This is not the very greatest opening sentence in the history of the English novel: that honor still belongs to the first sentence of Rosabella: or, A Mother’s Marriage. It is, however, one of the most striking first sentences ever penned by an American author—though we must admit that it depends for its full effect on the sentence immediately following.
Great men stand like solitary towers in the city of God, and secret passages running deep beneath external nature give their thoughts intercourse with higher intelligences, which strengthens and consoles them, and of which the laborers on the surface do not even dream!
Some such thought as this was floating vaguely through the brain of Mr. Churchill, as he closed his school-house door behind him…
And now, your challenge: without resorting to a search engine, can you identify the author? Winners of the literary challenge earn the right to say, “I know a thing or two about a certain well-known American author that would make your hair stand on end.” The answer will be provided in this space tomorrow.