_____The narrator continues his conversation with the Mmes. de Cambremer, persuading the younger that Chopin, whom she scorns and her mother-in-law loves, "was Debussy's favorite musician. 'Well, I never; how amusing,' the daughter-in-law said with a smile, as though this were merely a paradox tossed off by the author of Pelléas. Nevertheless, it was quite certain now that she would only every listen to Chopin with respect or even with pleasure." The praise of Chopin delights the dowager Mme. de Cambremer, whose mustache and missing teeth, resulting in "salivary hypersecretion," the narrator has wickedly described, and he is rewarded with an invitation to lunch. This invitation is overheard by the nearby First President from Caen, who is abashed at not being invited too, and when the Mmes. de Cambremer depart warns the narrator, "When you get to be my age, you'll find that society is nothing, really, and you'll regret having attached so much importance to these trifles."
The social comedy of this scene is followed by one in which the narrator returns to his rooms in the hotel with Albertine. "As soon as we were alone and had started down the corridor, Albertine said to me, 'What have you got against me?'" He pretends to be in love with Andrée instead of her, and confronts her with his suspicion of her lesbian affair with Andrée:
In the end, I ventured to tell her what had been reported to me as to her mode of life, and that, despite the profound disgust aroused in me by women afflicted with that same vice, I had not felt any concern until they named her accomplice to me, and that she could well understand, loving Andrée to the extent that I did, the grief that I had experienced.Albertine displays "anger, unhappiness, and, where the unknown slanderer was concerned, a raging curiosity to learn who it was." But "the comfort brought by Albertine's affirmations was all but compromised for a moment because I recalled the story of Odette," who had denied her lesbian affairs to Swann before finally admitting to them.
Albertine then seduces him with a kiss in which "she passed her tongue lightly over my lips, and tried to part them. To start with, I kept them tightly shut." And then comes a passage in which the narrator regrets not ending the affair at the moment:
I should have left that evening without ever seeing her again.... I should have left Balbec, have shut myself away in solitude, have remained there in harmony with the dying vibrations of the voice I had been able to turn for a moment into that of love, and of which I would have demanded nothing more than never to address me further; for fear that by some fresh utterance, which from now on could only be different, it might wound by a dissonance the silence of the senses in which, as though thanks to some pedal, the tonality of happiness might have long survived within me.In short, he's hooked.