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Plainness   Listen
Plainness

noun
1.
The state of being unmixed with other material.
2.
Clarity as a consequence of being perspicuous.  Synonyms: perspicuity, perspicuousness.
3.
The appearance of being plain and unpretentious.
4.
An appearance that is not attractive or beautiful.  Synonym: homeliness.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Plainness" Quotes from Famous Books



... gods, and of men. "If they are guilty," continues he, "of any scandalous offence, they should be censured or degraded by the superior pontiff; but as long as they retain their rank, they are entitled to the respect of the magistrates and people. Their humility may be shown in the plainness of their domestic garb; their dignity, in the pomp of holy vestments. When they are summoned in their turn to officiate before the altar, they ought not, during the appointed number of days, to depart from the precincts of the temple; nor should a single day be suffered to ...
— The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Volume 2 • Edward Gibbon

... Monimia, in The Orphan (in which he "sung the female heart") congenial roles for tragic actresses—Mrs. Barry, Mrs. Oldfield, Mrs. Cibber, Mrs. Siddons and Miss O'Neill. Otway was buried in the churchyard of St. Clement Danes, but a tablet to his fame is in Trotton church, which is of unusual plainness, not unlike an ecclesiastical barn. Here also is the earliest known brass to a woman—Margaret de ...
— Highways & Byways in Sussex • E.V. Lucas

... uncle the abbe only to turn away again antagonized by what seemed to him frivolity in the religions pomp that he saw. But here was a religion not only without the attractions of sensuous surrounding, but a religion that maintained its vitality despite a repelling plainness, not to say a repulsive ugliness, in its external forms. For could he doubt the force of a religious principle that had divested every woman in the little church of every ornament? Doubtless he felt the narrowness that ...
— Duffels • Edward Eggleston

... us enjoyed the beauty of this scenery so much as Clara. Before we quitted Milan, a change had taken place in her habits and manners. She lost her gaiety, she laid aside her sports, and assumed an almost vestal plainness of attire. She shunned us, retiring with Evelyn to some distant chamber or silent nook; nor did she enter into his pastimes with the same zest as she was wont, but would sit and watch him with sadly ...
— The Last Man • Mary Shelley

... nor anyone else in Ballymoy doubted the truth of this. Nearly everybody had been spoken to plainly by Mrs. Ford at one time or another. Kerrigan, the butcher, was spoken to with uncompromising plainness once a week, ...
— General John Regan - 1913 • George A. Birmingham

... a blunt and eccentric serving-man Kent retains much of his natural character. The eccentricity seems to be put on, but the plainness which gets him set in the stocks is but an exaggeration of his plainness in the opening scene, and Shakespeare certainly meant him for one of those characters whom we love none the less for their defects. He is hot and rash; ...
— Shakespearean Tragedy - Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth • A. C. Bradley

... built in 1204, the choir in 1308, and the triforium in 1400. The sculptures of the portico are subjects from the life of St. Martin. Over the door on the left is a Descent from the Cross, by Nicolo di Pisa, 1233. Loftiness and simplicity, verging on plainness, characterise the interior of this church, as well as those of all the others in Lucca, with the exception of San Romano, which is profusely decorated. The windows are small and filled with modern glass, excepting the three at the eastern end, which ...
— The South of France—East Half • Charles Bertram Black

... as you read this by the plainness of my words, but you know them to be true, though you suppose that to insist on the facts is "impracticable" because you fancy that there is no way out of the marvellously absurd arrangements that exist. But there ...
— Britain at Bay • Spenser Wilkinson

... admire its tracery and finish, and the purity of its marble; then he passed on into the palace. Ample folding-doors stood open to receive him. The passage into which he first entered was high, but somewhat narrow; red tiling formed the floor, and the walls were tinted to correspond. Yet this plainness was a warning of something ...
— Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ • Lew Wallace

... hitherto regarded him. He may be unsuccessful in a worldly sense; but from my present point of view I do not much care whether he is unsuccessful in that sense. I know that plain men are seldom failures; their very plainness saves them from the alarming picturesqueness of the abject failure. On the other hand, I care greatly whether the plain man is mature or immature, old or young. I should prefer to catch him young. But he is difficult ...
— The Plain Man and His Wife • Arnold Bennett

... proffered by him were unenthusiastically surveyed and languidly discarded like so many wall-papers. It was evident that both the mother and daughter were disappointed, and Littleton presently divined that their chief objection was to the plainness of the several designs. This was made unmistakably obvious when Mrs. Parsons, after exhibiting a number of photographs of foreign public buildings with which she had armed herself, surveyed the most ornate, holding it out with her head on one side, and exclaimed ...
— Unleavened Bread • Robert Grant

... sisters' pretensions. Almost the first burst of that noble tide of passion, which runs through the play, is in the remonstrance of Kent to his royal master on the injustice of his sentence against his youngest daughter—'Be Kent unmannerly, when Lear is mad!' This manly plainness which draws down on him the displeasure of the unadvised king is worthy of the fidelity with which he adheres to his fallen fortunes. The true character of the two eldest daughters, Regan and Gonerill (they are so thoroughly hateful that we do not even like to repeat their names) ...
— Characters of Shakespeare's Plays • William Hazlitt

... the familiarity, Link turned a scowling visage on the interrupter of his triumphal homeward progress. At his elbow stood a stockily-built man, dressed with severe plainness. ...
— His Dog • Albert Payson Terhune

... the middle of the room; in one corner the boarded-up stairs leading to the higher floors bulked largely. Two or three dark prints—one a portrait of Calvin—with a framed copy of the Geneva catechism, and a small shelf of books, took something from the plainness and added something to the comfort of the apartment, which boasted besides a couple of old oaken dressers, highly polished and gleaming, with long rows of pewter ware. Two doors stood opposite the entrance and appeared to lead—for one of them stood open—to ...
— The Long Night • Stanley Weyman

... freedom of speech more sorrow and sympathy than fault-finding; but in the prevention of wrong-doing and in earnest fighting against the passions they are vehement and inexorable and assiduous: for that is the time for downright plainness and truth. Besides we see that enemies censure one another for what they have done amiss, as Diogenes said,[495] he who wished to lead a good life ought to have good friends or red-hot enemies, for the former told you what was right, and the latter blamed you if you did what was wrong. ...
— Plutarch's Morals • Plutarch

... mass-meeting at Springfield, "of unconditional Union men." The letter answered many objections urged against the President on account of the conduct of the war, his Emancipation Proclamation, and his purpose to enlist colored men as soldiers. For perspicuity, terseness, plainness, and conclusiveness of argument this letter stands among the best of all President Lincoln's writings. It came at an opportune time, and it did much to silence the caviler, to satisfy the doubter, and to reconcile honest people who sincerely desired the complete restoration of the Union. ...
— Slavery and Four Years of War, Vol. 1-2 • Joseph Warren Keifer

... she was never to be scolded, and laughed at, and teased; that he had stooped to her, this noble, great-hearted man, to raise her from her humbleness; that he could care for her, in spite of her plainness and her many faults. No wonder if such happiness almost beautified Mattie, as she sat a little apart, surrounded by ...
— Not Like Other Girls • Rosa N. Carey

... the time never took her eyes from her friend's face, but remained silent as though waiting for an answer. She had been very explicit as to her feelings. Would Laura Kennedy be equally explicit? She was too clever to forget that such plainness of speech would be, must be more difficult to Lady Laura than to herself. Lady Laura was a married woman; but she felt that her friend would have been wrong to search for secrets, unless she were ready to tell her own. It was probably ...
— Phineas Finn - The Irish Member • Anthony Trollope

... food served up in earthen ware; It is a thing to walk with, hand in hand, Through the everydayness of this workday world, Baring its tender feet to every flint, Yet letting not one heart-beat go astray From Beauty's law of plainness and content; A simple, fireside thing, whose quiet smile Can warm earth's poorest hovel to a home; Which, when our autumn cometh, as it must, And life in the chill wind shivers bare and leafless, Shall still be blest with Indian-summer youth ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of James Russell Lowell • James Lowell

