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

My brother had just been appointed Secretary of Nevada Territory--an office of such majesty that it concentrated in itself the duties and dignities of Treasurer, Comptroller, Secretary of State, and Acting Governor in the Governor's absence. A salary of eighteen hundred dollars a year and the title of "Mr. Secretary," gave to the great position an air of wild and imposing grandeur. I was young and ignorant, and I envied my brother.
      - Mark Twain (pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens),
        Roughing It [1872]

You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth. That is nothing. I never seen anybody but lied one time or another, without it was Aunt Polly, or the widow, or maybe Mary. Aunt Polly--Tom's Aunt Polly, she is--and Mary, and the Widow Douglas is all told about in that book, which is mostly a true book, with some stretchers, as I said before.
      - Mark Twain (pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens),
        The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn [1884]

  No answer.
      No answer.
        "What's gone with that boy, I wonder? You TOM!"
          No answer.
            The old lady pulled her spectacles down and looked over them about the room; then she put them up and looked out under them. She seldom or never looked through them for so small a thing as a boy; they were her state pair, the pride of her heart, and were built for "style," not service--she could have seen through a pair of stove-lids just as well. She looked perplexed for a moment, and then said, not fiercely, but still loud enough for the furniture to hear: "Well, I lay if I get hold of you I'll--"
      - Mark Twain (pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens),
        The Adventures of Tom Sawyer [1876]

It is a matchless morning in rural England.
      - Mark Twain (pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens),
        The American Claimant [1892]

For months the great pleasure excursion to Europe and the Holy Land was chatted about in the newspapers everywhere in America and discussed at countless firesides.
      - Mark Twain (pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens),
        The Innocents Abroad [1869] (ch. 1)

This book is a record of a pleasure trip. If it were a record of solemn scientific expedition, it would have about it that gravity, that profundity, and that impressive incomprehensibility which are so proper to works of that kind, and withal so attractive. Yet notwithstanding it is only a record of a pic-nic, it has a purpose, which is to suggest to the reader how he would be likely to see Europe and the East if he looked at with his own eyes instead of the eyes of those who traveled in those countries before him.
      - Mark Twain (pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens),
        The Innocents Abroad [1869] (preface)

It was many years ago.
      - Mark Twain (pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens),
        The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg [1900]

It was in 1590--winter. Austria was far away from the world, and asleep; it was still the Middle Ages in Austria, and promised to remain so forever. Some even set it away back centuries upon centuries and said that by the mental and spiritual clock it was still the Age of Belief in Austria. But they meant it as a compliment, not a slur, and it was so taken, and we were all proud of it. I remember it well, although I was only a boy; and I remember, too, the pleasure it gave me.
      - Mark Twain (pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens),
        The Mysterious Stranger [1916]

In the ancient city of London, on a certain autumn day in the second quarter of the sixteenth century, a boy was born to a poor family of the name of Canty, who did not want him.
      - Mark Twain (pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens),
        The Prince and the Pauper [1882]

Do you reckon Tom Sawyer was satisfied after all them adventures?
      - Mark Twain (pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens),
        Tom Sawyer Abroad [1894]

Well, it was the next spring after me and Tom Sawyer set our old nigger Jim free the time he was chained up for a runaway slave down there on Tom's uncle Silas's farm in Arkansaw.
      - Mark Twain (pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens),
        Tom Sawyer, Detective [1896]

The doctor took out the stitches, swabbed the scar with a disinfectant, and then made an examination of his patient.
      - Ethel Vance (pseudonym of Grace Zaring Stone),
        Escape [1939] (ch. 1)

Upon a certain dreary April afternoon in the year of grace, 1906, the apprehensions of Philip Kirkwood, Esquire, Artist-peintre, were enlivened by the discovery that he was occupying that singularly distressing social position, which may be summed up succinctly in a phrase through long usage grown proverbial: "Alone in London."
      - Louis Joseph Vance, The Black Bag [1908] (ch. 1)

In the dull hot dusk of a summer's day a green touring-car, swinging out of the East Drive, pulled up smartly, trembling, at the edge of the Fifty-ninth Street car-tracks, then more sedately, under the dispassionate eye of a mounted member of the Traffic Squad, lurched across the Plaza and merged itself in the press of vehicles south-bound on the Avenue.
      - Louis Joseph Vance, The Brass Bowl [1907] (ch. 1)

