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THE WINDOW 51ceeded on foot alone. He reached the edge of thelawn and looked out on the bay beneath.

It was his fate, his peculiarity, whether he wishedit or not, to come out thus on a spit of land whichthe sea is slowly eating away, and there to stand,like a desolate sea-bird, alone. It was his power, hisgift, suddenly to shed all superfluities, to shrink anddiminish so that he looked barer and felt sparer, evenphysically, yet lost none of his intensity of mind, andso to stand on his little ledge facing the dark ofhuman ignorance, how we know nothing and the seaeats away the ground we stand on—that was his fate,his gift. But having thrown away, when he dis-mounted, all gestures and fripperies, all trophies ofnuts and roses, and shrunk so that not only fame buteven his own name was forgotten by him, he kepteven in that desolation a vigilance which spared nophantom and luxuriated in no vision, and it was inthis guise that he inspired in William Bankes (inter-mittently) and in Charles Tansley (obsequiously)and in his wife now, when she looked up and saw himstanding at the edge of the lawn, profound reverence,and pity, and gratitude too, as a stake driven intothe bed of a channel upon which the gulls perch andthe waves beat inspires in merry boat-loads a feelingof gratitude for the duty it has taken upon itself ofmarking the channel out there in the floods alone.

'But the father of eight children has no choice.. . .' Muttering half aloud, so he broke off, turned,sighed, raised his eyes, sought the figure of his wifereading stories to the little boy; filled his pipe. He

turned from the sight of human ignorance and humanfate and the sea eating the ground we stand on,