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TO THE LIGHTHOUSEpoured and spread itself in pools at her feet, and allshe did, miserable sinner that she was, was to drawher skirts a little closer round her ankles, lest sheshould get wet. In complete silence she stood there,grasping her paint brush.

Heaven could never be sufficiently praised! Sheheard sounds in the house. James and Cam must becoming. But Mr. Ramsay, as if he knew that his timeran short, exerted upon her solitary figure the im-mense pressure of his concentrated woe; his age; hisfrailty; his desolation; when suddenly, tossing hishead impatiently, in his annoyance — for, after, allwhat woman could resist him? — he noticed that hisboot-laces were untied. Remarkable boots they weretoo, Lily thought, looking down at them: sculptured;colossal; like everything that Mr. Ramsay wore, fromhis frayed tie to his half-buttoned waistcoat, his ownindisputably. She could see them walking to his roomof their own accord, expressive in his absence ofpathos, surliness, ill-temper, charm.

‘What beautiful boots!’ she exclaimed. She wasashamed of herself. To praise his boots when he askedher to solace his soul; when he had shown her his bleed-ing hands, his lacerated heart, and asked her to pitythem, then to say, cheerfully, ‘Ah, but what beautifulboots you wear!’ deserved, she knew, and she lookedup expecting to get it, in one of his sudden roars ofill-temper, complete annihilation.

Instead, Mr. Ramsay smiled. His pall, his draper-ies, his infirmities fell from him. Ah yes, he said, hold-ing his foot up for her to look at, they were first-rateboots. There was only one man in England who couldmake boots like that. Boots are among the chief curses178