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TIME PASSES 149such confusion to ask the night those questions as towhat, and why, and wherefore, which tempt thesleeper from his bed to seek an answer.

[Mr Ramsay stumbling along a passage stretchedhis arms out one dark morning, but, Mrs Ramsayhaving died rather suddenly the night before, hestretched his arms out. They remained empty.]


So with the house empty and the doors locked andthe mattresses rolled round, those stray airs, advanceguards of great armies, blustered in, brushed bareboards, nibbled and fanned, met nothing in bedroomor drawing-room that wholly resisted them but onlyhangings that flapped, wood that creaked, the barelegs of tables, saucepans and china already furred,tarnished, cracked. What people had shed and left—a pair of shoes, a shooting cap, some faded skirtsand coats in wardrobes—those alone kept the humanshape and in the emptiness indicated how once theywere filled and animated; how once hands were busywith hooks and buttons; how once the looking-glasshad held a face; had held a world hollowed out inwhich a figure turned, a hand flashed, the dooropened, in came children rushing and tumbling; andwent out again. Now, day after day, light turned,like a flower reflected in water, its clear image on thewall opposite. Only the shadows of the trees,flourishing in the wind, made obeisance on the wall,and for a moment darkened the pool in which lightreflected itself; or birds, flying, made a soft spotflutter slowly across the bedroom floor.F 949