_____Bloch's bumptiousness continues, but it doesn't seem to bother de Norpois, "who told us afterward, somewhat naïvely, remembering perhaps the few surviving traces in Bloch's speech of the neo-Homeric manner he had largely outgrown: 'He is rather amusing, with that slightly outmoded, solemn manner of speaking he has.'" But the argument about the Dreyfus case persists until the Duc de Châtelleraut, "who could feel that everyone was turning against Bloch, and who, like many society people, was a coward," makes a remark about the fact that Bloch is Jewish. Bloch replies, "'But how did you know? Who told you?,' as though he had been the son of a convict. Yet, given his last name, which was not exactly Christian in flavor, and his face, there was something rather naïve in his startled words."
Mme. de Villeparisis, in the meantime, had come to the conclusion "that he could be a compromising person for M. de Norpois to know.... So she decided to make it clear to Bloch that he need not come to the house again." She does so by feigning a kind of drowsiness when Bloch comes to take his leave, and by not extending her hand. Bloch persists, in an effort not to lose face, and
thrust out the hand she had refused to shake. Mme de Villeparisis was shocked. But ... she merely let her eyelids droop over her half-closed eyes.
"I think she's asleep," said Bloch to the archivist.... "Goodbye madame," Bloch shouted.
Nevertheless, the narrator tells us, she received Bloch a few days later because she still wanted him to stage the play for her. Meanwhile, her dismissal of Bloch has become society gossip, "but in a version that had already ceased to bear any relation to the truth.The Marquise moved her lips slightly, like a dying woman who wants to open her mouth but whose eyes show no sign of recognition. Then she turned, brimming with renewed vitality, to the Marquis d'Argencourt, while Bloch left the room convinced that she must be soft in the head.
After Bloch's departure, Saint-Loup's mother, Mme. de Marsantes, arrives. She is also, as the narrator tells us, the Duc de Guermantes's sister. "She was especially friendly to me because I was Robert's friend, and also because I did not move in the same world as Robert."
Then Mme. de Villeparisis informs the Duchesse de Guermantes that she's expecting the arrival of "someone whom you've no desire to know": Odette Swann. Odette, the narrator comments, has become an ardent anti-Dreyfusard, because she was afraid that Swann's Jewish "origins might turn to her disadvantage." She was also "following the example of Mme Verdurin, in whom a latent bourgeois anti-Semitism had awakened and grown to a positive frenzy." The Duchesse thanks Mme. de Villeparisis for the warning and assures her that since she knows Odette by sight, she'll "be able to leave at the right moment." Mme. de Marsantes, however, tells the Duchesse that Odette is "very nice. She's an excellent woman."
Mme. de Villeparisis changes the subject to Lady Israels, and Mme. de Marsantes reveals that she has broken off relations with her.
Then she stops, noting that her son, "young fool that he is," has very different feelings on the matter. And shortly after that, Saint-Loup himself arrives."It seems she's one of the very worst of them and makes no secret of the fact. Besides, we've all been too trusting, too hospitable. I shall never go near anyone of that race again. While we closed our doors to old country cousins, our own flesh and blood, we opened them to Jews. Now we can see what thanks we get for it."