... Charity and the Friends, each with their different costume of plainness and self-denial, and other noble-hearted women of no particular outward order, but kindred in spirit, have shown to womanhood, on the battle-field and in the hospital, a more excellent way,—a beauty and nobility before which all the common graces ...
— Atlantic Monthly,Volume 14, No. 82, August, 1864 - A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics • Various

... finding the inconvenience of being without a knowledge of English, now send their children first to the german, and afterward to the english schools; by which means they acquire a tolerable idea of both languages. They still retain many characteristics of their ancestors; such as frugality, plainness in dress, &c. At our first concert, three clownish-looking fellows came into the room, and, after sitting a few minutes, (the weather being warm, not to say hot) very composedly took off their coats: they were in the ...
— Travels in the United States of America • William Priest

... scientific originality. The sage of a parish, provided only she began her trade with an open and energetic mind, may here pass philosophers. Locke was nearly as sage, as homely, as real, as one of these strenuous women. The honest plainness of certain of his prescriptions for the preservation of physical health perhaps keeps us somewhat too near the earth. His manner throughout is marked by the stout wisdom of the practical teacher, who is content to assume good sense in his hearers, ...
— Rousseau - Volumes I. and II. • John Morley

... were destined to bear the persons of females, of a rank that it was not usual to meet so far in the wilds of the country. A third wore trappings and arms of an officer of the staff; while the rest, from the plainness of the housings, and the traveling mails with which they were encumbered, were evidently fitted for the reception of as many menials, who were, seemingly, already waiting the pleasure of those they served. At a respectful ...
— The Last of the Mohicans • James Fenimore Cooper

... manner is offensive, it is because it is strained or feigned; for there may be quite as much intolerable affectation in plainness as in mincing nicety. All that the captain said and did was honestly according to his nature; and his nature was open nature and good nature; therefore, when he paid this little compliment, and expressed with a sparkle ...
— A Message from the Sea • Charles Dickens

... not to remain much longer unchallenged. The King's vagrant fancy was already turning to her younger sister, Marie, whose childish plainness had now ripened to a beauty more dazzling than her own—the witchery of large and brilliant black eyes, a complexion of pure olive, luxuriant, jet-black hair, a figure of singular suppleness and grace, and a sprightliness of wit and a gaiete ...
— Love affairs of the Courts of Europe • Thornton Hall

... truth and plainness of the case, I pluck this pale and maiden blossom here, Giving my verdict ...
— King Henry VI, First Part • William Shakespeare [Aldus edition]

... unfurnished. His lordship sees but few people, and seldom gives any grand receptions, his indifferent health being the reason for living privately." However, on this point the Marquis has his own conceptions, which he gives with a plainness perfectly characteristic, and very well worth ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. 327 - Vol. 53, January, 1843 • Various

... the foundations of the enormous mathematical ability which became apparent long before the boy attained the age of three, but unfortunately for the level development of his mentality, the repulsive plainness of Senator Mills-Tweeper coupled with the innate idiocy of General Udby, completely overshadowed the girlish charm of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Had Rupert been consulted would he have liked playing the game at all—holding the cards in the wrong hand as he did from the very start without ...
— Terribly Intimate Portraits • Noel Coward

... real—"Never," says Mrs. Towers, who is still a single lady, "did I see, before, a lady so much advantaged by her residence in that fantastic nation" (for she loves not the French) "who brought home with her nothing of their affectation!"—She says, that the French politeness, and the English frankness and plainness of heart, appear happily blended in all we say and do. And she makes me a thousand compliments upon Lord and Lady Davers's account, who, she would fain persuade me, owe a great deal of improvement (my lord in his conversation, and my lady in her temper) to living ...
— Pamela (Vol. II.) • Samuel Richardson

... gave him therein no little aid in carrying his burden of the many souls which are under his care, alone as he is, without any other assistance or instruction than ours. But Father Gabriel Sanchez, with his accustomed plainness, has written a more detailed account of some particular cases, while making a report of his labors to the superiors, as is the custom among us. In a letter to the father-visitor, dated in November of the year one thousand six ...
— The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, - Volume XIII., 1604-1605 • Ed. by Blair and Robertson

... also convince the Scholar, that the Artifice of a Professor is never more pleasing, than when he deceives the Audience with agreeable Surprizes; for which reason he will advise him to have Recourse to a seeming Plainness, as if he aim'd ...
— Observations on the Florid Song - or Sentiments on the Ancient and Modern Singers • Pier Francesco Tosi

... development; they manifestly ascribe to the soul a continued individual existence. But mixed with texts of this class there are others in which the final absolute identification of the individual Self with the universal Self is indicated in terms of unmistakable plainness. 'He who knows Brahman and becomes Brahman;' 'he who knows Brahman becomes all this;' 'as the flowing rivers disappear in the sea losing their name and form, thus a wise man goes to the divine person.' And if we look to the ...
— The Vedanta-Sutras with the Commentary by Sankaracarya - Sacred Books of the East, Volume 1 • George Thibaut

... to discuss this question with a proper regard for the most sensitive feelings of our brethren of the slave States, but also, sir, with a plainness commensurate with its profound importance. The legislatures of thirteen of the States of the Union, including Delaware, which still has two thousand slaves, have passed resolutions instructing their Senators ...
— Cleveland Past and Present - Its Representative Men, etc. • Maurice Joblin

... The sword with which he wounded was wreathed deep with flowers. It is difficult not to feel that some unspoken understanding subsisted between the preacher and the king, which permitted the king to separate the preacher from the man when Massillon used that great plainness of speech to his sovereign. The king did not, however, often invite this master of eloquence to make the royal conscience displacent with itself. Bourdaloue was ostensibly as outspoken as Massillon; but somehow that Jesuit ...
— Classic French Course in English • William Cleaver Wilkinson

... plainness, I who am no longer in a public character, that if by a fair, by an indulgent, by a gentlemanly behaviour to our representatives, we do not give confidence to their minds, and a liberal scope to their understandings; if we do not permit our members to act upon a VERY enlarged ...
— Selections from the Speeches and Writings of Edmund Burke. • Edmund Burke

... days. You will do this if you will tell him how and when this same Captain Credence with his crimson colours first led the van in your salvation. You will tell him this with more and more depth and more and more plainness as year after year he reads his Holy War, and better and better understands it, till he has had it all fulfilled in himself as a pickt captain and good soldier of Jesus Christ. You will tell him about yourself, ...
— Bunyan Characters - Third Series - The Holy War • Alexander Whyte

... go into the air outside. It is possible that some intelligences might have seen in this priest a caricature of his profession, a figure to be copied for the curate of burlesque, so accurately did he reproduce the common signs of the ascetic school. His face would have been womanish in its plainness but for the gravity that had grown upon it, only occasionally dispersed by a smile of scholarliness and sweetness which had the effect of being permitted, conceded. He had the long thin nose which looked as if for preference it would be forever thrust ...
— The Path of a Star • Mrs. Everard Cotes (AKA Sara Jeannette Duncan)

... preached. This brutal plainness created a sensation and several tried to dissuade me, but I had made ...
— From the Bottom Up - The Life Story of Alexander Irvine • Alexander Irvine

... second to the third, and so on till the last. [5] And while they saw to this he went in to Cyaxares himself, wearing his simple Persian dress without a trace of pomp. Cyaxares was well pleased at his celerity, but troubled by the plainness of his attire, and said to him, "What is the meaning of this, Cyrus? How could you show yourself in this guise to the Indians? I wished you to appear in splendour: it would have done me honour for my sister's son to be seen in ...
— Cyropaedia - The Education Of Cyrus • Xenophon

