Jun 28, 2008

Legrandin is a complete hypocrite, but this is a great passage anyway

"It is true that you are a man of the world, I suppose, and go out paying calls! In order to go and meditate, as I do, beside some half-ruined tomb, my bow-tie and jacket are not out of place. You know how I admire the charming quality of your soul; that is why I tell you how deeply I regret that you should go forth and betray it among the Gentiles. By being capable of remaining for a moment in the nauseating atmosphere of the salons--for me, unbreathable--you pronounce on your own future the condemnation, the damnation of the Prophet. I can see it all: you frequent the frivolous-minded, the gracious livers--that is the vice of our contemporary bourgeoisie. Ah, those aristocrats! The Terror was greatly to blame for not cutting the heads off every one of them. They are all disreputable scum when they are not simply dreary idiots. Still, my poor boy, if that sort of thing amuses you! While you are on your way to some tea-party your old friend will be more fortunate than you, for alone in an outlying suburb he will be watching the pink moon rise in a violet sky. The truth is that I scarcely belong to this earth upon which I feel myself such an exile; it takes all the force of the law of gravity to hold me here, to keep me from escaping into another sphere. I belong to a different planet. Good-bye; do not take amiss the old-time frankness of the peasant of the Vivonne, who has also remained a peasant of the Danube. To prove my sincere regard for you, I shall send you my latest novel. But you will not care for it; it is not deliquescent enough, not fin de siecle enough for you; it is too frank, too honest. What you want is Bergotte, you have confessed it, gamy stuff for the jaded palates of refine voluptuaries, I suppose I am looked upon, in your set, as an old stick-in-the-mud; I make the mistake of putting my heart into what I write: that is no longer done; besides, the life of the people is not distinguished enough to interest your little snobbicules. Go, get you gone, try to recall at times the words of Christ: 'This do, and thou shalt live.' Farewell, friend."

-M. Legrandin to Marcel in In Search of Lost Time Volume III.

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