We all know the importance of the first sentence of your novel. But I’ve never seen the experts talking about the second sentence. If you’re meeting up with your writing or literary friends this festive season, you could try this quiz on them. Answers on Tuesday.
Of what novels are the following the second sentences?
- Michaelmas Term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall.
2 We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning, but since dinner (Mrs Reed, when there was no company, dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating, that further out-door exercise was now out of the question.
3 Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.
4 Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.
5 The weather had changed overnight, when a backing wind brought a granite sky and a mizzling rain with it, and although it was now only a little after two o’clock in the afternoon the pallor of a winter evening seemed to have closed upon the hills, cloaking them in mist.
6 Pray, my dear, quoth my mother, have you not forgot to wind up the clock?———Good G__! cried my father, making an exclamation, but taking care to moderate his voice at the same time,——Did ever woman, since the creation of the world, interrupt a man with such a silly question?
7 Her hand and wrist were so finely formed that she could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to Italian painters; and her profile as well as her stature and bearing seemed to gain the more dignity from her plain garments, which by the side of provincial fashion gave her the impressiveness of a fine quotation from the Bible, – or from one of our elder poets, – in a paragraph of to-day’s newspaper.
8 With the ring of light from his lantern dancing from side to side, he lurched across the yard, kicking off his boots at the back door, drew himself a last glass of beer from the barrel in the scullery, and made his way up to bed, where Mrs Jones was already snoring.
9 Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.
10 Ursula was stitching a piece of brightly-coloured embroidery, and Gudrun was drawing upon a board which she held on her knee.
11 However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.
12 They [the moon’s silver rays] shone on turret and battlement; peeped respectfully in upon Lord Emsworth’s sister, Lady Hermione Wedge, as she creamed her face in the Blue Room; and stole through the open window of the Red Room next door, where there was something really worth looking at – Veronica Wedge, to wit, Lady Hermione’s outstandingly beautiful daughter, who was lying in bed staring at the ceiling and wishing she had some decent jewellery to wear at the forthcoming County Ball. [Author and series of books sufficient here for the usual mark – extra marks if you can name the actual novel!]
13 A black servant, who reposed on the box beside the fat coachman, uncurled his bandy legs as soon as the equipage drew up opposite Miss Pinkerton’s shining brass plate, and as he pulled the bell, at least a score of young heads were seen peering out of the narrow windows of the stately old brick house.
14 It couldn’t have anything to do with him, he’d been flying for days without sleep.
15 My father got the dog drunk on cherry brandy at the party last night.
16 I remember him as if it were yesterday as he came plodding to the inn door, his sea-chest following behind him in a hand-barrow; a tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown man; his tarry pigtail falling over the shoulders of his soiled blue coat; his hands ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails; and the sabre cut across one cheek, a dirty, livid white.
17 Over the main entrance the words, CENTRAL LONDON HATCHERY AND CONDITIONING CENTRE, and, in a shield, the World State’s motto, COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY.