Slide to View Image: Opacity 0%
124 TO THE LIGHTHOUSEor flicker them for a moment, as a child staring upfrom its pillow winks at the myriad layers of theleaves of a tree. Then she woke up. It was stillbeing fabricated. William Bankes was praising theWaverley novels.

He read one of them every six months, he said.And why should that make Charles Tansley angry?He rushed in (all, thought Mrs Ramsay, because Pruewill not be nice to him) and denounced the Waverleynovels when he knew nothing about it, nothing aboutit whatsoever, Mrs Ramsay thought, observing himrather than listening to what he said. She could seehow it was from his manner—he wanted to asserthimself, and so it would always be with him till hegot his professorship or married his wife, and soneed not be always saying ‘I—I—I.’ For that waswhat his criticism of poor Sir Walter, or perhaps itwas Jane Austen, amounted to. ‘I—I—I.’ Hewas thinking of himself and the impression he wasmaking, as she could tell by the sound of his voice,and his emphasis and his uneasiness. Success wouldbe good for him. At any rate they were off again.Now she need not listen. It could not last she knew,but at the moment her eyes were so clear that theyseemed to go round the table unveiling each of thesepeople, and their thoughts and their feelings, withouteffort like a light stealing under water so that itsripples and the reeds in it and the minnows balancingthemselves, and the sudden silent trout are all lit uphanging, trembling. So she saw them; she heardthem; but whatever they said had also this quality,as if what they said was like the movement of a troutwhen, at the same time, one can see the ripple and