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Vacillation   /vˌæsəlˈeɪʃən/   Listen
Vacillation

noun
1.
Indecision in speech or action.  Synonyms: hesitation, wavering.
2.
Changing location by moving back and forth.  Synonyms: swing, swinging.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Vacillation" Quotes from Famous Books



... that state of vacillation between the conviction of insanity and the commencing conviction of something ...
— Lady Byron Vindicated • Harriet Beecher Stowe

... strangely, sweet Una, you echo my words! I observe, too, a vacillation in your step, a joyous inquietude in your eyes. You are confused and oppressed by the majestic novelty of the Life Eternal. Yes, it was of Death I spoke. And here how singularly sounds that word which of old was wont to bring terror to all hearts, throwing ...
— Edgar Allan Poe's Complete Poetical Works • Edgar Allan Poe

... an orderly came up to the colonel, and presented a letter, which brought the lad to a standstill. He had been having a long struggle with self, and had mastered his shrinking, but he was so near the balance of vacillation still, that he felt glad of the excuse to hang back, and walked aside, feeling like one who ...
— Crown and Sceptre - A West Country Story • George Manville Fenn

... come to the present—a day of cowardice and vacillation, of strident wide-voiced wrong and faint hearted compromise; of double-faced dallying with Truth and Right. Who are to-day guiding the work of the Negro people? The "exceptions" of course. And yet so sure as this Talented Tenth is pointed out, the blind worshippers of the Average cry out in ...
— The Negro Problem • Booker T. Washington, et al.

... unregenerated way, absorbed in the ambitions and interests of a worldly life, we are perhaps content. When we live regenerated and in the spirit, we are in great joy; but when we try to live between the two and would serve God and worldly interests at the same time we are in gloomy wretchedness, vacillation, depression. ...
— The Romance of the Soul • Lilian Staveley

... the United States sends one war-ship to Cuba, a thing it is no longer likely to do, Spain would act with energy and without vacillation."—El Heraldo, January 16th. ...
— The Boys of '98 • James Otis

... fighting objective Redmond had won. They were also delighted to see the Irish party openly exert its power—not quite realizing that such exhibitions were against the interest of the democratic alliance, which had to undergo a grave test. The Government's vacillation had rendered another general election necessary if the Veto question ...
— John Redmond's Last Years • Stephen Gwynn

... eighteen years later, and the events that followed it. They describe the cruel and successive imprisonments of the prophet for his fearless and seemingly unpatriotic proclamation of the Babylonian triumph, the pitiful vacillation of the king, the final capture of the city, the appointment of Gedaliah as governor of Judah, his assassination and the attempt to avenge it, the consequent departure of many Jews to Egypt against the advice of Jeremiah, who was forced to ...
— Introduction to the Old Testament • John Edgar McFadyen

... in turn on the memory of the pretty self-willed dominant boy, who now grew larger and more masculine in stature under the instance of each successive light. Stephen knew the others fairly well through and through. The usual mixture of good and evil, of strength and weakness, of purpose and vacillation, was quite within the scope of her own feeling and of her observation. But this man was something of a problem to her; and, as such, had a prominence in her thoughts quite beyond ...
— The Man • Bram Stoker

... reported matters to the High Commissioner. The President's unyielding mood before he heard of Dr. Jameson's start, and his change afterwards, the state of demoralization in Pretoria, the unpreparedness of the State Artillery, and the vacillation of General Joubert, the condition of alarm in which the President was during that night of suspense before the surrender, when Chief Justice Kotze sat with him to aid and cheer, and when the old white horse stood saddled in the stable in case Johannesburg ...
— The Transvaal from Within - A Private Record of Public Affairs • J. P. Fitzpatrick

... unending military expenditure. And they gave the colonists ground for complaints, sometimes just, sometimes unjust, against the home government, which was constantly accused of parsimony, of shortsightedness, of vacillation, of sentimental weakness, in sending out too few troops, in refusing to annex fresh territory, in patching up a hollow peace, in granting too easy terms ...
— Impressions of South Africa • James Bryce

... remember that shame and self accusation and its consequences far more distinctly than I recall the weeks of vacillation before I soared. For a time I went altogether without alcohol, I stopped smoking altogether and ate very sparingly, and every day I did something that called a little upon my nerves and muscles. I soared as frequently as I could. I substituted a motor-bicycle for the London train ...
— Tono Bungay • H. G. Wells

... long claim of faithful service, was so successfully exerted, as to contribute greatly to the depression of that loyal and ill-rewarded family. But Buckingham was incapable, even for his own interest, of pursuing the steady course which Christian suggested to him; and his vacillation probably saved the remnant of the large estates of ...
— Peveril of the Peak • Sir Walter Scott

... committed my second blunder in Weimar. I was afraid to be alone with Goethe for an entire evening, and after considerable vacillation decided not to go. Several elements combined to produce this fear. In the first place, it seemed to me that there was nothing within the whole range of my intellect worthy of being displayed before Goethe. Secondly, it was not until later that I learned to place the proper value upon ...
— The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Vol. VI. • Editor-in-Chief: Kuno Francke

... all those who selected the site—would seem to have contemplated the possibility of an attack. Indeed the whole situation was regarded as purely temporary. The vacillation, caused by the change of parties and policies in England, led to the Malakand garrison remaining for two years in a position which could not be well defended either on paper or in reality. At first, after ...
— The Story of the Malakand Field Force • Sir Winston S. Churchill

... affairs in accordance with some wisely matured system of expenditure. In times of depression he would demand the most rigid economy, and again he would seem careless and indifferent and preoccupied. This financial vacillation was precisely what his wife had been accustomed to in her early home, and she thoughtlessly took her way without much regard to it. He also had little power of saying No to his gentle wife, and an appealing look from her ...
— Without a Home • E. P. Roe

... the end. Altogether his face gave you the idea of will, intellect, and a kindly nature; but there was in it a promise, too, of occasional anger, and a physiognomist might perhaps have expected from it that vacillation in conduct which had hitherto led him from better things ...
— John Caldigate • Anthony Trollope

... which day it was born on. The nurse thinks it was Sunday, the surgeon thinks it was Tuesday. The child will never know its own birthday. It will always be choosing first one and then the other, and will never be able to make up its mind permanently. This will breed vacillation and uncertainty in its opinions about religion, and politics, and business, and sweethearts, and everything, and will undermine its principles, and rot them away, and make the poor thing characterless, ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... contradictions? That continual struggle between reason and duty, between his organism and his new ideals, that civil war which disturbs the peace of his conscience all his life, has the result, of paralyzing all his energies, and aided by the severity of the climate, makes of that eternal vacillation, of the doubts in his brain, the origin ...
— The Indolence of the Filipino • Jose Rizal

... careless husband blasts his ear. He starts from the bed, stalking up and down the room with rapid strides. The snows of seventy winters have in vain blanched his head; he has been proud of his accumulated wisdom, but has not divined the secret of life! The whirlpool of terror, vengeance, vacillation, resolution, engulfs him in its giddy flow; his soul is on the wheel of torture, his old heart throbs on the rack of passion. He curses the King of the South—the prince, his son-in-law—himself; but his heart will not break until a new ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 5, May, 1864 - Devoted To Literature And National Policy • Various

... third-rate power! This cry came up again and again in his conversation. The intestinal disorders of his country had entered into his soul. All the contests between the Court and the Chamber, showing, as they did, incessant change and constant vacillation, which must injure the prosperity of the country, he scoffed ...
— Z. Marcas • Honore de Balzac

... with every changing wind, McCombs would first accept and then reject the offer of the French post. By his vacillation he prevented the appointment of an Ambassador to France for four months. He had easy access to the President and saw him frequently. As he left the White House after calling on the President one day, Mr. ...
— Woodrow Wilson as I Know Him • Joseph P. Tumulty

