William Somerset Maugham ( MAWM; 25 January 1874 – 16 December 1965) was an English playwright, novelist, and short-story writer. He was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest-paid author during the 1930s.Both Maugham's parents died before he was 10, and the orphaned boy was raised by a paternal uncle, who was emotionally cold. He did not want to become a lawyer like other men in his family, so he trained and qualified as a physician. His first novel Liza of Lambeth (1897) sold out so rapidly that Maugham gave up medicine to write full-time.
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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.