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Catastrophe   Listen
noun
Catastrophe  n.  
1.
An event producing a subversion of the order or system of things; a final event, usually of a calamitous or disastrous nature; hence, sudden calamity; great misfortune. "The strange catastrophe of affairs now at London." "The most horrible and portentous catastrophe that nature ever yet saw."
2.
The final event in a romance or a dramatic piece; a denouement, as a death in a tragedy, or a marriage in a comedy.
3.
(Geol.) A violent and widely extended change in the surface of the earth, as, an elevation or subsidence of some part of it, effected by internal causes.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Catastrophe" Quotes from Famous Books



... threat of the gaol brightened into another free effort of genius to redeem itself from the thralls of law and grinding oppression. Had his generous friend not been absent from England at the fatal time, it is very probable that the dreadful catastrophe would have been averted; but he only landed from the continent to receive the shocking intelligence that all was over. Friendship could but shed the unavailing tear, but it did not forget or neglect the dear family ...
— The Modern Scottish Minstrel, Volume V. - The Songs of Scotland of the Past Half Century • Various

... was promised, but it was slow in coming. The balance hung trembling. At any moment the foreman expected the crisis, when the men, discouraged by the accumulation of work, would begin to "jump," would ask for their "time" and quit, leaving the job half finished in the woods. This catastrophe must not happen. Darrell himself worked like a demon until dark, and then, ten to one, while the other men rested, would strike feverishly across to Camp Twenty-eight or Camp Forty, where he would consult with Morgan or Scotty Parsons until far ...
— Blazed Trail Stories - and Stories of the Wild Life • Stewart Edward White

... Athens was besieged by the forces of Venice. The Parthenon was used by the Turks as a powder-magazine, and was consequently made the target for the enemy's shells. The result was an explosion, which converted the building into a ruin. Of the sculptures which escaped from this catastrophe, many small pieces were carried off at the time or subsequently, while other pieces were used as building stone or thrown into the lime-kiln. Most of those which remained down to the beginning of this century were acquired by Lord Elgin, acting under a permission from the Turkish government ...
— A History Of Greek Art • F. B. Tarbell

... catastrophe he predicted was inevitable. Morning after morning he would open the door of the shack he occupied with the other officials, and, looking up the white wastes through the gray-blue dawn, he would watch the distances with an anxiety that meant more than a consideration ...
— The Moccasin Maker • E. Pauline Johnson

... race for motor-boats against a considerable fleet, and was the most popular boy in camp, not only on this account, but because of his timely action at the moment of danger whereby a catastrophe was averted. ...
— The Hilltop Boys on the River • Cyril Burleigh

... of the Merry Maypole, a tavern of great resort by the market-cross in the good borough of Wigan, was awakened from a laborious slumber. The door which opened into a low porch projecting from the thatch, was shaken with a vehemence that threatened some fearful catastrophe. Giles, no longer able to endure these thundering appeals to his hospitality, desired his wife to ascertain the cause ...
— Traditions of Lancashire, Volume 1 (of 2) • John Roby

... groups on deck watching the strange appearance, and in suppressed voices asking each other what it could mean. The more nervous already began to give way to fear; and the bravest were not altogether free from apprehension that some awful catastrophe was about to occur. The Javanese declared that it portended great convulsions in their country, and perhaps the overthrow of the ruling powers. Some of the more credulous of the seamen began to connect it, in some way or other, with the sudden disappearance of ...
— Mark Seaworth • William H.G. Kingston

... came by it, or whither he was going, he steadfastly refused to say. In the daily journals, which he was allowed to see, he read with eagerness the police examinations of Williams; and on the same day which announced the catastrophe of Williams, he also committed suicide in his cell.] There was, therefore, reason enough, both in the man's hellish character, and in the mystery which surrounded him, for a Postscript [Footnote: Published ...
— Memorials and Other Papers • Thomas de Quincey

... to-night, my lord," says Harry, and rises and goes away, and eats a broiled bone in the coffee-room, and walks back to his lodgings some time about midnight. A man after a great catastrophe commonly sleeps pretty well. It is the waking in the morning which is sometimes queer and unpleasant. Last night you proposed to Miss Brown: you quarrelled over your cups with Captain Jones, and valorously pulled his nose: you played at cards with Colonel ...
— The Virginians • William Makepeace Thackeray

... about day after day, searching for each other in vain, till all our ammunition was expended, and might easily then fall victims to rogue elephants, or bears, or other wild beasts. The contemplation of such a catastrophe was not pleasant; but still, what was to be done? I asked the question of myself over and over again, I examined my ammunition, and found that I had eight bullets and a dozen or more charges of small shot, ...
— My First Voyage to Southern Seas • W.H.G. Kingston

... exclaimed the padre, looking at me in amazement that I should express satisfaction at such a catastrophe. 'What? Are you pleased to hear that Churchill is in office again?' inquired ...
— At Ypres with Best-Dunkley • Thomas Hope Floyd

... sailors are slow believers, or at best hold themselves in a state of philosophical suspense. Say they—"That catastrophe took place in the Mediterranean; and the only whales frequenting the Mediterranean, are of a sort having not a swallow large enough to pass a man entire; for those Mediterranean whales feed upon small things, as horses upon oats." But hence, the sailors draw ...
— Mardi: and A Voyage Thither, Vol. I (of 2) • Herman Melville

... splendid present of golden vessels and ornaments, and among other things were artificial birds, made in imitation of turkeys with plumage of worked gold; there were also fifteen hundred robes of delicate cotton cloth. The emperor's message expressed regret for the late catastrophe, and denied all knowledge of the plot which had, he said, brought a retribution upon its authors which they richly deserved; and he explained the presence of the Aztec force in the neighbourhood by saying that there was a disturbance that had to be quelled. More ...
— The True Story Book • Andrew Lang

