Stories start in all sorts of places. Where they begin often tells the reader of what to expect as they progress. Castles often lead to dragons, country estates to deeds of deepest love (or of hate), and ambiguously presented settings usually lead to equally as ambiguous characters and plot, leaving a reader with an ambiguous feeling of disappointment. That's one of the worst kinds.
Among the Huguenots he learned to be gentle and courteous; to bear himself among his elders respectfully, but without fear or shyness; to consider that, while all things were of minor consequence in comparison to the right to worship God in freedom and purity, yet that a man should be fearless of death, ready to defend his rights, but with moderation and without pushing them to the injury of others; that he should be grave and decorous of speech, and yet of a gay and cheerful spirit.
In Maurice I tried to create a character who was completely unlike myself or what I supposed myself to be: someone handsome, healthy, bodily attractive, mentally torpid, not a bad business man and rather a snob. Into this mixture I dropped an ingredient that puzzles him, wakes him up, torments him and finally saves him.
Anita Kleinman was a slight woman in her seventies. Her hair was thinning and white with a touch of pink, and was swept back from her face in unbroken waves. She wore a full-length Chinese silk gown covered with bright gold dragons on a blue background. Her fingers were tipped with long red nails and heavy with gold rings. She held out her arms in an expression of welcome and perhaps to show me the full extent of her dragons.
The journey had been long and dangerous, and along the way he had met countless travelers, many of whom were so amazing that they must certainly rank among the most original and memorable characters in the history of recorded literature. Which is why it's so sad that there's no time to describe them.