A labyrinth of alleys
Proust captures the typical experience of the new visitor to the city
getting lost amidst the maze of narrow alleyways that thread the way
'It was one of those architectural wholes towards which, in any other
town, the streets converge, lead you and point the way. Here it seemed
to be deliberately concealed in a labyrinth of alleys, like those
palaces in oriental tales to which mysterious agents convey by night a
person who, taken home again before daybreak, can never again find his
way back to the magic dwelling which he ends by supposing that he
visited only in a dream.'
It is likely the argument with his mother (as occurs in Albertine Disparue) actually happened, because such an argument is also recounted in Contre Sainte Beuve.
Whether he left with his mother (or not, as threatened) is uncertain,
but in October Proust returned alone, and on 19 October 1900
signed the visitors’ book of the Armenian monastery on the island of San
Proust probably visited San Lorenzo because Ruskin had particularly
praised the view of Venice from San Lorenzo in a letter of may 1859 to
Charles Eliot Norton, quoted by Norton in the preface to the Brantwood
edition of Stones of Venice: Traveler’s edition (1891) New York.
Of this second trip, nothing else is known.
“My dear, you think me dead, forgive me, I am quite alive, should
like to see you, talk about marriage, when do you return? Love.