By Marcel Proust

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Sample text

Good evening," she said as she approached me. " She excelled in giving to speeches of this sort an intonation which proved that she was not uttering them from sheer silliness, like people who, not knowing what to talk about, come up to you a thousand times over to mention some bond of common acquaintance, often extremely slight. She had on the contrary a fine conducting wire in her glance which signified: "Don’t suppose for a moment that I haven’t recognised you. You are the young man I met at the Duchesse de Guermantes.

To this greeting M. de Vaugou-bert, apart from the thousand mannerisms which he supposed to be indicative of good breeding and diplomacy, imparted a cavalier, brisk, smiling air, which should make him seem on the one hand to be rejoicing at being alive–at a time when he was inwardly chewing the mortification of a career with no prospect of advancement and with the threat of enforced retirement–and on the other hand young, virile and charming, when he could see and no longer ventured to go and examine in the glass the lines gathering upon a face which he would have wished to keep full of seduction.

The idea of making me acquainted with his wife seemed to fill him with joy, for his own sake as well as for hers, and he led me at a solemn pace towards the Marquise. Arriving in front of her, and indicating me with his hand and eyes, with every conceivable mark of consideration, he nevertheless remained silent and withdrew after a few moments, in a sidelong fashion, leaving me alone with his wife. She had at once given me her hand, but without knowing to whom this token of friendship was addressed, for I realised that M.

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