... Where he miscalculated was, of course, just where he was ignorant. The whole of what the queen's friends, ay, and the queen herself, did in Strelsau, became useless and mischievous by reason of the king's death; their action must have been utterly different, had they been aware of that catastrophe; but their wisdom must be judged only according to ...
— Rupert of Hentzau - From The Memoirs of Fritz Von Tarlenheim: The Sequel to - The Prisoner of Zenda • Anthony Hope

... expiated by his fifth descendant, though, as Herodotus tells us, no one took any notice of this prophecy until it was at last fulfilled: we see thus the history of the first Mermnad king is made up after the catastrophe of the last. There was something in the main facts of the history of Croesus profoundly striking to the Greek mind, a king at the summit of wealth and power—pious in the extreme and munificent toward the gods—the first destroyer of Hellenic liberty in Asia—then precipitated, at once and on a ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol. 1 • Various

... corner of the room, half hidden, was a sewing machine. Luna had seen his niece working at it the last time he came to the Cathedral. It was the permanent remembrance the "little one" had left behind her after that catastrophe which had filled her father with such gloomy sadness. Through a back window of the room Gabriel could see the inner court, which made this "habitacion" one of the most charming in the Claverias, the open expanse of sky, and the upper ...
— The Shadow of the Cathedral • Vicente Blasco Ibanez

... brief; tribulation is long and wearing. We speak of an affliction, but rarely of a tribulation, since tribulation is viewed as a continuous process, which may endure for years or for a lifetime; but we speak of our daily trials. Compare CATASTROPHE. ...
— English Synonyms and Antonyms - With Notes on the Correct Use of Prepositions • James Champlin Fernald

... too—with rage. Whether instinct inspired her with the advantages of a situation so extremely unpleasant to me, I cannot say. The last act of the drama rapidly approached, and no more strategic catastrophe was ...
— Lords of the Housetops - Thirteen Cat Tales • Various

... reached the water, and in his eagerness to save his fellow-creatures instantly forgot his own bitter disappointment. Three men only were picked up alive, floating on fragments of the wreck. It sank almost directly the boats got up to the spot. What had caused the catastrophe no one could tell, but the brig certainly must have had a larger amount of gunpowder on board her than was supposed. Mr Schank therefore, as before, continued to act as our First-Lieutenant. Once or twice we returned to the Hoogley to refit, and on one occasion we were sent round to Madras and Bombay ...
— Ben Burton - Born and Bred at Sea • W. H. G. Kingston

... wounds or scalding, and 43 were either drowned or killed in the water, the enemy, in this instance, having the inhumanity to fire on those who were there struggling for their lives. Unappalled by this sickening catastrophe, the remaining boats pressed on to the attack, the Conestoga taking hold of the crippled vessel to tow her out of action. A few minutes later, at a signal from Colonel Fitch, the gunboats ceased firing, and the troops, advancing, successfully stormed the battery. The ...
— The Gulf and Inland Waters - The Navy in the Civil War. Volume 3. • A. T. Mahan

... following this catastrophe was marked by violence and bloodshed. In all the setting up and pulling down of kings which ended in the Kalmar Union, the Swedish peasantry, now the body of the nation, had had no part. They had long watched in silence the overpowering growth of the magnates and of the ...
— The Swedish Revolution Under Gustavus Vasa • Paul Barron Watson

... farm there were only three women and no men. They were all of a certain age, and for many many years had been there alone, and had not seen a man. They had become absolutely insane, and it required no little tact to prevent a catastrophe. One—a repulsive, toothless black woman, formerly a slave—was in such an excited state of mind that I was really glad when I saw my troop of animals started on the march ...
— Across Unknown South America • Arnold Henry Savage Landor

... earth and held the machine up. But the trouble with the heart had been accentuated acutely before the binder had even capsized, for that horrible nightmare of galloping down upon the girl had evidently begun what the later catastrophe had carried to a farther and ...
— The Wind Before the Dawn • Dell H. Munger

... to snatch away the terrified infant. But she was disappointed; the child clung convulsively to her French mother, as she called her, and the savage departed, vowing to seize her another time, and then take revenge for the child's preference. In order to prevent a catastrophe, the Sisters hid the child, and the Iroquois eventually gave up the search. This little Indian was baptized and named Mary when she attained her fourth year, M. de Maisonneuve and Mlle. Closse being her sponsors. She was the first Iroquois baptized in the colony, and died two ...
— The Life of Venerable Sister Margaret Bourgeois • Anon.

... pride, 'man can suffice for himself, can depend on himself only for subsistence and welfare! Am I not a striking proof? Did not all seem lost for me, when an unforeseen catastrophe destroyed the remnant of the provision of powder which I owed to the pity of that miserable captain? Ah! undoubtedly according to his hateful calculations, he had limited the term of my life to the last charge which my gun should contain; this last charge is still there! Of what use will it be ...
— The Solitary of Juan Fernandez, or The Real Robinson Crusoe • Joseph Xavier Saintine

... which I was always apt to have, of the Intrigues of the Popish Clergy, and of the Confessors of Kings: He was undone by them, and was their Martyr, so that they ought to bear the chief load of all the errors of his inglorious Reign, and of its fatal Catastrophe. He had the Funeral which he himself had desired, private, and without any sort ...
— Characters from 17th Century Histories and Chronicles • Various

... was written Ali Pasha was still living; but the prediction which it implies was soon after verified, and he closed his stern and energetic life with a catastrophe worthy of its guilt and bravery. He voluntarily perished by firing a powder-magazine, when surrounded, beyond all chance of escape, by the troops of the Sultan his master, whose ...
— The Life of Lord Byron • John Galt

... thoughts, I suddenly heard the sound of a tocsin, and scanning the horizon, I saw flames and smoke rising from some hamlet or country-house. I rang for my servants, and told them instantly to despatch horsemen to the scene of the catastrophe, and bring back news. ...
— Marguerite de Navarre - Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois Queen of Navarre • Marguerite de Navarre

