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THE WINDOW 81he did not damn the poor little universe entirely,for on an evening like this, he thought, looking atthe land dwindling away, the little island seemedpathetically small, half swallowed up in the sea.

'Poor little place,' he murmured with a sigh.

She heard him. He said the most melancholythings, but she noticed that directly he had said themhe always seemed more cheerful than usual. All thisphrase-making was a game, she thought, for if shehad said half what he said, she would have blownher brains out by now.

It annoyed her, this phrase-making, and she saidto him, in a matter-of-fact way, that it was a per-fectly lovely evening. And what was he groaningabout, she asked, half laughing, half complaining,for she guessed what he was thinking—he wouldhave written better books if he had not married.

He was not complaining, he said. She knew thathe did not complain. She knew that he had nothingwhatever to complain of. And he seized her handand raised it to his lips and kissed it with an intensitythat brought the tears to her eyes, and quickly hedropped it.

They turned away from the view and began towalk up the path where the silver-green spear-likeplants grew, arm in arm. His arm was almost likea young man's arm, Mrs Ramsay thought, thin andhard, and she thought with delight how strong hestill was, though he was over sixty, and how un-tamed and optimistic, and how strange it was thatbeing convinced, as he was, of all sorts of horrors,seemed not to depress him, but to cheer him. Wasit not odd, she reflected? Indeed he seemed to her