I recently started reading Excellent Women by Barbara Pym and several lines on the first page caught my eye.
I will start with the first line:
Ah, you ladies! Always on the spot when there’s something happening!
A few paragraphs later there is another great line:
I suppose an unmarried woman just over thirty, who lives alone and has no apparent ties, must expect to find herself involved or interested in other people’s business, and if she is also a clergyman’s daughter then one might really say that there is no hope for her.
So far I am really enjoying this book and it so often makes me think of Jane Austen. I have seen writing style maps, diagrams and discussions that show that Pym’s style if very close to Austen’s. I now understand why.
So now I am thinking of Jane Austen.
Here is the first line of Pride and Prejudice which is one of the most recognized in literature.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
Do you see the parallels with the line from Excellent Women?
Do you know the first line of Paul Clifford by Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton?
You may know the first part of the first sentence as it is one of the most parodied first lines in literature.
It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
Yes, this is the origin of:
I really enjoyed reading Paul Clifford. The book was about a young man who due to circumstances in life was set upon a life of crime. He lives the life of a gentleman and at the same time is a highwayman.
There is an interesting plot twist where a startling revelation is made about Paul and the judge that he is brought before when he is caught. However, I will not give away the plot since you may want to read the book.
See: It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
I will also share two of my favorite Last Lines.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is another of my favorite books and here is how it ends:
I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and, as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so, the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw no shadow of another parting from her.
I also like the end of Shirley by Charlotte Bronte:
The story is told. I think I now see the judicious reader putting on his spectacles to look for the moral. It would be an insult to his sagacity to offer directions. I only say, God speed him in the quest!
With this quote I will also bring an end to this blog post.
Did it have a moral?
Did it have a theme for you to follow?
Or was it just my wanderings?