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

Mrs. Watts and Mrs. Carson were both in the post office in Victory when the letter came from the Ellisville Institute for the Feeble-Minded of Mississippi. Aimee Slocum, with her hand still full of mail, ran out in front and handed it straight to Mrs. Watts, and they all three read it together. Mrs. Watts held it taut between her pink hands, and Mrs. Carson underscored each line slowly with her thimbled finger. Everyone else in the post office wondered what was up now.
      - Eudora Welty, A Curtain of Green [1936]

"How did I get here?"
      - Franz Werfel, The Forty Days of Musa Dagh [1934]

Around quitting time, Tod Hackett heard a great din on the road outside his office. The groan of leather mingled with the jangle of iron and over all beat the tattoo of a thousand hooves. He hurried to the window.
      - Nathanael West, The Day of the Locust [1939]
         (ch. 1)

The knocking on the door did not wake Isabelle because she had started up from sleep early that morning.
      - Rebecca West (pseudonym of Mrs. Cicely Fairfield Andrews),
        The Thinking Reed [1936]

"MAMMA, what was that I heard papa saying to you this morning about his lawsuit?"
  I cannot tell you just now. Ellen, pick up that shawl, and spread it over me."
    "Mamma!–-are you cold in this warm room?"
      "A little,-–there, that will do. Now, my daughter, let me be quiet a while--don't disturb me."
      - Elizabeth Wetherell (pseudonym of Susan Bogert Warner),
        The Wide, Wide World [1850] (ch. 1)

I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story.
  If you know Starkfield, Massachusetts, you know the post-office. If you know the post-office, you must have seen Ethan Frome drive up to it, drop the reins on his hollow-backed bay and drag himself across the brick pavement to the white colonnade: and you must have asked who he was.
      - Edith Newbold Wharton (nee Jones),
        Ethan Frome [1911]

On a January evening of the early seventies, Christine Nilsson was singing in Faust at the Academy of Music in New York.
      - Edith Newbold Wharton (nee Jones),
        The Age of Innocence [1920]

"Undine Spragg--how can you?" her mother wailed, raising a prematurely-wrinkled hand heavy with rings to defend the note which a languid "bell-boy" had just brought in.
      - Edith Newbold Wharton (nee Jones),
        The Custom of the Country [1913]

Selden paused in surprise. In the afternoon rush of the Grand Central Station his eyes had been refreshed by the sight of Miss Lily Bart.
      - Edith Newbold Wharton (nee Jones),
        The House of Mirth [1905]

"Unexpected obstacle. Please don't come till thirtieth. Anna."
      - Edith Newbold Wharton (nee Jones),
        The Reef [1912]

Miss Bruss, the perfect secretary, received Nona Manford at the door of her mother's boudoir ("the office," Mrs. Manford's children called it) with a gesture of the kindliest denial.
      - Edith Newbold Wharton (nee Jones),
        Twilight Sleep [1927]

At about eight o'clock one evening of the early summer a group of men were seated on a grass plot overlooking a broad river. The sun was just setting through the forest fringe directly behind them.
      - Stewart Edward White, The Silent Places [1904]
         (ch. 1)

"I hope you feel your arm a little easier, sir, this evening?" says Miss Lushington, reappearing in her own peculiar department, fresh and blooming from the revision of her toilet, which usually takes place about seven P.M. Miss Lushington's habits are peculiarly regular and methodical; her attractions of a dazzling, not to say gaudy, description; she is a thorough woman of business, if indeed such a designation be not a contradiction in terms; but when she does take a day's pleasure, there are few ladies who can produce a more satisfactory effect than Miss L.
      - George John Whyte-Melville, Inside the Bar [1861]
         (ch. 1)

Most men have a sunny spot to which they look back in their existence, as most have an impossible future, to attain which all their energies are exerted, and their resources employed. The difference between these visionary scenes is this, that they think a good deal of the latter, but talk a good deal of the former.
      - George John Whyte-Melville,
        Market Harborough [1861] (ch. 1)

The old stage coach was rumbling along the dusty road that runs from Maplewood to Riverboro. The day was as warm as midsummer, though it was only the middle of May, and Mr. Jeremiah Cobb was favoring the horses as much as possible, yet never losing sight of the fact that he carried the mail. The hills were many, and the reins lay loosely in his hands as he lolled back in his seat and extended one foot and leg luxuriously over the dashboard. His brimmed hat of worn felt was well pulled over his eyes, and revolved a quid of tobacco in his left cheek.
      - Kate Douglas Wiggin (nee Smith, Mrs. George C. Riggs),
        Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm [1903] (ch. 1)

It was not long after sunrise, and Stephen Waterman, fresh from his dip in the river, had scrambled up the hillside from the hut in the alder-bushes where he had made his morning toilet.
      - Kate Douglas Wiggin (nee Smith, Mrs. George C. Riggs),
        Rose o' the River [1905]

Pet and Patty began to trot briskly, as if they were glad, too. Laura held tight to the wagon bow and stood up in the jolting wagon. Beyond Pa's shoulder and far across the waves of green grass she could see the trees, and they were not like any trees she had seen before. They were no taller than bushes.
      - Laura Ingalls Wilder,
        Little House on the Prairie [1935]

One morning in the late summer of 1930 the proprietor and several guests at the Union Hotel at Crestcrego, Texas, were annoyed to discover Biblical texts freshly written across the blotter on the public writing-desk.
      - Thornton Niven Wilder,
        Heaven's My Destination [1934]

On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travellers into the gulf below.
      - Thornton Niven Wilder,
        The Bridge of San Luis Rey [1927]

The earth sighed as it turned in its course; the shadow of night crept gradually along the Mediterranean, and Asia was left in darkness.
      - Thornton Niven Wilder, The Woman of Andros [1930]

The great window-bay over the porch became a very private place after the waiter had drawn the curtains before its recess. The small boy, crouched on the seat that ran around three sides of it, was not sorry to be shut out, with the fading daylight, from the cognizance of the two gentlemen sitting at wine over the fire in the room beyond.
      - William Vaughan Wilkins, And So--Victoria [1937]
         (ch. 1)

Mr. William Ross and George Higgins called on Monsieur de Boucher so early that he was still breakfasting with his wife on coffee and rolls in a sunny sitting-room overlooking the Thames.
      - William Vaughan Wilkins, And So--Victoria [1937]

"Even the Last Resort has refused me." Loveland broke the news to his mother when he had kissed her.
      - Charles Norris Williamson and Alice Muriel Williamson,
        Lord Loveland Discovers America [1910]
         (book 1, ch. 1)

"To your happiness," I said, lifting my glass, and looking the girl in the eyes. She had the grace to blush, which was the least that she could do, for a moment ago she had jilted me.
      - Charles Norris Williamson and Alice Muriel Williamson,
        The Princess Passes [1904] (ch. 1)

I shall not say why and how I became, at the age of fifteen, the mistress of the Earl of Craven.
      - Harriet Wilson, Memoirs [1825]

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