Friday, May 20

the tea-drinkers

The tea-parties were held in a long gallery, glazed and narrow, shaped like a funnel, which led from the entrance hall to the dining-room and was bounded on one side by the garden, from which it was separated (save for a few stone pillars) only by its wall of glass which opened here and there. The result of which, apart from ubiquitous draughts, was sudden and intermittent bursts of sunshine, a dazzling and changeable light that made it almost impossible to see the tea-drinkers, so that when they were installed there, at tables crowded pair after pair the whole way along the narrow gully, shimmering and sparkling with every movement they made in drinking their tea or in greeting one another, it resembled a giant fish-tank or bow-net in which a fisherman has collected all his glittering catch, which, half out of water and bathed in sunlight, coruscate before one's eyes in an ever-changing iridescence.

-- Marcel Proust A l'ombre des jeunnes filles en fleurs (Within a Budding Grove)
Translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin