S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
In a great town, where it is said no man knows his neighbour, less is to be observed of nature; more of man. It is well not to know ones neighbours; but it is ill not to observe them. Friends and associates are chosen in a great town upon higher grounds than the mere accident of the position of a house; and, if there be no perfectly distinct reason for a personal acquaintance, it is best not to know so much as the names of those persons who live within sight of ones windows. But they should all be studied carefully as problems through the window-pane. But why they, rather than other people? Because they are there.
Watching them in that manner, we can care much about their births, marriages, and deaths; can become strongly interested in them, living, working, loving, erring, shifting out of sight, and giving place to others. The row of homes over the way adds, thus, to the ever-changing problem offered by the stream of people passing up and down the street, not a few of the mysteries attached to men and women gathered in a settled habitation.