THE WINDOWnight was now shut off by panes of glass, which, farfrom giving any accurate view of the outside world,rippled it so strangely that here, inside the room,seemed to be order and dry land; there, outside, areflection in which things wavered and vanished,waterily.

Some change at once went through them all, asif this had really happened, and they were all con-scious of making a party together in a hollow, onan island; had their common cause against thatfluidity out there. Mrs. Ramsay, who had been un-easy, waiting for Paul and Minta to come in, andunable, she felt, to settle to things, now felt her un-easiness changed to expectation. For now they mustcome, and Lily Briscoe, trying to analyse the causeof the sudden exhilaration, compared it with thatmoment on the tennis lawn, when solidity suddenlyvanished, and such vast spaces lay between them;and now the same effect was got by the many candlesin the sparely furnished room, and the uncurtainedwindows, and the bright mask-like look of facesseen by candlelight. Some weight was taken offthem; anything might happen, she felt. They mustcome now, Mrs. Ramsay thought, looking at thedoor, and at that instant, Minta Doyle, Paul Rayley,and a maid carrying a great dish in her hands came147
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