THE LIGHTHOUSE 221He read, she thought, as if he were guiding some-thing, or wheedling a large flock of sheep, or pushinghis way up and up a single narrow path; and some-times he went fast and straight, and broke his waythrough the thicket, and sometimes it seemed abranch struck at him, a bramble blinded him, buthe was not going to let himself be beaten by that; onhe went, tossing over page after page. And shewent on telling herself a story about escaping from asinking ship, for she was safe, while he sat there; safe,as she felt herself when she crept in from the garden,and took a book down, and the old gentleman,lowering the paper suddenly, said something verybrief over the top of it about the character ofNapoleon.

She gazed back over the sea, at the island. Butthe leaf was losing its sharpness. It was very small;it was very distant. The sea was more importantnow than the shore. Waves were all round them,tossing and sinking, with a log wallowing down onewave; a gull riding on another. About here, shethought, dabbling her fingers in the water, a shiphad sunk, and she murmured, dreamily, half asleep,how we perished, each alone.12

So much depends then, thought Lily Briscoe, look-ing at the sea which had scarcely a stain on it, whichwas so soft that the sails and the clouds seemed set inits blue, so much depends, she thought, upon dis-

tance: whether people are near us or far from us; for

her feeling for Mr Ramsay changed as he sailed*H 949

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