The actress Berma, the author Bergotte, the painter Elstir and the composer Vinteuil each deserve a portrait. Basin, Duc de Guermantes, and the Prince and Princess de Guermantes in their various incarnations must hang in the gallery. Monsieur Norpois and Mme de Villeparisis are necessary; the Princesses de Parme and Luxembourg; (or were they the same person?) perhaps not so much. Mme Verdurin needs M. Verdurin along with rest of the “little clan”: the Cottards, Brichot, Ski, Princess Sherbatoff and Saniette. The Bontemps and the Marsantes, the Cambremers and Mme de Saint–Euverte must round out society with the Arpajons, the Ambresacs and Gri-gri Agrigente. Forcheville must be there for Odette and Gilberte. Rachel the actress, Mme Stermaria, Andrée, of the “little band at Balbec”, and Bloch, Albert the nephew and even his uncle Saloman need a place. Jupien and Jupien’s niece (or is it his daughter?), and Charles Morel must surround and support the Baron de Charlus. And it would be pointless without portraits of the manager of the Grand Hotel, of the lift boy, and of Mme Putbus’s maid.
Except for Nadar’s photograph of Marcel and his mother, the 56 portraits here are of course imaginative. That they each share some resemblance is a measure of how much each is a facet of Marcel’s soul: In the end we must have faith in Marcel’s diligence and sincerity, (and sense of humor), as well as our own.
~4 July 2008
the water-closet attendant on the Champs-Elysées.
hoping Charlus does not recall their moment in the train station.
At a bend in the road I experienced, suddenly, that special pleasure which was unlike any other, on catching sight of the twin steeples of Martinville, bathed in the setting sun and constantly changing their position with the movement of the carriage and the windings of the road, and then of a third steeple, that of Vieuxvicq, which, although separated from them by a hill and a valley, and rising from rather higher ground in the distance, appeared nonetheless to be standing by their side.
“… a band of red sky above the sea, compact and clear-cut as a layer of aspic over meat, then, a little later, over a sea already cold and steel-blue like a gray mullet, a sky of the same pink as the salmon that we should presently be ordering at Rivebelle, reawakened my pleasure in dressing to go out to dinner.”