Monday, September 25, 2017

My Years With Proust - Day 577

   Vinteuil's phrases made me think of the "little phrase" and I told Albertine that it had been as it were the national anthem of the love of Swann and Odette, "the parents of Gilberte, whom I believe you know.  You told me she was a bad girl.  Didn't she try to have relations with you?  She spoke to me about you."
   "Yes, you see, her parents used to send a carriage to fetch her from school when the weather was bad, and I seem to remember she took me home once and kissed me," she said, after a momentary pause, laughing as though we were an amusing revelation.  "She asked me all of a sudden whether I was fond of women." (But if she only "seemed to remember" that Gilberte had taken her home, how could she say with such precision that Gilberte had asked her this odd question?) "I fact, I don't know what weird idea came into my head to fool her, but I told her that I was." (It was a though Albertine was afraid that Gilberte had told me this and did not want me to see that she was lying to me.) "But we did nothing at all." (It was strange, if they had exchanged these confidences, that they should have done nothing, especially as, before this, they had kissed, according to Albertine.) "She took me home like that four or five times, perhaps more, and that's all."
Marcel Proust, The Captive, p. 383

Albertine, once again, winding up Marcel.  However, it's hard to have too much sympathy for him since he had started it.  Marcel is always embarking on these schemes to entrap Albertine, which always end of being as transparent as me trying to sneak a rook down the right flank in chess - and his plans always ended up as abysmally. In this case he tries to use Gilberte, Swann and Odette's daughter - and his first love - to try and entrap Albertine, but she simply plays along with the story and half-admits that something may have happened, knowing that it will tweak Marcel's jealousy.  Albertine "confesses" that "I seem to remember she took me home once and kissed me."  Years ago when Sanford and I were driving to Oklahoma we talked about anything and everything, and never once turned on the TV or the radio the entire time.  Besides speaking fluent French, Sanford also spent a lot of time in France.   He assured me that if a French woman let you kiss her - of, better yet, if she kissed you, then you would have have sex.  This wasn't an assault on their moral foundation, but rather a compliment that they were honest and didn't play foolish games.  So, following Sanford's dictum, might we assume that since Albertine and Gilberte kissed then they also made love?  If that's true, then it seems like everyone in France was having at least occasional homosexual liaisons, with the exception of Marcel (although, as we assume, that was not true of Proust himself).


No comments: