“ambiguities” in “Pierre; or, The Ambiguities”

1.4 “In the country then Nature planted our Pierre; because Nature intended a rare and original development in Pierre. Never mind if hereby she proved ambiguous to him in the end; nevertheless, in the beginning she did bravely.”

2.2 “Whereupon, the young officers took it upon themselves to think—though they by no means presumed to breathe it—that they had authoritatively, though indirectly, accelerated a before ambiguous and highly incommendable state of affairs between the now affianced lovers.”

3.2 “Ay; but then, in ten minutes after your leaving them, all the houses in Saddle Meadows would be humming with the gossip of Pierre Glendinning engaged to marry Lucy Tartan, and yet running about the country, in ambiguous pursuit of strange young women. That will never do.”

3.2 “In such an hour it was, that chancing to encounter Lucy (her, whom above all others, he did confidingly adore), she heard the story of the face; nor slept at all that night; nor for a long time freed her pillow completely from wild, Beethoven sounds of distant, waltzing melodies, as of ambiguous fairies dancing on the heath.”

4.2 “And then, in her heart, she wondered how it was, that so excellent a gentleman, and so thoroughly good a man, should wander so ambiguously in his mind; and trembled to think of that mysterious thing in the soul, which seems to acknowledge no human jurisdiction, but in spite of the individual’s own innocent self, will still dream horrid dreams […]”

4.4 “[…]and the face in the picture still looked at them frankly, and cheerfully, as if there was nothing kept concealed; and yet again, a little ambiguously and mockingly, as if slyly winking to some other picture […]”

4.4 ” […] yet the cunning analysis in which such a mental procedure would involve him, never voluntarily transgressed that sacred limit, where his mother’s peculiar repugnance began to shade off into ambiguous considerations, touching any unknown possibilities in the character and early life of the original.”

4.5 “Consider this strange, ambiguous smile, Pierre; more narrowly regard this mouth. Behold, what is this too ardent and, as it were, unchastened light in these eyes, Pierre?”

4.5 “Consider; for a smile is the chosen vehicle for all ambiguities, Pierre. When we would deceive, we smile; when we are hatching any nice little artifice, Pierre; only just a little gratifying our own sweet little appetites, Pierre; then watch us, and out comes the odd little smile.”

4.5 “[…] thus sometimes stood Pierre before the portrait of his father, unconsciously throwing himself open to all those ineffable hints and ambiguities, and undefined half-suggestions, which now and then people the soul’s atmosphere […]”

4.5 “But now, now!—Isabel’s letter read: swift as the first light that slides from the sun, Pierre saw all preceding ambiguities, all mysteries ripped open as if with a keen sword, and forth trooped thickening phantoms of an infinite gloom. Now his remotest infantile reminiscences—the wandering mind of his father—the empty hand, and the ashen—the strange story of Aunt Dorothea—the mystical midnight suggestions of the portrait itself; and, above all, his mother’s intuitive aversion, all, all overwhelmed him with reciprocal testimonies.”

5.1 “He looked up, and found himself fronted by the no longer wholly enigmatical, but still ambiguously smiling picture of his father.”

8.3 “For over all these things, and interfusing itself with the sparkling electricity in which she seemed to swim, was an ever-creeping and condensing haze of ambiguities.”

10.3 “But here we draw a vail. Some nameless struggles of the soul can not be painted, and some woes will not be told. Let the ambiguous procession of events reveal their own ambiguousness.”

12.3 “Face up, it met him with its noiseless, ever-nameless, and ambiguous, unchanging smile.”

12.3 “And as his father was now sought to be banished from his mind, as a most bitter presence there, but Isabel was become a thing of intense and fearful love for him; therefore, it was loathsome to him, that in the smiling and ambiguous portrait, her sweet mournful image should be so sinisterly becrooked, bemixed, and mutilated to him.”

12.3 “[…]now I know this, that in commonest memorials, the twilight fact of death first discloses in some secret way, all the ambiguities of that departed thing or person […]”

15.1 “Pierre thanked him kindly; but in certain little roguish ambiguities begged leave, on the ground of cloying, to return him inclosed by far the greater portion of his present […]”

15.2 “BUT little would we comprehend the peculiar relation between Pierre and Glen—a relation involving in the end the most serious results—were there not here thrown over the whole equivocal, preceding account of it, another and more comprehensive equivocalness, which shall absorb all minor ones in itself; and so make one pervading ambiguity the only possible explanation for all the ambiguous details.”

16.3 “The fellow—maliciously diverted by what had happened thus far—made some ambiguous and rudely merry rejoinder.”

18.2 “In the operative opinion of this world, he who is already fully provided with what is necessary for him, that man shall have more; while he who is deplorably destitute of the same, he shall have taken away from him even that which he hath. Yet the world vows it is a very plain, downright matter-of-fact, plodding, humane sort of world. It is governed only by the simplest principles, and scorns all ambiguities, all transcendentals, and all manner of juggling.”

19.1 “This dreary posture of affairs, however, was at last much altered for the better, by the gradual filling up of the vacant chambers on high, by scores of those miscellaneous, bread-and-cheese adventurers, and ambiguously professional nondescripts in very genteel but shabby black, and unaccountable foreign-looking fellows in blue spectacles; who, previously issuing from unknown parts of the world, like storks in Holland, light on the eaves, and in the attics of lofty old buildings in most large sea-port towns.”

23.3 “Pierre spoke not; he but listened; a terrible, burning curiosity was in him, that made him as heartless. But still all that she had said thus far was ambiguous.”

25.2 “And when these things now swam before him; when he thought of all the ambiguities which hemmed him in; the stony walls all round that he could not overleap; the million aggravations of his most malicious lot; the last lingering hope of happiness licked up from him as by flames of fire, and his one only prospect a black, bottomless gulf of guilt, upon whose verge he imminently teetered every hour;—then the utmost hate of Glen and Frederic were jubilantly welcome to him; and murder, done in the act of warding off their ignominious public blow, seemed the one only congenial sequel to such a desperate career.”

26.1 “With the aspect of the Cenci every one is familiar. “The Stranger” was a dark, comely, youthful man’s head, portentously looking out of a dark, shaded ground, and ambiguously smiling. There was no discoverable drapery; the dark head, with its crisp, curly, jetty hair, seemed just disentangling itself from out of curtains and clouds. But to Isabel, in the eye and on the brow, were certain shadowy traces of her own unmistakable likeness; while to Pierre, this face was in part as the resurrection of the one he had burnt at the Inn. Not that the separate features were the same; but the pervading look of it, the subtler interior keeping of the entirety, was almost identical; still, for all this, there was an unequivocal aspect of foreignness, of Europeanism, about both the face itself and the general painting.”

26.6 “‘Here, then, is the untimely, timely end;—Life’s last chapter well stitched into the middle! Nor book, nor author of the book, hath any sequel, though each hath its last lettering!—It is ambiguous still.'”


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