Les Plaisirs et les jours dedication to Paul Morand

             At Princess Soutzo's.
The Princess... asks the Secretary of State of Romania which one deserved more recognition than the other for Le Boeuf sur le Toit, Beaumont or Cocteau, but the minister was more interested to find out if anybody had called Her Majesty the Queen of Romania "the super-whore".

             In a corner, Paul Morand and Marcel Proust.
M.P. :   My dear chap, what is this arc lamp1
            That has prevented you from attending the Joan of Arc festivals?2
P.M. :   My dear chap, I see that you still want something from me
            But I had read into your gesture, vague as Aurore's.
M.P. :   No, I just think you have been a little hard on Clarisse.3
P.M. :   My dear chap, she didn't want anything more of me; it had to finish.
Pcss S. : I think I recognize Antoine Bibesco's voice on the telephone.
P.M. :   Yes, he is saying "Ha, ha! Most excellent... secret as the grave..."
M.P. :   Speak a bit louder, because Gauthier Vignal,
            lying on the ground, has said: "Proust has talent".
            The Princess is about to reply:
            "I like Morand's work a hundred times better".
            But she stops herself because someone is ringing and ringing.
            "Concierge, concierge, tell M. Ellés4 that I'm not here to anyone."
            "Yes, dear chap, it's not as if there were a fire!
            Besides, every day he gets more and more indulgent."
            (Peals of laughter).

            Enter an ambassadress, with her Truffaldino nose,
            Because a cloakroom attendant has handed her a rabbit.

P.M. :   Do you have anything to suggest to me for a fashionable musician?
            He is asking me to write him a new ode.
M.P. :   Our greatest friend, when his grandmother
            showed him, on Good Friday, a dirty crucifix,
            and told him: "Kiss your Saviour",
            replied: "If it's all the same to you I'd much sooner kiss the choirboy".
P.M. :   My dear chap, your subject would suit my needs perfectly!
            No objections now. Goodbye Princess,
            Barthelot is ill, I must go to the Ministry...

            (To Proust)
The Pcss:  Dear friend, in the end are you able to draw any neat conclusion from all that
           Even though you keep saying you are dying?
M.P. :   Princess, the thing is I not only admire
            but I literally adore Morand.
The Pcss:  Me too... "Hello, is that Mme Vesnitch?"
            (The Princess leaves).

            (This said in the same voice, that the Princess doesn't even
            bother to disguise, naively believing that Mme Vesnitch
            would not recognize it).

            (To be continued).

   Cf. : See Ode to Paul Morand.5
   "The eyes, dark suns of the very trustworthy and very faithful Prince of Night
   Are truly too vast for these celebrated divines,
   That Barrère, with a voice like wood cut by a circular saw, declared Jacobin,6
   At the same time as Benedict XV had never seen anything quite so Papist..."

   Marcel Proust.

   There isn't enough space to continue, just when it was starting to get interesting.


1. Allusion to Paul Morand's book of poetry, Lampes à Arc (1920).

2. Paléologue, then Secretary General for Foreign Affairs, had appointed Paul Morand to go to Rome, with the mission assigned to festivals about Joan of Arc; he managed to avoid this task.

3. Aurore and Clarisse, two characters from Morand's book Tendres Stocks that Proust wrote a preface (1919).

4. Director of the Ritz.

5. Reply to Morand's Ode à Marcel Proust.

6. Allusion to the post of Secretary of Rome that Morand had occupied alongside Barrère in 1917, three years earlier.

The entire dialogue is written in verse, mimicking Paul Morand's in Lampes d'arc.

From Bulletin de la société des amis de Marcel Proust et des amis de Combray, No 15, 1965, p. 263 - p. 265. Dedicace aux "Plaisirs et les jours" sur l'examplaire de Paul Morand, présenté par Paul Morand.


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