TO THE LIGHTHOUSEseemed set in its blue, so much depends, shethought, upon distance: whether people are nearus or far from us; for her feeling for Mr. Ramsaychanged as he sailed further and further acrossthe bay. It seemed to be elongated, stretched out;he seemed to become more and more remote. Heand his children seemed to be swallowed up inthat blue, that distance; but here, on the lawn,close at hand, Mr. Carmichael suddenly grunted.She laughed. He clawed his book up from thegrass. He settled into his chair again puffing andblowing like some sea monster. That was differentaltogether, because he was so near. And nowagain all was quiet. They must be out of bed bythis time, she supposed, looking at the house, butnothing appeared there. But then, she remem-bered, they had always made off directly a mealwas over, on business of their own. It was all inkeeping with this silence, this emptiness, and theunreality of the early morning hour. It was a waythings had sometimes, she thought, lingering for amoment and looking at the long glittering windowsand the plume of blue smoke: they becameunreal. So coming back from a journey, or afteran illness, before habits had spun themselvesacross the surface, one felt that same unreality,which was so startling; felt something emerge.Life was most vivid then. One could be at one’s296THE LIGHTHOUSEease. Mercifully one need not say, very briskly,crossing the lawn to greet old Mrs. Beckwith, whowould be coming out to find a corner to sit in,“Oh good-morning, Mrs. Beckwith! What alovely day! Are you going to be so bold as to sitin the sun? Jasper’s hidden the chairs. Do let mefind you one!" and all the rest of the usualchatter. One need not speak at all. One glided,one shook one’s sails (there was a good deal ofmovement in the bay, boats were starting off—between things, beyond things. Empty it was not,but full to the brim. She seemed to be standingup to the lips in some substance, to move andfloat and sink in it, yes, tor these waters were un-fathomably deep. Into them had spilled so manylives. The Ramsays’; the children’s; and allsorts of waifs and strays of things besides. Awasherwoman with her basket; a rook, a red-hotpoker; the purples and grey-greens of flowers:and something holding it together.

It was some such feeling of completenessperhaps which, ten years ago, standing almostwhere she stood now, had made her say that shemust be in love with the place. Love had athousand shapes. There might be lovers whosegift it was to choose out the elements of thingsand place them together and so, giving them awholeness not theirs in life, make of some scene,297
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