... offered her attentions with a manner of simple courtesy which was graceful enough but perfectly cool. So cool, that it rather excited Lady Brierley's curiosity, who was accustomed to be a person of great importance wherever she went. Her eye took in swiftly the neatness of the room, its plainness, and yet its expression of life and mental activity; the work and workbasket on the chair, the bunch of ferns and amaranthus in one vase, the roses in another, the violets on the table, the physiognomy of the books, which were not from the ...
— The End of a Coil • Susan Warner

... had been his habits, that time had scarcely left a trace on his manly brow; and his fair and well-moulded features had almost the freshness of youth. And notwithstanding the unpretending simplicity of his deportment, and the extreme plainness of his dress, the large arm-chair, in which he now reclined, furnished probably by some considerate matron of the neighborhood for his special convenience, could not have found, in the broad land, an occupant who would have filled it with more native dignity, or one better fitted ...
— The Rangers - [Subtitle: The Tory's Daughter] • D. P. Thompson

... a full share of both these manly excellences, and practiced them in thoroughly feminine fashion. She was essentially true, hating humbug in all its disguises.... Her love of plainness and distaste for affectation were forms of veracity. But in narrative of hers one got much besides plain realities. These had their significance heightened by her eager emotion, and their picturesqueness by her happy artistry.... Of course the ...
— The Story of Wellesley • Florence Converse

... would make his last request to the admirable heart of Iemon. Iwa is a plain girl. The end of time for man, and the carping comment of neighbours come to his ears, have opened the eyes of Matazaemon to the truth. Great has been the favour in disregarding this plainness and taking her to wife. Everything is in the hands of Iemon San. Consider her happiness and deign to use her well. Abstain if possible from taking a concubine. At all events conceal the fact from Iwa, if it be deigned to keep such company. Plainness and jealousy go together. ...
— The Yotsuya Kwaidan or O'Iwa Inari - Tales of the Tokugawa, Volume 1 (of 2) • James S. De Benneville

... in the world, and with few exceptions, your Court appears to me perfectly fitted for you. I have come but scantily equipped to such an assemblage. Fortunately, I am neither jealous nor a coquette, and I shall win pardon for my plainness, I myself being the first ...
— The Memoirs of Madame de Montespan, Complete • Madame La Marquise De Montespan

... grandmother seemed to be bored by it, and the boys, who cared nothing for salvation in the abstract, no matter how anxious they were about the main chance, certainly shared this feeling with her. She was a pale, little, large-eyed lady, who always wore a dress of Quakerish plainness, with a white kerchief crossed upon her breast; and her aquiline nose and jutting chin almost met. She was very good to the children and at these times she usually gave them some sugar-cakes, and sent them out in the yard, where ...
— A Boy's Town • W. D. Howells

... head twice; he was dazed a little. He seemed to hear yet so plainly the clatter and bangs of the iron slice flying about his ears that he tightened his grip to prove to himself he had it there safely in his hand. He was vaguely amazed at the plainness with which down there he could hear the gale raging. Its howls and shrieks seemed to take on, in the emptiness of the bunker, something of the human character, of human rage and pain—being not vast but infinitely poignant. ...
— Typhoon • Joseph Conrad

... had once been fastened above the mantelpiece had been taken down months before and the hole made by the nail carefully and methodically filled and painted over. The room typified the man in its painful order, its painful whitewashed cleanliness, its rigid plainness. But the garden was the symbol of the hidden possibility in him, the corner of warm, impulsive feeling which the world had never seen. The roses grew up to the very steps of the verandah; they had been trained to clamber over the trellis-work as though seeking to gain entrance to his ...
— The Native Born - or, The Rajah's People • I. A. R. Wylie

... had sat in silent astonishment at the manners of his fellow-travellers, which far exceeded the notions he had preconceived of English plainness and rusticity. He found himself a monument of that disregard and contempt which a stranger never fails to meet with from the inhabitants of this island; and saw, with surprise, an agreeable young creature sit as ...
— The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom, Complete • Tobias Smollett

... habits, take his stand against that love of dress which dissipates and corrupts so many minds among the opulent? Cannot the laboring class refuse to measure men by outward success, and pour utter scorn on all pretensions founded on outward show or condition? Sure I am that, were they to study plainness of dress and simplicity of living, for the purpose of their own true elevation, they would surpass in intellect, in taste, in honorable qualities, and in present enjoyment, that great proportion of the prosperous who are softened into indulgence ...
— Harvard Classics Volume 28 - Essays English and American • Various

... there is a Rabelaisian plainness of speech on certain subjects, which one must admit to be apt to characterise boys' conversation, which it is impossible to construct or include, and yet the omission of which subtracts considerable reality ...
— The Upton Letters • Arthur Christopher Benson

... our prophetical speculators wrecked themselves. Men always had it to say that their prophecies had been either too plain or too obscure; or, if very plain, and yet as plainly written before the event, that their very plainness had insured their own accomplishment by prompting to the very actions and conduct they so ...
— The Eclipse of Faith - Or, A Visit To A Religious Sceptic • Henry Rogers

... sighed, stood up and found himself delivering one of the sentences he had engendered during his solitary meditations in his room before dinner. He surprised himself by the plainness of his speech. "Let me be frank," he said, regarding Sir Richmond squarely. "Considering the general situation of things and your position, I do not care very greatly for the part of an accessory to what may easily develop, as you know very well, ...
— The Secret Places of the Heart • H. G. Wells

... fringed and looped flounce waved grandly out behind from the waist to the level of the knees; and the stomacher recalled the ornamentation of the flounce; and both the stomacher and flounce gave contrasting value to the severe plainness of the skirt, designed to emphasise the quality of the silk. Round the neck was a lace collarette to match the furniture of the wrists, and the broad ends of the collarette were crossed on the bosom and held by ...
— Clayhanger • Arnold Bennett

... democrat. The most learned man that ever sat in the president's chair, his tastes were the simple ones of a farmer. Surrounded by the pomp and ceremony of Washington and Adams' courts, his dress was homely. He despised titles, and preferred severe plainness of speech and the ...
— Thomas Jefferson • Edward S. Ellis et. al.

... increases, as the months roll by. The call for men to join our fighting forces, which is our primary need, has been and is being nobly responded to here at home and throughout the empire. That call, we say with all plainness and directness, was never more urgent or more imperious than today. For this is a war not only of men but of material. To take only one illustration, the expenditure upon ammunition on both sides has been on a scale and at a rate ...
— New York Times Current History: The European War, Vol 2, No. 1, April, 1915 - April-September, 1915 • Various

... same kind to answer for, that this bit of horticultural rhetoric is from beyond sea. I would not be supposed to condemn truly imaginative prose. There is a simplicity of splendor, no less than of plainness, and prose would be poor indeed if it could not find a tongue for that meaning of the mind which is behind the meaning of the words. It has sometimes seemed to me that in England there was a growing tendency to curtail language into a mere convenience, ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of James Russell Lowell • James Lowell

... have given on the subject in this work, and in my pamphlet on the Bible, are not new. You may find them in the works of quite a number of Evangelical Authors. The only credit to which I am entitled is, that I state them with great plainness, and without reserve, and that I do not, after having given them on one page, take them back ...
— Modern Skepticism: A Journey Through the Land of Doubt and Back Again - A Life Story • Joseph Barker

... I became an author for this once, and what you may discover that I lack in literary ability, let me trust you will find compensated for in the plainness and simplicity of the facts, incidents and reminiscences that I relate. If not the manner, at least the matter is worthy ...
— The Art of Stage Dancing - The Story of a Beautiful and Profitable Profession • Ned Wayburn

... warmth and heat which he, the dreamer, the recluse, the lover of abstract problems, could bring into such discussions. Here, at all events, his views were definite enough, and stated with a bold precision of English plainness that would have pleased the most pronouncedly Tory or Unionist newspaper editors of ...
— The Posthumous Works of Thomas De Quincey, Vol. 1 (2 vols) • Thomas De Quincey

