The Snippets Project

February 2002

Again, things that seem to us hard and stiff
must be composed of deeply indented and hooked
atoms and held firm by their intertangling
branches. In the front rank of this class stand
diamonds, with their steadfast indifference to
blows. Next come stout flints and stubborn
steel and bronze that stands firm with shrieking
protest when the bolt is shot. Liquids, on the
other hand, must owe their fluid consistency to
component atoms that are smooth and round. For
poppy-seed can be poured as easily as if it were
water; the globules do not hold one another
back, and when they are jolted they tend to roll
downhill as water does. A third class is
constituted by things that you may see dissapated
instantaneously, such as smoke, clouds and flames.
If their atoms are not all smooth and round, yet
they cannot be jagged and intertangled. They must
be such as to prick the body and even to
penetrate rocks but not to stick together; so you
can readily grasp that substances hurtful to the
senses but not solid are sharp-pointed but
without projections.

[Titus Lucretius Carus and (trans R.E. Latham) ,The Nature of the Universe,55 BCE,locate]
Naked, Trudy Quillan was even more appealing
than clothed. At sixteen her young, hard body
was as voluptuously developed as that of a
nineteen-year-old's; her dark eyes wide,
trusting, capable of being filled to moistness
with passion newly-found and most of all,
love. The object of her love, Stag Preston,
was staring down at her naked form with horror,
disbelief and anger. "You are what?" he was
saying, as the Colonel and Shelly planned his
future. "I'm gonna have a baby," Trudy said
again, not quite understanding how her lover
man could fail to understand the meaning of
the word pregnant.

[Harlan Ellison,Spider Kiss,1961,locate]
But Melissa was a sad painting from a winter
landscape contained by a dark sky; a window-box
with a few flowering geraniums lying forgotten
on the window-sill of a cement-factory.

[Lawrence Durrell,Justine,1957,locate]
He was twenty yards away when he fired his first
burst, and no more than five yards from the enemy
when he pressed the button again. The second burst
killed the pilot and the observer. The machine
spun down with the engine full on and buried
itself nose first in a field near Monchy-le-Preux.

[William Arthur Bishop,The Courage of the Early Morning,1965,locate]
"If you want me to treat you as I would treat a
silly, twittering miss, then you must be silly
and twitter and look at me as if I were the most
marvelous man in the whole world." He smiled in
a superior way at Fanny's averted face. Fanny
suddenly looked at him with a world of tenderness
and adoration in her eyes. Her body appeared to
sway towards him, and she said huskily, "Oh, my
hero!" He was shaken to the core. His hands were
about to reach for her when she said maliciously,
"Something like that, my lord?"

[Marion Chesney,The First Rebellion,1989,locate]
Something was wrong with Shebat, some outboard
wrongness that was not in any one of her systems
but pervaded all of them, something Marada must
isolate and put to right.

[Janet Morris,Dream Dancer,1980,locate]
I thought about the applause afterward. Some of
it was, perhaps, in appreciation of the lunacy
of my participation, and for the fortitude it
took to do it; but most of it, even if
subconscious, I decided was in relief that I had
done as badly as I had: it verified the
assumption that the average fan would have about
an amateur blundering into the brutal world of
professional football. He would get slaughtered.

[George Plimpton,Paper Lion,1966,locate]
His chest was like a red washboard when he
finished. But the end was not yet. Rubber-
covered fingertips held the top incision
open, as with the other hand he scooped up
some of the sterile muddy dirt. Then he
rubbed it quickly into the incision,
ignoring the stabs of new pain as he pressed
the lips of the cut together over the dirt.

[Bruce Elliott,Asylum Earth,1952,locate]
About three years past, there happened to me
an event such as never happened before to
mortal man--or at least such as no man ever
survived to tell of--and the six hours of
deadly terror which I then endured have broken
me up body and soul. You suppose me a very old
man--but I am not. It took less than a single
day to change these hairs from a jetty black
to white, to weaken my limbs, and to unstring
my nerves, so that I tremble at the least
exertion, and am frightened at a shadow.

[Edgar Allan Poe,The Descent into the Maelström,1841,locate]
He took twenty seconds to die, the kind of
twenty seconds that will stay with a man in
his nightmares till he draws his last breath
on earth. I had seen many men die, but even
those who had died in bullet and shrapnel-
torn agony had done so peacefully and quietly
compared to this man whose body, in the
incredibly convulsive violence of its death
throes, twisted and flung itself into the
most fantastic and impossible contortions.

[Alistair MacLean,The Satan Bug,1962,locate]
'My friend,' he said at last,
'if you go die I get sorry too much.'

[Gerald Durrell,The Bafut Beagles,1954,locate]
To be accepted by you as your husband and
the earthly guardian of your welfare, I
should regard as the highest of providential
gifts. In return I can at least offer you an
affection hitherto unwasted, and the faithful
consecration of a life which, however short
in the sequel, has no backward pages whereon,
if you choose to turn them, you will find
records such as might justly cause you either
bitterness or shame.

[George Eliot,Middlemarch,1872,locate]
Strong looked up, up, up into the branches
above him, and it was like looking up at the
vaulted dome of a cathedral. He could
feel the damp coolness of the tree's
transpiration. And he could feel his fear. It
was a bleak fear - a cold, foreboding temple
in the green atmosphere of his thoughts. And
he could feel something else. A thought that
was not his own? It did not seem to be a
thought and yet it must be. It was couched in
words: When I die, you die too.

