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80 TO THE LIGHTHOUSEwas Andrew’s age he used to walk about the countryall day long, with nothing but a biscuit in his pocketand nobody bothered about him, or thought that hehad fallen over a cliff. He said aloud he thought hewould be off for a day’s walk if the weather held. Hehad had about enough of Bankes and of Carmichael.He would like a little solitude. Yes, she said. Itannoyed him that she did not protest. She knewthat he would never do it. He was too old now towalk all day long with a biscuit in his pocket. Sheworried about the boys, but not about him. Yearsago, before he had married, he thought, lookingacross the bay, as they stood between the clumps ofred-hot pokers, he had walked all day. He had madea meal off bread and cheese in a public house. Hehad worked ten hours at a stretch; an old womanjust popped her head in now and again and saw to thefire. That was the country he liked best, over there;those sandhills dwindling away into darkness. Onecould walk all day without meeting a soul. Therewas not a house scarcely, not a single village formiles on end. One could worry things out alone.There were little sandy beaches where no one hadbeen since the beginning of time. The seals sat upand looked at you. It sometimes seemed to himthat in a little house out there, alone—he broke off,sighing. He had no right. The father of eightchildren—he reminded himself. And he would havebeen a beast and a cur to wish a single thing altered.Andrew would be a better man than he had been.Prue would be a beauty, her mother said. Theywould stem the flood a bit. That was a good bit ofwork on the whole—his eight children. They showed