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234 TO THE LIGHTHOUSEit. The hills were austere. It was rocky; it wassteep. The waves sounded hoarse on the stonesbeneath. They went, the three of them together,Mrs Ramsay walking rather fast in front, as if sheexpected to meet someone round the corner.

Suddenly the window at which she was lookingwas whitened by some light stuff behind it. At lastthen somebody had come into the drawing-room;somebody was sitting in the chair. For Heaven'ssake, she prayed, let them sit still there and not comefloundering out to talk to her. Mercifully, whoeverit was stayed still inside; had settled by some strokeof luck so as to throw an odd-shaped triangularshadow over the step. It altered the composition ofthe picture a little. It was interesting. It might beuseful. Her mood was coming back to her. Onemust keep on looking without for a second relaxingthe intensity of emotion, the determination not tobe put off, not to be bamboozled. One must holdthe scene—so—in a vice and let nothing come in andspoil it. One wanted, she thought, dipping her brushdeliberately, to be on a level with ordinary experi-ence, to feel simply that’s a chair, that’s a table,and yet at the same time, It’s a miracle, it’s anecstasy. The problem might be solved after all.Ah, but what had happened? Some wave of whitewent over the window pane. The air must havestirred some flounce in the room. Her heart leaptat her and seized her and tortured her.

‘Mrs Ramsay! Mrs Ramsay!’ she cried, feeling theold horror come back—to want and want and not tohave. Could she inflict that still? And then,quietly, as if she refrained, that too became part of