The many kinds of Alacrity


Alacrity in Joyce and Burton.

The rogues slighted me into the river with as little remorse as they would have drown’d a blind bitch’s puppies, fifteen i’ th’ litter; and you may know by my size that I have a kind of alacrity in sinking; if the bottom were as deep as hell I should down. I had been drown’d but that the shore was shelvy and shallow-a death that I abhor; for the water swells a man; and what a thing should I have been when had been swell’d! I should have been a mountain of mummy.

Author and Texts

Since the imagination, therefore, in running from low to high, finds an opposition in its internal qualities and principles, and since the soul, when elevated with joy and courage, in a manner seeks opposition, and throws itself with alacrity into any scene of thought or action, where its courage meets with matter to nourish and employ it; it follows, that everything, which invigorates and inlivens the soul, whether by touching the passions or imagination naturally conveys to the fancy this inclination for ascent, and determines it to run against the natural stream of its thoughts and conceptions. This aspiring progress of the imagination suits the present disposition of the mind; and the difficulty, instead of extinguishing its vigour and alacrity, has the contrary affect, of sustaining and encreasing it. Virtue, genius, power, and riches are for this reason associated with height and sublimity; as poverty, slavery, and folly are conjoined with descent and lowness.

The same system may help us to form a just notion of the happiness, as well as of the dignity of virtue, and may interest every principle of our nature in the embracing and cherishing that noble quality. Who indeed does not feel an accession of alacrity in his pursuits of knowledge and ability of every kind, when he considers, that besides the advantage, which immediately result from these acquisitions, they also give him a new lustre in the eyes of mankind, and are universally attended with esteem and approbation? And who can think any advantages of fortune a sufficient compensation for the least breach of the social virtues, when he considers, that not only his character with regard to others, but also his peace and inward satisfaction entirely depend upon his strict observance of them; and that a mind will never be able to bear its own survey, that has been wanting in its part to mankind and society?

Author and Texts

As to these young gentlewomen, it were pity to break in upon that usefulness which the whole family were of to each other; each having her proper part, and performing it with an agreeable alacrity: insomuch, that I liked them all so well, that I could even pass my days among them, were he to leave me; by which means the lodgings would be more convenient to me than now they were.

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I enter upon this part of my story in the most pensive and melancholy frame of mind that ever sympathetic breast was touched with. —-My nerves relax as I tell it. —-Every line I write, I feel an abatement of the quickness of my pulse, and of that careless alacrity with it, which every day of my life prompts me to say and write a thousand things I should not.

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We agreed that the best thing we could do was to begin eating them immediately, and accordingly we ordered up the cold Ham and Fowls, and instantly began our Devouring Plan on them with great Alacrity.

After a couple of minutes’ unbroken silence, Henry, turning to Catherine for the first time since her mother’s entrance, asked her, with sudden alacrity, if…

and it was bestowed with a most joyful alacrity

He carved, and ate, and praised with delighted alacrity; and every dish was commended,…

…and with the advantage of knowing half the scenes by heart already, he did now, with the greatest alacrity, offer his services for the part.

as each proved to the other by the sympathetic alacrity with which they both advised

…and with the most perfect alacrity he welcomed the relationship, alluded to the past, and entreated to be received as an acquaintance already.

There could be only the most proper alacrity, a most obliging compliance for public view; and smiles reined in and spirits dancing in private rapture.

her cheerfulness and mental alacrity did not fail her

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With light alacrity and gaze of Pride,
They view him mount once more his vessel’s side

I am proud and pleased to see
Such confident alacrity.
Your doubts
Since our last meeting, then, are all dispelled?

Author and Texts

Families late devoted to exalting and refined pursuits, rich, blooming, and young, with diminished numbers and care-fraught hearts, huddled over a fire, grown selfish and grovelling through suffering. Without the aid of servants, it was necessary to discharge all household duties; hands unused to such labour must knead the bread, or in the absence of flour, the statesmen or perfumed courtier must undertake the butcher’s office. Poor and rich were now equal, or rather the poor were the superior, since they entered on such tasks with alacrity and experience; while ignorance, inaptitude, and habits of repose, rendered them fatiguing to the luxurious, galling to the proud, disgustful to all whose minds, bent on intellectual improvement, held it their dearest privilege to be exempt from attending to mere animal wants.

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…and went about making such arrangements as were in his power for the comfort of his visitors, with extreme alacrity.

…and swept the cash into his pocket with remarkable alacrity.

“Exactly so,” returned the other with an unusual alacrity of assent. “To be sure! Doubtless you would. Of course. I’m certain of it. Good night. Pleasant dreams!”

