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176 TO THE LIGHTHOUSEto him; a man, any man, would staunch this effusion,would stop these lamentations. A woman, she hadprovoked this horror; a woman, she should haveknown how to deal with it. It was immensely toher discredit, sexually, to stand there dumb. Onesaid—what did one say?—Oh, Mr Ramsay! DearMr Ramsay! That was what that kind old lady whosketched, Mrs Beckwith, would have said instantly,and rightly. But no. They stood there, isolatedfrom the rest of the world. His immense self-pity,his demand for sympathy poured and spread itselfin pools at her feet, and all she did, miserable sinnerthat she was, was to draw her skirts a little closerround her ankles, lest she should get wet. In com-plete silence she stood there, grasping her paintbrush.

Heaven could never be sufficiently praised! Sheheard sounds in the house. James and Cam must becoming. But Mr Ramsay, as if he knew that histime ran short, exerted upon her solitary figure theimmense pressure of his concentrated woe; his age;his frailty; his desolation; when suddenly, tossing hishead impatiently, in his annoyance—for, after all,what woman could resist him?—he noticed that hisboot-laces were untied. Remarkable boots theywere too, Lily thought, looking down at them:sculptured; colossal; like everything that Mr Ram-say wore, from his frayed tie to his half-buttonedwaistcoat, his own indisputably. She could seethem walking to his room of their own accord, ex-pressive in his absence of pathos, surliness, ill-temper,charm.

‘What beautiful boots!’ she exclaimed. She was