Time eludes a brief moment between sleep and awakening. Within a few seconds, the narrator Marcel seems to have turned into what he read the day before. The mind is determined to locate the sleeping room. Is this the grandfather’s house in Combra, and Marcel fell asleep without waiting for Mom to come to him to say goodbye? Or is this the estate of Madame de Saint-Loup in Tansonville? Means, Marcel had slept too long after a day’s walk: the eleventh hour – everyone had supper! Then the habit comes into its own and begins to fill in habitable space with skillful slowness. But the memory has already awakened: this night Marcel will not fall asleep – he will remember Combray, Balbec, Paris, Donsier and Venice.
In the Combus of a small Marcel was sent to sleep immediately after supper, And my mother came for a minute to kiss him at night. But when the guests came, my mother did not go up to the bedroom. Usually Charles Swan, the son of a grandfather’s friend, visited them. Native Marcel did not realize that the “young” Svan is a brilliant social life, because his father was just an exchange broker. The people of that time were not very different from the Hindus in their views: each had to rotate in his circle, and the transition to the higher caste was considered even indecent. It was only by chance that Marcel’s grandmother found out about the aristocratic acquaintances of Svan from her friend in the boarding house, the Marquise de Villeparizi, with whom she did not want to maintain friendly relations because of her firm belief in the good inviolability of castes.
After an unsuccessful marriage to a woman from a bad society, Swan was less and less often in Combra, but each of his parishes was a flour for the boy, for the farewell mother had to take her kiss with her from the dining room to the bedroom. The greatest event in Marcel’s life occurred when he was sent to bed earlier than always. He did not have time to say goodbye to his mother and tried to call her a note sent through the cook to Françoise, but this maneuver failed. Deciding to get a kiss at any cost, Marcel waited for Swan to leave and went out in a nightgown to the stairs. This was an unheard-of violation of the routine, but the father, who was irritated by the “sentiments”, suddenly understood the state of his son. Mom spent all night in the sobbing Marcel’s room. When the boy calmed down a little, she began to read to him the novel George Sand, lovingly chosen for the grandson by the grandmother.
For a long time, Marcel, waking up at night, recalled the past fragmentary: he saw only the scenery of his care to sleep – the staircase along which it was so difficult to climb, and the bedroom with the glass door to the corridor where the mother came from. In fact, the rest of the Combray died for him, for no matter how much the desire to resurrect the past intensifies, it always eludes. But when Marcel felt the taste of a biscuit soaked in lime tea, suddenly flowers appeared in the garden from the cup, the hawthorn in the park of Swann, the water lilies of Vivona, the good inhabitants of Combray and the bell tower of the Church of St. Ilaria.
This biscuit was treated to Marcel’s aunt Leonia in those days when the family spent Easter and summer vacations in Combray. Auntie inspired herself that she was terminally ill: after her husband’s death she did not rise from the bed that stood at the window. Her favorite pastime was to watch the passers-by and discuss the events of the local life with the cook Françoise – a woman of the kindest soul, who at the same time knew how to cool the neck of the chicken coolly and survive the dishwasher dishonest to her.
Marcel loved summer walks in the outskirts of Combray. The family had two favorite routes: one was called “the direction to Mezegliz”, and the second – “the direction of the Germans,” the descendants of the famous Genevieve of Brabant. Children’s impressions remained in the soul for ever: many times Marcel was convinced that he was truly pleased only by those people and those objects that he encountered in Combray. The direction to Mezeglis with its lilacs, hawthorn and cornflowers, direction to Hermant with a river, water-lilies and buttercups created an eternal image of the country of fabulous bliss. Undoubtedly, it was the reason for many mistakes and disappointments: sometimes Marcel dreamed of seeing someone just because this man reminded him of the flowering hawthorn bush in the park of Swann.
All the further life of Marcel was connected with what he had learned or seen in the Combray. Communication with the engineer Legenden gave the boy the first concept of snobbery: this pleasant, amiable person did not want to greet Marcel’s relatives in public, because he was related to aristocrats. The teacher of music Venteil ceased to visit the house, so as not to meet with Swann, whom he despised for marrying a kokotka. Venteil did not see the soul in his only daughter. When a girlfriend came to this somewhat masculine-looking girlfriend, they began talking openly about their strange relations. Venteil suffered unspeakably – perhaps, the daughter’s bad reputation before the term brought him to the grave. In the autumn of that year, when Aunt Leonia finally died, Marseille witnessed a disgusting scene in Montjuven: a friend of Mademoiselle Venteil spat in the photo of the late musician.
Of all the schoolmates, Marcel preferred Blok, who was welcome in the house, despite the obvious pretentiousness of manners. True, Grandfather chuckled at the grandson’s sympathy for the Jews. The block recommended Marcel to read Bergot, and this writer made such an impression on the boy that it was his cherished dream to get to know him. When Svan said that Bergot was friendly with his daughter, Marcel’s heart froze – only an extraordinary girl could earn such happiness. At the first meeting in the Tansonville park, Gilberta looked at Marcel with an unseeing glance-obviously it was an absolutely inaccessible creature. The relatives of the boy, however, paid attention only to the fact that Mrs. Svan, in the absence of her husband, shamelessly accepts Baron de Charlus.
