her faint, impersonal professional smile that seemed to cover something like ...
— The Trimmed Lamp • O. Henry

... she was! She was not only both younger and older than when he had left her five years ago, she was another woman. The heaviness had gone from her eyes and forehead, the bitter, determined, self-restraint from her mouth and chin; instead of self-restraint she had acquired that rarer virtue, self-possession. Her lips had softened, had blossomed into the sweet red flower that was part of Nature's original design. Her face had grown plastic to her feeling and her thought. She was ripened and freshened by sun and wind, by salt water and salt air; a certain nameless, intangible grace that he had caught ...
— The Return of the Prodigal • May Sinclair

... colour and self-possession. She was now also very angry, tapping her foot and breathing fast. She looked disdainfully at me, and reproachfully. "But," she said, with scorn, "But what I am to think of you, Don Francis? Do you purpose to spend your life seeking ...
— The Fool Errant • Maurice Hewlett

... now must be calm, collected, and quiet. His business is to plan, to calculate, to direct, and arrange. He has to do this sometimes, it is true, in circumstances of the most imminent danger, so that he must be a man of great self-possession and of undaunted courage. But there is very little occasion for him to exert any ...
— Alexander the Great - Makers of History • Jacob Abbott

... helplessly at Orme. His self-possession had returned, and as he urged her to a chair, he condemned himself for not guessing how serious the loss of the bill must be to her. "Sit down," he said. "Perhaps I can help. But you see, I know so little of what it all means. Tell me ...
— The Girl and The Bill - An American Story of Mystery, Romance and Adventure • Bannister Merwin

... uttered with an animation and vehemence so unusual to her, that Walter stood for a moment transfixed with wonder; and before he recovered his self-possession, Isabel, with the velocity of lightning, had regained her skiff, and was sailing before the wind to Hereford. "Curse on my amorous folly!" he exclaimed, "that, for a pair of pale cheeks and sparkling eyes, has perhaps ruined ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 10, - Issue 284, November 24, 1827 • Various

... quickly restores the self-possession, even of grown-ups, as the sight of another's collapse; and no sooner had Luis given vent to his emotion than Ned's spirit returned to him. Throwing back his pretty head, with an air of unconquerable ...
— Jessica, the Heiress • Evelyn Raymond

... led her to the fire, by which my lady (who was already hoping for an heir to Castlewood) lay reclining on her sofa. She did not attempt to rise, but smiled a greeting to her venerable guest. And then, after a brief talk, in which she showed a perfect self-possession, while the two gentlemen blundered and hesitated with the most dastardly ...
— The Virginians • William Makepeace Thackeray

... But the talkative mood seldom came when a crowd was about him. He was indifferent to the many and fond of the few; so his circle of intimate friends never grew large in spite of the multitudes who sought his acquaintance, and though no combination of circumstances could disturb his self-possession he seemed to be most contented and comfortable when seated quietly with a single friend. Even under such circumstances he could sometimes sit for minutes at a time without speaking himself or expecting a word from his companion, ...
— Chapters of Opera • Henry Edward Krehbiel

... towards Fleet Street. It was an unpleasant surprise to me that her sharp eyes had detected the secret spy upon her movements; and the dry, sardonic tone of her remark pained me, too, recalling, as it did, the frigid self-possession that had so repelled me in the early days of our acquaintance. And yet I could not but admire the cool unconcern with which she faced ...
— The Vanishing Man • R. Austin Freeman

... talked on, even faster than Miss Peckham was wont to talk. But her volubility gave Janice a chance to recover her self-possession. She saw quite clearly that her errand had come to naught. Even if the Lathams positively knew the missing Olga had been named Cedarstrom before her marriage they probably did not know ...
— Janice Day, The Young Homemaker • Helen Beecher Long

... understood. And these Richard's frankness, his courteous, in some sort brotherly, good-fellowship, served to intensify rather than allay. The feeling of the noble horse under her, the cool, westerly wind in her face, went to steady her nerves, and restore the self-possession, courage of judgment, and clearness of thought, which had been lacking to her during the past twenty-four hours. Nevertheless she rode as through a but-newly-discovered country, familiar objects displaying alien aspects, familiar ...
— The History of Sir Richard Calmady - A Romance • Lucas Malet

