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TO THE LIGHTHOUSEwanted to assert himself, and so it would always bewith him till he got his Professorship or married hiswife, and so need not be always saying, ‘I — I — I.’For that was what his criticism of poor Sir Walter,or perhaps it was Jane Austen, amounted to. ‘I —I — I.’ He was thinking of himself and the impres-sion he was making, as she could tell by the soundof his voice, and his emphasis and his uneasiness.Success would be good for him. At any rate they wereoff again. Now she need not listen. It could not lastshe knew, but at the moment her eyes were so clearthat they seemed to go round the table unveilingeach of these people, and their thoughts and theirfeelings, without effort like a light stealing underwater so that its ripples and the reeds in it and theminnows balancing themselves, and the sudden silenttrout are all lit up hanging, trembling. So she sawthem; she heard them; but whatever they said hadalso this quality, as if what they said was like themovement of a trout when, at the same time, onecan see the ripple and the gravel, something to theright, something to the left; and the whole is heldtogether; for whereas in active life she would be net-ting and separating one thing from another; she wouldbe saying she liked the Waverley Novels or had notread them; she would be urging herself forward; nowshe said nothing. For the moment she hung suspended.

‘Ah, but how long do you think it’ll last?’ said some-body. It was as if she had antennae trembling outfrom her, which, intercepting certain sentences, forcedthem upon her attention. This was one of them. Shescented danger for her husband. A question like thatwould lead, almost certainly, to something being said126