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Vain   /veɪn/   Listen
Vain

adjective
(compar. vainer; superl. vainest)
1.
Characteristic of false pride; having an exaggerated sense of self-importance.  Synonyms: conceited, egotistic, egotistical, self-conceited, swollen, swollen-headed.  "An attitude of self-conceited arrogance" , "An egotistical disregard of others" , "So swollen by victory that he was unfit for normal duty" , "Growing ever more swollen-headed and arbitrary" , "Vain about her clothes"
2.
Unproductive of success.  Synonyms: bootless, fruitless, futile, sleeveless.  "Futile years after her artistic peak" , "A sleeveless errand" , "A vain attempt"



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"Vain" Quotes from Famous Books



... and the love of the ever blessed Trinity, shown forth in Christ upon His cross, we can cast ourselves with all our sins; we can cry to Him, and not in vain, for forgiveness and for sanctification; for a clean heart and a right spirit; and that we may become holy and humble men of heart. We can join our feeble praises to that hymn of praise which goes up for ever to God from suns and stars, ...
— All Saints' Day and Other Sermons • Charles Kingsley

... his religion, and his reasoning faculties. With an astonishing composure he settled his affairs with both worlds. He never seemed to feel any remorse, or to reproach his conscience with the guilt of suicide. In vain had they entreated him to accept of this place. In a fatal moment he consented: after this, he never had a moment's peace, and little or no sleep; this brought on a slow nervous fever, but not to confine ...
— Letters of Horace Walpole, V4 • Horace Walpole

... you let me tell you what manner of man you have shown us that you are? You have exhibited yourself to us as a mean fellow, querulous, passionate, cowardly, finding fault with everything, blaming everybody, never quiet, vain: this is what you have exhibited to us. Go away now and read Archedamus; then if a mouse should leap down and make a noise, you are a dead man. For such a death awaits you as it did—what was the man's ...
— A Selection from the Discourses of Epictetus With the Encheiridion • Epictetus

... And when we reflect to what a high station he had been called whilst yet a boy; with what important commissions he had been intrusted; how much fortune seems to have done to spoil him by pride and vain-glory from his earliest youth, this page of our national records seems to set him high among the princes of the world; not so much as an undaunted warrior and triumphant hero, as the conqueror of himself, the example ...
— Henry of Monmouth, Volume 1 - Memoirs of Henry the Fifth • J. Endell Tyler

... forgotten, Mr. Yorke, that Vain-Confidence, not seeing the way before him, fell into a deep pit, which was on purpose there made by the prince of the grounds, to catch vainglorious fools withal, and was dashed ...
— Shirley • Charlotte Bronte

... now? The answer did not come to the watchers who with straining eyes strove to make out the long, low, dark hull, the one mast, and the dwarfed and massive funnel, but strove in vain. ...
— Fitz the Filibuster • George Manville Fenn

... but in vain to grieve, The Deed it was done and past; Poor Robin was born to carry the Horn, For Peggy could not ...
— Wit and Mirth: or Pills to Purge Melancholy, Vol. 5 of 6 • Various

... to be in a position to intercept that? When beloved spirits pass it would be cold-blooded desecration; and public opinion has still to be educated up to psychical vivisection! I have myself tried in vain to initiate such education. I have applied for perfectly private admission to hospital deathbeds, even to the execution-shed in prisons. My applications have been ...
— The Camera Fiend • E.W. Hornung

... pain. Although she knew too well the cause of my father's harshness to me, and felt most acutely the reason of his ill humour, which she herself had sometimes partaken of, and had borne in silence, yet she dreaded the effect of my leaving home. However, all her expostulations were in vain; I had made my resolve, and that once done with me, even then, nothing but death would have deterred me from carrying it into effect. Having dressed myself, I saddled my father's favourite horse, as he had taken mine, and having mounted him, I was twenty miles on my road ...
— Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. Volume 1 • Henry Hunt

... and other comforts to them. Her father declared, with a laugh, that she ought to have been a Sister of Charity, and did not notice the fact that all Diana's pensioners resided in the vicinity of Champdoce. But it was in vain that she wandered about, continually changing the hour of her visits. The "Savage of Champdoce" was not to be seen, nor was he even a regular attendant at Mass. At last a mere trifle changed the whole current of the young man's existence; ...
— The Champdoce Mystery • Emile Gaboriau

... neighbour, whom they might perhaps never see, but whose presence was nevertheless a danger. Conjectures were made about the strange vessel; it became a subject of conversation, a sort of company for them; all longing to see her, strained their eyes in vain efforts to pierce those impalpable ...
— An Iceland Fisherman • Pierre Loti

... worship of these spirits by religious rites and sacrifices, and concurs with the idolatry which was established in his time. St. Francis Xavier had made the conversion of China the object of his zealous wishes; but died, like another Moses, in sight of it. His religious brethren long attempted in vain to gain admittance into that country; but the jealousy of the inhabitants refused entrance to all strangers. However, God was pleased, at the repeated prayers of his servants, to crown them with success. The Portuguese made a settlement ...
— The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints - January, February, March • Alban Butler

... (I take the bold step of calling it iron, on account of its strength), that in this case the long arm will reach, and the strong arm will strike.—This is our Cathedral, sir. The best judges are pleased to admire it, and the best among our townsmen own to being a little vain of it.' ...
— The Mystery of Edwin Drood • Charles Dickens

... they loved Christmas time, pleasure, the spring sun. And when little Ruster came, their Christmas peace was destroyed. They had worked in vain if he was coming to tempt away their master. It was unjust that the drunkard should sit at the Christmas table in a happy house ...
— Invisible Links • Selma Lagerlof

... the parlor Anson Kirkpatrick, Marshall Field's man, was at the piano, playing airs from a musical comedy then running in Chicago. He was a dapper little Irishman, very vain, homely as a monkey, with friends everywhere, and a sweetheart in every port, like a sailor. I did not know all the men who were sitting about, but I recognized a furniture salesman from Kansas City, a drug man, and Willy O'Reilly, who traveled for a jewelry ...
— My Antonia • Willa Sibert Cather

... Jocelyn had decided that, for Mildred's sake, the coming summer must be spent at Saratoga. In vain her husband had told her that he did not see how it was possible. She ...
— Without a Home • E. P. Roe

... mute, And after is evil cheer: She shall stand on the shore and cry in vain, Many and many ...
— Poems • William D. Howells

... required to lead off in the different branches of business, or to prosecute the sciences. I can see no wisdom in bestowing talents upon them which they never use, and it is often said that 'nothing is made in vain.'" ...
— From Boyhood to Manhood • William M. Thayer

