THE WINDOW 139so she turned and felt on the table beside her for abook.And all the lives we ever livedAnd all the lives to be,Are full of trees and changing leaves,she murmured, sticking her needles into the stocking.And she opened the book and began reading hereand there at random, and as she did so she felt thatshe was climbing backwards, upwards, shoving herway up under petals that curved over her, so thatshe only knew this is white, or this is red. She didnot know at first what the words meant at all.Steer, hither steer your winged pines, all beaten Marinersshe read and turned the page, swinging herself, zig-zagging this way and that, from one line to anotheras from one branch to another, from one red andwhite flower to another, until a little sound rousedher—her husband slapping his thighs. Their eyesmet for a second; but they did not want to speak toeach other. They had nothing to say, but somethingseemed, nevertheless, to go from him to her. It wasthe life, it was the power of it, it was the tremendoushumour, she knew, that made him slap his thighs.Don’t interrupt me, he seemed to be saying, don'tsay anything; just sit there. And he went on read-ing. His lips twitched. It filled him. It fortifiedhim. He clean forgot all the little rubs and digs ofthe evening, and how it bored him unutterably to sitstill while people ate and drank interminably, and hisbeing so irritable with his wife and so touchy andminding when they passed his books over as if theydidn't exist at all. But now, he felt, it didn't mattera damn who reached Z (if thought ran like an alpha-bet from A to Z). Somebody would reach it—if
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