_____The andante of the Vinteuil septet (which for some reason has ten musicians) draws to a close and there is a pause in the concert. The narrator reflects,
The only real journey, the only Fountain of Youth, would be to travel not towards new landscapes, but with new eyes, to see the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to see the hundred universes that each of them can see, or can be; and we can do that with the help of an Elstir, a Vinteuil; with them and their like we can truly fly from star to star.Art is the vehicle of the imagination in which all may ride.
As Swann did with Odette, so the narrator connects a phrase from Vinteuil's music with Albertine, in this case the final phrase of the andante. But when the music resumes, it seems to transcend his relationship with her:
Then the phrases faded away, except one which I saw pass by again up to five or six times, not letting me see her face, but so tender, so different -- as the little phrase from the sonata no doubt was for Swann -- from anything that any woman had yet led me to desire, that that phrase, offering me in such a gentle voice a kind of happiness which would have truly been worth attaining -- that invisible creature whose language I could not understand and yet whom I understood so well -- was perhaps the only Unknown Woman it has ever been granted to me to meet.The irony is that he would not have been listening to this music at all if one of the women he most fears coming in contact with Albertine, Mlle. Vinteuil's friend, hadn't rescued it from the chaotic and indecipherable notes left by the composer. The narrator ingeniously finds ways to reconcile the desecration he had witnessed of Vinteuil's image by Mlle. Vinteuil and her lover as "a form of madness." And for a moment, all the threads of his past seem to be coming together:
the memories connected with Mlle Vinteuil and her friend, especially, spoke to me of Combray and also of Albertine, that is to say of Balbec, since it was because I had once seen Mlle Vinteuil at Montjouvain and then learned of her friend's association with Albertine, that I would be going home in a moment to find not solitude but Albertine awaiting me; and my memories of Morel and M. de Charlus's first meeting on the platform at Doncières, spoke to me of Combray and its two walks, for M. de Charlus was one of those Guermantes who lived in Combray without having a house there, half-way to heaven like Gilbert the Wicked in his stained-glass window, while Morel was the son of the old valet who had let me in to meet the lady in pink and had been the means of my recognizing her, so many years later, as Mme Swann.But we return to the party, where Saniette, whom M. Verdurin has ordered to leave because of his inability to "form a considered judgment" on the music they have heard, apparently has a stroke outside. Verdurin's first thought is not to spoil the party, like "those grand hotels where sudden deaths are swiftly concealed so as not to frighten the guests, and where the dead man may be hidden in a larder ... until he can be smuggled out of the back door." The matter is hushed up, and Saniette "lived for some weeks more, but without regaining consciousness for more than a few minutes at a time."
As the guests start to leave, Charlus becomes the head of a receiving line formed by the people he has invited. "No one would have thought of asking to be introduced to Mme Verdurin, any more than to an old usherette at a theatre where some great lady has invited the whole aristocracy for one evening." One of the guests even asks the narrator if Mme. Cottard is Mme. Verdurin. Several of them take the opportunity, while talking to Charlus, of booking Morel to play at their homes, "but none of them dreamed of inviting Mme Verdurin to hear him. She was consumed with rage, when M. de Charlus, floating on a cloud and unable to register her fury, magnanimously chose to invite the Patronne to share his joy." Charlus is unaware that Mme. Verdurin is intensely jealous of any outside relationships her "little set" may form: "Every suppressed laugh from Odette as she sat next to Swann had formerly gnawed at her heart, as had, recently, every private conversation between Morel and the Baron; she could find only one consolation for her pain, which was to destroy the happiness of others." And so Mme. Verdurin begins to plot to separate Morel from Charlus, and to have the violinist for her own.