Part I: The Window
To The Lighthouse opens rather dramatically with a few cheering words regarding their visit to the Lighthouse from Mrs. Ramsay to James, her seven years old favourite child. She told him that they all would be going to the Lighthouse the next day if the weather was fine. The Ramsay family with their six guests was spending a summer in their own summer house on the Island of Skye.
Young James had looked forward to this wonderful expedition for years. But he was terribly upset when his father curtly announced there was hardly any possibility to make the trip as the weather would not be favourable at all. This enraged the highly excitable child. In fact all his eight children disliked him extremely for such cut and dry remarks. But it was not in the nature of Mr. Ramsay to hide the stern facts of life although it meant ridicule for his wife and disillusionment for their children. In spite of his good intentions the children resented it. But Mrs. Ramsay, an affectionate and a considerate mother, encouraged James by saying that she was expecting the weather to be fine. She was just knitting a pair of stockings for the sick child of the lighthouse keeper. And James was busy in cutting out pictures from the illustrated catalogue of Army and Navy stores.
Unfortunately Mr. Tansley, a student of Mr. Ramsay, came next to dishearten the children by supporting Mr. Ramsay’s discouraging remarks regarding the weather. For this habit of saying disagreeable things he was also much disliked and looked down upon by the children. It was hard for Mrs. Ramsay also to put up with such harsh and tactless habits. Sadly enough Tansley was always there to take the line of Mr. Ramsay.
When all the children and their guests—Lily Briscoe, William Bankes, Augustus Charmichael, Paul Rayley, Minta Doyle—retired to their bedrooms, Mrs. Ramsay accompanied by Tansley went to the town on a dull errand. This flattered the poor young student much and he seemed to be mildly in love with elderly Mrs. Ramsay he felt much flattered to have the first chance in his life to walk with a beautiful woman by his side.
Back to their house Tansley once more irritated both Mrs. Ramsay and the children by remarking that there was no chance of going to the Lighthouse the next day.
Now it was Mrs. Ramsay’s turn to console poor James as the caustic remarks of Mr. Ramsay and Tansley regarding the weather had already dashed his spirits. The mother still maintained her optimistic view regarding the weather to cheer up young James’ drooping soul.
It was a pleasing sight for Mrs Ramsay to find Lily Briscoe standing on the edge of the town and painting, but Mr. Ramsay’s clumsy movements disturbed her. Soon Mr Bankes, the unhappy old widower and a botanist, came and stood by her. They had some sort of understanding between them, as Bankes appreciated Lily’s merits. So when Mr. Bankes suggested taking a stroll she agreed although she felt reluctant to leave her picture.
They strolled down to the place where they used to go every evening. They were happy and felt a common hilarity, excited by the moving waves. Looking at distant hills Mr. Bankes thought of Mr Ramsay and began to comment rather adversely on Mr. Ramsay and his affairs. And it was a wonder how the Ramsays could manage to feed eight children on philosophy and at the same time to entertain so many guests. It was rather sad that a man of his intellect could stoop so low. But Lily asked him to think of his work and of other great qualities of head and heart.
Mrs Ramsay was still busy in knitting the stockings meant for the lighthouse keeper’s son. An amusing idea that they should marry flashed on her mind at the sight of Lily and Bankes strolling together. Then she measured the stocking using James’ legs as the measuring block. Meanwhile Mrs. Ramsay had a look around the room and the dirty and dilapidated condition of the room and the fumitute saddened her heart. But it was not possible to mend matters.
In her sad and sober moments Mrs. Ramsay looked astonishingly beautiful. William Bankes greatly appreciated her beauty.
Mrs. Ramsay was still in a sad mood. Still she persisted in her optimism regarding the weather and the possibility of visiting the Lighthouse. The extreme irrationality of her remark irritated her husband much, as he felt that she was making the children hope for what was utterly impossible. But Mrs. Ramsay had the highest regard for her husband; so she kept quiet, although his lack of consideration for other people’s feelings cut her to the quick.
