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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 Friday, September 22, 2023

Quick Excerpts, from a Library of 492 Titles

Generated 2022-07-28 13:22:34

Excerpt #1, from Dave Dashaway, Air Champion; Or, Wizard Work in the Clouds, by Roy Rockwood

…other men at the show robbed an old farmer, and had to get out of the way. It was near Wayville that we stayed for a week, till things ‘blew over,’ as they called it. In fact, when you described that thicket and the gully, it came right back to me, as natural as life. It’s set me thinking, Hiram. I’ve got a theory, somehow, that the diamond thief got rid of his plunder after he left the Scout.” “Shouldn’t wonder,” remarked Hiram rather indifferently, “but we’ll talk about that some other time. My mind is full of nothing but Dave and the Ariel just now. I’ve decided what I’m going to do, and you are to help me do it, if you will.” “I’m glad, Hiram,” responded Bruce readily. “I’ll work my finger nails off to be of any use to you, or your partner.” “I know that, Bruce,” said Hiram, “and I know that I can trust you, which is a great relief to me now, when I’m in such trouble. Bring that bench out of the hangar, will you?” “What for, Hiram?” asked Bruce in some wonder. “I want to have a long talk with you, and I want to sit here in the open while we’re at it, so we can watch out that no one hears us.” Bruce brought out the bench, setting it near the Scout, and facing the grounds in such a way that they could see in three directions. Hiram’s face wore a serious, business-like look as he sat down beside…

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Excerpt #2, from Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight, by Richard Morris

…Þay la3ed & layked longe, At þe last scho con hym kysse, 1556 [F] Hir leue fayre con scho fonge, & went hir waye Iwysse. [Sidenote A: “It is a great pleasure to me,” says Sir Gawayne, "to hear you talk,] [Sidenote B: but I cannot undertake the task to expound true-love and tales of arms.] [Sidenote C: I will, however, act according to your will,] [Sidenote D: and ever be your servant."] [Sidenote E: Thus Gawayne defends himself.] [Sidenote F: The lady having kissed the knight, takes leave of him.] [Footnote 1: tornayle (?).] XVII. [A] Then ruþes hym þe renk, & ryses to þe masse, & siþen hor diner wat3 dy3t & derely serued. [Fol. 112.] 1560 [B] Þe lede with þe ladye3 layked alle day, Bot þe lorde ouer þe londe3 launced ful ofte, Swe3 his vncely swyn, þat swynge3 bi þe bonkke3, [C] & bote þe best of his brache3 þe bakke3 in sunder; 1564 Þer he bode in his bay, tel[1] bawe-men hit breken,…

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Excerpt #3, from Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare

…I will with patience hear; and find a time Both meet to hear and answer such high things. Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this: Brutus had rather be a villager Than to repute himself a son of Rome Under these hard conditions as this time Is like to lay upon us. CASSIUS. I am glad that my weak words Have struck but thus much show of fire from Brutus. Enter Caesar and his Train. BRUTUS. The games are done, and Caesar is returning. CASSIUS. As they pass by, pluck Casca by the sleeve, And he will, after his sour fashion, tell you What hath proceeded worthy note today. BRUTUS. I will do so. But, look you, Cassius, The angry spot doth glow on Caesar’s brow, And all the rest look like a chidden train:…

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Excerpt #4, from The Pirates’ Who’s Who, by Philip Gosse

…cut an innocent throat. He only had one hand, and used to fire his piece with great skill, laying the barrel on his stump, and drawing the trigger with his right hand. In all the American “plantations” there were rewards offered for him alive or dead. The end of this “penny-dreadful” pirate is unrecorded, but was probably a violent one, as this type of pirate seldom, if ever, died in his bed. JOHNSON, ISAAC. One of Captain Quelch’s crew. Tried for piracy at the Star Tavern at Boston in 1704. JOHNSON, JACOB. Taken prisoner by Captain Roberts out of the King Solomon, he joined the pirates. JOHNSON, JOHN, or JAYNSON. Born “nigh Lancaster.” Taken out of the King Solomon. One of Roberts’s crew. Hanged in 1722 at the age of 22. JOHNSON, MARCUS. One of Captain Roberts’s crew. Hanged in 1722. Stated in his death warrant to be a native of Smyrna. Died at the age of 21. JOHNSON, ROBERT….