... as his own soul, and his soul were knit with yours—to use the words of Scripture—he would not demand this consistency, because each man must know and feel his own immeasurable vacillation and inconsistency; and if he had complete sympathy with another, he would not be greatly surprised or vexed at ...
— Chambers' Edinburgh Journal - Volume XVII., No 423, New Series. February 7th, 1852 • Various

... skirmish of words ensued. Lady Kirton accused him of wishing to sacrifice them to his own selfish gratification. Lord Hartledon felt uncomfortable at the accusation. One of the best-hearted men living, he did nothing in his vacillation. He would go in the evening, he said to himself, when they could not ...
— Elster's Folly • Mrs. Henry Wood

... direct and control. In very early life he showed much skill and tact as an officer in the Canadian campaign; but he wanted those moral traits which give dignity and decision to character, and confidence to the public mind. His vacillation of opinion, as well as of conduct, was convincing proof that he acted without principle, and was influenced by his own selfish views. Man, to be great, must act always from principle. Principle, like truth, is a straight edge, will admit of no obliquity, is always the same, and ...
— The Memories of Fifty Years • William H. Sparks

... snatched the victims of tyranny from its hands." Thus impudently did he arrogate to himself a share, at any rate, in the initiation of a project which Lord Cochrane, knowing that he would oppose it, had purposely kept secret from him, and assign the whole merit of its completion to the army which his vacillation and incompetence ...
— The Life of Thomas, Lord Cochrane, Tenth Earl of Dundonald, G.C.B., Admiral of the Red, Rear-Admiral of the Fleet, Etc., Etc. • Thomas Cochrane, Earl of Dundonald

... stern, cold nature was that of his father, long dead and forgotten. As for Hermione, she presented a combination of character derived from the best points in her father and mother, marred only, I thought, by a little of that vacillation which was the chief characteristic of her aunt Chrysophrasia. Cutter and Balsamides were men of widely different nationalities and temperaments: the one a ruthless scientist, the other an equally ruthless fatalist; the one ready to sacrifice the lives of others to ...
— Paul Patoff • F. Marion Crawford

... to others seemed to himself sanctioned by his own insensibility to fear, and contempt for bodily pain, smiled with bitter scorn at the apparent vacillation and weakness of the prisoner: but, as he delighted not in torture merely for torture's sake, he motioned to the guards to release the Israelite; and replied in a voice unnaturally mild and kindly, considering the circumstances of ...
— Leila or, The Siege of Granada, Book II. • Edward Bulwer Lytton

... sunbeam broke in the room then, but perhaps it was only the clearing away of doubt and vacillation from his mind, with the respectable feeling that he had regained all the nobility which was slipping from him, and had come back to ...
— The Bondboy • George W. (George Washington) Ogden

... nervous clutch of a weak nature until overmastered by two grim men who gradually hypnotized his will. The turning-point for Buchanan, and the last poor crisis in his inglorious career, came on Sunday, December 30th. Before that day arrived, his vacillation had moved his friends to pity and his enemies to scorn. One of his best friends wrote privately, "The President is pale with fear"; and the hostile point of view found expression in such comments as this, "Buchanan, it is said, divides his time between praying and crying. Such a ...
— Abraham Lincoln and the Union - A Chronicle of the Embattled North, Volume 29 In The - Chronicles Of America Series • Nathaniel W. Stephenson

... facilitate negotiations. Nevertheless, Renault sent MM. Fournier and Nicolas, the latter of whom had many friends amongst the English, to Calcutta, to re-open the negotiations for a neutrality. These negotiations seemed to be endless. The most striking feature was Admiral Watson's apparent vacillation. When the Council proposed war he wanted peace, when they urged neutrality he wanted war. Clive went so far as to present a memorial to the Council, saying it was unfair to continue the negotiations if the Admiral was determined not to agree to a treaty. It ...
— Three Frenchmen in Bengal - The Commercial Ruin of the French Settlements in 1757 • S.C. Hill

... as I had mastered it. But this is not so. The views to which I have referred have grown into my whole system of thought, and are, as it were, part of myself. Many changes has my mind gone through: here it has known no variation or vacillation of opinion, and though this by itself is no proof of the truth of my principles, it puts a seal upon conviction, and is a justification of earnestness and zeal. Those principles, which I am now to set forth under the sanction of the Catholic Church, were my profession at that ...
— The Idea of a University Defined and Illustrated: In Nine - Discourses Delivered to the Catholics of Dublin • John Henry Newman

... the subordinate leaders. The certain and inevitable disorder, which a body of troops always presents in action, is with the moral effect of modern appliances, becoming greater every day. In the midst of the confusion and the vacillation of firing lines, men and commanding officers often ...
— Battle Studies • Colonel Charles-Jean-Jacques-Joseph Ardant du Picq

... high hope, many have seceded. Some have become voluptuaries; some mere family men, who think it is quite life enough to win bread for half a dozen people, and treat them decently; others are lost through indolence and vacillation. ...
— Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Vol. II • Margaret Fuller Ossoli

... with varying. emotions. She was disturbed, but not alarmed. One phase of the situation stood out clearly in her practical mind—his poverty and the impossibility of any immediate marriage. Before that obstacle could be removed she felt sure his natural vacillation regarding women would save him. He would forget ...
— The Fortunes of Oliver Horn • F. Hopkinson Smith

... course out of the question. Moreover, the Cortes of Tarragon, which happened then to be in session, and which required the royal attention, supplied the monarch with a fresh excuse for indulging in his habitual vacillation. Meantime, by way of obtaining additional counsel in so grave an emergency, he transmitted the letters of the nobles, together with the other papers, to the Duke of Alva, and requested his opinion on the subject. Alva replied with the roar of a wild beast, ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... Richard Harding Davis—no hesitancy, no vacillation. He was always willing to go, to take any chance, to endure discomfort and all if he had a fighting opportunity to get the news. The public now knows that Davis was arrested on this trip, that Huerta ...
— Adventures and Letters • Richard Harding Davis

... better than anybody's; but there was no comfort in standing, first on one foot and then on the other, while you made up your mind—the horses were spirited and you could eat them a leg at a time, but there was more in the cookies—she bent such a look on you, so fierce and intolerant of vacillation. She belonged to the group of odd characters, rarer now than they used to be, etched upon the vague consciousness of small towns as in a way mysterious and uncanny; some said that Mother Beggarlegs was connected ...
— The Imperialist • (a.k.a. Mrs. Everard Cotes) Sara Jeannette Duncan

... Belllounds rode to Kremmling that Wade met Columbine on the Buffalo Park trail. She needed to see him, to find comfort and strength. Wade far exceeded his own confidence in his effort to uphold her. Columbine was in a strange state, not of vacillation between two courses, but of a standstill, as if her will had become obstructed and waited for some force to upset the hindrance. She did not inquire as to the welfare of Wilson Moore, and Wade vouchsafed no word ...
— The Mysterious Rider • Zane Grey

... ignominy of it for five-and-twenty years, and there seemed to be every prospect that he would continue to endure it. Periodically, it is true, he would rise in his wrath, resolving that another sun should not go down on his vacillation and timidity; nay, more, he would even stride forth to Sarah Libbie's home, vowing as he went that before he slept he would speak the decisive words that had for so long trembled on ...
— Flood Tide • Sara Ware Bassett

... service he performed was eminent, since he not merely relieved Amherstburgh, the key of Upper Canada, from all immediate danger, but at a single blow annihilated the American power throughout that extensive frontier. That this bold measure, powerfully contrasted as it was with his own previous vacillation of purpose, had greatly tended to intimidate the American General, and to render him distrustful of his own resources, there can be little doubt. The destructive fire from the well served breaching batteries, ...
— The Canadian Brothers - or The Prophecy Fulfilled • John Richardson