... should be tarred on my back, to which latter most humane notion, the fair Agnes subscribed, averring that she was resolved upon my deserving my sobriquet of Dirk Hatteraick. My wrath was now the master even of deadly sickness. I got upon my knees, and having in vain tried to reach my legs, I struggled aft. In this posture did I reach the quarter-deck. What my intention precisely was in this excursion, I have no notion of now, but I have some very vague idea, that I meant to re-enact the curse of Kehama ...
— The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer, Complete • Charles James Lever (1806-1872)

... felt quite proud to exchange bows with him, in the company of Madame. Besides, he walked for the sake of walking, and he did so almost in silence, stiff and deformed in his Sunday clothes, dragging along his feet, and looking silly and vain. It made Therese suffer to be seen arm in arm with such ...
— Therese Raquin • Emile Zola

... began to roar, and before long the trenches were completely pulverized—the very trenches that thousands of Germans and Austrians had died in vain attempts to carry by assault. The Thirty-eighth Hungarian Honved Division were sent to finish the work of clearance and take possession of Stryj. The entire Russian line withdrew to the Dniester, step by ...
— The Story of the Great War, Volume V (of 12) - Neuve Chapelle, Battle of Ypres, Przemysl, Mazurian Lakes • Francis J. Reynolds, Allen L. Churchill, and Francis Trevelyan

... give utterance to dissatisfaction or objection, express a sense of wrong or ill treatment. One complains of a real or assumed grievance; he may murmur through mere peevishness or ill temper; he repines, with vain distress, at the irrevocable or the inevitable. Complaining is by speech or writing; murmuring is commonly said of half-repressed utterance; repining of the mental act alone. One may complain of an offense to the offender or to others; he remonstrates ...
— English Synonyms and Antonyms - With Notes on the Correct Use of Prepositions • James Champlin Fernald

... by allowing some time for consideration, might be effected with the concurrence of those learned bodies, and in a much better form, and to much better purpose, than if they were made reluctantly to act under the compulsion of a statute. That hope, however, was vain. Before the bill was brought in, the sentiments of the great mass in the two universities were fully expressed. It was soon discovered that the sixty-three petitioners at Cambridge, by offending the honest principles of many, and the party-spirit of others, had raised a storm ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.III. - From George III. to Victoria • E. Farr and E. H. Nolan

... of our constituents. It is not to be supposed that they will object to make such comparatively inconsiderable sacrifices for the preservation of rights and privileges which other less favored portions of the world have in vain waded through ...
— Complete State of the Union Addresses from 1790 to the Present • Various

... helping the poor, nursing the sick, and pleading with the people to guard themselves against the evils of intemperance, make his life a beneficent example to the young, and lay it down at last with the precious reflection that it had not been lived in vain. He ended by saying that his reform should begin at this moment, even here in the presence of death, since no longer time was to be vouchsafed wherein to prosecute it to men's help and benefit—and with that he threw away the ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... or gesture, or expression, he took to heart and profited by. With almost passionate earnestness he sought to be worthy of her. Fighting, climbing, struggling upward, he closed his eyes to the awful depth to which he would fall if his quest were vain. ...
— Sandy • Alice Hegan Rice

... in vain. From the rear of a near-by house little Maggie appeared. A dirty, faded old shawl was wrapped about her tiny waist, hiding her bare feet and trailing behind. A sorry wreck of a hat trimmed with three chicken feathers crowned her uncombed hair, and the ragged remnants of a pair of black cotton gloves ...
— Helen of the Old House • Harold Bell Wright

... throughout interlaced with the schoolmen's controversies, made a great hardness in the author's own book, in that tongue wherein otherwise he is both plentiful and easy, insomuch that it sufficeth not to read him once, unless you can be content to read in vain." Then follows Norton's estimate of the translator's duty in such a case: "I durst not presume to warrant myself to have his meaning without his words. And they that wot well what it is to translate well and faithfully, ...
— Early Theories of Translation • Flora Ross Amos

... down towards us and followed it. Just, however, as he was approaching, cuscus let go his hold, hanging down by his tail. It was a fatal manoeuvre, for Macco's noose was immediately let drop, and quickly drawn over the head of poor cuscus, who in vain tried to liberate himself with his claws. He was now a captive, and Macco, keeping the noose tight, descended the tree. Cuscus held on by his long prehensile tail; but Macco pulled and pulled, and down the animal came with a flop to the ground. His claws were so sharp, that it was ...
— In the Eastern Seas • W.H.G. Kingston

... good, they will do no harm At the most, but patch you up, and prop you a little Attribute facility of belief to simplicity and ignorance Attribute to itself; all the happy successes that happen Authority of the number and antiquity of the witnesses Authority to be dissected by the vain fancies of men Authority which a graceful presence and a majestic mien beget Avoid all magnificences that will in a short time be forgotten Away with that eloquence that enchants us with itself Away with this violence! away with this compulsion! Bashfulness is an ...
— Quotes and Images From The Works of Michel De Montaigne • Michel De Montaigne

... within him and around him, enveloping him like choke-damp, like thick Egyptian darkness, thrown his soul into asphyxia, as it were extinguished his soul; so that he sees not, hears not, and Moses and all the Prophets address him in vain. ...
— Past and Present - Thomas Carlyle's Collected Works, Vol. XIII. • Thomas Carlyle

... Education comprehends also the reciprocal action of the opposites, authority and obedience, rationality and individuality, work and play, habit and spontaneity. If we imagine that these can be reconciled by rules, it will be in vain that we try to restrain the youth in these relations. But a failure in education in this particular is very possible through the freedom of the pupil, through special circumstances, or through the errors of the educator himself. And for this ...
— Pedagogics as a System • Karl Rosenkranz

... widen its breadth, There'll be room for two, you'll not come in vain, And over the darkness of weeping and death, We'll be ...
— Victor Roy, A Masonic Poem • Harriet Annie Wilkins

... now completely filled the feverish fancy of the child. With ruthless power he possesses himself of the boy—all opposition is vain—the silver cord is loosened. Once more he cries out in fear to his father, then his eyes are closed. The man, beside himself, strains every nerve—his own and his horse's; his haste is like a wild flight. ...
— How to Sing - [Meine Gesangskunst] • Lilli Lehmann

... immensely strengthened by the influence of love. Whatever, therefore, a mother wishes her child to be—whether a sincere, honest Christian, submissive to God's will and conscientious in the discharge of every duty, or proud, vain, deceitful, hypocritical, and pharisaical—she has only to be either the one or the other herself, and without any special teaching her child will be pretty sure to be a ...
— Gentle Measures in the Management and Training of the Young • Jacob Abbott

