198 TO THE LIGHTHOUSEcanvas. Heaven be praised for it, the problem ofspace remained, she thought, taking up her brushagain. It glared at her. The whole mass of thepicture was poised upon that weight. Beautifuland bright it should be on the surface, feathery andevanescent, one colour melting into another like thecolours on a butterfly’s wing; but beneath the fabricmust be clamped together with bolts of iron. It wasto be a thing you could ruffle with your breath; and athing you could not dislodge with a team of horses.And she began to lay on a red, a grey, and she beganto model her way into the hollow there. At the sametime she seemed to be sitting beside Mrs Ramsay onthe beach.

‘Is it a boat? Is it a cask?’ Mrs Ramsay said.And she began hunting round for her spectacles.And she sat, having found them, silent, looking outto sea. And Lily, painting steadily, felt as if a doorhad opened, and one went in and stood gazing silentlyabout in a high cathedral-like place, very dark, verysolemn. Shouts came from a world far away.Steamers vanished in stalks of smoke on the horizon.Charles threw stones and sent them skipping.

Mrs Ramsay sat silent. She was glad, Lily thought,to rest in silence, uncommunicative; to rest in theextreme obscurity of human relationships. Whoknows what we are, what we feel? Who knows evenat the moment of intimacy, This is knowledge?Aren’t things spoilt then, Mrs Ramsay may haveasked (it seemed to have happened so often, thissilence by her side) by saying them? Aren’t wemore expressive thus? The moment at least seemedextraordinarily fertile. She rammed a little hole in

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