... one thing more to make the catastrophe complete, and that also came to pass: Cecil was fully and entirely aware of his sentiments ...
— Molly Bawn • Margaret Wolfe Hamilton

... adopted to prevent such a catastrophe—martial law, military dictatorship, self-perpetuating monarchy, divine authority, are more than likely to heap fuel on the flames of rebellion and lead into a ...
— Civilization and Beyond - Learning From History • Scott Nearing

... you of a 'torch-hunt,'" said he, "of which pars magna fui, and which ended with a 'catastrophe.' It took place in Tennessee, where I was for a while sojourning. I am not much of a hunter, as you all know; but happening to reside in a 'settlement,' where there were some celebrated hunters, and in the neighbourhood of which was ...
— The Hunters' Feast - Conversations Around the Camp Fire • Mayne Reid

... superstitious about dreams then, and am still; and Catherine had an unusual gloom in her aspect, that made me dread something from which I might shape a prophecy, and foresee a fearful catastrophe. She was vexed, but she did not proceed. Apparently taking up another subject, she recommenced in a ...
— Wuthering Heights • Emily Bronte

... however, it seemed advisable to Mr. Mix to make haste slowly; he had turned an impending personal catastrophe into a personal triumph, but the triumph could be spoiled unless he kept it carefully on ice. The failure of the public to rise up and flay the League had lifted Mr. Mix into a position of much prominence, and conveyed the very reasonable supposition that he was individually powerful. When a ...
— Rope • Holworthy Hall

... of his passions, whom a mere whim perhaps had moved to insist on the strictest morality in his court, should take a fancy to this delightful young creature, she was doomed to ruin. He turned pale, and his heart throbbed painfully as he watched the development of the catastrophe for which he had himself ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... opposition was used as a weapon to extort concessions from Austria. At the bottom of their hearts, however, the Austrian Germans were always at one with the Magyars in their common desire to oppress the Slavs. And the responsibility of Count Tisza for the present world catastrophe is just as great as that ...
— Independent Bohemia • Vladimir Nosek

... ingrate, la plus uniforme, la plus inutile, quoi qu'elle soit la plus connue. La vritable histoire est couverte par le voile des temps" (p. 7). Boulanger however was not to be daunted and on the firm foundation of the fact of some ancient and universal catastrophe, as recorded on the surface of the earth and in human mythology, he proceeds to inquire into the moral effects of the changes in the physical environment back to which if possible the history of antiquity must be traced. Man's defeat in his ...
— Baron d'Holbach - A Study of Eighteenth Century Radicalism in France • Max Pearson Cushing

... who did not find death in the destruction of their dwellings went with the garrisons to seek refuge against the destroying scourge and the barbarity of the Turks in the towns and the castles which the catastrophe had spared. But torrents of rain, snow, and a glacial temperature killed the women and the children on the road. As to the men, they fell into the power of Orkhan's soldiers, who were awaiting their passage. Thus the Ottomans found a powerful auxiliary ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 07 • Various

... throughout the empire. It was to refute this calumny that the learned African bishop elaborated his great defense of Christ's kingdom, the "Catholic Church, which should include all nations and speak in all tongues." In Books 1-5 St. Augustine shows that the catastrophe of Rome was not due to the neglect of the old mythological superstitions; and in Books 6-10 that the heathen cult was helpless for the life after death. Books 11-14 deal with the origin of the two cities, namely, ...
— The Worlds Greatest Books, Volume XIII. - Religion and Philosophy • Various

... sudden sense of being late, and made a spring from the bunk. The chair of course followed him, and the loud yell of fear and pain raised by the victim brought half the homestead to the scene of the catastrophe. Jim was the only one who did not wait for developments. He found business ...
— A Little Bush Maid • Mary Grant Bruce

... years elapsed. Neo-Darwinism in politics had produced a European catastrophe of a magnitude so appalling, and a scope so unpredictable, that as I write these lines in 1920, it is still far from certain whether our civilization will survive it. The circumstances of this catastrophe, the boyish cinema-fed romanticism which made it possible to impose it on ...
— Back to Methuselah • George Bernard Shaw

... states of mind when the world wasn't changing, wasn't spinning round in the wildest tornado of change that it has ever been in. But now—Where can I send you for a rest? Where can I send you to get you out of sight and hearing of the Catastrophe? Of course old Brighton-Pomfrey would go on sending people away for rest and a nice little soothing change if the Day of Judgment was coming in the sky and the earth was opening and the sea was giving up its dead. He'd send 'em to the seaside. Such things as that wouldn't shake his faith in ...
— Soul of a Bishop • H. G. Wells

... was concealing many things, perhaps the worst, and often felt as if he were walking in the darkness over a mouldering bridge. Ah, if it could only be propped up, and then rebuilt! But if it must give way, he hoped the catastrophe would come soon. He knew that he possessed the strength to build a new home for Els and himself. Even were it small and modest, it should be erected on a firm foundation and afford a safe abode for ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... two hundred; who had doubted his word, who had behaved as if he were a common thief—who would, doubtless, think him one. More often his indignation burnt up against Julia who would do nothing to remedy this last catastrophe, and clear him and reinstate his honour in the eyes of this man and himself. Most often of all his quarrel was with fate, and then his anger broke down into self-pity as he thought of all the troubles that were crowding about ...
— The Good Comrade • Una L. Silberrad

... catastrophe, and did not know what had become of pursuer or pursued, until he reached the gap where the gate had been. He saw then the odd struggle going on, and ran to the aid of his foe, in terror of what might already have befallen him. The moment he laid hold of one of the animal's horns, infuriated ...
— A Rough Shaking • George MacDonald

... of us felt we belonged to a defeated army, nor had we any strong sense of the war as the dominating fact about us. Our mental setting had far more of the effect of a huge natural catastrophe. The atomic bombs had dwarfed the international issues to complete insignificance. When our minds wandered from the preoccupations of our immediate needs, we speculated upon the possibility of stopping the use of these frightful explosives before the world was utterly ...
— The World Set Free • Herbert George Wells