... complete knowledge of the facts—at once from my official position, and from the place of eminence in the affairs of the district generally which my family has held for many generations—by what citizen-like virtues and unblemished integrity I will not be vain enough to specify. Nor is it necessary; for no one who knows Semur can be ignorant of the position held by the Dupins, from father to son. The estate La Clairiere has been so long in the family that we might very well, were we disposed, add its ...
— A Beleaguered City • Mrs. Oliphant

... be literally its first voyage. Harry and Walter had tried the green tub that belonged to the nursery, but in vain. It was not nearly long enough. Cook would not let them try the fixed tubs in the laundry, and it was very doubtful if even they would ...
— The Good Ship Rover • Robina F. Hardy

... would take it for himself, as so many deceived men from the beginning of time have taken the truths of women, thinking "All this is for me." She looked long at herself, and she rejoiced in the vital change that had come over her, and, rejoicing, she came to the resolve of a vain woman. She must exert all her will to keep with her this Indian summer. She must school her nature, govern her passions, drill her mind to accept with serenity what was to come—dulness, delay, the long fatigues of playing a part, the ennui of tent ...
— Bella Donna - A Novel • Robert Hichens

... I read aloud several times to the miners, and their longing to return sooner to a world where they could get the rest of the volume became so strong, that, as I was about to begin my fifth reading, they consented to an expedient of escape which I had already proposed once or twice in vain. This was to blow us out by means of the fire-damp. The result of the experiment I cannot yet fully report, as some confusion ensued. Jones has disappeared, having been, as I hope and believe, discharged ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 6, Issue 35, September, 1860 • Various

... thought and suffered and died in vain. Every heretic has been, and is, a ray of light. Not in vain did Voltaire, that great man, point from the foot of the Alps, the finger of scorn at every hypocrite in Europe. Not in vain were the splendid utterances of the infidels, ...
— Lectures of Col. R. G. Ingersoll - Latest • Robert Green Ingersoll

... parish priest of Angat, in Bulacan Province, once gave me the whole history of the rich iron-mines existing a few miles from that town. It appears that at about the beginning of last century, two Englishmen made vain efforts to work these mines. They erected expensive machinery (which has since disappeared piece by piece), and engaged all the headmen around, at fixed salaries, to perform the simple duty of guaranteeing a certain number of men each to ...
— The Philippine Islands • John Foreman

... endeavor'd rather to discourage his proceeding. One of Young's Satires was then just published. I copy'd and sent him a great part of it, which set in a strong light the folly of pursuing the Muses with any hope of advancement by them. All was in vain; sheets of the poem continued to come by every post. In the mean time, Mrs. T——, having on his account lost her friends and business, was often in distresses, and us'd to send for me, and borrow what I could spare to help her out of them. I grew fond of her company, and, being at that time ...
— The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin • Benjamin Franklin

... Should suck him back to her insatiate grave: And there he lay, full length, where he was flung, Before the entrance of a cliff-worn cave, With just enough of life to feel its pain, And deem that it was saved, perhaps, in vain. ...
— The Works of Lord Byron, Volume 6 • Lord Byron

... Knowledge was to be had here; lay waiting to be gathered up; and that gathering I always enjoyed. Miss Pinshon had kept me on short allowance. It was the third or fourth day after my arrival, that going up after dinner to get ready for a walk I missed my chinchilla cap from its peg. I sought for it in vain. ...
— Daisy • Elizabeth Wetherell

... about A.D. 190. [517:1] "There are certain others," says Hippolytus, "who introduce clandestinely a strange doctrine, being disciples of one Noetus, who was by birth a Smyrnean, and lived not long ago. This man, being puffed up, was led to forget himself, being elated by the vain fancy of a strange spirit. He said that Christ is himself the Father, and that the Father himself had been born, and had suffered and died....When the blessed presbyters heard these things, they summoned him and ...
— The Ancient Church - Its History, Doctrine, Worship, and Constitution • W.D. [William Dool] Killen

... was left in the charge of the cutter, while the lieutenant accompanied Archy to search for the high cliff which contained the old quarry, and they rowed east for a couple of miles in vain. But, after pulling back to the starting-point, and making for the other direction, they had not gone four hundred yards under the cliff before ...
— Cutlass and Cudgel • George Manville Fenn

... or other scraped together close upon a couple of hundred reprints of plays, which cost me from 6d to 2s a-piece. He said he would have no acting in his house. I pleaded it was only a bit of pastime; but it was all in vain, and what was more he threw all my books on the fire. This greatly disheartened me—I should be about 14 years old at this period;—but though my father burned my play-books he did not quell my ardent ambition to go on the stage. ...
— Adventures and Recollections • Bill o'th' Hoylus End

... to the word as though at first she did not realize its meaning. "What can I send?" she cried, looking about in vain ...
— Mistress Nell - A Merry Tale of a Merry Time • George C. Hazelton, Jr.

... little woodmouse, Master!" said Flash, who had been staring at Sally Bradford with all his might for ten minutes, in the vain hope of making her wink. "The little woodmouse?" I said. "To be sure! you mean the one that Twinkle saw in the forest the other night. It is rather a sad story, but Puffy shall hear it. It seems, Puffy, ...
— Five Mice in a Mouse-trap - by the Man in the Moon. • Laura E. Richards

... frankness, such as she herself had shown, and, at first, she felt sceptical towards this unbidden confidence: she did not care for people who gave themselves away at a word; either they were naive to foolishness or inordinately vain. But having listened for some time to his outpourings, she began to feel reassured; and soon she understood that he was talking thus at random, merely because he was lonely and bottled-up. Before he had finished, she was even a little gratified by his openness, and ...
— Maurice Guest • Henry Handel Richardson

... given good account of him had we met him, and got between him and the deep water. But our valour was superfluous. The enemy was nowhere to be seen; and we rode on, looking back wistfully, but in vain, for a gray ...
— At Last • Charles Kingsley

... said Martin. "My lecture is not in vain. There is no use going to Canada unless you mean to work and to stay with the job till ...
— Corporal Cameron • Ralph Connor

... gradually increased to L1,500, as the Captain became more notorious for the daring nature of his enterprises. He was told by an English officer; after the war, that the British had spent over L9,000 in the vain attempt to capture him. This statement may, or may not, have been correct, but certain it is that nothing was left undone to put an end to his activities, numbers of men and women being employed, under liberal payment, to trap him ...
— The Petticoat Commando - Boer Women in Secret Service • Johanna Brandt

