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152 TO THE LIGHTHOUSEjoy there must have been at the wash-tub, say withher children (yet two had been base-born and onehad deserted her), at the public-house, drinking;turning over scraps in her drawers. Some cleavageof the dark there must have been, some channel inthe depths of obscurity through which light enoughissued to twist her face grinning in the glass and makeher, turning to her job again, mumble out the oldmusic-hall song. Meanwhile the mystic, the vision-ary, walked the beach, stirred a puddle, looked at astone, and asked themselves: ‘What am I?’ ‘Whatis this?’ and suddenly an answer was vouchsafedthem (what it was they could not say): so that theywere warm in the frost and had comfort in the desert.But Mrs McNab continued to drink and gossip asbefore.6

The spring without a leaf to toss, bare and brightlike a virgin fierce in her chastity, scornful in herpurity, was laid out on fields wide-eyed and watchfuland entirely careless of what was done or thoughtby the beholders.

[Prue Ramsay, leaning on her father’s arm, wasgiven in marriage that May. What, people said,could have been more fitting? And, they added,how beautiful she looked!]

As summer neared, as the evenings lengthened,there came to the wakeful, the hopeful, walking thebeach, stirring the pool, imaginations of the strangestkind—of flesh turned to atoms which drove beforethe wind, of stars flashing in their hearts, of cliff,sea, cloud, and sky brought purposely together to