The American composer Silas Gamaliel Pratt deserves immortality, if only for the alleged conversation with Wagner, when Wagner said, "You are the Richard Wagner of the United States", and the polite rejoinder was made, "And you, sir, are the Silas G. Pratt of Germany."
He credited her with a number of virtues, of the existence of which her conduct and conversation had given but limited indications. -But, then, lovers have a proverbial power of balancing inverted pyramids, going to sea in sieves, and successfully performing other kindred feats impossible to a faithless and unbelieving generation.
There is a moment in the history of every nation, when . . . the perceptive powers reach their ripeness and have not yet become microscopic: so that man, at that instant . . . with his feet still planted on the immense forces of night, converses by his eyes and brain with solar and stellar creation.
[The imagination] . . . inspires an audacious mental habit. We are as elastic as the gas of gunpowder, and . . . a word dropped in conversation, sets free our fancy, and instantly our heads are bathed with galaxies, and our feet tread the floor of the Pit.
One often reads about the art of conversation-how it's dying or what's needed to make it flourish, or how rare good ones are. But wouldn't you agree that the infinitely more valuable rara avis [rare bird] is a good listener.