____As the narrator becomes more involved with the gang of girls, the focus of his attention shifts from Albertine to first one and then another, from Gisèle to Rosemonde to Andrée. Gisèle, "the one who looked rather poor and tough," greets him with "a smile, open and affectionate and full of blue eyes." He is walking with Albertine and Andrée, who snub Gisèle, Andrée accusing her of "awful dishonesty" and Albertine referring to her as "a little pest." But on learning that Gisèle is leaving for Paris, the narrator decides to slip away and follow her: "Gisèle would not be surprised to to see me, and once we had changed trains at Doncières, we would have a corridor train to Paris; while the English governess dozed, I would have Gisèle all to myself.... I could have assured her with total veracity that I was no longer attracted to Albertine."
But he misses the train, so he goes back to his pursuit of the other girls, "all of them having stayed on in Balbec." Gisèle "now could not have been further from my thoughts." He begins spending every day with them, making excuses not to go on a carriage ride with Mme. de Villeparisis, staying away from Elstir's studio unless the girls go there, breaking his promise to visit Saint-Loup. "The Andrée who had struck me to begin with as being the most unfriendly of them all was in fact much more sensitive, affectionate, and astute than Albertine." (Does it need to be pointed out that Andrée is the third girl he's fallen for who has the feminized version of a man's name?) He now finds in Albertine "something of the Gilberte I had known in the earliest days, the explanation of which is that there is a degree of resemblance between the women we love at different times." He also notes that "Andrée, who was extremely wealthy, showed great generosity in sharing her luxury with Albertine, who was poor and an orphan."
In the company of the girls, he finally pays a visit to Elstir, where the talk turns to the artistic potential of "regattas and gatherings of sportsmen, where women are suffused by the glaucous glow of a seaside racecourse," to women's fashion, and to yachting.