TO THE LIGHTHOUSElast then somebody had come into the drawing-room; somebody was sitting in the chair. ForHeaven’s sake, she prayed, let them sit still thereand not come floundering out to talk to her.Mercifully, whoever it was stayed still inside;had settled by some stroke of luck so as to throwan odd-shaped triangular shadow over the step.It altered the composition of the picture a little.It was interesting. It might be useful. Hermood was coming back to her. One must keepon looking without for a second relaxing theintensity of emotion, the determination not to beput off, not to be bamboozled. One must holdthe scene—so—in a vice and let nothing come inand spoil it. One wanted, she thought, dippingher brush in paint slowlydeliberately, to be on a level withordinary experience, to feel simply that’s a chair,that’s a table, and yet at the same time, It’s amiracle, it’s an ecstasy. The problem might besolved after all. Ah, but what had happened?Some wave of white went over the window pane.The air must have stirred some flounce in theroom. Her heart leapt at her and seized her andtortured her.

“Mrs. Ramsay! Mrs. Ramsay!” she cried,feeling the old horror come back—to want andwant and not to have. Could she inflict that still?And then, quietly, as if she refrained, that too312
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