TO THE LIGHTHOUSEor meeting of people (all now gone and separate),one of those globed compacted things over whichthought lingers, and love plays.

Her eyes rested on the brown speck of Mr.Ramsay’s sailing boat. They would be at theLighthouse by lunch time she supposed. But thewind had freshened, and, as the sky changedslightly and the sea changed slightly and theboats altered their positions, the view, which amoment before had seemed miraculously fixed,was now unsatisfactory. The wind had blown thetrail of smoke about; there was something dis-pleasing about the placing of the ships.

The disproportion there seemed to upset someharmony in her own mind. She felt an obscuredistress. It was confirmed when she turned toher picture. She had been wasting her morning.For whatever reason she could not achieve thatrazor edge of balance between two oppositeforces; Mr. Ramsay and the picture; which wasnecessary? There was something perhaps wrongwith the design? Was it, she wondered, that theline of the wall wanted breaking, was it that themass of the trees was too heavy? She smiledironically; for had she not thought, when shebegan, that she had solved her problem?

What was the problem then? She must try toget hold of something that evaded her. It evaded298THE LIGHTHOUSEpushing his way up and up a single narrow path;and sometimes he went fast and straight, and brokehis way through the bramble, and sometimes itseemed a branch struck at him, a bramble blindedhim, but he was not going to let himself be beatenby that; on he went, tossing over page after page.And she went on telling herself a story aboutescaping from a sinking ship for she was safe,while he sat there; safe, as she felt herself whenshe crept in from the garden, and took a bookdown and the old gentleman, lowering the papersuddenly, said something very brief over the topof it about the character of Napoleon.

She gazed back over the sea, at the island.But the leaf was losing its sharpness. It was verysmall; it was very distant. The sea was morei important now than the shore. Waves were allround them, tossing and sinking, with a logwallowing down one wave; a gull riding onanother. About here, she thought, dabbling herfingers in the water, a ship had sunk, and shemurmured, dreamily half asleep, how we perished,each alone.12

So much depends then, thought Lily Briscoe,looking at the sea which had scarcely a stain on it,which was so soft that the sails and the clouds295
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