... The dream she had once had of playing to an audience and seeing only Lancelot Vane in the first row of the pit applauding and eager to congratulate her, was gone. She was done with him for ever. So she told herself. And to strengthen this resolve she recalled his weaknesses, his vacillation, his distrust in himself, his lapses into inebriety. Yet no sooner had she gone over his sins than she felt pity and inclined to forgiveness. But not forgiveness for his faithlessness. ...
— Madame Flirt - A Romance of 'The Beggar's Opera' • Charles E. Pearce

... could scarcely spare those famous letters, especially to Atticus, in which also the private life and character of Cicero shine to the most advantage, revealing no vices, no treacheries,—only egotism, vanity, and vacillation, and a way that some have of speaking about people in private very differently from what they say in public, which looks like insincerity. In these letters Cicero appears as a very frank man, genial, hospitable, domestic, witty, whose society and conversation must ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume III • John Lord

... shifting sands of the desert Are born by the simoon's wrath, And in wanton and fleet confusion, Are strewn on its trackless path; So our lives with resistless fury, Insensibly and unknown, With a restless vacillation By the winds of fate are blown; But an All-Wise Hand May have changed the sand, For ...
— Mountain idylls, and Other Poems • Alfred Castner King

... from the Emperor's clemency. Distrust of his intentions induced the Holy League to carry on desultory war with the imperial troops; but mutual jealousies, the absence of effective aid from England or France, and vacillation caused by the feeling that after all it might be safer to accept the best terms they could obtain, prevented the war from being waged with any effect. In September, 1526, Hugo de Moncada, the imperial commander, concerted with Clement's bitter foes, the Colonnas, a means of overawing ...
— Henry VIII. • A. F. Pollard

... encumbered in ruin, the true workers redeem inch by inch the wilderness into garden ground; by the help of their joined hands the order of all things is surely sustained and vitally expanded, and although with strange vacillation, in the eyes of the watcher, the morning cometh, and also the night, there is no hour of human existence that does not draw on ...
— Lectures on Art - Delivered before the University of Oxford in Hilary term, 1870 • John Ruskin

... vacillation in his religion has Bayle endured bitter censure. Gibbon, who himself changed his about the same "year of his age," and for as short a period, sarcastically observes of the first entry, that "Bayle should have ...
— Curiosities of Literature, Vol. II (of 3) - Edited, With Memoir And Notes, By His Son, The Earl Of Beaconsfield • Isaac D'Israeli

... to Atticus,[116] "I believe I do not please Caesar, but I am pleased with myself, which has not happened to me for a long while." However, this effort at independence was but transient. At no period of his public life did he display such miserable vacillation as at the opening of the civil war.[117] We find him first accepting a commission from the Republic; then courting Caesar; next, on Pompey's sailing for Greece, resolving to follow him thither; presently determining to stand neuter; ...
— Historical Sketches, Volume I (of 3) • John Henry Newman

... Divided Opinion. Suggestions toward Compromise. Anti-coercion. Convention at Albany. Mayor Wood of New York. Buchanan's Vacillation. Treason all about Him. Star of the West Fired on. Inaction of Congress. Crittenden's Compromise Lost. Washington Peace Congress. Vain. Earnestness of South. Lincoln Inaugurated. His Address. How Received. His Difficult ...
— History of the United States, Volume 3 (of 6) • E. Benjamin Andrews

... fellow-senators show the right Roman nature at need. Marius sleeping quietly under the menace of death; his heroic son, with his little band of soldiers, committing suicide rather than surrender at Praeneste; Octavius scorning to imitate the vacillation and cowardice of his colleagues; Sylla plunging back alone into battle, that his example may reanimate the courage of his fleeing army: these are scenes that recall the best traditions of Rome. They are taken from Plutarch, it is true; but they ...
— The Growth of English Drama • Arnold Wynne

... and vacillation upon so important a subject as the Divorce clause, and voting against their own declared opinion on a measure which they had themselves originated, what dependence could we, small as could be our power, place upon their support and co-operation ...
— Memoirs of the Court of George IV. 1820-1830 (Vol 1) - From the Original Family Documents • Duke of Buckingham and Chandos

... "Bernstorff said, or is said to have said—I do not count him among my acquaintances—that on that night this supercanaille showed symptoms of what I think I have seen described as vacillation. That is quite on the cards. It bears out my theory. In any event the fellow had his ambitions. He wanted to descend into the red halls of history disguised. He might have succeeded. History is very careless and to-day barely recalls that at five o'clock on the morning succeeding his marriage ...
— The Paliser case • Edgar Saltus

... change of government, disappeared forever. The controllers that succeeded Necker only plunged deeper and deeper into debt and deficit. It is needless to follow them in their flounderings. A long experience of the vacillation of the government both as to persons and as to systems had discouraged the hopes of conscientious patriotism, and strengthened the opposition to reform of all those who were interested in abuses. From the well-meaning king, if left to his own ways, nothing more could be hoped. Pecuniary ...
— The Eve of the French Revolution • Edward J. Lowell

... wrong ways. So the man who is absolutely sure of his method, for example, in laying brick, will not be tempted to make those extra motions which, after all, are merely an exhibition in his hand of the vacillation that is going on in his brain, as to whether he really is handling that brick in exactly the most ...
— The Psychology of Management - The Function of the Mind in Determining, Teaching and - Installing Methods of Least Waste • L. M. Gilbreth

... to-morrow, and proceed to New England by way of New York. Can you meet me in New York on the 18th inst.? You can, in that case, have an interview with this man Travers; and it Will be well to obtain his confession, legally certified, to guard against any vacillation of purpose on his part. I have no apprehension of it, but it is as ...
— Frank's Campaign - or the Farm and the Camp • Horatio Alger, Jr.

... pis-aller, were motives which acted more powerfully in his favour than all that even Lady Anne Percival could have looked or said. The contrast between the openness and decision of his conduct towards her, and Clarence Hervey's vacillation and mystery; the belief that Mr. Hervey was or ought to be attached to another woman; the conviction that Mr. Vincent was strongly attached to her, and that he possessed many of the good qualities essential to her happiness, ...
— Tales and Novels, Vol. III - Belinda • Maria Edgeworth

... goods of her late husband, among which were sundry towels, "used and torn." During the terrible struggle which had just occurred, she had sided with her brother, against King Richard, of whom her husband Exeter was a fervent partisan. Perhaps such vacillation as was occasionally to be seen in Exeter's conduct may be traced to her influence. The night that King Richard was taken, she "made good cheer," though the event was almost equivalent to the signing of her husband's death-warrant. I ...
— The White Rose of Langley - A Story of the Olden Time • Emily Sarah Holt

... mean time, Charles's preparations went forward with the languor and vacillation resulting from divided councils and multiplied embarrassments. "Nothing essential to the conduct of a war was at hand," says Comines. The king was very young, weak in person, headstrong in will, surrounded by few discreet counsellors, and ...
— The History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella The Catholic, V2 • William H. Prescott

... variability, inconstancy, instability, vacillation, convertibility, transmutability, mobility, impermanence; volatility, irresolution, ...
— Putnam's Word Book • Louis A. Flemming

... one might be as illustrious by crime as by genius. Such were not the teachings of the Pere; but they were the lessons that Paris dinned into my ears unceasingly. Reputation, character, was of no avail, in a social condition where all was change and vacillation. What was idolized one day, was execrated the next. The hero of yesterday, was the object of popular vengeance to-day. The success of the passing hour was ...
— Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 1, No. 2, July, 1850. • Various

... interpreted as "the legitimate king of the city," the question has recently been raised whether we ought not to read "Sharru-kenu-shar-ri" and interpret as "the legitimate king rules"—an illustration of the vacillation still prevailing in ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 1 - "Austria, Lower" to "Bacon" • Various

