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Time Regained In Search of Lost Time 7

Tansonville seemed little more than a place to rest in between two walks
or a refuge during a shower. Rather too countrified, it was one of those
rural dwellings where every sitting-room is a cabinet of greenery, and
where the roses and the birds out in the garden keep you company in the
curtains; for they were old and each rose stood out so clearly that it
might have been picked like a real one and each bird put in a cage, un-
like those pretentious modern decorations in which, against a silver
background, all the apple trees in Normandy are outlined in the Japan-
ese manner, to trick the hours you lie in bed. I spent the whole day in my
room, the windows of which opened upon the beautiful verdure of the
park, upon the lilacs of the entrance, upon the green leaves of the great
trees beside the water and in the forest of MŽsŽglise. It was a pleasure to
contemplate all this, I was saying to myself: "How charming to have all
this greenery in my window" until suddenly in the midst of the great
green picture I recognised the clock tower of the Church of Combray
toned in contrast to a sombre blue as though it were far distant, not a re-
production of the clock tower but its very self which, defying time and
space, thrust itself into the midst of the luminous greenery as if it were
engraved upon my wndow-pane. And if I left my room, at the end of the
passage, set towards me like a band of scarlet, I perceived the hangings
of a little sitting-room which though only made of muslin, were of a scar-
let so vivid that they would catch fire if a single sun-ray touched them.
During our walks Gilberte alluded to Robert as though he were turn-
ing away from her but to other women. It was true that his life was en-
cumbered with women as masculine attachments encumber that of
women-loving men, both having that character of forbidden fruit, of a
place vainly usurped, which unwanted objects have in most houses.
Once I left Gilberte early and in the middle of the night, while still
half-asleep, I called Albertine. I had not been thinking or dreaming of
her, nor had I mistaken her for Gilberte. My memory had lost its love for