54 great opening lines: 16

The woman carried the bag with the axe and maul and wedges;  the man had the billy and clean tucker-bags;  the cross-cut saw linked them.

Squeaker’s Mate, Barbara Baynton


A late 19th-century Australian story about a tough pipe-smoking timber-getting woman whose back is broken when she is cutting down a tree.  The man in her life, Squeaker, is good for nothing but she, his mate, has a dog who’s more useful…