... are not told where the Assyrian army was, but clearly it was not before Jerusalem. Nor do we learn what was the instrument of destruction wielded by the 'angel of the Lord,' if there was any. The catastrophe may have been brought about by a pestilence, but however effected, it was 'the act of God,' the fulfilment of His promise, the making bare of His arm. 'By terrible things in righteousness' did He answer the prayer of Hezekiah, and give to all humble souls who are oppressed and cry to ...
— Expositions Of Holy Scripture - Volume I: St. Luke, Chaps. I to XII • Alexander Maclaren

... view to conciliating the editor of the magazine, I strongly advise you to hasten the movement of the beginning and of the catastrophe: that is, from about p. 1 to p. 34, and from p. 57 to p. 67. The middle, i.e., from p. 34 to p. 57, should not be touched: it is good enough ...
— Sidney Lanier • Edwin Mims

... of the monarchy was declining with the ideas that had given it life and strength. A growing disrespect for king, ministry, and clergy was beginning to prepare the catastrophe that was still some forty years in the future. While the valleys and low places of the kingdom were dark with misery and squalor, its heights were bright with a gay society,—elegant, fastidious, witty,—craving the pleasures of the mind as well as of the senses, criticising ...
— Montcalm and Wolfe • Francis Parkman

... away they went after the whale like a rocket, with a tremendous strain on the line and a bank of white foam gurgling up to the edge of the gunwale, that every moment threatened to fill the boat and sink her. Such a catastrophe is of not unfrequent occurrence, when whalemen thus towed by a whale are tempted to hold on too long; and many instances have happened of boats and their crews being in this way dragged under water and lost. Fortunately the whale dashed horizontally through the ...
— The World of Ice • Robert Michael Ballantyne

... "that I would gladly give; But some fierce Naga nightly haunts the spot Whose poisoned breath no man can breathe and live." "Fear not for me," the Buddha answered him, "For I this night will make my dwelling there." "Do as you will," Kasyapa doubtful said, "But much I fear some dire catastrophe." Now mighty Mara, spirit of the air, The prince of darkness, roaming through the earth Had found this grotto in the sacred grove, And as a Naga there kept nightly watch For those who sought deliverance ...
— The Dawn and the Day • Henry Thayer Niles

... its burden of dangers and vexations. With characteristic prudence, he had timed the period of his departure with the beginning of the end in the fortunes of the old patroon principality. The storm-cloud, gathering during the life of Mauville's predecessor, was now ready to burst, the impending catastrophe hastened by the heir's want of discretion and his failure to adjust difficulties amicably. That small shadow, followed by a smaller shadow, passing through the field, were none other than Oly-koeks and Oloffe, who grew more and more ...
— The Strollers • Frederic S. Isham

... far in the deeps of the red and woolly West, but the feminine portion of its social circles did not think that any reason why they should relapse into barbarism. And as one means of preventing such a dire catastrophe, they made the law of party calls even as the laws of the Medes and Persians. Among themselves the men might groan and swear and protest as much as they pleased, but if any one of them neglected that duty the ladies forthwith hurled him from the circles of the Select into the outer shades of the ...
— Emerson's Wife and Other Western Stories • Florence Finch Kelly

... less known to the public in later times, we think transcends all the others in boldness of conception, regularity of plot, variety of passion and character displayed, and horror and pathos of catastrophe. It might have furnished a worthy subject to the pen of Sophocles or Shakespeare, one that they would have found already cast into a highly dramatic form, requiring only fitting words to convey the passions of the actors. Little invention ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 8, No. 48, October, 1861 • Various

... ashore over the ice, climbing to the promontory crags with hawsers by which they tied up schooner, floe and all, to the land. If the broken hill suffered further catastrophe, which did not seem likely, its fragments would fall upon the floe. In case of emergency Lund ordered men told off day and night to stand by the hawsers, to cast loose or cut, ...
— A Man to His Mate • J. Allan Dunn

... statement as to how I came to go to sea, and of my escape, just by "the skin of my teeth," as the saying goes, from the perils of the ocean off Cape Horn on this first voyage; and now, as the Esmeralda got burnt and her keel and bottom timbers are lying beneath the waves—the catastrophe terminating, of course, my voyage in her, to which this story only refers—what relates to myself further on is of no concern ...
— On Board the Esmeralda - Martin Leigh's Log - A Sea Story • John Conroy Hutcheson

... Turning the corner, however, they saw to their delight that the limits of the avalanche had not extended so far, the refuges, as they afterwards learned, being so placed as to be sheltered by overhanging cliffs from any catastrophe of this kind. ...
— Winning His Spurs - A Tale of the Crusades • George Alfred Henty

... Frederick is not unlike Vendice and Hippolito's trapping of the lecherous old Duke in The Revenger's Tragedy (4to, 1607), albeit the saturnine Tourneur gives the whole scene a far more terrible and tragic catastrophe. ...
— The Works of Aphra Behn - Volume IV. • Aphra Behn

... to prevent it. My watchfulness became extreme. I scrupulously avoided positions which I found specially exposed me to the accident. My restlessness became so great that, at last I was able to awake before the catastrophe. When I was not in time to prevent it, I would jump out of bed, with naked feet on to the polished floor, and with crossed arms pray to the Saviour to preserve me from the wiles of the devil. I would then impose some penance on myself, ...
— Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 1 (of 6) • Havelock Ellis

... which was either never written or soon lost. Diodorus, who gives circumstantial details both of the coalition and the siege, dates it a century too early, changes all the names, and mixes up many fables with his recital (ii. 23-28). In forming a just idea of the catastrophe and of its date we have to depend chiefly upon the lost historians, such as Abydenus and Alexander Polyhistor, fragments of whose works have been preserved for us by Eusebius and Georgius Syncellus. See RAWLINSON, The Five Great Monarchies, etc., ...
— A History of Art in Chaldaea & Assyria, v. 1 • Georges Perrot

