_____Morel's success in getting the coachman fired and the chauffeur hired to replace him coincides with a change in his attitude toward the narrator, who notes that Morel had not only "ceased to keep his distance from me" but would even "literally bound toward me in an effusion of delight." The narrator assumes that Charlus had a hand in this change, but he adds a bit of foreshadowing:
How at the time could I have guessed what I was told afterward (and of which I have never felt certain, Andrée's assertions concerning anything connected with Albertine, later on especially, having always struck me as needing to be taken with caution, for, as we saw earlier, she was not genuinely fond of my loved one but was jealous of her), what in any event, if it were true, had been remarkably well hidden from me by the two of them: that Albertine knew Morel well?The narrator then attempts an analysis of Morel's character, which "was full of contradictions." Morel would do anything for money, except that he was "truly a past master" of the violin, having "put ahead of money his diploma as first-prize-winner at the Conservatoire." Morel trusts no one, and had recognized in the chauffeur "one of his own kind, ... a man mistrustful in the proper meaning of the word, who remains stubbornly silent when with decent people but at once sees eye to eye with a debauchee" -- again, a foreshadowing of what is to happen after the narrator returns to Paris. "In actual fact, his nature was really like a sheet of paper in which so many folds have been made in every direction that it is impossible to know where you are."
Meanwhile, Charlus has become "the most faithful" of Mme. Verdurin's set, even though he has been at least partially "outed" among them, and Cottard frets to Ski "whether I can allow him to travel with us after what you've told me." Mme. Cottard, overhearing this conversation, decides that Charlus must be Jewish, which leads to some comic misunderstanding between her and Charlus. Moreover, the others in the group, not knowing of Charlus's social status, conclude that they're doing him a favor by accepting him into their set, and they pride themselves in their tolerance:
In fact, ... if M. de Charlus did not come, they felt disappointment almost at traveling only among people who were like everyone else and not to have next to them this bedizened, potbellied, and impenetrable personage, reminiscent of a box, of some suspect and exotic provenance, that gives off a curious smell of fruit, the mere thought of sampling which would turn the stomach.Charlus, the narrator tells us, still believes that only a very few people know that he's gay, "and that none of them were on the Normandy coast." He doesn't know that "on a day when he and Morel were late and had not come by the train," Mme. Verdurin had announced to the group, "We won't wait for the young ladies any longer!" And he evidently doesn't get her true meaning when, on the nights when he and Morel stay over at La Raspelière, she gives them adjoining rooms and announces, "If you feel like making music, don't hesitate; the walls are like that of a fortress, you've no one on your floor, and my husband sleeps like the dead."
Meanwhile, the narrator is still struggling with his feelings for Albertine, still persuading himself that he "no longer felt jealousy or scarcely any love for her, and gave no thought to what she might be doing on the days when I did not see her." But if, on the train to the Verdurins, she goes into another compartment with the other women in the group, he can't sit still. He has to get up and check "too see whether something abnormal might not be going on."
He also manages to alienate the Princesse Sherbatoff when, one day on the train, he sees Mme. de Villeparisis and talks to her in the Princesse's presence. "I had absolutely no idea, however, that Mme de Villeparisis knew very well who my companion was but had no wish to meet her.... When I said goodbye to the Princesse, the usual smile did not light up her face, a curt nod depressed her chin, she did not even offer me her hand, and she has never spoken to me since."