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

Thorkell Mylrea had waited long for a dead man's shoes, but he was wearing them at length.
      - Sir Hall Caine, The Deemster [1887] (ch. 1)

"Out of the depths, O Lord, out of the depths," begins the most beautiful of the services of our church, and it is out of the depths of my life that I must bring the incidents of this story.
      - Sir Hall Caine, The Woman Thou Gavest Me [1912]
         (pt. 1, ch. 1)

Lov Bensey trudged homeward through the deep white sand of the gully-washed tobacco road with a sack of winter turnips on his back.
      - Erskine Caldwell, Tobacco Road [1932]

Right before the devastation, I had a good day.
      - Bebe Moore Campbell, 72 Hour Hold

If you were to look for the little island of Tana Masa on a map you would find it right on the equator slightly to the west of Sumatra. But if you asked Captain J. van Toch of the Kandong Bandoeng what kind of place this Tana Masa was, the place off which he had just dropped anchor, he would curse for a while and then he would tell you that it was the filthiest hole in all the Sunda Islands, even more miserable than Tana Bala and at least as lousy a place as Pini or Banjak; that the only, if you excuse me,
  human being living there--disregarding, of course, those lousy Batkas--was a drunken agent, a cross between a Cuban and a Portuguese and an even greater thief, heathen and swine than a pure-bred Cuban and a pure-bred white man combined; and if there was something lousy in this world then it was this lousy life on this lousy Tana Masa, yessir.
      - Karel Capek, War With the Newts [1936] (ch. 1)

The Age of Miracles past? The Age of Miracles is for ever here!
      - Thomas Carlyle,
        On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History,
        The Hero as Priest

Outside the house it was storming, a busy downfall of flakes that the wind blew lightly across acres of old snow left from December.
      - Gladys Hasty Carroll, As the Earth Turns [1933]

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, `and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice `without pictures or conversation?'
  So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.
      - Lewis Carroll (pseudonym of Charles L. Dodgson),
        Alice's Adventures in Wonderland [1865]

One thing was certain, that the white kitten had had nothing to do with it--it was the black kitten's fault entirely. For the white kitten had been having its face washed by the old cat, for the last quarter of an hour (and bearing it pretty well, considering); so you see that it couldn't have had any hand in the mischief.
      - Lewis Carroll (pseudonym of Charles L. Dodgson),
        Through the Looking Glass [1872]

Thirty or forty years ago, in one those grey towns along the Burlington railroad which are so much greyer to-day than they were then, there was a house well know from Omaha to Denver for its hospitality and for a certain charm of atmosphere.
      - Willa Sibert Cather, A Lost Lady [1923]

Late one brilliant April afternoon Professor Lucius Wilson stood at the head of Chestnut Street, looking about him with the pleased air of a man of taste who does not very often get to Boston.
      - Willa Sibert Cather, Alexander's Bridge [1912]

One summer evening in the year 1848, three Cardinals and a missionary were dining together in the gardens of a villa in the Sabine hills, overlooking Rome.
      - Willa Sibert Cather,
        Death Comes for the Archbishop [1927]

In Haverford on the Platte the townspeople still talk of Lucy Gayheart.
      - Willa Sibert Cather, Lucy Gayheart [1935]

I first heard of Antonia on what seemed to me an interminable journey across the great midland plain of North America.
      - Willa Sibert Cather, My Antonia [1918]

I first met Myra Henshawe when I was fifteen, but I had known her about ever since I could remember anything at all.
      - Willa Sibert Cather, My Mortal Enemy [1926]

One January day, thirty years ago, the little town of Hanover, anchored on a windy Nebraska tableland, was trying not to be blown away.
      - Willa Sibert Cather, O Pioneers! [1913]

Claude Wheeler opened his eyes before the sun was up and vigorously shook his younger brother, who lay in the other half of the same bed.
      - Willa Sibert Cather, One of Ours [1922]

Henry Colbert, the miller, always breakfasted with his wife--beyond that he appeared irregularly at the family table.
      - Willa Sibert Cather,
        Sapphira and the Slave Girl [1940]

One afternoon late in October of the year 1697, Euclide Auclair, the philosopher apothecary of Quebec, stood on the top of Cap Diamant gazing down the broad, empty river far beneath him.
      - Willa Sibert Cather, Shadows on the Rock [1931]

The moving was over and done.
      - Willa Sibert Cather, The Professor's House [1925]

Dr. Howard Archie had just come up from a game of pool with the Jewish clothier and two traveling men who happened to be staying overnight in Moonstone.
      - Willa Sibert Cather, The Song of the Lark [1915]

I am not, sir, a bad person, though in truth I am not lacking in reasons for being one.
  [Sp., Yo, senor, no soy malo, aunque no me faltarian motivos para serlo.]
      - Camilo Jose Cela,
        The Family of Pascual Duarte,
        (also titled La Familia de Pascual Duarte) (Anthony Kerrigan translation)

In a village of La Mancha the name of which I have no desire to recall, there lived not so long ago one of those gentlemen who always have a lance in the rack, an ancient buckler, a skinny nag, and a greyhound for the chase.
      - Cervantes (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra),
        Don Quixote, (Putnam's translation)

The case in question concerned a letter in a yellow envelope, which was dumped along with other incoming mail upon one of the many long tables where hundreds of women and scores of men sat opening and reading thousands of letters for the Bureau of P.C.--whatever that may mean.
      - Robert William Chambers, In Secret [1919] (ch. I)

There was a long, brisk, decisive ring at the door. He continued working. After an interval the bell rang again, briefly, as though the light touch on the electric button had lost its assurance.
      - Robert William Chambers, The Common Law [1911]
         (ch. 1)


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