Quotation by Laurence Sterne

Conversation is a traffick; and if you enter into it, without some stock of knowledge, to ballance the account perpetually betwixt you,—the trade drops at once: and this is the reason ... why travellers have so little [good] conversation with natives,—owing to their [the natives'] suspicion ... that there is nothing to be extracted from the conversation ... worth the trouble of their bad language.
Laurence Sterne (1713–1768), British author, clergyman. Sermons, sermon 20, "The prodigal son" (1766), ed. Melvyn New, University Press of Florida (1996).
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