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136 TO THE LIGHTHOUSEand what they had been doing was a game, andwould her mother sanction their game, or condemn it,she wondered. And thinking what a chance it wasfor Minta and Paul and Lily to see her, and feelingwhat an extraordinary stroke of fortune it was for herto have her, and how she would never grow up andnever leave home, she said, like a child: ‘We thoughtof going down to the beach to watch the waves.’

Instantly, for no reason at all, Mrs Ramsay be-came like a girl of twenty, full of gaiety. A mood ofrevelry suddenly took possession of her. Of coursethey must go; of course they must go, she cried,laughing; and running down the last three or foursteps quickly, she began turning from one to theother and laughing and drawing Minta’s wrap roundher and saying she only wished she could come too,and would they be very late, and had any of themgot a watch?

‘Yes, Paul has,’ said Minta. Paul slipped a beau-tiful gold watch out of a little wash-leather case toshow her. And as he held it in the palm of his handbefore her, he felt ‘She knows all about it. I neednot say anything.' He was saying to her as heshowed her the watch: ‘I ’ve done it, Mrs Ramsay.I owe it all to you.’ And seeing the gold watch lyingin his hand, Mrs Ramsay felt, How extraordinarilylucky Minta is! She is marrying a man who has agold watch in a wash-leather bag!

‘How I wish I could come with you!' she cried.But she was withheld by something so strong thatshe never even thought of asking herself what it was.Of course it was impossible for her to go with them.But she would have liked to go, had it not been for