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[ Also see Books Books (Last Lines) Books (Quotes) Quotations ]

Gentle reader, I was born upon the water - not upon the salt and angry ocean, but upon the fresh and rapid-flowing river. It was in a floating sort of box, called a lighter, and upon the river Thames, at low water, when I first smelt the mud. This lighter was manned (an expression amounting to bullism, if not construed KIND-ly) by my father, my mother, and your humble servant. My father had the sole charge - he was monarch of the deck: my mother, of course, was queen, and I was the heir-apparent.
      - Captain Frederick Marryat, Jacob Faithful [1834]
         (ch. 1)

Mr Nicodemus Easy was a gentleman who lived down in Hampshire; he was a married man, and in very easy circumstances. Most couples find it very easy to have a family, but not always quite so easy to maintain them. Mr Easy was not at all uneasy on the latter score, as he had no children; but he was anxious to have them, as most people covet what they cannot obtain.
      - Captain Frederick Marryat,
        Mr. Midshipman Easy [1836] (ch. 1)

If I cannot narrate a life of adventurous and daring exploits, fortunately I have no heavy crimes to confess: and, if I do not rise in the estimation of the reader for acts of gallantry and devotion in my country's cause, at least I may claim the merit of zealous and persevering continuance in my vocation. We are all of us variously gifted from Above, and he who is content to walk, instead of to run, on his allotted path through life, although he may not so rapidly attain the goal, has the advantage of not being out of breath upon his arrival.
      - Captain Frederick Marryat, Peter Simple [1834]
         (ch. 1)

There is perhaps no event in the annals of our history which excited more alarm at the time of its occurrence, or has since been the subject of more general interest, than the Mutiny at the Nore, in the year 1797. Forty thousand men, to whom the nation looked for defence from its surrounding enemies, and in steadfast reliance upon whose bravery it lay down every night in tranquillity, - men who had dared everything for their king and country, and in whose breasts patriotism, although suppressed for the time, could never be extinguished, - irritated by ungrateful neglect on the one hand, and by seditious advisers on the other, turned the guns which they had so often manned in defence of the English flag against their own countrymen and their own home, and, with all the acrimony of feeling ever attending family quarrels, seemed determined to sacrifice the nation and themselves, rather than listen to the dictates of reason and of conscience.
      - Captain Frederick Marryat, The King's Own [1830]
         (ch. 1)

I am about to write a very curious history, as the reader will agree with me when he has read this book. We have more than one narrative of people being cast away upon desolate islands, and being left to their own resources, and no works are perhaps read with more interest; but I believe I am the first instance of a boy being left alone upon an uninhabited island. Such was, however, the case; and now I shall tell my own story.
      - Captain Frederick Marryat,
        The Little Savage [1848] (ch. 1)

Lieutenant Sutch was the first of General Feversham's guests to reach Broad Place. He arrived about five o'clock on an afternoon of sunshine in mid June, and the old red-brick house, lodged on a southern slope of the Surrey hills, was glowing from a dark forest depth of pines with the warmth of a rare jewel.
      - Alfred Edward Woodley (A.E.W.) Mason,
        The Four Feathers [1902]

The clouds darkening Boston Harbor looked so low and ghostlike Sergeant Timothy Bennett guessed snow would soon begin falling. In fact, the jumbled dark roofs and church spires of distant Cambridge were already graying out of sight.
      - F. (Francis) van Wyck Mason,
        Stars on the Sea [1940]

The day broke grey and dull. The clouds hung heavily, and there was a rawness in the air that suggested snow. A woman servant came into a room in which a child was sleeping and drew the curtains. She glanced mechanically at the house opposite, a stucco house with a portico, and went to the child's bed.
      - William Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage [1915]
         (ch. I)

The door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in.
      - William Somerset Maugham, Theatre [1937]

One evening about eight months ago I met with some college comrades at the lodgings of our friend Louis R. We drank punch and smoked, talked of literature and art, and made jokes like any other company of young men. Suddenly the door flew open, and one who had been my friend since boyhood burst in like a hurricane.
      - Guy de Maupassant, The Flayed Hand [1880],
        a short story

The village postmaster stood staring at an official envelope that had just been shaken out a mailbag upon the sorting table. It was addressed to himself; and for a few moments his heart beat quicker, with sharp, clean percussions, as if it were trying to imitate the sounds made by two clerks as they plied their stampers on the blocks. Perhaps this envelope contained his fate.
      - William Babington Maxwell,
        The Devil's Garden [1913] (ch. 1)

In the town there were two mutes, and they were always together.
      - Carson McCullers,
        The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter [1940]

Far off in the mountain lands, somewhere to the east of the setting sun, lies the principality of Graustark, serene relic of rare old feudal days.
      - George Barr McCutcheon,
        Beverly of Graustark [1904]

Mr. Grenfall Lorry boarded the eastbound express at Denver with all the air of a martyr.
      - George Barr McCutcheon, Graustark [1901]

It was a bright, clear afternoon in the late fall that pretty Miss Cable drove up in her trap and waited at the curb for her father to come forth from his office in one of Chicago's tallest buildings.
      - George Barr McCutcheon, Jane Cable [1906]

A tall young man sped swiftly up the wide stone steps leading to the doorway of a mansion in one of Chicago's most fashionable avenues.
      - George Barr McCutcheon, Nedra [1905]

He was imposing, even in his pensiveness.
      - George Barr McCutcheon,
        The Daughter of Anderson Crow [1907]

The death of Taswell Skaggs was stimulating, to say the least, inapplicable though the expression may seem.
      - George Barr McCutcheon,
        The Man from Brodney's [1908]

"My dear," said Mr. Blithers, with decision, "you can't tell me."
      - George Barr McCutcheon,
        The Prince of Graustark [1914]

He was a tall, rawboned, rangy young fellow with a face so tanned by wind and sun you had the impression that his skin would feel like leather if you could affect the impertinence to test it by the sense of touch.
      - George Barr McCutcheon, Truxton King [1909]

At the age of three-and-twenty Charles Templeton, my old tutor at Oxford, set himself to write a history of the Third French Republic. When I made his acquaintance some thirty years later he had satisfactorily concluded his introductory chapter on the origin of Kingship.
      - Stephen McKenna,
        Sonia: Between Two Worlds [1917] (ch. 1)

In the time before steamships, or then more frequently than now, a stroller along the docks of any considerable seaport would occasionally have his attention arrested by a group of bronzed mariners, man-of-war's men or merchant sailors in holiday attire, ashore on liberty.
      - Herman Melville, Billy Budd [1924]

The traveller who at the present day is content to travel in the good old Asiatic style, neither rushed along by a locomotive, nor dragged by a stage-coach; who is willing to enjoy hospitalities at far-scattered farmhouses, instead of paying his bill at an inn; who is not to be frightened by any amount of loneliness, or to be deterred by the roughest roads or the highest hills; such a traveller in the eastern part of Berkshire, Mass., will find ample food for poetic reflection in the singular scenery of a country, which, owing to the ruggedness of the soil and its lying out of the track of all public conveyances, remains almost as unknown to the general tourist the interior of Bohemia.
      - Herman Melville, Israel Potter [1854]

We are off! The courses and topsails are set: the coral-hung anchor swings from the bow: and together, the three royals are given to the breeze, that follows us out to sea like the baying of a hound.
      - Herman Melville,
        Mardi: and a Voyage of Thither [1849]

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago--never mind how long precisely--having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation.
      - Herman Melville, Moby Dick [1851]

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