TO THE LIGHTHOUSEcould almost fancy that had Carmichael spoken,for instance, a little tear would have rent thesurface. And then? Something would emerge.A hand would be shoved up, a blade would be orflashed. It was nonsense of course.

A curious notion came to her that he did afterall hear the things she could not say. He was aninscrutable old man, with the yellow stain on hisbeard, and his poetry, and his puzzles, sailingserenely through a world which satisfied all hiswants, so that she thought he had only to putdown his hand where he lay on the lawn to fishup anything he wanted. She looked at herpicture. That would have been his answer,presumably—how "you" and "I" and "she"pass and vanish—nothing stays; all changes; butnot words, not paint. Yet it would be hung inthe attics, she thought; it would be rolled up andflung under a sofa; yet even so, even of a picturelike that, it was true. One might say, even ofthis scrawl, not of that actual picture, perhaps,but of what it attempted, that it "remained forever", she was going to say, or, for the wordsspoken sounded even to herself, too boastful, tohint, wordlessly; when, looking at the picture, shewas surprised to find that she could not see it.Her eyes were full of a hot liquid (she did notthink of tears at first) which, without disturbing276THE LIGHTHOUSECam’s foot, over anybody’s foot. One sat andwatched it.

But whose foot was he thinking of, and in whatgarden did all this happen? For one had settingsfor these scenes; trees that camethere; flowersthere; a certain light; a few figures. Everythingtended to set itself in a garden; there was noneof this gloom. None of this throwing of handsabout; people spoke in an ordinary tone of voice.They went in and out all day long. There was anold woman gossiping in the kitchen; and theblinds were sucked in and out by the breeze; allwas blowing, all was growing; and over all thoseplates and bowls and tall brandishing red andyellow flowers a very thin yellow veil would bedrawn, like a vine leaf, at night. Things becametendererand darker at night. But the leaf—likeveil was so fine,so thin that lights lifted it, voicescrinkled it; he could see through it a figurestooping, hear, coming close, going away, somedress rustling, some chain tinkling.

It was in this world that the wheel went over theperson's foot. Something, he remembered, stayedand darkened over him; would not move; some-thing flourished up in the air, something arid andsharp descended even there, like a blade, a scimitar,smiting through the leaves and flowers even ofthat happy world and making it shrivel and fall.285
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