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

This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve.
      - Wilkie (William) Collins,
        The Woman in White [1860]

Once upon a time there was . . .
  "A king!" my young readers will instantly exclaim. No, children, you are wrong. Once upon a time there was a piece of wood."
      - Carlo Collodi (pseudonym of Carlo Lorenzini),
        Pinocchio [1883]

"Well, Buttermere, this is a day that is good to live and breathe in, that makes a man feel in his prime. Standing here in front of my house, I feel as young as when I moved into it thirty years ago, in the year eighteen hundred and fifty-nine. What aged man would you take me to be, as I step as it were casually into your view?"
      - Ivy Compton-Burnett, Men and Wives [1931]

There were two ways by which one could get to the Old Stone Mill. One, from the sideroad by a lane which, edged with grassy, flower-decked banks, wound between snake fences, along which straggled irregular clumps of hazel and blue beech, dogwood and thorn bushes, and beyond which stretched on one side fields of grain just heading out this bright June morning, and on the other side a long strip of hay fields of mixed timothy and red clover, generous of colour and perfume, which ran along the snake fence till it came to a potato patch which, in turn, led to an orchard where the lane began to drop down to the Mill valley.
      - Ralph Connor (pseudonym of Charles William Gordon),
        The Doctor [1907] (ch. I)

Spring had come. Despite the many wet and gusty days which April had thrust in rude challenge upon reluctant May, in the glory of the triumphant sun which flooded the concave blue of heaven and the myriad shaded green of earth, the whole world knew to-day, the whole world proclaimed that spring had come. The yearly miracle had been performed.
      - Ralph Connor (pseudonym of Charles William Gordon),
        The Major [1918] (ch. I)

High upon a rock, poised like a bird for flight, stark naked, his satin skin shining like gold and silver in the rising sun, stood a youth, tall, slim of body, not fully developed but with muscles promising, in their faultless, gently swelling outline, strength and suppleness to an unusual degree. Gazing down into the pool formed by an eddy of the river twenty feet below him, he stood as if calculating the distance, his profile turned toward the man who had just emerged from the bushes and was standing on the sandy strand of the river, paddle in hand, looking up at him with an expression of wonder and delight in his eyes.
      - Ralph Connor (pseudonym of Charles William Gordon),
        The Sky Pilot in No Man's Land [1919]

"Kaspar! Makan!"
  The well-known shrill voice startled Almayer from his dream of splendid future into the unpleasant realities of the present hour.
      - Joseph Conrad (Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski),
        Almayer's Folly [1895]

When he stepped off the straight and narrow path of his peculiar honesty, it was with an inward assertion of unflinching resolve to fall back again into the monotonous but safe stride of virtue as soon as his little excursion into the wayside quagmires had produced the desired effect.
      - Joseph Conrad (Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski),
        An Outcast of the Islands [1896]

The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest. The flood had made, the wind was nearly calm, and being bound down the river, the only thing for it was to come to and wait for the turn of the tide.
      - Joseph Conrad (Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski),
        Heart of Darkness [1902]

He was an inch, perhaps two, under six feet, powerfully built, and he advanced straight at you with a slight stoop of the shoulders, head forward, and a fixed from-under stare which made you think of a charging bull. His voice was deep, loud, and his manner displayed a kind of dogged self-assertion which had nothing aggressive in it. It seemed a necessity, and it was directed apparently as much at himself as at anybody else. He was spotlessly neat, apparelled in immaculate white from shoes to hat, and in the various Eastern ports where he got his living as ship-chandler's water-clerk he was very popular.
      - Joseph Conrad (Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski),
        Lord Jim [1900]

In the time of Spanish rule, and for many years afterwards, the town of Sulaco--the luxuriant beauty of the orange gardens bears witness to its antiquity--had never been commercially anything more important than a coasting port with a fairly large local trade in ox-hides and indigo.
      - Joseph Conrad (Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski),
        Nostromo [1904]

A deep red glow flushed the fronts of marble palaces piled up on the slope of an arid mountain whose barren ridge traced high on the darkening sky a ghostly and glimmering outline.
      - Joseph Conrad (Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski),
        Suspense [1925]

