'It's no one's fault, really,' he continued. 'A big city cannot afford to have its attention distracted from the important job of being a big city by such a tiny, unimportant item as your happiness or mine.'
This came out of him easily, assuredly, and I was suddenly interested. On closer inspection there was something aesthetic and scholarly about him, something faintly professional. He knew I was with him, listening , and his gray eyes were kind with offered friendliness. He continued:
'Those tall buildings there are more than monuments to the industry, thought and effort which have made this a great city; they also occasionally serve as springboards to eternity for misfits who cannot cope with the city and their own loneliness in it.' He paused and said something about one of the ducks which was quite unintelligible to me. 'A great city is a battlefield,' he continued. 'You need to be a fighter to live in it, not to exist, mark you, live. Anybody can exist, dragging his soul around behind him like a worn-out coat; but living is different. It can be hard, but it can also be fun; there's so much going on all the time that's new and exciting.'
- E R Braithwaite, from 'To Sir With Love'