But the greatest shock was experienced by Marcel in the Combeil church on the day the Duchess of Hermantine deigned to attend the divine service. Externally, this lady with a big nose and blue eyes almost did not differ from other women, but she was surrounded by a mythical aureole – before Marcel one of the legendary Germantins appeared. Passionately fell in love with the duchess, the boy reflected on how to win her favor. It was then that dreams were born of a literary career.
Only many years after his departure from Combra, Marcel learned about Swan’s love. Odette de Crecy was the only woman in the Verdurenov’s salon, where only the “faithful” were accepted, those who thought Dr. Kotar a luminous wisdom and admired the play of the pianist, who was currently supported by Mrs. Verduren. The artist, nicknamed “maestro Bish” was supposed to regret for the rude and vulgar style of writing. Swann was considered an inveterate heartthrob, but Odette was not at all his type. However, he was pleased to think that she was in love with him. Odette introduced him to the Verdurenov’s “clan”, and he gradually got used to seeing her every day. Once it seemed to him a resemblance to the picture of Botticelli, and when the Sonata of Venteille sounded, a real passion flared up. Having neglected his previous studies, Svan ceased to be in the light – now all his thoughts were absorbed by Odette. The first affinity came after he corrected the orchid on her bodice – from that moment they had the expression “orchid”. The tunic of their love was the wondrous musical phrase of Wenteille, which, according to Swann, could not belong to the “old fool” of Combray. Soon, Swann began to be madly jealous of Odette. The Count of Forshwil, in love with her, mentioned the aristocratic acquaintances of Swann, and this overwhelmed the patience of Madame Verduren, who always suspected that Svan was ready to “pull” from her salon. After his “disgrace” Svan lost the opportunity to see Odette at the Verdurins. He was jealous of her all men and calmed down only when she was in the company of Baron de Charlus. Hearing the Ventais sonata again, Svan could hardly restrain the cry of pain: not to return already that beautiful time when Odette loved him madly. The obsession was gradual. The beautiful face of the Marquise de Govozo, who was born Legenden, reminded Svan of the saving Combray, and he suddenly saw Odette as she is-unlike Botticelli’s. How could it happen that he killed several years of life for a woman who, in fact, did not even like him?
Marcel would never have gone to Balbec if Swann had not praised the local church there in the “Persian” style. And in Paris Svan became the boy’s “father Gilberta.” Francoise was driving her pet to walk on the Champs-Elysees, where she played a girlish “flock” led by Gilberto. Marcel was accepted into the company, and he fell in love with Gilbert even more. He was fascinated by the beauty of Madame Swann, and the talk about her aroused curiosity. Once upon a time this woman was called Odette de Crecy.
Under the shadow of the girls in bloom
The first family dinner with the Marquis de Norpois has been remembered for a long time by Marcel. It was this rich aristocrat who persuaded his parents to let the boy go to the theater. The Marquis approved Marcel’s intention to devote himself to literature, but criticized his first sketches, Bergotte called the “flutist” for excessive infatuation with the beauty of the style. The visit to the theater turned out to be a huge disappointment. Marcel thought that the great Berma did not add to the perfection of “Phaedra” – only later he was able to appreciate the noble restraint of her game.
Dr. Kotar was very close to Swanam – he introduced his young patient to them. From the caustic remarks of the Marquis de Norpois to Marseilles, the herd is clear that the current Svan is very different from the former, which has been delicately silent about its high-society ties, not wanting to put the bourgeois neighbors in an embarrassing position. Now Svan turned into “Odette’s husband” and bragged at all intersections with the success of his wife. Apparently, he made another attempt to win the aristocratic Saint-Germain suburb for Odette, once expelled from a decent society. But the most cherished dream of Swann was to introduce his wife and daughter to the salon of the Duchess of Hermant.
