Beginnings ...and some endings
First and (and some) last lines of Sabatini's novels
compiled by Ruth Heredia
- The Lovers of Yvonne/The Suitors of Yvonne
- Andrea de Mancini sprawled, ingloriously drunk, upon the floor.
His legs were thrust under the table, and his head rested against
the chair from which he had slipped; his long black hair was tossed
and dishevelled; his handsome, boyish face flushed and garbed in
the vacant expression of idiocy.
- The Tavern Knight
- He whom they called the Tavern Knight laughed an evil laughsuch
a laugh as might fall from the lips of Satan in a sardonic moment.
- Bardelys the Magnificent
- "Speak of the Devil," whispered La Fosse in my ear, and, moved by
the words and by the significance of his glance, I turned in my chair.
- The Trampling of the Lilies
- It was spring at Bellecourthe spring of 1789, a short three months
before the fall of the Bastille came to give the nobles pause, and make
them realise that these new philosophies, which so long they have derided,
were by no means the idle vapours they had deemed them.
- From the valley, borne aloft on the wings of the evening breeze, rose
faintly the tolling of an Angelus bell, and in a goat-herd's hut on the
heights above stood six men with heads uncovered and bowed, obeying
its summons to evening prayer.
- The Shame of Motley
- For three days I had been cooling my heels about the Vatican, vexed by
suspense. It fretted me that I should have been so lightly dealt with
after I had discharged the mission that had brought me all the way from
Pesaro, and I wondered how long it might be ere his Most Illustrious
Excellency the Cardinal of Valencia might see fit to offer me the
honourable employment with which Madonna Lucrezia had promised me that
he would reward the service I had rendered the House of Borgia by my
- Saint Martin's Summer
- My Lord of Tressan, His Majesty's Seneschal of Dauphiny, sat at his ease,
his purple doublet all undone, to yield greater freedom to his vast
bulk, a yellow silken undergarment visible through the gap, as is
visible the flesh of some fruit that, swollen with over-ripeness, has
burst its skin.
- Anthony Wilding /Arms and the Maid /Mistress Wilding
- Then drink it thus, cried the rash young fool, and splashed the
contents of his cup full into the face of Mr. Wilding even as that
gentleman, on his feet, was proposing to drink to the eyes of the
young fool's sister.
- The Lion's Skin
- Mr. Caryll, lately from Rome, stood by the window, looking out over
the rainswept, steaming quays to Notre Dame on the island yonder.
Overhead rolled and crackled the artillery of an April thunderstorm,
and Mr. Caryll, looking out upon Paris in her shroud of rain, under
her pall of thundercloud, felt himself at harmony with Nature.
- The Life of Cesare Borgia
- (Preface) This is no Chronicle of Saints. Nor yet is it a History of
Devils. It is a record of certain very human, strenuous men in a
very human, strenuous age; a lustful, flamboyant age; an age red
with blood and pale with passion at white-heat; an age of steel and
velvet, of vivid colour, dazzling light and impenetrable shadow; an
age of swift movement, pitiless violence and high endeavour, of sharp
antitheses and amazing contrasts.
- The Strolling Saint
- In seeking other than in myselfas men willthe causes of my
tribulations, I have often inclined to lay the blame of much of the
ill that befell me, and the ill that in my sinful life I did to others,
upon those who held my mother at the baptismal font and concerted that
she should bear the name of Monica.
- The Gates of Doom
- The roomsomewhat disordered now, at the end of that long night's
playwas capacious, lofty and handsomely equipped. On a boldly
carved, walnut side table of Dutch origin there was a disarray of glasses,
bottles, plates and broken meats. From a mahogany wine cooler beneath
the table's arched legs sprouted the corkless necks of a half-score empty
bottles. About the card-table in the room's middle stood irregularly
some eight or ten chairs, lately occupied by the now departed players.
One overturned chair lay neglected where it had fallen. Cards were
still strewn upon the table's cover of green baize and some lay scattered
on the scarlet Turkey rug that covered a square of the blocked and polished
"There is much I don't understand! so much!" she said.
Thereafter he explained.
- The Sea-Hawk
- (Note) Lord Henry Goade, who had, as we shall see, some personal acquaintance
with Sir Oliver Tressilian, tells us quite bluntly that he was ill-favoured.
(Chapter 1) Sir Oliver Tressilian sat at his ease in the lofty
dining-room of the handsome house of Penarrow, which he owed to the enterprise
of his father of lamented and lamentable memory and to the skill and
invention of an Italian engineer named Bagnolo who had come to England half
a century ago as one of the assistants of the famous Torrigiani.