... consciousness of insignificance—ah, do not force me to recall it! I had to make my own way. You know the monstrous education at a boarding-school, foolish novel-reading, the errors of early youth, the first timid flutter of love. It was awful! The vacillation! And the agonies of losing faith in life, in oneself! Ah, you are an author. You know us women. You will understand. Unhappily I have an intense nature. I looked for happiness—and what happiness! I longed to set my soul free. Yes. In that I saw ...
— The Horse-Stealers and Other Stories • Anton Chekhov

... mignonne had a very rough time of it soon afterward. Cecil was morally and physically incapable of scolding any one; but she was very severe on the sin of vacillation and yielding to unauthorized interference. The culprit did not attempt to justify herself; she only said, "They both wanted me to go so much, and I did not like to vex Harry." Then she began to coax and pet her monitress in the pretty, childish way which interfered ...
— Sword and Gown - A Novel • George A. Lawrence

... from the cliff, and would have leaned farther had he not taken matters into his own keeping without apology. Another thing; the pressure of his hand over hers remained a sensation still—a strong, steady, masterful imprint lacking hesitation or vacillation. She was as conscious of it as though her hand still tightened under his—and she was conscious, too, that nothing of his touch had offended; that there had arisen in her no tremor of instinctive recoil. For never ...
— The Fighting Chance • Robert W. Chambers

... Revolution were again present, still there might be no second revolution, provided only that, instead of another Louis the Sixteenth, a Leopold of Belgium, or a Frederick the Great were king.[28] With the last mentioned on the throne, there would assuredly be no repetition of that vacillation of purpose which rocked the cradle and fostered the growth of popular fury till it culminated in a Reign of Terror. Since, then, there cannot be either a repetition of the same circumstances to act upon men, or a reproduction ...
— Old-Fashioned Ethics and Common-Sense Metaphysics - With Some of Their Applications • William Thomas Thornton

... to a certain extent, upon the war; Elizabeth, after long vacillation, having at length agreed to send six thousand men to hold the towns of Havre, Dieppe, and Rouen, providing these three towns were handed over to her; thus evincing the same calculating greed that marked her subsequent dealings with the Dutch, in ...
— Saint Bartholomew's Eve - A Tale of the Huguenot WarS • G. A. Henty

... personalities. Only from habit did Edwin glance at the books. He knew their backs by heart. And books in quantity no longer intimidated him. Despite his grave defects as a keeper of resolves, despite his paltry trick of picking up a newspaper or periodical and reading it all through, out of sheer vacillation and mental sloth, before starting serious perusals, despite the human disinclination which he had to bracing himself, and keeping up the tension, in a manner necessary for the reading of long and difficult works, and despite sundry ...
— Clayhanger • Arnold Bennett

... swore, accusing the chief of pusillanimous homesickness, "of reducing his explorations to a six hours' anchorage on an island shore," "of coming from Asia to carry home American water." The commander had had enough of {28} vacillation, delay, interference. One-third of the crew was ailing. Provisions for only three months were in the hold. The ship was off any known course more than two thousand miles from any known port; and contrary winds might cause delay ...
— Vikings of the Pacific - The Adventures of the Explorers who Came from the West, Eastward • Agnes C. Laut

... very critical state in which the country now is, and above all the duty which I owe to her Majesty under the present circumstances, has made a most strong impression upon my mind. At the risk, therefore, of imputation of vacillation or of any other motive by others, may I ask of you to give me a few hours' time for further reflection, before finally deciding upon the course which I may feel it to be my duty to pursue? Believe me, my dear Sir ...
— The Letters of Queen Victoria, Vol 2 (of 3), 1844-1853 • Queen Victoria

... to me to have been the most potent influence in determining his method of work during the Peace Conference. He seemed to think that, having marked out a definite plan of action, any deviation from it would show intellectual weakness or vacillation of purpose. Even when there could be no doubt that in view of changed conditions it was wise to change a policy, which he had openly adopted or approved, he clung to it with peculiar tenacity refusing or merely failing ...
— The Peace Negotiations • Robert Lansing

... was so. As Quaestor, as AEdile, and as Praetor, he did not interfere in the political questions of Rome, except in demanding justice from judges and purity from governors. When he became Consul then he became a politician, and after that there was certainly no vacillation in his views. Critics say that he surrendered himself to Caesar when Caesar became master. We shall come to that hereafter; but the accusation with which I am dealing now is that which charges him with having abandoned the democratic memories of his youth as soon as he had enveloped himself with ...
— Life of Cicero - Volume One • Anthony Trollope

... to health; and terror and anxiety followed him like a ghost and turned about all his boyish memories. Under these repressing influences his mind could not but develop with a lack of stamina for self-support. Hesitancy and vacillation became pronounced. In time, the weight of any important decision gave him acute, unendurable agony of mind. Called upon to decide for himself a matter of import, his thought would become confused, his brain torpid, and in tears and perplexity the tormented lad would ...
— Carmen Ariza • Charles Francis Stocking

... would not answer a word when spoken to, for German despair is very gloomy. The remaining Plenipotentiaries at last understood the nature of the game that was being played, and realised that we were down to the naked and crude facts of life and death. Their confounded vacillation has alone brought us to this pass. They do realise it now, and they are made to realise it more and more by the savage looks everyone has been ...
— Indiscreet Letters From Peking • B. L. Putman Weale

... allowed for vacillation. When, in the morning of 11 September, Colonel Hatzopoulos met the German officer, the latter handed to him a telegram from Hindenburg, guaranteeing the transport of the Greeks to Germany with ...
— Greece and the Allies 1914-1922 • G. F. Abbott

... Laudabiliter, in 1154, which granted to Henry II. the Lordship of Ireland, but which Henry left unemployed for seventeen years, to that of the Irish petition for a legislative Union in 1703, which remained unanswered for nearly a century, vacillation and hesitation rather than eagerness for aggression have been the characteristic marks of English policy in Ireland. Far-sighted statesmen could point out the benefits to Ireland from such a connection, but as a rule it was the ...
— Against Home Rule (1912) - The Case for the Union • Various

... debating society and more philosophy, fewer prizes for forensic ability and more for strength and vigour of analysis. The central seat of character is the mind. A man of weak character thinks vaguely, a man of clear intellectual decisions acts with precision and is free from vacillation. A country of educated men acts coherently, smites swiftly, plans ahead; a country of confused education is ...
— What is Coming? • H. G. Wells

... the two opposing tendencies, is a sort of parable to fit this case. Probably the poor ass did not starve—unless he richly deserved his name—but he may conceivably have ended the very uncomfortable state of vacillation by running away altogether, as a human being, who is really more subject to vacillation than any other creature, is sometimes so much disturbed at having to decide between two invitations for the same day as to decline both, and go fishing. Vacillation is certainly a very unpleasant ...
— Psychology - A Study Of Mental Life • Robert S. Woodworth

... in the vacillation of Bern and her lack of energy, resolved, since, just at that time, another meeting in Bremgarten had been brought about by the advocates of peace, to use all his personal influence with Jacob von Wattenwyl and Peter im Haag, the Bernese deputies there. He entered the city ...
— The Life and Times of Ulric Zwingli • Johann Hottinger

... at his long letters," he said. "They hardly rise above the common herd. That d might be an a, and that l an e. Men of character always differentiate their long letters, however illegibly they may write. There is vacillation in his k's and self-esteem in his capitals. I am going out now. I have some few references to make. Let me recommend this book,—one of the most remarkable ever penned. It is Winwood Reade's 'Martyrdom of Man.' I shall ...
— The Sign of the Four • Arthur Conan Doyle

... which crowded back of her exclamation could frame itself, Giovanni's image flashed before her mind and pushed out every other impression. She seemed to see him racked with suffering, and all for her! She hated her own vacillation. She despised herself for a fickle flirt. What else was she? Here she was imagining all sorts of vague heartaches that were utterly unworthy of her loyalty either to Giovanni's love or to Jack's friendship. Jack was her best friend, almost her brother, and she had no right to feel so limp because—she ...
— The Title Market • Emily Post