At Svanov Marcel finally saw Borgoth. The great elder of his childhood dreams appeared in the form of a squat man with a crustacean nose. Marcel was so shocked that he almost fell out of love with the books of Bergot – they fell in his eyes, along with the value of the Beautiful and the value of life. Only in time, Marcel realized how difficult it is to recognize genius and what a tremendous role public opinion plays here: for example, Marcel’s parents did not listen first to Dr. Cotard’s advice, which first suspected asthma of a boy, but then became convinced that this vulgar and stupid person is a great clinician. When Bergot praised Marcel’s abilities, the mother and father immediately became imbued with respect for the old writer’s insight, although formerly they gave unconditional preference to the judgments of the Marquis de Norpois,
The love for Gilberte brought complete pain to Marcel. At some point, the girl became obviously burdened by his company, and he undertook a roundabout maneuver in order to reawaken interest in himself – began to go to the Swanns only at the time when she was not at home. Odette played him a sonata of Venteil, and in this divine music he guessed the secret of love – an incomprehensible and unrequited feeling. Unable to withstand, Marcel decided to see Gilberta again, but she appeared accompanied by a “young man” – much later it turned out that it was a girl, Tortured by jealousy, Marcel managed to convince himself that he fell out of love with Gilberto. He himself had already acquired the experience of communicating with women thanks to Blok, who took him to a “gay house”. One of the prostitutes was distinguished by a pronounced Jewish appearance: the hostess immediately dubbed her Rachel,
Two years later Marcel came with his grandmother to Balbec. To Gilbert, he was already completely indifferent and felt as if he were cured of a serious illness. In the church there was nothing “Persian”, and he survived the collapse of yet another illusion. But at the Grand Hotel, he was waiting for a lot of surprises. The Normandy coast was a favorite vacation spot for aristocrats: my grandmother met the Marquis de Villeparizi and after long hesitation introduced her grandson to her. In this way. Marcel was admitted to the “higher spheres” and soon became acquainted with the grand-nephew of the Marquis, Robert de Saint-Loup. The young and handsome officer first unpleasantly struck Marcel with his arrogance. Then it turned out that he has a gentle and trusting soul – Marcel once again saw how deceiving the first impression is. Young people swore to each other in eternal friendship. Most of all, Robert appreciated the joy of intellectual communication: there was not a drop of snobbery in him, although he belonged to the family of the Germans. His unspeakably excruciated separation from his mistress. He spent all the money on his Parisian actress, and she told him to leave for a while – he was so annoying her. Meanwhile, Robert enjoyed great success with women: indeed, he himself said that in this respect he was far from his uncle, Baron Palameda de Charlus, whom Marcel had yet to meet. First, the young man took the baron for a thief or for a madman, for he looked at him with a very strange, piercing and simultaneously elusive gaze. De Charles showed great interest in Marcel and even paid attention to my grandmother, who was concerned only with one thing – the poor health and morbidity of her grandson. Most of all, Robert appreciated the joy of intellectual communication: there was not a drop of snobbery in him, although he belonged to the family of the Germans. His unspeakably excruciated separation from his mistress. He spent all the money on his Parisian actress, and she told him to leave for a while – he was so annoying her. Meanwhile, Robert enjoyed great success with women: indeed, he himself said that in this respect he was far from his uncle, Baron Palameda de Charlus, whom Marcel had yet to meet. First, the young man took the baron for a thief or for a madman, for he looked at him with a very strange, piercing and simultaneously elusive gaze. De Charles showed great interest in Marcel and even paid attention to my grandmother, who was concerned only with one thing – the poor health and morbidity of her grandson. Most of all, Robert appreciated the joy of intellectual communication: there was not a drop of snobbery in him, although he belonged to the family of the Germans. His unspeakably excruciated separation from his mistress. He spent all the money on his Parisian actress, and she told him to leave for a while – he was so annoying her. Meanwhile, Robert enjoyed great success with women: indeed, he himself said that in this respect he was far from his uncle, Baron Palameda de Charlus, whom Marcel had yet to meet. First, the young man took the baron for a thief or for a madman, for he looked at him with a very strange, piercing and simultaneously elusive gaze. De Charles showed great interest in Marcel and even paid attention to my grandmother, who was concerned only with one thing – the poor health and morbidity of her grandson. there was not a single snobbery in him, although he belonged to the Germanic family. His unspeakably excruciated separation from his mistress. He spent all the money on his Parisian actress, and she told him to leave for a while – he was so annoying her. Meanwhile, Robert enjoyed great success with women: indeed, he himself said that in this respect he was far from his uncle, Baron Palameda de Charlus, whom Marcel had yet to meet. First, the young man took the baron for a thief or for a madman, for he looked at him with a very strange, piercing and simultaneously elusive gaze. De Charles showed great interest in Marcel and even paid attention to my grandmother, who was concerned only with one thing – the poor health and morbidity of her grandson. there was not a single snobbery in him, although he belonged to the Germanic family. His unspeakably excruciated separation from his mistress. He spent all the money on his Parisian actress, and she told him to leave for a while – he was so annoying her. Meanwhile, Robert enjoyed great success with women: indeed, he himself said that in this respect he was far from his uncle, Baron Palameda de Charlus, whom Marcel had yet to meet. First, the young man took the baron for a thief or for a madman, for he looked at him with a very strange, piercing and simultaneously elusive gaze. De Charles showed great interest in Marcel and even paid attention to my grandmother, who was concerned only with one thing – the poor health and morbidity of her grandson. and she told him to leave for the time being – so much did he irritate her. Meanwhile, Robert enjoyed great success with women: indeed, he himself said that in this respect he was far from his uncle, Baron Palameda de Charlus, whom Marcel had yet to meet. First, the young man took the baron for a thief or for a madman, for he looked at him with a very strange, piercing and simultaneously elusive gaze. De Charles showed great interest in Marcel and even paid attention to my grandmother, who was concerned only with one thing – the poor health and morbidity of her grandson. and she told him to leave for the time being – so much did he irritate her. Meanwhile, Robert enjoyed great success with women: indeed, he himself said that in this respect he was far from his uncle, Baron Palameda de Charlus, whom Marcel had yet to meet. First, the young man took the baron for a thief or for a madman, for he looked at him with a very strange, piercing and simultaneously elusive gaze. De Charles showed great interest in Marcel and even paid attention to my grandmother, who was concerned only with one thing – the poor health and morbidity of her grandson. First, the young man took the baron for a thief or for a madman, for he looked at him with a very strange, piercing and simultaneously elusive gaze. De Charles showed great interest in Marcel and even paid attention to my grandmother, who was concerned only with one thing – the poor health and morbidity of her grandson. First, the young man took the baron for a thief or for a madman, for he looked at him with a very strange, piercing and simultaneously elusive gaze. De Charles showed great interest in Marcel and even paid attention to my grandmother, who was concerned only with one thing – the poor health and morbidity of her grandson.
