Student or Learner
I'm reading an article about the young Marcel Proust. It says Proust was a society reporter observing the glittering Paris scene. He became Count Robert de Montesquiou's protégé and:
"Spending time at de Montesquiou’s side, Proust steeped himself in tales of bygone intrigues, minutely studying the aristocratic characters who surrounded him."
I'm very confused about what "tales of bygone intrigues" are. Although I looked up the dictionary for "bygone" and "intrigues", I still don't understand what this phrase mean. And why spending time with de Montesquiou would make Proust steeped in such tales? Can anybody explain this sentence to me?
Here 'bygone intrigues' means something like 'past conspiracies' or 'past plots'.
Since de Montesquior was training Proust as his protégé, Proust was hearing about old political plots and plans while learning to navigate the political aristocracy.