Mr. Ramsay also felt a bit repentant for his harsh manner and he relapsed into a retrospective mood. He realised that he had not yet achieved complete success. But the idea that only a very few in a million could achieve complete success and leave ever-lasting fame consoled his mind.
Mr. Ramsay was badly in need of sympathy and encouragement from his wife. So he came up to her and stood there demanding her sympathy. And James hated his father more for this. Mrs. Ramsay sat there quite reluctantly engrossed in her needle work. But ultimately she had to give in offering him the expected sympathy and assurance. At that very moment Mr. Carmichael shuffled past.
Mr. Carmichael moved on without making any response to Mrs. Ramsay’s query. He was a typical person. He seemed to have stained his beard yellow by taking opium. He was an unhappy soul. All this was due to his wife’s harsh and heartless treatment. He came to them every year as an escape. Mrs. Ramsay tried her best to brighten his gloomy existence but he was still cold and unresponsive.
Just for a bit of diversion Mrs. Ramsay began to read to James the story of the Fisherman and his wife. But then Mr. Ramsay came there and stopped by her. But soon he was absorbed in speculation. The question that was uppermost in his mind was whether the progress of civilization depended at all on great men like Shakespeare and others.
Mr. Ramsay was, undoubtedly, an erudite scholar, well-versed in the philosophy of Locke, Hume and Berkeley. But Lily and William Bankes disliked his timidity and some of his weaknesses. They felt that for this timidness he was venerable and laughable at the same time.
Mr. Ramsay turned away. Mr. Bankes watched him go and observed that it was a great pity that he could not behave a little more like other people. But Lily disliked him for his narrowness and his blindness. But just then she saw Bankes gazing at Mrs. Ramsay with an astonishing and mysterious rapture. To her this love of a man of sixty seemed to be distilled and filtered—love that never desired to make any attempt to clutch its object. Lily was an old maid and she sadly felt that she probably missed the best part of life.
Lily then thought of Mrs. Ramsay and tried to delve deep into her soul. But she realised that it was not humanly possible to enter the secret chambers of a human soul.
Lily, as an artist was having some difficulties while painting her picture. She was not satisfied with her work. She was much concerned with the unity of the whole. Finally she gave up and took the canvas lightly off the easel. But Mr. Bankes had already seen her picture and had shared with her something profoundly intimate.
Just then Cam dashed past them like a bullet. She stopped only when Mrs. Ramsay asked her to enquire if Minta and Paul Ravley had come back after their usual walk. Mrs. Ramsay was sure that they were going to marry each other. She would be much pleased if they did so.
Next her thoughts turned to her children. She did not want them to grow older. She told her husband that the loss of childhood was irreparable. But Mr. Ramsay could not accept this gloomy view of life. She continued reading aloud that story to James and it was finished very soon. After that she had to disappoint James once more by telling him that there was no hope of making the trip to the Lighthouse the next day.
Mrs. Ramsay was thinking that children never forgot such incidents. The children went to bed. When she was alone she became absorbed in deep thoughts about the miseries and misfortunes of life. Mr. Ramsay passed by and her remoteness pained him. Mrs. Ramsay also saw him and she felt that he wanted to speak to him. So she took her green shawl and went to him.
Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay went out for a stroll. They began to talk about their children and other affairs of their life. They never liked the idea that Prue should fall in love with and marry Charles Tansley. Mr. Ramsay told her that he was thinking of going off for a day’s walk alone. But she knew that it was not possible for him at that advanced age and so did not protest. Soon Mr. Ramsay was overwhelmed with emotion while walking up the path arm in arm. He raised her hand to his lips and kissed it fervently.
All of a sudden they found Lily and William Bankes having their stroll together. She felt that they also should marry and this was quite an admirable idea to her.
Lily and Bankes were talking about their visits to different countries of the world luring their quiet walk. Mr. Bankes said this gave him an opportunity to have a look at the masterpieces of the great artists of the world. They turned and saw the elderly couple. Lily began to think about the pains and pleasures of the life of this couple. Mrs. Ramsay was anxious for Nancy and enquired if she had also gone for a stroll with Paul and Minta.
