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Mrs.

Dalloway
VirginiaWoolf

Mrs.Dallowaysaidshewouldbuytheflowersherself.
ForLucyhadherworkcutoutforher.Thedoorswouldbetaken
offtheirhinges;Rumpelmayer'smenwerecoming.Andthen,thought
ClarissaDalloway,whatamorningfreshasifissuedtochildren
onabeach.
Whatalark!Whataplunge!Forsoithadalwaysseemedtoher,
when,withalittlesqueakofthehinges,whichshecouldhearnow,
shehadburstopentheFrenchwindowsandplungedatBourtoninto
theopenair.Howfresh,howcalm,stillerthanthisofcourse,
theairwasintheearlymorning;liketheflapofawave;thekiss
ofawave;chillandsharpandyet(foragirlofeighteenasshe
thenwas)solemn,feelingasshedid,standingthereattheopen
window,thatsomethingawfulwasabouttohappen;lookingatthe
flowers,atthetreeswiththesmokewindingoffthemandtherooks
rising,falling;standingandlookinguntilPeterWalshsaid,
"Musingamongthevegetables?"wasthatit?"Iprefermento
cauliflowers"wasthatit?Hemusthavesaiditatbreakfastone
morningwhenshehadgoneoutontotheterracePeterWalsh.He
wouldbebackfromIndiaoneofthesedays,JuneorJuly,she
forgotwhich,forhisletterswereawfullydull;itwashissayings
oneremembered;hiseyes,hispocketknife,hissmile,his
grumpinessand,whenmillionsofthingshadutterlyvanishedhow
strangeitwas!afewsayingslikethisaboutcabbages.
Shestiffenedalittleonthekerb,waitingforDurtnall'svanto
pass.Acharmingwoman,ScropePurvisthoughther(knowingheras
onedoesknowpeoplewholivenextdoortooneinWestminster);a
touchofthebirdabouther,ofthejay,bluegreen,light,
vivacious,thoughshewasoverfifty,andgrownverywhitesince
herillness.Theresheperched,neverseeinghim,waitingto
cross,veryupright.
ForhavinglivedinWestminsterhowmanyyearsnow?overtwenty,
onefeelseveninthemidstofthetraffic,orwakingatnight,
Clarissawaspositive,aparticularhush,orsolemnity;an
indescribablepause;asuspense(butthatmightbeherheart,
affected,theysaid,byinfluenza)beforeBigBenstrikes.There!
Outitboomed.Firstawarning,musical;thenthehour,
irrevocable.Theleadencirclesdissolvedintheair.Suchfools
weare,shethought,crossingVictoriaStreet.ForHeavenonly
knowswhyonelovesitso,howoneseesitso,makingitup,
buildingitroundone,tumblingit,creatingiteverymoment
afresh;buttheveriestfrumps,themostdejectedofmiseries
sittingondoorsteps(drinktheirdownfall)dothesame;can'tbe
dealtwith,shefeltpositive,byActsofParliamentforthatvery
reason:theylovelife.Inpeople'seyes,intheswing,tramp,and
trudge;inthebellowandtheuproar;thecarriages,motorcars,
omnibuses,vans,sandwichmenshufflingandswinging;brassbands;
barrelorgans;inthetriumphandthejingleandthestrangehigh
singingofsomeaeroplaneoverheadwaswhatsheloved;life;
London;thismomentofJune.
ForitwasthemiddleofJune.TheWarwasover,exceptforsome
onelikeMrs.FoxcroftattheEmbassylastnighteatingherheart
outbecausethatniceboywaskilledandnowtheoldManorHouse
mustgotoacousin;orLadyBexboroughwhoopenedabazaar,they
said,withthetelegraminherhand,John,herfavourite,killed;
butitwasover;thankHeavenover.ItwasJune.TheKingand
QueenwereatthePalace.Andeverywhere,thoughitwasstillso
early,therewasabeating,astirringofgallopingponies,tapping
ofcricketbats;Lords,Ascot,Ranelaghandalltherestofit;
wrappedinthesoftmeshofthegreybluemorningair,which,as
thedayworeon,wouldunwindthem,andsetdownontheirlawnsand
pitchesthebouncingponies,whoseforefeetjuststrucktheground
anduptheysprung,thewhirlingyoungmen,andlaughinggirlsin
theirtransparentmuslinswho,evennow,afterdancingallnight,
weretakingtheirabsurdwoollydogsforarun;andevennow,at
thishour,discreetolddowagerswereshootingoutintheirmotor
carsonerrandsofmystery;andtheshopkeeperswerefidgetingin
theirwindowswiththeirpasteanddiamonds,theirlovelyoldseagreen
broochesineighteenthcenturysettingstotemptAmericans
(butonemusteconomise,notbuythingsrashlyforElizabeth),and
she,too,lovingitasshedidwithanabsurdandfaithfulpassion,
beingpartofit,sinceherpeoplewerecourtiersonceinthetime
oftheGeorges,she,too,wasgoingthatverynighttokindleand
illuminate;togiveherparty.Buthowstrange,onenteringthe
Park,thesilence;themist;thehum;theslowswimminghappy
ducks;thepouchedbirdswaddling;andwhoshouldbecomingalong
withhisbackagainsttheGovernmentbuildings,mostappropriately,
carryingadespatchboxstampedwiththeRoyalArms,whobutHugh
Whitbread;heroldfriendHughtheadmirableHugh!
"Goodmorningtoyou,Clarissa!"saidHugh,ratherextravagantly,
fortheyhadknowneachotheraschildren."Whereareyouoffto?"
"IlovewalkinginLondon,"saidMrs.Dalloway."Reallyit's
betterthanwalkinginthecountry."
Theyhadjustcomeupunfortunatelytoseedoctors.Otherpeople
cametoseepictures;gototheopera;taketheirdaughtersout;
theWhitbreadscame"toseedoctors."Timeswithoutnumber
ClarissahadvisitedEvelynWhitbreadinanursinghome.Was
Evelynillagain?Evelynwasagooddealoutofsorts,saidHugh,
intimatingbyakindofpoutorswellofhisverywellcovered,
manly,extremelyhandsome,perfectlyupholsteredbody(hewas
almosttoowelldressedalways,butpresumablyhadtobe,withhis
littlejobatCourt)thathiswifehadsomeinternalailment,
nothingserious,which,asanoldfriend,ClarissaDallowaywould
quiteunderstandwithoutrequiringhimtospecify.Ahyes,shedid
ofcourse;whatanuisance;andfeltverysisterlyandoddly
consciousatthesametimeofherhat.Nottherighthatforthe
earlymorning,wasthatit?ForHughalwaysmadeherfeel,ashe
bustledon,raisinghishatratherextravagantlyandassuringher
thatshemightbeagirlofeighteen,andofcoursehewascoming
toherpartytonight,Evelynabsolutelyinsisted,onlyalittle
latehemightbeafterthepartyatthePalacetowhichhehadto
takeoneofJim'sboys,shealwaysfeltalittleskimpybeside
Hugh;schoolgirlish;butattachedtohim,partlyfromhavingknown
himalways,butshedidthinkhimagoodsortinhisownway,
thoughRichardwasnearlydrivenmadbyhim,andasforPeter
Walsh,hehadnevertothisdayforgivenherforlikinghim.
ShecouldremembersceneaftersceneatBourtonPeterfurious;
Hughnot,ofcourse,hismatchinanyway,butstillnotapositive
imbecileasPetermadeout;notamerebarber'sblock.Whenhis
oldmotherwantedhimtogiveupshootingortotakehertoBathhe
didit,withoutaword;hewasreallyunselfish,andasforsaying,
asPeterdid,thathehadnoheart,nobrain,nothingbutthe
mannersandbreedingofanEnglishgentleman,thatwasonlyher
dearPeterathisworst;andhecouldbeintolerable;hecouldbe
impossible;butadorabletowalkwithonamorninglikethis.
(Junehaddrawnouteveryleafonthetrees.Themothersof
Pimlicogavesucktotheiryoung.Messageswerepassingfromthe
FleettotheAdmiralty.ArlingtonStreetandPiccadillyseemedto
chafetheveryairintheParkandliftitsleaveshotly,
brilliantly,onwavesofthatdivinevitalitywhichClarissaloved.
Todance,toride,shehadadoredallthat.)
Fortheymightbepartedforhundredsofyears,sheandPeter;she
neverwrotealetterandhisweredrysticks;butsuddenlyitwould
comeoverher,Ifhewerewithmenowwhatwouldhesay?some
days,somesightsbringinghimbacktohercalmly,withouttheold
bitterness;whichperhapswastherewardofhavingcaredfor
people;theycamebackinthemiddleofSt.James'sParkonafine
morningindeedtheydid.ButPeterhoweverbeautifultheday
mightbe,andthetreesandthegrass,andthelittlegirlinpink
Peterneversawathingofallthat.Hewouldputonhis
spectacles,ifshetoldhimto;hewouldlook.Itwasthestateof
theworldthatinterestedhim;Wagner,Pope'spoetry,people's
characterseternally,andthedefectsofherownsoul.Howhe
scoldedher!Howtheyargued!ShewouldmarryaPrimeMinister
andstandatthetopofastaircase;theperfecthostesshecalled
her(shehadcriedoveritinherbedroom),shehadthemakingsof
theperfecthostess,hesaid.
SoshewouldstillfindherselfarguinginSt.James'sPark,still
makingoutthatshehadbeenrightandshehadtoonottomarry
him.Forinmarriagealittlelicence,alittleindependencethere
mustbebetweenpeoplelivingtogetherdayindayoutinthesame
house;whichRichardgaveher,andshehim.(Wherewashethis
morningforinstance?Somecommittee,sheneveraskedwhat.)But
withPetereverythinghadtobeshared;everythinggoneinto.And
itwasintolerable,andwhenitcametothatsceneinthelittle
gardenbythefountain,shehadtobreakwithhimortheywould
havebeendestroyed,bothofthemruined,shewasconvinced;though
shehadborneaboutwithherforyearslikeanarrowstickingin
herheartthegrief,theanguish;andthenthehorrorofthemoment
whensomeonetoldherataconcertthathehadmarriedawomanmet
ontheboatgoingtoIndia!Nevershouldsheforgetallthat!
Cold,heartless,aprude,hecalledher.Nevercouldshe
understandhowhecared.ButthoseIndianwomendidpresumably
silly,pretty,flimsynincompoops.Andshewastedherpity.For
hewasquitehappy,heassuredherperfectlyhappy,thoughhehad
neverdoneathingthattheytalkedof;hiswholelifehadbeena
failure.Itmadeherangrystill.
ShehadreachedtheParkgates.Shestoodforamoment,lookingat
theomnibusesinPiccadilly.
Shewouldnotsayofanyoneintheworldnowthattheywerethis
orwerethat.Shefeltveryyoung;atthesametimeunspeakably
aged.Sheslicedlikeaknifethrougheverything;atthesametime
wasoutside,lookingon.Shehadaperpetualsense,asshewatched
thetaxicabs,ofbeingout,out,farouttoseaandalone;she
alwayshadthefeelingthatitwasvery,verydangeroustolive
evenoneday.Notthatshethoughtherselfclever,ormuchoutof
theordinary.Howshehadgotthroughlifeonthefewtwigsof
knowledgeFruleinDanielsgavethemshecouldnotthink.Sheknew
nothing;nolanguage,nohistory;shescarcelyreadabooknow,
exceptmemoirsinbed;andyettoheritwasabsolutelyabsorbing;
allthis;thecabspassing;andshewouldnotsayofPeter,she
wouldnotsayofherself,Iamthis,Iamthat.
Heronlygiftwasknowingpeoplealmostbyinstinct,shethought,
walkingon.Ifyouputherinaroomwithsomeone,upwenther
backlikeacat's;orshepurred.DevonshireHouse,BathHouse,
thehousewiththechinacockatoo,shehadseenthemalllitup
once;andrememberedSylvia,Fred,SallySetonsuchhostsof
people;anddancingallnight;andthewaggonsploddingpastto
market;anddrivinghomeacrossthePark.Sherememberedonce
throwingashillingintotheSerpentine.Buteveryoneremembered;
whatshelovedwasthis,here,now,infrontofher;thefatlady
inthecab.Diditmatterthen,sheaskedherself,walkingtowards
BondStreet,diditmatterthatshemustinevitablycease
completely;allthismustgoonwithouther;didsheresentit;or
diditnotbecomeconsolingtobelievethatdeathendedabsolutely?
butthatsomehowinthestreetsofLondon,ontheebbandflowof
things,here,there,shesurvived,Petersurvived,livedineach
other,shebeingpart,shewaspositive,ofthetreesathome;of
thehousethere,ugly,ramblingalltobitsandpiecesasitwas;
partofpeopleshehadnevermet;beinglaidoutlikeamist
betweenthepeoplesheknewbest,wholiftedherontheirbranches
asshehadseenthetreesliftthemist,butitspreadeversofar,
herlife,herself.Butwhatwasshedreamingasshelookedinto
Hatchards'shopwindow?Whatwasshetryingtorecover?What
imageofwhitedawninthecountry,asshereadinthebookspread
open:
Fearnomoretheheato'thesun
Northefuriouswinter'srages.
Thislateageoftheworld'sexperiencehadbredinthemall,all
menandwomen,awelloftears.Tearsandsorrows;courageand
endurance;aperfectlyuprightandstoicalbearing.Think,for
example,ofthewomansheadmiredmost,LadyBexborough,opening
thebazaar.
TherewereJorrocks'JauntsandJollities;therewereSoapySponge
andMrs.Asquith'sMemoirsandBigGameShootinginNigeria,all
spreadopen.Eversomanybookstherewere;butnonethatseemed
exactlyrighttotaketoEvelynWhitbreadinhernursinghome.
Nothingthatwouldservetoamuseherandmakethatindescribably
drieduplittlewomanlook,asClarissacamein,justforamoment
cordial;beforetheysettleddownfortheusualinterminabletalk
ofwomen'sailments.Howmuchshewanteditthatpeopleshould
lookpleasedasshecamein,Clarissathoughtandturnedandwalked
backtowardsBondStreet,annoyed,becauseitwassillytohave
otherreasonsfordoingthings.Muchratherwouldshehavebeen
oneofthosepeoplelikeRichardwhodidthingsforthemselves,
whereas,shethought,waitingtocross,halfthetimeshedid
thingsnotsimply,notforthemselves;buttomakepeoplethink
thisorthat;perfectidiocysheknew(andnowthepolicemanheld
uphishand)fornoonewaseverforasecondtakenin.Ohifshe
couldhavehadherlifeoveragain!shethought,steppingontothe
pavement,couldhavelookedevendifferently!
Shewouldhavebeen,inthefirstplace,darklikeLadyBexborough,
withaskinofcrumpledleatherandbeautifuleyes.Shewouldhave
been,likeLadyBexborough,slowandstately;ratherlarge;
interestedinpoliticslikeaman;withacountryhouse;very
dignified,verysincere.Insteadofwhichshehadanarrowpeastick
figure;aridiculouslittleface,beakedlikeabird's.That
sheheldherselfwellwastrue;andhadnicehandsandfeet;and
dressedwell,consideringthatshespentlittle.Butoftennow
thisbodyshewore(shestoppedtolookataDutchpicture),this
body,withallitscapacities,seemednothingnothingatall.She
hadtheoddestsenseofbeingherselfinvisible;unseen;unknown;
therebeingnomoremarrying,nomorehavingofchildrennow,but
onlythisastonishingandrathersolemnprogresswiththerestof
them,upBondStreet,thisbeingMrs.Dalloway;notevenClarissa
anymore;thisbeingMrs.RichardDalloway.
BondStreetfascinatedher;BondStreetearlyinthemorninginthe
season;itsflagsflying;itsshops;nosplash;noglitter;one
rolloftweedintheshopwhereherfatherhadboughthissuitsfor
fiftyyears;afewpearls;salmononaniceblock.
"Thatisall,"shesaid,lookingatthefishmonger's."Thatis
all,"sherepeated,pausingforamomentatthewindowofaglove
shopwhere,beforetheWar,youcouldbuyalmostperfectgloves.
AndheroldUncleWilliamusedtosayaladyisknownbyhershoes
andhergloves.Hehadturnedonhisbedonemorninginthemiddle
oftheWar.Hehadsaid,"Ihavehadenough."Glovesandshoes;
shehadapassionforgloves;butherowndaughter,herElizabeth,
carednotastrawforeitherofthem.
Notastraw,shethought,goingonupBondStreettoashopwhere
theykeptflowersforherwhenshegaveaparty.Elizabethreally
caredforherdogmostofall.Thewholehousethismorningsmelt
oftar.Still,betterpoorGrizzlethanMissKilman;better
distemperandtarandalltherestofitthansittingmewedina
stuffybedroomwithaprayerbook!Betteranything,shewas
inclinedtosay.Butitmightbeonlyaphase,asRichardsaid,
suchasallgirlsgothrough.Itmightbefallinginlove.But
whywithMissKilman?whohadbeenbadlytreatedofcourse;one
mustmakeallowancesforthat,andRichardsaidshewasveryable,
hadareallyhistoricalmind.Anyhowtheywereinseparable,and
Elizabeth,herowndaughter,wenttoCommunion;andhowshe
dressed,howshetreatedpeoplewhocametolunchshedidnotcare
abit,itbeingherexperiencethatthereligiousecstasymade
peoplecallous(sodidcauses);dulledtheirfeelings,forMiss
KilmanwoulddoanythingfortheRussians,starvedherselfforthe
Austrians,butinprivateinflictedpositivetorture,so
insensitivewasshe,dressedinagreenmackintoshcoat.Yearin
yearoutsheworethatcoat;sheperspired;shewasneverinthe
roomfiveminuteswithoutmakingyoufeelhersuperiority,your
inferiority;howpoorshewas;howrichyouwere;howshelivedin
aslumwithoutacushionorabedorarugorwhateveritmightbe,
allhersoulrustedwiththatgrievancestickinginit,her
dismissalfromschoolduringtheWarpoorembitteredunfortunate
creature!Foritwasnotheronehatedbuttheideaofher,which
undoubtedlyhadgatheredintoitselfagreatdealthatwasnot
MissKilman;hadbecomeoneofthosespectreswithwhichone
battlesinthenight;oneofthosespectreswhostandastrideus
andsuckuphalfourlifeblood,dominatorsandtyrants;forno
doubtwithanotherthrowofthedice,hadtheblackbeenuppermost
andnotthewhite,shewouldhavelovedMissKilman!Butnotin
thisworld.No.
Itraspedher,though,tohavestirringaboutinherthisbrutal
monster!toheartwigscrackingandfeelhoovesplanteddowninthe
depthsofthatleafencumberedforest,thesoul;nevertobe
contentquite,orquitesecure,foratanymomentthebrutewould
bestirring,thishatred,which,especiallysinceherillness,had
powertomakeherfeelscraped,hurtinherspine;gaveher
physicalpain,andmadeallpleasureinbeauty,infriendship,in
beingwell,inbeinglovedandmakingherhomedelightfulrock,
quiver,andbendasifindeedtherewereamonstergrubbingatthe
roots,asifthewholepanoplyofcontentwerenothingbutself
love!thishatred!
Nonsense,nonsense!shecriedtoherself,pushingthroughtheswing
doorsofMulberry'stheflorists.
Sheadvanced,light,tall,veryupright,tobegreetedatonceby
buttonfacedMissPym,whosehandswerealwaysbrightred,asif
theyhadbeenstoodincoldwaterwiththeflowers.
Therewereflowers:delphiniums,sweetpeas,bunchesoflilac;and
carnations,massesofcarnations.Therewereroses;therewere
irises.Ahyessoshebreathedintheearthygardensweetsmell
asshestoodtalkingtoMissPymwhoowedherhelp,andthoughther
kind,forkindshehadbeenyearsago;verykind,butshelooked
older,thisyear,turningherheadfromsidetosideamongthe
irisesandrosesandnoddingtuftsoflilacwithhereyeshalf
closed,snuffingin,afterthestreetuproar,thedeliciousscent,
theexquisitecoolness.Andthen,openinghereyes,howfreshlike
frilledlinencleanfromalaundrylaidinwickertraystheroses
looked;anddarkandprimtheredcarnations,holdingtheirheads
up;andallthesweetpeasspreadingintheirbowls,tingedviolet,
snowwhite,paleasifitweretheeveningandgirlsinmuslin
frockscameouttopicksweetpeasandrosesafterthesuperb
summer'sday,withitsalmostblueblacksky,itsdelphiniums,its
carnations,itsarumlilieswasover;anditwasthemomentbetween
sixandsevenwheneveryflowerroses,carnations,irises,lilac
glows;white,violet,red,deeporange;everyflowerseemstoburn
byitself,softly,purelyinthemistybeds;andhowshelovedthe
greywhitemothsspinninginandout,overthecherrypie,overthe
eveningprimroses!
AndasshebegantogowithMissPymfromjartojar,choosing,
nonsense,nonsense,shesaidtoherself,moreandmoregently,as
ifthisbeauty,thisscent,thiscolour,andMissPymlikingher,
trustingher,wereawavewhichsheletflowoverherandsurmount
thathatred,thatmonster,surmountitall;anditliftedherup
andupwhenoh!apistolshotinthestreetoutside!
"Dear,thosemotorcars,"saidMissPym,goingtothewindowto
look,andcomingbackandsmilingapologeticallywithherhands
fullofsweetpeas,asifthosemotorcars,thosetyresofmotor
cars,wereallHERfault.
TheviolentexplosionwhichmadeMrs.DallowayjumpandMissPymgo
tothewindowandapologisecamefromamotorcarwhichhaddrawn
tothesideofthepavementpreciselyoppositeMulberry'sshop
window.Passersbywho,ofcourse,stoppedandstared,hadjust
timetoseeafaceoftheverygreatestimportanceagainstthe
dovegreyupholstery,beforeamalehanddrewtheblindandthere
wasnothingtobeseenexceptasquareofdovegrey.
YetrumourswereatonceincirculationfromthemiddleofBond
StreettoOxfordStreetononeside,toAtkinson'sscentshopon
theother,passinginvisibly,inaudibly,likeacloud,swift,veillike
uponhills,fallingindeedwithsomethingofacloud'ssudden
sobrietyandstillnessuponfaceswhichasecondbeforehadbeen
utterlydisorderly.Butnowmysteryhadbrushedthemwithher
wing;theyhadheardthevoiceofauthority;thespiritofreligion
wasabroadwithhereyesbandagedtightandherlipsgapingwide.
Butnobodyknewwhosefacehadbeenseen.WasitthePrinceof
Wales's,theQueen's,thePrimeMinister's?Whosefacewasit?
Nobodyknew.
EdgarJ.Watkiss,withhisrollofleadpipingroundhisarm,said
audibly,humorouslyofcourse:"TheProimeMinister'skyar."
SeptimusWarrenSmith,whofoundhimselfunabletopass,heardhim.
SeptimusWarrenSmith,agedaboutthirty,palefaced,beaknosed,
wearingbrownshoesandashabbyovercoat,withhazeleyeswhich
hadthatlookofapprehensioninthemwhichmakescomplete
strangersapprehensivetoo.Theworldhasraiseditswhip;where
willitdescend?
Everythinghadcometoastandstill.Thethrobofthemotor
enginessoundedlikeapulseirregularlydrummingthroughanentire
body.Thesunbecameextraordinarilyhotbecausethemotorcarhad
stoppedoutsideMulberry'sshopwindow;oldladiesonthetopsof
omnibusesspreadtheirblackparasols;hereagreen,hereared
parasolopenedwithalittlepop.Mrs.Dalloway,comingtothe
windowwithherarmsfullofsweetpeas,lookedoutwithherlittle
pinkfacepursedinenquiry.Everyonelookedatthemotorcar.
Septimuslooked.Boysonbicyclessprangoff.Traffic
accumulated.Andtherethemotorcarstood,withdrawnblinds,and
uponthemacuriouspatternlikeatree,Septimusthought,andthis
gradualdrawingtogetherofeverythingtoonecentrebeforehis
eyes,asifsomehorrorhadcomealmosttothesurfaceandwas
abouttoburstintoflames,terrifiedhim.Theworldwaveredand
quiveredandthreatenedtoburstintoflames.ItisIwhoam
blockingtheway,hethought.Washenotbeinglookedatand
pointedat;washenotweightedthere,rootedtothepavement,for
apurpose?Butforwhatpurpose?
"Letusgoon,Septimus,"saidhiswife,alittlewoman,withlarge
eyesinasallowpointedface;anItaliangirl.
ButLucreziaherselfcouldnothelplookingatthemotorcarand
thetreepatternontheblinds.WasittheQueenintherethe
Queengoingshopping?
Thechauffeur,whohadbeenopeningsomething,turningsomething,
shuttingsomething,gotontothebox.
"Comeon,"saidLucrezia.
Butherhusband,fortheyhadbeenmarriedfour,fiveyearsnow,
jumped,started,andsaid,"Allright!"angrily,asifshehad
interruptedhim.
Peoplemustnotice;peoplemustsee.People,shethought,looking
atthecrowdstaringatthemotorcar;theEnglishpeople,with
theirchildrenandtheirhorsesandtheirclothes,whichshe
admiredinaway;buttheywere"people"now,becauseSeptimushad
said,"Iwillkillmyself";anawfulthingtosay.Supposethey
hadheardhim?Shelookedatthecrowd.Help,help!shewantedto
cryouttobutchers'boysandwomen.Help!Onlylastautumnshe
andSeptimushadstoodontheEmbankmentwrappedinthesamecloak
and,Septimusreadingapaperinsteadoftalking,shehadsnatched
itfromhimandlaughedintheoldman'sfacewhosawthem!But
failureoneconceals.Shemusttakehimawayintosomepark.
"Nowwewillcross,"shesaid.
Shehadarighttohisarm,thoughitwaswithoutfeeling.He
wouldgiveher,whowassosimple,soimpulsive,onlytwentyfour,
withoutfriendsinEngland,whohadleftItalyforhissake,a
pieceofbone.
Themotorcarwithitsblindsdrawnandanairofinscrutable
reserveproceededtowardsPiccadilly,stillgazedat,still
rufflingthefacesonbothsidesofthestreetwiththesamedark
breathofvenerationwhetherforQueen,Prince,orPrimeMinister
nobodyknew.Thefaceitselfhadbeenseenonlyoncebythree
peopleforafewseconds.Eventhesexwasnowindispute.But
therecouldbenodoubtthatgreatnesswasseatedwithin;greatness
waspassing,hidden,downBondStreet,removedonlybyahand'sbreadth
fromordinarypeoplewhomightnow,forthefirstandlast
time,bewithinspeakingdistanceofthemajestyofEngland,ofthe
enduringsymbolofthestatewhichwillbeknowntocurious
antiquaries,siftingtheruinsoftime,whenLondonisagrassgrown
pathandallthosehurryingalongthepavementthisWednesday
morningarebutboneswithafewweddingringsmixedupintheir
dustandthegoldstoppingsofinnumerabledecayedteeth.Theface
inthemotorcarwillthenbeknown.
ItisprobablytheQueen,thoughtMrs.Dalloway,comingoutof
Mulberry'swithherflowers;theQueen.Andforasecondshewore
alookofextremedignitystandingbytheflowershopinthe
sunlightwhilethecarpassedatafoot'space,withitsblinds
drawn.TheQueengoingtosomehospital;theQueenopeningsome
bazaar,thoughtClarissa.
Thecrushwasterrificforthetimeofday.Lords,Ascot,
Hurlingham,whatwasit?shewondered,forthestreetwasblocked.
TheBritishmiddleclassessittingsidewaysonthetopsof
omnibuseswithparcelsandumbrellas,yes,evenfursonadaylike
this,were,shethought,moreridiculous,moreunlikeanything
therehaseverbeenthanonecouldconceive;andtheQueenherself
heldup;theQueenherselfunabletopass.Clarissawassuspended
ononesideofBrookStreet;SirJohnBuckhurst,theoldJudgeon
theother,withthecarbetweenthem(SirJohnhadlaiddownthe
lawforyearsandlikedawelldressedwoman)whenthechauffeur,
leaningeversoslightly,saidorshowedsomethingtothe
policeman,whosalutedandraisedhisarmandjerkedhisheadand
movedtheomnibustothesideandthecarpassedthrough.Slowly
andverysilentlyittookitsway.
Clarissaguessed;Clarissaknewofcourse;shehadseensomething
white,magical,circular,inthefootman'shand,adiscinscribed
withaname,theQueen's,thePrinceofWales's,thePrime
Minister's?which,byforceofitsownlustre,burntitsway
through(Clarissasawthecardiminishing,disappearing),toblaze
amongcandelabras,glitteringstars,breastsstiffwithoakleaves,
HughWhitbreadandallhiscolleagues,thegentlemenofEngland,
thatnightinBuckinghamPalace.AndClarissa,too,gaveaparty.
Shestiffenedalittle;soshewouldstandatthetopofher
stairs.
Thecarhadgone,butithadleftaslightripplewhichflowed
throughgloveshopsandhatshopsandtailors'shopsonbothsides
ofBondStreet.Forthirtysecondsallheadswereinclinedthe
samewaytothewindow.Choosingapairofglovesshouldtheybe
totheelboworaboveit,lemonorpalegrey?ladiesstopped;when
thesentencewasfinishedsomethinghadhappened.Somethingso
triflinginsingleinstancesthatnomathematicalinstrument,
thoughcapableoftransmittingshocksinChina,couldregisterthe
vibration;yetinitsfulnessratherformidableandinitscommon
appealemotional;forinallthehatshopsandtailors'shops
strangerslookedateachotherandthoughtofthedead;ofthe
flag;ofEmpire.InapublichouseinabackstreetaColonial
insultedtheHouseofWindsorwhichledtowords,brokenbeer
glasses,andageneralshindy,whichechoedstrangelyacrossthe
wayintheearsofgirlsbuyingwhiteunderlinenthreadedwithpure
whiteribbonfortheirweddings.Forthesurfaceagitationofthe
passingcarasitsunkgrazedsomethingveryprofound.
GlidingacrossPiccadilly,thecarturneddownSt.James'sStreet.
Tallmen,menofrobustphysique,welldressedmenwiththeirtailcoats
andtheirwhiteslipsandtheirhairrakedbackwho,for
reasonsdifficulttodiscriminate,werestandinginthebowwindow
ofBrooks'swiththeirhandsbehindthetailsoftheircoats,
lookingout,perceivedinstinctivelythatgreatnesswaspassing,
andthepalelightoftheimmortalpresencefelluponthemasit
hadfallenuponClarissaDalloway.Atoncetheystoodeven
straighter,andremovedtheirhands,andseemedreadytoattend
theirSovereign,ifneedbe,tothecannon'smouth,astheir
ancestorshaddonebeforethem.Thewhitebustsandthelittle
tablesinthebackgroundcoveredwithcopiesoftheTatlerand
syphonsofsodawaterseemedtoapprove;seemedtoindicatethe
flowingcornandthemanorhousesofEngland;andtoreturnthe
frailhumofthemotorwheelsasthewallsofawhisperinggallery
returnasinglevoiceexpandedandmadesonorousbythemightofa
wholecathedral.ShawledMollPrattwithherflowersonthe
pavementwishedthedearboywell(itwasthePrinceofWalesfor
certain)andwouldhavetossedthepriceofapotofbeerabunch
ofrosesintoSt.James'sStreetoutofsheerlightheartedness
andcontemptofpovertyhadshenotseentheconstable'seyeupon
her,discouraginganoldIrishwoman'sloyalty.ThesentriesatSt.
James'ssaluted;QueenAlexandra'spolicemanapproved.
AsmallcrowdmeanwhilehadgatheredatthegatesofBuckingham
Palace.Listlessly,yetconfidently,poorpeopleallofthem,they
waited;lookedatthePalaceitselfwiththeflagflying;at
Victoria,billowingonhermound,admiredhershelvesofrunning
water,hergeraniums;singledoutfromthemotorcarsintheMall
firstthisone,thenthat;bestowedemotion,vainly,uponcommoners
outforadrive;recalledtheirtributetokeepitunspentwhile
thiscarpassedandthat;andallthetimeletrumouraccumulatein
theirveinsandthrillthenervesintheirthighsatthethoughtof
Royaltylookingatthem;theQueenbowing;thePrincesaluting;at
thethoughtoftheheavenlylifedivinelybestoweduponKings;of
theequerriesanddeepcurtsies;oftheQueen'solddoll'shouse;
ofPrincessMarymarriedtoanEnglishman,andthePrinceah!the
Prince!whotookwonderfully,theysaid,afteroldKingEdward,but
waseversomuchslimmer.ThePrincelivedatSt.James's;buthe
mightcomealonginthemorningtovisithismother.
SoSarahBletchleysaidwithherbabyinherarms,tippingherfoot
upanddownasthoughshewerebyherownfenderinPimlico,but
keepinghereyesontheMall,whileEmilyCoatesrangedoverthe
Palacewindowsandthoughtofthehousemaids,theinnumerable
housemaids,thebedrooms,theinnumerablebedrooms.Joinedbyan
elderlygentlemanwithanAberdeenterrier,bymenwithout
occupation,thecrowdincreased.LittleMr.Bowley,whohadrooms
intheAlbanyandwassealedwithwaxoverthedeepersourcesof
lifebutcouldbeunsealedsuddenly,inappropriately,sentimentally,
bythissortofthingpoorwomenwaitingtoseetheQueengopast
poorwomen,nicelittlechildren,orphans,widows,theWartuttut
actuallyhadtearsinhiseyes.Abreezeflauntingeverso
warmlydowntheMallthroughthethintrees,pastthebronzeheroes,
liftedsomeflagflyingintheBritishbreastofMr.Bowleyandhe
raisedhishatasthecarturnedintotheMallandheldithighas
thecarapproached;andletthepoormothersofPimlicopressclose
tohim,andstoodveryupright.Thecarcameon.
SuddenlyMrs.Coateslookedupintothesky.Thesoundofan
aeroplaneboredominouslyintotheearsofthecrowd.Thereitwas
comingoverthetrees,lettingoutwhitesmokefrombehind,which
curledandtwisted,actuallywritingsomething!makinglettersin
thesky!Everyonelookedup.
Droppingdeaddowntheaeroplanesoaredstraightup,curvedina
loop,raced,sank,rose,andwhateveritdid,whereveritwent,out
flutteredbehinditathickruffledbarofwhitesmokewhichcurled
andwreathedupontheskyinletters.Butwhatletters?ACwas
it?anE,thenanL?Onlyforamomentdidtheyliestill;then
theymovedandmeltedandwererubbedoutupinthesky,andthe
aeroplaneshotfurtherawayandagain,inafreshspaceofsky,
beganwritingaK,anE,aYperhaps?
"Glaxo,"saidMrs.Coatesinastrained,awestrickenvoice,gazing
straightup,andherbaby,lyingstiffandwhiteinherarms,gazed
straightup.
"Kreemo,"murmuredMrs.Bletchley,likeasleepwalker.Withhis
hatheldoutperfectlystillinhishand,Mr.Bowleygazedstraight
up.AlldowntheMallpeoplewerestandingandlookingupintothe
sky.Astheylookedthewholeworldbecameperfectlysilent,anda
flightofgullscrossedthesky,firstonegullleading,then
another,andinthisextraordinarysilenceandpeace,inthis
pallor,inthispurity,bellsstruckeleventimes,thesoundfading
upthereamongthegulls.
Theaeroplaneturnedandracedandswoopedexactlywhereitliked,
swiftly,freely,likeaskater
"That'sanE,"saidMrs.Bletchleyoradancer
"It'stoffee,"murmuredMr.Bowley(andthecarwentinatthe
gatesandnobodylookedatit),andshuttingoffthesmoke,away
andawayitrushed,andthesmokefadedandassembleditselfround
thebroadwhiteshapesoftheclouds.
Ithadgone;itwasbehindtheclouds.Therewasnosound.The
cloudstowhichthelettersE,G,orLhadattachedthemselves
movedfreely,asifdestinedtocrossfromWesttoEastona
missionofthegreatestimportancewhichwouldneverberevealed,
andyetcertainlysoitwasamissionofthegreatestimportance.
Thensuddenly,asatraincomesoutofatunnel,theaeroplane
rushedoutofthecloudsagain,thesoundboringintotheearsof
allpeopleintheMall,intheGreenPark,inPiccadilly,inRegent
Street,inRegent'sPark,andthebarofsmokecurvedbehindandit
droppeddown,anditsoaredupandwroteoneletterafteranother
butwhatwordwasitwriting?
LucreziaWarrenSmith,sittingbyherhusband'ssideonaseatin
Regent'sParkintheBroadWalk,lookedup.
"Look,look,Septimus!"shecried.ForDr.Holmeshadtoldherto
makeherhusband(whohadnothingwhateverseriouslythematter
withhimbutwasalittleoutofsorts)takeaninterestinthings
outsidehimself.
So,thoughtSeptimus,lookingup,theyaresignallingtome.Not
indeedinactualwords;thatis,hecouldnotreadthelanguage
yet;butitwasplainenough,thisbeauty,thisexquisitebeauty,
andtearsfilledhiseyesashelookedatthesmokewords
languishingandmeltingintheskyandbestowinguponhimintheir
inexhaustiblecharityandlaughinggoodnessoneshapeafteranother
ofunimaginablebeautyandsignallingtheirintentiontoprovide
him,fornothing,forever,forlookingmerely,withbeauty,more
beauty!Tearsrandownhischeeks.
Itwastoffee;theywereadvertisingtoffee,anursemaidtold
Rezia.Togethertheybegantospellt...o...f...
"K...R..."saidthenursemaid,andSeptimusheardhersay
"KayArr"closetohisear,deeply,softly,likeamelloworgan,
butwitharoughnessinhervoicelikeagrasshopper's,which
raspedhisspinedeliciouslyandsentrunningupintohisbrain
wavesofsoundwhich,concussing,broke.Amarvellousdiscovery
indeedthatthehumanvoiceincertainatmosphericconditions(for
onemustbescientific,aboveallscientific)canquickentrees
intolife!HappilyReziaputherhandwithatremendousweighton
hiskneesothathewasweighteddown,transfixed,orthe
excitementoftheelmtreesrisingandfalling,risingandfalling
withalltheirleavesalightandthecolourthinningandthickening
frombluetothegreenofahollowwave,likeplumesonhorses'
heads,feathersonladies',soproudlytheyroseandfell,so
superbly,wouldhavesenthimmad.Buthewouldnotgomad.He
wouldshuthiseyes;hewouldseenomore.
Buttheybeckoned;leaveswerealive;treeswerealive.Andthe
leavesbeingconnectedbymillionsoffibreswithhisownbody,
thereontheseat,fanneditupanddown;whenthebranchstretched
he,too,madethatstatement.Thesparrowsfluttering,rising,and
fallinginjaggedfountainswerepartofthepattern;thewhiteand
blue,barredwithblackbranches.Soundsmadeharmonieswith
premeditation;thespacesbetweenthemwereassignificantasthe
sounds.Achildcried.Rightlyfarawayahornsounded.All
takentogethermeantthebirthofanewreligion
"Septimus!"saidRezia.Hestartedviolently.Peoplemustnotice.
"Iamgoingtowalktothefountainandback,"shesaid.
Forshecouldstanditnolonger.Dr.Holmesmightsaytherewas
nothingthematter.Farratherwouldshethatheweredead!She
couldnotsitbesidehimwhenhestaredsoanddidnotseeherand
madeeverythingterrible;skyandtree,childrenplaying,dragging
carts,blowingwhistles,fallingdown;allwereterrible.Andhe
wouldnotkillhimself;andshecouldtellnoone."Septimushas
beenworkingtoohard"thatwasallshecouldsaytoherown
mother.Tolovemakesonesolitary,shethought.Shecouldtell
nobody,notevenSeptimusnow,andlookingback,shesawhim
sittinginhisshabbyovercoatalone,ontheseat,hunchedup,
staring.Anditwascowardlyforamantosayhewouldkill
himself,butSeptimushadfought;hewasbrave;hewasnotSeptimus
now.Sheputonherlacecollar.Sheputonhernewhatandhe
nevernoticed;andhewashappywithouther.Nothingcouldmake
herhappywithouthim!Nothing!Hewasselfish.Somenare.For
hewasnotill.Dr.Holmessaidtherewasnothingthematterwith
him.Shespreadherhandbeforeher.Look!Herweddingring
slippedshehadgrownsothin.Itwasshewhosufferedbutshe
hadnobodytotell.
FarwasItalyandthewhitehousesandtheroomwherehersisters
satmakinghats,andthestreetscrowdedeveryeveningwithpeople
walking,laughingoutloud,nothalfalivelikepeoplehere,
huddledupinBathchairs,lookingatafewuglyflowersstuckin
pots!
"ForyoushouldseetheMilangardens,"shesaidaloud.Butto
whom?
Therewasnobody.Herwordsfaded.Soarocketfades.Its
sparks,havinggrazedtheirwayintothenight,surrendertoit,
darkdescends,poursovertheoutlinesofhousesandtowers;bleak
hillsidessoftenandfallin.Butthoughtheyaregone,thenight
isfullofthem;robbedofcolour,blankofwindows,theyexist
moreponderously,giveoutwhatthefrankdaylightfailsto
transmitthetroubleandsuspenseofthingsconglomeratedtherein
thedarkness;huddledtogetherinthedarkness;reftoftherelief
whichdawnbringswhen,washingthewallswhiteandgrey,spotting
eachwindowpane,liftingthemistfromthefields,showingthe
redbrowncowspeacefullygrazing,allisoncemoredeckedoutto
theeye;existsagain.Iamalone;Iamalone!shecried,bythe
fountaininRegent'sPark(staringattheIndianandhiscross),as
perhapsatmidnight,whenallboundariesarelost,thecountry
revertstoitsancientshape,astheRomanssawit,lyingcloudy,
whentheylanded,andthehillshadnonamesandriverswoundthey
knewnotwheresuchwasherdarkness;whensuddenly,asifashelf
wereshotforthandshestoodonit,shesaidhowshewashiswife,
marriedyearsagoinMilan,hiswife,andwouldnever,nevertell
thathewasmad!Turning,theshelffell;down,downshedropped.
Forhewasgone,shethoughtgone,ashethreatened,tokill
himselftothrowhimselfunderacart!Butno;therehewas;
stillsittingaloneontheseat,inhisshabbyovercoat,hislegs
crossed,staring,talkingaloud.
Menmustnotcutdowntrees.ThereisaGod.(Henotedsuch
revelationsonthebacksofenvelopes.)Changetheworld.Noone
killsfromhatred.Makeitknown(hewroteitdown).Hewaited.
Helistened.Asparrowperchedontherailingoppositechirped
Septimus,Septimus,fourorfivetimesoverandwenton,drawing
itsnotesout,tosingfreshlyandpiercinglyinGreekwordshow
thereisnocrimeand,joinedbyanothersparrow,theysangin
voicesprolongedandpiercinginGreekwords,fromtreesinthe
meadowoflifebeyondariverwherethedeadwalk,howthereisno
death.
Therewashishand;therethedead.Whitethingswereassembling
behindtherailingsopposite.Buthedarednotlook.Evanswas
behindtherailings!
"Whatareyousaying?"saidReziasuddenly,sittingdownbyhim.
Interruptedagain!Shewasalwaysinterrupting.
Awayfrompeopletheymustgetawayfrompeople,hesaid(jumping
up),rightawayoverthere,wheretherewerechairsbeneathatree
andthelongslopeoftheparkdippedlikealengthofgreenstuff
withaceilingclothofblueandpinksmokehighabove,andthere
wasarampartoffarirregularhouseshazedinsmoke,thetraffic
hummedinacircle,andontheright,duncolouredanimals
stretchedlongnecksovertheZoopalings,barking,howling.There
theysatdownunderatree.
"Look,"sheimploredhim,pointingatalittletroopofboys
carryingcricketstumps,andoneshuffled,spunroundonhisheel
andshuffled,asifhewereactingaclownatthemusichall.
"Look,"sheimploredhim,forDr.Holmeshadtoldhertomakehim
noticerealthings,gotoamusichall,playcricketthatwasthe
verygame,Dr.Holmessaid,aniceoutofdoorgame,theverygame
forherhusband.
"Look,"sherepeated.
Looktheunseenbadehim,thevoicewhichnowcommunicatedwithhim
whowasthegreatestofmankind,Septimus,latelytakenfromlife
todeath,theLordwhohadcometorenewsociety,wholaylikea
coverlet,asnowblanketsmittenonlybythesun,forever
unwasted,sufferingforever,thescapegoat,theeternalsufferer,
buthedidnotwantit,hemoaned,puttingfromhimwithawaveof
hishandthateternalsuffering,thateternalloneliness.
"Look,"sherepeated,forhemustnottalkaloudtohimselfoutof
doors.
"Ohlook,"sheimploredhim.Butwhatwastheretolookat?Afew
sheep.Thatwasall.
ThewaytoRegent'sParkTubestationcouldtheytellhertheway
toRegent'sParkTubestationMaisieJohnsonwantedtoknow.She
wasonlyupfromEdinburghtwodaysago.
"Notthiswayoverthere!"Reziaexclaimed,wavingheraside,lest
sheshouldseeSeptimus.
Bothseemedqueer,MaisieJohnsonthought.Everythingseemedvery
queer.InLondonforthefirsttime,cometotakeupapostather
uncle'sinLeadenhallStreet,andnowwalkingthroughRegent'sPark
inthemorning,thiscoupleonthechairsgaveherquiteaturn;
theyoungwomanseemingforeign,themanlookingqueer;sothat
shouldshebeveryoldshewouldstillrememberandmakeitjangle
againamonghermemorieshowshehadwalkedthroughRegent'sPark
onafinesummer'smorningfiftyyearsago.Forshewasonly
nineteenandhadgotherwayatlast,tocometoLondon;andnow
howqueeritwas,thiscoupleshehadaskedthewayof,andthe
girlstartedandjerkedherhand,andthemanheseemedawfully
odd;quarrelling,perhaps;partingforever,perhaps;somethingwas
up,sheknew;andnowallthesepeople(forshereturnedtothe
BroadWalk),thestonebasins,theprimflowers,theoldmenand
women,invalidsmostoftheminBathchairsallseemed,after
Edinburgh,soqueer.AndMaisieJohnson,asshejoinedthatgently
trudging,vaguelygazing,breezekissedcompanysquirrelsperching
andpreening,sparrowfountainsflutteringforcrumbs,dogsbusy
withtherailings,busywitheachother,whilethesoftwarmair
washedoverthemandlenttothefixedunsurprisedgazewithwhich
theyreceivedlifesomethingwhimsicalandmollifiedMaisie
JohnsonpositivelyfeltshemustcryOh!(forthatyoungmanonthe
seathadgivenherquiteaturn.Somethingwasup,sheknew.)
Horror!horror!shewantedtocry.(Shehadleftherpeople;
theyhadwarnedherwhatwouldhappen.)
Whyhadn'tshestayedathome?shecried,twistingtheknobofthe
ironrailing.
Thatgirl,thoughtMrs.Dempster(whosavedcrustsforthe
squirrelsandoftenateherlunchinRegent'sPark),don'tknowa
thingyet;andreallyitseemedtoherbettertobealittlestout,
alittleslack,alittlemoderateinone'sexpectations.Percy
drank.Well,bettertohaveason,thoughtMrs.Dempster.Shehad
hadahardtimeofit,andcouldn'thelpsmilingatagirllike
that.You'llgetmarried,foryou'reprettyenough,thoughtMrs.
Dempster.Getmarried,shethought,andthenyou'llknow.Oh,the
cooks,andsoon.Everymanhashisways.ButwhetherI'dhave
chosenquitelikethatifIcouldhaveknown,thoughtMrs.
Dempster,andcouldnothelpwishingtowhisperawordtoMaisie
Johnson;tofeelonthecreasedpouchofherwornoldfacethekiss
ofpity.Forit'sbeenahardlife,thoughtMrs.Dempster.What
hadn'tshegiventoit?Roses;figure;herfeettoo.(Shedrew
theknobbedlumpsbeneathherskirt.)
Roses,shethoughtsardonically.Alltrash,m'dear.Forreally,
whatwitheating,drinking,andmating,thebaddaysandgood,life
hadbeennomerematterofroses,andwhatwasmore,letmetell
you,CarrieDempsterhadnowishtochangeherlotwithanywoman's
inKentishTown!But,sheimplored,pity.Pity,forthelossof
roses.PitysheaskedofMaisieJohnson,standingbythehyacinth
beds.
Ah,butthataeroplane!Hadn'tMrs.Dempsteralwayslongedtosee
foreignparts?Shehadanephew,amissionary.Itsoaredand
shot.ShealwayswentontheseaatMargate,notouto'sightof
land,butshehadnopatiencewithwomenwhowereafraidofwater.
Itsweptandfell.Herstomachwasinhermouth.Upagain.
There'safineyoungfelleraboardofit,Mrs.Dempsterwagered,
andawayandawayitwent,fastandfading,awayandawaythe
aeroplaneshot;soaringoverGreenwichandallthemasts;overthe
littleislandofgreychurches,St.Paul'sandtheresttill,on
eithersideofLondon,fieldsspreadoutanddarkbrownwoodswhere
adventurousthrusheshoppingboldly,glancingquickly,snatchedthe
snailandtappedhimonastone,once,twice,thrice.
Awayandawaytheaeroplaneshot,tillitwasnothingbutabright
spark;anaspiration;aconcentration;asymbol(soitseemedto
Mr.Bentley,vigorouslyrollinghisstripofturfatGreenwich)of
man'ssoul;ofhisdetermination,thoughtMr.Bentley,sweeping
roundthecedartree,togetoutsidehisbody,beyondhishouse,by
meansofthought,Einstein,speculation,mathematics,theMendelian
theoryawaytheaeroplaneshot.