... of the most inelegant of the genus, being of a dull grey colour, and not particularly graceful in its form. Its plumage, moreover, does not consist of webbed feathers, but rather more resembles hair; nor does its voice make up for the plainness of its appearance, as is the case with some birds. On the contrary, the voice of "whiskey Jack" is plaintive and squeaking, though he is something of a mocker in his way, and frequently imitates the notes of other ...
— Popular Adventure Tales • Mayne Reid

... say with polite and restrained plainness that she was not in the least appreciative of his interest or of himself. But this could not be. No girl in her position could fail to be grateful for his interest. No woman, in all his life, had ever failed to respond to his slightest advance. No, it simply could not be. She was merely shy, and ...
— The Grain Of Dust - A Novel • David Graham Phillips

... performance quick; So true, that he was awkward at a trick. For little souls on little shifts rely, And coward arts of mean expedients try; The noble mind will dare do anything but lie. False friends, his deadliest foes, could find no way But shows of honest bluntness, to betray: That unsuspected plainness he believed; He looked into himself, and was deceived. 930 Some lucky planet sure attends his birth, Or Heaven would make a miracle on earth; For prosperous honesty is seldom seen To bear so dead a weight, and yet to win. It looks as fate with nature's law would strive, To show ...
— The Poetical Works of John Dryden, Vol I - With Life, Critical Dissertation, and Explanatory Notes • John Dryden

... in the magnificent fulness of creative energy, exclaimed: Let there be light! and lo! the agitating fiat immediately went forth, and thus in one indivisible moment the whole universe was illumlned." We have here a sentence which I am certain many a writer would, in secret, prefer to the masterly plainness of Genesis. It is not a sentence which would ...
— The Principles of Success in Literature • George Henry Lewes

... bright, intelligent, and full of fire. His hair, of a warm color bordering on red and curling naturally, may possibly have indicated a Jewish extraction. His head had great character, in spite of the plainness of his features; a large flat nose, high cheek-bones, and a copper-colored complexion imparted to his face a vulgarity which, however, was relieved by the form of his mouth, the haughty outline of his eyebrows, and the brilliancy of his eyes. Such was Rembrandt; and the character of the figures ...
— Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol. 5 • Various

... keeping a coach. And truly, for his part, he could not conceive how the pleasure resulting from such a convenience could be any way adequate to the heavy expense attending it. I now thought it high time to speak with equal plainness, and told him, as the fortune I brought fairly entitled me to ride in my own coach, and as I was sensible his circumstances would very well afford it, he must pardon me if I insisted on a ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson in Nine Volumes - Volume IV: The Adventurer; The Idler • Samuel Johnson

... strong young woman, with a perfectly impassive handsome face—no Bellairs could achieve plainness—and the manner of one who moves among fellow creatures who do not come up to the standard of conduct which she has selected as the lowest permissible to herself and others. Bessie had not so far evinced a preference for anyone in her own family circle, or outside ...
— Prisoners - Fast Bound In Misery And Iron • Mary Cholmondeley

... these vague beginnings, the recognitions getting asserted, then the ocular demonstrations, the final commissions, the ascension; one hardly knows which of the two to call the most evident here, the perfect simplicity and good faith of the narrators, or the plainness with which they themselves really say to us Behold a ...
— God and my Neighbour • Robert Blatchford

... closely-cropped hair—all this the observing Miss Archer saw at a glance as she bowed to him in response to Quimby's introduction. But the second glance showed her that the expression of his face was so jovial that its plainness vanished as if by magic ...
— Wired Love - A Romance of Dots and Dashes • Ella Cheever Thayer

... And upon the whole I find him a most exact and methodicall man, and of great industry: and very glad that he thought fit to show me all this; though I cannot easily guess the reason why he should do it to me, unless from the plainness that he sees I use to him in telling him how much the King may suffer for our want of understanding the case ...
— The Diary of Samuel Pepys • Samuel Pepys

... who stand between the peerage and the people that there exists a greater mass of virtue and of wisdom than in the rest of Europe. Much of their dignified simplicity may be attributed to the plainness of their religion, and, what will always be imitated, to the decorous life of their king: for whatever may be the defects of either, if we compare them with others round ...
— Imaginary Conversations and Poems - A Selection • Walter Savage Landor

... scheme of which this life is a part. It is an apparently essential element and fulfilment of the wonderful apparatus of retribution, reward, and discipline, intended to educate us as members of God's eternal family. Because from the little which we now understand we cannot infer with plainness and certainty the precise means and method by which we can discriminate our friends in heaven need be no obstacle to believing the fact itself; for there are millions of undoubted truths whose conditions and ways of operation we can ...
— The Destiny of the Soul - A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life • William Rounseville Alger

... this was no fairy-gift, but that love created the change. They declare that the princess, when she thought over her lover's perseverance, patience, good-humour, and discretion, and counted his numerous fine qualities of mind and disposition, saw no longer the deformity of his body or the plainness of his features; that his hump was merely an exaggerated stoop, and his awkward movements became only an interesting eccentricity. Nay, even his eyes, which squinted terribly, seemed always looking on all sides for her, in token of his violent love, ...
— The Fairy Book - The Best Popular Stories Selected and Rendered Anew • Dinah Maria Mulock (AKA Miss Mulock)

... adherence to the eighteenth century tradition of plainness is the most prominent characteristic of Hazlitt's prose. But his plainness is not precisely of the blunt type associated with Swift and Arbuthnot. It is modified by the Gallic tone of easy familiarity, by ...
— Hazlitt on English Literature - An Introduction to the Appreciation of Literature • Jacob Zeitlin

... fifteen, but kept in touch with his folk and left the sea and found work in the West Indies and bided there for five-and-twenty years. And now he came back, brown as a berry and ugly as need be. At forty you might say Jack Cobley couldn't be beat for plainness; and yet, after all, I've seen better-looking men that was uglier, if you understand me, because, though his countenance put you in mind of an old church gargoyle, yet it was kindly and benevolent in its hideousness, and he had good, trustful eyes; and, to the thinking mind, a ...
— The Torch and Other Tales • Eden Phillpotts

... the traces of tears from her cheeks, but her eyes were red and swollen. The cheap mirror exaggerated her plainness, while memory pitilessly emphasised the beauty of the other woman. As she dressed, the thought came to her that, no matter what happened, she could still go on loving him, that she might always give, whether or not she received anything ...
— Master of the Vineyard • Myrtle Reed

... hear, in spite of yourself, the stealthy step upon the stair. If he watches for a pal at the street end, you share his anxiety lest that pal should be intercepted by the watchful detective. And he produces his effects without parade or ornament. He tells his story with a studied plainness, and by adding detail to detail keeps your interest ever awake. Like many other great men, he takes his skill and enterprise for granted. He does not write of his exploits as though he were always amazed at his own proficiency. Of course ...
— American Sketches - 1908 • Charles Whibley

... more beautiful than a pearl set in gold? Is not a living spring, which gushes up before us, we know not whence, more beautiful than all the fountains of Versailles? Is not his Highland Girl a lovelier and truer expression of real beauty than Goethe's Helena, or Byron's Haidee? And then the plainness of his language, and the purity of his thoughts! Is it not a pity that we have never had such a poet? Schiller could have been our Wordsworth, had he had more faith in himself than in the old Greeks and Romans. Our Ruckert ...
— Memories • Max Muller

... are, eminent piety and vigor of intellect, keenness of logic, burning power and plainness of language, melting pathos, cloudless perspicuity, graceful description, and a certain vehemence of feeling which brings home his words with an ...
— The World's Best Orations, Vol. 1 (of 10) • Various

