_____As the stay at Balbec winds down, the narrator reflects on the journeys of the little group he has found himself in, and on the nature of his relationship with Albertine. Since their homeward trips after visiting the Verdurins take place in darkness, the two, still posing as "cousins," find opportunities for "taking advantage of the darkness."
His jealousy persists, and it precipitates a break with Bloch. Saint-Loup has come to meet them during their stop at the station in Doncières, and because the narrator is afraid she's too interested in his friend, "I held Albertine captive with my eyes, pointlessly vigilant as it happens." But Bloch is there, too, meeting his father, "who had just inherited from his uncle and, having leased a château called La Commanderie, thought it very much the grand seigneur to travel about only in a post chaise, with postilions in livery." Bloch asks the narrator to come say hello to his father, but the narrator "could not bear to leave Albertine in the train with Saint-Loup." Bloch takes offense: "From that day forward, he ceased to show me the same affection and, what I found more hurtful, no longer had the same regard for my character."
The narrator admits that Bloch "had all the defects that displeased me most, but at the same time, "the young Israelite had had an effect on M. de Charlus that was anything but irritation." The Baron tries to disguise his interest in Bloch, and upon being told that he was not staying in Balbec launches into an anti-Semitic rant about how Jews like to stay in places with Christian associations: "As soon as a Jew has enough money to buy a château, he always chooses one called Le Prieuré, L'Abbaye, Le Monastère, La Maison Dieu." All the places called La Commanderie, Charlus points out, "were built or owned by the Knights of the Order of Malta (of which I am one)." And he asks the narrator to show him how to get to Bloch's father's château she he can "see how our ancient domains are withstanding such a profanation." And he demands to know where Bloch lives in Paris: "Since three-quarters of the streets take their name from a church or abbey, there's a good chance of the sacrilege continuing."
The narrator doesn't know Bloch's address, however, which puts him in Morel's good graces:
The narrator concludes the chapter by remembering the people and places around Balbec that he has seen during the summer:Morel, who had not failed to observe the impression Bloch had been making, thanked me surreptitiously for having "dispatched him, adding cynically, "He'd have liked to stay, all that's jealousy, he'd like to take my place. Typical of a Yid!"
Indeed, such was the degrading influence, and also the charm, of the country around Balbec, that it had become truly familiar ground for me; if their territorial distribution, their being sown along the full extent of the coast in diverse crops, necessarily lent to the visits I made to these various friends the form of a journey, they also now confined the attractions of that journey to the social ones, of a succession of visits.... In this too social valley, to the sides of which I sensed there clung, whether visible or not, a numerous company of friends, the poetic cry of evening was no longer that of the owl or the frog but the "How goes it?" of M. de Criquetot, or the "Kaire" of Brichot.And he concludes: "The benefit that I derived from it, at least, was no longer to see things except from the practical point of view. Marriage with Albertine struck me as foolishness." We'll see about that.