TO THE LIGHTHOUSEhad no right. The father of eight children—he re-minded himself. And he would have been a beastand a cur to wish a single thing altered. Andrewwould be a better man than he had been. Prue wouldbe a beauty, her mother said. They would stem theflood a bit. That was a good bit of work on thewhole—his eight children. They showed he did notdamn the poor little universe entirely, for on anevening like this, he thought, looking at the landdwindling away, the little island seemed patheticallysmall, half swallowed up in the sea.

"Poor little place," he murmured with a sigh.

She heard him. He said the most melancholythings, but she noticed that directly he had saidthem he always seemed more cheerful than usual.All this phrase-making was a game, she thought, forif she had said half what he said, she would haveblown her brains out by now.

It annoyed her, this phrase-making, and she saidto him, in a matter-of-fact way, that it was a per-fectly lovely evening. And what was he groaningabout, she asked, half laughing, half complaining,for she guessed what he was thinking—he wouldhave written better books if he had not married.

He was not complaining, he said. She knew thathe did not complain. She knew that he had nothingwhatever to complain of. And he seized her hand andraised it to his lips and kissed it with an intensity106

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