[Robert F. Young,The Last Yggdrasill,1982,locate]
Without knowing why, one hesitates to
ask directions from the gnarled,
solitary figures spied now and then on
crumbling doorsteps or on the sloping
rock-strewn meadows. The figures are
so silent and furtive that ones feels
somehow confronted by forbidden things,
with which it would be better to have
nothing to do.

[H.P. Lovecraft,The Dunwich Horror,1928,locate]
The sailor rushed straight into the midst of
the debris and risked his life searching for
money. Having found some, he ran off with it
to get drunk; and after sleeping off the
effects of the wine, he bought the favours
of the first girl of easy virtue he found
amongst the ruined houses with the dead and
dying all around.

[Francois-Marie Arouet Voltaire and (trans John Butt) ,Candide or Optimism,1759,locate]
Tom flipped the pages and looked down the
verses. "Now here is one," he said. "This
here's a nice one, just blowed full a
religion: 'Blessed is he whose
transgression is forgiven, whose sin is
covered.' How's that?" "That's real nice,"
said Ma. "Put that one in."

[John Steinbeck,The Grapes of Wrath,1939,locate]
"'You have paid me several compliments,
Mr. Moriarty,' said I. 'Let me pay you one
in return when I say that if I were assured
of the former eventuality I would, in the
interests of the public, cheerfully accept
the latter.'

[Arthur Conan Doyle,The Final Problem,1894,locate]
"Oh!" The girl clapped her hands in extasy.
" How many have you slain?" "Er--why, let
me see," the young man blundered. "As a
matter of face, I never kept any record of
the panthers I killed."

[Edgar Rice Burroughs,The Cave Girl,1913,locate]
Peoples still living in the stone age possess
the same, often strange, motifs as the
cultured nations. The particular character of
some of the contents of folklore makes it
impossible to assume that it was only by mere
chance that the same motifs were created in
all corners of the world.

[Immanuel Velikovsky,Worlds in Collision,1950,locate]
It has been found necessary to vest in every
government, even the most democratic, some
extraordinary and, at first sight, alarming
powers; trusting in public opinion and
subsequent accountability, to modify the
exercise of them. These are provided to meet
exigencies, which all hope may never occur,
and if they should, and there were no power
to meet them instantly, there would be an
end put to the government at once.

[Richard Henry Dana, Jr.,Two Years Before the Mast,1840,locate]
A crow landed on the earth platform, with one
harsh caw and a creak of wings. It cocked its
head, its eyes sharp and brown, and hopped
forward. Two more joined it, then three, then
another one. Rodney's scalp tingled and he
looked quickly around. To west and south black
dots pockmarked the sky, swelling out and
taking shape as they came closer - crows,
flying fast to the peepul tree. They landed
beside the Silver Guru in fours and squadrons
until they overflowed the plinth. Then they
crawled on top of one another at the feet of
the crowd, and in silence flapped their wings
and opened their beaks. Their eyes glinted
with an awful obedience. Rodney knew suddenly
that at a signal the slithery wings would
smother him, the dirty beaks peck his eyes out.
The air under the tree stank of putrid meat.

[John Masters,Nightrunners of Bengal,1951,locate]
A man, therefore (so they say), should carry
his profession or trade into prison with him
if possible; if not, he must earn his living
by the nearest thing to it that he can; but
if he be a gentleman born and bred to no
profession, he must pick oakum, or write art
criticisms for a newspaper.

[Samuel Butler,Erewhon,1872,locate]
"And this," said the Director opening
the door, "is the Fertilizing Room."

[Aldous Huxley,Brave New World,1932,locate]
She was a high-coloured blonde with golden
hair of a metallic lustre, lovely no doubt
but not attractive, and Ashenden had from
the first reflected that it was not the sort
of hair you would like to find in your soup.

[W. Somerset Maugham,Ashenden: The British Agent,1927-51,locate]
My Dear Wormwood, Yes; courtship is the time
for sowing the seeds which will grow up ten
years later into domestic hatred.

[C.S. Lewis,The Screwtape Letters,1942,locate]
These people also have filing cabinets (not
shoe boxes
) with neat up-to-date, relevant
files. They can find things around the house
when they need them. There is order under
their sinks, in their closets, and in the
trunks of their cars. They actually change
the filter on their furnace once a year.
They put oil and grease on mechanical things.
Their warranties runneth not out. Not only
do their flashlights work, they actually
know where the flashlights are!

[Robert Fulghum,All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,1986,locate]
"I've a pretty good imagination of my own.
I've been in tight places before now and got
out of them! I think - I won't say more than
that but I think I'll get out of this one."

[Agatha Christie,And Then There Were None,1939,locate]
The first boy went on. His bare feet made
no sound, falling softer than leaves in the
thin dust. In the orchard the bees sounded
like a wind getting up, a sound caught by a
spell just under crescendo and sustained.
The lane went along the wall, arched over,
shattered with bloom, dissolving into trees.
Sunlight slanted into it, sparse and eager.
Yellow butterflies flickered along the
shade like flecks of sun.

[William Faulkner,The Sound and the Fury,1929,locate]