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TIME PASSES 165muring—as Lily Briscoe laid her head on the pillowin the clean still room and heard the sea. Throughthe open window the voice of the beauty of the worldcame murmuring, too softly to hear exactly what itsaid—but what mattered if the meaning were plain?—entreating the sleepers (the house was full again;Mrs Beckwith was staying there, also Mr Carmichael),if they would not actually come down to the beachitself at least to lift the blind and look out. Theywould see then night flowing down in purple; hishead crowned; his sceptre jewelled; and how in hiseyes a child might look. And if they still faltered(Lily was tired out with travelling and slept almostat once; but Mr Carmichael read a book by candle-light), if they still said no, that it was vapour thissplendour of his, and the dew had more power thanhe, and they preferred sleeping; gently then withoutcomplaint, or argument, the voice would sing itssong. Gently the waves would break (Lily heardthem in her sleep); tenderly the light fell (it seemedto come through her eyelids). And it all looked, MrCarmichael thought, shutting his book, falling asleep,much as it used to look years ago.

Indeed the voice might resume, as the curtains ofdark wrapped themselves over the house, over MrsBeckwith, Mr Carmichael, and Lily Briscoe so that

they lay with several folds of blackness on their eyes,why not accept this, be content with this, acquiesceand resign? The sigh of all the seas breaking inmeasure round the isles soothed them; the nightwrapped them; nothing broke their sleep, until, thebirds beginning and the dawn weaving their thinvoices in to its whiteness, a cart grinding, a dog