THE WINDOWand smelt putrid. Then he went and stood by it andsaid,‘Flounder, flounder, in the sea,Come, I pray thee, here to me;For my wife, good Ilsabil,Wills not as I’d have her will.'‘Well, what does she want then?’ said the Floun-der." And where were they now? Mrs. Ramsay won-dered, reading and thinking, quite easily, both at thesame time; for the story of the Fisherman and hisWife was like the bass gently accompanying a tune,which now and then ran up unexpectedly into themelody. And when should she be told? If nothinghappened, she would have to speak seriously toMinta. For she could not go trapesing about all overthe country, even if Nancy were with them (shetried again, unsuccessfully, to visualise their backsgoing down the path, and to count them). She wasresponsible to Minta’s parents—the Owl and thePoker. Her nicknames for them shot into her mindas she read. The Owl and the Poker—yes, theywould be annoyed if they heard—and they werecertain to hear—that Minta, staying with the Ram-says, had been seen etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. "Hewore a wig in the House of Commons and she ablyassisted him at the head of the stairs," she repeated,87
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