- The Snare
- It is established beyond doubt that Mr. Butler was drunk at the time.
- He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.
And that was all his patrimony.
- Captain Blood
- Peter Blood, bachelor of medicine and several other things besides, smoked
a pipe and tended the geraniums boxed on the sill of his window above
Water Lane in the town of Bridgewater.
"Id is fery boedigal!" he said, his blue eyes twinkling. "Cabdain
Blood is fond of boedryyou remember de abble-blossoms. So? Ha, ha!"
- Fortune's Fool
- The times were full of trouble; but Martha Quinn was unperturbed. Hers
was a mind that confined itself to the essentials of life: its sustenance
and reproduction. Not for her to plague herself with the complexities of
existence, with considerations of the Hereafter or disputations upon the
various creeds by which its happiness may be ensureda matter upon
which men have always been ready to send one another upon exploring voyages
thither&$151;or yet with the political opinions by which a nation is
- The Carolinian
- With compressed lips and an upright line of pain between his brows, Mr
Harry Latimer sat down to write a letter.
- Bellarion the Fortunate
- "Half-god, half-beast", the Princess Valeria described him, without
suspecting that the phrase describes not merely Bellarion, but Man.
He pondered her, very pale and sorrowful. "Yes", he said slowly, "I have
the fever, as you said a while ago. It must be that."
- The Nuptials of Corbal
- Shadows moved behind the broad lattice that formed the upper part of the
heavy wooden doors at the gallery's end.
- The Hounds of God
- It was Walsingham who said of Roger Trevanion, Earl of Garth, that he
preferred the company of the dead to that of the living.
- The Reaping
- Angéle made her way briskly through the by-streets of the Sectionthe
Section called of Mutius Scaevola by those noisome patriots who dreamt of
implanting the departed glories of old Rome on the bloody dunghill they had
made of Paris.
- The Romantic Prince
- Anthony of Egmont contemplated the world with disapproval. He had reached
the conclusion that it was no place for a gentleman.
- The Minion
- King James, fully recovered from the terrible fright occasioned him by
the Gunpowder Plot, had returned to his norm of pusillanimity.
- Scaramouche the King-maker
- It was suspected of him by many that he had no heart.
- The Black Swan
- Major Sands, conscious of his high deserts, was disposed to receive with
condescension the gifts which he perceived that Fortune offered him.
"I do a dreadful, lovely thing", he said, and took her in his arms.
- The Stalking Horse
- In this twentieth century the Earl of Lochmore would probably be described
as a permanent adolescent. In his own more direct and less sophisticated
age he was quite simply called a fool, and so dismissed by men of sense
- Venetian Masque
- The traveller in the grey riding-coat, who called himself Mr Melville was
contemplating the malice of which the gods are capable. They had conducted
him unscathed through a hundred perils merely, it seemed, so that they
might in their irony confront him with destruction in the very hour in
which at last he accounted himself secure.
- When his father was hanged, his mother died of a broken heart.
For the same reason he is known to history merely as Colombo da Siena.
- The Lost King
- Anaxagoras Chaumette, the Procurator-Syndic of the Commune, had asserted
with ostentatious confidence that he would take a King and make of him
"And so we end where we began twenty years ago, and all that has happened
in between becomes of no account?"
"Life", said Fouché quietly, "is often like that."
- The Sword of Islam
- With banners limp in the breathless August noontide, the long line of
blockading galleys rode drowsily at anchor, just out of gunshot from
the shore, at a point where the water, smooth as an enamelled sheet,
changed from emerald to sapphire.
- The Marquis of Carabas/ Master-at-Arms
- There is, you will come to agree, a certain humour to be discovered in
the fact that Monsieur de Morlaix accounted himself free of the sin by
which the angels fell, took 'parva domus magna quies' for his motto,
accounted tranquillity the greatest good, and regarded as illusory and
hollow the worldly prizes for which men sweat and bleed.
That was before the sight of Mademoiselle de Chesnières came to disturb
"Another sweet dispensation of Providence," she said, "is that I was
born to be the Marchioness of Carabas."
- A man and a boy climbed the slope from the estuary of the Tinto by a
sandy path that wound through a straggling growth of pine-trees.
- King in Prussia/ The Birth of Mischief
- Charles Stuart-Dene, Marquess of Alverley, looked at humanity,
and wondered why it was.
- The Gamester
- Mr Law applied his uncanny gifts of calculation to a stocktaking of the events.
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