We set off together to dine, and on the way downstairs I thought of Doncieres, where every evening I used to meet Robert at his restaurant, and the little dining-rooms there that I had forgotten. I remembered one of these to which I had never given a thought, and which was not in the hotel where Saint-Loup dined but in another, far humbler, a cross between an inn and a boarding-house, where the waiting was done by the landlady and one of her servants. I had been forced to take shelter there once from a snowstorm. Besides, Robert was not to be dining at the hotel that evening and I had not cared to go any further. My food was brought to me in a little panelled room upstairs. The lamp went out during dinner and the serving-girl light a couple of candles. Pretending that I could not see very well as I held out my plate while she helped me to potatoes, I took her bare fore-arm in my hand, as though to guide her. Seeing that she did not withdraw it, I began to fondle it, then, without saying a word, pulling her towards me, blew out the candles and told her to feel in my pocket for some money. For the next few days physical pleasure seemed to me to require, to be properly enjoyed, not only this serving-girl but the timbered dining room, so remote and isolated.
Marcel Proust, The Guermantes Way, p. 411
Marcel stops at a little inn for a meal with Robert after his friend's unexpected return. I don't know when this became a term but my students always use the word "rapey" to describe a person who gropes you inappropriately (which I guess brings up the question of whether you can be groped appropriately, and also the peculiarities of language). I don't know if I like the term, but my students assure me that it's an actual term in use, and it's certainly one that you can understand as soon as you hear it. If it is a term, then Marcel certainly seems "rapey" here. Truthfully, I'm more interested in what he has to say in the second half of the paragraph but this information, I would argue, is necessary prologue. I'll talk about that tomorrow. That said, Marcel's actions here scream privilege. From what we're told the serving-girl is not a prostitute, but Marcel certainly acts as if it is inconceivable that she would or could reject his advances. For that matter, are they even "advances" if you know she has to comply sexually? I don't know if it is simply male privilege or the privilege of wealth or probably some combination of the two, but the scene gives us some insight into societal mores and also Marcel's complex character. On the one hand Marcel appears to be a remarkably sensitive, empathetic soul, but on the other hand he's clearly a man of privilege and understands what that entails.