Do you think that the venomous spittle of five hundred of your common little friends piled one on top of the other could even lap at my august toes?
You mightn’t think of Proust as a ball of fun, but this scene between him and Baron Charlus really is very funny. Summoned to the Baron’s house late at night Marcel is subjected to a furious tongue-lashing. The baron is absolutely beside himself – and Marcel has no idea what he’s done to deserve it.
Eventually it’s Marcel’s turn to lose his temper:
I flung myself on the baron’s new top hat, threw it on the ground, trampled it, and bent on tearing it to pieces, pulled out the lining and tore the crown in half…
That’s the most exercise we ever see Marcel take. I bet he had to go to bed for some days afterwards.
But what a great insult from Charlus. Remember it next time one of your friends slights you.
Image: Wikimedia Commons Robert de Montesquiou (said to be the inspiration for Charlus).