Of all the criminal cases in which Philo Vance participated as unofficial investigator, the most sinister, the most bizarre, the seemingly most incomprehensible, and certainly the most terrifying was the one that followed the famous Greene murders.
      - S.S. Van Dine (pseudonym of Willard Huntington Wright),
        The Bishop Murder Case [1929] (ch. I)

It has long been a source of wonder to me why the leading criminological writers--men like Edmund Lester Pearson, H. B. Irving, Filson Young, Canon Brookes, William Bolitho, and Harold Eaton--have not devoted more space to the Greene tragedy; for here, surely, is one of the outstanding murder mysteries of modern times--a case practically unique in the annals of latter-day crime.
      - S.S. Van Dine (pseudonym of Willard Huntington Wright),
        The Greene Murder Case [1927] (ch. 1)

The parents were abed and sleeping. The clock on the wall ticked loudly and lazily, as if it had time to spare. Outside the rattling windows there was a restless, whispering wind. The room grew light, and dark, and wondrous light again, as the moon played hide-and-seek through the clouds. The boy, wide-awake and quiet in his bed, was thinking of the Stranger and his stories.
      - Henry Jackson van Dyke (2),
        The Blue Flower [1902]

On 24 May 1863, a Sunday, my uncle, Professor Lidenbrock, came rushing back towards his little house at No. 19 Konigstrasse, one of the oldest streets in the historic part of Hamburg.
      - Jules Verne,
        A Journey to the Centre of the Earth [1864]
         (ch. 1)

Mr. Phileas Fogg lived, in 1872, at No. 7, Saville Row, Burlington Gardens, the house in which Sheridan died in 1814. He was one of the most noticeable members of the Reform Club, though he seemed always to avoid attracting attention; an enigmatical personage, about whom little was known, except that he was a polished man of the world. People said that he resembled Byron--at least that his head was Byronic; but he was a bearded, tranquil Byron, who might live on a thousand years without growing old.
      - Jules Verne, Around the World in 80 Days

During the War of the Rebellion, a new and influential club was established in the city of Baltimore in the State of Maryland. It is well known with what energy the taste for military matters became developed among that nation of ship-owners, shopkeepers, and mechanics. Simple tradesmen jumped their counters to become extemporized captains, colonels, and generals, without having ever passed the School of Instruction at West Point; nevertheless; they quickly rivaled their compeers of the old
  continent, and, like them, carried off victories by dint of lavish expenditure in ammunition, money, and men.
      - Jules Verne, From the Earth to the Moon [1865]
         (ch. 1)

"Sire, a fresh dispatch."
    "From Tomsk?"
      "Is the wire cut beyond that city?"
        "Yes, sire, since yesterday."
          "Telegraph hourly to Tomsk, General, and keep me informed of all that occurs."
      - Jules Verne, Michael Strogoff [1876] (ch. 1)

"Nothing, sir, can induce me to surrender my claim."
  "I am sorry, count, but in such a matter your views cannot modify mine."
    "But allow me to point out that my seniority unquestionably gives me a prior right."
      "Mere seniority, I assert, in an affair of this kind, cannot possibly entitle you to any prior claim whatever."
      - Jules Verne, Off on a Comet! [1877] (ch. 1)

Bang! Bang!
  The pistol shots were almost simultaneous. A cow peacefully grazing fifty yards away received one of the bullets in her back. She had nothing to do with the quarrel all the same.
      - Jules Verne, Robur the Conqueror [1886] (ch. 1)

If I speak of myself in this story, it is because I have been deeply involved in its startling events, events doubtless among the most extraordinary which this twentieth century will witness. Sometimes I even ask myself if all this has really happened, if its pictures dwell in truth in my memory, and not merely in my imagination.
      - Jules Verne, The Master of the World [1904]
         (ch. 1)

Speaking of the great American Andes, the mineralogist Hauy uses a grand expression when he calls them "The incommensurable parts of Creation."
      - Jules Verne, Tigers and Traitors [1880] (ch. 1)

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