"Wholly occupied with what her companions were saying, had she seen me - this young girl in the polo-cap pulled down very low over his forehead - at the moment in which the dark ray emanating from her eyes had fallen on me? If she had seen me, what could I have represented to her? From the depths of what universe did she discern me?
"If we thought that the eyes of such a girl were merely two glittering sequins of mica, we should not be athirst to know her and to unite her life to ours. But we sense that what shines in those reflecting discs is not solely to their material composition; that it is, unknown to us, the dark shadows of the ideas that that person cherishes about the people and places she knows - the turf of race-courses, the sand of cycling tracks over which, pedalling on past fields and woods, she would have drawn me after her, that little peri, more seductive to me than she of the Persian paradise - the shadows, too, of the home to which she will presently return, of the plans that she is forming or that others had formed for her; and above all that it is she, with her desires, her sympathies, her revulsions, her obscure and incessant will. I knew that I should never possess this young cyclist if I did not possess also what was in her eyes. And it was consequently her whole life that filled me with desire; a sorrowful desire because I felt that it was not to be fulfilled, but exhilarating because, what had hitherto been my life having ceased of a sudden to be my whole life, being no more now than a small part of the space stretching out before me which I was burning to cover and which was composed of the lives of these girls, offered me that prolongation, that possible multiplication of oneself which is happiness."
Marcel Proust, Within a Budding Grove, pp. 851-852
Finally, he does throw in one interesting qualifier about the cyclist:
"I had looked so closely at the dark cyclist with the bright eyes that she seemed to notice my attention, and said to the tallest of the girls something that I could not near but that made her laugh. Truth to tell, this dark-haired one was not the one who attracted me most, simply because she was dark and because (since the day on which, from the little path by Tansonville, I had seen Gilberte) a girl with reddish hair and a golden skin had remained for me the inaccessible ideal."
Clearly, following my well-documented love of dark European actresses with terrible secrets, I would have fallen for the initial cyclist. I wonder if we are imprinted by our seeming default setting for beauty by the mere happenstance of the first woman who beguiles us with love or lust? Although even this is impact by a number of factors. Proust is forever drawn toward women "with reddish hair and a golden skin," but also asks himself, "But had I not loved Gilberte herself principally because she had appeared to me haloed with that aureole of being the friend of Bergotte, of going to look at cathedrals with him?" So, Proust had loved Gilberte because of her association with a writer he loved, but then became the paradigm for physical beauty. I guess as part of this self-reflection I should try and figure out why I am drawn to DEAWTS, which is clearly still prevalent as I spent all Memorial Day happily engaged in a protracted Juliette Binoche film marathon.