THE LIGHTHOUSEwas real; the boat and the sail with its patch;Macalister with his earrings; the noise of the waves—all this was real. Thinking this, she was murmur-ing to herself, "We perished, each alone," for herfather’s words broke and broke again in her mind,when her father, seeing her gazing so vaguely, beganto tease her. Didn’t she know the points of the com-pass? he asked. Didn’t she know the North fromthe South? Did she really think they lived rightout there? And he pointed again, and showed herwhere their house was, there, by those trees. Hewished she would try to be more accurate, he said:"Tell me—which is East, which is West?" he said,half laughing at her, half scolding her, for he couldnot understand the state of mind of any one, notabsolutely imbecile, who did not know the pointsof the compass. Yet she did not know. And seeingher gazing, with her vague, now rather frightened,eyes fixed where no house was Mr. Ramsay forgothis dream; how he walked up and down betweenthe urns on the terrace; how the arms were stretchedout to him. He thought, women are always like that;the vagueness of their minds is hopeless; it was athing he had never been able to understand; but soit was. It had been so with her—his wife. Theycould not keep anything clearly fixed in their minds.But he had been wrong to be angry with her; more-249
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