DAVID MASSON (1822–1907)
Extract from British Novelists and their Styles (1859), pp. 238–39

As the greatest aggregate of human beings on the face of the earth, a population of several millions crushed together in one dense mass on a space of a few square miles—this mass consisting, for the most part of Englishmen, but containing also as many Scotchmen as there are in Edinburgh, as many Irishmen as there are in Dublin, and a perfect Polyglot of other nations in addition—London is as good an epitome of the world as anywhere exists, presenting all those phenomena of interest, whether serious or humorous, which result from great numbers, heterogeneousnss of composition, and close social packing; besides which, as metropolis of the British Empire, it is the centre whither all the sensations of the Empire tend, and whence the motive currents issue that thrill to the extremities. If any city could generate and sustain a species of Novel entirely out of its own resources, it might surely be London; nor would ten thousand novels exhaust it.

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