... and exquisite pleasures which cultivated minds so frequently experience; nor can he form those lofty and expansive conceptions of the Deity which the grandeur and magnificence of his works are calculated to inspire. He is left as a prey to all those foolish notions and vain alarms which are engendered by ignorance and superstition; and he swallows, without the least hesitation, all the absurdities and childish tales respecting witches, hobgoblins, specters, and apparitions, which have been handed down to ...
— Popular Education - For the use of Parents and Teachers, and for Young Persons of Both Sexes • Ira Mayhew

... in the sawdust box clenched his fists. "Come ahead, then!" he muttered. "You talk too much!" Whereupon, the Penrod of his dream gave Margaret's puny son a contemptuous thrashing under the eyes of his mother, who besought in vain for mercy. This plan was finally dropped, not because of any lingering nepotism within Penrod, but because his injury called for ...
— Penrod and Sam • Booth Tarkington

... amidst masses of storm clouds above the dark sheet of water, and illuminated with its fitful light the shadows that lay upon the bosom of the waves. She felt how infinitely darker were the shadows within her own bosom, and how vain it was to seek for any moon among her ...
— A Woman's Will • Anne Warner

... I did take your name in vain," he equivocated. "You are a—a wonderful woman, Sara," he went on, moved to the remark by a curious influence that he could not have explained any more than he could have accounted for the sudden gush of emotion that took ...
— The Hollow of Her Hand • George Barr McCutcheon

... interested you in a way—you see, I am vain enough to think that. Well, you also interested me, and I urged my aunt to press you to stay. It has been very pleasant, and when you go it will be very humdrum again; our conversation, mustering, rounding-up, bullocks, ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... bastard sacraments, with all rites, ceremonies and false doctrine, added to the ministration of the true Sacraments, without the word of God, his cruell judgement against Infants departing without the Sacrament, his absolute necessitie of baptisme, and finally, we deteste all his vain allegories, rites, signes, and traditions brought into the Kirk without, or against the word of God, and doctrine of this true reformed Kirk, to the which we joyne our selves willingly in Doctrine, Faith, Religion, Discipline, and use of the holy Sacraments, as lively members of the ...
— The Acts Of The General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland

... contest. But, though defeated, the plucky British might well boast of the gallant manner in which they engaged an enemy so much their superior in strength. History nowhere records a more gallant death than that of the British captain, who fell leading his men in a dashing but vain attempt to retrieve the day by boarding. In its manoeuvring, in the courage and discipline of the crews, and in the gallantry of the two captains, the action of the "Wasp" and the "Reindeer" may well go down to history as a model naval ...
— The Naval History of the United States - Volume 2 (of 2) • Willis J. Abbot

... into the dissipations of the capital. At the Court I found a patron in Monseigneur the Duc d'Enghien. My extravagance and my follies brought me many reproofs from the Bishop of Seez, but the good man's warnings were in vain, and might have been shouted to the stars. They were certainly at times loud enough to be ...
— Orrain - A Romance • S. Levett-Yeats

... 3, as I reckon the time, Hulsen's Column did arrive: choice troops these too, the Pomeranian MANTEUFFEL, one regiment of them;—young Archenholtz of FORCADE (first Battalion here, second and third are with Ziethen, making vain noise) was in this Column; came, with the others, winding to the Wood's edge, in such circuits, poor young soul; rain pouring, if that had been worth notice; cannon-balls plunging, boughs crashing, such a TODES-POSAUNE, ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XX. (of XXI.) • Thomas Carlyle

... his arguments assumed more and more the form of a sermon; the tribune of the National Assembly became more and more like a pulpit; but the members, conversely, less and less like a congregation. They grew restive under that steady flow of pompous verbiage, and it was in vain that the four ushers in black satin breeches and carefully powdered heads, chain of office on their breasts, gilded sword at their sides, circulated in the Piste, clapping their hands, ...
— Scaramouche - A Romance of the French Revolution • Rafael Sabatini

... of hagiotypic symbols existing in Norfolk, should not have given him even a supplementary place in his most useful manual of the Emblems of Saints, recently published. (Burns, 1850, 12mo.) I have sought for Sir John in vain, in either section of that valuable work. It occurs neither under the names of saints, nor ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 57, November 30, 1850 • Various

... of us!" Mrs. Rooth repeated plaintively and with a resentment as vain as a failure to sneeze. "I don't know what you're talking about and I decline to be turned upside down, I've my ideas as well as you, and I repudiate the charge of false humility. I've been through too many ...
— The Tragic Muse • Henry James

... among our own citizens, but as the minority have asked that the sword of the National Executive may be thrown into the scale against the people, it is imperative upon them to make the same appeal to their brethren of the States—an appeal which they are well assured will not be made in vain. They who have been the first to ask assistance from abroad can have no reason to complain of any consequences which ...
— A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents: Tyler - Section 2 (of 3) of Volume 4: John Tyler • Compiled by James D. Richardson

... in his course; and Madam upon his arm raises her eyebrows and looks emphatically "not a word!" So the Easy Chair gradually discovers that there has been a very wide and lamentable disappointment, and that a large part of the throng has been tantalized through the evening in the vain effort to hear—catching a few words and losing the point of the joke. No wonder they are very sober, and sail out of the hall very steadily, with an air of thinking that they have been victims, but also with the plain wish ...
— From the Easy Chair, vol. 1 • George William Curtis

... it not so, Love could not be at all: Nought could be, but a yearning to fulfil Desire of beauty, by vain reaching forth Of sense to hold and understand the vision Made by impassion'd body,—vision of thee! But music mixt with music are, in love, Bodily senses; and as flame hath light, Spirit this nature hath imagined round it, No way concealed ...
— Emblems Of Love • Lascelles Abercrombie

... Miss M'Gann with a half-defined purpose of finding Webber and inducing him to give up the vain hope of rivalling the editor of The Investor's Monthly. He had always liked the clerk, and when he had helped to pull him out of the market without loss before, he had thought all would go well. But the optimism of the hour had proved too much for Webber's ...
— The Web of Life • Robert Herrick

... exposes, the vices and follies of men; thirdly, for a touch of pathos again to be evened only to Shakespere's; and lastly, for a knack of representing women's nature, for which, except in the master of all, we may look in vain throughout the plentiful dramatic literature of the period, though touches of it appear in Greene's Margaret of Fressingfield, in Heywood, in Middleton, and in some of the anonymous plays which have been fathered indifferently, and with indifferent ...
— A History of English Literature - Elizabethan Literature • George Saintsbury

