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

Now Beowulf bode in the burg of the Scyldings,
  leader beloved, and long he ruled
    in fame with all folk, since his father had gone
      away from the world, till awoke an heir,
        haughty Healfdene, who held through life,
          sage and sturdy, the Scyldings glad.
      - Beowulf I,
        (Francis B. Gummere translation) (c. 700 - 750)

LO, praise of the prowess of people-kings
  of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped,
    we have heard, and what honor the athelings won!
      - Beowulf prelude,
        (Francis B. Gummere translation) (c. 700 - 750)

I had been right to want to drive to the Midwest, taking only the back roads.
      - Elizabeth Berg, The Year of Pleasures

It was not until several weeks after he had decided to murder his wife that Dr. Bickleigh took any active steps in the matter. Murder is a serious business.
      - Anthony Berkeley (A.B. Cox) (used pseudonym Francis Iles),
        Malice Aforethought [1931]

The largest and most solid of all the substantial houses in Carnarvon Square, Bloomsbury, is Number Fifteen, which, by reason of its corner position (Mulgrave Street intersecting it at right angles at this point), has been enabled to stretch itself out at the back. It is a house which a man who wanted to convey the idea of a solid income without ostentation or attempt at fashion would find the very thing to assist his purpose.
      - Sir Walter Besant and J. Rice,
        The Golden Butterfly [1876] (ch. 1)

"What do you think, chief?"
      - Sir Walter Besant and J. Rice,
        The Golden Butterfly [1876] (prologue)

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
      - Bible, Old Testament, Genesis
         (ch. I, v. 1)

If anybody cares to read a simple tale told simply, I, John Ridd, of the parish of Oare, in the county of Somerset, yeoman and churchwarden, have seen and had a share in some doings of this neighborhood, which I will try to set down in order, God sparing my life and memory.
      - Richard Doddridge Blackmore, Lorna Doone [1869]

My name's Dick Marston, Sydney-side native. I'm twenty-nine years old, six feet in my stocking soles, and thirteen stone weight. Pretty strong and active with it, so they say. I don't want to blow--not here, any road--but it takes a good man to put me on my back, or stand up to me with the gloves, or the naked mauleys. I can ride anything--anything that ever was lapped in horsehide--swim like a musk-duck, and track like a Myall blackfellow. Most things that a man can do I'm up to, and that's all about it.
      - Rolf Boldrewood (pseudonym of Thomas Alexander Browne),
        Robbery Under Arms [1888] (ch. 1)

Jane Everest glanced about her sitting-room to see if she hadn't an excuse for moving about in it. But it was relentlessly tidy. The file burned brightly, a tray with whisky-and-soda stood, equally ready, for triumph or defeat.
      - Phyllis Bottome (a/k/a Phyllis Forbes-Dennis),
        Private Worlds [1934] (ch. 1)

When Freya woke up, she felt as if she were recovering from a long and painful illness, out of the reach for the first time of all disagreeable sensations.
      - Phyllis Bottome (a/k/a Phyllis Forbes-Dennis),
        The Mortal Storm [1938] (ch. 1)

That morning's ice, no more than a brittle film, had cracked and was now floating in segments. These tapped together or, parting, left channels of dark water, down which swans in slow indignation swam.
      - Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart [1938]

It lay down in a hollow, rich with fine old timber and luxuriant pastures; and you came upon it through an avenue of limes, bordered on either side by meadows, over the high hedges of which the cattle looked inquisitively at you as you passed, wondering, perhaps, what you wanted; for there was no thoroughfare, and unless you were going to the Court you had no business there at all.
      - Mary Elizabeth Braddon,
        Lady Audley's Secret [1862] (ch. I)

The old fellow who was cadging drinks from me the other night at the Cafe Royal told me he had known Julian Bern's people in the old days at Rome.
      - Robert Stephen Briffault,
        Europa: The Days of Ignorance [1935] (ch. 1)

Dinner was finished at last and old Hector Champion sat like Lucullus, white and bloated, fingering a tall crystal Burgundy glass and surveying the beautiful table.
      - Louis Bromfield, 24 Hours [1930] (ch. 1)

She found the letter when she returned to the slate-colored house from the regular monthly meeting of the Augusta Simpson Branch of the Woman's Christian temperance Union.
      - Louis Bromfield, A Good Woman [1927]

His luggage was all ready to be taken ashore, his cabin in order and now he stood on the upper deck just beneath the bridge watching the flying fish scud out of each jade green land swell of the Arabian Gulf like swift pencils of silver and disappear again in glittering jets of spray.
      - Louis Bromfield, Night in Bombay [1940]

Johnny's earliest memory of the Farm was filled with snow and the sound of sleighbells.
      - Louis Bromfield, The Farm [1933]

It was the hour of the day that Ransome loved best and he sat on the verandah now, drinking brandy and watching the golden light flood all the banyan trees and the yellow-gray house and the scarlet creeper for one brilliant moment before the sun, with a sudden plunge, dropped below the horizon and left the whole countryside in darkness.
      - Louis Bromfield, The Rains Came [1937]

It was a broiling afternoon of mid-August in Brinoe and everybody who was anybody had long ago quit its burning pavements and chilly palaces for the mountains or the sea.
      - Louis Bromfield,
        The Strange Case of Miss Annie Spragg [1928]

All true histories contain instruction; though, in some, the treasure may be hard to find, and when found, so trivial in quantity that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut. Whether this be the case with my history or not, I am hardly competent to judge; I sometimes think it might prove useful to some, and entertaining to others, but the world may judge for itself: shielded by my own obscurity, and by the lapse of years, and a few fictitious names, I do not fear to venture, and will candidly lay before the public what I would not disclose to the most intimate friend.
      - Anne Bronte (used pseudonym Acton Bell),
        Agnes Grey [1847]

You must go back with me to the autumn of 1827.
      - Anne Bronte (used pseudonym Acton Bell),
        The Tenant of Wildfell Hall [1848]

There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner (Mrs. Reed, when there was no company, dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating, that further out-door exercise was now out of the question. I was glad of it: I never liked long walks, especially on chilly afternoons: dreadful to me was the coming home in the raw twilight, with nipped fingers and toes, and a heart saddened by the chidings of Bessie, the nurse, and humbled by the consciousness of my physical inferiority to Eliza, John, and Georgiana Reed.
      - Charlotte Bronte (used pseudonym Currer Bell),
        Jane Eyre [1847]

Of late years, an abundant shower of curates has fallen upon the north of England: they lie very thick on the hills; every parish has one or more of them; they are young enough to be very active, and ought to be doing a great deal of good.
      - Charlotte Bronte (used pseudonym Currer Bell),
        Shirley [1849]

My godfather lived in a handsome house in the clean and ancient town of Bretton.
      - Charlotte Bronte (used pseudonym Currer Bell),
        Villette [1853]


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