... was not that of a man who imagines with facility. He did, however, fish out of chaos the notion that his prospective mother-in-law had died suddenly, but only to dismiss it at once. He could not conceive the nature of the event, of the catastrophe which could induce Mlle, de Valmassigue living in a house full of servants, to bring the news over the fields herself, two ...
— The Point Of Honor - A Military Tale • Joseph Conrad

... sense in which merely praying to God has gone by. In the present desperate crisis of a world plunging on in the dark to a catastrophe or a glory that we cannot guess, it is a time for men to pray a prayer, a standing-up prayer, to ...
— Crowds - A Moving-Picture of Democracy • Gerald Stanley Lee

... as if by accident, and extinguished it by setting his foot upon it. He knew that if his companion caught so much as a single momentary glimpse of the short but frightfully perilous passage she would have to make, her nerve would utterly fail her, and too probably a dreadful catastrophe would happen. So he resolved upon the hazardous attempt to get her ...
— The Pirate Island - A Story of the South Pacific • Harry Collingwood

... can be extracted, as the phrase goes, by means of a substitute. The ways of extracting the mischief are various. For example, if a man is born on the first day of the second month (February), his house will be burnt down when he comes of age. To take time by the forelock and avoid this catastrophe, the friends of the infant will set up a shed in a field or in the cattle-fold and burn it. If the ceremony is to be really effective, the child and his mother should be placed in the shed and only plucked, like brands, from ...
— The Golden Bough - A study of magic and religion • Sir James George Frazer

... conscious knowledge of death, but like every animal of the Wild, he possessed the instinct of death. To him it stood as the greatest of hurts. It was the very essence of the unknown; it was the sum of the terrors of the unknown, the one culminating and unthinkable catastrophe that could happen to him, about which he knew nothing and about which he ...
— White Fang • Jack London

... singularly independent of human control, and I have not the slightest doubt that the reason why Mr. Gilman obligingly remained in the vicinity was, lest I should be scalded or blown to atoms by a sudden freak of Kilauea, though I don't see that he was capable of preventing either catastrophe! A slight grass shed has been built over a sulphur steam crack, and within this there is a deep box with a sliding lid and a hole for the throat, and the victim is supposed to sit in this and be steamed. But on this occasion the temperature was so high, ...
— The Hawaiian Archipelago • Isabella L. Bird

... elapsed, without any thing occurring that could lead to a developement of this dreadful catastrophe. All search after the lady was now given up, and nothing but the remembrance of the unhappy affair remained. At length the hour arrived, when this dreadful mystery was explained, which displayed one of the most diabolical and desperate transactions ever ...
— Apparitions; or, The Mystery of Ghosts, Hobgoblins, and Haunted Houses Developed • Joseph Taylor

... parts of the English coast are more dangerous to ships driving in a storm. The most dreaded parts are the Needles and Shingles, at the western point; Rocken-end Race at the south, and Bembridge Ledge at the eastern extremity: few winters pass without the melancholy catastrophe of shipwreck; though the danger is now of course diminished by the establishment of Light-houses—especially of the new one near Niton.—Owing to this cause, and to the precipitous nature of the coast ...
— Brannon's Picture of The Isle of Wight • George Brannon

... however urgent can justify the employment of any evil means. (Ethics, c. iii., s. ii., nn. 3, 13, pp. 32, 36.) Suppose in the instance just given the quarryman saw that, unless that piece of rock where the visitor stood were blown up instantly, a catastrophe would happen elsewhere, which would be the death of many men, and there were no time to warn the visitor to clear off, who could blame him if he applied the explosive? The means of averting the catastrophe would be, not that visitor's death, but the blowing up of the rock. The presence ...
— Moral Philosophy • Joseph Rickaby, S. J.

... of the catastrophe reached Suvaroff on the Muotta; he still pushed on eastwards, and, though almost without ammunition, overthrew a corps commanded by Massena in person, and cleared the road over the Pragel at the point of the bayonet, arriving in Glarus ...
— History of Modern Europe 1792-1878 • C. A. Fyffe

... vouchsafed not another word, but with an air of indescribable dignity adjusted the retort, took out a cork—and—but words fail me to describe the catastrophe! Before Dr. Mumbudget could rush forward to prevent it, the gas had come in contact with the air, become inflamed instantly, and sent Dr. Skihi whirling above the ...
— Funny Big Socks - Being the Fifth Book of the Series • Sarah L. Barrow

... which it is privileged to indulge, is the marvellous of performance, and not of accident. One extraordinary rencontre or opportune coincidence may be permitted, perhaps, to bring the parties together, and wind up matters for the catastrophe; but a writer who gets through the whole business of his poem, by a series of lucky hits and incalculable chances, certainly manages matters in a very economical way for his judgment and invention, and will probably be found to have consulted his own ease, rather than ...
— Early Reviews of English Poets • John Louis Haney

... old mine must have been a bonanza, if it all panned out stuff like this! These piles were evidently ready for removal when something interfered to prevent. Wonder what it could have been? Didn't find any bones, did you, or evidences of a catastrophe?" ...
— The Copper Princess - A Story of Lake Superior Mines • Kirk Munroe

... youth who had the misfortune to have fortune smile upon him prematurely, and who loves where perhaps—he has as yet no certainty of it—he should not love; what more is needed to enable us to comprehend the arrogance displayed in the first catastrophe and the pusillanimity in the second? Kleist has put a set of pulleys in motion where the simplest lever would have sufficed, but the pulleys have been connected with the lever, and the purpose has been thoroughly accomplished, though not by the most direct, and therefore ...
— The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Vol. IX - Friedrich Hebbel and Otto Ludwig • Various

... mind reeling beneath the catastrophe, recovered himself sufficiently to do the honours. It was at his instigation that Salvatore was there, and, greatly as he wished that he could have seen fit to choose a more auspicious moment for his business chat, he felt compelled to do his ...
— Indiscretions of Archie • P. G. Wodehouse

