TO THE LIGHTHOUSEher husband. A sort of transaction went on be-tween them, in which she was on one side, andlife was on another, and she was always trying toget the better of it, as it was of her; and sometimesthey parleyed (when she sat alone); there were, sheremembered, great reconciliation scenes; but for themost part, oddly enough, she must admit that shefelt this thing that she called life terrible, hostile,and quick to pounce on you if you gave it a chance.There were the eternal problems: suffering; death;the poor. There was always a woman dying of can-cer even here. And yet she had said to all these chil-dren, You shall go through it all. To eight people shehad said relentlessly that (and the bill for thegreenhouse would be fifty pounds). For that rea-son, knowing what was before them—love and am-bition and being wretched alone in dreary places—she had often the feeling, Why must they grow upand lose it all? And then she said to herself, bran-dishing her sword at life, Nonsense. They will beperfectly happy. And here she was, she reflected,feeling life rather sinister again, making Mintamarry Paul Rayley; because whatever she mightfeel about her own transaction, she had had ex-periences which need not happen to every one (shedid not name them to herself); she was driven on,too quickly she knew, almost as if it were an es-92
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