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Sternness   /stˈərnnəs/  /stˈərnəs/   Listen
Sternness

noun
1.
The quality (as of scenery) being grim and gloomy and forbidding.
2.
Uncompromising resolution.  Synonym: strictness.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Sternness" Quotes from Famous Books



... for God does not think it beneath him to be tender and pitiful. Is it not good news that we need never be afraid or ashamed to forgive, to take back those who have neglected us, wronged us? for God does not think it beneath him to do likewise. That we need never show hardness, pride, sternness to our children when they do wrong, but should win them by love and tenderness, caring for them all the more, the less they care for themselves? for God does even so to us, who have sinned against him far more than our children ...
— Discipline and Other Sermons • Charles Kingsley

... about his neck and the gold bracelets upon his arms, marked the chief. Standing by the rheda, he met Marcia's look of proud defiance, for a moment; then his eyes shifted and seemed to wander; but, cloaking with martial sternness the embarrassment of the barbarian, he spoke ...
— The Lion's Brood • Duffield Osborne

... by so much as the flicker of an eyelash did he betray that this was so. He had considered himself such a public character since the night of the McBride murder that he now deemed it incumbent to preserve a stoic manner; the admiration of his fellows could win nothing from the sternness of his nature, so he ignored the neighbors, while he was barely civil to the landlord. The big roll of bills which, with something of a flourish, he produced from the pocket of his greasy overalls, settled ...
— The Just and the Unjust • Vaughan Kester

... in themselves, they seemed doubly so in that lonely room; and Henry was glad to lock the door and return to the comparatively living world downstairs. But from that moment old Mr. Lingard was transfigured in his eyes. Beneath all the sternness of his exterior, the grimness of the business interests which seemed to absorb him, Henry had discovered the blessed human spring. And he came too to wear a certain pathos and sanctity in Henry's eyes, as he remembered how old a man ...
— Young Lives • Richard Le Gallienne

... Mr. Pleydell," continued Lucy, "how much Miss Mannering and I were alarmed, when a ruffian, equally dreadful for his great strength, and the sternness of his features, rushed ...
— Guy Mannering • Sir Walter Scott

... uncertain will-power he hesitated a long time. He tried kindness and sternness and promises and threats. The Hollanders remained obstinate, and continued to sing psalms and listen to the sermons of their Lutheran and Calvinist preachers. Philip in his despair sent his "man of iron," the Duke of Alba, to bring these hardened sinners to terms. Alba began by ...
— The Story of Mankind • Hendrik van Loon

... Maddox raised the poet's head and Rankin poured the brandy into him. Rankin's hand was gentle, but there was a sternness about Maddox and his ministrations. And as the brandy brought the blood back to his brain, Rickman sat up on Rankin's bed, murmuring apologies that would have drawn pity from the nether mill-stone. But there was no sign of the tenderness that had warmed him when he came. ...
— The Divine Fire • May Sinclair

... Claude emerged from the hothouse it was dark. Glad of the opportunity of slipping away unobserved, he was hurrying toward the road when he found himself confronted by Jasper Fay. In the latter's voice there was a sternness that got its force from the fact that it ...
— The Side Of The Angels - A Novel • Basil King

... a prison. It is solidly, awfully suggestive of the sternness of its duty and of the hopelessness of its failing in it. It stands like a great fortress of the Middle Ages in a quadrangle of cheap brick and white dwelling-houses, and a few mean shops and tawdry saloons. It has the towers of a fortress, the pillars of an Egyptian temple; ...
— Van Bibber and Others • Richard Harding Davis

... volume of poems by a deaf-blind lady, Madame Bertha Galeron. Her poetry has versatility of thought. Now it is tender and sweet, now full of tragic passion and the sternness of destiny. Victor Hugo called her "La Grande Voyante." She has written several plays, two of which have been acted in Paris. The French Academy ...
— The World I Live In • Helen Keller

... cannot be fit to die, my child," said a voice above her; and, starting up, Kitty found herself confronted by a tall, fine-looking man, of about thirty years of age; his handsome face just now wearing an expression of sorrowful sternness as he fixed his eyes upon ...
— Outpost • J.G. Austin

... be,' said I with some sternness. 'Take the tiller and—yes, you may hold on to it with some firmness. Your ...
— Foe-Farrell • Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... not to go," Maria replied. Her tone was at once stern and pitiful. Evelyn noticed only her sternness. She ...
— By the Light of the Soul - A Novel • Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

... used to this kind of language at Bellwood School, Mr. Mace," observed the professor with dignity and sternness. "You will kindly desist from using the same and act like a gentleman, or leave ...
— The Boys of Bellwood School • Frank V. Webster

... it happened, scarcely had Phoebe's eyes rested again on the judge's countenance than all its ugly sternness vanished, and she found herself almost overpowered by the warm benevolence of his look. But the fantasy would not quit her that the original Puritan, of whom she had heard so many sombre traditions, had now stepped ...
— The World's Greatest Books, Volume V. • Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton, Eds.

