As our vision is a deceiving sense, a human body, even when it is loved as Albertine’s was, seems to us to be at a few yards’, at a few inches’ distance from us. And similarly with the soul that inhabits it. But something need only effect a violent change in the relative position of that soul to ourselves, to shew us that she is in love with others and not with us, then by the beating of our dislocated heart we feel that it is not a yard away from us but within us that the beloved creature was. Within us, in regions more or less superficial. But the words: ‘That friend is Mlle. Vinteuil’ had been the Open sesame which I should have been incapable of discovering by myself, which had made Albertine penetrate to the depths of my shattered heart. And the door that had closed behind her, I might seek for a hundred years without learning how it might be opened.
translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff