THE L1GHTHOUsEas if afraid to sanction such exaggeration, butcould stand it in her whom he liked, and smiledvery charmingly. He must have confided in heron one of those long expeditions when peoplegot separated and walked back alone. Hewas educating his little sister, Mrs. Ramsay hadtold her. It was immensely to his credit. Herown idea of him was grotesque, Lily knew well,stirring the plantains with her brush. Half one’snotions of other people were, after all, grotesque.They served private purposes of one’s own. Hedid for her instead ofa whipping—boy. She foundherself flagellating his lean flanks when she wasout of temper. If she wanted to be serious abouthim she had to help herself to Mrs. Ramsay’ssayings, to look at him through her eyes.

She raised a little mountain for the ants toclimb over. She reduced them to a frenzy ofindecision by this interference in their cosmogony.Some ran this way, others that.

One wanted fifty pairs of eyes to see with, shereflected. Fifty pairs of eyes were not enough toget round that one woman with, she thought.Among them, must be one that was stone blindto her beauty. One wanted most some secretsense, fine as air, with which to steal throughkeyholes and surround her where she sat knitting,talking, sitting silent in the window alone; which303

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