Never before had Marcel felt such tenderness towards his grandmother. Only once she disappointed him: Saint-Louis offered to be photographed for memory, and Marcel with annoyance noted the vanity of the old woman’s desire to look better. Many years later, he will understand that my grandmother already had a premonition of her own demise. A person is not given to know even the closest people.
On the beach, Marcel saw a company of dazzlingly young girls, similar to a flock of gay gulls. One of them jumped over the frightened old banker with a running start. At first Marcel could hardly distinguish them: they all seemed to him beautiful, bold, cruel. A full-cheeked girl in a bicycle cap, pulled over her eyebrows, suddenly looked at him sideways – did she somehow distinguish him from the vast universe? He began to wonder what they were doing. Judging by their behavior, they were spoiled girls, which inspired the hope of intimacy – it was only necessary to decide which one to choose. At the Grand Hotel, Marcel heard the name that struck him – Albertina Simone. This was the name of one of Gilberta Swan’s school friends.
Saint-Loup and Marcel often visited a fashionable restaurant in Rivne. Once they saw in the hall of the artist Elstir, about which something told Svan. Elstir was already famous, although the real glory came to him later. He invited Marcel to himself, and he reluctantly gave in to his grandmother’s request to pay the courtesy duty, for his thoughts were hushed up by Albertina Simone. It turned out that the artist knows the girls from the beach company perfectly – they were all from very decent and well-off families. Struck by this news, Marcel nearly cooled to them. Another discovery awaited him: in the workshop he saw the portrait of Odette de Crecy and immediately remembered the stories of Swann – Elstir was a frequent visitor to the Verdurenov’s salon, where he was called “maestro Bish”, The artist easily admitted this and added that he wasted a few years in the light life.
Elstir arranged a “reception with tea?”, And Marcel met finally with Albertina Simone. He was disappointed, for he hardly recognized the merry, full-cheeked girl in a bicycle cap. Albertina was too much like other young beauties. But even more struck by Marcel was the shy, delicate André, whom he considered the most daring and resolute of the whole “flock” – after all, it was she who nearly frightened the old man on the beach.
Both girls liked Marcel. For a while he hesitated between them, not knowing which one was the nicest, but once Albertina threw him a note with a declaration of love, and it resolved the matter. He even imagined that he had obtained consent for intimacy, but his first attempt ended pitifully: Marcel, who had lost his head, came to his senses when Albertina began to yank violently at the cord of the bell. The stunned girl told him later that none of her boyfriends had ever allowed herself such a thing.
Summer is over, and a sad time of departure has come. Albertina left as one of the first. And in the memory of Marcel forever remained a flock of young girls on the sandy beach strip.
The Marcel family moved to the wing of the Hermant’s Mansion. Children’s dreams seemed to come to life, but never before did the border between the Saint-Germain suburb and the rest of the world seem so insurmountable to the youth. Marcel tried to attract the attention of the Duchess, waiting for her every way out of the house. Francoise also showed great interest in the “lower”, as she called the hosts of the house, and often talked about them with her neighbor, Giupien, a waistcoat. In Paris, Marcel came to the conclusion that snobbery is an indispensable sign of human nature: at all times people are eager to approach the “strengths of this world,” and sometimes this aspiration turns into a mania.
Marcel’s dreams became flesh when he received an invitation from the Marquis de Villeparizi. The magical circle of Germantov opened before him. In anticipation of this important event, Marcel decided to visit Robert de Saint-Loup, whose regiment quartered in Donsier.
Saint-Lou was still absorbed in his passion for his actress. This woman revolved in intellectual circles: under her influence, Robert became a fierce defender... of Dreyfus, while other officers mostly accused the “traitor”.