... accomplice, until he thinks it time to put an end to the scrimmage, when he whistles like an easterly wind in a passion. The goose, rather encumbered by the carnivorous gentleman below him, endeavours for some time but in vain to obey the signal; he flaps his wings, works away with his legs, and cackles without ceasing. The poacher encourages him with another whistle, and at length the bird, in spite of all his adversary's attempts to the contrary, leads the "greedy game ...
— Le Morvan, [A District of France,] Its Wild Sports, Vineyards and Forests; with Legends, Antiquities, Rural and Local Sketches • Henri de Crignelle

... passions, grafted on high qualities, are the legitimate source of tragic poetry. But to make the extreme of littleness produce an effect like grandeur—to make the excess of frailty produce an effect like power—to heap up together all that is most unsubstantial, frivolous, vain, contemptible, and variable, till the worthlessness be lost in the magnitude, and a sense of the sublime spring from the very elements of littleness,—to do this, belonged only to Shakspeare that worker of miracles. Cleopatra is a brilliant antithesis, a compound of contradictions, ...
— Characteristics of Women - Moral, Poetical, and Historical • Anna Jameson

... tried to rise, but could not. Turn as I would, using my hands to steady me, I only made a vain effort to get upon my feet, as I slipped each time quite flat again. Thinking to turn first, and get upon my knees, I tried that, but rolled like a fuzzy caterpillar in a ball upon the ice. Then, alas, I regret to ...
— A Woman who went to Alaska • May Kellogg Sullivan

... In vain Coronal endeavored by fair reasoning and earnest entreaty to win this perverse and turbulent man from his career. Roldan answered with hardihood and defiance, professing to oppose only the tyranny and misrule of the Adelantado, but to be ready to submit to the ...
— The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (Vol. II) • Washington Irving

... all day, looking forward to nightfall, expecting that Holley would come up. He tried to resist the sweet and tantalizing anticipation of a message from Lucy, but in vain. The rider had immeasurably uplifted Slone's hope that Lucy, at least, cared for him. Not for a moment all day could Slone drive away the hope. At twilight he was too eager to eat—too obsessed to see the magnificent sunset. ...
— Wildfire • Zane Grey

... still. She gave a wild cry, and started up, wading through the water to the door. She cried again and again, till her cries became shrieks. In vain. No answer came. Flinging a shawl around her she went into the outer cabin, and thence ascended ...
— The Cryptogram - A Novel • James De Mille

... hard, things will turn out all right in the end. Well, he told himself bluntly, he had been doing right and doing it hard, just as hundreds of the Land Office field men and Land Office attorneys had been doing right in their vain endeavour to stop public loot;—and things had turned out all wrong. What did his four years' fight stand for, anyway? Marking time, that was all. Nothing accomplished except the wasting of four years of his own life; and, while that may be small ...
— The Freebooters of the Wilderness • Agnes C. Laut

... object at Bull's Bay, supposing, from the number of steamers and boats, that we had several thousand men. Now came an aide from General Gillmore, at Port Royal, with your cipher-dispatch from Midway, so I steamed down to Port Royal to see him. Next day was spent in vain efforts to decipher-finally it was accomplished. You thought that the state of the roads might force you to turn upon Charleston; so I went there on the 15th, but there was no sign yet of flinching. Then I went to ...
— Memoirs of Three Civil War Generals, Complete • U. S. Grant, W. T. Sherman, P. H. Sheridan

... been left open for two minutes while the hallway was aired. Skiddles must have slipped down the marble steps unseen, and dodged round the corner. At all events, he had vanished, and although the whole police force of the city had been roused to secure his return, it was aroused in vain. And for three weeks, therefore, a small, straight, white bearded man in a fur overcoat had walked in ...
— The Children's Book of Christmas Stories • Various

... that is Right and Mighty upon the earth to bless our President; to be light to his path, wisdom to his mind, and right hand to his endeavor. That rulers of earth might base their deliberations on the rock of the Divine; mindful, that "unless the Lord build the house in vain does he labor ...
— The Greater Love • George T. McCarthy

... they were constantly pursued by envy while they lived, which hindered so much notice being taken of their discourses and discoveries as they deserved. But when the experience of succeeding times had verified many of their sayings, which had been considered as vain and empty boastings in their lifetimes, then prosperity began to pay a superstitious regard to whatever could be collected concerning them, and to admire all they delivered as oraculous. Our other discoverer, ...
— Early Australian Voyages • John Pinkerton

... dinner party!" exclaimed the lady. She turned toward the door, but there in the hall, clad in her night clothes, was the little girl. She had stolen down the stairs to see the stranger again, and the nurse above was calling in vain. The woman felt hysterical and scolded at the nurse, but the stranger had stretched out his arms and with a glad cry the child nestled in them. They caught some words about the "Kingdom of Heaven" as he slowly mounted the stairs ...
— Darkwater - Voices From Within The Veil • W. E. B. Du Bois

... Thomas was always a conscientious abolitionist; the poor fugitive from bondage did not knock at her door in vain. The temperance reform, too, has had her warm sympathy and the benefit of her pure example. She is a member of the Grand Lodge of Good Templars, and has held important offices in that Order, having been a faithful disciple in spreading the gospel ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume I • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage

... own; And the fool's meat and drink are not of earth. His aspirations bear him on so far That he is half aware of his own folly, For he demands from Heaven its fairest star, 65 And from the earth the highest joy it bears, Yet all things far, and all things near, are vain To calm the deep emotions of ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley Volume I • Percy Bysshe Shelley

... slightest appearance of having been disturbed. The rubbish on the floor was picked up with the minutest care. I looked around triumphantly, and said to myself—"Here at least, then, my labor has not been in vain." ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 2 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... from the house under a covered way to the kitchen, and with a firm but slow step, entered. And here, if you be an Old or a New Englander, let me introduce you—as little at home would be Queen Victoria holding court in the Sandwich Islands, as you here. You may look in vain for that bane of good dinners, a cooking stove; search forever for a grain of saleratus or soda, and it will be in vain. That large, round block, with the wooden hammer, is the biscuit-beater; and the ...
— Aunt Phillis's Cabin - Or, Southern Life As It Is • Mary H. Eastman

... take you to Miss Lessie Bell's dancing class for nothing? and were you put through the steps of the Highland Fling in vain?" ...
— The Romance of a Plain Man • Ellen Glasgow

... for the coming of Ida. He waited some days in vain. It was not Peg's policy to send the child too often to the same place, as that would increase the chances ...
— Jack's Ward • Horatio Alger, Jr.

