Wednesday, 23 November 2011
'ye gods, a sea cow!' i yelled to my native boatman. 'bring my rifle!'
I finished writing my tuna novel this morning. This afternoon, I flicked through a book written by one of my protagonists. I will do so again, and write down the first sentence I read each time:
'Griffiths, with great celerity, had pulled up the mooring stone.'
'Both in animal and bird life, as many people have, no doubt, remarked, a curious wagging motion of the tail synchronises with swallowing.'
'The four of us were now holding the line, but our efforts were quite ineffectual against the strength of this fish.'
'I now commenced to suffer the greatest pain, my leg swelling rapidly -- so much so that when I attempted to remove my shoes, the agony was so acute that the one on the foot of my bad leg had to be cut off.' [Things get much, much worse as the paragraph progresses, believe you me.]
'Here the genius in the man rose uppermost.'
'They waved to us -- our appearance was a break in the monotony of their lives.'
'I think Lady Brown's fame as a mascot was now firmly established for ever.'
'The little crocodile came to life while Lady Brown was holding it.'
And so on. The book is Battles With Giant Fish, by FA Mitchell-Hedges. If you want to spend a lot of money on a copy of your own, the best thing would be to buy this one. It's not a first edition, but it's signed by Neville Chamberlain, who bought it as a Christmas present for a friend called Percy Smith, and eventually Percy's son Rodney.