For Marseilles stay in Donsier was beneficial. Exhausted by the unrequited love of the Duchess of Hermann, he found on the table of Robert’s card “Aunt Oriana” and begged his friend to put in a word for him. Robert agreed without further ado – indeed, the ardent recommendation of the nephew did not impress the duchess. And Marcel experienced one of the greatest shocks in his life when Robert finally introduced him to his mistress. It was Rachel, “Rachel, you are given to me,” which Marcel did not consider as a man. In the house of tolerance, she was given only twenty francs, and now Saint-Louis threw her thousands for the right to be torn and deceived. Like Swann, Saint-Lu was not able to understand the true nature of Rachel and suffered severely because of a woman who was much lower than him in development,
At the reception of the Marquis de Villeparizi, the main topic for conversation was the Dreyfus affair, which split the country into two camps. Marcel saw in it another confirmation of the fluidity and variability of human nature. Mrs. Swan turned into a virulent anti-driftfacar when she realized that this was the best way to penetrate the Saint Germain suburb. And Robert de Saint-Loup announced to Marcel that he did not want to get acquainted with Odette, as this slut tries to pass for the nationalist of her Jewish husband. But the most original approach was demonstrated by Baron de Charlus: since no Jew can become a Frenchman, Dreyfus can not be accused of treason – he just broke the laws of hospitality. Marcel noted with interest that the servants are imbued with the views of their masters: thus, his own butler was a mountain behind Dreyfus, while the butler of Germantov was an antidreyfusar.
Upon his return home, Marcel learned that his grandmother was very ill. Bergot recommended to address a well-known neurologist, and he convinced his family that his grandmother’s illness was caused by self-hypnosis. Mom very opportunely remembered about Aunt Leonia, and my grandmother was ordered to walk more. On the Champs Elysees, she had an easy blow-Marcel thought she was fighting off an invisible angel. The right diagnosis was put by Professor E. – it was a hopeless stage of uremia.
Grandmother died painfully: she struggled in convulsions, gasped, suffered from unbearable pain. She was given morphine and oxygen, made cauterizations, put leeches and brought to the point that she tried to throw herself out of the window. Marcel suffered from his impotence, and life in the meantime continued: relatives were talking about the weather, Francoise in advance took measurements for the mourning dress, and Saint-Lu chose this moment to send a friend an angry letter, apparently inspired by Rachel. Only Bergot, who was seriously ill himself, spent long hours in the house, trying to console Marcel. The dead face of my grandmother, as if transformed by a sculptor-death cutter, struck Marcel – it was young, like a girl.
The Duke of Hermant expressed his condolences to the native of Marseilles, and soon the young man received a long-awaited invitation to the house of his idols. In the meantime, Robert de Saint-Loup finally broke with Rachel and reconciled with a friend. In the life of Marcel again entered Albertina, greatly changed and matured after Balbek. From now on, one could have hoped for a physical intimacy, which brought to Marcel an unspeakable pleasure – he seemed to be free of all his anxieties.
Undoubtedly, the Germans were a very special breed of people, and now Marcel could look closer to them, highlighting the inherent features of each. The duke constantly betrayed his wife: in fact, he loved only one type of feminine beauty and was in the eternal search for the ideal. The Duchess was famous for her wit and arrogance. But the most mysterious of all was the brother of the duke – Baron de Charlus. Even at the reception of the Marquise de Villeparizi, he invited the young man to his place, but this was opposed by the extremely anxious mistress of the house. At the request of Saint-Louis, Marcel nevertheless went to the baron, who suddenly attacked him, accusing him of treachery and negligence. Furious Marcel, not daring to raise his hand to a man older than himself, grabbed a cylinder lying on a chair and began to tear it, and then trampled it with his feet. De Charlus suddenly calmed down, and the incident was over.
Two months later, Marcel received an invitation from the Princess of Germany and at first thought that this malicious joke – the salon of the beautiful princess was the summit of the Saint Germain suburb. Marcel tried to question the duke, but he waved off his request, not wanting to get into an embarrassing situation. At the Duke Marcel met Swann, who looked quite sick. On an invitation to go to Italy, he replied that he would not live to see the summer. The Duke, who was going to a costume ball, was extremely displeased with Swann’s “tactlessness” – at the moment he was worried only by the fact that the duchess put on red shoes to a black dress.
Sodom and Gomorrah
Marcel opened the secret to de Charles, becoming an unwitting witness to the love pantomime. At the sight of Jupien, the haughty aristocrat suddenly whined backwards and began to build his eyes, and the waistcoat gaily drew himself up and reached out to the baron, like an orchid to the unexpectedly flown bumblebee. Both instantly recognized each other, although they had never met before. The shroud fell from the eyes of Marcel: all the strangeness of de Charles immediately received an explanation. It was not by chance that the baron liked to compare himself with the caliph from Arabian fairy tales, who was walking around Baghdad in the clothes of a street vendor: the inhabitant of Sodom lives in a world where the most fantastic connections become reality – a homosexual can throw the duchess for the sake of a swindled swindler.
