The idea in bold-face print is a summary of the quote. The number is the page on which the quote was found.
Conversation 787 The topics of conversation are superficial, hiding the sad realities of life. "Strange spectacle in human life where it is the instinctive effort of one and all to hide those sad realities, and leave them undisturbed beneath a heap of superficial topics, which constitute the materials of intercourse between man and man!" Hawthorne: “Egotism; or, the Bosom-Serpent”
Conversation 129 In conversation, people appear to listen attentively, but, in reality, they are thinking of what they are going to say next. "One of the reasons why so few people are to be found who seem sensible and pleasant in conversation is that almost everybody is thinking about what he wants to say himself rather than about answering clearly what is being said to him; the more clever and polite think it enough simply to put on an attentive expression, while all the time you can see in their eyes and train of thought that they are far removed from what you are saying and anxious to get back to what they want to say." Reflections or Moral Thoughts and Maxims, 1665
Conversation 72 He who would please in conversation must not intimidate by excelling in expressing his opinions. "He that would please must rarely aim at such excellence as depresses his hearers in their own opinion, or debars them from the hope of contributing reciprocally to the entertainment of the company." Samuel Johnson. “Conversation.” 1751. Gross, ed. Essays.
Conversation 73 People love narratives in conversation. "...no style of conversation is more extensively acceptable than the narrative." Samuel Johnson. “Conversation.” 1751. Gross, ed. Essays.
Conversation 108 He read his newspaper, but when asked what was in the news, he said "nothing." "Lady Middleton could no longer endure such a conversation, and therefore exerted herself to ask Mr. Palmer if there was any news in the paper… “No, none at all,” he replied, and read on." Austen, Sense and Sensibility.
Conversation 233 The only poverty was in the conversation. "…no poverty of any kind, except of conversation, appeared—but there, the deficiency was considerable; John Dashwood had not much to say for himself that was worth hearing, and his wife had still less." Austen, Sense and Sensibility.
Conversation 359 When she failed to reinforce the dryness of the season, an awful pause in the conversation followed. " …with a countenance meaning to be open, she sat down again and talked of the weather…when Elinor ceased to rejoice in the dryness of the season, a very awful pause took place." Austen, Sense and Sensibility.
Conversation 49 She gossiped. "Juanita Haydock talked a good deal in her rattling voice but it was invariably of personalities: the rumor that Raymie Wutherspoon was going to send for a pair of patent leather shoes with gray buttoned tops; the rheumatism of Champ Perry; the state of Guy Pollock’s grippe; and the dementia of Jim Howland in painting his fence salmon-pink." Sinclair Lewis, Main Street.
Conversation 50 She heard his impersonation of hen-catching seven times during the winter. "During the winter Carol was to hear Dave Dyer’s hen-catching impersonation seven times...." Sinclair Lewis, Main Street.
Conversation 51 The ladies talked about children and sickness; did the men talk about ideas? "The men and women divided, as they had been tending to do all evening; Carol was deserted by the men, left to a group of matrons who steadily pattered of children, sickness, and cocks--their own shop talk...did [the men] rise from these housewifely personalities to a larger world of abstractions and affairs?" Sinclair Lewis, Main Street.
Conversation 135 "They fell joyfully into shop-talk, the purest and most rapturous form of conversation." Lewis, Babbitt.
Conversation 102 Some things should not be kidded. Toglio: "I think some things aren’t fit for kidding." Mailer, The Naked and the Dead.
Conversation 110 The Christmas conversation was repeated on each holiday. "The doctor and his wife, uncle and aunt Kimble, were there, and the annual Christmas talk was carried through without any omissions, rising to the climax of Mr. Kimble’s experience when he walked the London hospitals thirty years back…." George Eliot, Silas Marner.
Conversation 165 Casual conversation is full of repetition. "Casual conversation tends to be filled with repetition and pauses; ideas are repeated several times, often in identical words…." Toffler, Future Shock.