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‘Yes,' said Prue, in her considering way, answeringher mother’s question, ‘I think Nancy did go withthem.’16

Well then, Nancy had gone with them, Mrs Ram-say supposed, wondering, as she put down a brush,took up a comb, and said 'Come in' to a tap at thedoor (Jasper and Rose came in), whether the factthat Nancy was with them made it less likely or morelikely that anything would happen; it made it lesslikely, somehow, Mrs Ramsay felt, very irrationally,except that after all holocaust on such a scale was notprobable. They could not all be drowned. And againshe felt alone in the presence of her old antagonist, life.

Jasper and Rose said that Mildred wanted to knowwhether she should wait dinner.

‘Not for the Queen of England,’ said Mrs Ramsayemphatically.

‘Not for the Empress of Mexico,' she added, laugh-ing at Jasper; for he shared his mother’s vice: he,too, exaggerated.

And if Rose liked, she said, while Jasper took themessage, she might choose which jewels she was towear. When there are fifteen people sitting downto dinner, one cannot keep things waiting for ever.She was now beginning to feel annoyed with themfor being so late; it was inconsiderate of them, and itannoyed her on top of her anxiety about them, thatthey should choose this very night to be out late,when, in fact, she wished the dinner to be particu-