At the Hermitage-Bavarian Princess Marcel met Professor E. Upon learning of the death of his grandmother, he was delighted – his diagnosis was correctly put. Marcel followed with interest the maneuvers of Baron de Charlus, who jealously caressed women, but escorted the piercingly glancing eyes of all the beautiful young men. Guests enthusiastically discussed the news of the day: the prince, known for his anti-Semitism, immediately carried Swan into the garden with the obvious intention to refuse home. Marcel was struck by the cowardice of the high society ladies; The Duchess of Hermanns felt sorry for “sweet Charles,” but was afraid even to say hello to him. And the Duke rebuked Swann for his ingratitude: his friend should not become a driftful. The rumors were exaggerated; the prince chose to defend Dreyfus alone with Swann, for he did not dare to do it openly. When Swann appeared again.
Relations with Albertina moved to a new stage – Marcel Started to suspect that she was leading some other life hidden from him. He decided to resort to the already tested reception and for a while to part with the girl. Mrs. Verduren has strengthened her position in society so much that she could afford to rent the Marquise de Govozho’s castle, located next to Balbec, for the summer. Marcel came here in pursuit of memories, and memory overtook him: when he bent down to tie his shoelaces, he became sick from the attack of suffocation, and before him suddenly a grandmother appeared, about which he almost forgot. Grandmother was always his savior and support, and he dared to read her moral teachings in Donsier! The unfortunate card tore at his soul, and he realized that he would give everything in the world, if only to return the beloved being. But he saw a real grief when an aging mother came to him:
Albertine appeared in Balbec, but Marcel first avoided her. He began to visit the “Wednesdays” of the Verdurins to listen to the music of Venteil. The old pianist died and was replaced by the handsome violinist Charles Morel. Baron de Charlus, in love with Morel, condescended to the Verdurenov salon, who at first treated him haughtily, for they did not suspect his high standing in society. When the Baron noticed that the best of their guests would not have been allowed to go beyond the hallway of his brother’s duke, Dr. Kotar told the “faithful” that Mrs. Verduren was a secured woman, and compared to her, the Princess of Hermantine was simply a gimmick. Mrs. Verduren kept anger at the Baron, but before Time he endured his antics.
Marcel began to meet again with Albertina, and jealousy flared with the same strength – it seemed to him that the girl flirted with both Morel and Saint-Loup. However, the thought of Gomorrah did not occur to him until he saw Albertina and Andre dance, hugging each other’s chest. True, Albertina indignantly rejected the very possibility of such a connection, but Marcel felt that he lives in the atmosphere of a widespread vice – so, Blok’s cousin lived with the actress, shocking her scandalous whole Balbec.
Gradually Marcel came to the conviction that he should break with his lover. Mom did not approve of this connection, and Francoise, despising Albertina for poverty, insisted that the young master would not get into trouble with this girl. Marcel waited only for an excuse, but an unforeseen happened; when he mentioned his desire to listen to the latest vestiges of Ventueyl, Albertina said that she knows the daughter of the composer and her friend well-she considers these girls as her “older sisters”, because she learned a lot from them. Shocked, Marcel seemed to have seen the long-forgotten scene in Montjuvena in a waking state: memories drowsed in him like a formidable avenger-it was retribution for failing to save his grandmother. From now on, the image of Albertia will be connected for him not with the waves of the sea, but with a spittle in the photo of Ventheil. Presenting the beloved in the arms of a lesbian, he burst into tears of impotent rage and announced to his terrified mother that he needed to marry Albertine. When the girl agreed to settle with him, he kissed her as chaste as kissing his mother in Combra.
Marcel, exhausted by passion and jealousy, imprisoned Albertina in her apartment. When jealousy subsided, he realized that he no longer loves his girlfriend. In his opinion, she was greatly deceived and in any case could not reveal anything new to him. When the jealousy flared up again, the love turned into a flour. Before, it seemed to Marcel that Gomorrah was in Balbec, but in Paris he was convinced that Gomorrah had spread all over the world. Once Albertina, without opening her eyes, tenderly called Andre, and all suspicions of Marcel came to life. Only a sleeping girl caused him the former delight – he admired her as Elstir’s canvases, but at the same time was tormented by the fact that she slipped into the realm of dreams. The physical closeness of satisfaction did not bring, for Marcel thirsted to possess a soul that was never given into the hands. In fact, this one. communication became a burdensome burden: constant supervision demanded his presence, and he could not realize his old dream – to go to Venice. But Albertine’s kiss had the same healing power as my mother’s kiss in Combra.
Marcel was convinced that the girl constantly lies to him – sometimes even without reason. For example, she said that she saw Bergot on the same day that the old writer died. Bergot has long been sick, almost never left the house and only accepted his closest friends. Once he caught an article about the picture of Vermeer’s “View of Delft” with a description of an amazing yellow wall. Bergot adored Vermeer, but this detail did not remember. He went to the exhibition, glared at the yellow spot, and then he was hit by the first blow. The old man nevertheless reached the sofa, and then slid to the floor – when he was raised, he was dead.