Then,whileaseedylookingnondescriptmancarryingaleatherbag
stoodonthestepsofSt.Paul'sCathedral,andhesitated,for
withinwaswhatbalm,howgreatawelcome,howmanytombswith
bannerswavingoverthem,tokensofvictoriesnotoverarmies,but
over,hethought,thatplaguyspiritoftruthseekingwhichleaves
meatpresentwithoutasituation,andmorethanthat,the
cathedralofferscompany,hethought,invitesyoutomembershipof
asociety;greatmenbelongtoit;martyrshavediedforit;why
notenterin,hethought,putthisleatherbagstuffedwith
pamphletsbeforeanaltar,across,thesymbolofsomethingwhich
hassoaredbeyondseekingandquestingandknockingofwords
togetherandhasbecomeallspirit,disembodied,ghostlywhynot
enterin?hethoughtandwhilehehesitatedoutflewtheaeroplane
overLudgateCircus.
Itwasstrange;itwasstill.Notasoundwastobeheardabove
thetraffic.Unguideditseemed;spedofitsownfreewill.And
now,curvingupandup,straightup,likesomethingmountingin
ecstasy,inpuredelight,outfrombehindpouredwhitesmoke
looping,writingaT,anO,anF.
"Whataretheylookingat?"saidClarissaDallowaytothemaidwho
openedherdoor.
Thehallofthehousewascoolasavault.Mrs.Dallowayraised
herhandtohereyes,and,asthemaidshutthedoorto,andshe
heardtheswishofLucy'sskirts,shefeltlikeanunwhohasleft
theworldandfeelsfoldroundherthefamiliarveilsandthe
responsetoolddevotions.Thecookwhistledinthekitchen.She
heardtheclickofthetypewriter.Itwasherlife,and,bending
herheadoverthehalltable,shebowedbeneaththeinfluence,felt
blessedandpurified,sayingtoherself,asshetookthepadwith
thetelephonemessageonit,howmomentslikethisarebudsonthe
treeoflife,flowersofdarknesstheyare,shethought(asifsome
lovelyrosehadblossomedforhereyesonly);notforamomentdid
shebelieveinGod;butallthemore,shethought,takingupthe
pad,mustonerepayindailylifetoservants,yes,todogsand
canaries,abovealltoRichardherhusband,whowasthefoundation
ofitofthegaysounds,ofthegreenlights,ofthecookeven
whistling,forMrs.WalkerwasIrishandwhistledalldaylongone
mustpaybackfromthissecretdepositofexquisitemoments,she
thought,liftingthepad,whileLucystoodbyher,tryingto
explainhow
"Mr.Dalloway,ma'am"
Clarissareadonthetelephonepad,"LadyBrutonwishestoknowif
Mr.Dallowaywilllunchwithhertoday."
"Mr.Dalloway,ma'am,toldmetotellyouhewouldbelunching
out."
"Dear!"saidClarissa,andLucysharedasshemeanthertoher
disappointment(butnotthepang);felttheconcordbetweenthem;
tookthehint;thoughthowthegentrylove;gildedherownfuture
withcalm;and,takingMrs.Dalloway'sparasol,handleditlikea
sacredweaponwhichaGoddess,havingacquittedherselfhonourably
inthefieldofbattle,sheds,andplaceditintheumbrellastand.
"Fearnomore,"saidClarissa.Fearnomoretheheato'thesun;
fortheshockofLadyBrutonaskingRichardtolunchwithouther
madethemomentinwhichshehadstoodshiver,asaplantonthe
riverbedfeelstheshockofapassingoarandshivers:soshe
rocked:sosheshivered.
MillicentBruton,whoselunchpartiesweresaidtobeextraordinarily
amusing,hadnotaskedher.Novulgarjealousycouldseparate
herfromRichard.Butshefearedtimeitself,andreadonLady
Bruton'sface,asifithadbeenadialcutinimpassivestone,the
dwindlingoflife;howyearbyyearhersharewassliced;howlittle
themarginthatremainedwascapableanylongerofstretching,of
absorbing,asintheyouthfulyears,thecolours,salts,tonesof
existence,sothatshefilledtheroomsheentered,andfeltoften
asshestoodhesitatingonemomentonthethresholdofherdrawingroom,
anexquisitesuspense,suchasmightstayadiverbefore
plungingwhiletheseadarkensandbrightensbeneathhim,andthe
waveswhichthreatentobreak,butonlygentlysplittheirsurface,
rollandconcealandencrustastheyjustturnovertheweedswith
pearl.
Sheputthepadonthehalltable.Shebegantogoslowly
upstairs,withherhandonthebannisters,asifshehadlefta
party,wherenowthisfriendnowthathadflashedbackherface,
hervoice;hadshutthedoorandgoneoutandstoodalone,asingle
figureagainsttheappallingnight,orrather,tobeaccurate,
againstthestareofthismatteroffactJunemorning;softwith
theglowofrosepetalsforsome,sheknew,andfeltit,asshe
pausedbytheopenstaircasewindowwhichletinblindsflapping,
dogsbarking,letin,shethought,feelingherselfsuddenly
shrivelled,aged,breastless,thegrinding,blowing,floweringof
theday,outofdoors,outofthewindow,outofherbodyandbrain
whichnowfailed,sinceLadyBruton,whoselunchpartiesweresaid
tobeextraordinarilyamusing,hadnotaskedher.
Likeanunwithdrawing,orachildexploringatower,shewent
upstairs,pausedatthewindow,cametothebathroom.Therewas
thegreenlinoleumandatapdripping.Therewasanemptiness
abouttheheartoflife;anatticroom.Womenmustputofftheir
richapparel.Atmiddaytheymustdisrobe.Shepiercedthe
pincushionandlaidherfeatheredyellowhatonthebed.The
sheetswereclean,tightstretchedinabroadwhitebandfromside
toside.Narrowerandnarrowerwouldherbedbe.Thecandlewas
halfburntdownandshehadreaddeepinBaronMarbot'sMemoirs.
ShehadreadlateatnightoftheretreatfromMoscow.Forthe
HousesatsolongthatRichardinsisted,afterherillness,that
shemustsleepundisturbed.Andreallyshepreferredtoreadof
theretreatfromMoscow.Heknewit.Sotheroomwasanattic;
thebednarrow;andlyingtherereading,forshesleptbadly,she
couldnotdispelavirginitypreservedthroughchildbirthwhich
clungtoherlikeasheet.Lovelyingirlhood,suddenlytherecame
amomentforexampleontheriverbeneaththewoodsatClieveden
when,throughsomecontractionofthiscoldspirit,shehadfailed
him.AndthenatConstantinople,andagainandagain.Shecould
seewhatshelacked.Itwasnotbeauty;itwasnotmind.Itwas
somethingcentralwhichpermeated;somethingwarmwhichbrokeup
surfacesandrippledthecoldcontactofmanandwoman,orofwomen
together.ForTHATshecoulddimlyperceive.Sheresentedit,had
ascruplepickedupHeavenknowswhere,or,asshefelt,sentby
Nature(whoisinvariablywise);yetshecouldnotresistsometimes
yieldingtothecharmofawoman,notagirl,ofawoman
confessing,astohertheyoftendid,somescrape,somefolly.And
whetheritwaspity,ortheirbeauty,orthatshewasolder,or
someaccidentlikeafaintscent,oraviolinnextdoor(so
strangeisthepowerofsoundsatcertainmoments),shedid
undoubtedlythenfeelwhatmenfelt.Onlyforamoment;butitwas
enough.Itwasasuddenrevelation,atingelikeablushwhichone
triedtocheckandthen,asitspread,oneyieldedtoits
expansion,andrushedtothefarthestvergeandtherequiveredand
felttheworldcomecloser,swollenwithsomeastonishing
significance,somepressureofrapture,whichsplititsthinskin
andgushedandpouredwithanextraordinaryalleviationoverthe
cracksandsores!Then,forthatmoment,shehadseenan
illumination;amatchburninginacrocus;aninnermeaningalmost
expressed.Buttheclosewithdrew;thehardsoftened.Itwas
overthemoment.Againstsuchmoments(withwomentoo)there
contrasted(asshelaidherhatdown)thebedandBaronMarbotand
thecandlehalfburnt.Lyingawake,thefloorcreaked;thelit
housewassuddenlydarkened,andifsheraisedherheadshecould
justheartheclickofthehandlereleasedasgentlyaspossibleby
Richard,whoslippedupstairsinhissocksandthen,asoftenas
not,droppedhishotwaterbottleandswore!Howshelaughed!
Butthisquestionoflove(shethought,puttinghercoataway),
thisfallinginlovewithwomen.TakeSallySeton;herrelationin
theolddayswithSallySeton.Hadnotthat,afterall,beenlove?
ShesatonthefloorthatwasherfirstimpressionofSallyshe
satonthefloorwithherarmsroundherknees,smokinga
cigarette.Wherecouldithavebeen?TheMannings?TheKinloch
Jones's?Atsomeparty(where,shecouldnotbecertain),forshe
hadadistinctrecollectionofsayingtothemanshewaswith,"Who
isTHAT?"Andhehadtoldher,andsaidthatSally'sparentsdid
notgeton(howthatshockedherthatone'sparentsshould
quarrel!).Butallthateveningshecouldnottakehereyesoff
Sally.Itwasanextraordinarybeautyofthekindshemost
admired,dark,largeeyed,withthatqualitywhich,sinceshe
hadn'tgotitherself,shealwaysenviedasortofabandonment,as
ifshecouldsayanything,doanything;aqualitymuchcommonerin
foreignersthaninEnglishwomen.SallyalwayssaidshehadFrench
bloodinherveins,anancestorhadbeenwithMarieAntoinette,had
hisheadcutoff,leftarubyring.Perhapsthatsummershecame
tostayatBourton,walkinginquiteunexpectedlywithoutapenny
inherpocket,onenightafterdinner,andupsettingpoorAunt
Helenatosuchanextentthatsheneverforgaveher.Therehad
beensomequarrelathome.Sheliterallyhadn'tapennythatnight
whenshecametothemhadpawnedabroochtocomedown.Shehad
rushedoffinapassion.Theysatuptillallhoursofthenight
talking.Sallyitwaswhomadeherfeel,forthefirsttime,how
shelteredthelifeatBourtonwas.Sheknewnothingaboutsex
nothingaboutsocialproblems.Shehadonceseenanoldmanwho
haddroppeddeadinafieldshehadseencowsjustaftertheir
calveswereborn.ButAuntHelenaneverlikeddiscussionof
anything(whenSallygaveherWilliamMorris,ithadtobewrapped
inbrownpaper).Theretheysat,hourafterhour,talkinginher
bedroomatthetopofthehouse,talkingaboutlife,howtheywere
toreformtheworld.Theymeanttofoundasocietytoabolish
privateproperty,andactuallyhadaletterwritten,thoughnot
sentout.TheideaswereSally's,ofcoursebutverysoonshewas
justasexcitedreadPlatoinbedbeforebreakfast;readMorris;
readShelleybythehour.
