She had atoned for everything, by the sacrifice she had made of her life.
Even the cardinal virtues cannot atone for half-cold entrees, as Lord Henry remarked once, in a discussion on the subject; and there is possibly a good deal to be said for his view.
He atones for being occasionally somewhat over-dressed, by being always absolutely over-educated.
Yet it was his duty to confess, to suffer public shame, and to make public atonement.
What could atone for that?
Ah! for that there was no atonement; but though forgiveness was impossible, forgetfulness was possible still, and he was determined to forget, to stamp the thing out, to crush it as one would crush the adder that had stung one.
…that to her great disappointment no one would ever believe anything against her; Mrs. Erlynne, a pushing nobody, with a delightful lisp, and Venetian-red hair; Lady Alice Chapman, his hostess’s daughter, a dowdy dull girl, with one of those characteristic British faces, that, once seen, are never remembered; and her husband, a red-cheeked, white-whiskered creature who, like so many of his class, was under the impression that inordinate joviality can atone for an entire lack of ideas.
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To atone for sins is a common religious theme.
Approved forms of faith, practice, and conduct were laid down as consistent with orthodoxy, and deviation from these standards had to be confessed and atoned for by a prescribed form of penance.
Dictionary of the History of Ideas -- http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/cgi-local/DHI/dhi.cgi?id=dv1-50(retrieved 05/20/06)