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Lost Time Thursday: What a Small World!

"I say, that looks a fine beast," said M. de Cambremer to Mme Verdurin, pointing to a fish. (It was one of the compliments by means of which he considered that he paid his whack at a dinner party and gave an immediate return of hospitality. "There's no need to invite them back," he would often say, in speaking to his wife of one or other couple of their acquaintance. "They were delighted to have us. It was they who thanked me for coming.")

The Verdurins are back, or rather, the Verdurins are always with us. I love this pack of bores so much. They're my favorite pack of bores in the Search. (Saint-Loup is not a bore and should come around more often).

"I can't tell you how delighted I am to hear that you have fits of breathlessness," [M. de Cambremer] flung at me across the table. He did not mean that it cheered him up, though in fact it did. For this worthy man could not hear of any reference to another person's sufferings without a feeling of well-being and a spasm of hilarity which speedily gave place to the instinctive pity of a kind heart. But his words had another meaning which was indicated more precisely by he sentence that followed. "I'm delighted," he explained, "because my sister has them too." In short, he was delighted in the same way as if he had heard me mention as one of my friends a person who was constantly coming to their house. "What a small world!" was the reflection which he formed mentally and which I saw written upon his smiling face when Cottard spoke to me of my attacks.

A little later, Little M. will take Albertine around to the Verdurins by motor-car, exciting because it forces disorienting revisions of mental geography and also exciting because Albertine looks sophisticated in her motoring veil. Mme Verdurin will insist, as a favor, on accompanying them home, and M., in a panic at the thought of not being alone with Albertine, will invent lie after lie (Little M.: "Of course we'd love to have you, but we have to make another call!" Albertine: "WHAT call?" LM: "Shh, I'll tell you later,") until he finally has to refuse outright without explanation. M. might marry Albertine, but then again he might not; it was an idea in his head but once he told it to his parents he got a sinking feeling. For a long time he was obsessed with the idea that she was having lesbian affairs every time his back was turned (and sometimes when it wasn't,) but then she flirted with Saint-Loup and one jealousy drove the other out of his mind. Oh, Little M. :\

I took the last three volumes out from the library so I'd be sure to have them over break - unfortunately the only version the library has in English is the original C. K. Scott Moncrieff translation everyone hates. How bad can it be? If I get a decent job I'll spring for the Nouveau Moncrieff version I've been reading, which is perfectly fine as far as I can tell.


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Dec. 9th, 2016 01:57 am (UTC)
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blase ev

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