In fact Nancy and Andrews accompanied Paul and Minta when they went out for their stroll. They left the couple alone to indulge in their own games. But from behind a rock Nancy, to her great embarrassment, found them in each other’s arms. It meant that they were going to be married soon.
On their way back Minta was much upset to find that she had lost her only ornament, a brooch presented by her grandmother. Paul pacified Minta and decided to come back early next morning to resume the search. He also made up his mind to go to Edinburgh secretly to buy another brooch if he failed to find it out there. Finally, when they were back to the Ramsay household, all were getting ready for dinner. They were awfully late.
Prue informed her mother that Nancy had accompanied Paul and Minta for a stroll. Mrs. Ramsay felt that they might not take any final decision as Nancy was with them.
Meanwhile Mildred wanted to know if she should wait for dinner. Mrs. Ramsay replied firmly in the negative. When there were fifteen persons sitting down to dinner, any delay was out of the question. Next Mrs. Ramsay went through the usual ceremony of choosing her necklace for the dinner with the help of Rose.
Accompanied by her children she started moving towards the dining hall. Just then she caught sight of Paul and Minta coming back. She was excited as well as annoyed for their delay. But then the clanging of the bell announced that all should assemble in the dining hall.
Mrs. Ramsay took her place at the head of the table like a queen. In the beginning she felt somewhat gloomy and dejected thinking about her own self as well as about others. At the far end she found her husband sitting with a frowning look. She felt indifferent. But then she realised that nothing had so far merged and felt that on her rested the job of merging and creating. So she had to come to her own worldly self and started talking to others. She pitied Mrs. Bankes for his sad and lonely life and asked if he got his letters kept for him in the hall. Lily Briscoe had her own ideas about Mr Bankes. To Mrs. Ramsay’s query Mr Bankes replied that though letters hardly brought anything of importance to man yet all liked to have them. Mrs. Ramsay asked Tansley also if he was fond of writing letters. But to Tansley all such talks seemed absolutely useless and he decided to abstain from such talks.
Just to assert himself he once more told Mrs. Ramsay that there was very little chance of going to the Lighthouse the next day. To Lily he seemed to be the most unattractive person she had ever met. He often asserted that women could hardly achieve anything great in this world. Just to take a little bit of revenge she jocularly requested him to take her to the Lighthouse with him. He was offended and replied rather rudely that it would be too rough for her to go to the Lighthouse. But he was ashamed of his rude manners before Mrs. Ramsay, who was talking to William Bankes about some people he had never heard of. He felt that it would have been much better for him to be alone in his room working among his books.
While talking to Bankes, Mrs. Ramsay was breaking off from time to time asking the maid to do this or that. This was annoying to him. He also felt that it was not worthwhile to come to dinner. The only thing was that his refusal would have hurt the feelings of one of his oldest friends.
Tansley was much irritated once more as Mrs. Ramsay began to talk to Bankes in French which was Greek to him. Everything bored him badly. But still he wanted to assert himself. All were talking on various topics and nobody asked him his views. Only Lily Briscoe understood him. Just to ease the situation for him Lily asked him in a friendly way if he would like to take her to the Lighthouse. Mrs Ramsay also appealed to Lily to say something nice to him to soothe his strained nerves. So Lily’s friendly move relieved him of his egotism and he became quite communicative and took part in their discussions. But in the most of all such talks Lily began to think of her painting and made up her mind to resume her work earnestly next morning.
Mrs. Ramsay wanted that her husband should also take part in the discussions. But she found him in an angry mood, as Mr. Carmichael was wanting in table manners. But she was relieved there was no open outburst of his temper.
All the candles were lit and the faces on both sides of the table were brought nearer. Very soon Paul and Minta also entered the hall and took their reserved seats. Minta told all of them about her missing brooch with a ring of sadness. Minta looked very charming and attractive. And Mrs. Ramsay concluded that they were surely engaged. Surprisingly she felt jealous of Minta. Sadly Mrs. Ramsay realised that she was growing old.
