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THE LIGHTHOUSE 227much, Lily thought (Yes; she realized that thedrawing-room step was empty, but it had no effecton her whatever. She did not want Mrs Ramsaynow).—People who thought her too sure, too drastic.Also her beauty offended people probably. Howmonotonous, they would say, and the same always!They preferred another type—the dark, the viva-cious. Then she was weak with her husband. Shelet him make those scenes. Then she was reserved.Nobody knew exactly what had happened to her.And (to go back to Mr Carmichael and his dislike)one could not imagine Mrs Ramsay standing paint-ing, lying reading, a whole morning on the lawn. Itwas unthinkable. Without saying a word, the onlytoken of her errand a basket on her arm, she went offto the town, to the poor, to sit in some stuffy littlebedroom. Often and often Lily had seen her gosilently in the midst of some game, some discussion,with her basket on her arm, very upright. She hadnoted her return. She had thought, half laughing(she was so methodical with the tea cups) half moved(her beauty took one’s breath away), eyes that areclosing in pain have looked on you. You have beenwith them there.

And then Mrs Ramsay would be annoyed becausesomebody was late, or the butter not fresh, or theteapot chipped. And all the time she was sayingthat the butter was not fresh one would be thinkingof Greek temples, and how beauty had been withthem there. She never talked of it—she went, punc-tually, directly. It was her instinct to go, an instinctlike the swallows for the south, the artichokes forthe sun, turning her infallibly to the human race,