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The FS Daily

Daily Excerpts: My humble attempt at offering fresh, daily, bookstore-style browsing…

Below you’ll find twelve book excerpts selected at random, each day, from over 400 different hand-selected Project Gutenberg titles. This includes many of my personal favorites.

Excerpts for Saturday, December 03, 2022

Quick Excerpts, from a Library of 492 Titles

Generated 2022-07-28 13:21:29

Excerpt #1, from The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare, by G. K. Chesterton

…yards, and left him flung flat upon the road far in front of his frightened horse. As the car took the corner of the street with a splendid curve, they could just see the other anarchists filling the street and raising their fallen leader. “I can’t understand why it has grown so dark,” said the Professor at last in a low voice. “Going to be a storm, I think,” said Dr. Bull. “I say, it’s a pity we haven’t got a light on this car, if only to see by.” “We have,” said the Colonel, and from the floor of the car he fished up a heavy, old-fashioned, carved iron lantern with a light inside it. It was obviously an antique, and it would seem as if its original use had been in some way semi-religious, for there was a rude moulding of a cross upon one of its sides. “Where on earth did you get that?” asked the Professor. “I got it where I got the car,” answered the Colonel, chuckling, “from my best friend. While our friend here was fighting with the steering wheel, I ran up the front steps of the house and spoke to Renard, who was standing in his own porch, you will remember. ‘I suppose,’ I said, ‘there’s no time to get a lamp.’ He looked up, blinking amiably at the beautiful arched ceiling of his own front hall. From this was suspended, by chains of exquisite ironwork, this lantern, one of the…

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Excerpt #2, from Walden, and On The Duty Of Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau

…townsmen with earthen ware, and left descendants to succeed him. Neither were they rich in worldly goods, holding the land by sufferance while they lived; and there often the sheriff came in vain to collect the taxes, and “attached a chip,” for form’s sake, as I have read in his accounts, there being nothing else that he could lay his hands on. One day in midsummer, when I was hoeing, a man who was carrying a load of pottery to market stopped his horse against my field and inquired concerning Wyman the younger. He had long ago bought a potter’s wheel of him, and wished to know what had become of him. I had read of the potter’s clay and wheel in Scripture, but it had never occurred to me that the pots we use were not such as had come down unbroken from those days, or grown on trees like gourds somewhere, and I was pleased to hear that so fictile an art was ever practiced in my neighborhood. The last inhabitant of these woods before me was an Irishman, Hugh Quoil (if I have spelt his name with coil enough,) who occupied Wyman’s tenement,—Col. Quoil, he was called. Rumor said that he had been a soldier at Waterloo. If he had lived I should have made him fight his battles over again. His trade here was that of a ditcher. Napoleon went to St. Helena; Quoil came to Walden Woods. All I know of him is tragic. He was a man of manners, like one who had seen the world, and was capable of more civil speech than you could well attend to. He wore a…

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Excerpt #3, from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

…at once in the direction it pointed to, without trying to explain the mistake it had made. “He took me for his housemaid,” she said to herself as she ran. “How surprised he’ll be when he finds out who I am! But I’d better take him his fan and gloves—that is, if I can find them.” As she said this, she came upon a neat little house, on the door of which was a bright brass plate with the name “W. RABBIT,” engraved upon it. She went in without knocking, and hurried upstairs, in great fear lest she should meet the real Mary Ann, and be turned out of the house before she had found the fan and gloves. “How queer it seems,” Alice said to herself, “to be going messages for a rabbit! I suppose Dinah’ll be sending me on messages next!” And she began fancying the sort of thing that would happen: “‘Miss Alice! Come here directly, and get ready for your walk!’ ‘Coming in a minute, nurse! But I’ve got to see that the mouse doesn’t get out.’ Only I don’t think,” Alice went on, “that they’d let Dinah stop in the house if it began ordering people about like that!” By this time she had found her way into a tidy little room with a table in the window, and on it (as she had hoped) a fan and two or three pairs of tiny white kid gloves: she took up the fan and a pair of the gloves, and was just going to leave the room, when her eye fell upon a…

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Excerpt #4, from The King James Version of the Bible

…of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. 49:7 Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee. 49:8 Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; 49:9 That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. 49:10 They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. 49:11 And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted. 49:12 Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim….

