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THE LIGHTHOUSE 183Why always be drawn out and haled away? Whynot left in peace, to talk to Mr Carmichael on thelawn? It was an exacting form of intercourse any-how. Other worshipful objects were content withworship; men, women, God, all let one kneel pros-trate; but this form, were it only the shape of a whitelamp-shade looming on a wicker table, roused one toperpetual combat, challenged one to a fight in whichone was bound to be worsted. Always (it was in hernature, or in her sex, she did not know which) beforeshe exchanged the fluidity of life for the concentra-tion of painting she had a few moments of nakednesswhen she seemed like an unborn soul, a soul reft ofbody, hesitating on some windy pinnacle and ex-posed without protection to all the blasts of doubt.Why then did she do it? She looked at the canvas,lightly scored with running lines. It would be hungin the servants’ bedrooms. It would be rolled upand stuffed under a sofa. What was the good ofdoing it then, and she heard some voice saying shecouldn’t paint, saying she couldn’t create, as if shewere caught up in one of those habitual currentswhich after a certain time forms experience in themind, so that one repeats words without being awareany longer who originally spoke them.

Can’t paint, can’t write, she murmured mono-tonously, anxiously considering what her plan ofattack should be. For the mass loomed before her;

it protruded; she felt it pressing on her eyeballs.Then, as if some juice necessary for the lubricationof her faculties were spontaneously squirted, shebegan precariously dipping among the blues andumbers, moving her brush hither and thither, but it