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52 TO THE LIGHTHOUSEwhich, had he been able to contemplate it fixedlymight have led to something; and found consolationin trifles so slight compared with the august themejust now before him that he was disposed to slur thatcomfort over, to deprecate it, as if to be caught happyin a world of misery was for an honest man the mostdespicable of crimes. It was true; he was for themost part happy; he had his wife; he had his child-ren; he had promised in six weeks’ time to talk ‘somenonsense’ to the young men of Cardiff about Locke,Hume, Berkeley, and the causes of the FrenchRevolution. But this and his pleasure in it, in thephrases he made, in the ardour of youth, in his wife'sbeauty, in the tributes that reached him from Swan-sea, Cardiff, Exeter, Southampton, Kidderminster,Oxford, Cambridge—all had to be deprecated andconcealed under the phrase ‘talking nonsense,' be-cause, in effect, he had not done the thing he mighthave done. It was a disguise; it was the refuge of aman afraid to own his own feelings, who could notsay, This is what I like—this is what I am; andrather pitiable and distasteful to William Bankesand Lily Briscoe, who wondered why such conceal-ments should be necessary; why he needed alwayspraise; why so brave a man in thought should be sotimid in life; how strangely he was venerable andlaughable at one and the same time.

Teaching and preaching is beyond human power,Lily suspected. (She was putting away her things.)If you are exalted you must somehow come a cropper.Mrs Ramsay gave him what he asked too easily.Then the change must be so upsetting, Lily said. Hecomes in from his books and finds us all playing