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

In the Old Colony days, in Plymouth the land of the Pilgrims,
  To and fro in a room of his simple and primitive dwelling,
    Clad in doublet and hose, and boots of Cordovan leather,
      Strode, with a martial air, Miles Standish the Puritan Captain.
        Buried in thought he seemed, with his hands behind him, and pausing
          Ever and anon to behold his glittering weapons of warfare,
            Hanging in shining array along the walls of the chamber,--
              Cutlass and corselet of steel, and his trusty sword of Damascus,
                Curved at the point and inscribed with its mystical Arabic sentence,
                  While underneath, in a corner, were fowling-piece, musket, and matchlock.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
        The Courtship of Miles Standish [1858]

Should you ask me,
  whence these stories?
    Whence these legends and traditions,
      With the odors of the forest
        With the dew and damp of meadows,
          With the curling smoke of wigwams,
            With the rushing of great rivers,
              With their frequent repetitions,
                And their wild reverberations
                  As of thunder in the mountains?
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
        The Song of Hiawatha [1855] (introduction)

March 16th:
  A gentleman friend and I were dining at the Ritz last evening and he said that if I took a pencil and a paper and put down all of my thoughts it would make a book. This almost made me smile as what it would really make would be a whole row of encyclopediacs.
      - Anita Loos (Mrs. John Emerson),
        Gentlemen Prefer Blondes [1925]

CHICAGO, October 1, 189--
  Dear Pierrepont: Your Ma got back safe this morning and she wants me to be sure to tell you not to over-study, and I want to tell you to be sure not to under-study. What we're really sending you to Harvard for is to get a little education that's so good and plenty there. When it's passed around you don't want to be bashful, but reach right out and take a big helping every time, for I want you to get your share. You'll find that education's about the only thing lying around loose in this world, and that it's about the only thing a fellow can have as much of as he's willing to haul away. Everything else is screwed down tight and the screw-driver lost.
      - George Horace Lorimer,
        Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son [1901]
         (ch. 1)

I am forced into speech because men of science have refused to follow my advice without knowing why. It is altogether against my will that I tell my reasons for opposing this contemplated invasion of the antarctic--with its vast fossil-hunt and its wholesale boring and melting of the ancient ice-cap--and I am the more reluctant because my warning may be in vain.
      - Howard Phillips Lovecraft,
        At the Mountains of Madness [1936]

Life is a hideous thing, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous. Science, already oppressive with its shocking revelations, will perhaps be the ultimate exterminator of our human species--if separate species we be--for its reserve of unguessed horrors could never be borne by mortal brains if loosed upon the world.
      - Howard Phillips Lovecraft,
        Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family [1920]

Andy Rooney was a fellow who had the most singularly ingenious knack of doing everything the wrong way; disappointment waited on all affairs in which he bore a part, and destruction was at his fingers' ends; so the nickname the neighbours stuck upon him was Handy Andy, and the jeering jingle pleased them.
      - Samuel Lover, Handy Andy [1842]

In a retired district of the South of Ireland, near some wild hills and a romantic river, a small by-road led to a quiet spot, where, at the end of a little land, or boreen, which was sheltered by some hazel-hedges, stood a cottage which in England would have been considered a poor habitation, but in Ireland was absolutely comfortable, when contrasted with the wretched hovels that most of her peasantry are doomed to dwell in.
      - Samuel Lover, Rory O'More [1836] (ch. 1)

It was Warrington's invariable habit--when no business or social engagement pressed him to go elsewhere--to drop into a certain quaint little restaurant just off Broadway for his dinners. It was out of the way; the throb and rattle of the great commercial artery became like the far-off murmur of the sea, restful rather than annoying. He always made it a point to dine alone, undisturbed. The proprietor nor his silent-footed waiters had the slightest idea who Warrington was.
      - Harold MacGrath, Half a Rogue [1906] (ch. I)

An old man, clothed in picturesque patches and tatters, paused and leaned on his stout oak staff. He was tired. He drew off his rusty felt hat, swept a sleeve across his forehead, and sighed. He had walked many miles that day, and even now the journey's end, near as it really was, seemed far away.
      - Harold MacGrath, The Goose Girl [1909] (ch. 1)

Out of the unromantic night, out of the somber blurring January fog, came a voice lifted in song, a soprano, rich, full and round, young yet matured, sweet and mysterious as a night-bird's, haunting and elusive as the murmur of the sea in a shell: a lilt from La Fille de Madame Angot, a light opera long since forgotten in New York. Hillard, genuinely astonished, lowered his pipe and listened.
      - Harold MacGrath, The Lure of the Mask [1908]
         (ch. 1)