... upon weakness and vacillation has rarely appeared in more mocking guise than at the close of the year 1793. About the time when Toulon surrendered, the Austrian Government finally came to the determination to despatch thither the ...
— William Pitt and the Great War • John Holland Rose

... said Chaffanbrass. "I think it is all over. If you're right in what you say,—that they're both ready to swear in their direct evidence that they only signed one deed on that day, no vacillation afterwards would have any effect on the judge. It's just possible, you know, that ...
— Orley Farm • Anthony Trollope

... me! Why not request me to tell you where Soult will fight us next, and when Marmont will cross the frontier? My dear boy, I have not seen her for a week, an entire week,—seven full days and nights, each with their twenty-four hours of change and vacillation." ...
— Charles O'Malley, The Irish Dragoon, Volume 2 (of 2) • Charles Lever

... him from speedily discovering that his brother of England was the dullest and most perverse of human beings. The folly of James, his incapacity to read the characters of men and the signs of the times, his obstinacy, always most offensively displayed when wisdom enjoined concession, his vacillation, always exhibited most pitiably in emergencies which required firmness, had made him an outcast from England, and might, if his counsels were blindly followed, bring great calamities on France. As a legitimate sovereign expelled by rebels, as a confessor of the true faith persecuted ...
— The History of England from the Accession of James II. - Volume 3 (of 5) • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... Dr. Kuyper draws a conventional picture of British policy with regard to the Boers, making it out to be ever greedy of power. The contrary is the truth. A vacillating and timid policy has been England's great mistake in South Africa; it is this very vacillation that has brought about ...
— Boer Politics • Yves Guyot

... future legislation, and take warning from the experiences of our contemporaries. We allude to the obvious necessity in a country like ours, and, indeed, in any country, of maintaining a national moneyed institution as a check upon the vacillation, expansions, and contractions which mark the policy of small banks of issue. This national institution, while free from individual profit, and without power to grant individual favors, should create and perform the functions of a national ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. IV. October, 1863, No. IV. - Devoted to Literature and National Policy. • Various

... do with their might whatsoever their hands or their tongues or their feet find to do. A half-and-half performance of the right is just about as mischievous as the perpetration of the wrong. It is vacillation, hesitation, lack of will, feebleness of purpose, imperfect execution, that works ill in all life. Be monarch of all you survey. If a woman decides to do her own housework, let her go in royally among her pots and kettles and set everything a-stewing and baking ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. XII. July, 1863, No. LXIX. - A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics • Various

... "some sense," as he phrased it, from this adamantine pioneer. Such a man naturally arrogated and obtained great weight among his fellows, and perhaps his lack of vacillation furthered this preeminence. He was a good man in the main as well as forceful, but an early and a very apt expression of the demagogue. And as he tolerated amongst his mental furniture no illusions and fostered no follies, ...
— The Frontiersmen • Charles Egbert Craddock

... Bess to be both a considerable help in some ways and a very great hindrance in others. Her excitement and joy were spurs, inspirations; but she was utterly impracticable in her ideas, and she flitted from one plan to another with bewildering vacillation. Moreover, he fancied that she grew more eager, youthful, and sweet; and he marked that it was far easier to watch her and listen to her than it was to work. Therefore he gave her tasks that necessitated her going often to the cave where he ...
— Riders of the Purple Sage • Zane Grey

... is an illustration of the first. Attention to such a problem is impossible; his attention must wander. The genius who, working with his favorite subject, finds a multitude of trains of thought called up by each idea, and who therefore spends hours on one topic with no vacillation of attention, is an illustration of ...
— How to Teach • George Drayton Strayer and Naomi Norsworthy

... increase of their already almost fabulous wealth only strengthened the determination of De Luynes to build up his own fortunes upon the ruin of those of his detested enemy; but after the first burst of resolution which we have recorded, Louis had once more relapsed into vacillation and inertness. He still wept, but he no longer threatened; and it became necessary yet further to excite his indignation and hatred of Concini, in order to induce him to follow up the design which he had so ...
— The Life of Marie de Medicis, Vol. 2 (of 3) • Julia Pardoe

... the same vacillation overmastered Napoleon as that with which he had been tormented since Tilsit. By his command Talleyrand and Caulaincourt were to drop the remark before Alexander that the matter of the divorce was a European question; he wished to test, he said, the temper of his ally. Both ...
— The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte - Vol. III. (of IV.) • William Milligan Sloane

... that was confidently expressed on Saturday gave way to a new opinion, and the noble Lord announced that legislation would be proceeded with immediately. All this indicates that there was a good deal of vacillation on the part of the Government. At last, however, has come the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control. There were some good things in it, no doubt. I do not suppose that any man could stand up, and go on speaking for five hours, ...
— Speeches on Questions of Public Policy, Volume 1 • John Bright

... the engine grew faint a figure in European clothes and a long-tasselled chechia crept out from the dark of a door arch along the street. It advanced toward the gate. It started back at a sound. It rallied again, a figure bedeviled by vacillation. It came as far as the well in the centre of the ...
— O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1921 • Various

... power—again re-assume the reigns of government at the call of a vast majority of the nation. He remembers that that call was founded upon the general desire that a period of tranquil stability should succeed to an interval of harassing vacillation; and that the only general pledge demanded from the representatives of the people was an adherence to certain principles of industrial protection, well understood in the main, if not thoroughly and ...
— Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 365, March, 1846 • Various

... promise, and carefully weigh all the probabilities of success or failure. After my decision is made, I never again review the ground over which I travelled in coming to a decision, but pass onward with faith and vigour in the accomplishment of all that I have undertaken. More men are ruined by vacillation than from ...
— The Good Time Coming • T. S. Arthur

... attending to business, and exerting his mind, apparently with all its usual strength and energy, to the conduct of important affairs intrusted to him; nor did there, to a superficial observer, appear anything in his conduct, while so engaged, that could argue vacillation of intellect, or depression of mind. His outward symptoms of malady argued no acute or alarming disease. But slowness of pulse, absence of appetite, difficulty of digestion, and constant depression of spirits, seemed to draw ...
— Letters On Demonology And Witchcraft • Sir Walter Scott

... Justice Marshall between the Bollman[740] and Burr[741] cases and the vacillation of the Court in the Cramer[742] and Haupt[743] cases leaves the law of treason in a somewhat doubtful condition. The difficulties created by the Burr case have been obviated to a considerable extent through the punishment of acts ordinarily treasonable in nature under ...
— The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation • Edward Corwin

... had been expected; for the minds of most men were made up, and so far as Tostig was interested, the facts were too evident and notorious, the witnesses too numerous, to leave any option to the judges. Edward, on whom alone Tostig had relied, had already, with his ordinary vacillation, been swayed towards a right decision, partly by the counsels of Alred and his other prelates, and especially by the representations of Haco, whose grave bearing and profound dissimulation had gained a singular influence over the formal ...
— Harold, Complete - The Last Of The Saxon Kings • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... intelligent and sensible young man, easy and tolerant without being weak, and capable of strenuous devotion to hard work. These things bespeak an industrious, efficient, and tractable king, such as the Norwegians, who would equally resent either vacillation or tyranny, know ...
— Norwegian Life • Ethlyn T. Clough

... look, rook, shook, all of which formerly had the vowel of boot. The older vowel, however, is still preserved in most words of this class, such as fool, moon, spool, stoop. It is highly significant of the nature of the slow spread of a "phonetic law" that there is local vacillation at present in several words. One hears roof, soot, and hoop, for instance, both with the "long" vowel of boot and the "short" of foot. It is impossible now, in other words, to state in a definitive manner what is the "phonetic law" that regulated the change of the older foot ...
— Language - An Introduction to the Study of Speech • Edward Sapir

