by Jeanne Badman
Marcel’s thoughts while Andree is “visiting” with him: The young sportsman (who is also known as Octave, “I’m a wash-out,” and a nephew of the Verdurins) is destined to throw over Rachel and marry Andree, but not just yet. He has a great talent for rendering theatrical costumes and settings. This is in sharp contrast to the thickhead he seemed to be years before when he was hanging out with the little band of girls playing golf in Balbec. “…he had always been a dunce, and had even been expelled from the lycee (to annoy his parents, he had gone to live for two months in the smart brothel in which M. de Charlus had hoped to surprise Morel)…” Marcel decides that Octave must have been a genius all along, though there was no reason to think so when all he seemed to care about was driving a smart carriage and mixing cocktails. Andree tells Marcel that Albertine left him because she dreaded her friends’ opinions of her for living with a man to whom she was not married. He wonders if this drea is why she did not give herself to him at Balbec. He had let slip (to Andree) that Albertine was going to spend a night at the Grand Hotel. At that time Albertine seemed to be promising him “certain favors,” but instead she threatened to pull the bell cord to interrupt his advances. Andree reveals details of Albertine’s preference for sex outdoors, in the countryside of the Buttes-Chaumont, even in the grotto of the Petit Trianon at Versailles. Is Andree telling the truth? Maybe is doesn’t matter. Marcel would prefer that life reflect his intuitions, as in his first observations of the character of the girls in the little band and the wildness of Albertine. Inherant in a woman’s charm are all her betrayals and misdeeds. Marcel tells Andree that he knows Albertine was with a laundry girl on a riverbank just a few days before her death. Andree insists that this is proof that Albertine felt that she had failed and could never regain Marcel’s trust. Marcel speculates about whether a woman can ever tell the truth about their sexual relations. He remembers a story Albertine told him about visiting a flyer in an aerodrome with Andree, but Andree had never been there at all.
I am enjoying the twists and turns about truth/lies, guilt/innocence and the way Proust comes back to trust. I believe that trust is not telling the loved one everything, that it is NOT having to tell the loved one everything. Marcel is not entitled to know the truth about Albertine and I hope Andree is lying her ass off. I really enjoyed the section on lies:
“One lies in order to protect one’s pleasure, or one’s honor if the disclosure of one’s pleasure runs counter to one’s honor. One lies all one’s life long, even, especially, perhaps only, to those who love one.”
As a young woman my motto was “Learn. Love. Lie. Leave.” I’ve gotten a little better with age, but I remember those days with great fondness.
As we near the end of the chapter “Mademoiselle de Forcheville” I am going to ask that we read part of the beginning of the next chapter, “Sojourn in Venice,” over the weekend to bring us up to a typical weekly page count.
The Weekend’s Reading:
Moncrieff: “When Andree left me, it was dinner-time.” through “…the charm of a trip to a museum and a trip on the sea.” Pages 828-853.
Enjoy your weekend and enjoy this book!