38 TO THE LIGHTHOUSEthinner, was taking the substance from leaves andhedges but, as if in return, restoring to roses andpinks a lustre which they had not had by day.

'Someone had blundered,’ he said again, stridingoff, up and down the terrace.

But how extraordinarily his note had changed! Itwas like the cuckoo; ‘in June he gets out of tune’; asif he were trying over, tentatively seeking, somephrase for a new mood, and having only this at hand,used it, cracked though it was. But it soundedridiculous—‘Someone had blundered’—said likethat, almost as a question, without any conviction,melodiously. Mrs Ramsay could not help smiling,and soon, sure enough, walking up and down, hehummed it, dropped it, fell silent.

He was safe, he was restored to his privacy. Hestopped to light his pipe, looked once at his wife andson in the window, and as one raises one’s eyes froma page in an express train and sees a farm, a tree, acluster of cottages as an illustration, a confirmationof something on the printed page to which one re-turns, fortified, and satisfied, so without his dis-tinguishing either his son or his wife, the sight ofthem fortified him and satisfied him and consecratedhis effort to arrive at a perfectly clear understandingof the problem which now engaged the energies ofhis splendid mind.

It was a splendid mind. For if thought is like thekeyboard of a piano, divided into so many notes, orlike the alphabet is ranged in twenty-six letters allin order, then his splendid mind had no sort of diffi-culty in running over those letters one by one, firmlyand accurately, until it had reached, say, the letter

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