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Excerpt #5, from The Art of Conversation: Twelve Golden Rules, by Josephine Turck Baker

…was fully informed on current topics of interest. It seemed almost impossible to realize that he was blind. He.–His case is extraordinary; but, of course, he was not an artist, as was poor Dick, before the “light went out.” I have just discovered another reason why you are so very interesting. It is because you always have some novel experience to recount. She.–Yes; but you know, we decided that people did not care, as a rule, to hear others talk. He.–Well, I shall retract my decision. I have concluded that we usually like to hear others talk, if they have something interesting to tell. She.–Yes; we are all children, in a sense. Tell us a story, and we will listen, provided the story-teller knows how to tell it. He.–Do you know what I have been thinking of while you were telling me this incident? She.–That we had gotten a long way from our original subject? He.–No; I was thinking of how much you had said in comparatively few words, and that in telling this incident, you had certainly conformed to Golden Rule Number I.: AVOID UNNECESSARY DETAILS. She.–And you have conformed to both the rules that we have learned. He.–Thank you. Let me see, Golden Rule Number I. is: "AVOID…

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Excerpt #6, from Around the World with Josiah Allen’s Wife, by Marietta Holley

…“Well, no,” he admitted, “I believe that the Church of Christ is invincible.” “Do you vote, Elder Minkley?” “Well, no, as it were, Sister Arvilly, I have felt for years that politics was too vile for me to mix myself with.” Sez Arvilly, “Do you believe in following the Lord Jesus Christ?” Sez Elder Minkley, his good natured face lighting up, “My Divine Master; yes, I will follow him to the stake, to the death, if need be.” “Did he turn away from sinners and the evils of the sinful world and say they wuz too vile for him to mix with?” “I–I–Sister Arvilly–I why–I don’t know what you mean.” “Yes, you do know what I mean!” sez the intrepid but agonized Arvilly. “By your criminal indifference and neglect, you encourage the evil power that rules and ruins.” Elder Minkley’s face began to look red–red as blood–and sez he, “You present the subject in a way I never thought on before, Sister Arvilly. I will think of it; I will pray over it.” “Will you vote as you pray?” sez Arvilly anxiously. “I will!” sez Elder Minkley, solemnly, “I will!”…

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Excerpt #7, from Seven Short Plays, by Lady Gregory

…and left it after. Miss Joyce: (Sharply.) It is a lodging you will never be let into or let stop in, Fardy. If they did go they were a good riddance. Fardy: John Hart, the plumber, left it—— Miss Joyce: If he did it was because he dared not pass the police coming in, as he used, with a rabbit he was after snaring in his hand. Fardy: The schoolmaster himself left it. Miss Joyce: He needn’t have left it if he hadn’t taken to card-playing. What way could you say your prayers, and shadows shuffling and dealing before you on the blind? Hyacinth: I think maybe I’d best look around a bit before I’ll settle in a lodging—— Miss Joyce: Not at all. You won’t be wanting to pull down the blind. Mrs. Delane: It is not likely you will be snaring rabbits. Miss Joyce: Or bringing in a bottle and taking an odd glass the way James Kelly did. Mrs. Delane: Or writing threatening notices, and the police taking a view of you from the rear. Miss Joyce: Or going to roadside dances, or running after good-for-nothing young girls——…

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Excerpt #8, from The Wonders of Life: A Popular Study of Biological Philosophy, by Ernst Haeckel

