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Somber   /sˈɑmbər/   Listen
Somber

adjective
1.
Lacking brightness or color; dull.  Synonyms: drab, sober, sombre.  "Sober Puritan grey" , "Children in somber brown clothes"
2.
Grave or even gloomy in character.  Synonyms: melancholy, sombre.  "A suit of somber black" , "A somber mood"



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"Somber" Quotes from Famous Books



... scene was tolerably plain to both of them. The little cleared space formed a natural amphitheater walled in by somber ranks of pines; and, standing higher, they could see over the heads of the clustering men. There was no difficulty in identifying the victim, the persecutor and the champion, for Weston stood stripped to blue shirt and trousers, with the big ax ...
— The Gold Trail • Harold Bindloss

... fed we inspected the place. The glade or clearing was enclosed all around by the tall trees of a thick primitive forest. Towards the up slope and the cliffs below the crest of the mountain the trees were all pines, firs or such-like dark and somber evergreens. There were a few of these also on the lower slopes, but there, as along all that rim of the clearing, the forest was mostly of oak, beech, chestnut and other cheerful trees. Their tops towered far above ...
— Andivius Hedulio • Edward Lucas White

... revolving year has a brighter and a darker half, a joyous and a somber half, Autumnal splendors cannot cheer the melancholy that we feel when summer goes from us, but when summer comes again the heart leaps up in glee to meet it. Wait but a moment ...
— Back Home • Eugene Wood

... prosperity. It must not be imagined by those who are here let into Norman's inmost secrets that his appearance betrayed the depth to which he had fallen. At least to the casual eye he seemed the same rich and powerful personage. An expert might have got at a good part of the truth from his somber eyes and haggard face, from the subtle transformation of the former look of serene pride into the bravado of pretense. And as, in a general way, the facts of his fall were known far and wide, all his acquaintances understood ...
— The Grain Of Dust - A Novel • David Graham Phillips

... The somber black of Carmichael's evening dress stood out conspicuously among the blue and green and red uniforms. Etiquette compelled him to wear silk stockings, but that was the single concession on his part. He wore no orders. An order of the ...
— The Goose Girl • Harold MacGrath

... echoed through the somber night, giving courage to the faint of heart and keeping the searching party's spirits up. Stealthily the charm boy crept around the edge of the clearing, examining every possible opening; cautiously he peered into ...
— The Adventures of Piang the Moro Jungle Boy - A Book for Young and Old • Florence Partello Stuart

... rain, and the picnic spoiled; another sees the rift of blue and foretells fine weather. Looking out on life, one sees only its sad grayness; another sees the thread of gold, "which sometimes in the patterns shows most sweet where there are somber colors"! Happiness is a condition, and if you are not happy now, you had better be alarmed about yourself, for you ...
— In Times Like These • Nellie L. McClung

... and satisfaction this bright picture of our country's growth and prosperity, while only a closer scrutiny develops a somber shading. Upon more careful inspection we find the wealth and luxury of our cities mingled with poverty and wretchedness and unremunerative toil. A crowded and constantly increasing urban population suggests the impoverishment of rural sections ...
— A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents - Section 3 (of 3) of Volume 8: Grover Cleveland, First Term. • Grover Cleveland

... Falls of Princes (taken from Boccaccio), and was designed as a warning to great men of the fickleness of fortune. The Induction is the only noteworthy part of it. It was an allegory, written in Chaucer's seven-lined stanza and described with a somber imaginative power, the figure of Sorrow, her abode {68} in the "griesly lake" of Avernus and her attendants, Remorse, Dread, Old Age, etc. Sackville was the author of the first regular English tragedy, Gorboduc, and it was at his request that Ascham wrote ...
— Brief History of English and American Literature • Henry A. Beers

... Portal, and twelve keen-eyed observers studied minutely screens and instrument panels connected to the powerful automatic lookout stations beneath the rims of the widely separated volcanic craters from which their craft could issue into Callisto's somber night. ...
— Spacehounds of IPC • Edward Elmer Smith

... crown every little swell in the bottom of the valley, and cling to the declivities of the mountains which rise on either hand. Above them eternal forests of firs and pines wave, feathering over the steepest and most rocky slopes with their somber foliage. Still higher, gray precipices rise and spires and pinnacles, far grander and more picturesque, if not so symmetrically formed, than those constructed by man. Between these there is seen, here and there, ...
— Hannibal - Makers of History • Jacob Abbott

... one hotel in that somber town of East Africa, and Miss Gregory, fronting the proprietor of it squarely, noted that he looked at her with something like amusement. She was a short woman of fifty, grey-haired and composed, and her pleasant face had a quiet and almost masculine strength ...
— The Second Class Passenger • Perceval Gibbon

... the two great armies. Most of Sherman's army had but just arrived, and were dusty and travel-worn; while the army of the Potomac had been resting for some time, and looked fresher and more sprightly. The latter wore caps, and the former hats, which gave them a more somber appearance. I was also of the impression that there were more young men in our army than ...
— In The Ranks - From the Wilderness to Appomattox Court House • R. E. McBride

... extreme point of a low, rocky promontory, that was considerably aside from any dwelling or building. The place was just at the commencement of the hill country, and where the shores of the Seneca cease to offer those smiling pictures of successful husbandry that so much abound farther north. A somber, or it might be better to say a sober, aspect gave dignity to the landscape, which, if not actually grand, had, at least, most of the elements that ...
— The Lake Gun • James Fenimore Cooper

... to the Middle West records itself in memory as a dismal dream out of which there were awakenings only for train-changings or a word of talk now and then with Cummings. The deputy warden was a reticent man; somber almost to sadness, as befitted his calling; but he was neither morose nor churlish. Underneath the official crust he was a man like other men; was, I say, because ...
— Branded • Francis Lynde

