THE LIGHTHOUSEaway from the canvas, and actually taking her brushand making the first mark.

She had taken the wrong brush in her agitation atMr. Ramsay’s presence, and her easel, rammed intothe earth so nervously, was at the wrong angle. Andnow that she had put that right, and in so doing hadsubdued the impertinences and irrelevances thatplucked her attention and made her remember howshe was such and such a person, had such and suchrelations to people, she took her hand and raised herbrush. For a moment it stayed trembling in a pain-ful but exciting ecstasy in the air. Where to begin?—that was the question at what point to make the firstmark? One line placed on the canvas committed herto innumerable risks, to frequent and irrevocabledecisions. All that in idea seemed simple became inpractice immediately complex; as the waves shapethemselves symmetrically from the cliff top, but tothe swimmer among them are divided by steepgulfs, and foaming crests. Still the risk must berun; the mark made.

With a curious physical sensation, as if she wereurged forward and at the same time must hold her-self back, she made her first quick decisive stroke.The brush descended. It flickered brown over thewhite canvas; it left a running mark. A second timeshe did it—a third time. And so pausing and so235
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