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

To Mrs. Saville, England
   St. Petersburgh, Dec. 11th, 17--
    You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings. I arrived here yesterday, and my first task is to assure my dear sister of my welfare and increasing confidence in the success of my undertaking.
      - Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (nee Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin),
        Frankenstein [1818] (Letter 1)

In a certain reign there was a lady not of the first rank whom the emperor loved more than any of the others. The grand ladies with high ambitions thought her a presumptuous upstart, and lesser ladies were still more resentful. Everything she did offended someone.
      - Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji [1100],
        (Edward G. Seidensticker translation)

Grateful hills, valleys and rivers divide the most beautiful country of Pakistan into four major provinces.
      - Huma Siddiqui, Jasmine In Her Hair
         (Section One)

It was on one of those glowing Autumn afternoons that Pan Andrei Kmita sat sipping his after-dinner mead in the cool shade of a summerhouse, gazing fondly through the crisscross bars of the leafy arbor at his wife who strolled long the clean-swept orchard avenue before him.
      - Henryk (Henrik) Sienkiewicz,
        Fire in the Steppe [1888] (pt. 1, ch. 1),
        third part of a trilogy (W.S. Kuniczak translation)

It was close to noon before Petronius came awake, feeling as drained and listless and detached as always. He was a guest at one of Nero's banquets the evening before and the orgy dragged on late into the night, and his health hadn't been all that good anyway for some time. He told himself that waking in the morning was a kind of mental and physical paralysis where neither his mind nor his body was capable of action.
      - Henryk (Henrik) Sienkiewicz, Quo Vadis [1895]
         (ch. 1), (W.S. Kuniczak translation)

The new year came in the midst of a cold, dry Winter that covered all of Zmudya with a deep white quilt. The trees bent and crackled under the weight of snow that blinded the eyes of passersby in daylight. At night, by moonlight, the fields and pastures sparkled with pinpoint lights as if the moon had tossed a multitude of spangles on the frozen soil.
      - Henryk (Henrik) Sienkiewicz, The Deluge [1886],
        second part of a trilogy (W.S. Kuniczak translation)

The year 1647 abounded with omens. Strange signs and portents of disasters appeared on earth and in the skies.
      - Henryk (Henrik) Sienkiewicz,
        With Fire and Sword [1884] (pt. 1, ch. 1),
        first part of a trilogy (W.S. Kuniczak translation)

It is Christmas Day in the Workhouse.
      - George Robert Sims,
        In the Workhouse--Christmas Day [1879]

Frances Harrison was sitting out in the garden under the tree that her husband called an ash-tree, and that the people down in her part of the country called a tree of Heaven.
      - May Sinclair, The Tree of Heaven [1917] (ch. 1)

It was four o'clock when the ceremony was over and the carriages began to arrive.
      - Upton Beall Sinclair, The Jungle [1906]

"Never forget, under any circumstances, to think and act like a gentleman, and don't exceed your allowance," said my father.
      - Francis "Frank" Edward Smedley,
        Frank Fairlegh [1850] (ch. 1)

Broadway on dry nights, or rather that part known as the Great White Way, is a crowded thoroughfare, dominated by lofty buildings, the sky-line studded with constellations of colored signs pencilled in fire. Broadway on wet, rain-drenched nights is the fairy concourse of the Wonder City of the World, its asphalt splashed with liquid jewels afloat in molten gold.
      - Francis Hopkinson Smith, Felix O'Day [1915]
         (ch. I)

Peter was still poring over his ledger one dark afternoon in December, his bald head glistening like a huge ostrich egg under the flare of the overhead gas jets, when Patrick, the night watchman, catching sight of my face peering through the outer grating, opened the door of the Bank.
      - Francis Hopkinson Smith, Peter [1908] (ch. I)

In a certain county of England, bounded on one side by the sea, and at the distance of one hundred miles from the metropolis, lived Gamaliel Pickle Esq; the father of that hero whose adventures we propose to record.
      - Tobias George Smollett, Peregrine Pickle [1751]

I was born in the northern part of this united kingdom, in the house of my grandfather; a gentleman of considerable fortune and influence, who had, on many occasions, signalised himself in behalf of his country; and was remarkable for his abilities in the law, which he exercised with great success, in the station of a judge, particularly against beggars, for whom he had a singular aversion.
      - Tobias George Smollett,
        The Adventures of Roderick Random [1748]

The fire in our habitual public-house spurted and fell.
      - Charles Percy Snow, Strangers and Brothers [1940]

I am a cat. As yet I have no name. I've no idea where I was born.
      - Natsume Soseki, I Am a Cat [1905] (ch. I)

Lefever, if there was a table in the room, could never be got to sit on a chair; and being rotund he sat preferably sidewise on
  the edge of the table.
      - Frank Hamilton Spearman,
        Nan of Music Mountain [1916] (ch. 1)

Lo I the man, whose Muse whilome did maske,
  As time her taught, in lowly Shepheards weeds,
    Am now enforst a far vnfitter taske,
      For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine Oaten reeds,
        And sing of Knights and Ladies gentle deeds;
          Whose prayses hauing slept in silence long,
            Me, all too meane, the sacred Muse areeds
              To blazon broad emongst her learned throng:
                Fierce warres and faithfull loues shall moralize my song.
      - Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene [1589] (book I)

A Gentle Knight was pricking on the plaine,
  Y cladd in mightie armes and siluer shielde,
    Wherein old dints of deepe wounds did remaine,
      The cruell markes of many' a bloudy fielde;
        Yet armes till that time did he neuer wield:
          His angry steede did chide his foming bitt,
            As much disdayning to the curbe to yield:
              Full iolly knight he seemd, and faire did sitt,
                As one for knightly giusts and fierce encounters fitt.
      - Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene [1589]
         (book I, canto I)

The Patron of true Holinesse,
  Foule Errour doth defeate:
    Hypocrisie him to entrappe,
      Doth to his home entreate.
      - Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene [1589]
         (book I, proem, canto I)

I liked fetching the washing from the Moscrops', and my mother liked washing for Mrs. Moscrop better than for anyone else. That was because Mrs. Moscrop wrapped a bar of yellow soap in with the washing. There wasn't anyone else who thought of a thing like that.
      - Howard Spring (Robert Howard Spring),
        My Son, My Son! [1938] (pt. 1. ch. 1)

In a very short time a railway will link Baghdad with Europe.
      - Freya (Madeline) Stark, Baghdad Sketches [1933]

All the June Saturday afternoon Sam Pollit's children were on the lookout for him as they skated round the dirt sidewalks and seamed old asphalt of R Street and Reservoir Road that bounded the deep-grassed acres of Tohoga House, their home. They were not usually allowed to run helter-skelter about the streets, but Sam was out late with the naturalists looking for lizards and salamanders round the Potomac bluffs. Henrietta, their mother, was in town, Bonnie, their youthful and general servant, had her afternoon off, and they were being minded by Louisa, their half sister, eleven and a half years old, the eldest of their brood.
      - Christina Stead,
        The Man Who Loved Children [1940]

"Going! Going! Gone!"
      - Flora Annie Steel (Mrs. F.A. Steel),
        On the Face of the Waters [1896]
         (book 1, ch. 1)


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