THE LIGHTHOUSEshe said, looking up at something floating in thesea, "is it a lobster pot? Is it an upturned boat?"She was so short-sighted that she could not see, andthen Charles Tansley became as nice as he couldpossibly be. He began playing ducks and drakes.They chose little flat black stones and sent themskipping over the waves. Every now and then Mrs.Ramsay looked up over her spectacles and laughedat them. What they said she could not remember,but only she and Charles throwing stones and get-ting on very well all of a sudden and Mrs. Ramsaywatching them. She was highly conscious of that.Mrs. Ramsay, she thought, stepping back andscrewing up her eyes. (It must have altered thedesign a good deal when she was sitting on thestep with James. There must have been a shadow.)When she thought of herself and Charles throwingducks and drakes and of the whole scene on thebeach, it seemed to depend somehow upon Mrs.Ramsay sitting under the rock, with a pad on herknee, writing letters. (She wrote innumerable letters,and sometimes the wind took them and she andCharles just saved a page from the sea.) But whata power was in the human soul! she thought. Thatwoman sitting there writing under the rock resolvedeverything into simplicity; made these angers, irri-tations fall off like old rags; she brought together239
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