Next the special dish—Beouf en Daube-was served. And all were vociferous in declaring that French dishes were far, far superior and cookery in England was an abomination. Mr. Bankes rebshed and praised it highly. He became lively and all his love, all his reverence for Mrs. Ramsay had returned. Mrs. Ramsay also felt elated at this. The idea that it was she who finally brought about the engagement between Paul and Minta made her extremely happy.
Mr Ramsay’s mind turned to Lily. She felt that nobody would care a bit for Lily with her Chinese eyes and puckered face. She thought that Bankes should marry Lily as he cared a lot for her. So she must see that they took long walks together so that they might come closer.
The guests were talking on various topics. Bankes was praising the Waverly novel and Tansley began to denounce them vehemently. Someone then asked how long such works were expected to last. Mrs. Ramsay was afraid that a question like that might disturb Mr. Ramsay’s mind, as he needed encouragement.
Next the children sitting in a row attracted Mrs. Ramsay’s attention. Looking affectionately at Prue she began to think that she should be much happier in life than Minta as she was her own child.
Dinner was almost over. Mrs. Ramsay suddenly felt that she liked Tansley in spite of all his drawbacks. Meanwhile her husband repeated some lines of poetry. Augustus Carmichael began to chant something and bowed to her. And then Mrs. Ramsay got up and left the room. The dinner was really over and became a thing of the past.
After the departure of Mrs. Ramsay from the hall some sort of disintegration set in. She went upstairs alone. It flattered her to feel that all would ever remember her and this eventful party. In the bedroom she found to her annoyance that the children were not yet asleep. There was a boar’s skull on the wall and Cam was unable to sleep because of it. James wanted it to be there. Mrs. Ramsay managed the situation tactfully by covering it with her shawl. But before going to sleep James once more asked if they were going to the Lighthouse the next day. She had to answer in the negative. Sadly she realised that James would never forget this in his life. While moving out she wished that Tansley might not bang his books on the floor above to disturb their sleep. She still felt annoyed with him because of what he had said about the visit to the Lighthouse to the children.
Mrs. Ramsay felt herself as happy as a girl of twenty. And when Paul took out his lovely gold watch out of a wash-leather case to tell her the time, once more she felt very proud thinking that it was she who brought their affair to a happy end. Finally she had to leave them and entered the other room where her husband sat reading.
Looking at her husband she felt that he did not like to be disturbed. He was absorbed in reading something very interesting—and it was nothing but one of old Scott’s books. She started knitting. But then she felt the need of a book. She picked up one and started reading. Their eyes met, but none was in a mood to talk to each other. Scott’s sane and forceful writing made him feel much relieved.
Soon Mrs. Ramsay became conscious of her husband looking at her. In spite of her ignorance and simplicity she seemed to him astonishingly beautiful. Mrs. Ramsay took the chance to tell him that Paul and Minta were engaged. Promptly came his reply that he had already guessed it.
Mr. Ramsay asked her if she was really going to finish the stocking that night. This pleased her and her answer was in the negative. But still he gazed at her and she felt that he very much wanted her to tell him that she loved him. But she could not bring herself to tell that she loved him. She just turned and looked at him and smiled. And Mr Ramsay realised that although she had not uttered a word she really loved him.
Part II Time Passes
This second part of To The Lighthouse covers a period of ten years. It is made up of ten sections.
Mr. Bankes, Andrew, Prue and Lily were talking to one another in the old summer house. Andrew came up from the beach and remarked that it was too dark to see. Prue asked Andrew to put out the lights in the hall. Only Mr. Carmichael continued to read Virgil and kept his candle burning.
A thin rain was drumming on the roof and immense darkness enveloped the whole house. It was past midnight when Mr. Carmichael put out his candle.
Night succeeded night and winter followed autumn. Stumbling across a passage, one dark morning Mr. Ramsay stretched his arms out; but they remained empty as Mrs. Ramsay had died suddenly the night before.
