by Dennis Abrams
Saturday change of schedule means an earlier lunch. “Come now, what are you thinking of, you’re forgetting it’s Saturday!” M. Vinteiul. “I don’t know who put that on the piano, it doesn’t belong there.” Walks after Mass. Games of Cat and Mouse between Francoise and Leonie. Leonie’s cruelty to Francoise. M. Legrandin’s snobbishness revealed. Marcel witnesses Francoise killing a chicken. Francoise’s lack of pity for those close to her. “The torrents of tears she shed while reading in the newspaper about the misfortunes of strangers would dry up quickly if she could picture to herself at all precisely the person concerned.” Marcel has lunch with Legrandin. Legrandin reveals his unhappiness at not knowing the Guermantes. Legrandin refuses to acknowledge he knows people in Balbec.
And a lovely paragraph describing our lack of knowledge and of our own motives and actions:
Davis: “And this certainly did not mean that M. Lergrandin was not sincere when he ranted against snobs. He could not be aware, at least from his own knowledge, that he was one, since we are familiar only with the passions of others, and what we come to know about our own, we have been able to learn only from them. Upon ourselves they act only secondarily, by way of our imagination, which substitutes for our primary motives alternative motives that are more seemly. It was never Legrandin’s snobbishness that advised him to pay frequent visits to a duchess. It would instruct Legrandin’s imagination to make that duchess appear to him as being endowed with all the graces. Legrandin would become acquainted with the duchess, filled with esteem for himself because he was yielding to attraction aware that he was one himself; for, because they were incapable of understanding the intermediary work of his imagination, they saw, coupled together, Legrandin’s social activity and its primary cause.”
And, Marcel discovers the beauty of hawthorns, a love that he will carry with him throughout the books.
And, finally, Marcel’s observation of Legrandin: “…he made a deep bow with a secondary recoil that brought his back sharply up past its starting position and that must have been taught him by the husband of his sister, Mme. de Cambremer. This rapid strengthening caused Legrandin’s bottom, which I had not supposed was so fleshy, to flow back in a sort of ardent muscular wave; and I did not know why that undulation of pure matter, that quite fleshly billow, with no expression of spirituality and whipped into a storm by a fully contemptible alacrity, suddenly awakened in my mind the possibility of a Legrandin quite different from the one he knew.” (Davis)
Who knew that the motion of flabby buttocks could be so revealing?
Davis, page 135 “We always returned in good time from our walks…” through page 146 “…the harrowing neighborhood of the Champs-Elysees where she lived in Paris.” Moncrieff, page 186-201