... during their brief but concentrated, most vivid and momentous, reign, a matter, as I recall it, of a couple of breathless winters. We were provided by their presence with as happy a foil as we could have wished to the plainness and dryness of the Wards; their homely grace was all their own and was also embodied in three brothers, Eugene, Reginald, Albert, whose ages would have corresponded, I surmise, with those of Johnny, Charley and Freddy if these latter hadn't, in their way, as I have hinted, defied ...
— A Small Boy and Others • Henry James

... to say, "Give us this day our daily bread." Yet a great number of persons, I may say, nearly all men, are not content with enough, they are not satisfied with sufficiency; they wish for something more than simplicity, and plainness, and gravity, and modesty, in their mode of living; they like show and splendour, and admiration from the many, and obsequiousness on the part of those who have to do with them, and the ability to do as they will; they like to attract the eye, to be received with consideration and respect, to be ...
— Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII (of 8) • John Henry Newman

... impossible to say in what it consists, or to remember her on account of any peculiarity in it. If she is beautiful, let her dress aid her beauty by not drawing away the attention from it. If she is plain, let her not attract all eyes to her plainness. Let not people say of her, "Did you see that ugly girl with that scarlet feather in her hat?" or, "with that bonnet covered with pearl beads, contrasting with her dark and sallow complexion?" or, "with that bright green gown, which made her ...
— Routledge's Manual of Etiquette • George Routledge

... Nevertheless there is nothing in it but what is well known by some of us to be true and certain;—the most is known by all of us to be true. We hope Their High Mightinesses will pardon our presumption and be charitable with our plainness of style, composition and method. In conclusion we commit Their High Mightinesses, their persons, deliberations and measures and their people, at home and abroad, together with all the friends of New Netherland, to the merciful guidance and protection ...
— Narrative of New Netherland • J. F. Jameson, Editor

... I found it to be true, I never thought it possible or likely; But see, while idly I stood looking on, I found the effect of love in idleness; And now in plainness do confess to thee, That art to me as secret and as dear As Anna to the Queen of Carthage was, Tranio, I burn, I pine, I perish, Tranio, If I achieve not this young modest girl. Counsel me, Tranio, for I know thou canst: Assist me, Tranio, for ...
— The Taming of the Shrew • William Shakespeare [Craig, Oxford edition]

... sixteen inches—was in all respects worthy of the chairs. At one end of the hut there was a bed-place, big enough for two; it was variously termed a crib, a shelf, a tumble-in, and a bunk. Its owner called it a "snoosery." This was a model of plainness and comfort. It was a mere shell about two and a half feet broad, projecting from the wall, to which it was attached on one side, the other side being supported by two wooden legs a foot high. A plank at the side, and another at the foot, in conjunction with the walls of the cottage, converted ...
— The Golden Dream - Adventures in the Far West • R.M. Ballantyne

... there was one point upon which none of them would consent to be economical. The little Ida must have everything she wanted. Timothy brought home daily some little delicacy for her, which none of the rest thought of sharing. While Mrs. Crump, far enough from vanity, always dressed with exceeding plainness, Ida's attire was always rich and tasteful. She would sometimes ask, "Mother, why don't you buy yourself some of the pretty ...
— Timothy Crump's Ward - A Story of American Life • Horatio Alger

... Joan of Arc were very sweet and charming. During her discourse, which was frequently interrupted, Miss Dickinson maintained her presence of mind, and uttered her radical sentiments with augmented resolution and plainness. Those who did not sympathize with her remarks, provocative as they were of numerous unmanly interruptions, were softened by her simplicity and solemnity. 'We are told,' said she, 'to maintain constitutions because they are constitutions, and compromises because they ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume II • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage

... style; the period at which it was composed; and by those particular passages stamped with all the individuality of the king himself. The style is remarkable for its profuse sprinkling of Scottish and French words, where the Doric plainness of the one, and the intelligent expression of the other, offer curious instances of the influence of manners over language; the diction of the royal author is a striking evidence of the intermixture of the two nations, and of a court which had marked its divided interests ...
— Literary Character of Men of Genius - Drawn from Their Own Feelings and Confessions • Isaac D'Israeli

... twenty-five feet away, was the "chestard" the high "chest of drawers" that had won its name from the children's contracted pronunciation. This bleak article of furniture contained the smaller pieces of Malcolm Monroe's wardrobe, which matched in plainness and ugliness that of his wife. Stiff white collars caught and rasped when the shallow upper drawer was opened; the middle drawers were filled with brownish gray flannels, and shirts stiff-bosomed and limp ...
— Martie the Unconquered • Kathleen Norris

... Think of the plainness of this lesson, and the authority which it possesses. Its meaning cannot be mistaken; we know what is spoken here, and we know who speaks. Hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? The only begotten Son who ...
— The Parables of Our Lord • William Arnot

... associate, Elder Brewster, will bear comparison with the best English biographical writing of that century. Winthrop is perhaps more varied in tone, as he is in matter, but he writes throughout as a ruler of men should write, with "decent plainness and manly freedom." His best known pages, justly praised by Tyler and other historians of American thought, contain his speech before the General Court in 1645 on the nature of true liberty. No paragraphs written in America previous to the Revolution ...
— The American Spirit in Literature, - A Chronicle of Great Interpreters, Volume 34 in The - Chronicles Of America Series • Bliss Perry

... pretensions to beauty. Yet she was not plain. She escaped the reproach of positive plainness, by her blond and abundant hair, by her excellent teeth, by her sparkling, dancing, busy eyes, which, though usually half closed from near-sightedness, shot piercing glances at those with whom she conversed, and, most of all, by the very peculiar and graceful carriage of her ...
— Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Vol. I • Margaret Fuller Ossoli

... a man who raked cinders over the fire, but rather raked them off and that in true kindness and love; but with terrible and awful plainness he showed the danger of trifling with the Gospel, and presuming ...
— From Death into Life - or, twenty years of my ministry • William Haslam

... were much alike, our rooms furnished with the same Spartan plainness. Only in Mistress Craven I happened on a good one, and abode with her all the days of my stay at College, till the way opened out for me to wider horizons and a ...
— The Dew of Their Youth • S. R. Crockett

... Flying buttresses were also introduced at this period. We can generally distinguish Early English work from that of the Norman style by its lightness and elegance, as compared with the roughness and massiveness of the latter; and its plainness and simplicity sufficiently distinguish it from ...
— English Villages • P. H. Ditchfield

... his profession. He had at different times resided a good deal in England, and his address was free both from country rusticity and professional pedantry; so that he had considerable powers both of address and persuasion, joined to an unshaken effrontery, which he affected to disguise under plainness of manner. Confident, therefore, in himself, he appeared at Woodbourne about ten in the morning, and was admitted as a gentleman come to ...
— Guy Mannering, or The Astrologer, Complete, Illustrated • Sir Walter Scott

... non-commissioned officers, who were mostly wounded, being quartered in sheds and cellars. Mackenzie drily remarks that the hardships of the common lot, and the close intimacy of prison life, brought into full relief good and evil qualities; 'conventional polish was a good deal rubbed off and replaced by a plainness of speech quite unheard of in good society.' Ladies and gentlemen were necessitated to occupy the same room during the night, but the men 'cleared out' early in the morning, leaving the ladies to themselves. The dirt and vermin of ...
— The Afghan Wars 1839-42 and 1878-80 • Archibald Forbes

... never die. 375 Now strike at Hector. He is here;—himself Provokes thee forth; madness is in his heart, And in his rage he glories that our ships Have hither brought no Grecian brave as he. Then thus Achilles matchless in the race. 380 Laertes' noble son, for wiles renown'd! I must with plainness speak my fixt resolve Unalterable; lest I hear from each The same long murmur'd melancholy tale. For I abhor the man, not more the gates 385 Of hell itself, whose words belie his heart. So shall not mine. My judgment undisguised ...
— The Iliad of Homer - Translated into English Blank Verse • Homer

