The Snippets Project

May 2001

When she looked down sideways to the girl she
became pretty, and even handsome, particularly
that in the action her features caught
slantwise the rays of the strongly coloured
sun, which made transparencies of her eyelids
and nostrils and set fire on her lips.

[Thomas Hardy,The Mayor of Casterbridge,1886,locate]
But Marie was caught
and she was tried
and she was hanged
in the square of Montréal

[Afua Cooper,Memories Have Tongue,1992,locate]
With his symbolic helmet numbered 451 on
his stolid head, and his eyes all orange
flame with the thought of what came next,
he flicked the igniter and the house
jumped up in a gorging fire that burned
the evening sky red and yellow and black.

[Ray Bradbury,Fahrenheit 451,1953,locate]
Rabbits above ground, unless they are in
proved, familiar surroundings close to
their holes, live in continual fear. If
it grows intense enough they can become
glazed and parlysed by it - tharn, to
use their own word.

[Richard Adams,Watership Down,1972,locate]
This is the dead land
This is the cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

[Thomas Stearns Eliot,The Hollow Men,1925,locate]
The garden was fenced with stones on two
sides, but in front there was an open
fence, through which the flowers shone
with answering gladness, as the four
united people came within sight of them.

[George Eliot,Silas Marner,1861,locate]
Its not natural: it would kill me. Ive
never had a bath in my life: not what
youd call a proper one.

[Bernard Shaw,Pygmalion,1916,locate]
I rather would entreat thy company
To see the wonders of the world abroad,
Than, living dully sluggardized at home,
Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.

[William Shakespeare,Two Gentlemen of Verona,1593,locate]
A lifetime
is more
sufficiently long
for people
to get
what there is of it

[Piet Hein,Grooks 3: Vita Brevis,1970,locate]
It is rather depressing to think that his
mother complained to mine because I told
him the facts of life when we were both
ten years old. He, not believing this
phenomenal piece of news, had asked her
for up-to-date information.

[David Niven,The Moon's a Balloon,1972,locate]
Strange sounds came out of the jungle --
unaccountable crashings, occasionally a
scream of terror or agony. Life and death
were all about them. And sometimes there
were strange silences, more ominous than
the noises.

[Edgar Rice Burroughs,Tarzan and "The Foreign Legion",1947,locate]

[D.F. Jones,Colossus,1966,locate]
At that instant of extreme danger, a dark
hand and glancing knife appeared before
him; the Indian released his hold, as the
blood flowed freely from around the several
tendons of the wrist; and while Duncan was
drawn backward by the saving arm of Uncas,
his charmed eyes were still riveted on the
fierce and disappointed countenance of his
foe, who fell sullenly and disappointed
down the irrecoverable precipice.

[James Fenimore Cooper,The Last of the Mohicans,1826,locate]
Candles burnt with sword-like flames.
Slender, lustrous swords of light stood
in a circle around the head of a girl,
whose voice was as the Amen of God.

[Thea von Harbou,Metropolis,1926,locate]
When, later, the sepia print was produced and
more details could be made out, it seemed a
surprising picture indeed. The wings of the
shapes were blurred and seemed to be five
little figures dancing beneath the unconcerned
face of Frances. A waterfall was there in the
background, as were mushrooms. It was an odd
first snap for anybody to take.

[Joe Cooper,The Case of the Cottingley Fairies,1990,locate]
She didn't hurry. Being kissed by Wyoming
Knott is more definite than being married
to most women. Had I been Mike all my lights
would have flashed at once. I felt like a
Cyborg with pleasure center switched on.

[Robert A. Heinlein,The Moon is a Harsh Mistress,1966,locate]
The reason of his falling into such a
delightful sleep is very simple; and
yet hardly any one has found it out. It
was merely that the fairies took him.

[Charles Kingsley,The Water-Babies,1862,locate]
The absurd was overpowered by the sinister, by
the figures in bronze and sculptured stone,
which, made furtive and hideous by encroaching
moss and decades of fallen grime, lurked among
the trailing tendrils and even, as the wind
rustled between leatherly leaves and broken
masonry, seemed to move. Overhead, he could see
only a narrow corridor of sky and that stormy,
black and Turneresque. He walked on, looking
straight ahead of him down the defile.

[Ruth Rendell,Murder Being Once Done,1972,locate]
As she sat there, covertly looking at Jack, it
came to her, imperceptible as the dawn, that
it wasn't in his nature to let Bobby's remark
pass, and that he must have something in mind for
Bobby, something worth waiting for. Serious grief.

[Laurence Gough,Karaoke Rap,1998,locate]
"From the place of ground zero,
      O Lord, deliver us.
From the rain of the cobalt,
      O Lord, deliver us.
From the rain of the strontium,
      O Lord, deliver us.
From the rain of the cesium,
      O Lord, deliver us.

