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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 Sunday, July 14, 2024

Quick Excerpts, from a Library of 492 Titles

Generated 2022-07-28 13:23:42

Excerpt #1, from The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde

…smile…. People say sometimes that beauty is only superficial. That may be so, but at least it is not so superficial as thought is. To me, beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible…. Yes, Mr. Gray, the gods have been good to you. But what the gods give they quickly take away. You have only a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully. When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats. Every month as it wanes brings you nearer to something dreadful. Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses. You will become sallow, and hollow-cheeked, and dull-eyed. You will suffer horribly…. Ah! realize your youth while you have it. Don’t squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals, of our age. Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing…. A new Hedonism—that is what our century wants. You might be its visible symbol. With your personality there is nothing…

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Excerpt #2, from The Heroes; Or, Greek Fairy Tales for My Children, by Charles Kingsley

…the crew—and pitched her with coal-black pitch, and painted her bows with vermilion; and they named her Argo after Argus, and worked at her all day long. And at night Pelias feasted them like a king, and they slept in his palace-porch. But Jason went away to the northward, and into the land of Thrace, till he found Orpheus, the prince of minstrels, where he dwelt in his cave under Rhodope, among the savage Cicon tribes. And he asked him, ‘Will you leave your mountains, Orpheus, my fellow-scholar in old times, and cross Strymon once more with me, to sail with the heroes of the Minuai, and bring home the golden fleece, and charm for us all men and all monsters with your magic harp and song?’ Then Orpheus sighed, ‘Have I not had enough of toil and of weary wandering, far and wide since I lived in Cheiron’s cave, above Iolcos by the sea? In vain is the skill and the voice which my goddess mother gave me; in vain have I sung and laboured; in vain I went down to the dead, and charmed all the kings of Hades, to win back Eurydice my bride. For I won her, my beloved, and lost her again the same day, and wandered away in my madness, even to Egypt and the Libyan sands, and the isles of all the seas, driven on by the terrible gadfly, while I charmed in vain the hearts of men, and the savage forest beasts, and the trees, and the lifeless stones, with my magic harp and song, giving rest, but finding…

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Excerpt #3, from Astrology: How to Make and Read Your Own Horoscope, by Sepharial

…Descendant, West. If a malefic planet is rising or setting at birth it is advisable to fix the place of residence so much to the Eastward of the birthplace as will suffice to bring the malefic planets out of the angles of the horoscope. The same if malefic planets occupy the 10th or 4th Houses. On the contrary, if benefic planets are in the 3rd and 9th Houses the Subject should move Westward so as to bring the benefic influences into the 10th and 4th Houses. When benefic planets or planets well aspected occupy the angles of the figure at birth the Subject should not travel far, nor reside long away from the place of birth. Indications of many voyages are as follows: Many planets in watery signs, Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces, and also in the sign Virgo. When the majority of the planets are in cardinal and flexed signs, Aries, Gemini, Cancer, Virgo, Libra, Sagittarius, Capricornus, and Pisces, there will be many changes and journeys. Also if the Sun, Moon, Mars, and Mercury are in either the 3rd, 9th, 12th, or 6th Houses, there will be many journeys and long explorations in foreign countries. When planets are afflicted in watery signs there will be danger in voyages, and if the Moon or Sun be afflicted in Virgo there will be submersion due to wreck. Also, when there are planets, especially malefics, in Scorpio, Leo,…

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Excerpt #4, from A Floating City, and The Blockade Runners, by Jules Verne

…progress. At two o’clock the fog grew dense again, the wind fell and rose at the same time. The thickness of the fog was so intense that the officers on the bridge could not see the men at the bows. These accumulated vapours rising from the sea constitute the greatest danger of navigation. They cause accidents which it is impossible to avoid, and a collision at sea is more to be dreaded than a fire. Thus, in the midst of the fog, officers and sailors were obliged to keep a strict watch, which soon proved to be necessary, for about three o’clock a three-master appeared at less than two hundred yards from the “Great Eastern,” her sails disabled by a gust of wind, and no longer answering to her helm. The “Great Eastern” turned in time to avoid her, thanks to the promptitude with which the men on watch warned the steersman. These well-regulated signals are given by means of a bell, fastened to the poop at the bows. One ring signifies ship ahead; two, ship-starboard; three, ship a-larboard; and immediately the man at the helm steers in order to avoid a collision. The wind did not abate until evening; however the rolling was nothing to speak of, as the sea was protected by the Newfoundland heights. Another entertainment, by Sir James Anderson, was announced for this day. At the appointed hour the saloon was filled; but this time it had nothing to do…

