Day One Hundred Forty-Eight: The Prisoner, pp. 256-271

From "'Ah! My dear General,' M. de Charlus suddenly exclaimed,..." to "...valuable sayings that they would disdain to originate themselves."
Charlus greets General Deltour, who has just finished talking with Cottard (even though the latter has been reported as dead), and while Charlus is talking to him Mme. Verdurin summons Brichot and commands, "Take him out to smoke a cigarette with you, so that my husband can take his inamorata on one side without old Charlus seeing, and show him the danger he is falling into." And she proceeds to slander Charlus, claiming that "he's been mixed up in some dirty business, and the police are watching him," that "he's been in prison," and that "someone I know who lives in his street says you can't imagine the characters that go up to his house."

As they walk away, Brichot praises Mme. Verdurin to the narrator, but adds, "I must admit, however, to great sadness at the thought that the poor Baron does not yet know of the blow that is going to fall upon him. He is quite mad about that boy. If Mme Verdurin succeeds, he is going to be a very unhappy man." They join Charlus, who takes the opportunity to show the narrator about the house and its store of possessions. Charlus is still bubbling over with the triumph of the concert, even dwelling on a moment when a lock of hair fell across Morel's forehead: "Did you notice the moemtn when his forelock came adrift? No? Ah then, my dear chap, you didn't notice anything.... And at that moment, the graceful entry, like little country-dance, of the allegro vivace. You know, that lock was the signal for revelation, even to the most slow-witted." But the Baron notices that the narrator is tiring and sends Brichot to fetch his greatcoat.

The narrator is puzzled by Charlus' friendship with Brichot, whose conversation even "the least discerning of Mme de Guermantes's guests would have found laboured and dull," but concludes that it's because "not only was he friendly to Morel, but he could collect from the Greek philosophers, the Latin poets and oriental storytellers texts which furnished the Baron's taste with strange and charming garlands." And the narrator has been feeling a "great, affectionate pity" for Charlus "ever since Mme Verdurin had unveiled her plan before me."
I had no opinion about the extent to which right and wrong might be involved in the relations between Morel and M. de Charlus, but the idea of the suffering that was being prepared for M. de Charlus revolted me. I wanted to prevent it, but I didn't know how.
But he is embarrassed when Charlus reminds him of the offer he once made to him when they were leaving Mme. de Villeparisis's together, and he tries to change the subject by talking about Mme. de Villeparisis's apparently recent death. Swann, Princess Sherbatoff, Cottard, Saniette, Mme. de Villeparisis ... who's next? It's as if Proust is cleaning house.

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