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106 TO THE LIGHTHOUSEburning desire to break into the conversation? But,she thought, screwing up her Chinese eyes, and re-membering how he sneered at women, ‘can't paint,can’t write,’ why should I help him to relieve himself?

There is a code of behaviour she knew, whoseseventh article (it may be) says that on occasions ofthis sort it behoves the woman, whatever her ownoccupation may be, to go to the help of the youngman opposite so that he may expose and relieve thethigh bones, the ribs, of his vanity, of his urgentdesire to assert himself; as indeed it is their duty, shereflected, in her old maidenly fairness, to help us,suppose the tube were to burst into flames. Then,she thought, I should certainly expect Mr Tansleyto get me out. But how would it be, she thought, ifneither of us did either of these things? So she satthere smiling.

‘You’re not planning to go to the Lighthouse, areyou, Lily?’ said Mrs Ramsay. ‘Remember poorMr Langley; he had been round the world dozens oftimes, but he told me he never suffered as he didwhen my husband took him there. Are you a goodsailor, Mr Tansley?’ she asked.

Mr Tansley raised a hammer: swung it high in air;but realizing, as it descended, that he could not smitethat butterfly with such an instrument as this, saidonly that he had never been sick in his life. But inthat one sentence lay compact, like gunpowder, thathis grandfather was a fisherman; his father a chemist;that he had worked his way up entirely himself; thathe was proud of it; that he was Charles Tansley—afact that nobody there seemed to realize; but one ofthese days every single person would know it. He