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Excerpt #5, from Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling

…straining at the deer-sinews with his mouth full of loose ends. The Stranger-man–a genuine Tewara he was–sat down on the grass, and Taffy showed him what her Daddy was doing. The Stranger-man thought, this is a very wonderful child. She stamps her foot at me and she makes faces. She must be the daughter of that noble Chief who is so great that he won’t take any notice of me.’ So he smiled more politely than ever. ‘Now,’ said Taffy, ‘I want you to go to my Mummy, because your legs are longer than mine, and you won’t fall into the beaver-swamp, and ask for Daddy’s other spear–the one with the black handle that hangs over our fireplace.’ The Stranger-man (and he was a Tewara) thought, ‘This is a very, very wonderful child. She waves her arms and she shouts at me, but I don’t understand a word of what she says. But if I don’t do what she wants, I greatly fear that that haughty Chief, Man-who-turns-his-back-on-callers, will be angry.’ He got up and twisted a big flat piece of bark off a birch-tree and gave it to Taffy. He did this, Best Beloved, to show that his heart was as white as the birch-bark and that he meant no harm; but Taffy didn’t quite understand. ‘Oh!’ said she. ‘Now I see! You want my Mummy’s living-address? Of course I can’t write, but I can draw pictures if I’ve anything sharp to scratch with. Please lend me the shark’s tooth off your necklace.’…

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Excerpt #6, 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 #7, from A history of Canada, 1763 to 1812, by Sir Charles Prestwood Lucas

…western shore of the lake. The place was about five miles south of Plattsburg, about twenty-five miles south of what is now the boundary line of Canada, and a little less than fifty miles to the north of Crown Point. The strait between the island and the mainland is about a mile wide, and across it was the American line of battle. The English had the superiority in numbers and, as the result of the first day’s fighting, being carried to the south of the enemy’s ships, were at the close of the day drawn up in line to intercept their retreat. At night, however, Arnold, bold and skilful as ever, found a passage through and sailed off to the south, hotly pursued by Carleton’s squadron. On the 13th fighting began again, and ended with the capture or destruction of twelve American vessels, out of a total of fifteen, over 100 prisoners being taken including the second in command to Arnold. Crown Point was set on fire and abandoned by the Americans, and on the 14th Carleton wrote from his ship off that place reporting his success. In his dispatch he expressed doubts whether anything further could be done at that late season of the year, and he subsequently came to the conclusion that an attack on Ticonderoga, which was held by a strong force under Gates, must be postponed till the following spring. Nor did he think it prudent to occupy Crown Point, which…

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Excerpt #8, from Mirrors of Moscow, by Louise Stevens Bryant

…They could not conceive of an aggressive policy. If you say to them that America is far richer and more progressive than Russia, they will tell you they are very glad to hear it and are glad you are happy. They ask of the foreigner only to be let alone and not to send any more White generals against them; they ask to be allowed to develop their own political institutions. Obviously our only duty is to help them through their terrible struggle against the great famine which has come upon them like a curse through no sins of their own. It is no miracle that President Kalinin can go freely about Russia, for no one is thinking of assassinating him. What would it profit enemies of Soviet Russia to kill a peasant like Kalinin? Are there not a million Kalinins? To sweep the Kalinins out of Russian political life would be like sweeping back the sea. To destroy the Soviets would be to destroy Russia. Even Sir Paul Dukes, of the British Secret Service, agrees that Soviets are the natural offspring of the revolution, conceived years ago under the Tsardom. Michael Ivanovitch Kalinin reflects the new Russia more faithfully than any other Government official. MADAME ALEXANDRA KOLLONTAI AND THE WOMAN’S MOVEMENT…

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Excerpt #9, from Essays of Michel de Montaigne — Complete, by Michel de Montaigne

