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THE LIGHTHOUSEhad, which, though the reason of it escaped her,evidently conferred on them the most supreme blissof which human nature was capable. Here he was,stopped by her side. She would give him what shecould.II

She seemed to have shrivelled slightly, he thought.She looked a little skimpy, wispy; but not unat-tractive. He liked her. There had been some talk ofher marrying William Bankes once, but nothing hadcome of it. His wife had been fond of her. He hadbeen a little out of temper too at breakfast. Andthen, and then—this was one of those moments whenan enormous need urged him, without being con-scious what it was, to approach any woman, to forcethem, he did not care how, his need was so great, togive him what he wanted: sympathy.

Was anybody looking after her? he said. Hadshe everything she wanted?

"Oh, thanks, everything," said Lily Briscoenervously. No; she could not do it. She ought tohave floated off instantly upon some wave of sym-pathetic expansion: the pressure on her was tre-mendous. But she remained stuck. There was anawful pause. They both looked at the sea. Why,225