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

Dere Mable:
  I guess you thought I was dead. Youll never know how near you was to right. We got the tents up at last, though, so I got a minit to rite. I guess they choose these camps by mail order. The only place there flat is on the map. Where our tents is would make a good place for a Rocky Mountin goat if he didnt break his neck. The first day the Captin came out an says "Pitch your tents here."
      - Edward Streeter, Dere Mable [1918]

It was lovely, thought Mrs. Miniver, nodding goodbye to the flower-woman and carrying her big sheaf of chrysanthemums down the street with a kind of ceremonious joy, as though it were a cornucopia; it was lovely, this settling down again, this tidying away of the summer into its box, this taking up of the thread of one's life where the holidays (irrelevant interlude) had made one drop it.
      - Jan Struther (pseudonym of Joyce Maxtone Graham) (nee Anstruther),
        Mrs. Miniver [1940] (ch. 1)

One cold, rainy evening, toward the end of October, 1838, a man of athletic build, wearing an old broad-brimmed straw hat and a ragged slop, serge shirt, which came down over the hem of trousers of the same stuff, crossed the Pont-au-Change, and dived into the City ward of Paris, a maze of dark, narrow, and crooked streets, which spreads from the Palace of Justice to Notre Dame Cathedral.
      - Eugene Sue (Marie Joseph Eugene Sue),
        Mysteries of Paris [1842] (pt. 1, ch. 1)

The Arctic Ocean encircles with a belt of eternal ice the desert confines of Siberia and North America--the uttermost limits of the Old and New worlds, separated by the narrow, channel, known as Behring's Straits.
      - Eugene Sue (Marie Joseph Eugene Sue),
        The Wandering Jew [1844] (prologue)

It was a murky October day that the hero of our tale, Mr Sponge, or Soapey Sponge, as his good-natured friends call him, was seen mizzling along Oxford Street, wending his way to the west.
      - Robert Smith Surtees,
        Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour [1852] (ch. 1)

The doctor with whom I discussed the question told me to begin my work with a historical analysis of my smoking habit.
      - Italo Svevo (pseudonym of Ettore Schmitz),
        Zeno's Conscience [1923]

Whoever has an ambition to be heard in a crowd must press, and squeeze, and thrust, and climb with indefatigable pains, till he has exalted himself to a certain degree of altitude above them. Now, in all assemblies, though you wedge them ever so close, we may observe this peculiar property, that over their heads there is room enough; but how to reach it is the difficult point, it being as hard to get quit of number as of hell.
      - Jonathan Swift, A Tale of a Tub [1704]
         (Section 1 - The Introduction)

My father had a small Estate in Nottinghamshire; I was the Third of five Sons.
      - Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels [1726]

Mr. Nelson Smock, arriving at his cottage in Maine on Friday afternoon for his weekly recuperation from Wall Street, paused in the hall and looked into the living room before going on in search of his wife.
      - Booth Tarkington (Newton Booth Tarkington),
        Claire Ambler [1928]

Superciliousness is not safe after all, because a person who forms the habit of wearing it may some day find his lower lip grown permanently projected beyond the upper, so that he can't get it back, and must go through life looking like the King of Spain.
      - Booth Tarkington (Newton Booth Tarkington),
        Gentle Julia [1922]

The middle-aged stranger whom I met by chance upon the lower rocks at Mary's Neck, that salt-washed promontory of the New England coast, was at first taciturn but became voluble when a little conversation developed the fact that we were both from the Midland country.
      - Booth Tarkington (Newton Booth Tarkington),
        Mary's Neck [1932]

Penrod sat morosely upon the back fence and gazed with envy at Duke, his wistful dog.
      - Booth Tarkington (Newton Booth Tarkington),
        Penrod [1914]

William Sylvanus Baxter paused for a moment of though in front of the drug-store at the corner of Washington Street and Central Avenue.
      - Booth Tarkington (Newton Booth Tarkington),
        Seventeen [1916]

Major Amberson had "made a fortune" in 1873, when other people were losing fortunes, and the magnificence of the Ambersons began then.
      - Booth Tarkington (Newton Booth Tarkington),
        The Magnificent Ambersons [1918]

People used to say of the two Oliphant brothers that Harlan Oliphant looked as if he lived in the Oliphant's house, but Dan didn't.
      - Booth Tarkington (Newton Booth Tarkington),
        The Midlander [1924]

Out of the north Atlantic a January storm came down in the night, sweeping the American coast with wind and snow and sleet upon a great oblique front from Nova Scotia to the Delaware capes.
      - Booth Tarkington (Newton Booth Tarkington),
        The Plutocrat [1927]

There is a midland city in the heart of fair, open country, a dirty and wonderful city nesting dingily in the fog of its own smoke.
      - Booth Tarkington (Newton Booth Tarkington),
        The Turmoil [1915]

It was long ago in the days when men sighed when they fell in love; when people danced by candle and lamp, and did dance, too, instead of solemnly gliding about; in that mellow time so long ago, when the young were romantic and summer was roses and wine, old Carewe brought his lovely daughter home from the convent to wreck the hearts of the youth of Rouen.
      - Booth Tarkington (Newton Booth Tarkington),
        The Two Vanrevels [1902]

When Francis, fourth Viscount Castlewood, came to his title, and presently after to take possession of his house of Castlewood, County Hants, in the year 1691, almost the only tenant of the place besides the domestics was a lad of twelve years of age, of whom no one seemed to take any note until my Lady Viscountess lighted upon him, going over the house with the housekeeper on the day of her arrival.
      - William Makepeace Thackeray,
        The History of Henry Esmond [1852]

Since the days of Adam, there has been hardly a mischief done in this world but a woman has been at the bottom of it.
      - William Makepeace Thackeray,
        The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon [1856]

A crow, who had flown away with a cheese from a dairy window, sate perched on a tree looking down at a great big frog in a pool underneath him.
      - William Makepeace Thackeray, The Newcomes [1854]

While the present century was in its teens, and on one sunshiny morning in June, there drove up to the great iron gate of Miss Pinkerton's academy for young ladies, on Chiswick Mall, a large family coach, with two fat horses in blazing harness, driven by a fat coachman in a three-cornered hat and wig, at the rate of four miles an hour.
      - William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair [1847]

Up to the days of Indiana's early statehood, probably as late as 1825, there stood, in what is now the beautiful little city of Vincennes on the Wabash, the decaying remnant of an old and curiously gnarled cherry tree, known as the Roussillion tree, le cerisier de Monsieur Roussillion, as the French inhabitants called it, which as long as it lived bore fruit remarkable for richness of flavor and peculiar dark ruby depth of color.
      - Maurice Thompson, Alice of Old Vincennes [1900]

Edgar Renner dozed and ruminated through the July afternoon.
      - Sylvia Thompson (Mrs. Theodore Luling),
        The Hounds of Spring [1926] (pt. 1, ch. 1)

When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only. I lived there two years and two months. At present I am a sojourner in civilized life again.
      - Henry David Thoreau, Walden [1854]


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