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THE LIGHTHOUSE 189quickened itself, flattened itself, and shot off. In-stantly, as if some great strain had been relieved, MrRamsay uncurled his legs, took out his tobaccopouch, handed it with a little grunt to Macalister, andfelt, they knew, for all they suffered, perfectly con-tent. Now they would sail on for hours like this,and Mr Ramsay would ask old Macalister a question—about the great storm last winter probably—andold Macalister would answer it, and they would pufftheir pipes together, and Macalister would take atarry rope in his fingers, tying or untying some knot,and the boy would fish, and never say a word to anyone. James would be forced to keep his eye all thetime on the sail. For if he forgot, then the sailpuckered, and shivered, and the boat slackened, andMr Ramsay would say sharply: 'Look out! Lookout!' and old Macalister would turn slowly on hisseat. So they heard Mr Ramsay asking some ques-tion about the great storm at Christmas. 'She comesdriving round the point,’ old Macalister said, de-scribing the great storm last Christmas, when tenships had been driven into the bay for shelter, andhe had seen 'one there, one there, one there' (hepointed slowly round the bay. Mr Ramsay followedhim, turning his head). He had seen three menclinging to the mast. Then she was gone. ‘And atlast we shoved her off,’ he went on (but in their angerand their silence they only caught a word here andthere, sitting at opposite ends of the boat, united bytheir compact to fight tyranny to the death). At lastthey had shoved her off, they had launched the life-boat, and they had got her out past the point—Macalister told the story; and though they only*G 949