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102 TO THE LIGHTHOUSElike a ghost among the chairs and tables of thatdrawing-room on the banks of the Thames where shehad been so very, very cold twenty years ago; butnow she went among them like a ghost; and it fas-cinated her, as if, while she had changed, that par-ticular day, now become very still and beautiful, hadremained there, all these years. Had Carrie writtento him herself? she asked.

'Yes. She says they’re building a new billiardroom,’ he said. No! No! That was out of thequestion! Building a billiard room! It seemed toher impossible.

Mr Bankes could not see that there was anythingvery odd about it. They were very well off now.Should he give her love to Carrie?

‘Oh,’ said Mrs Ramsay with a little start. ‘No,’she added, reflecting that she did not know thisCarrie who built a new billiard room. But howstrange, she repeated, to Mr Bankes’s amusement,that they should be going on there still. For it wasextraordinary to think that they had been capableof going on living all these years when she had notthought of them more than once all that time. Howeventful her own life had been, during those sameyears. Yet perhaps Carrie Manning had not thoughtabout her either. The thought was strange anddistasteful.

‘People soon drift apart,' said Mr Bankes, feeling,however, some satisfaction when he thought thatafter all he knew both the Mannings and the Ram-says. He had not drifted apart, he thought, layingdown his spoon and wiping his clean shaven lipspunctiliously. But perhaps he was rather unusual,