Day One Hundred Twenty-Six: Sodom and Gomorrah, pp. 407-419

Part II, Chapter III, from "After dinner the car brought Albertine back..." to "...capable on certain days of genuine kindness." 
The narrator describes a romantic evening with Albertine, although his attitude is hardly romantic, since he tells himself "that we must be in love after all, to have spent the night kissing." He is continually prey to jealousy, so that he even restricts visits from Saint-Loup: "I had preferred to forgo seeing Albertine rather than risk his meeting her, jeopardizing the state of contented calm in which I had been for some time now, and reviving my jealousy. I felt easy in my mind only once Saint-Loup had left again." He's afraid that Saint-Loup will ask to be introduced to the Verdurins, which would "mar all the pleasure that I enjoyed there with Albertine," but Saint-Loup has no interest in sets like the Verdurins: "'They're circles,' he said, 'where they play at being tribes, where they play at being congregations and chapels. You're not going to tell me it isn't a small sect; they're all sweetness and light to the people who belong, and couldn't be more contemptuous of the ones who don't.'" 

On one of his outings with Albertine, the narrator sees his first airplane: "fifty meters or so above me, in the sunlight, between two great wings of glittering steel that were bearing him away, a being whose indistinct face I fancied resembled that of a man." The sight moves him to tears. Meanwhile, other twentieth century technology is taking hold in his life, as the chauffeur asks Morel to persuade the Verdurins to hire him and replace their coachman. Morel does this by first getting the Verdurins' servants to "steal from the coachman everything he needed to harness up," so that the Verdurins will be angry when he is delayed getting ready to take them places. And then, when the chauffeur puts pressure on Morel by threatening to return to Paris, he gets the servants to beat the coachman up and sabotage the carriage. Morel then tells the Verdurins that the coachman drinks and has several times overturned the carriage. The result, when they see the damaged carriage and the bloodied coachman, is that he's fired and the chauffeur hired in his place. 

We get a hint that all this business with the chauffeur and Morel is foreshadowing, when the narrator tells us of the former: "I, all unknowing, employed him by the day in Paris; but I am getting too far ahead of myself, all this will be met with again in the story of Albertine." And as for Morel, "since I have been running ahead, I do not want all the same to leave the reader under the impression that Morel might have been wicked through and through. Rather, he was full on contradictions, capable on certain days of genuine kindness."    

No comments: