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THE WINDOW 31books. Books, she thought, grew of themselves.She never had time to read them. Alas! even thebooks that had been given her, and inscribed by thehand of the poet himself: ‘For her whose wishes mustbe obeyed' . . . ‘The happier Helen of our days'. . . disgraceful to say, she had never read them.And Croom on the Mind and Bates on the SavageCustoms of Polynesia (‘My dear, stand still,’ she said)—neither of those could one send to the Lighthouse.At a certain moment, she supposed, the house wouldbecome so shabby that something must be done. Ifthey could be taught to wipe their feet and not bringthe beach in with them—that would be something.Crabs, she had to allow, if Andrew really wished todissect them, or if Jasper believed that one couldmake soup from seaweed, one could not prevent it;or Rose’s objects—shells, reeds, stones; for they weregifted, her children, but all in quite different ways.And the result of it was, she sighed, taking in thewhole room from floor to ceiling, as she held thestocking against James’s leg, that things got shabbierand got shabbier summer after summer. The matwas fading; the wall-paper was flapping. Youcouldn't tell any more that those were roses on it.Still, if every door in a house is left perpetually open,and no lockmaker in the whole of Scotland can menda bolt, things must spoil. What was the use offlinging a green Cashmere shawl over the edge of apicture frame? In two weeks it would be the colourof pea soup. But it was the doors that annoyed her;every door was left open. She listened. Thedrawing-room door was open; the hall door wasopen; it sounded as if the bedroom doors were open;