I believe he had seen us out of the window coming off to dine in the dinghy of a fourteen-ton yawl belonging to Marlow my host and skipper. We helped the boy we had with us to haul the boat up on the landing-stage before we went up to the river-side inn, where we found our new acquaintance eating his dinner in dignified loneliness at the head of a long table, white and inhospitable like a snow bank.
      - Joseph Conrad (Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski),
        Suspense [1925] (ch. 1)

Certain streets have an atmosphere of their own, a sort of universal fame and the particular affection of their citizens. One of such streets is the Cannebiere, and the jest: "If Paris had a Cannebiere, it would be a little Marseilles" is the jocular expression of municipal pride. I, too, I have been under the spell. For me it has been a street leading into the unknown.
      - Joseph Conrad (Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski),
        The Arrow of Gold [1919]   BUY VARYING HARE USED BOOK  

Mr. Baker, chief mate of the ship Narcissus, stepped in one stride out of his lighted cabin into the darkness of the quarter-deck. Above his head, on the break of the poop, the night watchman rang a double stroke. It was nine o'clock. Mr. Baker, speaking up to the man above him, asked: "Are all the hands aboard, Knowles?"
      - Joseph Conrad (Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski),
        The Nigger of the "Narcissus" [1897] (ch. 1)

The shallow sea that foams and murmurs on the shores of the thousand islands, big and little, which make up the Malay Archipelago has been for centuries the scene of adventurous undertakings.
      - Joseph Conrad (Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski),
        The Rescue [1920]

After entering at break of day the inner roadstead of the Port of Toulon, exchanging several loud hails with one of the guardboats of the Fleet, which directed him where he was to take up his berth, Master-Gunner Peyrol let go the anchor of the sea-worn and battered ship in his charge, between the arsenal and the town, in full view of the principal quay. The course of his life, which in the opinion of any ordinary person might have been regarded as full of marvellous incidents (only he himself had never marvelled at them), had rendered him undemonstrative to such a degree that he did not even let out a sign of relief at the rumble of the cable.
      - Joseph Conrad (Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski),
        The Rover [1923] (ch. 1)

Mr. Verloc, going out in the morning, left his shop nominally in charge of his brother-in-law. It could be done, because there was very little business at any time, and practically none at all before the evening. Mr. Verloc cared little about his ostensible business. And, moreover, his wife was ion charge of his brother-in-law.
      - Joseph Conrad (Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski),
        The Secret Agent [1907] (ch. 1)

Only the young have such moments.
      - Joseph Conrad (Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski),
        The Shadow-Line [1917]

Captain MacWhirr, of the steamer Nan-Shan, had a physiognomy that, in the order of material appearances, was the exact counterpart of his mind: it presented no marked characteristics of firmness or stupidity; it had no pronounced characteristics whatever; it was simply ordinary, irresponsive, and unruffled.
      - Joseph Conrad (Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski),
        The Typhoon [1902] (ch. 1)

To begin with I wish to disclaim the possession of those high gifts of imagination and expression which would have enabled my pen to create for the reader the personality of the man who called himself, after the Russian custom, Cyril son of Isidor--Kirylo Sidorovitch--Razumov.
      - Joseph Conrad (Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski),
        Under Western Eyes [1911]

There is, as every schoolboy knows in this scientific age, a very close chemical relation between coal and diamonds. It is the reason, I believe, why some people allude to coal as "black diamonds." Both these commodities represent wealth; but coal is a much less portable form of property.
      - Joseph Conrad (Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski),
        Victory [1915]

This could have occurred nowhere but in England, where men and sea interpenetrate, so to speak--the sea entering into the life of most men, and the men knowing something or everything about the sea, in the way of amusement, of travel, or of breadwinning.
      - Joseph Conrad (Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski),
        Youth [1923]

On the human imagination, events produce the effects of time.
      - James Fenimore Cooper, The Deerslayer [1841]

It was a feature peculiar to the colonial wars of North America, that the toils and dangers of the wilderness were to be encountered before the adverse hosts could meet. A wide and apparently an impervious boundary of forests severed the possessions of the hostile provinces of France and England. The hardy colonist, and the trained European who fought at his side, frequently expended months in struggling against the rapids of the streams, or in effecting the rugged passes of the mountains, in quest of an opportunity to exhibit their courage in a more martial conflict.
      - James Fenimore Cooper,
        The Last of the Mohicans [1826]


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