Alen de Boton najpoznatiji je kao autor duhovite i nadasve zanimljive knjige Kako Prust može promeniti tvoj život. U nedavno objavljenom tekstu Boton nam otkriva pregršt zanimljivih detalja koji su se odnosili na piščev odnos prema prijateljima i na manire koje je on ispoljavao pri kontaktu sa njima. O prijateljstvu, iz ovog teksta saznajemo, Prust je govorio:
The artist who gives up an hour of work for an hour of conversation with a friend knows that he is sacrificing a reality for something does not exist (our friends being friends only in the light of an agreeable folly which travels with us through life and to which we readily accommodate ourselves, but which at the bottom of our hearts we know to be no more reasonable than the delusion of the man who talks to the furniture because he believes that it is alive).
Iz narednih odlomaka saznajemo još i koliko se Prust trudio da cvećem, poklonima, pažljivim slušanjem svojih sagovornika (podjednako koliko i davanjem bakšiša) osvoji ljude sa kojima bi stupao u kontakt. Duhoviti i nepredvidivi Botonovi primeri ni ovoga puta nisu izostali.
He excelled at the art of making friends, he acquired an enormous number, they loved his company, were devoted to him and wrote a pile of adulatory books after his death with titles like My friend Marcel Proust (Marcel Duplay), My friendship with Marcel Proust (Fernand Gregh) and Letters to a friend (Marie Nordlinger).
The accounts of these friends tell us:
– That he was generous;
I can still see him, wrapped in his fur coat, even in springtime, sitting at a table in Larue’s restaurant, and I can still see the gesture of his delicate hand as he tried to make you let him order the most extravagant supper, accepting the headwaiter’s biased suggestions, offering you champagne, exotic fruits and grapes on their vine-plant which he had noticed on the way in… He told you there was no better way of proving your friendship than by accepting. – Georges de Lauris
– That he liked to add a 200% service charge;
If a dinner cost him ten francs, he would add twenty francs for the waiter. Fernand Gregh
– That he didn’t talk only about himself;
He was the best of listeners. Even in his intimate circle his constant care to be modest and polite prevented him from pushing himself forward and from imposing subjects of conversation. These he found in others’ thoughts. Sometimes he spoke about sport and motor-cars and showed a touching desire for information. He took an interest in you, instead of trying to make you interested in himself. – Georges de Lauris
– That he was curious;
Marcel was passionately interested in his friends. Never have I seen less egoism, or egotism… He wanted to distract you. He was happy to see others laughing and he laughed. – Georges de Lauris
– That he was modest;
What modesty! You apologised for everything: for being present, for speaking, for being quiet, for thinking, for expressing your dazzlingly meandering thoughts, even for lavishing your incomparable praise. – Anna de Noailles
– That he was a great talker
One can never say it enough: Proust’s conversation was dazzling, bewitching. – Marcel Plantevignes
– That one never got bored at his house;
During dinner, he would carry his plate over to each guest; he would eat soup next to one, the fish, or half a fish besides another, and so on until the end of a meal; one can imagine that by the fruit, he had gone all the way around. It was testimony of kindness, of good will towards everyone, because he would have been distraught that anyone would have wanted to complain; and he thought both to make a gesture of individual politeness and to assure, with his usual perspicacity, that everyone was in an agreeable mood. Indeed, the results were excellent, and one never got bored at his house. – Gabriel de La Rochefoucauld