... shown himself in his public life the friend, not, like other men, of rich Ionians and Thessalonians, to be courted, and to receive presents, but of the Lacedaemonians; for as he admired, so he wished to imitate, the plainness of their habits, their temperance, and simplicity of living, which he preferred to any sort of riches; but that he always had been, and still was proud to enrich his country with the spoils of her enemies. Pericles proved the mildest of his prosecutors, and rose up but once all the while, almost ...
— The Boys' and Girls' Plutarch - Being Parts of The "Lives" of Plutarch • Plutarch

... journey she insisted upon taking. Wilford was glad she was going, as her presence at Silverton would relieve him of the awkward embarrassment he always felt when there; and magnanimously forgiving her for the plainness of her speech, he was the most attentive of brothers until Silverton was reached and he found Dr. Grant waiting for him. Something in his face, as he came forward to meet them, startled both Wilford and Bell, the latter of ...
— Family Pride - Or, Purified by Suffering • Mary J. Holmes

... considering the question with him in detail. I acknowledge that M. Bayle (for it is easy to see that I speak of him) has on his side all the advantages except that of the root of the matter, but I hope that truth (which he acknowledges himself to be on our side) by its very plainness, and provided it be fittingly set forth, will prevail over all the ornaments of eloquence and erudition. My hope for success therein is all the greater because it is the cause of God I plead, and because one of the maxims here upheld states that God's help is never lacking for those that lack ...
— Theodicy - Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil • G. W. Leibniz

... Hawaii and amongst Italian fisher-folk or whose people, in the midst of life, retain more charm. I recall faces, both of men and women, with a certain leonine stamp, trusty, sagacious, brave, beautiful in plainness: faces that take the heart captive. The tougher struggle of the race in these hard isles has written history there; energy enlivens the Hawaiian strength—or did so once, and the faces are still eloquent of the lost possession. ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 18 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... the learned historical treatment with which the legend is overlaid. First of all there is the chronology, which we encountered even in the legend of the origins of mankind, and which is naturally continued in the patriarchal legend. Here indeed we see with special plainness how foreign learned calculation is to the poetical materials; in some instances the facts lead to quite a different view from that of the numbers. Following the numbers of the Priestly Code we may, with the Rabbis, regard Shem and Eber as the venerable heads of the Jewish ...
— Prolegomena to the History of Israel • Julius Wellhausen

... broken up those prophecies and promises that to this day lie as under lock and key, and that cannot be opened until they be fulfilled. Now the church of God shall read with great plainness the depths of providence, and the turnings and windings of all God's dark and intricate dispensations, through which she hath waded in the cloudy and dark day: now, I say, they shall see there was a harmony in them, and that, ...
— The Riches of Bunyan • Jeremiah Rev. Chaplin

... and exhausted nerves are the green, quiet, hidden nooks of their Alpine solitudes. With them there is no need of imaginative expression; the trouble of thought is useless; their words are the transparent revelation of their beliefs. The calm brought to the hyper-civilized spirit by this plainness and directness of Nature is absolutely indescribable; and when I came to reflect on the profoundness of mental quietude—I might say of consolation—that I had attained to during my wanderings, I could not help ...
— Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 11 • Various

... these, thought Mr. Rolles, would know more on dangerous topics than he knew himself; none of them were fit to give him guidance in his present strait. At length, in the smoking-room, up many weary stairs, he hit upon a gentleman of somewhat portly build and dressed with conspicuous plainness. He was smoking a cigar and reading the Fortnightly Review; his face was singularly free from all sign of preoccupation or fatigue; and there was something in his air which seemed to invite confidence and to expect submission. The more the young clergyman scrutinised ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 4 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... simple, at least at this period; they compensated themselves, however, for any plainness in dress, by additional extravagances in their head-dresses, and wore "heart-breakers," or artificial curls, which were set out on wires at the sides of the face. Patching and painting soon became common, and many a nonconformist divine lifted up his voice in vain against ...
— An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800 • Mary Frances Cusack

... course, the systems of the great philosophers—especially of Plato and Aristotle. Better than either, perhaps, we can make out the religion of M. Aurelius. Amid all the harshness and plainness of his literary style, Marcus possessed a gift which has been granted to few, the power of writing down what was in his heart just as it was, not obscured by any consciousness of the presence of witnesses or any striving after effect. He does ...
— Five Stages of Greek Religion • Gilbert Murray

... in war and knowledge in the art of ruling people, and so tediously won our promotion. I am speaking in Tatho's private abode, that was mine own not two hours since, and I would have an answer with that plainness which we always ...
— The Lost Continent • C. J. Cutcliffe Hyne

... subsequent history of our voyage will sufficiently declare; in recording which I have used the greatest sincerity, narrating every thing exactly in the manner in which it happened, and setting down all that appeared worthy of notice, with all truth and plainness: so that I flatter myself the whole will be found useful, and that the latter part especially will be esteemed new, curious, and interesting, as it contains many things not before ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume X • Robert Kerr

... assembled to the number of twelve; and in the audience that was given them, the King was placed upon an elevated throne, in his habits of ceremony. Damake was seated lower, opposite to him, leaning upon a sofa, dressed with the greatest plainness, but shining with every charm of youth and every gift of nature, surrounded by the twelve sages, venerable by their extreme age and their flowing beards, leaning upon a large table, round which they and she were seated. The sages, who knew not with what design ...
— Eastern Tales by Many Story Tellers • Various

... found another creature with whom she seems to have an understanding—an idiot peasant girl, who once, in spite of her plainness and imbecility, fell in love with a mason. The mason thought of marrying her because she had a little bit of land, and for a whole year poor Genevieve was the happiest of living creatures. She dressed in her best, and danced ...
— Farewell • Honore de Balzac

... fruit of his labours for the use of the church, and partly the exceeding great usefulness of the treatise, wherein, I am bold to say, that some fundamentals of the Christian religion, and great mysteries of faith, are handled with the greatest gospel simplicity and most dexterous plainness and are brought down to the meanest capacity and vulgar understanding, with abundant evidence of a great height and reach of useful knowledge in the author, who, had he lived to have perfected the explication of the grounds of religion in this manner—as he intended, in his opening ...
— The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning • Hugh Binning

... with the utmost plainness my astonishment at the pains he was at to get my society. "My dear Francis," he said, raising his eyebrows, as if in despair of making me understand his whim, "what greater proofs of my affection can I give you? I have flayed your back and allowed you to flay mine. I have filled your mouth ...
— The Fool Errant • Maurice Hewlett

... quite unlike the conventional type of a London young lady of fashion. Her fresh dimpled cheeks wore roses and a pearly bloom that spoke of healthy hours and a tranquil life; her dress was quiet almost to plainness; there was nothing modern in the style of her coiffure; Lobb would not have been proud of her boots. Her fair white hands were innocent of rings; she wore no jewelry; there was no gold or silver about her, except for the gold-rimmed glasses that made so curious ...
— The Thin Red Line; and Blue Blood • Arthur Griffiths

... quite a luxurious apartment, so was the "saint's" study—a den with a soft Eastern carpet, a big writing-table, a high porcelain stove of chocolate and white, and silk-upholstered settees. From this den a door opened into the "holy" man's sleeping-room, an apartment of spartan plainness save for its big stove, a replica of the one in ...
— The Minister of Evil - The Secret History of Rasputin's Betrayal of Russia • William Le Queux

... plainness of speech with which Wright and Tappan gave their advice to Mr. Garrison, it was in the main singularly sound and wise. But the pioneer did not so regard it. He was possessed with his idea of the importance of chastising the clerical critics, ...
— William Lloyd Garrison - The Abolitionist • Archibald H. Grimke