... quite gray; and she wore over it the plain cap of an old woman. Neither hair nor head-dress was out of harmony with her face—it looked older than her years: the hard handwriting of trouble had scored it heavily at some past time. The self-possession of her progress downstairs, and the air of habitual authority with which she looked about her, spoke well for her position in Mr. Vanstone's family. This was evidently not one of the forlorn, persecuted, pitiably dependent order of governesses. Here was a woman who lived on ascertained ...
— No Name • Wilkie Collins

... me that should ask what's come to you, father,' she returned with her former self-possession. 'You treat me as if I was a baby. I want to know what you're going to say about Mrs. Tubbs. I suppose mother's told you what ...
— The Nether World • George Gissing

... and crafty priesthood of Delphi had been too long accustomed successfully to deceive mankind to lose hope or self-possession at the approach even of so formidable a foe. When the dismayed citizens of Delphi ran to the oracle, demanding advice and wishing to know what should be done with the sacred treasures, the priestess gravely replied that "the god ...
— Athens: Its Rise and Fall, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... Boulainvillier had the children of the day-laborer Valois called," continued the president, with his imperturbable self-possession. "The oldest daughter, a girl of twelve years, pleased her in consequence of her lively nature and her attractive exterior. She took her to herself, she gave her an excellent education, she was resolved to provide for her whole future; when one day the young Valois disappeared ...
— Marie Antoinette And Her Son • Louise Muhlbach

... ever meet a fox face to face, surprising him quite as much as yourself? If so, you were deeply impressed, no doubt, by his perfect dignity and self-possession. Here is how the meeting generally ...
— Ways of Wood Folk • William J. Long

... at least this satisfaction in crime, according to the Latin proverb;—you can speak to your accomplice on even terms. Crimen quos inquinat, aequat. To those whom we admire and love, at first we cannot. Yet the least defect of self-possession vitiates, in my judgment, the entire relation. There can never be deep peace between two spirits, never mutual respect, until in their dialogue each stands ...
— Essays, First Series • Ralph Waldo Emerson

... Miriam flushed, struggling for self-possession. She determined not to listen.... "Damn... Devil..." she exhorted herself... "humbugging creature..." She felt the blood throbbing in her face and her eyes and looked at no one. She was conscious that little movements and sounds came from the Germans, but she heard nothing ...
— Pointed Roofs - Pilgrimage, Volume 1 • Dorothy Richardson

... there," admitted Billy, with self-possession. "But I know more about it than Mary Lou! She's a wonder at pipe- dreams,—my Lord, I'd rather have a child of mine turned loose in the street than be raised according to Mary Lou's ideas! I don't mean," Billy ...
— Saturday's Child • Kathleen Norris

... his self-possession, as though he had for a moment wandered mentally from the subject ...
— The Town Traveller • George Gissing

... The self-possession of this child of eighteen was really amazing. Not a trace in her manner of timidity or tremor. In spite of her flight from him he could not flatter himself that he had made any impression on her nerves. Whereas her beauty and her provocative way were beginning ...
— The Case of Richard Meynell • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... master her feelings sufficiently to make her words audible through the house. One candid youth in the gallery endeavored to encourage her with a kindly "Speak up, Mary." The words recalled her in an instant to herself, and for the rest of the evening she had regained her wonted self-possession. ...
— Mary Anderson • J. M. Farrar

... the door, trying to pass behind him unnoticed. But, alert as ever, his quick ears detected me. With a sudden start, he raised his head and glanced round. "What! you here?" he cried, taken aback. For a second he appeared almost to lose his self-possession. ...
— Hilda Wade - A Woman With Tenacity Of Purpose • Grant Allen

... you have this power!" replied Jameson, with undisturbed self-possession, "I am sure I cannot say whether you ...
— Graham's Magazine Vol XXXIII No. 2 August 1848 • Various