... side to it. Stingy though the years had been of intellectual grist, they had not scrupled to rob him of many an essential by which he set store. His old faculty—for good or evil—of swift decision, for instance. It was lost to him now; as witness his present miserable vacillation. It had gone off arm-in-arm with his health; physically he was but a ghost of the man he had once been. But the bitterest grudge he bore the life was for the shipwreck it had made of his early ideals. He remembered the pure joy, the lofty sentiments with which he had returned ...
— Australia Felix • Henry Handel Richardson

... scene with moist eyes. He was generally a man of prompt decision, and he well knew that he would incur by this act the charge of vacillation. It was a noble self-denial in him to be willing to do so, but it would have required an iron heart to resist such earnest supplications, and he was more than repaid when he saw how much anguish he had removed ...
— Eric, or Little by Little • Frederic W. Farrar

... in the fierce resolve of the self-love which has made Fedalma the one aim, glory, and crown of his life. Throughout all the apparent struggle and uncertainty, we never doubt how all shall end. Amid all the appearances of vacillation, all the seeking external aid and furtherance, we see that the resolve is fixed, that the eager passionate self which identifies Fedalma as its inalienable right and property will prevail—prevail even to set aside every ...
— The Ethics of George Eliot's Works • John Crombie Brown

... slight timbers creaked and groaned with the increased pressure put upon them by the heavy drag of the boats in tow, and Dyer laid his hand apprehensively upon the painter of the leading boat, strained as taut as a bar; but it was no time for vacillation, the obscurity and the increased strength of the wind were almost worth men's lives at such a moment, and George, who was tending the boat's mainsheet, hung on to every inch of it, like grim death. Once, as they went foaming close past a cluster of small traders, moored three ...
— The Cruise of the Nonsuch Buccaneer • Harry Collingwood

... man has confidence. He draws to himself all the moral qualities and mental forces which go to make up a strong man. Whereas, the man without courage draws to himself all the qualities of a weak man, vacillation, doubt, hesitancy, and unsteadiness of purpose. You can therefore see the value of concentration on courage. It is a most vital element ...
— The Power of Concentration • Theron Q. Dumont

... proposed as holding forth a pattern for us to follow, and the faith in it as tending to make us in a measure steadfast like Himself, as when Paul indignantly rebuts his enemies' charge of levity of purpose and vacillation, and avers that 'as God is faithful, our word toward you is not yea and nay' ...
— Expositions Of Holy Scripture - Volume I: St. Luke, Chaps. I to XII • Alexander Maclaren

... forced, into the arduous conflict. Since the latter half of August, the talents which he had heretofore displayed for comprehensive and profound combinations seemed to have totally deserted him. All his measures and plans appeared imperfect, and betrayed a vacillation which he had never yet manifested. He seems to have been as uncertain respecting the strength of his antagonists as in regard to their grand plan of deciding the fate of the ...
— Frederic Shoberl Narrative of the Most Remarkable Events Which Occurred In and Near Leipzig • Frederic Shoberl (1775-1853)

... veil of grimmest humour over the occurrence. The agitation of the horror at his heart, ever working and constantly repressed, shows through the veil, and gives an excited uncertainty to his words, and a wild vacillation to ...
— The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark - A Study with the Text of the Folio of 1623 • George MacDonald

... say that there is a higher good than that of action, and that this higher good belongs to the whole world as it is in reality. In this way the twofold attitude and the apparent vacillation of mysticism ...
— Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays • Bertrand Russell

... as it does its domestic, and made a proper exhibition of maritime preparation and of maritime force, this people would hold the balance in many of the grave questions that are now only in abeyance in European politics. Hitherto we have been influenced by every vacillation in English interests, and it is quite time to think of turning the tables, and of placing, as far as practicable, American interests above the vicissitudes of those of other people. The thing is more easily done than is commonly imagined, but a party politician is rarely a statesman, the subordinate ...
— Recollections of Europe • J. Fenimore Cooper

... humour that day. He had suffered himself to be persuaded into joining in a species of amusement for which he cared nothing, by a mere word from a woman for whom he cared less, but whom he had half determined to marry, and who had wholly determined to marry him. He, who hated vacillation, had been dangling for four-and-twenty hours like a pendulum, or, as he said to himself, like an ass between two bundles of hay. At one moment he meant to marry Donna Tullia, and at another he loathed the thought; now he felt that he would make any sacrifice to rid the Duchessa d'Astrardente ...
— Saracinesca • F. Marion Crawford

... retire, Couch sent to obtain permission to remain, but it was peremptorily refused. Hooker soon afterward changed his mind and countermanded his first order, but it was then too late; our troops had left the ridge and the enemy were in possession of it. There was too much vacillation at headquarters. Slocum, who was pressing the enemy back, was very much vexed when he received the order, but obeyed it, and retreated without being molested. It is true, Wright's brigade had formed on his right, but ...
— Chancellorsville and Gettysburg - Campaigns of the Civil War - VI • Abner Doubleday

... proposed a defense-wide experiment in integration to Forrestal on 2 December. He was not oblivious to the impression his vacillation on the subject had produced and went to some lengths to explain why he had opposed such experiments in the past. Although he had been thinking about such an experiment for some time, he told Forrestal, he had publicly rejected the idea at the National ...
— Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965 • Morris J. MacGregor Jr.

... will be no hesitation or vacillation in the decisive treatment of the guilty, this warning is especially intended to protect and ...
— Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents - Volume 8, Section 2 (of 2): Grover Cleveland • Grover Cleveland

... men, beginning with Dud Dudley in the reign of James I., and ending a century later with Darby of Coalbrookdale. Practically these heroic men had all their contemporaries against them. Public opinion attacked them through private persecution and violence. The apathy and vacillation of governments left them without defence; and had governments then represented public opinion completely, and had also controlled all labour and capital, the discovery in question, which was retarded for three generations, ...
— A Critical Examination of Socialism • William Hurrell Mallock

... English camp before doing so; and, as the defenders were reduced to half their original strength, while most of the survivors were weakened by disease, the attack would probably have been successful. James himself was several times on the point of ordering an attack, but his own vacillation of character was heightened by the conflicting counsels of his generals, who seemed more bent on thwarting each other than on gaining the cause for which ...
— Orange and Green - A Tale of the Boyne and Limerick • G. A. Henty

... until May, when the first grand effort of mutiny burst forth at Meerut. The sepoys suddenly arose there, attacked their officers, murdered some, and, having set fire to the cantonments, marched to Delhi. Major-general Hewett, who commanded the garrison, showed extraordinary weakness and vacillation, and took no prompt or vigorous measures to intercept the flight of the fugitives, or to pursue them. The mutiny occurred on Sunday evening, the 10th of May. The rabble of the neighbourhood joined the mutineers. ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.III. - From George III. to Victoria • E. Farr and E. H. Nolan

... constantly to enlarge their sphere of action; hence it is almost impossible that such a government should not ultimately succeed, because it acts with a fixed principle and a constant will, upon men, whose position, whose notions, and whose desires are in continual vacillation. It frequently happens that the members of the community promote the influence of the central power without intending it. Democratic ages are periods of experiment, innovation, and adventure. At such times there are always a multitude of men engaged in ...
— Democracy In America, Volume 2 (of 2) • Alexis de Tocqueville

... vacillation I remained for some time, but in the end curiosity and a fugitive hope gained the day, and taking my cap, I ...
— My Lady Caprice • Jeffrey Farnol

... of his speeches there was neither carelessness nor vacillation. Less finished advocates turn aside to indulge themselves in playing with an illustration or a favourite proposition, at the risk of betraying the distinction between their own natural train of thought ...
— Memoirs of James Robert Hope-Scott, Volume 2 • Robert Ornsby

... Her friends would have wished her more discriminating in her opinions, but she never obtruded these upon others. Personally, no woman could be more respected by her intimates; there was nothing low or trivial in her character and turn of mind—no shadow of vacillation in her principles or her feelings. Mrs. Stanley and her young friend Hazlehurst, much as they esteemed and respected each other, disagreed on many subjects. Harry made a point of looking at both sides of a question; he was loyal to his country, and willing to serve it to the best ...
— Elinor Wyllys - Vol. I • Susan Fenimore Cooper