…trades and vocations have we admitted and countenanced amongst us, whose very essence is vicious? And he that, confessing himself to me, voluntarily told me that he had all his lifetime professed and practised a religion, in his opinion damnable and contrary to that he had in his heart, only to preserve his credit and the honour of his employments, how could his courage suffer so infamous a confession? What can men say to the divine justice upon this subject? Their repentance consisting in a visible and manifest reparation, they lose the colour of alleging it both to God and man. Are they so impudent as to sue for remission without satisfaction and without penitence? I look upon these as in the same condition with the first: but the obstinacy is not there so easy to be overcome. This contrariety and volubility of opinion so sudden, so violent, that they feign, are a kind of miracle to me: they present us with the state of an indigestible agony of mind. It seemed to me a fantastic imagination in those who, these late years past, were wont to reproach every man they knew to be of any extraordinary parts, and made profession of the Catholic religion, that it was but outwardly; maintaining, moreover, to do him honour forsooth, that whatever he might pretend to the contrary he could not but in his heart be of their reformed opinion. An untoward disease, that a man…

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Excerpt #10, from The Blue Raider: A Tale of Adventure in the Southern Seas, by Herbert Strang

…completely outlined. ’By gum, it’s a man!’ murmured Hoole. ’And a white man!’ added Trentham. ’I was afraid so.’ CHAPTER III THE CHIMNEY Noiselessly the two spectators slipped away through the bushes. Startled by the discovery of a white man, whose very stillness declared him a prisoner in bonds among these dancing savages, they felt the need of talking freely, unrestrained by precautions against being overheard. They hurried along at the base of the cliffs until they were out of earshot, then sat on a low rock where they could still see all that went on around the fire. ’Can it be that planter fellow on the Berenisa? What was his name?’ said Trentham. ’You mean Grimshaw; he was the only man besides ourselves who wore ducks. I don’t know. Grimshaw was a small man; the prisoner seemed a big fellow. I couldn’t see his face.’ ’Nor I. Whoever it is, I ’m afraid his number ’s up.’ ’I didn’t take much stock of Grinson’s yarns about cannibals, but it appears he ’s right. The niggers would hardly bring their prisoner down the chimney for the fun of it, or the trouble of taking him up again.’…

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Excerpt #11, from The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair

…with me, Jurgis?” “I’ve no place to go,” said Jurgis, sadly. “Neither have I,” replied the other, laughing lightly. “But we’ll wait till we get out and see.” In the Bridewell Jurgis met few who had been there the last time, but he met scores of others, old and young, of exactly the same sort. It was like breakers upon a beach; there was new water, but the wave looked just the same. He strolled about and talked with them, and the biggest of them told tales of their prowess, while those who were weaker, or younger and inexperienced, gathered round and listened in admiring silence. The last time he was there, Jurgis had thought of little but his family; but now he was free to listen to these men, and to realize that he was one of them—that their point of view was his point of view, and that the way they kept themselves alive in the world was the way he meant to do it in the future. And so, when he was turned out of prison again, without a penny in his pocket, he went straight to Jack Duane. He went full of humility and gratitude; for Duane was a gentleman, and a man with a profession—and it was remarkable that he should be willing to throw in his lot with a humble workingman, one who had even been a beggar and a tramp. Jurgis could not see what help he could be to him; but he did not understand…

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Excerpt #12, from The Terror: A Mystery, by Arthur Machen

…war. And that being so, it followed that the outrages which must be kept so secret were the work of the enemy, that is of concealed German agents. CHAPTER IV The Spread of the Terror It is time, I think, for me to make one point clear. I began this history with certain references to an extraordinary accident to an airman whose machine fell to the ground after collision with a huge flock of pigeons; and then to an explosion in a northern munition factory, an explosion, as I noted, of a very singular kind. Then I deserted the neighborhood of London, and the northern district, and dwelt on a mysterious and terrible series of events which occurred in the summer of 1915 in a Welsh county, which I have named, for convenience, Meirion. Well, let it be understood at once that all this detail that I have given about the occurrences in Meirion does not imply that the county in the far west was alone or especially afflicted by the terror that was over the land. They tell me that in the villages about Dartmoor the stout Devonshire hearts sank as men’s hearts used to sink in the time of plague and pestilence. There was horror, too, about the Norfolk Broads, and far up by Perth no one would venture on the path that leads by Scone…

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