THE LIGHTHOUSEflatten itself upon the water and shoot off acrossthe bay. There he sits, she thought, and thechildren are quite silent still. And she could notreach him either. The sympathy she had notgiven him weighed her down. It made it difficultfor her to paint.

She had always found him difficult. She hadnever been able to praise him to his face, sheremembered. And that reduced their relationshipto something neutral, without that element of sexin it which made his manner to Minta so gallant,almost gay. He would pick a flower for her, lendher his books. But could he believe that Mintaread them? She dragged them about the garden,sticking in leaves to mark the place.

"D’you remember, Mr. Carmichael?" shewas inclined to ask, looking at the old man. Buthe had pulled his hat half over his forehead; hewas asleep, or he was dreaming, or he was lyingthere catching words, she supposed.

"D’you remember?" she felt inclined to askhim as she passed him, thinking again of Mrs.Ramsay on the beach; the cask bobbing up anddown; and the pages flying. Why, after all theseyears had that survived, ringed round, lit up,visible to the last detail, with all before it blankand all after it blank, for miles and miles?

"Is it a boat? Is it a cork?" she would say,263

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