THE LIGHTHOUSEharmony in her own mind. She felt an obscure dis-tress. It was confirmed when she turned to herpicture. She had been wasting her morning. Forwhatever reason she could not achieve that razoredge of balance between two opposite forces; Mr.Ramsay and the picture; which was necessary.There was something perhaps wrong with the de-sign? Was it, she wondered, that the line of the wallwanted breaking, was it that the mass of the treeswas too heavy? She smiled ironically; for had shenot thought, when she began, that she had solvedher problem?

What was the problem then? She must try to gethold of something that evaded her. It evaded herwhen she thought of Mrs. Ramsay; it evaded hernow when she thought of her picture. Phrases came.Visions came. Beautiful pictures. Beautiful phrases.But what she wished to get hold of was that veryjar on the nerves, the thing itself before it has beenmade anything. Get that and start afresh; get thatand start afresh; she said desperately, pitchingherself firmly again before her easel. It was a miser-able machine, an inefficient machine, she thought,the human apparatus for painting or for feeling;it always broke down at the critical moment;heroically, one must force it on. She stared, frown-ing. There was the hedge, sure enough. But one got287

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