... of existence. There have been times when all the yearning and all the prayer that I had could not save me, when I have known that I had not an ounce of resource left, and have sat and watched the impulse of my soul die within me, and all my strength go from me, and seen myself with fearful plainness as a spark of yearning, a living thing in all its pitifulness and hunger, helpless and walled up in darkness. To feel that is to be very near indeed to the losing creatures and their sorrow, and the memory of one such ...
— King Midas • Upton Sinclair

... looked the veriest little bit like Mr. Dearborn, the Congregational minister at Denboro, and was as pleasant and jolly as could be. His wife was a white-haired little lady, dressed plainly—the expensive kind of plainness, you know—and with a diamond pin that was about as wonderful as anything I ever saw. And I kept thinking to myself: "Oh, what SHALL I say to you? What on EARTH shall we talk about?" and not getting any answer from ...
— Galusha the Magnificent • Joseph C. Lincoln

... plainness of the general defections; but those of infidelity are the subject of his prophecies—"There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heretics, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves ...
— Sermons on Various Important Subjects • Andrew Lee

... hearing this. "Right sir— right," he said, with some energy; "I have always thought, although I niver made bold to say it before, that there was not enough o' this sort o' thing. It has always seemed to me a kind o' madness (excuse my plainness o' speech, sir) in you pastors, thinkin' to make the red-skins come and settle round you like so many squaws, and dig up an' grub at the ground, when it's quite clear that their natur' and the natur' o' things about them meant them to be hunters. An' surely, ...
— The Young Fur Traders • R.M. Ballantyne

... the gloomy passage, that the bears were also compelled to slacken their pace and climb over intervening rocks as he had done. And it was plural, for the second one had joined the first, and they were coming steadily on, their light coats showing with terrible plainness in the gloom ...
— Steve Young • George Manville Fenn

... well to set down, beyond possibility of misapprehension, my belief that in Esther Waters we have the most artistic, the most complete, and the most inevitable work of fiction that has been written in England for at least two years. Its plainness of speech may offend many. It may not be a favorite in the circulating libraries or on the bookstalls. But I shall be surprised if it fails of the place I predict for it in the esteem of those who know the true ...
— Adventures in Criticism • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... for refusing him the opportunity of so doing, until they had talked to her themselves, and brought up every argument and fact in their power to convince her—a plain girl, and conscious of her plainness—that Mr. Mark Gibson had never thought of her in the way of marriage till after her father's accession to his fortune; and that it was the estate—not the young lady—that he was in love with. I suppose ...
— My Lady Ludlow • Elizabeth Gaskell

... positive Christ, and the only objection I have to make to him is that though in this character he must have had a full apportionment of divine foreknowledge he betrays no apprehension of Dr. Channing and M. Renan. If one's preference lies, for distinctness' sake, between the old plainness and the modern fantasy, one must admit that the plainness has here a ...
— Italian Hours • Henry James

... had Kate learned that Miss O'Shea was to remain for dinner, than she immediately set herself to think over all the possible reductions that might be made in the fare, and all the plainness and simplicity that could be imparted to ...
— Lord Kilgobbin • Charles Lever

... were not free from a boasting spirit. Factions or parties had arisen as a result. It was the bad world spirit of competition and rivalry in among Christ's followers where it should never come, yet where it still does come. In writing this letter Paul throughout blends great plainness and common sense ...
— Quiet Talks on Service • S. D. Gordon

... experienced can tell the charm of such an incident. The minister was in the pulpit. His dress and hair were very plain, and his complexion was extremely dark. He was evidently a Welshman: there was no mistake about it: his gravity, plainness, attitude—all told the fact. I ventured forward, and walked along to the stove, which to me was an object of agreeable attraction. Around the stove were two or three chairs. A big aristocratic-looking Welshman, a sort of a "Blaenor," who occupied ...
— American Scenes, and Christian Slavery - A Recent Tour of Four Thousand Miles in the United States • Ebenezer Davies

... was invented, you know, by a group of artists who imagined putting up a large composite dwelling in a street where the cost of land was not absolutely throat-cutting, and finishing it with tasteful plainness in painted pine and the like, but equipping it with every modern convenience in the interest of easier housekeeping. The characteristic and imperative fact of each apartment was a vast and lofty studio whose height was elsewhere divided into two floors, and so gave abundant ...
— Imaginary Interviews • W. D. Howells

... 'I wish this conference to be a short one, and to end where it begins. I guess the subject upon which you are about to speak, and I'll not hear you. You like plainness, I believe; there it is. Here is the door as you see. Our way lies in very different directions. Take yours, I beg of you, and leave me to pursue mine ...
— The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby • Charles Dickens

... was tall and stately, with a gentle dignity. Her dress was simple to plainness, and might have been called shabby had it been less beautifully neat. It was of unrelieved black, and she wore a conventional widow's bonnet, with floating ...
— The Dreamer - A Romantic Rendering of the Life-Story of Edgar Allan Poe • Mary Newton Stanard

... measure his Words by his Heart, and speak as he thinks, and do not express more Kindness to every Man, than Men usually have for any Man, he can hardly escape the Censure of want of Breeding. The old English Plainness and Sincerity, that generous Integrity of Nature, and Honesty of Disposition, which always argues true Greatness of Mind and is usually accompanied with undaunted Courage and Resolution, is in a great measure lost amongst us: There hath been a long Endeavour to transform us into Foreign Manners ...
— The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 - With Translations and Index for the Series • Joseph Addison and Richard Steele

... to the eye of women, who, in my observation, have, the most sensible of them, as great a contempt for the mere fop as they have for the sloven. It took, indeed, trimness of apparel to make up for the plainness of his face. Not that he was ugly or harsh-favoured,—he was too genial for either; he was simply well-favoured enough to pass in a fair, as the saying goes, which is a midway between Apollo and plain Donald But what with a jacket and vest all creased for the most apparent reasons, a plaid frayed ...
— John Splendid - The Tale of a Poor Gentleman, and the Little Wars of Lorn • Neil Munro

... here. The simplicity of its republican origin had so far affected the external character and expression of the imperial office, that in the midst of luxury the most unbounded, and spite of all other corruptions, a majestic plainness of manners, deportment, and dress, had still continued from generation to generation, characteristic of the Roman imperator in his intercourse with his subjects. All this was now changed; and for ...
— The Caesars • Thomas de Quincey

... a disappointed expectation,—as where the lineaments that do not disgust in the potato meet us in the human face, or even in the hippopotamus, whom accordingly Nature kindly puts out of sight. It is bad taste that we suffer from,—not plainness, not indifference to appearance, but features misplaced, shallow mimicry of "effects" where their causes do not exist, transparent pretences of all kinds, forcing attention to the absence of the reality, otherwise perhaps unnoticed. The first step toward seemly building is to rectify ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 10, Number 60, October 1862 • Various

... barracks from the drumhead, and as there were no seats provided, was desired to omit the sermon. Afterwards more decent arrangements being made, the families came in; but taking offense at his evangelical plainness, they asked that he should desist from extempore preaching. These European members of his flock were jealous and angry at his constant efforts for the salvation of the heathen natives. They thought it much beneath ...
— Life of Henry Martyn, Missionary to India and Persia, 1781 to 1812 • Sarah J. Rhea

... galleries of Europe and Asia, and, like self-punishing misers in all kinds of amassings, stored up boundlessly more than, with the best trained senses, I could have found the life to enjoy. Of course I had a first advantage, of dangerous facility, in my unhappy plainness of person—the alarm-guard that surrounds every beautiful woman in every country of the world—letting sleep at my approach the cautionary reserve which presents bayonet so promptly to the good-looking. Even with my worship avowed, and the manifestation of grateful regard which ...
— Graham's Magazine Vol. XXXII No. 2. February 1848 • Various

