TO THE LIGHTHOUSEhouse. Everything in the whole world seemedto stand still. The Lighthouse became immov-able, and the line of the distant shore becamefixed. The sun grew hotter and everybody seemedto come very close together and to feel each other’spresence, which they had almost forgotten.Macalister’s fishing line went plumb down intothe sea. But Mr. Ramsay went on reading withhis legs curled under him.

He was reading a little shiny book with coversmottled like a plover's egg. Now and again, asthey hung about in that horrid calm, he turneda page. And James felt that each page wasturned with a peculiar gesture aimed at him: nowassertively, now commandingly; now with theintention of making people pity him; and all thetime, as his father read and turned one afteranother of those little pages, James kept dreadingthe moment when he would look up and speaksharply to him about something or other. Whywere they lagging about here? he would demand,or something quite unreasonable like that. Andif he does, James thought, then I shall take aknife and strike him to the heart.

He had always kept this old symbol of taking aknife and striking his father to the heart. Onlynow, as he grew older, and sat staring at hisfather in an impotent rage, it was not him, that282THE LIGHTHOUSEwith which she went. Lily squeezed her tubesagain. She attacked that problem of the hedge.)It was strange how clearly she saw her, steppingwith her usual quickness across fields among thosefolds, purplish and soft, among whose flowers,hyacinths or lilies, she vanished. It was sometrick of the painter’s eye. For days after she hadheard of her death she had seen her thus, puttingher wreath to her foehead and going unquestion-ingly with her companion, across the fields. Thesight, the phrase, had its power to console.Wherever she happened to be, painting, here, inthe country or in London, the vision would cometo her, her eyes, half closing, sought somethingto base her vision on. She looked down the rail-way carriage, the omnibus; took a line fromshoulder or cheek; looked at the windowsopposite; at Piccadilly, lamp-strung in theevening. All had been part of the fields of death.But always something—it might be a face, a voice,a paper boy crying Standard, News—thrustthrough, snubbed her, waked her, required andgot in the end an effort of attention, so that thevision must be perpetually remade. Now again,moved as she was by some instinctive need ofdistance and blue, she looked at the bay beneathher, making hillocks of the blue bars of the waves,and stony fields of the purpler spaces, she was279
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