... wilderness. These men had, and their sons and grandsons have retained, a passion for solitude that even to-day makes them desire to live many miles from any neighbour, a sturdy self-reliance, a grim courage in the face of danger, a sternness from which the native races have often had to suffer. The majesty of nature has not stimulated in them any poetical faculty. But her austerity, joined to the experiences of their race, has contributed to make them grave and serious, closely bound ...
— Impressions of South Africa • James Bryce

... those that curse us and despitefully use us. He taught the love of good for the sake of good, without regard to personal or sinister views, and made the affections of the heart the sole seat of morality, instead of the pride of the understanding or the sternness of the will. In answering the question, "who is our neighbour?" as one who stands in need of our assistance, and whose wounds we can bind up, he has done more to humanize the thoughts and tame the unruly passions, than all who have tried ...
— Hazlitt on English Literature - An Introduction to the Appreciation of Literature • Jacob Zeitlin

... too much for Norman's sternness; and he relented, at least as far as Mrs. Woodward was concerned. He wrote to say that though he was still weak, he was not dangerously ill; and that he intended, if nothing occurred amiss, to be in town about the end of the year. He hoped ...
— The Three Clerks • Anthony Trollope

... Gott" (Our God is a strong tower), that the Swedes sang as they advanced towards the enemy. The king had given orders to march straight on Lutzen. "He animated his men to the fight," says Richelieu, "with words that he had at command, whilst Wallenstein, by his mere presence and the sternness of his silence, seemed to let his men understand that, as he had been wont to do, he would reward them or chastise them, according as they did well or ill on that ...
— A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times - Volume V. of VI. • Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot

... which we see darkly is completely smashed for us," said father, with a curious sternness coming into his face that made me wonder. "But we must take Mr. Jeffries for a nearer inspection of our metropolis, be with Mrs. Sproul in time for luncheon and then help Mr. Goodloe open the institute ...
— The Heart's Kingdom • Maria Thompson Daviess

... perhaps the loveliest in Greece, with that peculiarly blent loveliness, in which, as at Florence, the expression of a luxurious lowland is duly checked by the severity of its mountain barriers. It was a type of the Dorian purpose in life—sternness, like sea-water infused into wine, overtaking a matter naturally rich, at the moment when fulness may lose its savour and expression. Amid the corn and oleanders—corn "so tall, close, and luxuriant," as the modern traveller there still finds—it was visible at last, Lacedaemon, koile Sparte, ...
— Plato and Platonism • Walter Horatio Pater

... you must leave this place, directly," I said, with as much sternness as I could assume. "If you please, I will ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 5, No. 28, February, 1860 • Various

... no response rewarded this courtesy—I was requested, by a stern-visaged Sister, to state my business. Her sternness was excusable. The visiting-hour was not yet, and in my unprofessional guise she had taken me for a visitor. My explanation dispelled her frowns. She was expecting me. Her present orderly had been granted three days' leave. He was preparing ...
— Observations of an Orderly - Some Glimpses of Life and Work in an English War Hospital • Ward Muir

... not have any to be spied out, Dolly," Faith answered, with some sternness, and a keen look at her sister, whose eyes fell beneath her gaze. "You will be sorry, when you think of what you said to me, who have done nothing whatever to offend you. But that is a trifle compared with acting unfairly to our father. Father is the kindest man that ever lived; ...
— Springhaven - A Tale of the Great War • R. D. Blackmore

... voice was wonderfully gentle, but deep; and slowest when most impassioned. He seemed to have come of some gigantic antediluvian breed: there was something of the Titan slumbering about him. He would have been a stern man, but for an unusual amount of reverence that seemed to overflood the sternness, and change it into strong love. No one had ever seen him thoroughly angry; his simple displeasure with any of the labourers, the quality of whose work was deficient, would go further ...
— David Elginbrod • George MacDonald

... purely natural impulse, disappeared in the expression of the earnest simplicity inherent in all his feelings. He met the grasp of his young friend with a squeeze as cordial as if no chord had jarred between them, and a slight sternness that had gathered about his eye disappeared in a look ...
— The Pathfinder - The Inland Sea • James Fenimore Cooper

... in such wild, gloomy fastnesses as the tremendous ravines of the Eastern Caucasus—men whose characters have been hardened and tempered in the hot fires of war and the vendetta—men who have the pride and fortitude of American Indians with the sternness and ferocity of Scandinavian Berserkers—should still be capable of appreciating and enjoying such anecdotes as "The Kettle that Died" and "The Big Turnip," and such popular tales as "The Hero Naznai." The fierce lust of war, which is perhaps the most salient feature ...
— Lippincott's Magazine, Vol. 22, November, 1878 - of Popular Literature and Science • Various

... has gone far enough," ruled the elder in a voice of finality, his amusement suddenly giving way once more to sternness. "I've listened to you because you seemed to be full of talk an' I was willin' to let you get it off your chest, but I don't need counsel from any cub of a boy. I'm nigh onto fifty years old an' I've run my family all these years. I had enough brains to get on with before you was born an' if you've ...
— Destiny • Charles Neville Buck

... ever been, not only the first, but the only object of his public action: and with this patriotic loyalty there mingled something of a personal feeling, more akin to romance in its paternal tenderness than seemed consistent with the granite-hewn strength and sternness of his general character. A thorough soldier, with a soldier's contempt for fine-spun diplomacy, he had been led into many a blunder when acting as a chief of party and of State; but his absolute single-minded ...
— Great Britain and Her Queen • Anne E. Keeling

