aristocrats

“What Gabriel had to realize was that aristocrats, unlike intellectuals, had no desire to improve or prove themselves. In the world of the salons there was no future, only the present. One looked at a painting, one consumed a lime ice, one played a round of cards, one talked, walked, shopped, rode a horse, cooked up a practical joke. The absence of time was paradisal, if paradise is conceded to be splendid but dull. No one struggled to memorize the names of foreign painters, to question the meaning of money or society, to talk amusingly, to stand at a viewing distance from the moment.”

(Edmund White, Caracole, p. 259.)

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