At the Hermant’s mansion Marcel often met Baron de Charlus and Morel, who went to drink tea to Jupien. The violinist fell in love with the niece of a waistcoat, and the baron encouraged this connection-it seemed to him that the married Morel would depend more on his bounty. Wanting to introduce a favorite in the higher society, de Charlus arranged a reception with Verdurenov – the violinist was supposed to play Septet Ventueil, rescued from oblivion by a friend of his daughter, who did a titanic work, figuring out the scribbles of the late composer. Marcel listened to the septet in silent reverence: thanks to Ventel, he discovered unknown worlds – only art is capable of such insights.
De Charles behaved like a host, and his noble guests did not pay nickname
Wow, attention to Madame Verduren – only the Queen of Naples treated her kindly out of respect for her relative. Marcel knew that the Verdurins had set Morel against the Baron, but he did not dare interfere. There was an ugly scene: Morel publicly accused his patron in an attempt to seduce him, and de Charlus froze in amazement in the “pose of a frightened nymph.” However, Queen Neapolitan quickly put on the place of upstarts, dared to insult one of the Germans. And Marcel returned home, full of malice towards Albertina: now he understood why the girl so asked to let her go to the Verdurins – in this salon she could have met with Mademoiselle Venteil and her friend without hindrance.
Constant reproaches of Marcel led to the fact that Albertina three times refused to kiss him at night. Then she suddenly softened and gently said farewell to her lover. Marcel fell asleep pacified, because he made the final decision – tomorrow he will go to Venice and get rid of Albertina forever. In the morning Francoise announced to the owner with undisguised pleasure that mademoiselle had packed her bags and left.
Man does not know himself. Françoise’s words caused such unbearable pain to Marcel that he decided to return Albertin by any means. He became aware that she lives with her aunt, in Touraine. He sent her a fake-indifferent letter, while asking Saint-Lu to influence her relatives. Albertina was extremely unhappy with Robert’s rude interference. The exchange of letters began, and Marcel could not stand it first – sent a desperate telegram with a plea to come immediately. He was immediately brought a telegram from Touraine: her aunt reported that Albertina had died, having fallen from a horse and struck a tree.
Marcel’s torments did not stop: Albertine had to break not only in Touraine, but also in his heart, and forget not one, but countless Albertine. He went to Balbec and ordered the head waiter Aime to find out how Albertina behaved, living with her aunt. The worst of his suspicions were confirmed: according to Eme, Albertina repeatedly got lesbian connections. Marcel began to question André: at first the girl denied everything, but later admitted that Albertina had betrayed Marcel and Morel and herself. During another meeting with Andre, Marcel joyfully felt the first signs of recovery. Gradually, the memory of Albertine became fragmentary and ceased to cause pain. This was facilitated by external events. The first article by Marcel was published in Figaro. At the Germans he met Gilbert Svan – now Mademoiselle de Forschwil. After the death of her husband, Odette married her old admirer. Gilbert turned into one of the richest heiresses, and in the Saint Germain suburb suddenly noticed how well she was brought up and what a charming woman she promised to become. Poor Svan did not live up to the fulfillment of his cherished dream: his wife and daughter were now accepted by the Germans – true, Gilbert got rid of both the Jewish family name and the Jewish friends of his father.
But full recovery came in Venice, where Marcel was taken by her mother. The beauty of this city had a life-giving power: it was impressions similar to the Combray, but only much more vivid. Only once the dead love aroused: Marcel was brought a telegram in which Albertina informed him of her forthcoming wedding. He managed to convince himself that he no longer wants to think about her, even if she by some miracle stayed alive. Before leaving, it became clear that the telegram was sent by Gilbert: in her pretentious painting the title “F” looked like a gothic “A”. Gilbert married Robert de Saint-Loup, who was rumored that he had stepped on the path of a family vice. Marcel did not want to believe this, but soon had to admit the obvious. Robert’s lover was Morel, which greatly angered Jupien, who remained faithful to the baron. At one time, Saint-Louis told Marcel that he would marry his Balbec girlfriend if he had a good fortune. Only now the meaning of these words is quite clear: Robert belonged to Sodom, and Albertine – Gomorra.
The young couple settled in Tansonville – the former estate of Swann. Marcel came to places so memorable to him to console the unfortunate Gilbert. Robert advertised ties with women, wanting to hide his real inclinations and imitating his uncle – Baron de Charles. Everything changed in Combra. Legenden, now akin to the Germans, usurped the title of Count de Mezegliz. Vivona seemed to Marcel narrow and ugly – was it really this walk that gave him such pleasure? And Gilbert unexpectedly confessed that she fell in love with Marcel at first sight, but he pushed her with his stern look. Marcel suddenly realized that the truth of Gilbert and the true Albertine were ready to surrender to him at the first meeting – he himself spoiled everything, himself “missed” them, unable to understand, and then frightened by his demandingness.
Marcel again visits Tansonville and makes long walks with Madame de Saint-Loup, and then goes to sleep before dinner. Once, in the brief moment of awakening from sleep, he imagines that Albertine, who has long since died, lies nearby. Love is gone forever, but the memory of the body was stronger.