... a face remarkable for intellect and firmness rather than for classical beauty of feature, though his features were strong and clearly cut; but to-night the sternness that sometimes marred them in the eyes of women was smoothed away. He looked young and ardent, almost boyish, like a man who has suddenly found an absorbing new interest ...
— The Princess Virginia • C. N. Williamson

... spire and vault, the architect translates emotion, vague perhaps but deep, mute but unmistakable. When we say that a building is sublime or graceful, frivolous or stern, we mean that sublimity or grace, frivolity or sternness, is inherent in it. The emotions connected with these qualities are inspired in us when we contemplate it, and are presented to us by its form. Whether the architect deliberately aimed at the sublime or graceful—whether the dignified serenity of the Athenian genius sought to express itself ...
— Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece • John Addington Symonds

... said Prince Edward, looking at him with a sorrowful reproachful sternness that went to his heart, "we have sent for you to answer for yourself, on a grave charge. You have heard of that which ...
— The Prince and the Page • Charlotte M. Yonge

... priest, rigid on the point of discipline, read her a passage from Saint-Francois de Sales on the duties of women in society, which dwelt on the decent gayety of pious Christian women, who were bound to reserve their sternness for themselves, and to be amiable and pleasing in their homes, and see that their neighbors enjoyed themselves. Thus, filled with a sense of duty, and wishing, at all costs, to obey her director, who bade her converse with amenity, the poor soul perspired in her ...
— An Old Maid • Honore de Balzac

... mounted the stairs he had a peculiar sense of the untoward; but he could not, in his view of life, give it countenance. One glance at Butler showed him that something had gone amiss. He was not so friendly; his glance was dark, and there was a certain sternness to his countenance which had never previously been manifested there in Cowperwood's memory. He perceived at once that here was something different from a mere intention to refuse him aid and call his loan. What was it? Aileen? It must ...
— The Financier • Theodore Dreiser

... allowed that, in this portrait, some of the darker features and harsher lineaments of Byron himself are very evident, but with a more fixed sternness than belonged to him; for it was only by fits that he could put on such severity. Conrad is, however, a higher creation than any which he had previously described. Instead of the listlessness of Childe Harold, he is active and enterprising; such as the noble pilgrim would have been, ...
— The Life of Lord Byron • John Galt

... said he, "my strength would become sternness. Nature gave me a despotic disposition. I have had, and have still, many times the greatest difficulty to control it; but with God's help I shall succeed! My Elise, we will improve ever. On the children's account, in order to make them happy, we will ...
— The Home • Fredrika Bremer

... such material talk," interrupted the sage with sternness. "Your spirit cried to mine, and I am here, let ...
— Lysbeth - A Tale Of The Dutch • H. Rider Haggard

... it happened that Kennedy was not that sort of man at all. Although admirably fitted by Nature for the part, he was not the typical quarterdeck tyrant and bully, but a genial, merry, great-hearted Irish-American of the very best stamp. He could, however, if occasion demanded it, display a sternness and severity of manner well calculated to subdue the most recklessly insubordinate of mariners. His voice was like the bellow of a bull, and could be heard from the taffrail to the flying jib-boom end in anything ...
— The First Mate - The Story of a Strange Cruise • Harry Collingwood

... her eyes got bright again, and she said, she would go directly and build a chapel with five windows in it; four for the four cardinal virtues, and one for humility, in the middle, bigger than the rest. And Neith very nearly laughed quite out, I thought; certainly her beautiful lips lost all their sternness for an instant; then she said, 'Well, love, build it, but do not put so many colours into your windows as you usually do; else no one will be able to see to read, inside: and when it is built, let a poor village priest consecrate it, and not an archbishop.' St. Barbara started a little, I thought, ...
— The Crown of Wild Olive • John Ruskin

... minutes, the conversation was begun by this ferocious chief, who, fixing his eye upon the lieutenant with a sternness of countenance not to be described, addressed him in these words: "D— my eyes! Hatchway, I always took you to be a better seaman than to overset our chaise in such fair weather. Blood! didn't I tell you we were running bump ashore, and bid you set in the ice-brace, and haul up a wind?"—"Yes," ...
— The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, Volume I • Tobias Smollett

... the Scottish barons, under men whose names became afterwards historical, such as John Balliol and Robert Bruce. Prince Edward, a master of the art of war, although still young, and already marked by that sternness of character which distinguished his latter days, was in chief command, and he pursued his devastating course through the Midlands. Nottingham and Leicester, whence his great opponent derived his title, opened their gates to him. He marched thence for London, ...
— The House of Walderne - A Tale of the Cloister and the Forest in the Days of the Barons' Wars • A. D. Crake

... other woman's tongue should be brought to speak of the man's softness and tender bearing! It was out of the question that Lady Laura Kennedy should appear. She did not even propose it when her brother with unnecessary sternness told her it could not be so. Then his wife looked at him. "You shall go," said Lord Chiltern, "if you feel equal to it. It seems to be nonsense, but they say that ...
— Phineas Redux • Anthony Trollope