…took them off with equal alacrity, only too glad to have any more means of conciliation about her.

With his quadrant at his round black knob of an eye, and his figure in its old attitude of indomitable alacrity,

From the earliest moment of his engagement he showed a particular desire to please her, and, knowing her
to have this object at heart, he followed it up with unwearying alacrity and interest.

…he conducted himself with cheerful alacrity to much useful purpose, instead of foreshortening himself in the air with the vaguest intentions.

Author and Texts

I see genuine contentment in your gait and mien, your eye and face, when you are helping me and pleasing me–working for me, and with me, in, as you characteristically say, ‘all that is right:’ for if I bid you do what you thought wrong, there would be no light-footed running, no neat-handed alacrity, no lively glance and animated complexion.

Author and Text

What wonder, then, that such abominable mercenaries should cause a mighty deal of mischief in Minda; privately going about, inciting peaceable folks to enmities with their neighbors; and with marvelous alacrity, proposing themselves as the very sorcerers to rid them of the annoyances suggested as existing.

Author and Texts

Giacosa rose at her summons and advanced with his usual deferential alacrity. He shook hands with Rowland in silence.

Bernard assented with expressive alacrity; he was charmed with her not wishing to break off her conversation with him.

But he was not for a single instant the dupe of her blundering alacrity; he knew that of what she promised she was competent to perform but an insignificant fraction, and the more she professed her willingness to serve him, the greater fool he thought her.

…when he took out his stepdaughter with a fresh alacrity and they rambled the great town in search…

Author and Texts

‘I cannot say so much, perhaps,’ he answered; ‘but I go with good alacrity. I have desired a change some time; behold one offered me! Shall I refuse? Thank God, I am not so destitute of humour as to make a tragedy of such a farce.’ He flicked the order on the table. ‘You may signify my readiness,’ he added grandly.

There are, indeed, few merrier spectacles than that of many windmills bickering together in a fresh breeze over a woody country; their halting alacrity of movement, their pleasant busyness, making bread all day with uncouth gesticulations, their air, gigantically human, as of a creature half alive, put a spirit of romance into the tamest landscape.

“Pretty pliskies ye’ve been at this day!” cried the old lady, with humorous alacrity; and then, “Take care–don’t break my crystal!” she cried, as the lawyer came within an ace of knocking the glasses off the table.

Gideon and Julia sprang apart with wonderful alacrity; the latter annoyed to observe that although they had never moved since they sat down, they were now quite close together;

On the arrival of this seasonable aid, the perplexed driver rallied his scattered senses, and the helpless animals, being duly seasoned after the fashion prescribed on such occasions, he had the heart–felt satisfaction of seeing them apply themselves, with the customary alacrity, to the draught.

…and there was nothing left for me but sit and wait. I felt little alacrity upon my errand.

Author and Texts

…whose face was flushed, displayed a suspicious alacrity to explain.

His mottled face was apprehensive, and he moved with a sort of reluctant alacrity.

He had a moment of hesitation. But the manner of these men, their swift alacrity, their words, marched so completely with his own fears of the Council, with his idea and hope of a rescue, that it lasted not a moment. And his people awaited him!

“I don’t think that,” he said with a sort of belated alacrity.

The smart junior and the second apprentice vied with one another in obsequious alacrity.

The Prince obeyed with remarkable alacrity. When he reached the head of the clearing, he said something quickly to the bird-faced man and they both, with an entire lack of dignity, RAN!

“Better,” said Ann Veronica, with an unreal alacrity. “But it still misses the nucleolus.”

He expressed anxiety for the fate of the landlady of the Potwell Inn and her grandchild, and led the way with enhanced alacrity along the lane to that establishment.

With almost inconceivable alacrity Mr. Mergleson rushed up three steps, leapt forward and caught the syphon as it slipped from his lordship’s arm.

An agitated alacrity appeared in his manner; he stood up and moved nervously; by weak, neck-ward movements of his head he seemed to indicate he now regretted wearing such a bright green tie.

Sir Richmond’s car arrived long before ten, brought down by a young man in a state of scared alacrity–Sir Richmond had done some vigorous telephoning before turning in,–the Charmeuse set off in a repaired and
chastened condition to town, and after a leisurely breakfast our two investigators into the springs of human conduct were able to resume their westward journey.

Author and Texts

“Give me the Herr’s luggage,” said the driver; and with exceeding alacrity my bags were handed out and put in the calèche.

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But the emotions which now thronged within me, and which led me, with an almost unwise alacrity, to seek solitude in the back-garden, were not moral at all, they were intellectual.

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