... long, narrow shapes of the buildings themselves, and their tall, spiral turrets, but in the many decorations which incrust them. This decoration has an extremely rich look, from the quantity of breaks, and the absence of bare wall or long straight lines. Thus, to save the uniform plainness of the straight gable-line, it is broken into small gradations called 'crow-steps.' Every one who looks at old houses in Scotland must be familiar with this feature, and must have noticed its picturesqueness. It appears to have been derived from the Flemish houses, where, however, the steps ...
— Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 445 - Volume 18, New Series, July 10, 1852 • Various

... From time to time he went out to ask: "Hasn't she come yet?" They were expecting Marya Dmitrievna Akhrosimova, known in society as le terrible dragon, a lady distinguished not for wealth or rank, but for common sense and frank plainness of speech. Marya Dmitrievna was known to the Imperial family as well as to all Moscow and Petersburg, and both cities wondered at her, laughed privately at her rudenesses, and told good stories about her, while none the less all without ...
— War and Peace • Leo Tolstoy

... touched me at Mrs. B——'s. It was too large." The answer was, "No! it was Charlie's turn." I said, "What do you mean by Charlie's turn?" The word was rewritten with almost petulant haste and remarkable plainness, "Charlie's twin." Charlie is my eldest boy, and his twin-brother was still-born. He would be between thirteen and fourteen years of age, and that was precisely the sized hand I felt. This was curious; ...
— Mystic London: - or, Phases of occult life in the metropolis • Charles Maurice Davies

... clear and explicit way, and your not mentioning it at either of the funerals, makes me doubt whether you believe it in as clear and literal a manner as it is expressed in the scriptures by Christ and his apostles. Paul says, "Seeing we have such hope we use great plainness of speech." I hope, sir, you will not be offended with me ...
— A Series of Letters In Defence of Divine Revelation • Hosea Ballou

... you're prettier than any of them," said a merry, good-natured girl, whose plainness excluded her from any ...
— Ruth • Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

... of the queer girl distracted her mind so that she could not go back to her attitude of lazy indifference. She had thought Anne a little commonplace until now; but it had not been a commonplace thing, that changing from prettiness to plainness. She even wondered if Anne had not done a finer act than ...
— Judy • Temple Bailey

... their chief magistrate. Besides these, there were also a custom-house, several banking-houses, and a school or college, all claiming to themselves the destruction of public works; but in them there was a plainness amounting almost to coarseness, and a general air of republicanism, by no means imposing. With respect to the number of inhabitants which Washington contained, I confess that I cannot pretend to give an opinion: but if any judgment may be formed from the ...
— The Campaigns of the British Army at Washington and New Orleans 1814-1815 • G. R. Gleig

... Manners of the most remote Ages of the World, we discover human Nature in her Simplicity; and the more we come downwards towards our own Times, may observe her hiding herself in Artifices and Refinements, Polished insensibly out of her Original Plainness, and at length entirely lost under Form and Ceremony, and (what we call) good Breeding. Read the Accounts of Men and Women as they are given us by the most ancient Writers, both Sacred and Prophane, and you would think ...
— The Spectator, Volume 2. • Addison and Steele

... to speak with great plainness and directness upon this great matter and to avow my convictions with deep earnestness. I have tried to know what America is, what her people think, what they are, what they most cherish and hold dear. I hope that some of their finer passions are in ...
— President Wilson's Addresses • Woodrow Wilson

... driver of the stagecoach, returned to see what had become of her. He had feared to find her stricken down in the road, and when he saw her clinging alone and in a maddened way to this tree, he made no bones of speaking to her with all necessary plainness. ...
— The Mystery of the Hasty Arrow • Anna Katharine Green

... are the springs of action to which he appeals,—these are the chords his fingers sweep, and from which he draws out the troubled music, "solemn as death, serene as the undying confidence of patriotism," to which he would have the battalions of the people march! Directness, plainness, a narrow range of topics, few details, few but grand ideas, a headlong tide of sentiment and feeling; vehement, indignant, and reproachful reasonings,—winged general maxims of wisdom and life; an example from Plutarch; a pregnant sentence of Tacitus; thoughts going forth as ministers ...
— The American Union Speaker • John D. Philbrick

... dresses are a few yards of stuff," said the surgical Solomon. "The fair ones of the Marquesas do not give themselves to men of your plainness for popoi and muslin robes. You are a foreigner. You expect too much. The preponderance of probability, added to the weight of testimony, causes the court to believe that this woman is the real owner of the sewing-machine and the trunk. It is ...
— White Shadows in the South Seas • Frederick O'Brien

... paid to a nation than the simple confidence, the fireside plainness, with which Mr. Lincoln always addresses himself to the reason of the American people. This was, indeed, a true democrat, who grounded himself on the assumption that a democracy can think. "Come, let us reason together about this ...
— Our American Holidays: Lincoln's Birthday • Various

... all patience, and gave the Graf my opinion of his conduct in terms the plainness of which left nothing to be desired. I included him, his son, and the entire German people in one sweeping anathema. No Englishman, I said, would have been capable of either insulting an innocent lady, or of so basely leaving in the lurch one whose only fault had been a too great readiness ...
— Stories By English Authors: Italy • Various

... ye Deacons seat and ye pulpit is for persons hard of hearing to sett in." In nearly every meeting a bench or pew full of aged men might be seen near the pulpit, and this seat was called, with Puritan plainness of speech, the "Deaf Pew." Some very deaf church members (when the boys were herded elsewhere) sat on the pulpit stairs, and even in the pulpit, alongside the preacher, where they disconcertingly upturned their great tin ear-trumpets directly in his face. The persistent ...
— Sabbath in Puritan New England • Alice Morse Earle

... the opera. By invitation of the Dauphin, he went to Paris in 1750, and sang at several concerts, where he pleased and astonished the court by his splendid vocalism. Louis XV. sent him a snuff-box; but Caffarelli, observing its plainness, said disdainfully, showing a drawerful of splendid boxes, that the worst was finer than the French King's present. "If he had only sent me his portrait in it," said the vain' artist. "That is only given to ambassadors ...
— Great Singers, First Series - Faustina Bordoni To Henrietta Sontag • George T. Ferris

... saint indeed but unable to win the attention of the people in their present condition. In India, where asceticism is the test of sanctity even among the heathen, the most self-denying preacher has the best chance of being respected; but in those luxurious islets, poverty and plainness of living, without the power of showing the arts of life, get despised. If the priests could bring their pomp of worship, and large bands of brethren or sisters to reclaim the waste, they might tell upon the minds of the people, but at present they go forth few and ...
— Pioneers and Founders - or, Recent Workers in the Mission field • Charlotte Mary Yonge

... bounties which Heaven and our patroness provide might be unskilfully mangled, and rendered unfit for worthy men's use.—Stand forth, therefore, dame Glendinning, and tell to us, as thy liege lord and spiritual Superior, using plainness and truth, without either fear or favour, as being a matter wherein we are deeply interested, Doth this son of thine use his bow as well as the ...
— The Monastery • Sir Walter Scott

... Northamptonshire, which saw his lowly birth, together with a school and college, about the year 1475. The building is still in existence and shows a good roof and fine Perpendicular window, but the twelve bedesmen and the one sister, who was to be chosen for her plainness, no longer use ...
— Vanishing England • P. H. Ditchfield

... have never known them to declare themselves so plainly—" and Durham's baffled hopes fastened themselves eagerly on the words. Had she not always warned him that there was nothing so misleading as their plainness? And might it not be that, in spite of his advisedness, he had suffered too easy a rebuff? But second thoughts reminded him that the refusal had not been as unconditional as his necessary reservations ...
— Madame de Treymes • Edith Wharton



Words linked to "Plainness" :   simpleness, chasteness, visual aspect, simplicity, pureness, starkness, limpidity, perspicuity, purity, bareness, appearance, restraint, plain, lucidity, severeness, clearness, pellucidity, austereness, clarity, lucidness, perspicuousness, severity



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