TO THE LIGHTHOUSEand none of them had moved or had spoken; but hadsat there as if they were forced to let him say it.Only James (certainly the Sullen) scowled at thelamp; and Cam screwed her handkerchief round herfinger. Then he reminded them that they were goingto the Lighthouse tomorrow. They must be ready,in the hall, on the stroke of half-past seven. Then,with his hand on the door, he stopped; he turnedupon them. Did they not want to go? he demanded.Had they dared say No (he had some reason forwanting it) he would have flung himself tragicallybackwards into the bitter waters of despair. Such agift he had for gesture. He looked like a king inexile. Doggedly James said yes. Cam stumbled morewretchedly. Yes, oh, yes, they’d both be ready, theysaid. And it struck her, this was tragedy—not palls,dust, and the shroud; but children coerced, theirspirits subdued. James was sixteen, Cam, seventeen,perhaps. She had looked round for some one whowas not there, for Mrs. Ramsay, presumably. Butthere was only kind Mrs. Beckwith turning overher sketches under the lamp. Then, being tired, hermind still rising and falling with the sea, the tasteand smell that places have after long absencepossessing her, the candles wavering in her eyes,she had lost herself and gone under. It was a won-derful night, starlit; the waves sounded as they222
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