... courage, but in the presence of mind which his station required. His delay at Gloucester saved the parliamentary party from destruction. At Naseby, in the very crisis of his fortune, his want of self-possession spread a fatal panic through his army. The story which Clarendon tells of that affair reminds us of the excuses by which Bessus and Bobadil explain their cudgellings. A Scotch nobleman, it seems, begged the King not to run upon his death, ...
— Critical and Historical Essays Volume 1 • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... momentary anger was not quite proof against Bob's immovable self-possession, 'pray let us have no more ...
— The Pickwick Papers • Charles Dickens

... was his first thought. But this darkness and this beating rain and this fierce loneliness reminded him of that night when he had clung desperately to the abutment of the bridge that spanned Indian Creek, and when the courage and self-possession of Henry Stevens had rescued him. Could he be the rival of a man who had gone down into the flood that he might save ...
— Duffels • Edward Eggleston

... had been ready to dismiss him and his project, whenever it should develop, with a satisfying frankness which could not have been admitted here. But this tripped him,—stripped him momentarily of his self-possession. ...
— Winner Take All • Larry Evans

... came by at full speed, and I lost consciousness; they administered to me in this condition a powerful narcotic, thrust me into a cab, and when I came to myself, I was in a den of criminals. Recovering my self-possession, I escaped from my confinement, and set out ...
— Vautrin • Honore de Balzac

... repentance in time,—and excitement is very natural, and not altogether unbecoming, in him who sees and believes, and, as it generally happens where excitement exists, who hears, these truths for the first time in his life. Would not calm self-possession, in such circumstances, if more reasonable, be more wonderful than excitement among those, especially without culture? It is quite true also that excitement will much less frequently occur among strongminded ...
— Parish Papers • Norman Macleod

... figure, which carried gracefully a twenty-year-old head, of a jovial, comely appearance, with the hair dressed after the newest mode. It was the Candidate. He cast a glance first at his foot, and then at the lady of the house, whom he approached with the most unconstrained self-possession, exhibiting the while a row of dazzlingly white teeth. Odour of eau de Portugal ...
— The Home • Fredrika Bremer

... changed, but she has certainly improved. When I say she has not changed much, I refer to her physical appearance. Her features are scarcely altered; her figure is a little fuller and more compact; in her bearing there is a certain quiet composure and self-possession—the air of a woman who has seen the world, has received admiration, and is familiar with the graceful little arts of social intercourse. In short, she has acquired a high external polish; and that is precisely what she ...
— David Poindexter's Disappearance and Other Tales • Julian Hawthorne

... dead quiet prevailed as I opened the case, and for a few minutes I went on scarcely knowing what I was about, when I was suddenly interrupted by the vice-chancellor asking me a question. This timely little incident in some measure tended to restore my self-possession, and I found I got on afterwards much more comfortably; and, gradually warming with the subject, which I thoroughly understood, finally lost all trepidation, and brought my speech to a successful close. It occupied at ...
— Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 446 - Volume 18, New Series, July 17, 1852 • Various

... successfully that in scores of instances he has been able to employ it for the salvation of life and property. Perhaps the history of no other living person more fully displays the value of this art than John Ellerthorpe. Joined with courage, promptitude, and steady self-possession, it has enabled him repeatedly to preserve his own life, and what is far more worthy of record, to save not fewer than thirty-nine of his fellow creatures, who, humanly speaking, must otherwise have ...
— The Hero of the Humber - or the History of the Late Mr. John Ellerthorpe • Henry Woodcock

... be left for her to wind up the interview and get out of the place without arousing too much attention. With a self-possession which astonished both men, knowing her immense interest in this matter, she laid down the stick, and, with a gentle shrug of her shoulders, remarked in ...
— Dark Hollow • Anna Katharine Green

... appeared to be in vigorous health, and even when seated held his body straight and his head erect, but without pride or arrogance. He differed from the ordinary native priests, few enough indeed, who at that period served merely as coadjutors or administered some curacies temporarily, in a certain self-possession and gravity, like one who was conscious of his personal dignity and the sacredness of his office. A superficial examination of his appearance, if not his white hair, revealed at once that he belonged to another epoch, another generation, when the better young men were not afraid to risk ...
— The Reign of Greed - Complete English Version of 'El Filibusterismo' • Jose Rizal



Words linked to "Self-possession" :   firmness of purpose, resoluteness, self-control, nerves, presence of mind, possession, resolution, firmness



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