Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nobody Does Condescension like You-know-who

I was going to write something about fear and loathing in the  Duck Dynasty and the wingnuts' rediscovery of the fairness doctrine.  But my betters are probably all over it and I'd rather get back to my reading so I content myself with an excerpt of an insight at which Marcel Proust has no peer--the gracious condescension of a great lady.  Here, the young Marcel encounters--no, better, is encountered by--the Princesse de Luxembourg:
Despite her wish not to appear to dwell in spheres far above ours, she must have misjudged the distance between us; and her eyes, not properly adjusted, overflowed with such loving sweetness that I would not have been surprised if she had reached out a hand and patted us, as though we were a brace of docile animals, poking our heads through the railings at the Zoo in the Bois de Boulogne. This idea of being animals in the Zoo was instantly underlined for me.  It was the hour when hawkers of sweets, cakes, and other delicacies haunt the esplanade, barking their wares in strident tones. At a loss to show her goodwill toward us in a fitting manner, the Princess stopped the next one who came along. All he had left was a little loaf of rye bread, the sort you feed to the ducks. The Princess took it, saying to me, “This is for your grandmother.” But she then handed it to me, with a smile full of feeling: “You be the one to give it to her,” meaning no doubt that my enjoyment would be greater if nobody came between me and the animals. Other hawkers having gathered around us,
Proust, Marcel (2005-01-25). In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower: In Search of Lost Time, Volume 2 (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (Kindle Locations 4742-4749). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition. 

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