... Ida Tarbell calls 'Restless women.' Money, and always have had it. Those hats were born in one of those exclusive little shops off the Avenue. Rich but somber. They think they're advanced, but they still resent the triumph of the motor-car over the horse. That girl can't call her soul her own. Good eyes, but too sad. He ...
— Emma McChesney & Co. • Edna Ferber

... a somber little hall, then found herself in a very large room draped with ivory colored cretonne patterned with butterflies in vivid shades. The furniture was ivory colored wood, and the carpet gray, with clusters of wild flowers, primrose, poppies, cornflowers ...
— Nobody's Girl - (En Famille) • Hector Malot

... the other passengers was a magazine contributor, writing vagaries of Indian literature, also two physicians, a somber, irrevocable, irrefragable allopathist, and a genial homeopathist, who made a specialty of bronchitis. Two peremptory attorneys from the Legislature of Iowa were discussing the politics of the epoch and the details of national finance, while a ...
— 1001 Questions and Answers on Orthography and Reading • B. A. Hathaway

... walls divides the Carlingford range from the mountains of Mourne. The great dark range thrusts itself forth against the sea in somber beauty, overhanging the wide strand of Dundrum Bay. The lesser bay, across whose bar the sea moans under the storm-winds, is dominated by the hill of Rudraige, named in honor of a hero of old days; but under the ...
— Ireland, Historic and Picturesque • Charles Johnston

... when Mr. Euston detained him: "I want to present you to the Misses Verjoos." A tall girl, dressed in some black material which gave John the impression of lace, recognized his salutation with a slight bow and a rather indifferent survey from a pair of very somber dark eyes, while her sister, in light colors, gave him a smiling glance from a pair of very blue ones, and, rather to his surprise, put out her hand with the usual declaration of ...
— David Harum - A Story of American Life • Edward Noyes Westcott

... be willing to go away and seek a place of quiet. But no. In its demand for fresh horrors this crowd is as insatiate as the ancient Romans used to be when Nero was giving one of those benefits at the Colosseum for the fire sufferers of his home city. There now advances to the platform a somber person of a bass aspect, he having a double-yolk face and a three-ply chin and a chest like two ...
— Cobb's Bill-of-Fare • Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb

... and the old brick house, set midway of the autumn fields, appeared, as he approached it, to reflect the golden light that filled the east. Never had the place seemed to him more desirable than it did as he went slowly toward it along the desolate November roads. The somber colours of the landscape, the bared majesty of the old oaks where a few leaves still clung to the topmost boughs, the deserted garden filled with wan specters of summer flowers, were all in peculiar harmony ...
— The Deliverance; A Romance of the Virginia Tobacco Fields • Ellen Glasgow

... combined or inlaid with a yellow metal, the effect being indescribably rich. The floor was mosaic of many dark colors, but with no definite pattern, and the concave roof was deep red in color. Though beautiful, it was somewhat somber, as the light was not strong. At all events, that is how it struck me at first on coming in from the bright sunlight. Nor, it appeared, was I alone in experiencing such a feeling. As soon as we were inside, the ...
— A Crystal Age • W. H. Hudson

... deep and comfortable, although the yielding upholstery appeared at first sight hard and brittle as metal sheets. The room was perfectly bare, and the color scheme a dull silver and black. To me it seemed extremely somber, but it ...
— The Chamber of Life • Green Peyton Wertenbaker

... clutches hold of all the characters. When Eustacia fails to go to the door and admit her husband's mother she sets in motion events that bring swift ruin upon her as well as upon others. At every turn of the story the somber Egdon heath looms in the background, more real than any character in the romance, a sinister force that seems to sweep the characters on to their doom. Tess is more appealing than any other of Mr. Hardy's works, but it is hurt by his desire ...
— Modern English Books of Power • George Hamlin Fitch

... early spring filled with wild flowers, stretched down toward the bay, but close around the house were the somber and, to me, more beautiful groves of oaks. To wander away until I had lost sight of the house in their olive glooms and saw nothing around me but dark trunks, crooked elbows of boughs and sweeping leaves, ...
— The Other Side of the Door • Lucia Chamberlain

... she returned, with a faint suspicion of sarcasm in her tone. "You pique yourself upon being somber." ...
— The Pagans • Arlo Bates

... avenue. Bishop Chuff rode out into the middle of the street on his famous coal-black charger, John Barleycorn. There was a long hush. Then, with a wave of his hand, he gave the signal. One hundred bands burst into the somber and clanging strains of "The Face on the Bar-Room Floor." ...
— In the Sweet Dry and Dry • Christopher Morley

... were less somber than from his long face she supposed. He, too, had his pleasurable sense—of respite. For once, though idle, neither loneliness nor dejection oppressed him. It was good to lean back lazily in the chariot of ...
— The House of Toys • Henry Russell Miller

... test it was, that reception room, with the cruelty peculiar to the modern in business. With its soft-shaded lamp, its two-toned rug, its Jacobean chairs, its magazine-laden cathedral oak table, its pot of bright flowers making a smart touch of color in the somber richness of the room, it was no place for the shabby, the down-and-out, the cringing, the ...
— Personality Plus - Some Experiences of Emma McChesney and Her Son, Jock • Edna Ferber

... floral center of | |chrysanthemums and favors of black cats, diminutive | |pumpkin people and other suggestive Halloween | |conceits. The guests were whisked up to the | |dressing-rooms by a witch, and Mrs. George H. | |Rector, attired in somber soothsayer's robes, told | |fortunes. Place-cards were written for Mr. and Mrs. | |Enderly, Mr. and Mrs. Archibald Hart, Mr. and Mrs. | |George Rector, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Henderson, Mr. and| |Mrs. George McDaniel, Mrs. Fred Detmer, Miss | |Wilhelmina Rector, ...
— News Writing - The Gathering , Handling and Writing of News Stories • M. Lyle Spencer

