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THE WINDOW 85throwing catches. But still for a moment, thoughMrs Ramsay greeted them with her usual smile (oh,she's thinking we’re going to get married, Lilythought) and said, 'I have triumphed to-night,’meaning that for once Mr Bankes had agreed to dinewith them and not run off to his own lodging wherehis man cooked vegetables properly; still, for onemoment, there was a sense of things having beenblown apart, of space, of irresponsibility as the ballsoared high, and they followed it and lost it and sawthe one star and the draped branches. In the failinglight they all looked sharp-edged and ethereal anddivided by great distances. Then, darting back-wards over the vast space (for it seemed as if solidityhad vanished altogether), Prue ran full tilt into themand caught the ball brilliantly high up in her lefthand, and her mother said: ‘Haven’t they come backyet?' whereupon the spell was broken. Mr Ramsayfelt free now to laugh out loud at Hume, who hadstuck in a bog and an old woman rescued him oncondition he said the Lord’s Prayer, and chucklingto himself he strolled off to his study. Mrs Ramsay,bringing Prue back into the alliance of family lifeagain, from which she had escaped, throwing catches,asked:

'Did Nancy go with them?'14

Certainly, Nancy had gone with them, sinceMinta Doyle had asked it with her dumb look, hold-ing out her hand, as Nancy made off, after lunch, toher attic, to escape the horror of family life. SheD 949