It is all a question of chronology

From Le Temps retrouvé (4.315-6):


Saint-Loup had just come back from Balbec. I learnt later, indirectly, that he had made unsuccessful advances to the manager of the restaurant. The latter owed his position to the money he had inherited from M. Nissim Bernard. He was, in fact, none other than the young waiter whom in the past Bloch’s uncle had “protected.” But wealth in his case had brought with it virtue and it was in vain that Saint-Loup had attempted to seduce him. Thus, by a process of compensation, while virtuous young men abandon themselves in their later years to the passions of which they have at length become conscious, promiscuous youths turn into men of principle from whom any Charlus who turns up too late on the strength of old stories will get an unpleasant rebuff. It is all a question of chronology.

Saint-Loup revenait de Balbec. J’appris plus tard indirectement qu’il avait fait de vaines tentatives auprès du directeur du restaurant. Ce dernier devait sa situation à ce qu’il avait hérité de M. Nissim Bernard. Il n’était autre, en effet que cet ancien jeune servant que l’oncle de Bloch « protégeait ». Mais sa richesse lui avait apporté la vertu. De sorte que c’est en vain que Saint-Loup avait essayé de le séduire. Ainsi par compensation, tandis que des gens vertueux s’abandonnent, l’âge venu, aux passions dont ils ont enfin pris conscience, des adolescents faciles deviennent des hommes à principe contre lesquels des Charlus, venus sur la foi d’anciens récits mais trop tard, se heurtent désagréablement. Tout est affaire de chronologie.


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