from Richard the Second, 2.1. John of Gaunt on England

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea....


The theatre or the rooms...were not fashionable enough for the Elliots, whose evening amusements were solely in the elegant stupidity of private parties, and Anne...was quite impatient for the concert evening.

Jane Austen, Persuasion, chapter 19 

For more Jane Austen, visit the site of the Jane Austen Society of Louisiana

My father has asked me to be the fourth corner at the Joy Luck Club. I am to replace my mother, whose seat at the mah jong table has been empty since she died two months ago. My father thinks she was killed by her own thoughts.

"She had a new idea insider her head," said my father. "But before it could come out of her mouth, the thought grew too big and burst. It must have been a very bad idea."

Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club