“It will rain,” he remembered his fathersaying. “You won’t be able to go to theLighthouse.”

The Lighthouse was then a silvery, misty-looking tower with a yellow eye, openingsuddenly,softly. Now—

James looked at the Lighthouse. He couldsee the white-washed rocks; the tower, stark andstraight; he could see that it was barred withblack and white; he could see windows in it; hecould even see washing spread on the rocks to dry.So that was the Lighthouse, was it?

No, the other was also the Lighthouse. Fornothing was simply one thing. The otherLighthouse was true too. It was sometimes hardlyto be seen across the bay. In the evening onelooked up and saw the eye opening and shuttingand the light seemed to reach them in that airysunny garden where they sat.

But he pulled himself up. Whenever he said“they” or “a person”, and then began hearingthe rustle of some one coming, the tinkle of someone going, [^] Insert from foot of page.hepulledhimselfuphe became extremely sensitive to the presenceof whoever might be in the room. It washis father now. Theor that laugh which ended with threeseparate “ahs”, each less than the last, like dropswrung from the heart of merriment, it meant thathe was drawing near the thing he did not want tothink about (his mother), since it was terrible andhorrible to think of her with his father near; it286THE LIGHTHOUSEness there? (She was looking at the drawing-roomsteps; they looked extraordinarily empty). It wasone’s body feeling, not one’s mind. The physicalsensations that went with the bare look of thesteps had become suddenly extremely unpleasant.To want and not to have, sent all up her body ahardness, a hollowness, a strain. And then towant and not to have—to want and want—howthat wrung the heart, and wrung it again andagain! Oh Mrs. Ramsay! she called out silently,to that essence which sat by the boat, that abstract ,one made of her, that woman in grey, as if toabuse her for having gone, and then having gone,come back again. It had seemed so safe, thinkingof her. Ghost, air, nothingness, a thing you couldplay with easily and safely at any time of day ornight, she had been that, and then suddenly sheput her hand out and wrung the heart thus.Suddenly, the empty drawing-room steps, thefrill of the chair inside, the puppy tumbling on theterrace, the whole wave and whisper of the gardenbecame like curves and arabesques flourishinground a centre of complete emptiness.

“What is death?doesit mean?How do you explain it all?"she wanted to say, turning to Mr. Carmichaelagain. For the whole world seemed to have dis-solved in this early morning hour into a pool ofthought, a deep basin of intense reality, and one275
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