E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places. The part allotted to me and measured off by a measuring line. (Palms xvi. 6.)
Hard lines. Harsh restrictions. Here lines means an allotment measured out.
To read between the lines. To discern the secret meaning. One method of cryptography is to write in alternate lines; if read line by line, the meaning of the writer is reversed or wholly misunderstood. Thus lines 2, 4, 6 of the following cryptogram would convey the warning to Lord Monteagle of the Gunpowder Plot.