You could not live among such people; you are stifled for want of an outlet toward something beautiful, great, or noble; you are irritated with these dull men and women, as a kind of population out of keeping with the earth on which they live,—with this rich plain where the great river flows forever onward, and links the small pulse of the old English town with the beatings of the world’s mighty heart.
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And yet with all the lights on and the music and the silhouetted figures behind the curtains moving around dancing, there was a strange festivity to the warm autumn air, as if the place were the site of a favorite seasonal fete, as in those old English novels of Sunny’s that I would glance at from time to time.
Chang-rae Lee -- A Gesture Life
In the middle of the 19th century, a 17-year-old English officer was ordered to organize the building of a road from Colombo to Kandy.