He was the other kind of Yorkshireman. His forebears were not miners but handloom weavers, which meant that they had owned their lives instead of being vassals in a corporate endeavor. The blackened sandstone village where he had grown to manhood was built onto a south-facing hillside, with each house looking at the sun and each attic window stretched to cast the most of it. In their solitary lofts, his forefathers had woven all alone and all day long. The men led lives of monotony in communion with the sky. And while their hands mechanically performed the daily drudgery, their minds took off in all sorts of startling directions. In that one small town, there are tales to fill a book about the poets, chess players, and mathematicians whose brains grew to fruition in the long daylight of their attic eyries. And he was the inheritor of their collective thrift, their virtue, and their mysticism.
—John le Carre, The Night Manager