I recently took up a fun challenge from Jane, the brilliant authoress of that wonderful blog site ‘Making it write’. I said I could take any 25 novels at random from my vast collection of books and, using their first 25 sentences only, that is one 1st sentence, one 2nd one 3rd etc and arrange them in such a way as to write an intelligent and coherent post. I literally picked the books blindfold (My wife is my witness). Well here goes. The names of the authors whose sentences I have pinched is appended at the end. But I leave it to my readers to say what comes from which, and whether it is the first, tenth or 25th sentence in a work by that author. You will also have to work out which books they are from. I could not resist taking sentences from two of my own novels, so there are only 24 authors. I shall supply the book titles in a couple of days and then you have to guess who wrote what (naming any book by each of them would be a feat). I hope you enjoy the 25 sentences which follow. The only liberty I have taken is with very few occasional alterations in the punctuation, otherwise the only words that appear below are as they appear in their original novels.
My Noble Relative Rises.
John was entertaining his somewhat senile and ennobled father-in-law for a week’s visit, and on this day decided to lie in bed late while his wife attended to all morning necessities, breakfast etc. The peer is an incessant and boring reminiscer. John snuggles down and leaves his wife to suffer: Read on:
“Damn this blade!”
“Where does it hurt? I see, well that’s fine, isn’t it?”
“H’mph!” grunted his guest, “something in being a bachelor.
“Only the British hosts, in despondent shades of grey, observed the monotone of socialist austerity. No trumpeters!” said his Lordship in a tone of melancholy and slightly peevish disappointment.” As a matter of fact, his income from all sources was exactly seven hundred and fifty pounds a year, and none of this was spent on charity. In this way a double purpose would be achieved. “Where could a motor-car be obtained? It will have to be paid for,” they said. As for the civil station itself, it provokes no emotion. “That the said proposal has received the sanction and approval of this Association”.
“He has no resistance”, he said.
“What have you done to earn praise from me? I have two sisters, both older than myself. In a sense they were the vanguard of the pacifist movement in Britain. I could say that before everybody if I was going to die tomorrow.” And he has learned that there are always eyes. He shivered and blew upon his hands. “But at times I did overstep the line.”
The table was in chaotic disorder. “You haven’t taken any ham father?” His friends thought he was mad when he described to them the great chats he had with her when he had any problems. But it was an arresting face, pointed of chin, square of jaw. Besides she had to be at the bank at eight.
The authors whose works have supplied these sentences are:
Emile Zola (my translation), Dornford Yates, A.A.Milne, E.M.Forster, John Le Carré, Mervyn Peake, Georgette Heyer, P.G.Wodehouse, W.J.Burley, R.F.Delderfield, Ian Hay, Victor L.Whitechurch, Billie Houston, Cyril Hare, Charles Dickens, Anton Wills-Eve, Herbert Jenkins, J.R.R.Tolkien, Nicholas Blake, Philip MacDonald, C.H.B.Kitchin, A.G.Macdonell, Margaret Mitchell and George Bellairs.
Bon soir les petits. A demain.