Slide to View Image: Opacity 0%
44 TO THE LIGHTHOUSEknees, very stiff, James felt all her strength flaringup to be drunk and quenched by the beak of brass,the arid scimitar of the male, which smote merci-lessly, again and again, demanding sympathy.

He was a failure, he repeated. Well, look then,feel then. Flashing her needles, glancing roundabout her, out of the window, into the room, atJames himself, she assured him, beyond a shadow ofa doubt, by her laugh, her poise, her competence (asa nurse carrying a light across a dark room assures afractious child), that it was real; the house was full;the garden blowing. If he put implicit faith in her,nothing should hurt him; however deep he buriedhimself or climbed high, not for a second should hefind himself without her. So boasting of her capacityto surround and protect, there was scarcely a shellof herself left for her to know herself by; all was solavished and spent; and James, as he stood stiffbetween her knees, felt her rise in a rosy-floweredfruit tree laid with leaves and dancing boughs intowhich the beak of brass, the arid scimitar of hisfather, the egotistical man, plunged and smote, de-manding sympathy.

Filled with her words, like a child who drops offsatisfied, he said, at last, looking at her with humblegratitude, restored, renewed, that he would take aturn; he would watch the children playing cricket.He went.

Immediately, Mrs Ramsay seemed to fold herselftogether, one petal closed in another, and the wholefabric fell in exhaustion upon itself, so that she hadonly strength enough to move her finger, in exquisiteabandonment to exhaustion, across the page of