... not it suits our conception of a God of love, it suits Scripture's conception of Him. For nothing is more clear—nay, is it not urged again and again, as a blot on Scripture?—that it reveals a God not merely of love, but of sternness; a God in whose eyes physical pain is not the worst of evils, nor animal life—too often miscalled human life—the most precious of objects; a God who destroys, when it seems fit to Him, and that wholesale, and seemingly without either pity or discrimination, ...
— Westminster Sermons - with a Preface • Charles Kingsley

... on the day he heard the dreadful secret of the fate which Philip of Spain and Francis of France were plotting for the Netherlands, the day that decided his future, and gave him his name of "William the Silent." Yet in spite of its melancholy, almost sternness, it won me as no pictured face of a man ...
— The Chauffeur and the Chaperon • C. N. Williamson

... that you shall not sow misery, yet reap gladness; that you shall not be selfish, yet be crowned with love; nor shall you sin, yet find safety in repentance. True, our creed is a stern one, stern with the beautiful sternness of Nature. But if we be in the right, look to yourselves; laws do not check their action for your ignorance; fire will not cease to scorch, because you 'did ...
— Annie Besant - An Autobiography • Annie Besant

... a soldier. He was in New Orleans in 1862 when an epidemic broke out, and devoted himself to the care of the victims. Having been accused of refusing to bury a Federal he was escorted by a file of soldiers into the presence of General Butler, who accosted him with great sternness: ...
— Literary Hearthstones of Dixie • La Salle Corbell Pickett

... time Arthur coaxed and reasoned with her; then finding that this did not avail, he changed the mode of treatment, and, placing a chair by his own, said to her commandingly, "Edith, sit here!" and she sat there, for there was that in Arthur's sternness which always ...
— Darkness and Daylight • Mary J. Holmes

... sketch this lady; but it occurs to him that even those who are ignorant of Sterne's system of "cognomology," cannot pronounce the three words "Madame de Listomere" without picturing her to themselves as noble and dignified, softening the sternness of rigid devotion by the gracious elegance and the courteous manners of the old monarchical regime; kind, but a little stiff; slightly nasal in voice; allowing herself the perusal of "La Nouvelle Heloise"; and still ...
— The Vicar of Tours • Honore de Balzac

... tenderness was one of her chief characteristics. Although she was a reformer by nature there was no sternness in her composition. Forgetfulness of others there was certainly sometimes, arising from her hopeless absent-mindedness and the preoccupation consequent upon her work; but her whole life was swayed and ruled by ...
— Authors and Friends • Annie Fields

... loomed beside her, and she look up to see Dick Percival, straight and big, with the electric light gleaming on his white shirt-front, where his overcoat fell back. There was an unpleasant sternness ...
— Jewel Weed • Alice Ames Winter

... In order to grow, love must not see its end; and she saw the end of ours, the setting of our sun of love. When I beheld you, I understood her words, which, until then, I had disputed with all my youth, with all the ardor of my desires, with the despotic sternness of twenty years. That grand and noble Camille mingled her tears with mine, and yet she firmly rejected the love she saw must end. Therefore I am free to love you here on earth and in the heaven above us, as we love God. If you loved me, you would have no such arguments as Camille ...
— Beatrix • Honore de Balzac

... Marshal, with a sternness of manner which till now he had never shown, "to screen yourself, you accused an innocent man; and by your vile arts would have driven him from Hereford, and have set two families for ever at variance, to conceal that you had stolen ...
— Tales & Novels, Vol. 2 • Maria Edgeworth

... sufferer, Mrs. Karnegie carried her to her bed. As she was laid down her left hand fell helpless over the side of the bed. Mrs. Karnegie suddenly checked the word of sympathy as it rose to her lips—suddenly lifted the hand, and looked, with a momentary sternness of scrutiny, at the third finger. There was a ring on it. Mrs. Karnegie's face softened on the instant: the word of pity that had been suspended the moment before passed her lips freely now. "Poor soul!" said the respectable ...
— Man and Wife • Wilkie Collins

... mademoiselle (whose eyes were no longer flashing with scorn, but regarding me with the same wonder I had seen in them before) did not speak, I said, if possible with greater sternness: ...
— The Rose of Old St. Louis • Mary Dillon

... himself; his dauntless spirit prompts him to engage in daring enterprises, and to insist on their being carried out. And this is certain, that where things hard to execute are ordered to be done, the order must be enforced with sternness, since, ...
— Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius • Niccolo Machiavelli

... do nothing but promise, and not another sentence could she obtain from her brother, indeed his face looked so formidable in its sternness, that she would have been a bold maiden ...
— Hopes and Fears - scenes from the life of a spinster • Charlotte M. Yonge

... and grow hoary under the mark, conspicuous both to foes and friends. By these, in every engagement, the attack is begun: they compose the front line, presenting a new spectacle of terror. Even in peace they do not relax the sternness of their aspect. They have no house, land, or domestic cares: they are maintained by whomsoever they visit: lavish of another's property, regardless of their own; till the debility of age renders them unequal to such a rigid ...
— The Germany and the Agricola of Tacitus • Tacitus

