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THE LIGHTHOUSE 1976Yes, that is their boat, Lily Briscoe decided, stand-ing on the edge of the lawn. It was the boat withgreyish-brown sails, which she saw now flatten itselfupon the water and shoot off across the bay. Therehe sits, she thought, and the children are quite silentstill. And she could not reach him either. Thesympathy she had not given him weighed her down.It made it difficult for her to paint.

She had always found him difficult. She hadnever been able to praise him to his face, she re-membered. And that reduced their relationship tosomething neutral, without that element of sex in itwhich made his manner to Minta so gallant, almostgay. He would pick a flower for her, hand her hisbooks. But could he believe that Minta read them?She dragged them about the garden, sticking inleaves to mark the place.

‘D'you remember, Mr Carmichael?’ she was in-clined to ask, looking at the old man. But he hadpulled his hat half over his forehead; he was asleep,or he was dreaming, or he was lying there catchingwords, she supposed.

‘D'you remember?’ she felt inclined to ask himas she passed him, thinking again of Mrs Ramsay onthe beach; the cask bobbing up and down; and thepages flying. Why, after all these years had thatsurvived, ringed round, lit up, visible to the lastdetail, with all before it blank and all after it blank,for miles and miles?

‘Is it a boat? Is it a cork?' she would say, Lilyrepeated, turning back, reluctantly again, to her