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

I have just returned from a visit to my landlord--the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. This is certainly a beautiful country! In all England, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society. A perfect misanthropist's heaven: and Mr Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us. A capital fellow! He little imagined how my heart warmed towards him when I beheld his black eyes withdraw so suspiciously under their brows, as I rode up, and when his fingers sheltered themselves, with a jealous resolution, still farther in his waistcoat, as I announced my name.
  "Mr Heathcliff!" I said.
      - Emily Jane Bronte (used pseudonym Ellis Bell),
        Wuthering Heights [1847]

If I should die, think only this of me:
  That there's some corner of a foreign field
    That is forever England. There shall be
      In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
        A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
          Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
            A body of England's, breathing English air,
              Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
      - Rupert Brooke, The Soldier [1914]

The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock at the door . . .
      - Frederic Brown,
        very short science fiction story found in "Space on My Mind" (1953)

You have seen him, perhaps, where the bands are playing and the pennants flying and the people cheering. He is always there; diligent there.
      - Katharine Brush, Young Man of Manhattan [1930]
         (ch. 1)

Life in the jungle is a constant struggle for the survival of the fittest.
      - Frank Buck, Fang and Claw [1935] (ch. 1)

Wang Lung lay dying.
      - Pearl S. Buck (pseudonym of Pearl Walsh nee Sydenstricker),
        Sons [1932]

It was Wang Lung's marriage day.
      - Pearl S. Buck (pseudonym of Pearl Walsh nee Sydenstricker),
        The Good Earth [1931]

One hot spring evening, just as the sun was going down, two men appeared at Patriarch's ponds. One of them--fortyish, wearing a gray summer suit--was short, dark-haired, bald on top, paunchy, and held his proper fedora in his hand; black horn-rimmed glasses of supernatural proportions adorned his well-shaven face. The other one--a broad-shouldered, reddish-haired, shaggy young man with a checked cap cocked on the back of his head--was wearing a cowboy shirt, crumpled white trousers, and black sneakers.
      - Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita [1940]

In one of the Welsh counties is a small village called A-----. It is somewhat removed from the high road, and is, therefore, but little known to those luxurious amateurs of the picturesque, who view nature through the windows of a carriage and four.
      - Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton,
        Night and Morning [1841]
         (book 1, introductory chapter)

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps the struggled against the darkness.
      - Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton,
        Paul Clifford [1830] (ch. I)

The celebrated name which forms the title to this work will sufficiently apprise the reader that it is in the earlier half of the fourteenth century that my story opens.
      - Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton,
        Rienzi [1835]   BUY VARYING HARE USED BOOK  

"Sir--Sir, it is a boy!"
  "A boy," said my father, looking up from his book, and evidently much puzzled; "what is a boy?"
      - Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton,
        The Caxtons [1849]

"Ho, Diomed, well met! Do you sup with Glaucus to-night?" said a young man of small stature, who wore his tunic in those loose and effeminate folds which proved him to be a gentleman and a
  coxcomb.
    "Alas, no! dear Clodinus; he has not invited me," replied Diomed, a man of portly frame and of middle age. "By Pollux, a scurvy trick! for they say his suppers are the best in Pompeii."
      - Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton,
        The Last Days of Pompeii [1834]

Westward, beyond the still pleasant, but, even then, no longer solitary, hamlet of Charing, a broad space, broken here and there by scattered houses and venerable pollards, in the early spring of 1467, presented the rural scene for the sports and pastimes of the inhabitants of Westminister and London.
      - Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton,
        The Last of the Barons [1843]   BUY VARYING HARE USED BOOK  

As I walked through the wilderness of this world.
      - John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress [1678] (pt. I)

The boys at the Brooklyn public school which he attended did not know what the "T." stood for. He would never tell them. All he said in reply to questions was: "It don't stand for nothin'. You've gotter have a' 'nitial, ain't you?" His name was, in fact, an almost inevitable school-boy modification of one felt to be absurd and pretentious. His Christian name was Temple, which became "Temp." His surname was Barom, so he was at once "Temp Barom." In the natural tendency to avoid waste of time it was pronounced as one word, and the letter p being superfluous and cumbersome, it easily settled itself into "Tembarom," and there remained.
      - Frances Hodgson Burnett, T. Tembarom [1913]
         (ch. 1)   BUY VARYING HARE USED BOOK  

The history of the circumstances about to be related began many years ago--or so it seems in these days. It began, at least, years before the world being rocked to and fro revealed in the pause between each of its heavings some startling suggestion of a new arrangement of its kaleidoscopic particles, and then immediately a re-arrangement, and another and another until all belief in a permanency of design seemed lost, and the inhabitants of the earth waited, helplessly gazing at changing stars and colours in a degree of mental chaos.
      - Frances Hodgson Burnett,
        The Head of the House of Coombe [1922] (ch. I)

When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle, everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen.
      - Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden [1911]

No man knew when the Shuttle began its slow and heavy weaving from shore to shore, that it was held and guided by the great hand of Fate. Fate alone saw the meaning of the web it wove, the might of it, and its place in the making of a world's history. Men thought but little of either web or weaving, calling them by other names and lighter ones, for the time unconscious of the strength of the thread thrown across thousands of miles of leaping, heaving, grey or blue ocean.
      - Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Shuttle [1907]
         (ch. 1)   BUY VARYING HARE USED BOOK  

I had this story from one who had no business to tell it to me, or to any other.
      - Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes [1914]

If the reader will excuse me, I will say nothing of my antecedents, nor of the circumstances which led me to leave my native country, the narrative would be tedious to him and painful to myself. Suffice it, that when I left home it was with the intention of going to some new colony, and either finding, or even perhaps purchasing, waste crown land suitable for cattle or sheep farming, by which means I thought that I could better my fortunes more rapidly than in England.
      - Samuel Butler (2), Erewhon [1872]

When I was a small boy at the beginning of the century I remember an old man who wore knee-breeches and worsted stockings, and who used to hobble about the street of our village with the help of a stick. He must have been getting on for eighty in the year 1807, earlier than which date I suppose I can hardly remember him, for I was born in 1802. . . . His name was Pontifex.
      - Samuel Butler (2), The Way of All Flesh [1903]   BUY VARYING HARE USED BOOK  

Gaul as a whole is divided into three parts.
  [Lat., Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres.]
      - Julius Caesar (Gaius Julius Caesar),
        De Bello Gallico

I drove out to Glendale to put three new truck drivers on a brewery company bond, and then I remembered this renewal over in Hollywood.
      - James M. Cain, Double Indemnity [1936]

They threw me off the hay truck about noon.
      - James M. Cain,
        The Postman Always Rings Twice [1934]


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