William Somerset Maugham ( MAWM; 25 January 1874 – 16 December 1965) was an English writer, known for his plays, novels and short stories. Born in Paris, where he spent his first ten years, Maugham was schooled in England and went to a German university. He became a medical student...
Silence is one of the great arts of conversation, as allowed by Cicero himself, who says, 'there is not only an art, but an eloquence in it.' A well bred woman may easily and effectually promote the most useful and elegant conversation without speaking a word. The modes of speech are scarcely more variable than the modes of silence.
The Americans, who are the most efficient people on earth, . . . have invented so wide a range of pithy and hackneyed phrases that they can carry on a conversation without giving a moment's reflection to what they are saying and so leave their minds free to consider the more important matters of big business and fornication.