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THE LIGHTHOUSE 169morning like this, she said, looking out of the window—it was a beautiful still day.2

Suddenly Mr Ramsay raised his head as he passedand looked straight at her, with his distraught wildgaze which was yet so penetrating, as if he saw you,for one second, for the first time, for ever; and shepretended to drink out of her empty coffee cup so asto escape him—to escape his demand on her, to putaside a moment longer that imperious need. Andhe shook his head at her, and strode on ('Alone' sheheard him say, 'Perished' she heard him say) andlike everything else this strange morning the wordsbecame symbols, wrote themselves all over the grey-green walls. If only she could put them together, shefelt, write them out in some sentence, then she wouldhave got at the truth of things. Old Mr Carmichaelcame padding softly in, fetched his coffee, took hiscup and made off to sit in the sun. The extra-ordinary unreality was frightening; but it was alsoexciting. Going to the Lighthouse. But what doesone send to the Lighthouse? Perished. Alone.The grey-green light on the wall opposite. Theempty places. Such were some of the parts, buthow bring them together? she asked. As if anyinterruption would break the frail shape she wasbuilding on the table she turned her back to thewindow lest Mr Ramsay should see her. She mustescape somehow, be alone somewhere. Suddenlyshe remembered. When she had sat there last tenyears ago there had been a little sprig or leaf pattern