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CONVERSATION
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[ Also see Address Assertions Company Discussion Eloquence Gossip Language Linguists Oratory Repartee Silence Speech Story Telling Talk Talking Tongue Visiting Voice Wit Words ]

The perfection of conversational intercourse is when the breeding of high life is animated by the fervor of genius.
      - Leigh Hunt (James Henry Leigh Hunt)

Every man has some favorite topic of conversation, on which, by a feigned seriousness of attention, he may be drawn to expatiate without end.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")

That is the happiest conversation where there is no competition, no vanity, but a calm, quiet interchange of sentiments.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")

The happiest conversation is that of which nothing is distinctly remembered, but a general effect of pleasing impression.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")

Unconstraint is the grace of conversation.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")

Questioning is not the mode of conversation among gentlemen.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature"),
        Boswell's Life of Johnson

Tom Birch is as brisk as a bee in conversation; but no sooner does he take a pen in his hand, than it becomes a torpedo to him, and benumbs all his faculties.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature"),
        Boswell's Life of Johnson

His conversation does not show the minute hand; but he strikes the hour very correctly.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature"),
        Johnsoniana--Kearsley (l. 604)

Amongst such as out of cunning hear all and talk little, be sure to talk less; or if you must talk, say little.
      - Jean de la Bruyere

The fool only is troublesome. A plan of sense perceives when he is agreeable or tiresome; he disappears the very minute before he would have been thought to have stayed too long.
      - Jean de la Bruyere

The great charm of conversation consists less in the display of one's own wit and intelligence than in the power to draw forth the resources of others.
      - Jean de la Bruyere

There is speaking well, speaking easily, speaking justly and speaking seasonably: It is offending against the last, to speak of entertainments before the indigent; of sound limbs and health before the infirm; of houses and lands before one who has not so much as a dwelling; in a word, to speak of your prosperity before the miserable; this conversation is cruel, and the comparison which naturally arises in them betwixt their condition and yours is excruciating.
      - Jean de la Bruyere

As it is the characteristic of great wits to say much in few words, so it is of small wits to talk much and say nothing.
      - Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld

Conceit causes more conversation than wit.
      - Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld

It is given to few persons to keep this secret well. Those who lay down rules too often break them, and the safest we are able to give is to listen much, to speak little, and to say nothing that that will ever give ground or regret.
      - Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld

One thing which makes us find so few people who appear reasonable and agreeable in conversation is, that there is scarcely any one who does not think more of what he is about to say than of answering precisely what is said to him.
      - Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld

The extreme pleasure we take in talking of ourselves should make us fear that we give very little to those who listen to us.
      - Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld

The secret of pleasing in conversation is not to explain too much everything; to say them half and leave a little for divination is a mark of the good opinion we have of others, and nothing flatters their self-love more.
      - Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld

He who sedulously attends, pointedly asks, calmly speaks, coolly answers, and ceases when he has no more to say, is in possession of some of the best requisites of man.
      - Johann Kaspar Lavater (John Caspar Lavater)

Those who speak always and those who never speak are equally unfit for friendship. A food proportion of the talent of listening and speaking is the base of social virtues.
      - Johann Kaspar Lavater (John Caspar Lavater)

No animal should ever jump up on the dining room furniture unless absolutely certain that he can hold his own in the conversation.
      - Fran Lebowitz

No one will ever shine in conversation who thinks of saying fine things; to please, one must say many things indifferent, and many very bad.
      - Francis Lockier

A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years' study of books.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion
         (ch. VII), quoted from the Chinese

Blessed are they that have nothing to say, and who cannot be persuaded to say it.
      - James Russell Lowell

Men of great conversational powers almost universally practise a sort of lively sophistry and exaggeration which deceives for the moment both themselves and their auditors.
      - Thomas Babington Macaulay,
        Essay--On the Athenian Orators


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