... tell the wind with. I know—vanes. It might make Petunia too vain. That's what Mamma said I mustn't be when I had my new coat, the one ...
— Shavings • Joseph C. Lincoln

... for liaisons. His wife, during her life—he had been a widower for a dozen years—had been one of those unfortunate beings of whom people said, "That poor lady is to be pitied; she never can keep a servant." She had in vain taken girls from the provinces, without beauty and certified to be virtuous. One by one—a Flemish girl, an Alsatian, three Nivernaise, two from Picardy; even a young girl from Beauce, hired on account of her certificate as "the best-behaved girl in ...
— A Romance of Youth, Complete • Francois Coppee

... shall be very kind to him, we shall help him, hope and pray for him, but we shall be at the end," said Mrs. Brook, "just where we are now. Dear Van will have done his best, and we shall have done ours. Mr. Longdon will have done his—poor Nanda even will have done hers. But it will all have been in vain. However," Mrs. Brook continued to expound, "she'll probably have the money. Mr. Longdon will surely consider that she'll want it if she doesn't marry still more than if she does. So we shall be SO much at least," ...
— The Awkward Age • Henry James

... island they inspected and hailed; meanwhile keeping a sharp look out on either side of the river, but in vain. They were hoarse with shouting when the last of the islands was reached, and on Ainley's face a look of anxiety manifested itself. Landing at the tail of the island the Indian hunted around until he found a dry branch, and this he threw into the water and stood to ...
— A Mating in the Wilds • Ottwell Binns

... Phan.: Do listen to me, I pray— Tar.: It certainly seems to me— Sca.: Bah—this is the only way! Phan.: It's rubbish absurd you growl! Tar.: You talk ridiculous stuff! Sca.: You're a drivelling barndoor owl! Phan.: You're a vapid and vain old muff! ...
— The Complete Plays of Gilbert and Sullivan - The 14 Gilbert And Sullivan Plays • William Schwenk Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan

... Here it does not render the people enterprising, as in America, but thrifty and cautious. I never, therefore, was in a capital where there was so little appearance of active industry; and as for gaiety, I looked in vain for the sprightly gait of the Norwegians, who in every respect appear to me to have got the start of them. This difference I attribute to their having more liberty—a liberty which they think their right by inheritance, whilst the Danes, when they boast of their ...
— Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark • Mary Wollstonecraft

... therefore, imagine a Semitic nomad arriving in Egypt without the camel; travellers, indeed, from the cities of Canaan might do so, but not those who led a purely nomadic life. And, in fact, though we look in vain for a picture of the camel among the sculptures and paintings of Egypt, the bones of the animal have been discovered deep in the alluvial soil of ...
— Patriarchal Palestine • Archibald Henry Sayce

... his limitation. In spite of Circe's warning, he puts on armor, takes two spears, and goes on deck, like a Homeric hero, to fight Scylla. He tries to solve his problem externally, as he did in the case of the Sirens. In vain; he could not see his foe anywhere, and his eyes grew weary, peering about at the ...
— Homer's Odyssey - A Commentary • Denton J. Snider

... were you I would put the matter shortly and simply, for it is the business of one describing a pilgrimage or any other matter not to puff himself up with vain conceit, nor to be always picking about for picturesque situations, but to set down plainly and shortly what he has seen and heard, describing ...
— The Path to Rome • Hilaire Belloc

... liege lord flung away utterly in vain the battle-gear that he gave ye. Little could he boast of his comrades when the hour of need came. I myself was able to give him some succor in the fight, but ye should have stood by him also to defend him. But now the giving of treasure ...
— Famous Tales of Fact and Fancy - Myths and Legends of the Nations of the World Retold for Boys and Girls • Various

... and sorrowful by this dispersion of the fleet, he (according to the order before taken) shapeth his course for Wardhouse, in Norway, there to expect and abide the arrival of the rest of the ships. And being come thither, and having stayed there the space of seven days, and looked in vain for their coming, he determined at length to proceed alone in the purposed voyage; and as he was preparing himself to the part, it happened that he fell in company and speech with certain Scottish men, who having understanding of his intention, and wishing well to his actions, began ...
— The Discovery of Muscovy etc. • Richard Hakluyt

... Bell for Vespers;—The sudden Introduction and Arrangement of this Catastrophe, with the Expedition then threaten'd, sets the Issue of such a Conquest in a new Light; And very happily exhibits and elucidates the Result of such vain and ...
— An Essay towards Fixing the True Standards of Wit, Humour, Railery, Satire, and Ridicule (1744) • Corbyn Morris

... given warrants for the confidence which he claims. From the first he has looked through the wide world, of which he has the burden; and, according to the need of the day, and the inspirations of his Lord, he has set himself now to one thing, now to another; but to all in season, and to nothing in vain. He came first upon an age of refinement and luxury like our own, and, in spite of the persecutor, fertile in the resources of his cruelty, he soon gathered, out of all classes of society, the slave, the soldier, the high-born lady, and the ...
— The Idea of a University Defined and Illustrated: In Nine - Discourses Delivered to the Catholics of Dublin • John Henry Newman

... them about another study, to tell us, that it is best and most useful and profitable for us, to be much taken up in the study and search of necessary fundamental truths, and, particularly, of the way to the Father. For, 1. Here is the substantial food of the soul; other notions are but vain, and oftentimes they make the case of the soul worse; but the study of this is always edifying. 2. The right understanding of this and other fundamental truths will not puff up, but keep the soul humble, ...
— Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life • John Brown (of Wamphray)

... bath that did much to lessen the numb constriction of her limbs, though it brought also the most agonizing pain she had ever known. When it was over, the limit of her endurance was long past; and she lay in hot blankets weeping helplessly while Biddy tried in vain to persuade her to drink some scalding mixture that she swore would make her feel as gay ...
— Greatheart • Ethel M. Dell

... love approach his home, What time, 'mid western mists, the broad, red sun, Sinking, calls out from heaven the earliest star; And the crisp blazing of the dry Yule-log Flickers upon the pictured walls, and lights By fits the unshutter'd lattice; but, in vain, Thy chirp repeated earnestly; the flap, Against the obdurate pane, of thy small wing;— He hears thee not—he heeds not—but, at morn, The ice-enamoured schoolboy, early afoot, Finds thy small bulk beneath the alder stump, Thy bright ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 62, Number 385. November, 1847. • Various

... what shot of cannon, what shame and lies and cruelty, perhaps no man alive could tell. Yet there were still three upon that island—Silver, and old Morgan, and Ben Gunn—who had each taken his share in these crimes, as each had hoped in vain to ...
— Treasure Island • Robert Louis Stevenson