In the deserted summer house silence and loneliness prevailed. Only stray gusts of wind blustered in from time to time and stealthily moved from room to room. At last the silence was broken by Mrs. McNab who was directed to dust and clean the bedrooms.
Mrs. McNab was the caretaker of the house. She was an old, unhappy woman bent with age. She rolled from room to room and was bowed down with weariness while doing her tough job.
Spring came and it was followed by summer. During the course of three years Prue Ramsay was married. But unfortunately she died in child-birth. Andrew Ramsay was also killed in the battlefield in France. The First World War had already started. Meanwhile Mr. Carmichael brought out his first volume of poems and it had an unexpected success.
Night followed night. The seasons came and went with fine or foul weather. It was rumoured that the summer house would soon be sold out. It was really in a very shabby and dilapidated condition. Once the Ramsays were expected to come there, but they should not due to the war and other difficulties. Now everything was at sixes and sevens and the house with the garden was decaying slowly. Mrs. McNab worked very hard to save it from absolute rack and ruin, although she was too old to get it straight now. While dusting and cleaning old memories crowded in on her. Sadly she remembered Mrs. Ramsay, Prue and Andrew. All were dead and gone.
Still the house remained deserted. It became so dilapidated that the whole thing might crumble down at any moment. It was beyond the power of one old woman to prevent it from absolute ruin. So Mrs. McNab had to requisit the services of another old lady, Mrs. Bast. And then, very unexpectedly she got a letter from one of the Ramsay daughters that they were coming for the summer. So they got to work in right earnest with their broom and pail, mopping and scouring and stayed the corruption and rot. Things were set in order at last. And then, one evening in September Lily Briscoe arrived. Mr. Carmichael also came by the same train.
It seemed peace had come there once more. The house was also full again. Lily was tired due to the long journey and so went to sleep without any delay. Mr. Carmichael also fell asleep after reading a book for some time in candle light. The soft murmur of the sea soothed them in their sleep. And it was Lily Briscoe who opened her eyes first when the day was just breaking.
Part III: The Lighthouse
In part three, things are happening after a lapse of ten years.
Lily Briscoe and others came back to the summer house after so many years. Mr. Ramsay was no more. So rising early on the first morning she was in a contemplative mood with a sense of wonder and perplexity.
That very morning Mr. Ramsay, Cam and James were going to make their expedition to the Lighthouse. But still the children were not ready. And Mr. Ramsay was very much upset at this. Sitting alone at the breakfast table Lily felt herself to be a stranger there, as if the link that usually bound things together had been cut.
Suddenly Mr. Ramsay passed by and looked, straight at her. To avoid him Lily turned to her cup of coffee. He wanted to get sympathy from her. Came and went old Mr. Carmichael. Everything seemed to be strange and symbolic. Lily wanted to devote herself exclusively, to her picture. She pitched her easel and got to work. But she could not proceed due to the disturbing presence of Mr. Ramsay.
It seemed to Lily that Cam and James were prevailed on by Mr. Ramsay to go the Lighthouse. They consented reluctantly. James was sixteen and Cam seventeen. It pained her much to find the children coerced and subdued.
Lily tried her best to concentrate on her picture. But she could not, as all the while Mr. Ramsay was bearing down on her, demanding sympathy. Finally she could not but make up her mind to give him what she should.
Still Mr. Ramsay behaved and talked in a manner that showed that his need for sympathy was really great. But still Lily had no words of consolation. She could utter only a few words praising his beautiful boots.
Finally the party left for the Lighthouse. She watched the procession with Mr. Ramsay as the leader of the expedition. And then a genuine feeling of sympathy for the unhappy widower rose in her soul. But Mr. Ramsay had no need of it any more.
The party left, Lily felt as if one part of her was drawn out there. She also felt sad for Mr. Ramsay. She decided to paint. But then she realised that there was a lot of difference between planning and making the first mark with the brush. But soon she seemed greatly inspired and made her first decisive quick stroke and went on with her creative work with great zeal. All the while her mind kept throwing up from its depths scenes and names and sayings and memories and ideas.
