Instead, Mr. Ramsay smiled. His pall, hisdraperies, his infirmities fell from him. Ah yes,he said, holding his foot up for her to look at,they were first-rate boots. There was only oneman in England who could make boots like that.Boots are among the chief curses of mankind, hesaid. "Bootmakers make it their business," heexclaimed, "to cripple and torture the humanfoot." They are also the most obstinate andperverse of mankind. It had taken him the bestpart of his youth to get boots made as they shouldbe made. He would have her observe (he liftedhis right foot and then his left) that she had neverseen boots made quite that shape before. Theywere made of the finest leather in the world, also.Most leather was mere brown paper and card-board. He looked complacently at his foot, stillheld in the air. They had reached, she felt, asunny island where peace dwelt, sanity reignedand the sun for ever shone, the blessed island ofgood boots. Her heart warmed to him. "Nowlet me see if you can tie a knot," he said. Hepoohpoohed her feeble system. He showed herhis own invention. Once you tied it, it nevercame undone. Three times he knotted her shoe;three times he unknotted it.

Why, at this completely inappropriate moment,when he was stooping over her shoe, should she238
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