... to the formation of the adjacent land. This catch-water is essential to success. The wettest spot in a swamp is frequently, just at its edge, because there the surface-water is received, and because there too, the water that has come down on an impervious subsoil stratum, finds vent. It is in vain to attempt to lay dry a swamp, by drains, however deep, through its centre. The water has done its mischief, before it reaches the centre. It should be intercepted, before it has entered the tract, ...
— Farm drainage • Henry Flagg French

... before Federico found himself in a narrow dungeon, stretched on damp straw, with manacles on hands and feet. In total darkness, and seated despondingly upon his comfortless couch, the events of the evening appeared to him like some frightful nightmare. But in vain did he rub his eyes and try to awake from his imaginary sleep; the terrible reality forced itself upon him. He thought of Rosaura, the original cause of his misfortunes, and almost doubted whether she were indeed a woman, or some demon in angel's form, sent to lure him to destruction. ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 61, No. 379, May, 1847 • Various

... In vain did Winn gaze in every direction, up and down the river, across its darkening waters, and into the shadowy thicket behind him. There were no objects in sight, save those with which he was already only too familiar. Again ...
— Raftmates - A Story of the Great River • Kirk Munroe

... retire at once to a respectful distance. Warblers will flit from bush to bush uttering cries of distress and showing their uneasiness. The Mourning Dove, Nighthawk, and many others will feign lameness and seek to lead you away in a vain pursuit. A still larger number will employ the same means of deception after the young have been hatched, as, for example, the Quail, ...
— The Bird Study Book • Thomas Gilbert Pearson

... the warmth of her weeping Fell on the breast of the maid, as her woe broke forth into wailing. 'Daughter! my daughter! forgive me! Oh curse not the murderess! Curse not! How have I sinned, but in love? Do the gods grudge glory to mothers? Loving I bore thee in vain in the fate-cursed bride-bed of Cepheus, Loving I fed thee and tended, and loving rejoiced in thy beauty, Blessing thy limbs as I bathed them, and blessing thy locks as I combed them; Decking thee, ripening to woman, I blest thee: yet blessing I slew thee! How have I sinned, but in ...
— Andromeda and Other Poems • Charles Kingsley

... d'Ache, wrote Veyrat, he had neither box nor parcel, and disappeared as soon as he got out of the carriage. Search was made in all the furnished lodgings and hotels in the neighbourhood, but without result. Desmarets set all his best men to work, but in vain: d'Ache ...
— The House of the Combrays • G. le Notre

... not vain repetitions as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for ...
— Human Traits and their Social Significance • Irwin Edman

... was a little girl? Ah yes: do you know that I used to be a wild and careless creature, and did many things which I am sorry for now? I would often act upon the impulse of the moment, therefore I said many vain and foolish words, and though I did not intend evil, yet I often committed thoughtless acts, which were, in themselves, very wrong. I did not restrain that spirit as I ought to, so it grew upon me, until it almost became a part of ...
— No and Other Stories Compiled by Uncle Humphrey • Various

... In vain I wrote to Dr Hodgson (to whom I carried letters of introduction) telling him of my chief reason for visiting America a second time. Even the plea that I had known Mr Stainton Moses in earth life, ...
— Seen and Unseen • E. Katharine Bates

... isn't," replied the other, gazing wistfully about over the throng of faces, as though in search of some one sufficient in rank and authority to serve her purpose. "We plead in vain with the officer-of-the-guard. He says his orders are imperative—to allow no one to intrude on that space," and madam looked as though she would rather look anywhere than at the animated ...
— Found in the Philippines - The Story of a Woman's Letters • Charles King

... when she began to practice that she had not taken the right loop nor the proper twist, and she quite forgot the clever under-movement which brought the thread from left to right, and made that sort of crinkled scroll which all the other workwomen in West London tried to imitate in vain. Grannie was trimming some beautiful underlinen for a titled lady; it was made of the finest cambric, and the feather-stitching was to ...
— Good Luck • L. T. Meade

... for more hearts to conquer. Iris was one of those vain, shallow girls who must and will have a sentimental flirtation with some young man always on hand. She, like those of her mischievous class, really meant no harm while doing a great deal of wrong. Such a girl, from mere vanity and pastime, will try to outshine a companion and ...
— Pretty Madcap Dorothy - How She Won a Lover • Laura Jean Libbey

... many instances of grave discrepancy between its readings and those with which Eusebius proves to have been most familiar, is made impossible by the discovery that it is without S. Mark xv. 28, which constitutes the Eusebian Section numbered "216" in S. Mark's Gospel. [Quite in vain has Tischendorf perversely laboured to throw doubt on this circumstance. It remains altogether undeniable,—as a far less accomplished critic than Tischendorf may see at a glance. Tischendorf's only plea is the fact that in Cod. M, (he might have added and in the Codex Sinaiticus, which explains ...
— The Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel According to S. Mark • John Burgon

... besides all this, a variety in his genius, which few capital actors have shewn, or perhaps have thought it any addition of their merit to arrive at; he could entirely change himself, could at once throw off the man of sense, for the brisk, vain, rude, lively coxcomb, the false, flashy pretender to wit, and the dupe of his own sufficiency; of this he gave a delightful instance, in the character of Sparkish, in Wycherley's Country Wife: in that of Sir Courtly Nice, by Crown, his excellence was still greater; there ...
— The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland (1753) - Vol. III • Theophilus Cibber

... three or four previous treatises; he adds a prologue, and in it, following the example of Gower, he abuses all classes of society. He does not fail to begin his confession over again: from which we gather that he is something of a drunkard and of a coward, that he is vain ...
— A Literary History of the English People - From the Origins to the Renaissance • Jean Jules Jusserand

... had passed the greater portion of the morning among them, going from one quarter to another, assuring the men that their loss was most trifling, that their future victory was certain—it was nearly in vain; they declared that they could do nothing ...
— La Vendee • Anthony Trollope

... than a year later the transformation which the old Valmet place had undergone was the talk and wonder of Cote Joyeuse. One would have looked in vain for the ruin; it was no longer there; neither was the log cabin. But out in the open, where the sun shone upon it, and the breezes blew about it, was a shapely structure fashioned from woods that the forests of the State had furnished. It rested upon a solid foundation ...
— The Awakening and Selected Short Stories • Kate Chopin

... induced by the poverty of his parents, journeyed from his distant home to apply for help to his rich uncle. Scarcely had he laid eyes upon his lovely cousin when he fell victim to her charms. In vain her father sought to dissuade his nephew from marrying his daughter. But the fate of his predecessors did not affright him, and the wedding took place. While he was standing under the wedding canopy, Elijah came to him in the guise of an old man, and said: "My son, I want to give thee a ...
— THE LEGENDS OF THE JEWS VOLUME IV BIBLE TIMES AND CHARACTERS - FROM THE EXODUS TO THE DEATH OF MOSES • BY LOUIS GINZBERG