Sally'spowerwasamazing,hergift,herpersonality.Therewas
herwaywithflowers,forinstance.AtBourtontheyalwayshad
stifflittlevasesallthewaydownthetable.Sallywentout,
pickedhollyhocks,dahliasallsortsofflowersthathadnever
beenseentogethercuttheirheadsoff,andmadethemswimonthe
topofwaterinbowls.Theeffectwasextraordinarycominginto
dinnerinthesunset.(OfcourseAuntHelenathoughtitwickedto
treatflowerslikethat.)Thensheforgothersponge,andran
alongthepassagenaked.Thatgrimoldhousemaid,EllenAtkins,
wentaboutgrumbling"Supposeanyofthegentlemenhadseen?"
Indeedshedidshockpeople.Shewasuntidy,Papasaid.
Thestrangething,onlookingback,wasthepurity,theintegrity,
ofherfeelingforSally.Itwasnotlikeone'sfeelingforaman.
Itwascompletelydisinterested,andbesides,ithadaquality
whichcouldonlyexistbetweenwomen,betweenwomenjustgrownup.
Itwasprotective,onherside;sprangfromasenseofbeingin
leaguetogether,apresentimentofsomethingthatwasboundtopart
them(theyspokeofmarriagealwaysasacatastrophe),whichledto
thischivalry,thisprotectivefeelingwhichwasmuchmoreonher
sidethanSally's.Forinthosedaysshewascompletelyreckless;
didthemostidioticthingsoutofbravado;bicycledroundthe
parapetontheterrace;smokedcigars.Absurd,shewasvery
absurd.Butthecharmwasoverpowering,toheratleast,sothat
shecouldrememberstandinginherbedroomatthetopofthehouse
holdingthehotwatercaninherhandsandsayingaloud,"Sheis
beneaththisroof....Sheisbeneaththisroof!"
No,thewordsmeantabsolutelynothingtohernow.Shecouldnot
evengetanechoofheroldemotion.Butshecouldremembergoing
coldwithexcitement,anddoingherhairinakindofecstasy(now
theoldfeelingbegantocomebacktoher,asshetookouther
hairpins,laidthemonthedressingtable,begantodoherhair),
withtherooksflauntingupanddowninthepinkeveninglight,and
dressing,andgoingdownstairs,andfeelingasshecrossedthehall
"ifitwerenowtodie'twerenowtobemosthappy."Thatwasher
feelingOthello'sfeeling,andshefeltit,shewasconvinced,as
stronglyasShakespearemeantOthellotofeelit,allbecauseshe
wascomingdowntodinnerinawhitefrocktomeetSallySeton!
Shewaswearingpinkgauzewasthatpossible?SheSEEMED,anyhow,
alllight,glowing,likesomebirdorairballthathasflownin,
attacheditselfforamomenttoabramble.Butnothingisso
strangewhenoneisinlove(andwhatwasthisexceptbeingin
love?)asthecompleteindifferenceofotherpeople.AuntHelena
justwanderedoffafterdinner;Papareadthepaper.PeterWalsh
mighthavebeenthere,andoldMissCummings;JosephBreitkopf
certainlywas,forhecameeverysummer,pooroldman,forweeks
andweeks,andpretendedtoreadGermanwithher,butreallyplayed
thepianoandsangBrahmswithoutanyvoice.
AllthiswasonlyabackgroundforSally.Shestoodbythe
fireplacetalking,inthatbeautifulvoicewhichmadeeverything
shesaidsoundlikeacaress,toPapa,whohadbeguntobe
attractedratheragainsthiswill(henevergotoverlendingher
oneofhisbooksandfindingitsoakedontheterrace),when
suddenlyshesaid,"Whatashametositindoors!"andtheyallwent
outontotheterraceandwalkedupanddown.PeterWalshand
JosephBreitkopfwentonaboutWagner.SheandSallyfellalittle
behind.Thencamethemostexquisitemomentofherwholelife
passingastoneurnwithflowersinit.Sallystopped;pickeda
flower;kissedheronthelips.Thewholeworldmighthaveturned
upsidedown!Theothersdisappeared;thereshewasalonewith
Sally.Andshefeltthatshehadbeengivenapresent,wrappedup,
andtoldjusttokeepit,nottolookatitadiamond,something
infinitelyprecious,wrappedup,which,astheywalked(upand
down,upanddown),sheuncovered,ortheradianceburntthrough,
therevelation,thereligiousfeeling!whenoldJosephandPeter
facedthem:
"Stargazing?"saidPeter.
Itwaslikerunningone'sfaceagainstagranitewallinthe
darkness!Itwasshocking;itwashorrible!
Notforherself.ShefeltonlyhowSallywasbeingmauledalready,
maltreated;shefelthishostility;hisjealousy;hisdetermination
tobreakintotheircompanionship.Allthisshesawasoneseesa
landscapeinaflashoflightningandSally(neverhadsheadmired
hersomuch!)gallantlytakingherwayunvanquished.Shelaughed.
ShemadeoldJosephtellherthenamesofthestars,whichheliked
doingveryseriously.Shestoodthere:shelistened.Sheheard
thenamesofthestars.
"Ohthishorror!"shesaidtoherself,asifshehadknownall
alongthatsomethingwouldinterrupt,wouldembitterhermomentof
happiness.
Yet,afterall,howmuchsheowedtohimlater.Alwayswhenshe
thoughtofhimshethoughtoftheirquarrelsforsomereason
becauseshewantedhisgoodopinionsomuch,perhaps.Sheowedhim
words:"sentimental,""civilised";theystartedupeverydayofher
lifeasifheguardedher.Abookwassentimental;anattitudeto
lifesentimental."Sentimental,"perhapsshewastobethinkingof
thepast.Whatwouldhethink,shewondered,whenhecameback?
Thatshehadgrownolder?Wouldhesaythat,orwouldsheseehim
thinkingwhenhecameback,thatshehadgrownolder?Itwastrue.
Sinceherillnessshehadturnedalmostwhite.
Layingherbroochonthetable,shehadasuddenspasm,asif,
whileshemused,theicyclawshadhadthechancetofixinher.
Shewasnotoldyet.Shehadjustbrokenintoherfiftysecond
year.Monthsandmonthsofitwerestilluntouched.June,July,
August!Eachstillremainedalmostwhole,and,asiftocatchthe
fallingdrop,Clarissa(crossingtothedressingtable)plunged
intotheveryheartofthemoment,transfixedit,therethemoment
ofthisJunemorningonwhichwasthepressureofalltheother
mornings,seeingtheglass,thedressingtable,andallthebottles
afresh,collectingthewholeofheratonepoint(asshelooked
intotheglass),seeingthedelicatepinkfaceofthewomanwhowas
thatverynighttogiveaparty;ofClarissaDalloway;ofherself.
Howmanymilliontimesshehadseenherface,andalwayswiththe
sameimperceptiblecontraction!Shepursedherlipswhenshe
lookedintheglass.Itwastogiveherfacepoint.Thatwasher
selfpointed;dartlike;definite.Thatwasherselfwhensome
effort,somecallonhertobeherself,drewthepartstogether,
shealoneknewhowdifferent,howincompatibleandcomposedsofor
theworldonlyintoonecentre,onediamond,onewomanwhosatin
herdrawingroomandmadeameetingpoint,aradiancynodoubtin
somedulllives,arefugeforthelonelytocometo,perhaps;she
hadhelpedyoungpeople,whoweregratefultoher;hadtriedtobe
thesamealways,nevershowingasignofalltheothersidesof
herfaults,jealousies,vanities,suspicions,likethisofLady
Brutonnotaskinghertolunch;which,shethought(combingher
hairfinally),isutterlybase!Now,wherewasherdress?
Hereveningdresseshunginthecupboard.Clarissa,plungingher
handintothesoftness,gentlydetachedthegreendressandcarried
ittothewindow.Shehadtornit.Someonehadtrodonthe
skirt.ShehadfeltitgiveattheEmbassypartyatthetopamong
thefolds.Byartificiallightthegreenshone,butlostits
colournowinthesun.Shewouldmendit.Hermaidshadtoomuch
todo.Shewouldwearittonight.Shewouldtakehersilks,her
scissors,herwhatwasit?herthimble,ofcourse,downintothe
drawingroom,forshemustalsowrite,andseethatthings
generallyweremoreorlessinorder.
Strange,shethought,pausingonthelanding,andassemblingthat
diamondshape,thatsingleperson,strangehowamistressknowsthe
verymoment,theverytemperofherhouse!Faintsoundsrosein
spiralsupthewellofthestairs;theswishofamop;tapping;
knocking;aloudnesswhenthefrontdooropened;avoicerepeating
amessageinthebasement;thechinkofsilveronatray;clean
silverfortheparty.Allwasfortheparty.
(AndLucy,comingintothedrawingroomwithhertrayheldout,put
thegiantcandlesticksonthemantelpiece,thesilvercasketinthe
middle,turnedthecrystaldolphintowardstheclock.Theywould
come;theywouldstand;theywouldtalkinthemincingtoneswhich
shecouldimitate,ladiesandgentlemen.Ofall,hermistresswas
loveliestmistressofsilver,oflinen,ofchina,forthesun,the
silver,doorsofftheirhinges,Rumpelmayer'smen,gavehera
sense,asshelaidthepaperknifeontheinlaidtable,of
somethingachieved.Behold!Behold!shesaid,speakingtoherold
friendsinthebaker'sshop,whereshehadfirstseenserviceat
Caterham,pryingintotheglass.ShewasLadyAngela,attending
PrincessMary,whenincameMrs.Dalloway.)
