Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,
Randy McDonald

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[BRIEF NOTE] "Précisez, mon cher, précisez."

Sir Harold Nicolson's Peacemaking, 1919 is, as gamoonbat and countess_sophia said, a worthy read. One non-geopolitical passage leapt out at me, taken from Nicolson's diary entry for Sunday the 2nd of March on pages 275 and 276 of the 1965 Universal Library edition, as he describes a conversation with Marcel Proust during a dinner at the Ritz Hotel:

Proust is white, unshaven, grubby, slip-faced. He puts his fur coat on afterwards and sits hunched there in white kid gloves. Two cups of black coffee he has, with chunks of sugar. Yet in his talk there is no affectation. He asks me questions. Will I please tell him how the Committees work? I say, 'Well, we generally meet at 10.0, there are secretaries behind. . . . ' 'Mais non, amis non, vous allez trop vite. Recommencez. Vous prenez la voiture de la Délégation. Vous descendez au Quai d'Orsay. Vous montez l'escalier. Vous entrez dans la Salle. Et alors? Précisez, mon cher, précisez.' So I tell him everything. The sham cordiality of it all: the handshakes: the maps: the rustle of papers: the tea in the next room: the macaroons. He listens enthralled, interrupting from time to time--'Mais précisez, mon cher monsieur, n'allez pas trop vite.'
Tags: literature, oddities, writing
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