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Excerpt #5, from Mr. Punch’s History of the Great War, by Charles L. Graves

…interesting has been the sudden re-emergence of Mr. John Burns. He sank without a trace two years ago, but has now bobbed up to denounce the proposal to strengthen the Charing Cross railway-bridge. We could have wished that he had been ready to “keep the bridge” in another sense; but at least he has been a silent Pacificist. Mr. Winston Churchill, when his journalistic labours permit, has contributed to the debates, and Lord Haldane has again delivered his famous lecture on the defects of English education. But for Parliamentary sagacity in excelsis commend us to Mr. McCallum Scott. He is seriously perturbed about the shortage of sausage-skins and, in spite of the bland assurance of Mr. Harcourt that supplies are ample, is alleged to be planning a fresh campaign with the assistance of Mr. Hogge. Another shortage has given rise to no anxiety, but rather the reverse. In a police court it was recently stated that there are no longer any tramps in England. Evidently the appeal of that stirring old song, “Tramp! tramp! tramp! the boys are marching,” has not been without its effect. [Illustration: CONJURER (unconscious of the approach of hostile aircraft): “Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, I want you to watch me closely.”] Yet another endurable shortage is reported from the seaside, where an old sailor on the local sea front has been lamenting the spiritual starvation brought about by the war. “Why,” he said, "for the first time for twenty…

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Excerpt #6, from Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

…Amalia Ivanovna, hoping for a fight. But this was too much for Katerina Ivanovna, and she at once declared, so that all could hear, that Amalia Ivanovna probably never had a father, but was simply a drunken Petersburg Finn, and had certainly once been a cook and probably something worse. Amalia Ivanovna turned as red as a lobster and squealed that perhaps Katerina Ivanovna never had a father, “but she had a Vater aus Berlin and that he wore a long coat and always said poof-poof-poof!” Katerina Ivanovna observed contemptuously that all knew what her family was and that on that very certificate of honour it was stated in print that her father was a colonel, while Amalia Ivanovna’s father–if she really had one–was probably some Finnish milkman, but that probably she never had a father at all, since it was still uncertain whether her name was Amalia Ivanovna or Amalia Ludwigovna. At this Amalia Ivanovna, lashed to fury, struck the table with her fist, and shrieked that she was Amalia Ivanovna, and not Ludwigovna, “that her Vater was named Johann and that he was a burgomeister, and that Katerina Ivanovna’s Vater was quite never a burgomeister.” Katerina Ivanovna rose from her chair, and with a stern and apparently calm voice (though she was pale and her chest was heaving) observed that “if she dared for one moment to set her contemptible wretch of a father on a…

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Excerpt #7, from Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë

…deliver him. In an instant one was wrung free, and the astonished young man felt it applied over his own ear in a way that could not be mistaken for jest. He drew back in consternation. I lifted Hareton in my arms, and walked off to the kitchen with him, leaving the door of communication open, for I was curious to watch how they would settle their disagreement. The insulted visitor moved to the spot where he had laid his hat, pale and with a quivering lip. “That’s right!” I said to myself. “Take warning and begone! It’s a kindness to let you have a glimpse of her genuine disposition.” “Where are you going?” demanded Catherine, advancing to the door. He swerved aside, and attempted to pass. “You must not go!” she exclaimed, energetically. “I must and shall!” he replied in a subdued voice. “No,” she persisted, grasping the handle; “not yet, Edgar Linton: sit down; you shall not leave me in that temper. I should be miserable all night, and I won’t be miserable for you!” “Can I stay after you have struck me?” asked Linton. Catherine was mute. “You’ve made me afraid and ashamed of you,” he continued; “I’ll not come here again!” Her eyes began to glisten and her lids to twinkle….

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Excerpt #8, from Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne

…had quickly pushed them aside, when the whole scene suddenly changed. A cry of terror arose. The whole multitude prostrated themselves, terror-stricken, on the ground. The old rajah was not dead, then, since he rose of a sudden, like a spectre, took up his wife in his arms, and descended from the pyre in the midst of the clouds of smoke, which only heightened his ghostly appearance. Fakirs and soldiers and priests, seized with instant terror, lay there, with their faces on the ground, not daring to lift their eyes and behold such a prodigy. The inanimate victim was borne along by the vigorous arms which supported her, and which she did not seem in the least to burden. Mr. Fogg and Sir Francis stood erect, the Parsee bowed his head, and Passepartout was, no doubt, scarcely less stupefied. The resuscitated rajah approached Sir Francis and Mr. Fogg, and, in an abrupt tone, said, “Let us be off!” It was Passepartout himself, who had slipped upon the pyre in the midst of the smoke and, profiting by the still overhanging darkness, had delivered the young woman from death! It was Passepartout who, playing his part with a happy audacity, had passed through the crowd amid the general terror….

