Du Côté de chez Swann proofs

   Out of delicacy Swann never sought to introduce his wife to any of his friends, and continued to visit them alone; at our house she was never spoken about, but my mother, who understood the passionate tenderness he felt for the daughter that he had had with this woman before they were married and who he had recognized (she was slightly younger than me), often begged my father, on the days when Swann came to dine with us, to say a few words to him about his little one: "You would make him so happy, I'm sure of it. It must all be so painful for him."
   "You are being absurd, that would be ridiculous", my father replied. Mama, fearing that she might annoy him, did not insist further. But as for me, as I was always at the door of the drawing-room looking out for the moment when I could go in and say goodnight to my mother, I was well aware that every time Swann arrived early and when Mama received him alone as she waited for my father and my grandparents to come down, the first thing she said to him, because there was not a soul on earth to whom she did not try to bring a little pleasure, was: "Well, Monsieur Swann, tell me about your daughter; she must be very pretty now. Does she love the arts as much as her Papa? I'm sure you have already tried to educate her tastes and have her brought up amongst beautiful things."
   And Swann, delighted and moved, told her that she already knew every style of architecture. "But now she especially wants to go and look at cathedrals. She knows Reims and Chartres even better because my wife has relatives there and they spend a few weeks there every year. So I have had to promise a trip to Bourges next year if she is very good." But from moment to moment he stopped speaking and smoothed down first one side and then the other of his short trimmed hair with his hand. But then when the rest of the family came down, Mama was obliged to change the subject, but from this constraint she drew an added act of delicacy, like the great poets for whom the tyranny of rhyme impels them to discover even greater beauties: "We'll talk about her again when we are on our own. It's not that it wouldn't be of interest to everybody else, but all the same you have to be a mother to really understand. I'm sure that mine would agree with me."

Passage removed from Swann, NAF 16754 5v-6r uncorrected proofs.


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