There was silence; nothing stirred in the house. Lily remembered Mrs. Ramsay and thought of her great power of resolving everything into simplicity. But soon she walked to the end of the lawn driven by some curiosity. In the distance she could see the little boat sailing away into the wide sea.
There was hardly any breeze to make the sails bulge, so the boat made very little movement. Mr. Ramsay was impatient and asked Macalister’s boy to start rowing. The children were also unhappy as they were forced to come in spite of their reluctance. Silently they made up their mind to resist tyranny to death and wished the expedition to be a complete failure.
But, very soon the wind was up and the boat shot off. Mr. Ramsay felt relieved. Now James was to keep his eye all the time on the sail, otherwise the boat would slacken. Old Macalister began to tell them all about a shipwreck during a great storm there. Mr. Ramsay relished it. But the children remained quiet and sullen.
The speed of the fast moving boat seemed to hypnotize Cam. But James wanted to be relieved of his burden. Both of them had a sense of escape and exultation. Mr. Ramsay too felt excited. Suddenly he asked them to look towards the island. But every thing seemed vague and unreal to Cam. He tried in vain to show her the location of their house. He scolded her in a jocular manner. And then just to make her smile he thought of saying some simple easy thing. In fact Mr. Ramsay was demanding sympathy also from his daughter.
James was upset thinking that Cam would give way and he would have to wage a lonely battle against tyranny. But soon Cam remained quiet and stopped responding to her father, although she felt sympathy for him. James was relieved as he felt sure that Cam wouldn’t succumb to her feelings. She could never forget her father’s senseless tyranny and blind dominance over them all.
Standing on the edge of the lawn Lily Briscoe could still spot their boat far away on the sea. She was still heavy at heart as she had failed to offer sympathy to Mr. Ramsay when he needed it. It disturbed her mood to paint. She had always found Mr. Ramsay difficult and could never praise him to his face; as a result their relationship was void of any element of sex. She remembered Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay as she had seen them on the beach ten years ago.
Lily took up her brush again. But she experienced some difficulties. She began to ponder over the problems of her art. She felt that a picture should, no doubt, be bright and beautiful on the surface but its fabric must be as firm as a rock. As she painted, memories from the past crowded in on her. She remembered the Raleys-Paul and Minta. After the first years of married life things had gone really wrong with them. She visualized their sad, quarrelsome and unhappy life in a series of scenes. Lily remembered that Mrs. Ramsay had a sort of mania to see other people getting married. She even wanted her to marry Mr. Bankes. Now, dead as she was she would never know that the married life of Paul and Minta was a sad failure. She remembered she was once struck by the splendour and power of love emanating from Paul’s face when he was in love with Minta. But still she thanked her stars for being able to overcome such emotions and stick to her profession of an artist for good.
Once Mr. Bankes told her that Mrs. Ramsay was a paragon of beauty at the age of nineteen or twenty. Once more she remembered Mrs. Ramsay and tried to visualise her astonishing beauty. She wanted to ask Mr. Carmichael all sorts of questions about life, about death and specially about Mrs. Ramsay. But he was half-asleep. The memory of Mrs. Ramsay brought tears to her eyes. Looking at her picture she felt that everything would pass and vanish but not the genuine work of art.
In the boat Macalister’s boy cut a piece out of the side of a fish. He threw the mutilated body back into the sea as it was no more of any use to him.
Lily wanted to bring back Mrs. Ramsay from the land of the dead and continued to call her by name in vain. But the vision of Mrs. Ramsay with a wreath of white flowers on her forehead inspired her to paint Mrs. Ramsay on the canvas and helped her to solve some intricate problems related to her painting.
Once more her eyes turned towards the sea. The sight of a brown spot in the middle of the sea attracted her attention. She felt that Mrs. Ramsay must be sitting there in the boat with his children.