... only, for her daughter not to care for her, to disapprove of her, to be willing that she should go out of her life,—there was the rub; and the fact that she should be considering it over a tea-table in Surrey while Imogen was battling with all the somber accompaniments of grief in New York, challenged her not to deny some essential defect in her own maternity. She was an honest woman, and after her hour of thought she could not deny it, though she could not see ...
— A Fountain Sealed • Anne Douglas Sedgwick

... round from behind in a misty cloak, the two colors mingling with and gently obscuring each other; while, between them, the palest memory of light, in the golden cincture, helped to bring out the somber richness, the delicate ...
— Mary Marston • George MacDonald

... sat in this somber reverie a gentleman walked up to the door, and Mary Wells lifted her head and looked at him. Notwithstanding her misery, her eyes rested on him with some admiration, for he was a model of a man: six feet high, and built like an athlete. ...
— A Terrible Temptation - A Story of To-Day • Charles Reade

... who sees a picture of court life where the cavalier is attired in richly colored velvet, silk, lace, and jewels, and surrounded by the luxuries of the court, and compares it with another of the same period which portrays a Puritan in his somber-hued, severe suit, stiff linen collar and cuffs, broad-brimmed, plain hat and not a single jewel or ornament used for mere decorative or esthetic value, realizes the vast difference in the types and character of ...
— Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 10 - The Guide • Charles Herbert Sylvester

... American civil war was at its height, might frequently have observed at the beautiful Theatre Lyrique, afterward burned by the Vandals of the Commune, a noticeable-looking man, of blonde complexion and tawny beard, clear-cut features, and large, bright, almost somber-looking eyes. As the opera of "Faust" progresses, his features eloquently express his varying emotions, now of approval, now of annoyance at different parts of the performance. M. Gounod is criticising the interpretation ...
— Great Italian and French Composers • George T. Ferris

... brightness, the deliverance withheld. The corridor was wide and deserted and the black tiles with their gold borders seemed to converge upon her, hemming her into a cool magnificence as structurally somber as the architectural embellishments of a ...
— The Calm Man • Frank Belknap Long

... highway, a distance of nearly half a mile. A spacious garden in the rear, with bordered walks and fanciful mounds, with climbing roses and creeping vines showing that somewhere there was a taste, a ruling hand, which, while neglecting the somber building and suffering it to decay, lavished due care upon the grounds, and not on these alone, but also on the well-kept barns, and the whitewashed dwellings in front, where numerous, happy, well-fed negroes lived and lounged, for ours is a Kentucky scene, and Spring Bank ...
— Bad Hugh • Mary Jane Holmes

... other streets dart off from them obliquely, as though in a great hurry to get somewhere? Do they love to emerge from a street which is narrow, dim, and deserted, upon one which is wide, bright, and crowded; and do they also like to leave a brilliant street and dive into the darkness of some somber byway? Does a long row of lights lure them, block by block, toward distances unknown? Are they tempted by the unfamiliar signs on passing street cars? Do they yearn to board those cars and be transported by them into the mystic caverns of the night? And when they see strangers who are evidently ...
— American Adventures - A Second Trip 'Abroad at home' • Julian Street

... working around a furnace dimly suggested convey the idea of Industrial Fire in the last of the pictures. There is the same motif of cold in the sky and the fruits, intensified by the somber leafage of fir ...
— The Jewel City • Ben Macomber

... result of her lack of consideration, Joel himself could not have told, the correct interpretation of one's own motives being the most complex of the sciences. It really seemed to him that he felt very ill and he found a somber satisfaction in reflecting that in the event of his death, Persis would realize her appalling selfishness. "'Twon't come much short of murder," ...
— Other People's Business - The Romantic Career of the Practical Miss Dale • Harriet L. Smith

... said these words that the thing happened. From somewhere among the little crowd of people gathered round the table there came the sound of heavy stamping on the floor, and in less than a moment every light in the room went out. The place was in somber darkness. Then, breaking the momentary silence, there came from outside a shrill whistle. Again there was a silence—and then pandemonium! In a dozen different keys one heard the ...
— An Amiable Charlatan • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... most noble and splendid apartment, and, tho so fine, there is not a touch of finery; it glistens and glows with even a somber magnificence, owing to the deep, rich hues and the dim light, bedimmed with rich colors by coming through the painted windows. In arched recesses, that serve as frames, at each end of the hall, there are three pictures ...
— Seeing Europe with Famous Authors, Volume I. - Great Britain and Ireland • Various

... the man who had spent years in prison at Canon City were hard as jade. The fat man read a day of judgment in his stern and somber face. ...
— Gunsight Pass - How Oil Came to the Cattle Country and Brought a New West • William MacLeod Raine

... to Rome for Easter morning. I followed a white road that wound around the hills, through silent clusters of cottages tightly shut up with only a slit of light visible now and then, meeting not a human being along the way save three somber figures accompanying an ox cart, a man at the head of the oxen and a man and a woman at the tail of the cart—a theme for Millet. (I asked in broken Italian how far it was to Foligno, and the answer was, "Una hora"—distance in time and not in miles.) ...
— Modern American Prose Selections • Various

... bars. It was very still in the room. A subdued twittering came from the trees through the open window. From time to time a breeze rustled in the leaves of the thick creeper about the sill. But the man in the room, his face grown hard and somber now ...
— The Woman in Black • Edmund Clerihew Bentley

... house has an effect not at all humorous. It embodies the heavy dignity of those Victorian financiers who ruled the generation between the pioneers and the brisk "sales-engineers" and created a somber oligarchy by gaining control of banks, mills, land, railroads, mines. Out of the dozen contradictory Zeniths which together make up the true and complete Zenith, none is so powerful and enduring yet none so unfamiliar to the citizens as the small, ...
— Babbitt • Sinclair Lewis