... approach indefinitely to that ideal, and whether it is possible for us in this life ever to have hearts so continuously fixed as that no attraction shall draw the needle aside one point from the pole or not, it is possible for us all to have them a great deal steadier than in that wavering, fluctuating vacillation which ...
— Expositions Of Holy Scripture - Volume I: St. Luke, Chaps. I to XII • Alexander Maclaren

... pity the thousands who are lying on the bloody battle-fields of Jena and Auerstadt, and accusing the duke of having murdered them! You had better pity Prussia's misfortunes and disgrace, which have been brought about by the duke! For, I tell you, the indecision, vacillation, and timidity of the duke were the sole causes of our terrible disaster. All of us felt and knew it. None of the younger officers and generals had any doubt about it; every one knew that those old gentlemen, who had outlived their own glory, and still believed that they lived in ...
— Napoleon and the Queen of Prussia • L. Muhlbach

... to those who have in the past regarded the French as a volatile, frivolous, impulsive people, virile, yet lacking the accredited determination and persistency of the Teuton. This impression has been a great mistake. The faces of the men and women of France alike show no sign of vacillation. The French are counting the terrific cost, as becomes the thriftiest of nations, expecting to collect a bill that in their opinion has been running since the Franco-Prussian war and through the humiliating and irksome years which followed under the "favored nation" ...
— A Journey Through France in War Time • Joseph G. Butler, Jr.

... more fit to act on the average intelligence. They have enough of organizing purpose in them to make their facts illustrative, and to leave a distinct result in the mind even when most of the facts are forgotten; and they have enough of vagueness and vacillation in their theory to win them ready acceptance from a mixed audience. The vagueness and vacillation are not devices of timidity; they are the honest result of the writer's own mental character, which adapts him ...
— The Essays of "George Eliot" - Complete • George Eliot

... never made a greater blunder than when, at the close of the war, they timidly refused to lead the nation in demanding suffrage for all. If even Wendell Phillips and Gerrit Smith, the very apostles of liberty on this continent, failed at that point, how can we wonder at the vacillation and confusion of politicians at this hour. We had hoped that the elections of '67, with their overwhelming majorities in every State against negro suffrage, would have proved to all alike, how futile is compromise, how short-sighted is policy. We have pressed these considerations ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume II • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage

... difficult to understand. They are only for the trained intelligence. They consist of long movements, where it is only after a labyrinthine maze that the fundamental note is recovered. It is just so with genius; it is only after a course of struggle, and doubt, and error, and much reflection and vacillation, that great minds attain their equilibrium. It is the longest pendulum that makes the greatest swing. Little minds soon come to terms with themselves and the world, and then fossilise; but the others flourish, and are always alive and ...
— The Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer; The Art of Controversy • Arthur Schopenhauer

... of the necessity for remaining at home, that he himself began to believe in it, and gave way. The more this conclusion suited his own wishes the easier it became to find reasons for it: old Rufinus really did not need him; and if he—Orion—had cause to be ashamed of his vacillation, on the other hand he could comfort himself by reflecting that it would be unkind and ungrateful to his good friends to leave them in the lurch just when he could be of use to them. One pair of protecting arms more or less could not matter to the nuns, while the captive Narses might ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... ease, In him alone 'twas natural to please; His motions all accompanied with grace, And Paradise was open'd in his face." Yet to a strict observer, the manly beauty of Monmouth's face was occasionally rendered less striking by an air of vacillation and uncertainty, which seemed to imply hesitation and doubt at moments when decisive resolution ...
— Old Mortality, Complete, Illustrated • Sir Walter Scott

... would be Chikushima; perhaps is another form of Tsushima], where they effected a junction with the forces of the provincial staff from Liao-yang. It was the intention to first attack the Dazai Fu, but there was vacillation and indecision. On the 1st day of the 8th moon a great typhoon raged, and 60 or 70 per cent. of the army perished. The Emperor was ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume VI. • Various

... compromises upon, first principles. That is the justification for drawing the members of a Cabinet from the leaders of a single party, who think alike and understand one another's minds. Whenever this condition has been absent, confusion, vacillation and contradiction have always marked the conduct of public affairs, ...
— Essays in Liberalism - Being the Lectures and Papers Which Were Delivered at the - Liberal Summer School at Oxford, 1922 • Various

... such incessant self-questioning and the hesitation that arises from it, that is making the present period a time of vacillation and contradiction for the American Negro; combined race action is stifled, race responsibility is shirked, race enterprises languish, and the best blood, the best talent, the best energy of the Negro people cannot be ...
— The Conservation of Races - The American Negro Academy. Occasional Papers No. 2 • W. E. Burghardt Du Bois

... closely now, for her manner seemed to witness more than indolence; irresolution, vacillation, discomfort, asserted their presence. I could not make her out, but her languid indifference appeared more ...
— The Indiscretion of the Duchess • Anthony Hope

... characteristic of the British authorities. The Germans never do things by halves. What they authorise to be done is carried out to the letter. What they say they mean and there is no delay in executing an order once it is issued. The Teuton system may have shortcomings but hesitation and vacillation cannot be numbered among them. Directly the order concerning the re-arrest of the British was issued, extreme activity was displayed in carrying it out. Possibly it was a mere temporary measure, as K—— half hoped, but that was ...
— Sixteen Months in Four German Prisons - Wesel, Sennelager, Klingelputz, Ruhleben • Henry Charles Mahoney

... OF OXFORD, a celebrated English politician, born of good family; entered Parliament shortly after the Revolution (1688) as a Whig, but after a period of vacillation threw in his lot with Tories and in 1701 became Speaker of the House; in 1704 he was associated with St. John (Bolingbroke) in the Cabinet as Secretary of State, and set about undermining the influence of Godolphin and ...
— The Nuttall Encyclopaedia - Being a Concise and Comprehensive Dictionary of General Knowledge • Edited by Rev. James Wood

... inevitably have been violent dissensions in the state. And in taking precautions and making provision against that, I by no means swerved from my well-known loyalist policy, but my object was to make him more of a loyalist and induce him to drop somewhat of his time-serving vacillation: and he, let me assure you, now speaks in much higher terms of my achievements (against which many had tried to incite him) than of his own. He testifies that while he served the state well, I preserved it. What if I ...
— The Letters of Cicero, Volume 1 - The Whole Extant Correspodence in Chronological Order • Marcus Tullius Cicero

... Claude Lorraine until the attendants requested him to move on. His mother knew something of art, and they used to discuss all the new pictures together. The father protested: he declared that the mother was encouraging the boy in his vacillation and dreaminess. ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Volume 6 - Subtitle: Little Journeys to the Homes of Eminent Artists • Elbert Hubbard

... at the elevation now attained, continued its course upward with an even and undeviating ascent, and the car consequently followed with a steadiness so perfect that it would have been impossible to detect in it the slightest vacillation whatever. This circumstance favored me greatly in the project I now determined to adopt. My supply of water had been put on board in kegs containing five gallons each, and ranged very securely around the interior of the car. I unfastened one of these, and taking two ropes tied them tightly ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 1 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... with bated breath. They could protest against the dominant policy as rash and bigoted, but could not put forwards conflicting principles without guarding themselves against the imputation of favouring the common enemy. The Puritans of Radicalism set down this vacillation to a total want of fixed principle, if not to baser motives. The first volume of the 'Westminster Review' (1824) contains a characteristic assault upon the 'see-saw' system of the 'Edinburgh' by the two Mills. The 'Edinburgh' is sternly ...
— Hours in a Library - New Edition, with Additions. Vol. II (of 3) • Leslie Stephen

