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170TO THE LIGHTHOUSEon the tablecloth, which she had looked at in amoment of revelation. There had been a problemabout a foreground of a picture. Move the tree tothe middle, she had said. She had never finishedthat picture. It had been knocking about in hermind all these years. She would paint that picturenow. Where were her paints, she wondered? Herpaints, yes. She had left them in the hall last night.She would start at once. She got up quickly, beforeMr Ramsay turned.

She fetched herself a chair. She pitched her easelwith her precise old maidish movements on the edgeof the lawn, not too close to Mr Carmichael, but closeenough for his protection. Yes, it must have beenprecisely here that she had stood ten years ago.There was the wall; the hedge; the tree. The ques-tion was of some relation between those masses. Shehad borne it in her mind all these years. It seemedas if the solution had come to her: she knew nowwhat she wanted to do.But with Mr Ramsay bearing down on her, shecould do nothing. Every time he approached—he was walking up and down the terrace—ruinapproached, chaos approached. She could not paint.She stooped, she turned; she took up this rag; shesqueezed that tube. But all she did was to wardhim off a moment. He made it impossible for herto do anything. For if she gave him the least chance,

if he saw her disengaged a moment, looking his waya moment, he would be on her, saying, as he had saidlast night: 'You find us much changed.' Last nighthe had got up and stopped before her, and said that.Dumb and staring though they had all sat, the six