... there is a story—obviously founded on fact—of a fight between a British sloop-of-war and a slaver that gives a vivid idea of the desperation with which the outlaws could fight. But sometimes the odds were hopeless, and the slaver could not hope to escape by force of arms or by flight. Then the sternness of the law, together with a foolish rule concerning the evidence necessary to convict, resulted in the murder of the slaves, not by ones or twos, but by scores, and even hundreds, at a time. For it was the unwise ruling of the ...
— American Merchant Ships and Sailors • Willis J. Abbot

... into the magistrate's study and directed to stand right opposite the light, while Mr. Landale installed himself in an arm-chair with a blood-curdling air of judicial sternness, Johnny Shearman, at most times as dare-devil a pickle of a boy as ever ran, but now reduced to a state of mental and physical jelly, underwent a terrible cross-examination. It was comparatively little that ...
— The Light of Scarthey • Egerton Castle

... reserved than free, though they partook nothing of that dryness and sternness which accompany reserve when carried to an extreme; and on all proper occasions he could relax sufficiently to show how highly he was gratified by the charms of conversation and the pleasures of society. His person and whole deportment exhibited an unaffected and indescribable ...
— Washington and the American Republic, Vol. 3. • Benson J. Lossing

... down at the waist like a top, which had set off a silk coat to perfection and soured the beaus with envy. His movements, however, had all the decision of a man of action and of force. But his eye it was took possession of me—an unfathomable, dark eye, which bore more toward melancholy than sternness, and yet had something of both. He wore a clean, ruffled shirt, an exceeding neat coat and breeches of blue broadcloth, with plate burnished buttons, and white cotton stockings. Truly, this was a person to make one look twice, ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... the wide stone steps in the early gloom and going through the bare echoing hall, he joined the complacent mothers ranged in chairs pushed against the wall in a spirit of interested attention. The Armory, following the general literal interpretation of the sternness of military usage, was gaunt, with a wide yellow floor and walls of unconcealed brick. In a far corner, on a temporary and unpainted platform, the pianist sat with her hands raised, her wrists rigid, preparatory to the next demand upon her ...
— Cytherea • Joseph Hergesheimer

... comparative stranger in Carleton, having but recently purchased the factories from the heirs of the previous owner; but he had been in charge long enough to establish a reputation for sternness and inflexibility ...
— Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1896 to 1901 • Lucy Maud Montgomery

... Gneisenau, the former pre-eminent in organization, the latter in strategy. After organizing Prussia's citizen army, it was Scharnhorst's fate to be mortally wounded in the first battle; but his place, as chief of staff, was soon filled by Gneisenau, in whose nature the sternness of the warrior was happily blended with the coolness of the scientific thinker. The accord between him and Bluecher was close and cordial; and the latter, on receiving the degree of doctor of laws from the University of Oxford, wittily acknowledged ...
— The Life of Napoleon I (Volumes, 1 and 2) • John Holland Rose

... and fuller manhood, as if the great arteries of the vast universal world-life pulsed in his own being. The drowsy, indolent existence at home appeared like a dull remote dream from which he had awaked, and he blessed the destiny which, by its very sternness, had mercifully saved him; he blessed her, too, who, from the very want of love for him, had, perhaps, made ...
— Short Story Classics (American) Vol. 2 • Various

... him. Winter had been compliant and apparently anxious to sell, but there was something puzzling about his partner. Baumstein got a hint of sternness that he did not like. For all that, bluff paid when one dealt with ...
— Partners of the Out-Trail • Harold Bindloss

... come. His waking and all that had happened to him had much of nightmare grotesquery about it, but there was no grotesquery or no appearance of jesting about that man who had guided him to the place in which he now found himself. There was a calm, impassive, unemotional sternness about all that he said and did—official, automatonlike—that precluded the possibility of any jest or meaningless form. This must indeed be the water of death, and his soul told him that ...
— Shapes that Haunt the Dusk • Various

... sternness gave Doris hope that she might be saved the details that were like poison in ...
— The Shield of Silence • Harriet T. Comstock

... inform you that such would be the case?" I replied, with assumed sternness of voice and manner. The boot was on the other leg, and I was not slow in ...
— Off-Hand Sketches - a Little Dashed with Humor • T. S. Arthur

... being offered to Mr George Sampson, who had not the courage to come out for single combat, but lurked with his chest under the table and his eyes cast down, Mrs Wilfer proceeded, in a voice of increasing sternness and impressiveness, until she should force that skulker to give himself up. 'Mamma would appear to have had an indefinable foreboding of what afterwards happened, for she would frequently urge upon me, "Not a little man. Promise me, my child, not a little man. Never, never, never, marry ...
— Our Mutual Friend • Charles Dickens

... small license fee. This favor was taken away in 1870, for the alleged reason that American captains failed to procure licenses, and in the course of this year many of our ships were seized and confiscated. New sternness had been imparted to the provincial policy by the Canadian Act of Confederation, valid from July I, 1867, which joined Ontario and Quebec with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, thus inspiring our neighbors to the north with a new sense of ...
— History of the United States, Volume 4 • E. Benjamin Andrews

... pushed back his chair and rose, recapitulating. "He is your mother's destroyer," he said, with a sad sternness. "Is the ruin of that fair life to go ...
— The Lion's Skin • Rafael Sabatini