[Walter M. Miller, Jr.,A Canticle for Leibowitz,1959,locate]
George had turned at the sound of her arrival.
For a moment he contemplated her, as one who
had fallen out of heaven. He saw radiant joy in
her face, he saw the flowers beat against her
dress in blue waves. The bushes above them closed.
He stepped quickly forward and kissed her.

[E. M. Forster,A Room with a View,1908,locate]
When I painted Sara now, she filled the picture
plane, her body spilling forward as if she were
about to separate from the surface of the painting
and enter an embrace. She would be trailing behind
her the light of northern summer afternoons. Her
face would be welcoming, disclosed, as if she were
about to tell you that there is a source of light
out there where you stand, that there is a world
beyond this painting. But even so, the brilliance
poured from her body, her self, into the viewer's
life. It was relentless. There was no dark pause,
no negative space at all.

[Jane Urquhart,The Underpainter,1997,locate]
Oh, a boy's will is the wind's will,
if we are to believe the poet,
But a girl's will is a won't,
but not until it doesn't
do you any good to know it.

The mummy was moving. The mummy's right arm was
outstretched, the torn wrappings hanging from
it, as the being stepped out of its gilded box!
The scream froze in her throat. The thing was
coming towards her--towards Henry, who stood with
his back to it--moving with a weak, shuffling
gait, that arm outstretched before it, the dust
rising from the rotting linen that covered it,
a great smell of dust and decay filling the room.

[Anne Rice,The Mummy or Ramses the Damned,1989,locate]
Such expressions don't appear,
Calculated men to cheer,
Who are going to their fate,
In a highly nervous state--
We observe too great a stress,
On the risks that on us press,
And of reference a lack,
To our chance of coming back,

[William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan,Pirates of Penzance,1879,locate]
One of the nice little gusts of wind rushed down
the walk, and it was a stronger one than the rest.
It was strong enough to wave the branches of the
trees, and it was more than strong enough to sway
the trailing sprays of untrimmed ivy hanging from
the wall. Mary had stepped close to the robin,
and suddenly the gust of wind swung aside some
loose ivy trails, and more suddenly still she
jumped toward it and caught it in her hand. This
she did because she had seen something under it--a
round knob which had been covered by the leaves
hanging over it. It was the knob of a door.

[Frances Hodgson Burnett,The Secret Garden,1909,locate]
Now, there were two possessions of the James
Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a
mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that
had been his father's and his grandfather's.
The other was Della's hair. Had the queen of
Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft,
Della would have let her hair hang out the
window some day to dry just to depreciate Her
Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon
been the janitor, with all his treasures piled
up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out
his watch every time he passed, just to see
him pluck at his beard from envy.

[0. Henry ((W. S. Porter) ,The Gift of the Magi,1906,locate]
I see another girl gliding down the street on
her radiant bicycle, whistling. I stop breathing.
She brakes and stops at the corner. Red light:
her left foot on the pavement, her back bent
gracefully, the nape of her neck exposed. Girls
like to keep their hair short in the summer. Her
body like a bent bow. Green light: she shoves off
with her right foot on the pedal. Her body like
the arrow that flies. Last image: her back a pure
line, the graceful movement of her hips, her
slender adolescent thighs. The emotion: the pain
of losing someone forever whom you've loved
totally, if only for twelve and three-tenths

[Dany Laferrière,How to Make Love to a Negro,1985,locate]
IT WAS A DEATH that began it all and another
death that led us on. The first was of the man
called Brendan and I saw the moment of it. I
saw them gather round and crouch over him in
the bitter cold, then start back to give the
soul passage. It was as if they played his
death for me and this was a strange thing, as
they did not know I watched, and I did not then
know what they were.

[Barry Unsworth,Morality Play,1995,locate]
CANDY:   This bartender wants to take me out.
[ROBERT:   Control it.]
DAVID:   Hold out for a brain surgeon.
CANDY:   He's kinda hot.
DAVID:   You're so shallow.
CANDY:   It's either him or the lesbian I met
at the gym.
DAVID:   Take the bartender--mixed marriages
seldom work.
CANDY:   I'm half tempted.
DAVID:   The lesbot? Darling, one doesn't
seriously discuss changing their sexual
orientation at thirty--people lose respect.
CANDY:   I need some tenderness in my life.
DAVID:   Pick the lesbian.
CANDY:   I want more than just sex.
DAVID:   That's why God invented the movies.
CANDY:   The bartender's quite nice.

[Brad Fraser,Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love,1988,locate]
"But you can't register a company here!"
Shuster shrieked. "A company also has to be
registered with a planetary government!"
Kynance fused, dropped and exploded her last
and greatest bombshell.
She said, "We are a government."

[John Brunner,A Planet of Your Own,1966,locate]