... something good—that feller," Bruce added, with somber eyes. "I ought to pull out of here. It's no use, we can't hit it ...
— The Man from the Bitter Roots • Caroline Lockhart

... exquisite. There was just enough light, just enough of sunbeams struggling through the sodden clouds to illuminate, here and there, an alfalfa field, or here and there a grove of trees, so as to bring them out in startling contrast to the somber colors of the shaded portions of the valley. But with it were signs of the dying year, a premonition of storms to come, storms unpleasant while they last, ...
— Out of Doors—California and Oregon • J. A. Graves

... on his garments. On reaching the gloomy hall he saw the Marquis Monaldeschi, evidently in great agitation, and at the end of the corridor the queen in somber robes. Beside the queen, as if awaiting orders, stood three figures, who could with some difficulty be made out as three soldiers ...
— Famous Affinities of History, Vol 1-4, Complete - The Romance of Devotion • Lyndon Orr

... the Cagoulards' espionage system is Dr. Jean Marie Martin, a bushy-haired stocky man with dark, somber eyes. Dr. Martin usually travels with several false passports and with the utmost secrecy. At the moment he is in Genoa where he went to meet Commendatore Boccalaro, Mussolini's personal representative in charge of ...
— Secret Armies - The New Technique of Nazi Warfare • John L. Spivak

... Boston that night Wilson passed the girl twice, and each time, though he caught only a glimpse of her lithe form bent against the whipping rain, the merest sketch of her somber features, he was distinctly conscious of the impress of her personality. As she was absorbed by the voracious horde which shuffled interminably and inexplicably up and down the street, he felt a sense of loss. The path before him seemed a bit less ...
— The Web of the Golden Spider • Frederick Orin Bartlett

... revels of the bal masque! And then the carnival!—those wild weeks when the Lord of Misrule wields his motley scepter—leading from one reckless frolic to another till Mardi Gras culminates in a giddy whirl of delirious fun on which, at midnight, Lent drops a somber veil! ...
— Four Years in Rebel Capitals - An Inside View of Life in the Southern Confederacy from Birth to Death • T. C. DeLeon

... with us some three months or more, appeared suddenly from some concealed lurking-place and ordered them to their own quarters, with a warning against a repetition of the offense that seemed unduly somber. It frightened the Precious Ones so thoroughly that they were almost afraid to pass through the halls alone next day, and came and went quite on a run, looking neither to the right nor to ...
— The Van Dwellers - A Strenuous Quest for a Home • Albert Bigelow Paine

... hence it may be otherwise." ... How else may man, as yet imperfectly monogamous, find the mate for whom he is ever ardently questing? In this woman he finds the trick of a lifted lash, or a shadowy dimple in the melting rose of her cheek. In another, the stately curve of neck and shoulder and the somber fire of dark eyes draws his roving gaze; in a third, there is a soft, adorable prettiness, like that of a baby. He has always known them—all. And thus it is, that love comes and goes unbidden, like the wind which blows where it listeth; and woman, hearing the sound thereof, ...
— An Alabaster Box • Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and Florence Morse Kingsley

... drove a famous millionaire out of the country. Near by are displayed the exploitation of a lure for black-bass, strangely perforated (a man's reason hung on those pin-pricks), and a scrawled legend which seems to spell "Mercy" (two men's lives were sacrificed to that); while below them, set in somber black, is the funeral notice of a dog worth a million dollars; facing the call for a trombone-player which made a mayor, and the mathematical formula which saved a governor. But nowhere does the observer ...
— Average Jones • Samuel Hopkins Adams

... Isabel gave a little gesture of dismay. She clutched for a moment at Granet's arm. An elderly man, dressed in somber black clothes disgracefully dusty, collarless, with a mass of white hair blown all over his face, was walking up and down the hall with a great pair of horn-rimmed spectacles clutched in his hand. He stopped short at the sound of the opening door and hurried towards ...
— The Kingdom of the Blind • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... unbroken lines give dignity, while complicated and short lines express vivacity. Curves, particularly if long and sweeping, give grace while straight lines and angles indicate power and strength. In color, unity of tint gives repose—if somber, gravity but if light and clear, then a joyous serenity—variety of tint giving ...
— How To Behave: A Pocket Manual Of Republican Etiquette, And Guide To Correct Personal Habits • Samuel R Wells

... thinner. There was a somber light in his eyes, and his lips were whitening. His step, once quick and sure, despite his infirmity, was now less certain. He had not slept since the night of Mercy's death. Determined never to encounter again the pains ...
— A Son of Hagar - A Romance of Our Time • Sir Hall Caine

... dressed in somber black, went to the club alone and unattended save by Miss Aphrodite Tate. San Juan, fearing the Raffin mulatto and his ghostly powers, had held its respectful distance ever since the evening when Ambrose and his rage had revealed them. Familiarity breeding ...
— O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1920 • Various

... was dead and buried. She was going to be happy here. As for the present, it was enough to think of the little border village, now her home; of her girl friends; of the quiet borderman: and, for the moment, that the twilight was somber and beautiful. ...
— The Last Trail • Zane Grey

... the day went placidly by, in spite of Mr. Slawson's somber prognostications. No one came to disturb the even tenor of its way. Then, at eveningfall, while Martha was still absent, there was a gentle rap upon the door, and Claire, anxious to anticipate Ma, made haste ...
— Martha By-the-Day • Julie M. Lippmann

... the stranger, pointing out a large, somber building to the left, "is the courthouse. The last time I entered it was to be present at the trial of a young man of my acquaintance who had fallen into evil courses, and, yielding to temptation, had stolen from his employer. ...
— Do and Dare - A Brave Boy's Fight for Fortune • Horatio Alger, Jr.

