Day One Hundred Thirty-Three: The Prisoner, pp. 3-19

From "From early morning, with my face still turned..." to "...with the brake on running in neutral."
"It was ... mainly from my bedroom that I perceived the world around me at this period." Hardly a new point of view for our narrator. He has brought Albertine back to Paris with him, and "every evening, very late, before leaving me to sleep, she would slip her tongue into my mouth like my daily bread." He thereby experiences a "kind of spiritual sweetness" which he analogizes to "not the night which Captain de Borodino allowed me to spend at the barracks -- a favour which, after all, cured a mere passing malaise -- but that other night when my father sent Mama to sleep in the little bed next to mine." Sometimes comment on Proust is superfluous.

It is a strange ménage, made stranger by the fact that the narrator has once again changed his attitude toward Albertine, "whom I hardly even found pretty any more, in whose company i was bored and whom I had a clear sense of no longer loving." The arrangement is oddly tolerated by his parents: His mother, "did not want to appear more strict than Mme Bontemps, whose place it was, if anyone's, to act, and who did not find the arrangement unsuitable, much to my mother's surprise." His mother is, in any case, preoccupied with her aunt's illness. And the narrator is relieved that she's not there, because it prevents Albertine from mentioning to her that she was friends with Mlle. Vinteuil, which would "have utterly precluded not only a marriage, ... but even a stay in our house by Albertine as a guest."

Andrée visits Albertine at the narrator's, and Albertine reveals to him that Andrée had been in love with him during the first stay in Balbec. The narrator is happiest when the girls go out together, having at least temporarily set aside his fantasies that the two of them are lovers, and he concludes that "I no longer loved Albertine, for nothing remained of the pain, now cured, which I had suffered in the tram at Balbec when I learned what Albertine's adolescence had been, including, perhaps, visits to Montjouvain." Of course, he also reflects that "a chronic illness needs only the smallest pretext to recur." And the narrator has not given up his fantasies about predatory lesbians waiting to seduce young women: "The truth was that in leaving Balbec I had thought I was leaving Gomarrah behind, that I was tearing Albertine away from it; alas! Gomorrah was dispersed to the four corners of the Earth."

He has told Albertine that "the doctor said I had to stay in bed. That was not true." Instead, he finds that it's a matter of out of sight, out of mind. When he's "in public with Albertine" he grows anxious "that she had been speaking to someone or even looking at someone." But when he stays home and she goes out he feels "the elating powers of solitude." 

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