[S]ometimes, on…

Collected Items 14.01.13

[S]ometimes, on the other hand, the small bedroom with the very high ceiling, hollowed out in the form of a pyramid two storeys high and partly panelled in mahogany, where from the first second I had been mentally poisoned by the unfamiliar odour of the vetiver, convinced of the hostility of the violet curtains and the insolent indifference of the clock chattering loudly as though I were not there; where a strange and pitiless quadrangular cheval-glass, barring obliquely one of the corners of the room, carved from deep inside the soft fullness of my usual field of vision a sight for itself which I had not expected; where my mind, struggling for hours to dislodge itself, to stretch upwards so as to take the exact shape of the room and succeed in filling its gigantic funnel to the very top, had suffered many hard nights, while I lay at full length in my bed, my eyes lifted, my ear anxious, my nostril restive, my heart pounding, until habit had changed the colour of the curtains, silenced the clock, taught pity to the cruel oblique mirror, concealed, if not driven out completely, the smell of the vetiver and appreciably diminished the apparent height of the ceiling.

Marcel Proust, The Way by Swann’s trans. Lydia Davis (London: Penguin, 2003) p. 12