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BOOKS (FIRST LINES)
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[ Also see Books Books (Last Lines) Books (Quotes) Quotations ]

When I was three and Bailey was four, we had arrived in the musty little town, wearing tags on our wrists which instructed--"To Whom It May Concern"--that we were Marguerite and Bailey Johnson Jr., from Long Beach, California, en route to Stamps, Arkansas, c/o Mrs. Annie Henderson.
      - Maya Angelou,
        I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Though she had counted the strokes of every hour since midnight, Mrs. Eveleth had no thought of going to bed.
      - Anonymous (Basil King), The Inner Shrine [1908]
         (ch. 1)

Finding himself in the level wood-road, whose open aisle drew a long, straight streak across the sky, still luminous with the late-lingering Adirondack twilight, the tall young fugitive, hatless, coatless, and barefooted, paused a minute for reflection. As he paused, he listened; but all distinctiveness of sound was lost in the play of the wind, up hill and down dale, through chasm and over crag, in those uncounted leagues of forest.
      - Anonymous (Basil King), The Wild Olive [1910]
         (ch. 1)

Two incidents, widely different in character yet bound together by results, marked the night of January the twenty-third.
      - Anonymous (Katherine Cecil Thurston),
        The Masquerader [1904] (ch. 1)

It has occurred to the writer to call this unimportant history The Green Hat because a green hat was the first thing about her that he saw: as also it was, in a way, the last thing about her that he saw.
      - Michael Arlen, The Green Hat [1924]

Their names were really Anna-Rose and Anna-Felicitas; but they decided, as they sat huddled together in a corner of the second-class deck of the American liner St. Luke, and watched the dirty water of the Mersey slipping past and the Liverpool landing-stage disappearing into the mist, and felt that it was comfortless and cold, and knew they hadn't got a father or a mother, and remembered that they were aliens, and realised that in from of them lay a great deal of grey, uneasy, dreadfully wet sea, endless stretches of it, days and days of it, with waves on top of it to make them sick and submarines beneath it to kill them if they could, and knew that that hadn't the remotest idea, not the very remotest, what was before them when and if they did get across to the other side, and knew that they were refugees, castaways, derelicts, two wretched little Germans who were neither really Germans nor really English because they so unfortunately, so complicatedly were both,--they decided, looking very calm and determined and sitting very close together beneath the rug their English aunt had given them to put round their miserable alien legs, that what they really were, were Christopher and Columbus, because they were setting out to discover a New World.
      - Countess Elizabeth von Arnim ("Countess Elizabeth Mary Russell"),
        Christopher and Columbus [1919] (ch. 1)

It began in a woman's club in London on a February afternoon,--an uncomfortable club, and a miserable afternoon--when Mrs. Wilkins, who had come down from Hampstead to shop and had lunched at her club, took up The Times from the table in the smoking-room, and running her listless eye down the Agony Column saw this:
  To Those who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine.
    Small mediaeval Italian Castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be Let Furnished for the month of April. Necessary servants remain. Z, Box 1000, The Times.
      That was its conception; yet, as in the case of many another, the conceiver was unaware of it at the moment.
      - Countess Elizabeth von Arnim ("Countess Elizabeth Mary Russell"),
        The Enchanted April [1923] (ch. 1)

Around sunset on December 22, 1769, while hunting near the Kentucky River, Daniel Boone met Wil Emery.
      - Stephen Aron, How the West Was Lost

Not the power to remember, but its very opposite, the power to forget, is a necessary condition of our existence. If the lore of the transmigration of souls is a true one, then these, between their exchange of bodies, must pass through the sea of forgetfulness.
      - Sholem Asch, The Nazarene [1939] (ch. 1)   BUY VARYING HARE USED BOOK  

"Ninety-eight--ninety-nine--one hundred." Gloria withdrew her chubby little forearm from before her eyes and stood for a moment, wrinkling her nose and blinking in the sunlight.
      - Isaac Asimov, Robbie [1940],
        later included in the 1950 collection I, Robot

I was born in the country of Hogg and Scott between the Yarrow and the Tweed, in the year 1864.
      - Margot Asquith,
        Margot Asquith, an Autobiography [1920]
         (bk. 1, ch. 1)

"Talk. Talk. Talk. . . . Good lines and no action . . . said all . . . not even promising first act . . . eighth failure and season more than half over . . . rather be a playwright and fail than a critic compelled to listen to has-beens and would-bes trying to put over bad plays."
      - Gertrude F. Atherton, Black Oxen [1923]

The long street rising and falling and rising again until its farthest crest high in the east seemed to brush the fading stars, was deserted even by the private watchmen that guarded the homes of the apprehensive in the Western Addition.
      - Gertrude F. Atherton, The Sisters-in-Law [1921]
         (book 1, ch. 1)

It was an afternoon in late September.
  In the pleasant city of Stillwater, Mr. Popper, the house painter, was going home from work.
      - Richard Atwater and Florence Atwater,
        Mr. Popper's Penquins

Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.
      - Jane Austen, Emma [1816]

About thirty years ago, Miss Maria Ward of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of a baronet's lady, with all the comforts and consequences of an handsome house and large income.
      - Jane Austen, Mansfield Park [1814]

No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be an heroine.
      - Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey [1817]

Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch-hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Barontage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; . . .
      - Jane Austen, Persuasion [1817]

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
  However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.
      - Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice [1813]

A gentleman and a lady travelling from Tunbridge towards that part of the Sussex coast which lies between Hastings and Eastbourne, being induced by business to quit the high road and attempt a very rough land, were overturned in toiling up its long ascent, half rock, half sand.
      - Jane Austen, Sanditon [1825]

The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex. Their estate was large, and their residence was at Norland Park, in the centre of their property, where, for many generations, they had lived in so respectable a manner as to engage the general good opinion of their surrounding acquaintance. The late owner of this estate was a single man, who lived to a very advanced age, and who for many years of his life, had a constant companion and housekeeper in his sister.
      - Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility [1811]

In the early summer of 1831 Samson Traylor and his wife, Sarah, and two children left their old home near the village of Vergennes, Vermont, and began their travels toward the setting sun with four chairs, a bread board and rolling-pin, a feather bed and blankets, a small looking-glass, a skillet, an axe, a pack basket with a pad of sole leather on the same, a water pail, a box of dishes, a tub of salt pork, a rifle, a tea-pot, a sack of meal, sundry small provisions and a violin, in a double wagon drawn by oxen.
      - Irving Bacheller, A Man for the Ages [1919]

A poet may be a good companion, but, so far as I know, he is ever the worst of fathers.
      - Irving Bacheller, D'ri and I [1901]

Of all the people that ever went west that expedition was the most remarkable.
      - Irving Bacheller, Eben Holden [1900]

Once upon a time I owned a watermelon.
      - Irving Bacheller,
        The Light in the Clearing [1917]


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