Slide to View Image: Opacity 0%
26 TO THE LIGHTHOUSEisolation and austerity which crowned him in youthto cumber himself definitely with fluttering wings andclucking domesticities. They gave him something—William Bankes acknowledged that; it would havebeen pleasant if Cam had stuck a flower in his coator clambered over his shoulder, as over her father’s,to look at a picture of Vesuvius in eruption; but theyhad also, his old friends could not but feel, destroyedsomething. What would a stranger think now?What did this Lily Briscoe think? Could one helpnoticing that habits grew on him? eccentricities,weaknesses perhaps? It was astonishing that a manof his intellect could stoop so low as he did—but thatwas too harsh a phrase—could depend so much as hedid upon people’s praise.

'Oh but,’ said Lily, ‘think of his work!'

Whenever she ‘thought of his work' she alwayssaw clearly before her a large kitchen table. It wasAndrew’s doing. She asked him what his father’sbooks were about. ‘Subject and object and thenature of reality,’ Andrew had said. And when shesaid Heavens, she had no notion what that meant.‘Think of a kitchen table then,’ he told her, ‘whenyou’re not there.'

So she always saw, when she thought of MrRamsay’s work, a scrubbed kitchen table. It lodgednow in the fork of a pear tree, for they had reachedthe orchard. And with a painful effort of concen-tration, she focused her mind, not upon the silver-bossed bark of the tree, or upon its fish-shapedleaves, but upon a phantom kitchen table, one ofthose scrubbed board tables, grained and knotted,whose virtue seems to have been laid bare by years