... that, a little better than you could lay your hand in his and promise to be his wife, I should think!" said the other, and there was even some sternness in her tone. ...
— Shoulder-Straps - A Novel of New York and the Army, 1862 • Henry Morford

... one to another—my father's stern old face strove in vain to keep its sternness; his mouth quivered, his eyes filled ...
— The Half-Brothers • Elizabeth Gaskell

... slumber. Her mind was a barren waste, exhibiting no rich, luxuriant verdure, diversified only by a few outward accomplishments, which served to please the fancy of the stronger sex. The Spartan woman, distinguished for her sternness of character and warlike disposition, looked with shame upon a son who could return from battle unless victorious, ever teaching him, from his earliest infancy, "to conquer, or to die on the battle-field." All the gentle and amiable qualities of ...
— Our Gift • Teachers of the School Street Universalist Sunday School, Boston

... while he read it. First he grew pale, then a shadow came over his face, and then another, and another, darker and darker, shade upon shade, as if an exhalation from the pit was momentarily blackening the air about him. He said nothing; there was but one long, gentle sigh, and in his face a mortal sternness, as he folded the letter again, replaced it, and locked ...
— The Evil Guest • J. Sheridan Le Fanu

... go this time?" said Wibberly, quite bewildered by this unexpected sternness on the part ...
— The Willoughby Captains • Talbot Baines Reed

... dull sighs from his chest 5 Against his will the stifling load revealing, Though Nature forced; though like some captive guest, Some royal prisoner at his conqueror's feast, An alien's restless mood but half concealing, The sternness on his gentle brow confessed, 10 Sickness within and miserable feeling: Though obscure pangs made curses of his dreams, And dreaded sleep, each night repelled in vain, Each night was scattered by its own loud screams: Yet never could his ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Vol I and II • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

... brow, his eyes travelled from the clock in the corner to a photograph on the mantel-shelf—the photograph of a man's face, dark, haughty, beautiful, yet repellent in its beauty, and with a certain hard sternness in its outline—the face of Theos Alwyn. From this portrait his glance wandered to the table, where, amid a picturesque litter of books and papers, lay a square, simply bound volume, with an ivory leaf-cutter thrust in it to mark ...
— Ardath - The Story of a Dead Self • Marie Corelli

... apparently for me to speak. When he looked up again, the whole expression of his face had changed. His features were firm and set, and he changed the air of half levity with which he had spoken before for one of sternness and almost ferocity. ...
— The Captain of the Pole-Star and Other Tales • Arthur Conan Doyle

... one goes there in summer. I must see them now. There's no time like it; in their drapery of snow and ice; in the sternness and solitude, the ...
— The Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine, February 1844 - Volume 23, Number 2 • Various

... appear in all likenesses of him, that a stranger could not be mistaken in the man; he was remarkably dignified in his manners, and had an air of benignity over his features which his visitant did not expect, being rather prepared for sternness of countenance.... his smile was extraordinarily attractive. It was observed to me that there was an expression in Washington's face that no painter had succeeded in taking. It struck me no man could be better formed for command. A stature of six feet, a robust, but well-proportioned frame, calculated ...
— The True George Washington [10th Ed.] • Paul Leicester Ford

... left some little deal behind there. In all her face was a look half piteous, as though she craved the love of folk; but yet both mirth and swift thought brake through it at whiles, and sober wisdom shaded it into something like sternness. Low-bosomed she was yet, and thin-flanked, and had learned no tricks and graces of movement such as women of towns and great houses use for the beguiling of men. But the dear simpleness of her body in these days when the joy of childhood had left ...
— The Sundering Flood • William Morris

... countenance as they ascended the hill to Wolf's Crag. When they stood in front of that ancient fortress, Ravenswood's emotions were of a very complicated description; and as he led the way into the rude courtyard, and hallooed to Caleb to give attendance, there was a tone of sternness, almost of fierceness, which seemed somewhat alien from the courtesies of one who is receiving ...
— Bride of Lammermoor • Sir Walter Scott

... MacNair different from other men. Just and stern beyond his years, with a sternness that was firmness rather than severity; slow to anger, but once his anger was fairly aroused terrible in meting out his vengeance. Yet, withal, possessed of an understanding and a depth of sympathy, entirely ...
— The Gun-Brand • James B. Hendryx

... Grace!" She began to cough again; the paroxysm increased in vehemence. She caught her handkerchief from her lips; it was spotted with blood. She sprang to her feet, and regarded it with impersonal sternness. "Now," she said, "I am sick, ...
— Henry James, Jr. • William Dean Howells

... weep: for not only do my thoughts on subjects connected with the chief interests of man daily, nay hourly, descend a thousand fathoms "too deep for tears;" not only does the sternness of my habits of thought present an antagonism to the feelings which prompt tears—wanting of necessity to those who, being protected usually by their levity from any tendency to meditative sorrow, would by that same levity be made incapable ...
— Confessions of an English Opium-Eater • Thomas De Quincey

... for a moment. Then, lifting up his head, and gazing at the professor with a sort of sternness ...
— The Dweller on the Threshold • Robert Smythe Hichens

