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Time Regained In Search of Lost Time 7


her and this spirit of duplicity, if it was not the actual source of his lies,
was constantly emerging. At such times he believed he could only extric-
ate himself by exaggerating to a ridiculous degree the real pain he felt in
giving pain to her. When he arrived at Tansonville he was obliged, he
said, to leave the next morning on business with a certain gentleman of
those parts, who was expecting him in Paris and who, encountered that
very evening near Combray, unhappily revealed the lie, Robert, having
failed to warn him, by the statement that he was back for a month's holi-
day and would not be in Paris before. Robert blushed, saw Gilberte's
faint melancholy smile, and after revenging himself on the unfortunate
culprit by an insult, returned earlier than his wife and sent her a desper-
ate note telling her he had lied in order not to pain her, for fear that
when he left for a reason he could not tell her, she should think that he
had ceased to love her; and all this, written as though it were a lie, was
actually true. Then he sent to ask if he could come to her room, and
there, partly in real sorrow, partly in disgust with the life he was living,
partly through the increasing audacity of his successive pretences, he
sobbed and talked of his approaching death, sometimes throwing him-
self on the floor as though he were ill. Gilberte, not knowing to what ex-
tent to believe him, thought him a liar on each occasion, but, disquieted
by the presentiment of his approaching death and believing in a general
way that he loved her, that perhaps he had some illness she knew noth-
ing about, did not dare to oppose him or ask him to relinquish his jour-
neys. I was unable to understand how he came to have Morel received as
though he were a son of the house wherever the Saint-Loups were,
whether in Paris or at Tansonville.
Fran�oise, knowing all that M. de Charlus had done for Jupien and
Robert Saint-Loup for Morel, did not conclude that this was a trait which
reappeared in certain generations of the Guermantes, but ratherÑseeing
that Legrandin much loved ThŽodoreÑcame to believe, prudish and
narrow-minded as she was, that it was a custom which universality
made respectable. She would say of a young man, were it Morel or
ThŽodore: "He is fond of the gentleman who is interested in him and
who has so much helped him." And as in such cases it is the protectors
who love, who suffer, who forgive, Fran�oise did not hesitate between
them and the youths they debauched, to give the former the beau role, to
discover they had a "great deal of heart". She did not hesitate to blame
ThŽodore who had played a great many tricks on Legrandin, yet seemed
to have scarcely a doubt as to the nature of their relationship, for she ad-
ded, "The young man understands he's got to do his share as he says:
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