‘No, but the best bit of all,’ said one of them, describing a disaster that had happened to a service colleague, ‘yes, the best bit was the minister had told him that his appointment to London was definitely a promotion and that was how he should see it. Imagine his face!…’
– A line from a diplomat, ‘War and Peace’, Leo Tolstoy
I find this a most brilliant extract because the line is presented in the text without any lead in and the impression left by it speaks volumes about the perception of London by those characters. Perhaps also by Tolstoy himself but I haven’t done any research on that.