Cam thought that people on the shore could never feel the joys and thrills of such an expedition. But then suddenly the sails sagged and the boat came to a stop. There under the hot sky they all began to feel one another’s presence. And James felt that if his father spoke harshly and demanded anything unreasonable he would strike him to the heart with a knife. His fierce passion of childhood to stab and kill his father when he prevented them from making the journey to the Lighthouse was still alive in him.
From the boat James had a look at the Lighthouse. The stern and straight tower barred with black and white was quite visible. But he missed the charm of that silvery and misty looking tower of his childhood days. Suddenly a wind rose and the boat began to move and every one felt relieved.
Lily Briscoe continued to gaze at the sea. The sea was calm and spotless. Distance seemed to have some extraordinary power and all seemed to be swallowed up by the sea.
Cam had never a chance before to have a look at their island from the sea. Now she thought herself to be the heroine of an imaginary story of adventure. Her heart was full of the joy of living. All trifling affairs of life faded away into the past. In her present elated mood her father seemed to be a lovable and wise person although to James he was nothing but a sarcastic brute and an unbearable egotistical tyrant.
Lily Briscoe was still standing and looking at the distant sea. Her feelings for Mr Ramsay changed as his boat seemed to recede further and further. All was calm and quiet. On her stream of conciousness began to float many figures and things of the past. She thought of Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay, their children, Mr. Carmichael and even of Mr. Tansley.
Lily gazed at the moving boat and thought that the party was likely to reach the Lighthouse by lunch time. But she felt perplexed as she could not achieve the required balance between the two opposite forces—Mrs. Ramsay and her picture. And that is why she could not pinpoint the problem she wanted to solve before proceeding with her painting. Standing before her easel she realised that for painting this human apparatus was an insufficient machine.
Lily continued to think of Mrs. Ramsay and her various merits and demerits, her married life and her complex relationship with her husband and above all of the multiplicity of her personality. She concluded that it required more than fifty pairs of eyes to understand a complex personality like that of Mrs. Ramsay.
All of a sudden she felt that somebody had come into the drawing room and was sitting in the chair where Mrs. Ramsay used to sit. She was in mood to paint. But after a while, to her great horror and excitement she found that it was none but Mrs. Ramsay herself quietly sitting in her chair and knitting. She could not but call Mrs. Ramsay quite loudly by her name. At such a moment Lily keenly wanted Mr. Ramsay to be close to her to share her strange and horrified feelings.
Mr. Ramsay had nearly finished the book he started reading after stepping into the boat. To James he seemed to be loneliness person. They were now very close to the Lighthouse that stood stark and straight on a bare rock. And to James life also seemed to be stark and straight like that Lighthouse.
Cam was rather tired of looking at the sea. But after having a look at their father both brother and sister vowed once more to fight tyranny to death. Mr. Ramsay could never understand their feelings. Suddenly Mr. Ramsay asked them quite loudly to have their lunch. He opened the parcel and shared out the sandwiches among them. Macalister praised James for doing his job of steering quite nicely. But this did not satisfy James as his father had never praised him.
To Cam sailing so fast by the rocks was really exciting. Macalister pointed out the place where a ship had sunk and three persons were drowned. They were sailing very close to the rock. And then quite unexpectedly Mr. Ramsay praised James very highly for steering them like a born sailor. This is what James had been waiting far all the while. James’ joy and happiness knew no bounds.
The rock was very close. Mr. Ramsay sprang on to the rock quite lightly like a young man. The children followed him gladly.
Lily Briscoe, still standing on the lawn, felt that Mr. Ramsay must have reached the Lighthouse. Her anxiety for them had told on her nerves. She was relieved. She had a feeling that she had finally given Mr. Ramsay whatever she wanted to give him when he left in the morning. Old Carmichael came there and he also agreed with her that they must have landed at the Lighthouse. Without speaking to each other both of them were thinking about the same thing all the while.
All of a sudden Lily seemed to be recalled by something. And quickly she returned to her canvas. She took up her brush and with a sudden intensity she drew a line in the centre. And whatever she wanted to do was done. She laid down her brush and felt that she had had her vision at last.