Slide to View Image: Opacity 0%

‘Like a work of art,’ she repeated, looking fromher canvas to the drawing-room steps and back again.She must rest for a moment. And, resting, lookingfrom one to the other vaguely, the old questionwhich traversed the sky of the soul perpetually, thevast, the general question which was apt to particu-larize itself at such moments as these, when she re-leased faculties that had been on the strain, stoodover her, paused over her, darkened over her. Whatis the meaning of life? That was all—a simple ques-tion; one that tended to close in on one with years.The great revelation had never come. The greatrevelation perhaps never did come. Instead therewere little daily miracles, illuminations, matchesstruck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.This, that, and the other; herself and Charles Tansleyand the breaking wave; Mrs Ramsay bringing themtogether; Mrs Ramsay saying ‘Life stand still here’;Mrs Ramsay making of the moment something per-manent (as in another sphere Lily herself tried tomake of the moment something permanent)—thiswas of the nature of a revelation. In the midst ofchaos there was shape; this eternal passing and flow-ing (she looked at the clouds going and the leavesshaking) was struck into stability. Life stand stillhere, Mrs Ramsay said. ‘Mrs Ramsay! Mrs Ram-say!’ she repeated. She owed this revelation to her.

All was silence. Nobody seemed yet to be stirringin the house. She looked at it there sleeping in theearly sunlight with its windows green and blue withthe reflected leaves. The faint thought she wasthinking of Mrs Ramsay seemed in consonance withthis quiet house; this smoke; this fine early morning