... but said calmly, "You must pay the penalty for loving a parvenu's son. Come, Julia, no peevishness, no more romance, no more vacillation. You have tried Pride and failed pitiably: now I insist on your trying Love! Child, it is the bane of our sex to carry nothing out: from that weakness I will preserve you. And, by-the-bye, we are not going to marry Mr. ...
— Hard Cash • Charles Reade

... more like a column—not only straight, but tall and majestic, and capable of holding any weight, and without fatigue or exertion. When he put his foot down, either literally of figuratively, it was down. Vacillation, or fear, or incertitude, or indecision, were strangers to whom he would never be introduced. When he entered a room you were, to use a New Testament phrase, "exceedingly ...
— T. De Witt Talmage - As I Knew Him • T. De Witt Talmage

... things after which I am seeking. Pity from you would be more precious to me than passionate love from any other woman. Your hand upon my heart—I know—would cause a second youth to spring up in me far purer than the first and stronger. The ceaseless vacillation which makes up the sum of my inner life would find rest and stability in you. My unsatisfied and restless spirit, harried by a perpetual warfare between attraction and repulsion, eternally and irremediably alone, would ...
— The Child of Pleasure • Gabriele D'Annunzio

... eager soul, with what aptitude of mind to the deed, would I hang my friend, Undy Scott, the member of Parliament for the Tillietudlem burghs, if I could but get at his throat for such a purpose! Hang him! aye, as high as Haman! In this there would be no regret, no vacillation of purpose, no doubt as to the propriety of the sacrifice, no feeling that I was so treating him, not for his own ...
— The Three Clerks • Anthony Trollope

... will fully account for the intense and universal opposition to the plans of Earl Grey. The vacillation of his lordship in reference to the emigrant clause, produced feelings of exasperation and distrust, but the sad experience of Van Diemen's Land was accepted as a warning by other portions of the empire. A pamphlet, ...
— The History of Tasmania, Volume I (of 2) • John West

... of belief have often been taken as an index of vacillation; but a simple and candid study of his writings shows that such changes were merely the normal progress of an intensely earnest and sincere mind, which never hesitated to avow its honest convictions nor to admit its errors. This is the quality ...
— Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol 6 • Various

... Man's vacillation is Fate's determination, and Miss Harden was as firm as Fate. He felt that the fine long hands playing with the catalogue were shaping events for him, while her eyes measured him ...
— The Divine Fire • May Sinclair

... and worship the idols. "But how dost thou find thy heart?" said the prophet. "Steadfast in the faith," said he. "Then," answered Mohammed, "if they repeat their cruelty, thou mayest repeat thy words." He also had himself an hour of vacillation. Tired of the severe and seemingly hopeless struggle with the Koreish, and seeing no way of overcoming their bitter hostility, he bethought himself of the method of compromise, more than seven centuries before America was discovered. He had been preaching ...
— Ten Great Religions - An Essay in Comparative Theology • James Freeman Clarke

... Buchanan, who was then President, had a genius for doing the most unwise thing. He was a northern man with southern principles, and this may have unfitted him to see things in their true relations. He certainly was putty in the hands of those who wished to destroy the Union, and his vacillation precisely accomplished what they wished. Had he possessed the firmness and spirit of John A. Dix, who ordered,—"If any man attempts to haul down the American flag, shoot him on the spot;" had he had a modicum of the ...
— The Life of Abraham Lincoln • Henry Ketcham

... of his delusion; secondly, with the conviction that without his horse he could neither proceed on the course suggested by Harkutt, nor take another more vague one that was dimly in his mind. Yet in his hopeless vacillation it seemed a relief that now neither was practicable, and that he need do nothing. Perhaps it ...
— A First Family of Tasajara • Bret Harte

... Months of vacillation followed the failure of Monroe's mission. The President could not shake off his obsession, and yet he lacked the resolution to employ force to take either Texas, which he did not want but was entitled to, or West Florida which he ardently desired but whose title was in dispute. ...
— Jefferson and his Colleagues - A Chronicle of the Virginia Dynasty, Volume 15 In The - Chronicles Of America Series • Allen Johnson

... vacillation of Dr. Tyndall's whole views of things, as soon as they bear on matters that are of any universal moment, is so typical of the entire positive thought of the day, that I may with advantage give one or two further illustrations of it. Although in one place he proclaims loudly that ...
— Is Life Worth Living? • William Hurrell Mallock

... decadents, criminals, and fools. It was a convenient inferno in which to dump the men who succeeded in the field wherein you were a failure. The height of the paradox was achieved when a silly nomenclature was devised to meet every vacillation of the human temperament. If you feared to cross the street you suffered from agoraphobia; if you didn't fear to cross the street, that too was a very bad sign. If you painted like Monet, paralysis of the optical centre ...
— Promenades of an Impressionist • James Huneker

... vagueness of his play, as more suggestive than clearness, and explained that Alma y vida symbolizes the decline of Spain, the dying away of its heraldic glories, and the melancholy which pervades the soul of Spain; the common people, though possessing reservoirs of strength, are plunged in vacillation and doubt. The sad ending is the most appropriate to the national psychology of the time. Warned by Electra, he says, he deliberately avoided popular applause, and sought to gain the ...
— Heath's Modern Language Series: Mariucha • Benito Perez Galdos

... fellow," replied Villiers, in a calmer tone—"it's enough to make any man with warm blood in his veins FEEL! Everywhere signs of weakness, cowardice, compromise, hesitation, vacillation, incompetency, and everywhere, in thoughtful minds, the keen sense of a Fate advancing like the giant in the seven-leagued boots, at huge strides every day. The ponderous Law and the solid Police hem us ...
— Ardath - The Story of a Dead Self • Marie Corelli

... course, moments of terrible vacillation, a period even when something almost like passion bid her throw refinement to the winds. And there was something in her, an unexpurgated vestige of vulgarity that made a strenuous attempt at proving that Snooks was not so very bad a name after all. Any hovering ...
— The Country of the Blind, And Other Stories • H. G. Wells

... The appearance of vacillation on his part from day to day was hardly deserving of the grave censure which it received, and was certainly in ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... will depended my own happiness—the fate of all dear to me. I endeavoured to divine the concealed meaning of his words. Perdita's name was not mentioned; yet I could not doubt that love for her caused the vacillation of purpose that he exhibited. And who was so worthy of love as my noble-minded sister? Who deserved the hand of this self-exalted king more than she whose glance belonged to a queen of nations? who loved him, as he did her; notwithstanding that disappointment ...
— The Last Man • Mary Shelley

... pay for their own defence was dropped, and the tax, which brought in only a trifling sum, was to be maintained as an assertion of right. Grenville pointed out that a partial repeal would not conciliate the colonists, that the troubles in America had been caused by vacillation, and that what was wanted was a plan of government steadily pursued and enforced. The opposition desired complete repeal, and the ministerial majority was only 62. On the evening before this debate an event took place ...
— The Political History of England - Vol. X. • William Hunt

... have gained him the name of Martyr. The son of the murderess did ascend the throne, but the guilt of blood seemed to cleave to the crown; he met with the obedience of his father's times no more. The Anglo-Saxon magnates seized the occasion which this crime, or the subsequent vacillation of the government between violence and weakness, offered them, to aim at an independent position, and to indulge in a personal policy, ...
— A History of England Principally in the Seventeenth Century, Volume I (of 6) • Leopold von Ranke

... mutiny, which had driven Judson to Burma and several other missionaries elsewhere, was renewed by the Indian Government's secretaries and police. The Ministry had informed the Court of Directors that they had resolved to permit Europeans to settle in India, yet after five weeks' vacillation the Governor-General yielded to his subordinates so far as to issue an order on 5th March 1812, for the expulsion of three missionaries, an order which was so executed that one of them was conducted like a felon through the streets and lodged ...
— The Life of William Carey • George Smith



Words linked to "Vacillation" :   movement, vacillate, move, irresolution, motion, indecision, indecisiveness



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