Marcel reads the “Diary of the Goncourts,” and his attention is drawn to the Record of the evening at Verdurenov. Under the pen of the Goncourts they appear not as vulgar bourgeois, but as romantic aesthetes: their friend was the most intelligent and highly educated doctor of Kotar, and they were lovingly called the great Elstir “maestro Bish”. Marcel can not hide his astonishment, for it was these two who despised poor Svan with his vulgar judgments. Yes, and he knew Verdurenov much better than Goncourt, but did not notice any merit in their salon. Does this lack of observation? He wants to once again visit this “amazing clan”. At the same time, he feels agonizing doubts about his literary talent.
The aggravation of asthma forces Marcel to leave society. He is treated in a sanatorium and returns to Paris in 1916, at the height of the war. In the Saint-Germain suburb no one remembers the Dreyfus affair – all this happened in prehistoric times. Mrs. Verduren has greatly strengthened her position in the world. The short-sighted Blok, who was not threatened with mobilization, turned into an ardent nationalist, and Robert de Saint-Loup, who despised ostentatious patriotism, perished in the first months of the war. Marcel receives another letter from Gilberta: she used to admit that she fled to Tansonville for fear of bombing, but now she claims that she wanted to defend her castle with a weapon in her hands. According to her, the Germans lost more than one hundred thousand people in the Battle of Mezegliz.
Baron de Charlès threw open the challenge to the Saint Germain land, defending Germany from adjustments, and the patriots immediately remembered that his mother was the Duchess of Bavaria. Mrs. Verduren declared publicly that he was either an Austrian or a Prussian, and his relative Queen Neapolitan was an unquestionable spy. The Baron remained faithful to his perverted habits, and Marcel becomes witness to the masochistic orgies in the hotel, bought by him in the name of the former waistcoat Jupien. Under the roar of falling German bombs, de Charlus prophesies to Paris the fate of Pompeii and Herculaneum, destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius. Marcel recollects the death of biblical Sodom and Gomorrah.
Marcel once again leaves for the sanatorium and returns to Paris after the war. In light of it, he was not forgotten: he receives two invitations – from Princess Hermant and actress Berm. Like the whole aristocratic Paris, he chooses the salon of the princess. Berma remains alone in the empty living room: even her daughter and her son-in-law sneak out of the house, turning to patronize her happy and incompetent rival, Rachel. Marcel is convinced that time is a great destroyer. Going to the princess, he sees an absolutely decrepit baron de Charles: after surviving an apoplectic attack, he semen with great difficulty – Jupien leads him like a small child.
The title of Princess Hermantse belongs to Madame Verduren. Widowed, she married the prince’s cousin, and after his death – for the prince himself, who had lost both his wife and fortune. She managed to climb to the very top of the Saint-Germain suburb, and the “clan” is again assembled in her salon – but the herd is much more “loyal” to her. Marcel understands that he himself has also changed. Young people treat him with emphatic reverence, and the Duchess of Germany calls him “an old friend.” Arrogant Oriana accepts actresses and is humiliated before Rachel, who once used to abuse. It seems to Marcel that he was on a costume ball. How dramatically the Saint-Germain suburb has changed! Everything here is mixed up, as in a kaleidoscope, and only a few are unshakable: for example, The Duke of Germany in his eighty-three years still hunts women, and her last mistress was Odette, who seemed to “freeze” her beauty and looks younger than her own daughter. When a fat lady greets Marcel, he hardly recognizes Gilbert in her.
Marcel is experiencing a period of collapse of illusions – the hopes of creating something significant in literature have died. But it is worth it to stumble over the uneven plates of the yard, how longing and anxiety disappear without a trace. He strains the memory, and he remembers the Cathedral of St. Mark in Venice, where there were exactly the same uneven plates. Combray and Venice have the ability to bring happiness, but it is pointless to return there in search of lost time. The dead past comes alive at the sight of Mademoiselle de Saint-Loup. In this girl, the daughter of Gilbert and Robert, as if two directions merge: Mezegliz – according to grandfather, Hermant – by father. The first leads to Combray, and the second to Balbec, where Marcel would never have gone if Svan had not told him about the “Persian” church. And then he would not have met with Saint-Loup and would not have got into Saint-Germain’s precast. And Albertina? After all, Svan instilled Marcel’s love for the music of Venteil. If Marcel had not mentioned the composer’s name in conversation with Albertina, he would never have found out that she was friends with his lesbian daughter. And then there would be no imprisonment that ended with the flight and death of the beloved.
Realizing the essence of the planned work, Marcel is horrified: does he have enough time? Now he blesses his illness, although every walk to the Champs-Elysees can be his last, as happened with his grandmother. How much energy was wasted on the scattered life in the light! And everything was decided on that unforgettable night when my mother disowned – just then the decline of will and health began. In the mansion of the Prince of Germany, Marcel clearly hears the steps of the parents accompanying the guest to the gate, and the rattle of the bell, which announces that Svan has finally left. Now mom will climb the ladder – this is the only point of reference in boundless Time.