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THE LIGHTHOUSE 187air. Faint and unreal, it was amazingly pure andexciting. She hoped nobody would open the windowor come out of the house, but that she might be leftalone to go on thinking, to go on painting. Sheturned to her canvas. But impelled by somecuriosity, driven by the discomfort of the sympathywhich she held undischarged, she walked a pace or soto the end of the lawn to see whether, down there onthe beach, she could see that little company settingsail. Down there among the little boats whichfloated, some with their sails furled, some slowly, forit was very calm, moving away, there was one ratherapart from the others. The sail was even now beinghoisted. She decided that there in that very distantand entirely silent little boat Mr Ramsay was sittingwith Cam and James. Now they had got the sail up;now after a little flagging and hesitation the sailsfilled and, shrouded in profound silence, she watchedthe boat take its way with deliberation past the otherboats out to sea.5

The sails flapped over their heads. The waterchuckled and slapped the sides of the boat, whichdrowsed motionless in the sun. Now and then thesails rippled with a little breeze in them, but theripple ran over them and ceased. The boat made nomotion at all. Mr Ramsay sat in the middle of theboat. He would be impatient in a moment, Jamesthought, and Cam thought, looking at their father,who sat in the middle of the boat between them(James steered; Cam sat alone in the bow) with hislegs tightly curled. He hated hanging about. Sure