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Excerpt #9, from The Intrusion of Jimmy, by P. G. Wodehouse

…He went on. Molly was sitting quite still, looking into the shrubbery. He assumed she was listening; but whether she was or not, he must go on talking. The situation was difficult. Silence would make it more difficult. “Now, look at Lord Dreever,” he said. “There’s a young man with one of the oldest titles in England. He could go anywhere and do what he liked, and be excused for whatever he did because of his name. But he doesn’t. He’s got the right stuff in him. He doesn’t go racketing around–” “His uncle doesn’t allow him enough pocket-money,” said Molly, with a jarring little laugh. “Perhaps, that’s why.” There was a pause. McEachern required a few moments in which to marshal his arguments once more. He had been thrown out of his stride. Molly turned to him. The hardness had gone from her face. She looked up at him wistfully. “Father, dear, listen,” she said. “We always used to understand each other so well!” He patted her shoulder affectionately. "You can’t mean what you say? You know I don’t love Lord Dreever. You know he’s only a boy. Don’t you want me to marry a man? I love this old place, but surely you can’t think that it can really matter in a thing like…

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Excerpt #10, from Astounding Stories, May, 1931, by Various

…“Master, Harl was in it. And the Princess Tina.” “Ah!” “And a stranger. A man–” “From 1935? Did they stop there?” “Master, yes. But they stopped again, I think, in that same night of 1777, where I did your bidding. Master, the man Major Atwood is–” “That is very good, Migul,” Tugh said hastily. Mary and I standing gazing at him, did not know then that Mary’s father had been murdered. And Tugh did not wish us to know it. “Very good, Migul.” He regarded us as though about to speak, but turned again to the Robot. “And so Tina’s cage follows us–as you hoped?” “Yes, Master. But now there is only Harl in it. He approached us very close a while in the past. He is alone.” “So?” Tugh glanced at the Time-dials. “Stop us where we planned. You remember–in one of those years when this space was the big forest glade.” * * * * * He fronted Mary and me. “You are patient, young sir. You do not speak.” His glittering black eyes held me. They were red-rimmed eyes, like those of a beast. He had a strangely repulsive face. His lips were…

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Excerpt #11, from A Few Practical Suggestions, by Logan Pearsall Smith and Society for Pure English

…is not that these words lose their lustre, as many words lose it, by hackneyed use and common handling; the process is exactly opposite; by not being used enough, the phosphorescence of decay seems to attack them, and give them a kind of shimmer which makes them seem too fine for common occasions. But once a word falls out of colloquial speech its life is threatened; it may linger on in literature, but its radiance, at first perhaps brighter, will gradually diminish, and it must sooner or later fade away, or live only as a conscious archaism. The fate of many beautiful old words like teen and dole and meed has thus been decided; they are now practically lost to the language, and can probably never be restored to common use.[2] It is, however, an interesting question, and one worthy of the consideration of our members, whether it may be possible, at its beginning, to stop this process of decay; whether a word at the moment when it begins to seem too poetical, might not perhaps be reclaimed for common speech by timely and not inappropriate usage, and thus saved, before it is too late, from the blight of over-expressiveness which will otherwise kill it in the end. [Footnote 2: But concerning the words dole and meed see Tract II On English Homophones. Both these words have suffered through homophony. Dole is a terrible example. 1, a portion = deal; 2, grief = Fr. deuil, Lat. dolor; 3, deceit, from the Latin dolus, Gk. [Greek: dolos]. All…

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Excerpt #12, from Astounding Stories of Super

…subjects the reverse of pleasurable. “Listen!” said Bell suddenly. “You hear that whistle? It came on all at once!” Paula waited. The whistling noise went on. It was vaguely discordant, and it was monotonous, and it was more than a little irritating. Again it changed timbre, going up to the shrillest of squealings, and back nearly to its original sound an instant later. Bell began to paw over maps. The plane had been intended for flight over the vast distances of Brazil, and there was a small supply of condensed food and a sporting rifle and shells included in its equipment. Emergency landing fields are not exactly common in the back country of South America. “Here,” said Bell sharply. “Here is where we are. It must be where we are! No towns of any size nearby. No railroad. No boat route. Nothing! Nothing but jungle shown here!” * * * * * He frowned absorbedly over the problem. “What is it?” asked Paula. “Someone near,” said Bell briefly. "That’s another radio receiver, an old fashioned regenerative set, sensitive enough and reliable enough, but a nuisance to everyone but its owner–except when it’s a godsend,…

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