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

The speed of the train slackened; a broad tidal river flashed into sight below the trestle, spreading away on either hand through yellowing level meadows. And now, above the roaring undertone of the cars, from far ahead floated back the treble bell-notes of the locomotive; there came a gritting vibration of the brakes; slowly, more slowly the cars glided to a creaking standstill beside a sun-scorched platform gay with the bright flutter of sunshades and summer gowns.
      - Robert William Chambers,
        The Fighting Chance [1906] (ch. 1)

"You never met Selwyn, did you?"
      - Robert William Chambers, The Younger Set [1907]
         (ch. 1)

It was one of the mixed blocks over on Central Avenue, the blocks that are not yet all Negro.
      - Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely [1940]

I wasn't doing any work that day, just catching up on my foot-dangling.
      - Raymond Chandler, Goldfish [1936], a short story

It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills.
      - Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep [1939]

Mary Peters first saw Cadiz in 1880.
      - Mary Ellen Chase, Mary Peters [1934]
         (pt. 1, ch. 1)

Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
  The droghte of March hath perced to the roote.
      - Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales,
        The General Prologue

The double sorwe of Troilus to tellen,
  That was the king Priamus sone of Troye,
    In lovinge, how his aventures fellen
      Fro wo to wele, and after out of Ioye,
        My purpos is, er that I parte fro ye.
          Thesiphone, thou help me for tendyte
            Thise woful vers, that wepen as I wryte!
      - Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde [1386]
         (bk. I)

Early one morning in July a shabby covered chaise, one of those antediluvian chaises without springs in which no one travels in Russia nowadays, except merchants' clerks, dealers and the less well-to-do among priests, drove out of N., the principal town of the province of Z., and rumbled noisily along the posting-track.
      - Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (Anton Pavlovich Tchehov),
        The Steppe [1888] (ch. 1),
        a short story (Contance Garnett translation)

Bowing down in blind credulity, as is my custom, before mere authority and the tradition of the elders, superstitiously swallowing a story I could not test at the time by experiment or private judgment, I am firmly of the opinion that I was born on the 29th of May, 1874, on Campden Hill, Kensington; and baptised according to the formularies of the Church of England in the little church of St. George opposite the large Waterworks Tower that dominated that ridge.
      - Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Autobiography [1936]

The suburb of Saffron Park lay on the sunset side of London, as red and ragged a cloud of sunset.
      - Gilbert Keith Chesterton,
        The Man Who Was Thursday [1908] (ch. 1)

Lutzowstrasse 49, Berlin
  Thursday, May 28th, 1914.
    My blessed little mother,
      Here I am safe, and before I unpack or do a thing I'm writing you a little line of love. I sent a telegram at the station, so that you'll know at once that nobody has eaten me on the way, as you seemed rather to fear. It is wonderful to be here, quite on my own, as if I were a young man starting his career.
      - Alice Cholmondeley (a/k/a Countess Elizabeth Van Arnim),
        Christine [1917]

"I can't get out," said Sterne's starling, looking through the bars of his cage.
      - Mary Cholmondeley, Red Pottage [1899] (ch. 1)

A green and yellow parrot, which hung in a cage outside the door, kept repeating over and over:
  "Allez vous-en! Allez vous-en! Sapristi! That's all right!"
      - Kate Chopin, The Awakening [1899]

My name is Hugh Paret. I was a corporation lawyer, but by no means a typical one, the choice of my profession being merely incidental, and due, as will be seen, to the accident of environment. The book I am about to write might aptly be called the Autobiography of a Romanicist.
      - Winston Churchill (2), A Far Country [1915]
         (book 1)

Honora Leffingwell is the original name of our heroine.
      - Winston Churchill (2), A Modern Chronicle [1910]

First I am to write a love-story of long ago, of a time some little while after General Jackson had got into the White House and had shown the world what a real democracy was.
      - Winston Churchill (2), Coniston [1906]

I may as well begin this story with Mr. Hilary Vane, more frequently addressed as the Honourable Hilary Vane, although it was the gentleman's proud boast that he had never held an office in his life.
      - Winston Churchill (2), Mr. Crewe's Career [1908]

Lionel Carvel, Esq., of Carvel Hall, in the county of Queen Anne, was no inconsiderable man in his Lordship's province of Maryland, and indeed he was not unknown in the colonial capitals from Williamsburg to Boston.
      - Winston Churchill (2), Richard Carvel [1899]

Faithfully to relate how Eliphalet Hopper came to St. Louis is to betray no secret.
      - Winston Churchill (2), The Crisis [1901]

I was born under the Blue Ridge, and under that side which is blue in the evening light, in a wild land of game and forest and rushing waters.
      - Winston Churchill (2), The Crossing [1904]

With few exceptions, the incidents recorded in these pages take place in one of the largest cities of the United States of America, and of that portion called the Middle West,--a city once conservative and provincial, and rather proud of these qualities; but now outgrown them, and linked by lightning limited trains to other teeming centers of the modern world: a city overtaken, in recent years, by the plague which has swept our country from the Atlantic to the Pacific--Prosperity.
      - Winston Churchill (2),
        The Inside of the Cup [1913]

Gil and I crossed the eastern divide about two by the sun.
      - Walter Van Tilburg Clark,
        The Ox-Bow Incident [1940]

In one of the most ancient and populous boroughs in the county of Suffolk, there resided a genius named Valentine Vox, who, in order to make a fortune with rapidity, tried everything, but failed to succeed in anything, because he could stick long to nothing.
      - Henry Cockton, Valentine Vox [1840] (ch. 1)

I address these lines--written in India--to my relatives in England. My object is to explain the motive which has induced me to refuse the right hand of friendship to my cousin, John Herncastle.
      - Wilkie (William) Collins, The Moonstone [1868]


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