... particularly churchyards; and he soon began to take the little girl with him on such strolls. But he discovered, much to his amazement, that though she listened with avidity to the tales he told her of the romantic and mysterious events that had occurred within the somber ruins with which the countryside was liberally endowed, she was reluctant to explore those ruins or wander among the graves where he delighted to resort. At first he was inclined to ascribe her reluctance to weak and sentimental timidity, but he speedily ...
— Historic Ghosts and Ghost Hunters • H. Addington Bruce

... Small cactus plants bristled sparsely in open places; and here and there bright red flowers—Indian paintbrush, Flo called them—added a touch of color to the gray. Glenn pointed to where dark banks of cloud had massed around the mountain peaks. The scene to the west was somber and compelling. ...
— The Call of the Canyon • Zane Grey

... no more. She became a somber girl and a drudge. The birds could not understand. They followed her through the woods, but she was silent, as if she had been stricken dumb, and her eyes always seemed eager to be shedding tears. Also, she was too busy to notice ...
— Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends • Gertrude Landa

... forth its shrill, roaring, trembling noises into the smoke-begrimed and greasy atmosphere of the workingmen's suburb; and obedient to the summons of the power of steam, people poured out of little gray houses into the street. With somber faces they hastened forward like frightened roaches, their muscles stiff from insufficient sleep. In the chill morning twilight they walked through the narrow, unpaved street to the tall stone cage that waited for them with cold assurance, illumining ...
— Mother • Maxim Gorky

... flowers, and its boundary wall is overtopped by a screen of trees which shuts out the depressing prospect of the graves from the vicarage windows and makes the place seem less "a churchyard home" than when the Brontes inhabited it. The dwelling is of gray stone, two stories high, of plain and somber aspect. A wing is added, the little window-panes are replaced by larger squares, the stone floors are removed or concealed, curtains—forbidden by Mr. Bronte's dread of fire—shade the window, and the once bare interior is furbished and furnished in modern style; but ...
— Seeing Europe with Famous Authors - Vol. II Great Britain And Ireland, Part Two • Francis W. Halsey

... the room. The Rossetti Madonna, thin, anemic, with hanging hair, seemed fading away on the somber, green wall. The window-panes looked spectral and white. The faint murmur of the city sounded a little deeper and much sadder than in the light of day. Stepton was aware of a furtive but strong desire for artificial light in the room, but he did not choose to mention it. And Chichester, ...
— The Dweller on the Threshold • Robert Smythe Hichens

... who had been first to draw attention to the mysterious craft, and whose dress showed somber touches which spoke of widowhood, answered her ...
— The International Spy - Being the Secret History of the Russo-Japanese War • Allen Upward

... maddening desolation, a lifeless world that reached for hundreds of miles farther than his eyes could see. To the north and east there was nothing but ice, piled-up masses and grinning mountains of it, white at first, of a somber gray farther off, and then purple and almost black. There came to him now the low, never-ceasing thunder of the undercurrents fighting their way down from the Arctic Ocean, broken now and then by a growling ...
— Isobel • James Oliver Curwood

... situated are the affairs of the New Nederlanders. While the honest burghers are smoking their pipes in somber security, and the privy councillors are snoring in the council chamber, while Peter the Headstrong is undauntedly making his way through the east country, in the confident hope by honest words and manly deeds to bring ...
— Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete • Washington Irving

... fact, from within ten miles of Glastonbury, Connecticut, though they didn't discover this fact until after they'd met a number of times in the social and religious activities of the Moody Institute. The lives of both had been woven in the somber colors of Evangelical religion. With him this ran close to fanaticism and served as an outlet for a very intense emotional life. She was not highly energized enough to go to extremes in anything, but she acquiesced in all his beliefs and practises, made ...
— Mary Wollaston • Henry Kitchell Webster

... time after the retreating footsteps of Strangwise and Bellward had died away, Desmond sat listless, preoccupied with his thoughts. They were somber enough. The sinister atmosphere of the house, weighing upon him, ...
— Okewood of the Secret Service • Valentine Williams

... should be read for the fidelity with which it portrays a life that is potent on this island, along with the best of us. It is a powerful portrayal, and, if somber and repellent, none the less true, none the less freighted with appeal to those who are able to assist in righting wrongs."—New ...
— Admiral Farragut • A. T. Mahan

... finishing its noonday feast when Miss Hortensia Price appeared. Miss Hortensia Price was straight and tall, with somber black eyes and thin, serious lips. Many of the children were greatly in awe of the dignified nurse; but Elsie Meyer ...
— Polly of the Hospital Staff • Emma C. Dowd

... many in the camp as they had expected had yet gone to sleep. Tandakora, somber and gigantic, gnawed the flesh from the big bone of a deer and then, throwing the bone into the fire, approached St. Luc. Robert saw them talking and presently De Courcelles and Jumonville came also. The four talked a little while and now and then the ...
— The Lords of the Wild - A Story of the Old New York Border • Joseph A. Altsheler

... created the background for the panorama of that time. The true patron saints of the black men were represented in that handful of fighters in Boston, Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and Theodore Parker, whose great courage and sturdiness culminated in that somber giant, John Brown. Their untiring zeal, their eloquence and perseverance undermined the stronghold of the Southern lords. Lincoln and his minions followed only when abolition had become a practical issue, ...
— Anarchism and Other Essays • Emma Goldman

... But neither the glorified woods on the one hand, nor the lake on the other, could at first hold the eye. That dark mysterious lava plain between them compelled attention. Here you trace yawning fissures, there clusters of somber pits; now you mark where the lava is bent and corrugated in swelling ridges and domes, again where it breaks into a rough mass of loose blocks. Tufts of grass grow far apart here and there and small bushes of hardy sage, ...
— Steep Trails • John Muir

