Versailles: [@6 October 1908]. Letter. AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED "Marcel Proust." Four pages of a bifolium, 5" x 8", undated [circa October 6, 1908]. Written on mourning stationary and addressed to Max Daireaux, a man 13 years his junior whom he had met earlier that year in Cabourg, France, the inspiration for the resort town of Balbec in Proust's novel. Though undated, the letter has been identified as being written shortly before writing his magnum opus, REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST. An English translation: "I had written you a tender letter, and one which, with a pride to which I am not accustomed, I believed to be witty! And for six days now we have been searching for it around the bed, under the bed, which I cannot rise from (I have been suffering more in the time since I came to Versailles than I have in years - what a life!), and cannot find it. So I resign myself to considering these affectionate secrets, these farcical stories burned, and I write to you to tell you that I am here. Some evening when you have nothing to do, call and ask if I can receive you for dinner in my room (dinner is the only possible way). Surely they will tell you that I am too ill. But in fact it may happen that I get better, although it seems to depend on the air, the weather, etc. The first days I fought back, I was even in Paris once, in a strange way that I will recount to you, and since then it has been impossible to even speak. And my poor Lauris is severely wounded in Paris - I returned for him and I cannot go see him. But this could get better; call around 6:30 PM, such that if I am up to it you would be there around 7:30, because after 8 it becomes impossible to get anything to eat. Dear friend, you did not get my letter, so you will never know the poem that I sent you, which began with these lines:
My heart, previously gentle, chooses from this night on
To hate you forever, lady Spinelly,
And I so would love to see an omnibus
On the body of the so-called Dolfus.
And you will not know the conversations with Reynaldo, who told me 'The fact that the Comedie Royale is the first theater that you took interest in is no reason for you to believe that no others exist.' And you will not know that I am back in love (they don't know anything) with the two sisters (born Berthier) that I furthermore have not seen again. And you will not know that d'Alton had a riding accident from which he has more or less recovered. But certainly you know that. Dear friend, no one will ever know that letter, not even the person to whom a beloved memory dictated it. It's infuriating...Send a message to tell me if you received this from me, because I'm not sure of the house number on Vernet Street." Creases from folding, light edge toning. Near Fine. Item #020055
Documented in Kolb's archive of Proust letters, Vol. VIII, number 127.