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What damned rot they talk, thought CharlesTansley, laying down his spoon precisely in themiddle of his plate, which he had swept clean, as if,Lily thought (he sat opposite to her with his back tothe window precisely in the middle of view), he weredetermined to make sure of his meals. Everythingabout him had that meagre fixity, that bare unlove-liness. But nevertheless, the fact remained, it wasalmost impossible to dislike any one if one lookedat them. She liked his eyes; they were blue, deepset, frightening.

‘Do you write many letters, Mr Tansley?' askedMrs Ramsay, pitying him too, Lily supposed; forthat was true of Mrs Ramsay—she pitied men alwaysas if they lacked something—women never, as ifthey had something. He wrote to his mother; other-wise he did not suppose he wrote one letter a month,said Mr Tansley, shortly.

For he was not going to talk the sort of rot thesepeople wanted him to talk. He was not going to becondescended to by these silly women. He hadbeen reading in his room, and now he came downand it all seemed to him silly, superficial, flimsy.Why did they dress? He had come down in hisordinary clothes. He had not got any dress clothes.'One never gets anything worth having by post'—that was the sort of thing they were always saying.

They made men say that sort of thing. Yes, it waspretty well true, he thought. They never got any-thing worth having from one year’s end to another.They did nothing but talk, talk, talk, eat, eat, eat.It was the women’s fault. Women made civilizationimpossible with all their 'charm,’ all their silliness.