... its ever-widening influence. He became obsessed by this idea; he schemed and he contrived; he used to the utmost the powers of his Oriental mind. From his vantage-point above the cloister he heard the monks droning at their Latin; his somber glances followed them at their daily tasks. Like a spider he spun his web, and when one victim broke through it he craftily repaired its fabric, ...
— Laughing Bill Hyde and Other Stories • Rex Beach

... varying tastes of his creatures. And more than this; we must conclude that He himself has an infinite taste, which finds an infinite pleasure in making and viewing this magnificent universe of flashing splendor and somber sweetness, this field on field, system beyond system, far off where human eye can never reach, all shining and moving in an infinite variety of forms, colors and movements. Moreover, we can not but feel that God is a lover of Dress. He has put on robes of ...
— Aims and Aids for Girls and Young Women • George Sumner Weaver

... and ugly chuckle. Sparks flew from Ragtime's hoofs when he touched the sleek flanks with his heels and the splendid animal quivered and bunched hard thigh muscles and spurned the gravel. White face whiter still against the background of his somber vestments, debonaire and drunkenly insecure in the saddle, Garret Devereau tore out into the main road and thundered ...
— Then I'll Come Back to You • Larry Evans

... from diseases which could be ascribed only to the will of God and met with resignation instead of skill, the succession of funerals as depressing as they were public and pervading—were well calculated to deepen the somber cast of the Puritan temper and accentuate the critical and introspective tendency of his mind. Inspection of one's own and one's neighbor's conduct was, indeed, always a Puritan duty; shut within the restricted horizon of a New England village, it became a necessity and almost a pleasure. ...
— Beginnings of the American People • Carl Lotus Becker

... blow." We did so, and secured the tent as well as we could; for the sky had changed totally, and a fresh damp smell in the wind warned us that a stormy night was likely to succeed the hot clear day. The prairie also wore a new aspect, and its vast swells had grown black and somber under the shadow of the clouds. The thunder soon began to growl at a distance. Picketing and hobbling the horses among the rich grass at the foot of the slope, where we encamped, we gained a shelter just as the rain began to fall; and sat at the opening of ...
— The Oregon Trail • Francis Parkman, Jr.

... room in the Morton home was cheerful with sunshine. It brightened the conventional flowers of the old crimson Brussels carpet into a semblance of life. It caught the gold outline of the wall paper and lingered there—even the somber steel engravings reflected the light from the polished glass over them. Mrs. Morton sat in her low rocking chair by the window reading a ...
— Chicken Little Jane • Lily Munsell Ritchie

... was good for invitations to supper, bouquets and sweets, occupied herself with that somber mass which, formerly, did not cause her so much uneasiness as the presence of her Pa. Lily, like a real stage-girl, who had beheld waves miles high between Harwich and the Hook of Holland, saw in a ...
— The Bill-Toppers • Andre Castaigne

... faint fragrance of burning pine logs stole up from the open hearth and floated about on the air, already slightly perfumed with the odor of chrysanthemums clustered together in quaint blue china bowls, little patches of gold-and-white coloring, where everything else was somber and subdued. She sank into a low basket chair before the fire, and, obeying her gesture, he seated himself ...
— The New Tenant • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... his umbrella as he left the bank, and his airy, cheerful way of talking, which was more natural to him than his rudeness, coming from the same source that afforded the rimes he delighted in, sparkling pleasantly against the more somber texture of Hester's consciousness. She suspected he was no profound, but that was no reason why she should not be pleasant to him, and allow him to be pleasant to her. So by the time Vavasor had spent three evenings with the Raymounts, Hester and he were on a standing ...
— Weighed and Wanting • George MacDonald

... for the construction as for the light color effect of the marble. Only the light color play of its exterior would do against a placid blue sky to relieve the otherwise exceedingly simple rigidity of its massive forms of construction. To make an imitation of this great building in uncouth, somber, almost black pine logs of dubious proportions is hardly an ...
— The Art of the Exposition • Eugen Neuhaus

... began fading out of the skies. The shadows of the forest grew deeper and blacker, and where the aurora had lightened the heavens there crept the somber gray film that preceded dawn by ...
— The Honor of the Big Snows • James Oliver Curwood

... fairies have not only saved him from oblivion: in countless editions and translations they have won him immortality. The charming literary form of his versions, "Englished by R. S., Gent," about 1730, soon established them in place of the more somber English popular versions. It is practically certain that the name Mother Goose, as that of the genial old lady who presides over the light literature of the nursery, was established by the ...
— Children's Literature - A Textbook of Sources for Teachers and Teacher-Training Classes • Charles Madison Curry

... third quarter of the century was the conception and execution of the Wagnerian music-drama, with its wealth of sense incitation and its somber appeal to accumulated experiences of the race. The "Ring of the Nibelungen" was completed during this period and received its first performance at Bayreuth in 1876. During the same period Franz Liszt had conceived ...
— A Popular History of the Art of Music - From the Earliest Times Until the Present • W. S. B. Mathews

... we passed was Castle Thunder, of bloody repute. This occupied the same place in Confederate history, that, the dungeons beneath the level of the water did in the annals of the Venetian Council of Ten. It was believed that if the bricks in its somber, dirt-grimed walls could speak, each could tell a separate story of a life deemed dangerous to the State that had gone down in night, at the behest of the ruthless Confederate authorities. It was confidently asserted that ...
— Andersonville, complete • John McElroy

... masses, partly hidden by the forest and thickets. The dawn was cold, and Harry felt a little chill, but it soon passed, as the red edge of the sun showed over the eastern border of the Wilderness. Then the light spread toward the zenith, but the golden glow failed to penetrate the somber thickets. ...
— The Shades of the Wilderness • Joseph A. Altsheler