The king sat in his private garden in the shade of a potted orange tree, the leaves of which were splashed with brilliant yellow. It was high noon of one of those last warm sighs of passing summer which now and then lovingly steal in between the chill breaths of September. The velvet hush of the mid-day hour had fallen.
      - Harold MacGrath, The Puppet Crown [1901]

Since I play no mean part in the events of this chronicle, a few words concerning my own history previous to the opening of the story I am about to tell you will surely not be amiss, and they may help you to a better understanding of my narrative.
      - Charles Major,
        Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall [1902]

We Caskodens take great pride in our ancestry. Some persons, I know, hold all that to be totally un-Solomonlike and the height of vanity, but, they, usually, have no ancestors of whom to be proud.
      - Charles Major,
        When Knighthood Was in Flower [1898]

In that fortunate hour of English history, when the cruel sights and haunting insecurities of the Middle Ages had passed away, and while, as yet, the fanatic zeal of Puritanism had not cast its blighting shadow over all merry and pleasant things, it seemed good to one Denzil Calmady, esquire, to build himself a stately red-brick and freestone house upon the southern verge of the great plateau of moorland which ranges northward to the confines of Windsor Forest and eastward to the Surrey Hills.
      - Lucas Malet (pseudonym of Mrs. Mary St. Leger Harrison),
        The History of Sir Richard Calmady [1901]
         (book I, ch. I)

In May when every lusty heart flourisheth and burgeoneth, for as the season is lusty to behold and comfortable, so man and woman rejoice and gladden of summer coming with his fresh flowers: for winter with his rough winds and blasts causeth a lusty man and woman to cower, and sit fast by the fire. So in this season, as in the month of May, it befell a great anger and unhap that stinted not till the flower of chivalry of all the world was destroyed and slain; and all was long upon two unhappy knights, the which were named Agravaine and Sir Mordred, that were brethren unto Sir Gawiane.
      - Sir Thomas Malory (used pseudonym Morte d'Arthur),
        Le Morte d’Arthur (final romance)

It befell in the days of Uther Pendragon, when he was king of all England, and so reigned, that there was a mighty duke in Cornwall that held war against him long time. And the duke was called the duke of Tintagil.
      - Sir Thomas Malory (used pseudonym Morte d'Arthur),
        Le Morte d’Arthur (first romance)

"What does this mean.--What--does this mean. . . ."
  "Well, now deuce take it, c'est la question, ma tres chere demoiselle!"
      - Thomas Mann, Buddenbooks [1901] (ch. 1),
        (John E. Woods translation)

"And--and--what comes next?"
  "Oh, yes, yes, what the dickens does come next? C'est la question, ma tres chere demoiselle!"
      - Thomas Mann, Buddenbrooks [1902] (pt. 1, ch. 1),
        (H.T. Lowe-Porter translation)

It was beyond the hills north of Hebron, a little east of the Jerusalem road, in the month of Adah; a spring evening, so brightly moonlit that one could have seen to read, and the leaves of the single tree there standing, an ancient and mighty terebinth, short-trunked, with strong and spreading branches, stood out find and sharp against the light, beside their clusters of blossom--highly distinct, yet shimmering in a web of moonlight.
      - Thomas Mann, Joseph and His Brothers [1933]
         (ch. 1), (H.T. Lowe-Porter translation)

Very deep is the well of the past. Should we not call it bottomless?
      - Thomas Mann, Joseph and His Brothers [1933]
         (prelude), (H.T. Lowe-Porter translation)

The atmosphere of Torre di Venere remains unpleasant in the memory. From the first moment the air of the place made us uneasy, we felt irritable, on edge; then at the end came the shocking business of Cipolla, that dreadful being who seemed to incorporate, in so fateful and so humanly impressive a way, all the peculiar evilness of the situation as a whole.
      - Thomas Mann, Mario the Magician [1929],
        a novella, (H.T. Lowe-Porter translation)

An ordinary young man was on his way from his hometown of Hamburg to Davos-Platz in the canton of Graubunden. It was the height of summer, and he planned to stay for three weeks.
      - Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain [1924] (ch. 1)

When an American sets out to found a college, he hunts first for a hill. John Harvard was an Englishman and indifferent to high places. The result is that Harvard has become a university of vast proportions and no color.
      - Percy Marks, The Plastic Age [1924] (ch. 1)

At the top of Allen Southby's letter was engraved MARTIN HOUSE STUDY, and to the left in smaller type DR. SOUTHBY.
      - John Phillips Marquand, Wickford Point [1939]


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