TO THE LIGHTHOUSEfrom a sinking ship. But with the sea streamingthrough her fingers, a spray of seaweed vanishingbehind them, she did not want to tell herselfseriously a story; it was the sense of adventureand escape that she wanted, for she was thinking,as the boat sailed on, how her father’s anger aboutthe points of the compass, James’s obstinacy aboutthe compact, and her own anguish, all had slipped,all had passed, all had streamed away. What thencame next? Where were they going? From herhand, ice cold, held deep in the sea, there spurtedup a fountain of joy at the change, at the escape,at the adventure (that she should be alive, that sheshould be there). And the drops falling from thissudden and unthinking fountain of joy fell hereand there on the dark, the slumbrous shapes inher mind; shapes of a world not realised butturning in their darkness, catching here and there,a spark of light; Greece, Rome, Constantinople.Small as it was, and shaped something like a leafstood on its twigwith the gold sprinkled watersflowing in and about it, it had, she supposed, aplace in the universe—even that little island?The old gentlemen in the study could have toldher. Sometimes she strayed in from the gardenpurposely to catch them at it. There they were(it might be Mr. Carmichael or Mr. Bankes whowas sitting with her father) sitting opposite each292THE LIGHTHOUSEfalgar Square grasping a big stick? Had heturned pages over and over, without reading them,sitting in his room in St. John`s Wood alone?She did not know what he had done, when heheard that Andrew was killed, but she felt it inhim all the same. They only mumbled at eachother on staircases; they looked up at the skyand said it will be fine or it won't be fine. Butthis was one way of knowing people, she thought:to know the outline, not the detail, to sit in one`sgarden and look at the slopes of a hill runningpurple down into the distant heather. She knewhim in that way. She knew that he had changedsomehow. She had never read a line of his poetry.She thought she knew how it went though, slowlyand sonorously. It was seasoned and mellow. Itwas about the desert and the camel. It was aboutthe palm tree and the sunset. It was extremelyimpersonal; it said something about death; it saidvery little about love. There was an imperson-ality about him. He wanted very little of otherpeople. Had he not always lurched ratherawkwardly past the drawing-room window withsome newspaper under his arm, trying to avoidMrs. Ramsay whom for some reason he did notmuch like? On that account, of course, she wouldalways try to make him stop. He would bow toher. He would halt unwillingly and bow pro-301
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