... In this catastrophe her lordly lover was of course the most sedulous of attendants. In truth he was so, though when we last met him and his bride together he had made himself very disagreeable. Rachel had then answered him in such language ...
— The Landleaguers • Anthony Trollope

... of the ruins of the world; when not an individual, but a universe, already marred by sin and hastening to dissolution, shall agonize and die! Directing your thoughts from the one, fix them for a moment on the other. Anticipate the concluding scene, the final catastrophe of nature, when the sign of the Son of man shall he seen in heaven; when the Son of man Himself shall appear in the glory of his Father, and send forth judgment unto victory. The fiery desolation envelops ...
— Phrases for Public Speakers and Paragraphs for Study • Compiled by Grenville Kleiser

... After this catastrophe, Early reported to General Lee that his cavalry was so badly demoralized that it should be dismounted; and the citizens of the valley, intensely disgusted with the boasting and swaggering that had characterized the arrival of the ...
— Memoirs of Three Civil War Generals, Complete • U. S. Grant, W. T. Sherman, P. H. Sheridan

... its inhabitants. It was a time to try the stoutest hearts, and, of course, the multitude of the people were overwhelmed with alarm. As no one could do anything to ward off what seemed a certain catastrophe, the situation was all the more dreadful. Men could only watch the monster, speculate as to the result, and wait, with horrible suspense, for the inevitable. The circle of revolution was now becoming so small that the crisis was hourly expected. Men everywhere left their houses ...
— Daybreak: A Romance of an Old World • James Cowan

... remaining twenty-four bodies, five were men, and the rest lads, from twelve to seventeen years of age. Among the dead men was a pye-man, who was said to have fallen first, and caused the dreadful catastrophe. A great number of the pupils in attendance happened to be collected in St. Bartholomew's Hospital at the time, and afforded prompt assistance; and Dr. Powell, and a Surgeon, who were both upon the spot, ...
— Real Life In London, Volumes I. and II. • Pierce Egan

... of the draw-bridges and the foot of the rampart was some two fathoms' depth of black ooze. The catastrophe which Hereward had foreseen was come, and a shout of derision arose ...
— Hereward, The Last of the English • Charles Kingsley

... it is unable to play publicly (as we say) a losing game; but it is equally characteristic of the race to forget its humiliations as if they had never been, and to come out intact when the fortune of war changes, more French than ever, almost unabashed and wholly uninjured, by the catastrophe which had ...
— Jeanne d'Arc - Her Life And Death • Mrs.(Margaret) Oliphant

... to increase the strength of justice in society. It would have been in one sense more fortunate for him to have cared less for high social interests, if we remember the contention of his latter days and the catastrophe which brought them to a frightful close. But Condorcet was not one of those natures who can think it happiness to look passively out from the tranquil literary watch-tower upon the mortal struggles of a society in revolution. In measuring other men of science—as ...
— Critical Miscellanies (Vol. 2 of 3) - Essay 3: Condorcet • John Morley

... ground on which she was thrown. If on rocks projecting from the shore, she would in all probability be soon dashed to pieces. Even the stoutest seamen held their breath as they waited for the inevitable catastrophe. ...
— The Rival Crusoes • W.H.G. Kingston

... the trivial, temporal accident of the wiping out of a planet and its inhabitants to the infinite catastrophe which shall establish a mighty world of eternal despair? And which is it most desirable for mankind to have disproved or weakened, the grounds of the threat of M. Babinet, or those of the other infinitely more terrible ...
— Pages From an Old Volume of Life - A Collection Of Essays • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

... propose nothing," said Mr Braine, sadly. "We are so surrounded by difficulties, so hedged in by danger, that we cannot stir. You must remember that any premature action on our part might hasten the catastrophe we want ...
— The Rajah of Dah • George Manville Fenn

... to separate from them his reflections. You can best judge whether an account of that interesting settlement, condensed into a few lines, might not form an agreeable episode in your history, and prepare the mind more awfully for its final catastrophe. I will thank you to return these papers as soon as you are done with them, that I may restore them to the hands of M. de Creve-coeur before my departure, which will now be in a few days. I have the honor to be, Sir, your ...
— The Writings of Thomas Jefferson - Library Edition - Vol. 6 (of 20) • Thomas Jefferson

... as with many other men of genius, the blow which broke the seal of inspiration was an affair of the heart. He loved a beautiful and accomplished woman, but loved unfortunately. The catastrophe ripened him into artistic maturity, and the very first effort of his lyric power was marked by surprising symmetry and fullness of power. He wrote to give overflow to his deep feelings, and the song came from his heart of hearts. Robert Schumann, the generous critic, gave this first ...
— The Great German Composers • George T. Ferris

... that when the time announced for the dissolution approached some reason for its failure to take place would have to be patched up and propagated. Thus in the beginning the catastrophe was to take place after one moon, but Mesknan made a long journey for the purpose of interceding with the old tribal gods and succeeded in getting a prorogation of three moons. Toward the end of the three moons, Mesknan decided to wait for one more before putting into execution the ...
— The Manbos of Mindano - Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences, Volume XXIII, First Memoir • John M. Garvan

... Jeanne with a great effort recovered her composure; and after that, although the trial and danger of the king were nightly discussed and lamented, she never said a word as to any possibility of the catastrophe being averted. ...
— In the Reign of Terror - The Adventures of a Westminster Boy • G. A. Henty

... the rest of the day in the sort of aniantissement which that sort of headache often produces, and in the meantime everybody held tete-a-tetes. The Colonel held his peace about the will, not half crediting such a catastrophe, and thinking one matter at a time quite enough for his brain; but he talked to the Professor, to Janet, to Allen, and to Bobus, and tried to come to a knowledge of the bridegroom's history, and to decide what course ought to be pursued, feeling ...
— Magnum Bonum • Charlotte M. Yonge