... employed, communicates to all dishes its frigid and piquant relish, I mean insincerity (badinage). Society does not tolerate passion, and in this it exercises its right. One does not enter company to be either vehement or somber; a strained air or one of concentration would appear inconsistent. The mistress of a house is always right in reminding a man that his emotional constraint brings on silence. "Monsieur Such-a-one, you are not amiable to day." To be always amiable is, accordingly, an obligation, and, through ...
— The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 1 (of 6) - The Ancient Regime • Hippolyte A. Taine

... divided his vigil with King. She had periods of consciousness, in which she knew Neale, but most of the time she raved or tossed or moaned or lay like one dead. On the third day, however. Neale felt encouraged. She awoke weak and somber, but quiet and rational. Neale talked earnestly to her, in as sensible a way as he knew how, speaking briefly of the tragic fate that had been hers, bidding her force it out of her mind by taking interest in her new surroundings. She listened to him, but did not seem impressed. It was ...
— The U.P. Trail • Zane Grey

... good has its ill; 'tis a pleasure that is not pure and clean, no more than others: it has its inconveniences, and great ones too. The soul indeed is exercised therein; but the body, the care of which I must withal never neglect, remains in the mean time without action, and grows heavy and somber. I know no excess more prejudicial to me, nor more to be avoided in this my ...
— The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. VII (of X)—Continental Europe I • Various

... his wife's interest in music had ceased, and she was rarely seen at the church on Sundays or at its weekday functions. She had withdrawn from its life and had settled into a state of somber resentment. ...
— The One Woman • Thomas Dixon

... soft and pleasing in one part as dark and gloomy and terrible in another. The poisoned chalice, the glittering dagger suspended over the head of the sleeper; wizards and phantoms with terrific masks, those half-dim shadows more alarming than the approach of fire or the somber face of midnight, these, and such as these, he had made the companions of his more pleasing pictures. No sooner had the king entered his room than a cold shiver seemed to pass through him, and on Fouquet asking him the cause of it, the king replied, ...
— The Man in the Iron Mask • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... think Dr. Owen is right. I have been suffering from nervous disturbances caused by shell shock, and I am on the road to recovery. I need rest and recreation, especially recreation—anything to divert my mind from fears and somber thoughts. I say this to Seraphine when she warns me that I must not go to Roberta's party. She says I will go at my great peril, but I refuse to entertain these fears. I crave the gaiety and insouciance of Roberta's care-free ...
— Possessed • Cleveland Moffett

... Oakley stood, with its last light extinguished, tall and somber, against a back-ground of black sky and blacker trees. At last every soul under its roof was asleep—all but one. That one was very wide awake and ...
— Madeline Payne, the Detective's Daughter • Lawrence L. Lynch

... and many a mother, And many a warrior bronzed and bold. For her face was as fair as a beautiful dream, And her voice like the song of the mountain stream; And her eyes like the stars when they glow and gleam. Through the somber pines of the nor'land wold, When the winds of ...
— Legends of the Northwest • Hanford Lennox Gordon

... me through the upper branches of trees lining the bank. Our surroundings had changed somewhat, the shores being no longer steep, and overhung with rocks, but only slightly uplifted, and covered with dense, dark woods, somber and silent. Their shadows nearly met in midstream, giving to the scene a look of desolation and gloom, the water sweeping on in sullen flow, without sparkle, or gaiety. Our boat clung close to the west shore, and I could look long distances through the aisles of trees into the silent ...
— Beyond the Frontier • Randall Parrish

... he could hardly see his hand upon the idle oar, recited the poem softly to himself, intoning it in the deep voice one saves for poetry. It sounded wonderful to him in the luxury of hearing his own voice upon the water and indulging his own memory. The somber mood was perfect, in accord with the realm of shadow and silence where everything beautiful and living was cloaked in the ...
— The Best Short Stories of 1920 - and the Yearbook of the American Short Story • Various

... mountains rose dark and somber against the cloud-flecked sky, their tops softened by the light haze that told ...
— The S. W. F. Club • Caroline E. Jacobs

... he would be a poor surgeon. His work, instead of being clean and sharp, would suffer from over-conscientiousness. He might never finish an operation for fear his patient would bleed to death. Such a man may be the reverse of flippant, and yet he may actually enjoy his somber work. Cruel, bloodthirsty? Not at all. These men—the great surgeons—are as tender as children. But they love their work, they really care very deeply for their patients. The successful ones have the lighter touch and they have no time ...
— The Untroubled Mind • Herbert J. Hall

... or clustered along the naked twigs of the black alder, add an indispensable cheeriness to the somber winter landscape. Bunches of them, commonly sold in the city streets for household decoration, bring twenty-five cents each; hence the shrubs within a large radius of each market get ample pruning every autumn. The leaves ...
— Wild Flowers, An Aid to Knowledge of Our Wild Flowers and - Their Insect Visitors - - Title: Nature's Garden • Neltje Blanchan

... softer side. It had cost him a wrench to leave. And all the way by ship down the coast to San Diego and across the Sierra Madres by stage, and so on to this last overland travel by horseback, he had felt a retreating of the self that was tranquil and happy and a dominating of this unknown somber self, with its menacing possibilities. Yet despite a nameless regret and a loyalty to Oregon, when he lay in his blankets he had to confess a keen interest in his adventurous future, a keen enjoyment of this stark, wild Arizona. It appeared ...
— To the Last Man • Zane Grey

... the convent in the night and by somber-clad servants who seemed in a great hurry. She was brought a long way to a chateau, one of the oldest and most beautiful in the south of France; and a small, shrivel-faced man in royal clothes met her at the door and carried her up great marble stairs to a chamber lighted by two tall candles, ...
— Seven Miles to Arden • Ruth Sawyer

