An after-dinner walk in the moonlight leads to a series of confessions of first loves, each one sentimental and romantic. That is until Jessop takes his turn and decries the very notion of love. He tells of a tragic affair between an old school friend and an innocent Sinhalese girl, and so introduces the central motif of these three stories—the incompatibility of East and West. Based on Woolf's own experiences in Ceylon, these tales provide a brilliant depiction of colonial life. A central figure in the Bloomsbury circle, Leonard Woolf (1880–1969) is perhaps best remembered for his marriage to Virginia, yet he produced some of the finest literary writings of his age.