Variations on Jane Austen




While walking in the Bois de Boulogne all those years ago I used to reflect on even earlier times, even before I had had my first recollection of the infusion that was later to bring me that consolation which we all desire but which when it comes is like the hawthorn blossom blown by the wind across the fields around Combray, which still brings back memories of Aunt Léonie’s pepsin placed on her bedside table as on an altar awaiting the elevation, those times when the little band at Balbec would stroll windswept along the beach looking at me and laughing behind their hands as if to say that here was a well-heeled young innocent who might be a good catch, but only one, now that my infatuation with Gilberte had run its course the way that the Vivonne eventually exhausts itself and merges with yet more confluents, stayed in my mind and remains  there like a captive after so many years, so much so that the past itself begins to look like one of those views of Delft in a painting by Vermeer.