Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Proust: Wednesdays

Mme Verdurn is no everyday salonnière:

Mme Verdurin did not give "dinners," but she had "Wednesdays." Her Wednesdays were a work of art. While knowing that there was nothing to equal them elsewhere, Mme Verdurin introduced fine distinctions between them. "This last Wednesday wasn't up to the one before," she would say. "But I think the next'll be one the most successful I've ever given." She sometimes went so far as to confess: "This Wednesday wasn't worthy of the others. In return, I've got a big surprise for you the one after that." In the final weeks of the season in Paris, before leaving for the country, the Patronne would announce that the Wednesdays were ending. It was an opportunity to spur on the faithful: "There are only three Wednesdays left, there are only two more," she would say, in the same tone of voice as if the world were about to end. "You're not going to let me down next Wednesday for the closure." But this closure was a sham, for she would warn them: "Now, officially, there are no more Wednesdays. That was the last for this year. But I shall be here all the same on Wednesdays. We'll have Wednesday among ourselves. Who knows? These little intimate Wednesdays will perhaps be the pleasantest. At La Raspalière, the Wednesdays were necessarily restricted, and since, according as some friend had been met with when passing through and had been invited for one evening or another, almost every day was a Wednesday.

Marcel Proust, Sodom and Gomorrah, translated by John Sturrock (New York: Penguin, 2002), 251

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