TO THE LIGHTHOUSEand answer, without treachery to the expeditionbehind him, “One perhaps." One in a generation.Is he to be blamed then if he is not that one?provided he has toiled honestly, given to the bestof his power, and till he has no more left to give?And his fame lasts how long? It is permissible evenfor a dying hero to think before he dies how menwill speak of him hereafter. His fame lasts perhapstwo thousand years. And what are two thousandyears? (asked Mr. Ramsay ironically, staring at thehedge). What, indeed, if you look from a mountaintop down the long wastes of the ages? The verystone one kicks with one’s boot will outlast Shake-speare. His own little light would shine, not verybrightly, for a year or two, and would then bemerged in some bigger light, and that in a biggerstill. (He looked into the hedge, into the intricacyof the twigs.) Who then could blame the leader ofthat forlorn party which after all has climbed highenough to see the waste of the years and the perish-ing of stars, if before death stiffens his limbs beyondthe power of movement he does a little consciouslyraise his numbed fingers to his brow, and squarehis shoulders, so that when the search party comesthey will find him dead at his post, the fine figureof a soldier? Mr. Ramsay squared his shoulders andstood very upright by the urn.56
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