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THE LIGHTHOUSE 185see, and then Charles Tansley became as nice as hecould possibly be. He began playing ducks anddrakes. They chose little flat black stones and sentthem skipping over the waves. Every now andthen Mrs Ramsay looked up over her spectacles andlaughed at them. What they said she could notremember, but only she and Charles throwing stonesand getting on very well all of a sudden and MrsRamsay watching them. She was highly consciousof that. Mrs Ramsay, she thought, stepping backand screwing up her eyes. (It must have alteredthe design a good deal when she was sitting on thestep with James. There must have been a shadow.)Mrs Ramsay. When she thought of herself andCharles throwing ducks and drakes and of the wholescene on the beach, it seemed to depend somehowupon Mrs Ramsay sitting under the rock, with a padon her knee, writing letters. (She wrote innumerableletters, and sometimes the wind took them and sheand Charles just saved a page from the sea.) Butwhat a power was in the human soul! she thought.That woman sitting there, writing under the rockresolved everything into simplicity; made theseangers, irritations fall off like old rags; she broughttogether this and that and then this, and so madeout of that miserable silliness and spite (she andCharles squabbling, sparring, had been silly andspiteful) something—this scene on the beach forexample, this moment of friendship and liking—which survived, after all these years, complete, sothat she dipped into it to re-fashion her memory ofhim, and it stayed in the mind almost like a workof art.