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18 TO THE LIGHTHOUSEthat? How’s that?’ of the children playing cricket,had ceased; so that the monotonous fall of the waveson the beach, which for the most part beat a mea-sured and soothing tattoo to her thoughts andseemed consolingly to repeat over and over again asshe sat with the children the words of some old cradlesong, murmured by nature, 'I am guarding you—Iam your support,' but at other times suddenly andunexpectedly, especially when her mind raised itselfslightly from the task actually in hand, had no suchkindly meaning, but like a ghostly roll of drums re-morselessly beat the measure of life, made one thinkof the destruction of the island and its engulfmentin the sea, and warned her whose day had slippedpast in one quick doing after another that it was allephemeral as a rainbow—this sound which had beenobscured and concealed under the other sounds sud-denly thundered hollow in her ears and made herlook up with an impulse of terror.

They had ceased to talk; that was the explanation.Falling in one second from the tension which hadgripped her to the other extreme which, as if to re-coup her for her unnecessary expense of emotion, wascool, amused, and even faintly malicious, she con-cluded that poor Charles Tansley had been shed.That was of little account to her. If her husbandrequired sacrifices (and indeed he did) she cheerfullyoffered up to him Charles Tansley, who had snubbedher little boy.

One moment more, with her head raised, shelistened, as if she waited for some habitual sound,some regular mechanical sound; and then, hearingsomething rhythmical, half said, half chanted, be-