... was alone, seated before a rough table with his head upon his hand, and he did not stir until De Lacy stood directly before him. Then raising his eyes he fastened them intently upon the young Knight's face, though without sternness. ...
— Beatrix of Clare • John Reed Scott

... should never have attained to our present proud position of being allowed to write for (and be printed in) the "Atlantic Monthly," without much previous polish, through the companionship of the fairer sex. Why was it made a crime worthy of Draconian sternness to address our she-comrades in the pleasant paths of learning? Why did we behold the severe Magister Morum himself, in utter forgetfulness of his own rule, mingle in the mazy dance on an evening occasion, at which we were allowed to sit up? Did the girls of a larger growth lose their dangerous ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume V, Number 29, March, 1860 - A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics • Various

... decision, sternness, defiant ultimatums, win out with him. As long as Gard had tried to make himself agreeable in the affair of the Court ball, his efforts were misunderstood and he became a handball buffeted about for the superior convenience of others. As soon as he finally stiffened up and mentally told ...
— Villa Elsa - A Story of German Family Life • Stuart Henry

... Guitry glanced at his companion's profile, for the night was no longer inky black. It was a simple direct young face, not handsome, but full of dignity and kindness; the line of the jaw had a certain sternness, and the wide and delicately molded nostril ...
— Defenders of Democracy • Militia of Mercy

... little pearl-grey kid, redolent of Lubin's "violet," and spread out the almost childishly small fingers on his own broad palm, which suddenly closed over it like a vice; then with a half smile of strange tenderness, in which all the stony sternness of lips and chin seemed steeped and melted, he drew the glove softly, ...
— Infelice • Augusta Jane Evans Wilson

... motion, in her extended hand, in the sightless effect of her grey eyes luminous in the half-light. He had never seen such an expression in her face before. It had dreaminess in it, intense attention, and something like sternness. Arrested in the doorway by Heyst's extended arm, she seemed to wake up, flushed faintly—and this flush, passing off, carried away with it the strange transfiguring mood. With a courageous gesture she pushed back the heavy masses of her hair. The light ...
— Victory • Joseph Conrad

... conscientious objector, are all touched lightly, tactfully, and with a kindly humour that saves the book from its very obvious danger of becoming pedantic. In his brief preface Mr. CHAPMAN has crystallised very happily into a couple of words his ideal for the British attitude towards the War—buoyant sternness. It is the reflection of that quality in its pages that gives this little book ...
— Punch, 1917.07.04, Vol. 153, Issue No. 1 • Various

... "Obey! Obey!" with sternness she commands The high, the low, in great or little lands. She folds us all within her ample gown. A forward act is met ...
— Mother Earth, Vol. 1 No. 4, June 1906 - Monthly Magazine Devoted to Social Science and Literature • Various

... was still alive when this letter was published in Darwin's Life, the authorship of the review was not actually mentioned; but it is necessary to mention it, as it justifies the sternness with which Huxley exposed Owen on an occasion shortly to be described. The review in the Quarterly was written by Wilberforce, the Bishop of Oxford, in July, 1860, and almost at once the authorship of it became known to Darwin's friends. In connection with this, Huxley wrote in ...
— Thomas Henry Huxley; A Sketch Of His Life And Work • P. Chalmers Mitchell

... souls in hell were represented as recognizing that they could not be good except under torture, but that while suffering the purifying actions of the flames of hell they so realized the beauty of holiness that they submitted willingly to their agony and praised God for the sternness of his judgment. This poem gave me decided physical pleasure, yet I know that if my hand were held in a fire for five minutes I should feel nothing but the pain of the burning. To get the feeling of pleasure, too, I must, for the ...
— Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 3 (of 6) • Havelock Ellis

... have ceased to toll, and a family group come slowly up the aisle. Dr. Kennedy, slightly bent, his white hair shading a brow from which much of his former sternness has gone, and his hand shaking but slightly as he opens the pew door and then steps back for the lady to enter, the lady Maude Glendower, who walks not as proudly as of old. She, too, has been made better by adversity, and though she will never love the palsied ...
— Cousin Maude • Mary J. Holmes

... to forget that you have ever addressed me by that name, or that any relationship exists between us, Mr. Eversleigh," answered Sir Oswald, with unaltered sternness. "Sit down, if you please. Our interview is likely to be ...
— Run to Earth - A Novel • M. E. Braddon

... admirable and truly Wordsworthian poem of Michael, he spares us a sermon and leaves us the story. Then, he is apt to wear a somewhat stiff-cut garment of solemnity, when not solemnity, but either sternness or sadness, which are so different things, would seem the fitter mood. In truth Wordsworth hardly knows how to be stern, as Dante or Milton was stern; nor has he the note of plangent sadness which strikes the ear in men as morally ...
— Studies in Literature • John Morley

... my dear Lady Diana," he said, in his tender, Irish voice, from which all sternness had vanished. "It is only that we are looking for Miss Poole, and we thought that possibly she might ...
— Blue Aloes - Stories of South Africa • Cynthia Stockley

... By way of keeping him quiet, he was set to copy out Barrow's sermons. It is difficult to understand how the sternest disciplinarian, being human, could have treated his own motherless boy with such severity. The Archdeacon acted, no doubt, upon a theory, the theory that sternness to children is the truest kindness in ...
— The Life of Froude • Herbert Paul

