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Memories of Paris in the 1890s. A soiree at the apartments of the great tragedienne Berma. They are all there: the Princesse and the Duchesse de Guermantes, the Marquise de Villeparisis, the Princesse de Parme, the Baron de Charlus, and, seated on a chaise longue, a pale and somewhat tired Marcel.
A dimly lit interior, potted palms, a songbird in a gilded cage, a ray of afternoon sun piercing the thick gold brocade of the curtains, exotic eastern carpets, wrought iron spiral staircases, vases of orchids and lilies.
'And tell me, Monsieur le Baron,' inquires Berma, 'what do you think of Bouquet Imperiale?' 'Definitive luxury,' replies de Charlus, 'if even with a hint of stuffy Victoriana. Quaint aesthetic depth, sheer sophistication, aristocratic shadows, ornate murmurs, while, against the closed windows, throbs the babble of commerce and democracy.'
01st April, 2006