... Peasley, young and inexperienced in business fencing, was never more aware of his deficiencies than when he faced MacCandless across the latter's desk. Consequently, he resolved to waste no words in vain parley. MacCandless was still looking curiously at Matt's card ...
— Cappy Ricks • Peter B. Kyne

... his sympathy with the man and his intention of expressing it. Morton was annoyed and endeavoured to persuade him to leave the man alone; but in vain. No doubt had he expressed himself decisively and told his friend that he should be annoyed by a guest from his house taking part in such a matter, the Senator would have abstained and would merely have made one more note as to English peculiarities and English ideas of justice; ...
— The American Senator • Anthony Trollope

... characteristic to keep it closed. Even at the dentist's she never could be got to open her mouth, because he had once hurt her; she flatly refused to do so, and no amount of "Now open, please," ever had the least effect on her firm decision. She was taken in vain ...
— The Extra Day • Algernon Blackwood

... shalt not find us churls: we think ourselves in debt For the same piece of courtesy, in vouching safe[2] to let Our sayings to our friendly ears thus freely come and go. Thus having where they stood in vain complained of their woe, When night drew near they bade adieu, and each gave kisses sweet Unto the parget[3] on their side the which did never meet. Next morning with her cheerful light had driven the stars aside, And Phoebus with his burning beams the ...
— The Sources and Analogues of 'A Midsummer-night's Dream' • Compiled by Frank Sidgwick

... I can not see the 'why and the wherefore' of it—but 'not my will, but Thy will!' The gourd is withered; I can not see the reason of so speedy a dissolution of the loved earthly shelter; sense and sight ask in vain why these leaves of earthly refreshment have been doomed so soon to droop in sadness and sorrow. But it is enough. 'The Lord prepared the worm;' 'not my will, ...
— The Mind of Jesus • John R. Macduff

... die! I cannot die!" thus he cried; and he strove again to raise himself from the ground, but in vain; strove again, as if he would have dragged his feeble body through pain and anguish all the way to Aescendune, but could not. The story of the prodigal son, often told him by Father Cuthbert, came back to him, not so much in ...
— Edwy the Fair or the First Chronicle of Aescendune • A. D. Crake

... "Not in vain. George writes me word that he has informed you of Darrell's consent to their marriage. And I am much mistaken if his greatest consolation in the pang that consent must have cost him be not the thought that it relieves you from the sorrow and remorse ...
— What Will He Do With It, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... your measuring-line for just history. If any one be found to use it, well; I have not written in vain: if none, yet have I rolled my ...
— Works, V2 • Lucian of Samosata

... to his mighty servant befitted the occasion: "The simplest words are best where all words are vain. Ten days ago a great artist in the noon of life, and with his glorious mental faculties in full power, but with the shade of physical infirmity darkening upon him, took his accustomed place among friends ...
— The History of "Punch" • M. H. Spielmann

... One searches in vain for some picture of sacred motherhood, as depicted in popular plays and motion pictures, something more normal and encouraging. Then one comes to the bitter realization that these, in very truth, are the "normal" ...
— The Pivot of Civilization • Margaret Sanger

... No smile? Is all forgot? Then spin my shroud out of that golden skein Thou callst thy tresses! I shall stay thee not— My struggles were but vain! ...
— A Nonsense Anthology • Collected by Carolyn Wells

... small item of information: money being plenty now, she had taken on a servant to help about the house and run errands. She tried to tell it in a commonplace, matter-of-course way, but she was so set up by it and so vain of it that her pride in it leaked out pretty plainly. It was beautiful to see her veiled delight in this grandeur, poor old thing, but when we heard the name of the servant we wondered if she had been altogether wise; for although we were young, and often thoughtless, we had fairly good perception ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... Gray waved back, in an ecstacy of joy and expectation—but there came no response from her neighbor—no answering signal, and as the lonely woman watched, hoping, looking, praying—there rolled over her with crushing sadness the conviction that all her hopes of friendliness were in vain. The neighborhood would not receive her—she was an outcast. They were condemning her without a hearing—they were hurling against her the thunders of silence! The injustice of it ...
— Purple Springs • Nellie L. McClung

... was vain; she certainly was that. But again like a child, delighted at verses in her honour in the American papers, pleased at homage and marks of distinction, but far more ambitious than vain of personal advantages. ...
— Recollections Of My Childhood And Youth • George Brandes

... all the prisoners of war would be allowed to go to India in his ship, and that hopes were entertained of an application for me also being successful. Captain Bergeret did not call until the 3rd of July, after having used his promised endeavours in vain, as I had foreseen from the delay of his visit; for every good Frenchman has an invincible dislike to be ...
— A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 2 • Matthew Flinders

... the lime. The flutes and organ ceased when he withdrew, and a fifteen-year-old girl ran out upon the stage. She was to perform the celebrated cordax, so passionately adored by the mob. The Fathers of the Church called down anathema upon it, the Roman laws prohibited it, but all in vain. The cordax was danced everywhere, by rich and poor, by senators' wives and by street dancers, just as it had ...
— The Satyricon, Complete • Petronius Arbiter

... all the unfortunates of the battle, found favor and luxurious quarters in Richmond? Hadn't he cunningly cajoled the Boones into the visit to the rebel household, in order to wrest the secrets of the Union rescue from them? It was in vain that the Perleys and others set forth the real case. "Very likely, indeed," the Boone side cried, "that rebels like the Atterburys would receive true Unionists into their house, and treat them as friends! A real Unionist would have refused ...
— The Iron Game - A Tale of the War • Henry Francis Keenan

... dear fellow, whose fault was that?" said De Guiche, laughing. "I am a vain, conceited fellow, I know, and everybody else knows it too. I took seriously that which was only intended as a jest, and got myself exiled for my pains. But I saw my error. I overcame my vanity, and I obtained my recall, by ...
— Louise de la Valliere • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... were made of French vessels guilty of outrage. Adams, however, to make a last overture for peace, despatched John Marshall and Elbridge Gerry to the aid of Pinckney, the three to knock once more at France's doors for a becoming admission. In vain. The only effect was a new chapter of French mendacity and insolence, furthering America's wish and preparations for war. Napoleon's recent Italian victories, terrifying Europe, had puffed up France with pride. Talleyrand assumed to arraign us as criminals, and ...
— History of the United States, Volume 2 (of 6) • E. Benjamin Andrews



Words linked to "Vain" :   vanity, proud, unproductive



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