... dining-room part, though rich, was rather somber on ordinary occasions; but this night it was decorated gloriously. The materials were simple—wax-candles and holly; the effect was produced by a magnificent use of these materials. There were eighty candles, of the largest size sold in shops, and twelve wax pillars, five feet high, ...
— Put Yourself in His Place • Charles Reade

... drawn and shaded, and cross each other; where one makes out, at times, a hat bound and befeathered, swaying as it goes; a little boy with sky-blue tie and buttoned boots, and tubular knickers hanging round his thin, bare calves; a couple of gossiping dames in swollen and somber petticoats, who tack hither and thither, meet, are mutually attracted and dissolve in conversation, like rolling drops of ink. In the foreground of this colored cinema which goes by and passes again, ...
— Light • Henri Barbusse

... discussion of our changed relations hanging over us, we presently had tea with the unsuspecting Mrs. Ramboat and the spaniel. Mrs. Ramboat was too well trained in her position to remark upon our somber preoccupation. She kept a thin trickle of talk going, and told us, I remember, that Mr. Ramboat was ...
— Tono Bungay • H. G. Wells

... somber blossom and rough leaves, was able to flourish even in close proximity to the wild verdure. It seemed that this plant had succeeded in avoiding the dangerous entanglements of the poisonous plants because of its tenacious and fearless qualities, at the ...
— Common Sense - - Subtitle: How To Exercise It • Yoritomo-Tashi

... dank as the breath of a tomb, blew upon the company, and from the deep darkness into which they all stared with straining, unseeing eyes, came the solemn sound of Mr. Smitz, speaking hurriedly in somber tones in some sonorous unknown tongue, and low rustlings and whirrs and soft footfalls and faint rattlings that grew stronger, louder, each moment, swelling up into the stamp of a mailed heel and the clangor of arms as Mr. Smitz scratched a match and the light of a gas jet ...
— The Strange Adventures of Mr. Middleton • Wardon Allan Curtis

... laugh escaped her lips. He had never seen her look so beautiful. A spiritual radiance had transformed her face, which was that of a young girl. Her eyes had lost their somber shadows. Ineffable ...
— The Desired Woman • Will N. Harben

... them the swiftest runners, with the others following in the order of their strength, and speed. They left the place of their home and went over the high mountains where great jagged peaks stand up above the snow, and down the way the streams led through a long stretch of giant wood where the somber shade and the sound of the wind in the branches made them afraid. At nightfall, where they rested, one stayed in that place, and the next night another dropped behind; and so it was at the end of each day's ...
— Boys and Girls Bookshelf (Vol 2 of 17) - Folk-Lore, Fables, And Fairy Tales • Various

... which she witnessed in the convent were peculiarly calculated to produce an indelible impression upon a mind so imaginative. The chapel for prayer, with its somber twilight and its dimly-burning tapers; the dirges which the organ breathed upon the trembling ear; the imposing pageant of prayer and praise, with the blended costumes of monks and hooded nuns; the knell which tolled the requiem of a departed sister, as, in the gloom of night ...
— Madame Roland, Makers of History • John S. C. Abbott

... Back Home to Eddie would have approved of her. One day there appeared a pair of lovesick lavenders, but they never again bloomed. Evidently she was the kind of a girl who would be firm about those. Then, for a time—for two long weeks—E. G.'s hose were black; somber, mournful, unrelieved black. They had quarreled. After that they brightened. They became numerous, and varied. There was about them something triumphant, ecstatic. ...
— Defenders of Democracy • Militia of Mercy

... he was tripped up, and a second later found himself lying helpless with his neck in the socket of a mock guillotine. Above him was suspended a huge gleaming knife that seemed to tremble, as if about to fall. At his side was a fellow dressed in the somber garments of ...
— Frank Merriwell at Yale • Burt L. Standish

... her at the tawny mountains that rose in the distance,—miles on the other side of the big basin—swimming in the shimmering blur of white sky—somber guardians of a mysterious world. What secret did they guard? What did they know of this world of eternal sunlight, of infinite distance? Did they know as much of the world upon which they frowned as he knew of the heart of the slender, motherly girl ...
— The Coming of the Law • Charles Alden Seltzer

... snow-shoes and fur had gone for the day to look after his traps, Claire washed up the tin dishes they used, and sat down before the fire opposite Lawrence. His head was in his hands and his face was somber. ...
— Claire - The Blind Love of a Blind Hero, By a Blind Author • Leslie Burton Blades

... lofty one, with an arched roof—had somewhat of a somber character, from being wainscoted and ceiled with polished black oak of a great age. There were mirrors, and there were pictures on the walls, and handsome furniture, and marble chimney-pieces, and a gay Tournay carpet; but these merely appeared as bright spots on the dark background ...
— Stories by Modern American Authors • Julian Hawthorne

... who wish, follow out this allegory by studying the nature of the raven. It is an impure bird, of somber and funereal color, with a strong beak and a harsh, shrill voice. It scents dead bodies from a great distance, and therefore men fear its voice as a certain augury of an impending death. It feeds upon carrion and enjoys localities made ...
— Commentary on Genesis, Vol. II - Luther on Sin and the Flood • Martin Luther

... of a young girl. The age of Madame Cerise might be anywhere between fifty and seventy; assuredly she had long been a stranger to youth, although her dark hair was but slightly streaked with gray. She wore a somber-hued gown and a maid's jaunty apron ...
— Aunt Jane's Nieces in Society • Edith Van Dyne

... of the case, my friends, why is the country agitated? The old controversies have passed away, or they have subsided, and have been covered up by one dark pall of somber hue, which increases with every passing year. Why is it, then, I say, that you are thus agitated in relation to the domestic affairs of other communities? Why is it that the peace of the country is disturbed ...
— The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government • Jefferson Davis



Words linked to "Somber" :   cheerless, somberness, depressing, melancholy, sombre, uncheerful, colorless, colourless, drab



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