The same Idea exalts conversation with a stranger. We talk better than we are wont. We have no obstructions. […] But as soon as the stranger begins to intrude his partialities, his definitions, his defects into the conversation, it is all over. He has heard the first, last, & best he will ever hear from us. He is no stranger now. Vulgarity, ignorance, misapprehension, are old acquaintances. Now when he comes he may get the order, the dress, & the dinner, but the throbbing of the heart & the communications of the soul, no more. (R. Waldo Emerson, Journal D)
The table hums with talk, live to the thought
of strange ears listening in. He spoke not
a word, the Stranger. He was silent as
the void, afraid to spoil that he wrought.