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a feeling that something is not morally correct





Happy Ending

Shortly after his arrival in Rome (on a scholarship), Hector Berlioz was dismayed to learn that his fiancee in France, the pianist Marie-Felicite-Denise Moke, had married another man. He immediately plotted his revenge.

"Tears of rage started from my eyes, and instantly I knew my course," he later recalled. "I must go immediately to Paris and there kill without COMPUNCTION two guilty women (Moke and her mother) and one innocent man. As for subsequently killing myself, it was of course the very least I could do. My plan of campaign was formed in a few minutes. They knew me, they would be expecting me to come back. Therefore I must take every precaution and go in disguise." (Verkleidungen)

After completing the orchestration of a certain work, Berlioz purchased a dress and some accessories, a pair of double-barrelled pistols, and bottles of poison (laudanum and strychnine). Though his disguise was lost in Genoa, Berlioz was not easily deterred, and after some time, found a suitable replacement. Incredibly, when he reached Nice, Berlioz suddenly had a change of heart - and later reported having spent three of the nicest weeks of his life there.

Did you


1. A strong uneasiness caused by a sense of guilt.

2. A sting of conscience or a pang of doubt aroused by wrongdoing or the prospect of wrongdoing.

Latin compunctus, past participle of compungere, to sting

(source: The American HeritageĀ® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


regret, conscience, contrition, misgiving, penitence, penitency, pity, qualm, reluctance, remorse, repentance, rue, shame, sorrow, sympathy

Sample sentence:

"We have no COMPUNCTIONS about firing employees who engage in harrassment or mobbing"

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