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36 TO THE LIGHTHOUSEup, as her husband passed her once more, she wasrelieved to find that the ruin was veiled; domesticitytriumphed; custom crooned its soothing rhythm, sothat when stopping deliberately, as his turn cameround again, at the window he bent quizzically andwhimsically to tickle James's bare calf with a sprigof something, she twitted him for having dispatched‘that poor young man,’ Charles Tansley. Tansleyhad had to go in and write his dissertation, he said.

‘James will have to write his dissertation one ofthese days,’ he added ironically, flicking his sprig.

Hating his father, James brushed away the ticklingspray with which in a manner peculiar to him, com-pound of severity and humour, he teased his youngestson’s bare leg.

She was trying to get these tiresome stockingsfinished to send to Sorley’s little boy to-morrow,said Mrs Ramsay.

There wasn’t the slightest possible chance thatthey could go to the Lighthouse to-morrow, MrRamsay snapped out irascibly.

How did he know? she asked. The wind oftenchanged.

The extraordinary irrationality of her remark, thefolly of women’s minds enraged him. He had riddenthrough the valley of death, been shattered andshivered; and now she flew in the face of facts, madehis children hope what was utterly out of the ques-tion, in effect, told lies. He stamped his foot on thestone step. ‘Damn you,’ he said. But what hadshe said? Simply that it might be fine to-morrow.So it might.

Not with the barometer falling and the wind due west.