…forms and functions, when we have a sociological knowledge of the various classes that compose it, and the laws of their association and division of labor; and when we have made an anthropological study of the nature of the persons who have united, under the same laws, for the formation of a community and are distributed in its various classes. The familiar arrangement of these classes, and the settling of the rank in the mass and the governing body, show us how this complex social organism is built up step by step. But we have to look in the same way on the cell-state, which is made up from the separate individualities in human society or in the kingdom of the tissue-animals, or the branches in the kingdom of the tissue-plants. Their complex organism, composed of various organs and tissues, can only be understood when we are acquainted with their constituent elements, the cells, and the laws according to which these elementary organisms unite to form cell-communities and tissues, and are in turn modified in the divers organs in the division of labor. We must, therefore, first establish the scale of the morphonta, and the laws of their association and ergonomy, according to which the several stages or conditions of morphological individuality build on each other. Three such stages may be at once distinguished: (1) the cell (or, more correctly, the plastid), (2) the person (animal) or branch…

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Excerpt #9, from Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

…even this be a feint that will increase your triumph by affording a wider scope for your revenge?” “How is this? I thought I had moved your compassion, and yet you still refuse to bestow on me the only benefit that can soften my heart, and render me harmless. If I have no ties and no affections, hatred and vice must be my portion; the love of another will destroy the cause of my crimes, and I shall become a thing, of whose existence every one will be ignorant. My vices are the children of a forced solitude that I abhor; and my virtues will necessarily arise when I live in communion with an equal. I shall feel the affections of a sensitive being, and become linked to the chain of existence and events, from which I am now excluded.” I paused some time to reflect on all he had related, and the various arguments which he had employed. I thought of the promise of virtues which he had displayed on the opening of his existence, and the subsequent blight of all kindly feeling by the loathing and scorn which his protectors had manifested towards him. His power and threats were not omitted in my calculations: a creature who could exist in the ice caves of the glaciers, and hide himself from pursuit among the ridges of inaccessible precipices, was a being possessing faculties it would be vain to cope with. After a long pause of reflection, I concluded, that…

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Excerpt #10, from Scientific Sprague, by Francis Lynde

…three fifty-five, right now, and we’ve got thirty miles to go!” Benson laughed. “Stribling will wait until the last minute for you, never fear. With two hours we could mighty near get out and walk it.” “I reckon we’re going to get a chance to walk a piece of the way,” said Starbuck in his slow drawl. “That maverick choo-choo wrangler up ahead will have us in the ditch before he hits the Nophi grades, if he keeps up his lick.” “I don’t want to call him down,” said Maxwell, dubiously. “He’s probably got a grouch because I pulled the string on him back yonder at the Gloria bridge.” “There comes the third section!” Benson called out; and a minute afterward the third and last division of the overland freight went hurtling past on the main track. Bascom’s makeshift fireman was promptly on his job. While the tail-end of the third section was clanking over the frogs he jerked the switch, and at the same instant the master mechanic jerked the throttle of the Nine-fifteen. The wild train shot out into position on the main line, halted for the fraction of a minute needed to enable the fireman to run up and scramble to the footboard, and the breakneck race was continued. By this time none of the four thought of going back into the caboose….

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Excerpt #11, from Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling

…and the rocks whirled through the air and fell far off into the sea. ‘Kun?’ said All-the-Turtle-there-was. ‘Payah kun,’ said the Eldest Magician; and he breathed upon the sand and the rocks, where they had fallen in the sea, and they became the most beautiful islands of Borneo, Celebes, Sumatra, Java, and the rest of the Malay Archipelago, and you can look them out on the map! By and by the Eldest Magician met the Man on the banks of the Perak river, and said, ‘Ho! Son of Adam, are all the Animals obedient to you?’ ‘Yes,’ said the Man. ‘Is all the Earth obedient to you?’ ‘Yes,’ said the Man. ‘Is all the Sea obedient to you?’ ‘No,’ said the Man. ‘Once a day and once a night the Sea runs up the Perak river and drives the sweet-water back into the forest, so that my house is made wet; once a day and once a night it runs down the river and draws all the water after it, so that there is nothing left but mud, and my canoe is upset. Is that the play you told it to play?’ ‘No,’ said the Eldest Magician. ‘That is a new and a bad play.’ ‘Look!’ said the Man, and as he spoke the great Sea came up the mouth of the Perak river, driving the river backwards till it overflowed all the dark forests for miles and miles, and flooded the Man’s house….

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Excerpt #12, from Life And Letters Of John Gay (1685

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