TO THE LIGHTHOUSEbefore rain, rooks cawing, brooms knocking, dressesrustling—all these were so coloured and dis-tinguished in his mind that he had already hisprivate code, his secret language, though he ap-peared the image of stark and uncompromisingseverity, with his high forehead and his fierce blueeyes, impeccably candid and pure, frowning slightlyat the sight of human frailty, so that his mother,watching him guide his scissors neatly round the re-frigerator, imagined him all red and ermine on theBench or directing a stern and momentous enter-prise in some crisis of public affairs.

"But," said his father, stopping in front of thedrawing-room window, "it won’t be fine."

Had there been an axe handy, or a poker, anyweapon that would have gashed a hole in his father’sbreast and killed him, there and then, James wouldhave seized it. Such were the extremes of emotionthat Mr. Ramsay excited in his children’s breastsby his mere presence; standing, as now, lean asa knife, narrow as the blade of one, grinning sar-castically, not only with the pleasure of disillusion-ing his son and casting ridicule upon his wife, whowas ten thousand times better in every way than hewas (James thought), but also with some secretconceit at his own accuracy of judgement. What hesaid was true. It was always true. He was incapable10
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