TO THE LIGHTHOUSECharles Tansley—"Sit there, please," she said—Augustus Carmichael—and sat down. And mean-while she waited, passively, for some one to answerher, for something to happen. But this is not a thing,she thought, ladling out soup, that one says.

Raising her eyebrows at the discrepancy—thatwas what she was thinking, this was what she wasdoing—ladling out soup—she felt, more and morestrongly, outside that eddy; or as if a shade hadfallen, and, robbed of colour, she saw things truly.The room (she looked round it) was very shabby.There was no beauty anywhere. She forebore to lookat Mr. Tansley. Nothing seemed to have merged.They all sat separate. And the whole of the effort ofmerging and flowing and creating rested on her.Again she felt, as a fact without hostility, the ste-rility of men, for if she did not do it nobody woulddo it, and so, giving herself the little shake thatone gives a watch that has stopped, the old familiarpulse began beating, as the watch begins ticking—one, two, three, one, two, three. And so on and soon, she repeated, listening to it, sheltering and fos-tering the still feeble pulse as one might guard aweak flame with a newspaper. And so then, she con-cluded, addressing herself by bending silently inhis direction to William Bankes—poor man! whohad no wife, and no children and dined alone in126
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