It is, on the contrary, when we have nothing left to lose that we are not bothered by the risk which, when full of life, we would have undertaken lightly. The spirit of vengeance forms part of life; it deserts us as a rule - in spite of exceptions which, in one and the same characters, as we shall see, are human contradictions - one the threshold of death. After having thought for a moment about the Verdurins, M. de Charlus felt that he was too weak, turned his face to the wall, and ceased to think about anything. It was not that he had lost his eloquence, which demanded little effort. It still flowed freely, but it had changed. Detached from the violence which it had so often adorned, it was now a quasi-mystical eloquence, embellished with words of meekness, parables from the Gospel, an apparent resignation to death. He talked especially on the days when he thought that he would live. A relapse made him silent. This Christian meekness into which his splendid violence had been transposed (as into Esther the so different genius of Adromaque) provoked the admiration of those who came to his bedside. It would have provoked that of the Verderins themselves, who could not have helped adoring a man whose weaknesses had made them hate him. It is true that thoughts which were Christian only in appearance rose to the surface. He would implore the Archangel Gabriel to appear and announce to him, as to the Prophet, precisely when the Messiah would come. And, breaking off with a sweet and sorrowful smile, he would add: "But the Archangel mustn't ask me, as he asked Daniel, to have patience for 'seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks,' for I should be dead before then." the person whom he awaited thus was Morel. And so he asked the Archangel Raphael to bring him to him, as he had brought the young Tobias.
Marcel Proust, The Captive, pp. 328-329
M. de Charlus continues to suffer after his falling out, featuring a very horrible public rebuke, with Morel. We talked a couple times about how the Baron had, almost instantaneously, grown very old, which speaks to how much age, in many ways, is dependent upon passion and hope. The Baron's dreams have been shredded. Proust tells us that he has not lost the power of speech, but instead it is the subject matter which has changed: "Detached from the violence which it had so often adorned, it was now a quasi-mystical eloquence, embellished with words of meekness, parables from the Gospel, an apparent resignation to death." Being a born (and unrepentant) romantic I wanted to make this transformation of the Baron one of love denied and hope crushed, but, truthfully, it could also be a very natural progression. Don't we all find faith when we realize that we're not actually going to get a waiver on the whole death thing? A few of my friends, in those rare moments of honesty when we're not jerking each other around, have proposed that I seem to be a kind and more patient soul since my conversion, but isn't that actually putting the cart before the horse? Don't we all too often convert because we're already transforming, and the new religion is not so much a newly constructed highway but instead simply a road map to a destination of which you already have a vague sense?