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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 laugh—such 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 Bellecour—the 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 journey.
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 myself—as men will—the 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 room—somewhat disordered now, at the end of that long night's play—was 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 floor.

"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 boedry—you 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 ensured—a 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 fiercely divided.
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 Section—the 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 and sensibility.
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 a Man.

"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 his poise.

"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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