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

The small white steamer, Peter Stuyvesant, that delivered the immigrants from the stench and throb of the steerage to the stench and throb of New York tenements, rolled slightly on the water beside the stone quay in the lee of the weathered barracks and the new brick buildings of Ellis island.
      - Henry Roth, Call It Sleep [1934]

The Trottas were a young dynasty. Their progenitor had been knighted after the Battle of Solferino. He was a Slovene. Sipolje--the German name for his native village--became his title of nobility. Fate had elected him for a special deed. But he then made sure that later times lost all memory of him.
      - Joseph Roth, The Radetzky March [1932] (ch. 1)

Everything is good as it leaves the hands of the author of things, degenerates in the hands of man.
      - Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile [1762] (bk. 1),
        (Foxley and Roosevelt translation)

I began this disorderly and almost endless collection of scattered thoughts and observations in order to gratify a good mother who knows how to think.
      - Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile [1762] (preface),
        (Foxley and Roosevelt translation)

I have begun on a work which is without precedent, whose accomplishment will have no imitator. I propose to set before my fellow-mortals a man in all the truth of nature; and this man shall be myself.
      - Jean-Jacques Rousseau,
        The Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau [1781]
         (bk. I),
        (W. Conyngham Mallory translation)

At the stair-foot the landlord stopped me.
  "Here, lad, take a candle. The stairs are dark, and, since I like your looks, I would not have you break your neck."
      - Bertha Runkle (Bertha Runkle Bash),
        The Helmet of Navarre [1900] (ch. 1)

Then drink it thus, cried the rash young fool, and splashed the contents of his cup full into the face of Mr. Wilding even as that gentleman, on his feet, was proposing to drink to the eyes of the young fool's sister.
      - Rafael Sabatini, Mistress Wilding [1924]

With compressed lips and an upright line of paid between his brows Mr. Harry Latimer sat down to write a letter. He had taken--as he was presently to express it--his first wound in the cause of Liberty, which cause he had lately embraced. This wound, deep, grievous, and apparently irreparable, had been dealt him by the communication in the sheets which hung now from his limp fingers.
      - Rafael Sabatini, The Carolinian [1925]
         (pt. 1, ch. 1)

Sir Oliver Tressilian sat at his ease in the lofty dining-room of the handsome house of Penarrow, which he owed to the enterprise of his father of lamented and lamentable memory and to the skill and invention of an Italian engineer named Bagnolo who had come to England half a century ago as one of the assistants of the famous Torrigiani.
      - Rafael Sabatini, The Sea-Hawk [1923]
         (part I, ch. I)

A sky as pure as water bathed the stars and brought them out. And then night fell.
      - Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Southern Mail

Mr. President and Gentlemen:
  You've heard a lot of pratin' and prattlin' about this bein' the age of specialization. I'm a carpenter by trade. At one time I could of built a house, barn, church, or chicken coop. But I seen the need of a specialist in my line, so I studied her. I got her, she's mine. Gentlemen, you are face to face with the champion privybuilder of Sangamon County.
      - Chic Sale (Charles Partlow Sale),
        The Specialist [1929]

She was naked.
      - Lawrence Sanders, The Tomorrow File

In the first years after the war Mario Van de Weyer was almost my neighbour in Paris, for he lived just where the Left Bank ceases to be the Latin Quarter and I where it's not yet the Faubourg Saint Germain.
      - George Santayana, The Last Puritan [1936]   BUY VARYING HARE USED BOOK  

The best thing would be to write down events from day to day. Keep a diary to see clearly--let none of the nuances or small happenings escape even though they might seem to mean nothing. And above all, classify them. I must tell how I see this table, this street, the people, my packet of tobacco, since those are the things which have changed. I must determine the exact extent and nature of this change.
      - Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea [1938],
        (Lloyd Alexander translation)

The best remedy for a bruised heart is not, as so many people seem to think, repose upon a manly bosom. Much more efficacious are honest work, physical activity, and the sudden acquisition of wealth.
      - Dorothy L. Sayers, Have His Carcase [1932]
         (ch. 1)

The full African moon poured down its light from the blue sky into the wide, lonely plain.
      - Olive Emilie Albertina Schreiner,
        The Story of an African Farm [1883]

I had been for six months fourth lieutenant of H.M.S. Gazelle, on board of which Sir Oliver Oakplank had his broad pennant* hoisted, as the commander-in-chief on the African station. The last time we touched at Cape Coast we took in with us a Spanish felucca, that we had previously cut out of the Bonny river, with part of her cargo of slaves on board.
      - Michael Scott, The Cruise of the Midge [1834]
         (ch. 1)

Dazzled by the glories of Trafalgar, I, Thomas Cringle, one fine morning in May, 1806, when I was thirteen years old, asked an old uncle to intercede with his former comrade-in-arms, Sir Anthony Hollowell, vice-admiral of the Red Squadron, a Lord of the Admiralty, to find me a berth on one of his Majesty's ships of war without delay.
      - Michael Scott, Tom Cringle's Log [1829] (ch. 1)

It was at the close of an early spring day, when nature, in a cold province of Scotland, was reviving from her winter's sleep, and the air at least, though not the vegetation, gave promise of an abatement of the rigour of the season, that two travellers, whose appearance at that early period sufficiently announced their wandering character, which, in general, secured a free passage even through a dangerous were seen coming from the south-westward, within a few miles of the Castle of Douglas, and seemed to be holding their course in the direction of the river of that name, whose dale afforded a species of approach to that memorable feudal fortress.
      - Sir Walter Scott, Castle Dangerous [1831] (ch. 1)

It was in the beginning of the month of November, 17--, when a young English gentleman, who had just left the university of Oxford, made use of the liberty afforded him, to visit some parts of the north of England; and curiosity extended his tour into the adjacent frontier of the sister country.
      - Sir Walter Scott, Guy Mannering [1815]

In that pleasant district of merry England which is watered by the river Don, there extended in ancient times a large forest, covering the greater part of the beautiful hills and valleys which lie between Sheffield and the pleasant town of Doncaster.
      - Sir Walter Scott, Ivanhoe [1819]

It is the privilege of tale-tellers to open their story in an inn, the free rendezvous of all travellers, and where the humour of each displays itself, without ceremony or restraint.
      - Sir Walter Scott, Kenilworth [1821]

Under the reign of the last Stuarts, there was an anxious wish on the part of Government to counteract, by every means in their power, the strict or puritanical spirit which had been the chief characteristic of the republican government, and to revive those feudal institutions which united the vassal to the liege lord, and both to the crown.
      - Sir Walter Scott, Old Mortality [1816]

You have requested me, my dear friend, to bestow some of that leisure, with which Providence has blessed the decline of my life, in registering hazards and difficulties which attended its commencement.
      - Sir Walter Scott, Rob Roy [1817]

The Chronicles, from which this narrative is extracted, assure us, that during the long period when the Welsh princes maintained their independence, the year 1187 was peculiarly marked as favorable to peace betwixt them and their warlike neighbors, the Lord Marchers, who inhabited those formidable castles on the frontiers of the ancient British, on the ruins of which the traveller gazes with wonder.
      - Sir Walter Scott, The Betrothed [1825]


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