TO THE LIGHTHOUSEthe highest importance—all that she did not doubtfor a moment; but it was their relation, and hiscoming to her like that, openly, so that any onecould see, that discomposed her; for then peoplesaid he depended on her, when they must know thatof the two he was infinitely the more important,and what she gave the world, in comparison withwhat he gave, negligible. But then again, it was theother thing too—not being able to tell him the truth,being afraid, for instance, about the greenhouse roofand the expense it would be, fifty pounds perhaps,to mend it; and then about his books, to be afraidthat he might guess, what she a little suspected, thathis last book was not quite his best book (shegathered that from William Bankes); and then tohide small daily things, and the children seeingit, and the burden it laid on them—all this dimin-ished the entire joy, the pure joy, of the two notessounding together, and let the sound die on herear now with a dismal flatness.

A shadow was on the page; she looked up. It wasAugustus Carmichael shuffling past, precisely now,at the very moment when it was painful to be re-minded of the inadequacy of human relationships,that the most perfect was flawed, and could notbear the examination which, loving her husband,with her instinct for truth, she turned upon it;62
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