... stupefied by the catastrophe, I found my way out I hardly knew how, and sending in the woman, made my escape from the ante-chamber. But hasten as I might, my disorder, patent to a hundred curious eyes, betrayed me; and, if it did not disclose as much as I feared or the inquisitive desired, told more ...
— From the Memoirs of a Minister of France • Stanley Weyman

... beautiful specimen this way. One of Aldred's most perfect make, dark Spanish yew and more than fifty years old, flew to splinters just because a treacherous string parted in the center. Sturdy hunting bows are not so liable to this catastrophe, but be sure you are not caught out in a game country with a broken string and no second. You will see endless opportunities to shoot. Wax is to an archer what tar is to a sailor; use it often, and always have ...
— Hunting with the Bow and Arrow • Saxton Pope

... appearance of the landscape was strangely deceptive—at any rate, for whatever reason or combination of reasons, the exploring party passed the harbour without recognizing it, though actually lingering awhile on the sand hills overlooking the bay. Half persuaded in their bewilderment that some great catastrophe must, since Viscaino's observations, have obliterated the port altogether, they pressed northward another forty leagues, and little dreaming of the importance attaching to their wanderings, crossed the Coast range, and looked down thence ...
— The Famous Missions of California • William Henry Hudson

... might be its precise meaning, and in particular that of the absurd and undefined charge of treachery against myself. It seemed to me that Pereira had left us because he was afraid of something—either that he might be placed upon his trial or of some ultimate catastrophe in which he would be involved. Marais probably had gone with him for the same reason that a bit of iron follows a magnet, because he never could resist the attraction of this evil man, his relative by birth. Or perhaps he had learned from him the story of his daughter's danger, ...
— Marie - An Episode in The Life of the late Allan Quatermain • H. Rider Haggard

... structure. The dovetailing of play and music is at best a perilous proceeding. Every composer knows that. To give two acts of spoken Moliere (ye gods! and spoken in German) with occasional interludes of music, and then top it off with a mixture of opera seria and commedia del arte, is to invite a catastrophe. To be sure, the unfailing tact of Strauss in his setting of certain episodes of the Moliere play averted a smash-up, but not boredom. In the second place, the rather heavy fooling of the actors, excellent artists all, ...
— Ivory Apes and Peacocks • James Huneker

... is laid at Argos; But the chorus consists of Argive women, intimate associates of Electra, who also come on inquiring about the calamity of Orestes. The play has a catastrophe rather suited to comedy. The opening scene of the play is thus arranged. Orestes is discovered before the palace of Agamemnon, fatigued, and, on account of his madness, lying on a couch on which Electra is sitting by him at his feet. A difficulty has been started, ...
— The Tragedies of Euripides, Volume I. • Euripides

... try to doubt it as much as I please, to avoid seeing what must follow.... I may shut my eyes in the dark, but when the light stares me in the face...I give you my word that I have not been justified even in imagining such a catastrophe." ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... better for them all, though, if Kitty had been more suspicious and alert, for she might then have seen what was happening, and perhaps have avoided the catastrophe to which they were all hastening. But, of course, if you have no suspicions of people, you cannot be on your guard against something that you do not know exists; and Kitty suspected nothing, ...
— Kitty Trenire • Mabel Quiller-Couch

... Recouvrance was burnt on June 14th, 1640. In a few hours the residence of the Jesuits, the parochial church, and the chapel of Champlain, where his bones had been placed, were destroyed. The Relation of 1640 gives a short description of the catastrophe: "A rather violent wind, the extreme drouth, the oily wood of the fir of which these buildings were constructed, kindled a fire so quick and violent that hardly anything could be done. All the vessels and the bells and chalices ...
— The Makers of Canada: Champlain • N. E. Dionne

... is not tragic: she is too rational. And in her career there is no progression, no decline or degeneration. Her condition is once and for always. There is and will be no catastrophe. ...
— Eeldrop and Appleplex • T.S. Eliot

... heroics; such was the catastrophe of his tragedy; one would like to find a special providence in it, though doubtless chance must have the credit. The funeral celebration was to be worthy of his life, taking the form of a contest—for possession of the oracle. The most prominent of the impostors his accomplices referred it to Rutilianus's ...
— Works, V2 • Lucian of Samosata

... Punchard and my messmates of the Dolphin instead of negroes, whom I could scarce trust. 'Twas clear, as Cludde had said, that we were no match for the ruffians whom Vetch had about him; in open fight we should be worsted, and maybe hasten the very catastrophe I dreaded. Even if we should attempt a surprise by night I could not hope for success, for the least check would turn the negroes into a pack of howling cowards. We could only succeed by a ruse, and though I cudgelled my brains ...
— Humphrey Bold - A Story of the Times of Benbow • Herbert Strang

... at his disposal, why was he carrying the parcel himself? The time had been, when Mrs. Gallilee would have tapped at the window, and would have insisted on his instantly returning and answering the question. But his conduct, since the catastrophe in Carmina's room, had produced a complete estrangement between the married pair. All his inquiries after his wife's health had been made by deputy. When he was not in the schoolroom with the children, he was at his club. Until he came to his senses, and ...
— Heart and Science - A Story of the Present Time • Wilkie Collins

... the convent in the morning, and in an interview with Sister Agatha informed her that in the evening she would probably be called to the sick bed of Ellen. Mr. Stowe bade us good-bye and sailed in the Havana steamboat at noon, that his presence at the catastrophe might not seem suspicious. At sunset I bade farewell to dear little Ellen, who was indeed as pale as death, and in an hour afterward was on board the ship, where I found every thing in readiness for a hasty ...
— Graham's Magazine, Vol. XXXII No. 4, April 1848 • Various

... rides in great display to the railway station, with a woman, several carriages, servants, etc. What is the object of all this? To get caught? No, but to start a false scent. Therefore, in his mind, every thing must have been arranged in advance, and the catastrophe was far from taking him by surprise; therefore the scene with M. de Thaller must have been prepared; therefore, it must have been on purpose that he left his pocketbook behind, with the bill in it that was to lead us straight ...
— Other People's Money • Emile Gaboriau