... began, about twelve, to use their minds (an epoch at which they ceased to laugh at Schmucke) they divined the secret of the cares that lined their father's forehead, and they recognized beneath that mask of sternness the relics of a kind heart and a fine character. They vaguely perceived how he had yielded to the forces of religion in his household, disappointed as he was in his hopes of a husband, and wounded in the tenderest ...
— A Daughter of Eve • Honore de Balzac

... a little careful about getting him excited," he said at last, evasively. "You had better get along as easy as you can with him." The doctor's manner implied more than his words; he had his own opinion of Deborah Thayer's sternness of rule, and he had ...
— Pembroke - A Novel • Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

... The Poilu, feeling an effort to be necessary, for the Good God has never relaxed His sternness throughout, becomes eloquent. Not only was he killed, but before that, he says, he suffered much. The hardships of war on the Western front are terrible. He had been famished, he had been frozen, he had been burned by the sun. He had been sleepless, he had been footsore, and the sweat had ...
— A Boswell of Baghdad - With Diversions • E. V. Lucas

... want to shoot you," said the girl presently, and, through her voice's persistent sternness, Gavin fancied he could read a thrill of very feminine concern. "I don't want to shoot you. If I can help it. You will put ...
— Black Caesar's Clan • Albert Payson Terhune

... the Armenians cannot boast of as vast a literature as the Persians, their one-time conquerors, but that which remains of purely Armenian prose, folk-lore, and poetry tells us of a poetic race, gifted with imaginative fire, sternness of will, and persistency of adherence to old ideas, a race that in proportion to their limited production in letters can challenge ...
— Armenian Literature • Anonymous

... Thomas Stevenson remains; what we have lost, what we now rather try to recall, is the friend and companion. He was a man of a somewhat antique strain: with a blended sternness and softness that was wholly Scottish, and at first somewhat bewildering; with a profound essential melancholy of disposition and (what often accompanies it) the most humorous geniality in company; shrewd and childish; passionately attached, ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume 9 • Robert Louis Stevenson

... Color, and Number, and the latter he located in the position which belongs to Order. These organs were but little developed in Gall, whose great success was due to his philosophic originality and independence. He was not a close observer, and there was a sternness in his nature which prevented him from accepting readily the suggestions of Spurzheim, who with less boldness of character and greater accuracy of perception, was better fitted for minute observation and anatomical analysis. His own cranium ...
— Buchanan's Journal of Man, October 1887 - Volume 1, Number 9 • Various

... wanting to himself in this dread hour: but what avails it? We omit the passionate expostulations, entreaties, indignations, since all was vain, and not even an explanation was conceded him; and hasten to the catastrophe. '"Farewell, then, Madam!" said he, not without sternness, for his stung pride helped him. She put her hand in his, she looked in his face, tears started to her eyes: in wild audacity he clasped her to his bosom; their lips were joined, their two souls, like two dew-drops, rushed into one,—for the first time, and for ...
— Sartor Resartus, and On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History • Thomas Carlyle

... time Honor had risen also; a line of sternness hardening her beautiful mouth. Beneath her sustained cheerfulness lay a passionate temper; and Evelyn's unexpected attack stung it fiercely into life. Several seconds passed before she ...
— Captain Desmond, V.C. • Maud Diver

... the salon, and his sombre eyes passed from the Marquis to Mademoiselle. As they rested upon her some of the sternness seemed to fade from their glance. He found in her a change almost as great as that which she had found in him. The lighthearted, laughing girl of nineteen, who had scorned his proffered love when he had wooed her that April morning ...
— The Trampling of the Lilies • Rafael Sabatini

... children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation." But someone will say, This is terrible. It is terrible; but the question is, Does the Bible speak the truth about nature? Is nature a "fairy godmother," or does she bring men up with sternness and inflict suffering upon the innocent children, if necessary, lest they copy after their sinful parents? Do the children of the defaulter and drunkard and debauchee suffer because of the sins of their father, or do they not? If the blessings ...
— The Whence and the Whither of Man • John Mason Tyler

... Catholic, for instance, though his father and mother may be the sternest Protestants. He cannot help it; it is his nature! And you"—she looked up at him with infinite tenderness in her brown eyes,—"you were born a Presbyterian, dear; you can't help it. Perhaps you need the sternness and the horror of some of the doctrines as a balance for your gentleness. I never knew any one as ...
— John Ward, Preacher • Margaret Deland

... there was need of sternness. Moral life and death were in the balance. If the Scots people were to be told that the crimes which roused their indignation were excusable, or beyond punishment, or to be hushed up and slipped over in any ...
— Health and Education • Charles Kingsley

... gleamed the Flamingo Feather that proclaimed the station in life to which he was born. His handsome figure, proud face, and fearless bearing caused the members of the council to regard him with approving glances, and it was with less of sternness in his tone than usual that, after the door ...
— The Flamingo Feather • Kirk Munroe



Words linked to "Sternness" :   severity, unpermissiveness, rigourousness, hardness, rigorousness, asperity, restrictiveness, grimness, rigour, rigor, harshness, strictness, stern, inclemency, hardship, stiffness, Puritanism, severeness



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