A Dance to Summer

Pierre sometimes attended her soirees and dinner parties, where politics, poetry, and philosophy were discussed, and knowing how very stupid she was, listened with a strange knowing of perplexity and alarm. At such times he felt like a conjurer who expects that at any moment his tricks will be seen through. But whether it was that stupidity was just what was required to conduct a salon, or that those who were deceived took pleasure in the deception, at any rate it was not discovered, and her reputation as a "charming, witty woman" became so firmly established that Ellen Vasilyevna Bezukhova could say the most banal and stupid things yet people continued to go into raptures over the least remark she made and to discover some profound meaning in it of which she herself had no inkling.
~ War & Peace