Mrs. Ramsay had planned it. Perhaps, had shelived, she would have compelled it. Already thatsummer he was "the kindest of men." He was "thefirst scientist of his age, my husband says." He wasalso "poor William—it makes me so unhappy, whenI go to see him, to find nothing nice in his house—no one to arrange the flowers." So they were sentfor walks together, and she was told, with thatfaint touch of irony that made Mrs. Ramsay slipthrough one’s fingers, that she had a scientific mind;she liked flowers; she was so exact. What was thismania of hers for marriage? Lily wondered, step-ping to and fro from her easel.

(Suddenly, as suddenly as a star slides in the sky,a reddish light seemed to burn in her mind, cover-ing Paul Rayley, issuing from him. It rose like afire sent up in token of some celebration by savageson a distant beach. She heard the roar and thecrackle. The whole sea for miles round ran redand gold. Some winey smell mixed with it and in-toxicated her, for she felt again her own headlongdesire to throw herself off the cliff and be drownedlooking for a pearl brooch on a beach. And theroar and the crackle repelled her with fear and dis-gust, as if while she saw its splendour and powershe saw too how it fed on the treasure of the house,greedily, disgustingly, and she loathed it. But for261
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