TO THE LIGHTHOUSEfoundly. Annoyed that he did not want anythingof her, Mrs. Ramsay would ask him (Lily couldhear her) wouldn’t he like a coat, a rug, a news-paper? No, he wanted nothing. (Here he bowed).There was some quality in her which he did notmuch like. It was perhaps her masterfulness, herpositiveness, something matter-of-fact in her. Shewas so direct.

(A noise drew her attention to the drawing-room window—the squeak of a hinge. The lightbreeze was toying with the window.)

There must have been people who disliked hervery much, Lily thought (Yes; she realised thatthe drawing-room step was empty, but it had noeffect on her whatever. She did not want Mrs.Ramsay now).—People who thought her too sure,too drastic. Also her beauty offended peopleprobably. How monotonous, they would say,and the same always! They preferred anothertype—the dark, the vivacious. Then she wasweak with her husband. She let him make thosescenes. Then she was reserved. Nobody knewexactly what had happened to her. And (to goback to Mr. Carmichael and his dislike) onecould not imagine Mrs. Ramsay standing paint-ing, lying reading, a whole morning on the lawn.It was unthinkable. Without saying a word, theonly token of her errand a basket on her arm, she302THE LIGHTHOUSEthe air, and let it fall upon his knee again as if hewere conducting some secret symphony.10

(The sea is without a stain on it, thought LilyBriscoe, still standing and looking out over thebay. It isstretched like silk across the bay. Andone cannot see where the sky joins it.Distancehad an extraordinary power; they had beenswallowed up in it, she felt, they were gone forever, they had become part of the nature of things.It was so calm; it was so quiet. The steameritself had vanished, but the great scroll of smokestill hung up in the air and drooped like a flagmournfully in valediction.)11

It was like that then, the island, thought Cam,once more drawing her fingers through the waves.She had never seen it from out at sea before. Itlay like that on the sea, did it, with a dent in themiddle and two sharp crags, and the sea swept inthere, and spread away for miles and miles oneither side of the island. It was very small;shaped something like a leaf stood on end. Sowe took a little boat, she thought, beginning totell herself a story of adventure about escaping291
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