A number of Marcel Proust's letters and notes to his housekeeper Céleste Albaret are being auctioned in Paris today, including the last note that Proust wrote to her, a few hours before his death on November 18, 1922.
The note reads:
Céleste Odilon peut partir dans 10 minutes, et rentrer vers 6h1/2, 7 du matin. Approchez de moi la chaise.Odilon was Mme. Albaret's husband. On the other side:
[Céleste, Odilon can leave in ten minutes and come back about 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning. Pull the chair closer to me.]
J'avais entendu fer au lieu de verre.I saw a similar note last year during a visit to the Kolb-Proust Archive at the University of Illinois. The thing itself — in Illinois! I'll never forget it.
[ I heard "iron" instead of "glass."]
You can browse all twenty lots at Sotheby's.
(And if anyone sees something wrong in my translation, please let me know.)
[Update: Bloomberg has a report on the auction.]