Now you are walking in Paris all alone in the crowdAs herds of bellowing buses drive byLove's anguish tightens your throatAs if you were never to be loved againIf you lived in the old days you would enter a monasteryYou are ashamed when you discover yourself reciting a prayerYou make fun of yourself and like the fire of Hell your laughter cracklesThe sparks of your laugh gild the depths of your lifeIt's a painting hanging in a dark museumAnd sometimes you go and look at it close up
Kilmartin wrote a highly amusing and illuminating account of his experience as a Proust revisionist, which appeared in the first issue of Ben Sonnenberg's quarterly in the autumn of 1981. The essay opened with a kind of encouragement: 'There used to be a story that discerning Frenchmen preferred to read Marcel Proust in English on the grounds that the prose of was deeply un-French and heavily influenced by English writers such as Ruskin.' I cling to this even though Kilmartin thought it to be ridiculous Parisian snobbery; I shall never be able to read Proust in French, and one's opportunities for outfacing Gallic self-regard are relatively scarce.
I don't mind admitting that I, too, have watched Hilton undergoing the sexual act. I phrase it as crudely as that because it was one of the least erotic such sequences I have ever seen. She seemed to know what was expected of her and to manifest some hard-won expertise, but I could almost have believed that she was drugged. At no point did her facial expression match even the simulacrum of lovemaking.