These are after all, the provinces, with their complex family feuds reeking of long-time bitterness, and constantly refreshed venoms. On every hand matriarchal and patriarchal domination drives ageing spinsters to decorate sponge cakes for skinny vicars, and middle-aged bachelors to gin-tippling or cat-keeping, or the embroidering of supper cloths. Eccentricity is more noticeable because, one supposes, there are fewer people. There is however, much shrugging-of-the-shoulder acceptance, much closed-circuit forbearance. Stones are thrown tribally; an outsider attempting to throw stones would himself be very smartly stoned.