Proust a la Wodehouse

Marcel ProustThis the last part of a two part posting. See here for the first and the way that it was found. The photo of Proust is the jolliest I could find apart from the one before of him strumming a tennis racket. It is unlikely that both men met, although Proust was only 10 years older, as they moved in rather different worlds. Jeeves, however, may have read A la recherche du temps perdu.

Proust a la Wodehouse

Swann Upping

After one of those awful Paris soiree evenings at Madame Verdurin’s, when they play that maddening little tune which gets on your wick, I was being carted back to the old ancestral homestead, when I noticed a familiarly cove sauntering along the boulevard.

‘What ho, Swann!’ I cried. ‘Going my way? Take a pew in the dickey.’

I said I’d just returned from Deauville where I had spent days trying to lure Albertine out of her bathing machine for a splash around. Her trouble is she talks volumes and never gets anywhere. I told Swann I’d reminded her, when I could get a moan is edgeways, that, as fellow Candide said, – ‘It’s all for the best dans le meilleur des mondes possible, n’est pas? Is this the fin-de-siecle or not – wot, wot?

What I didn’t blab out was i’d had this call from aunt Leonie, blaring down the wrong end of her ear trumpet – ‘That blighter Swann should be drummed out of our society. It’s time, depraved nephew, you ceased lounging on that chaise-lounge – as the English call it – and took action.’ Sounding like a military band in jack-boots, marching on cobbles, she bellowed, ‘If you have any sense of honour you’ll call him out’.

No Proust takes that sort of thing standing up. Once goaded to inaction I addressed Swann from my couch, bounce on pillows. ‘Pass the madeleines’, I said ‘Never forget about remembrance of the old temps p.’

He took it like a lamb off to the proverbial what’s it. I dictated a million words without raising said bounce from said c. lounger, breaking off once a decade to allow him to nip round to Baron Charlus’s den for a dollop of what that royal chappie – the one who was King – labelled the entente cordiale. One way of putting it, wot?

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