... by English artists, to the end of time. Perhaps the most interesting and important scenes are:—first, when Harold takes the oath of allegiance to William, with his hands leaning on two ark-like shrines, full of the relics plundered from churches; next, the awful catastrophe of the malfosse, where men and horses, Norman and Saxon, are seen rolling together in the ditch; and, lastly, the ultra-grotesque tableaux of stripping ...
— Normandy Picturesque • Henry Blackburn

... final preparation . . . for the inheriting of Eternal Life must consist in the abandonment of the non-eternal elements. These must be unloosed and dissociated from the higher elements, And this is effected by a closing catastrophe—Death. Natural Law, Eternal ...
— Beautiful Thoughts • Henry Drummond

... cleverness when suddenly there came a strange roaring sound that thrilled every one of them through and through. It was as if the frozen river were breaking up in a spring thaw. Some of the boys even suspected that there was danger of being swallowed up in such a catastrophe, and had started to skate in a frenzy of alarm for the shore when the voice of Bobolink arose above ...
— The Banner Boy Scouts Snowbound - A Tour on Skates and Iceboats • George A. Warren

... child. She is thrown into prison, where Faust and Mephistopheles find her. Faust urges her to fly with them, but she refuses, and places her reliance for salvation upon earnest prayer, and sorrow for the wrong she has done. Pleading for forgiveness, she expires; and as Mephistopheles exults at the catastrophe he has wrought, angels appear amid the music of the celestial choirs and bear ...
— The Standard Operas (12th edition) • George P. Upton

... customary postures of strength. Again, his fear-fascinated eyes went to the row of cells that stood silently menacing on the other side of the corridor beyond the windows. His face was tinged with gray. A physical sickness was creeping stealthily on him, as his thoughts held insistently to the catastrophe that threatened. His intelligence was too keen to permit a belief that Burke's manner of almost fulsome kindliness hid nothing ominous—ominous with a hint of death for him in return for the death he ...
— Within the Law - From the Play of Bayard Veiller • Marvin Dana

... $1,122,297,403, and on the 1st of July, 1864, at $1,744,685,586. When we reflect that this is nearly one half the debt of England, and bearing almost double the rate of interest, it is clear that we are approaching a fatal catastrophe. Nor is this the most alarming symptom. Gold now commands a premium of thirty-two per cent., as compared with legal tender treasury notes, and, with largely augmented issues, must rise much higher, with a correspondent increase of our debt and expenditures. Indeed, should the war continue, ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. 3 No 2, February 1863 - Devoted To Literature And National Policy • Various

... fire with his hands, and Miss Abigail, who sat near a low table, knitting by the light of an astral lamp, did not even look up. She was quite used to this catastrophe. ...
— The Story of a Bad Boy • Thomas Bailey Aldrich

... and started pell-mell toward the river, which flowed wide and deep, through the rushes, at the rear of it. She left the path and took to the corn, and through the mass of growing stalks she swept like a whirlwind. Onward she came. I anticipated the awful catastrophe, and stood riveted to the spot. The old captain still sat in the gravel, where the cow had bowled him, his hand grasping the shattered cane, and his game leg extended. He too foresaw the inevitable. Through the corn came the cow, like a black ...
— The Busted Ex-Texan and Other Stories • W. H. H. Murray

... followed immediately upon it, she was characteristically readjusting her point of view upon her future. She had schemed for a certain thing; she had taken the first great step towards the realization of her scheme; and then she had suddenly come upon catastrophe. And now her thoughts began to turn away from London. The London thoughts were dying with the London hopes. "All that is useless now." That was what her mind was saying, bitterly, but also with decision. Schooled by a life filled with varying ...
— Bella Donna - A Novel • Robert Hichens

... This catastrophe furnished another instance of the activity of the sailors; the cargo was got out, and the sunken boat being hauled up, a rent was discovered in the canvas of her larboard bow. This the sailmaker patched with a piece of ...
— Three Expeditions into the Interior of Eastern Australia, Vol 1 (of 2) • Thomas Mitchell

... back through opening day To those sweet counsels between head and heart Whence grew that genuine knowledge, fraught with peace, Which, through the later sinkings of this cause, 355 Hath still upheld me, and upholds me now In the catastrophe (for so they dream, And nothing less), when, finally to close And seal up all the gains of France, a Pope Is summoned in, to crown an Emperor—[K] 360 This last opprobrium, when we see a people, That once looked up in faith, as if to Heaven For manna, take a lesson from the dog Returning ...
— The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Vol. III • William Wordsworth

... was innocent of the crime with which she was charged, Anstice never doubted. Since the catastrophe which had altered his whole outlook on life, he had been inclined to be cynical regarding the good faith of mankind in general; but Mrs. Carstairs' manner had carried conviction by its very lack of emphasis. She had not protested her innocence—indeed, ...
— Afterwards • Kathlyn Rhodes

... conviction, and to go over to Caesar boldly. He had indeed become lieutenant to his brother when in Cilicia, having left Caesar for the purpose. He afterward went with his brother to the Pharsalus, assuring the elder Cicero that they two would still be of the same party. Then the great catastrophe had come, when Cicero returned from that wretched campaign to Brundisium, and remained there in despair as at some penal settlement. Quintus followed Caesar into Asia with his son, and there pleaded ...
— The Life of Cicero - Volume II. • Anthony Trollope

... made a few very general observations upon the nature of deadeyes and spanker-booms. The captain, however, promptly annihilated me by demanding categorically whether I had ever seen the spanker-boom jammed with the foretopsailyard, with the wind abeam. I replied meekly that I believed such a catastrophe had never occurred under my immediate observation, and as he turned to Bush with a smile of commiseration for my ignorance I ground my teeth and went below to inspect the pantry. Here I felt more at home. The long rows ...
— Tent Life in Siberia • George Kennan



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