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THE LIGHTHOUSE 231thing she had seen. For in the rough and tumble ofdaily life, with all those children about, all thosevisitors, one had constantly a sense of repetition—of one thing falling where another had fallen, and sosetting up an echo which chimed in the air and madeit full of vibrations.

But it would be a mistake, she thought, thinkinghow they walked off together, she in her green shawl,he with his tie flying, arm in arm, past the green-house, to simplify their relationship. It was nomonotony of bliss—she with her impulses and quick-nesses; he with his shudders and glooms. Oh no.The bedroom door would slam violently early in themorning. He would start from the table in a temper.He would whizz his plate through the window. Thenall through the house there would be a sense of doorsslamming and blinds fluttering as if a gusty windwere blowing and people scudded about trying in ahasty way to fasten hatches and make things ship-shape. She had met Paul Rayley like that one dayon the stairs. They had laughed and laughed, likea couple of children, all because Mr Ramsay, findingan earwig in his milk at breakfast had sent the wholething flying through the air on to the terrace outside.‘An earwig,’ Prue murmured, awestruck, ‘in hismilk.’ Other people might find centipedes. But hehad built round him such a fence of sanctity, andoccupied the space with such a demeanour of majestythat an earwig in his milk was a monster.

But it tired Mrs Ramsay, it cowed her a little—the plates whizzing and the doors slamming. Andthere would fall between them sometimes long rigidsilences, when, in a state of mind which annoyed