"OhLucy,"shesaid,"thesilverdoeslooknice!"
"Andhow,"shesaid,turningthecrystaldolphintostandstraight,
"howdidyouenjoytheplaylastnight?""Oh,theyhadtogo
beforetheend!"shesaid."Theyhadtobebackatten!"shesaid.
"Sotheydon'tknowwhathappened,"shesaid."Thatdoesseemhard
luck,"shesaid(forherservantsstayedlater,iftheyaskedher).
"Thatdoesseemratherashame,"shesaid,takingtheoldbaldlooking
cushioninthemiddleofthesofaandputtingitinLucy's
arms,andgivingheralittlepush,andcrying:
"Takeitaway!GiveittoMrs.Walkerwithmycompliments!Take
itaway!"shecried.
AndLucystoppedatthedrawingroomdoor,holdingthecushion,and
said,veryshyly,turningalittlepink,Couldn'tshehelptomend
thatdress?
But,saidMrs.Dalloway,shehadenoughonherhandsalready,quite
enoughofherowntodowithoutthat.
"But,thankyou,Lucy,oh,thankyou,"saidMrs.Dalloway,and
thankyou,thankyou,shewentonsaying(sittingdownonthesofa
withherdressoverherknees,herscissors,hersilks),thankyou,
thankyou,shewentonsayingingratitudetoherservants
generallyforhelpinghertobelikethis,tobewhatshewanted,
gentle,generoushearted.Herservantslikedher.Andthenthis
dressofherswherewasthetear?andnowherneedletobe
threaded.Thiswasafavouritedress,oneofSallyParker's,the
lastalmostsheevermade,alas,forSallyhadnowretired,living
atEaling,andifeverIhaveamoment,thoughtClarissa(butnever
wouldshehaveamomentanymore),Ishallgoandseeherat
Ealing.Forshewasacharacter,thoughtClarissa,arealartist.
Shethoughtoflittleoutofthewaythings;yetherdresseswere
neverqueer.YoucouldwearthematHatfield;atBuckingham
Palace.ShehadwornthematHatfield;atBuckinghamPalace.
Quietdescendedonher,calm,content,asherneedle,drawingthe
silksmoothlytoitsgentlepause,collectedthegreenfolds
togetherandattachedthem,verylightly,tothebelt.Soona
summer'sdaywavescollect,overbalance,andfall;collectand
fall;andthewholeworldseemstobesaying"thatisall"moreand
moreponderously,untileventheheartinthebodywhichliesin
thesunonthebeachsaystoo,Thatisall.Fearnomore,saysthe
heart.Fearnomore,saystheheart,committingitsburdentosome
sea,whichsighscollectivelyforallsorrows,andrenews,begins,
collects,letsfall.Andthebodyalonelistenstothepassing
bee;thewavebreaking;thedogbarking,farawaybarkingand
barking.
"Heavens,thefrontdoorbell!"exclaimedClarissa,stayingher
needle.Roused,shelistened.
"Mrs.Dallowaywillseeme,"saidtheelderlymaninthehall."Oh
yes,shewillseeME,"herepeated,puttingLucyasidevery
benevolently,andrunningupstairseversoquickly."Yes,yes,
yes,"hemutteredasheranupstairs."Shewillseeme.After
fiveyearsinIndia,Clarissawillseeme."
"Whocanwhatcan,"askedMrs.Dalloway(thinkingitwas
outrageoustobeinterruptedateleveno'clockonthemorningof
thedayshewasgivingaparty),hearingasteponthestairs.She
heardahanduponthedoor.Shemadetohideherdress,likea
virginprotectingchastity,respectingprivacy.Nowthebrassknob
slipped.Nowthedooropened,andincameforasinglesecondshe
couldnotrememberwhathewascalled!sosurprisedshewastosee
him,soglad,soshy,soutterlytakenabacktohavePeterWalsh
cometoherunexpectedlyinthemorning!(Shehadnotreadhis
letter.)
"Andhowareyou?"saidPeterWalsh,positivelytrembling;taking
bothherhands;kissingbothherhands.She'sgrownolder,he
thought,sittingdown.Ishan'ttellheranythingaboutit,he
thought,forshe'sgrownolder.She'slookingatme,hethought,
asuddenembarrassmentcomingoverhim,thoughhehadkissedher
hands.Puttinghishandintohispocket,hetookoutalarge
pocketknifeandhalfopenedtheblade.
Exactlythesame,thoughtClarissa;thesamequeerlook;thesame
checksuit;alittleoutofthestraighthisfaceis,alittle
thinner,dryer,perhaps,buthelooksawfullywell,andjustthe
same.
"Howheavenlyitistoseeyouagain!"sheexclaimed.Hehadhis
knifeout.That'ssolikehim,shethought.
Hehadonlyreachedtownlastnight,hesaid;wouldhavetogodown
intothecountryatonce;andhowwaseverything,howwas
everybodyRichard?Elizabeth?
"Andwhat'sallthis?"hesaid,tiltinghispenknifetowardsher
greendress.
He'sverywelldressed,thoughtClarissa;yethealwayscriticises
ME.
Heresheismendingherdress;mendingherdressasusual,he
thought;hereshe'sbeensittingallthetimeI'vebeeninIndia;
mendingherdress;playingabout;goingtoparties;runningtothe
Houseandbackandallthat,hethought,growingmoreandmore
irritated,moreandmoreagitated,forthere'snothingintheworld
sobadforsomewomenasmarriage,hethought;andpolitics;and
havingaConservativehusband,liketheadmirableRichard.Soit
is,soitis,hethought,shuttinghisknifewithasnap.
"Richard'sverywell.Richard'sataCommittee,"saidClarissa.
Andsheopenedherscissors,andsaid,didhemindherjust
finishingwhatshewasdoingtoherdress,fortheyhadaparty
thatnight?
"WhichIshan'taskyouto,"shesaid."MydearPeter!"shesaid.
ButitwasdelicioustohearhersaythatmydearPeter!Indeed,
itwasallsodeliciousthesilver,thechairs;allsodelicious!
Whywouldn'tsheaskhimtoherparty?heasked.
Nowofcourse,thoughtClarissa,he'senchanting!perfectly
enchanting!NowIrememberhowimpossibleitwasevertomakeup
mymindandwhydidImakeupmymindnottomarryhim?she
wondered,thatawfulsummer?
"Butit'ssoextraordinarythatyoushouldhavecomethismorning!"
shecried,puttingherhands,oneontopofanother,downonher
dress.
"Doyouremember,"shesaid,"howtheblindsusedtoflapat
Bourton?"
"Theydid,"hesaid;andherememberedbreakfastingalone,very
awkwardly,withherfather;whohaddied;andhehadnotwrittento
Clarissa.ButhehadnevergotonwellwitholdParry,that
querulous,weakkneedoldman,Clarissa'sfather,JustinParry.
"IoftenwishI'dgotonbetterwithyourfather,"hesaid.
"Butheneverlikedanyonewhoourfriends,"saidClarissa;and
couldhavebittenhertongueforthusremindingPeterthathehad
wantedtomarryher.
OfcourseIdid,thoughtPeter;italmostbrokemyhearttoo,he
thought;andwasovercomewithhisowngrief,whichroselikea
moonlookedatfromaterrace,ghastlybeautifulwithlightfrom
thesunkenday.IwasmoreunhappythanI'veeverbeensince,he
thought.Andasifintruthheweresittingthereontheterrace
heedgedalittletowardsClarissa;puthishandout;raisedit;
letitfall.Thereabovethemithung,thatmoon.Shetooseemed
tobesittingwithhimontheterrace,inthemoonlight.
"Herberthasitnow,"shesaid."Inevergotherenow,"shesaid.
Then,justashappensonaterraceinthemoonlight,whenone
personbeginstofeelashamedthatheisalreadybored,andyetas
theothersitssilent,veryquiet,sadlylookingatthemoon,does
notliketospeak,moveshisfoot,clearshisthroat,noticessome
ironscrollonatableleg,stirsaleaf,butsaysnothingso
PeterWalshdidnow.Forwhygobacklikethistothepast?he
thought.Whymakehimthinkofitagain?Whymakehimsuffer,
whenshehadtorturedhimsoinfernally?Why?
"Doyourememberthelake?"shesaid,inanabruptvoice,underthe
pressureofanemotionwhichcaughtherheart,madethemusclesof
herthroatstiff,andcontractedherlipsinaspasmasshesaid
"lake."Forshewasachild,throwingbreadtotheducks,between
herparents,andatthesametimeagrownwomancomingtoher
parentswhostoodbythelake,holdingherlifeinherarmswhich,
asshenearedthem,grewlargerandlargerinherarms,untilit
becameawholelife,acompletelife,whichsheputdownbythem
andsaid,"ThisiswhatIhavemadeofit!This!"Andwhathad
shemadeofit?What,indeed?sittingtheresewingthismorning
withPeter.
ShelookedatPeterWalsh;herlook,passingthroughallthattime
andthatemotion,reachedhimdoubtfully;settledonhimtearfully;
androseandflutteredaway,asabirdtouchesabranchandrises
andfluttersaway.Quitesimplyshewipedhereyes.
"Yes,"saidPeter."Yes,yes,yes,"hesaid,asifshedrewupto
thesurfacesomethingwhichpositivelyhurthimasitrose.Stop!
Stop!hewantedtocry.Forhewasnotold;hislifewasnotover;
notbyanymeans.Hewasonlyjustpastfifty.ShallItellher,
hethought,ornot?Hewouldliketomakeacleanbreastofit
all.Butsheistoocold,hethought;sewing,withherscissors;
DaisywouldlookordinarybesideClarissa.Andshewouldthinkme
afailure,whichIamintheirsense,hethought;intheDalloways'
sense.Ohyes,hehadnodoubtaboutthat;hewasafailure,
comparedwithallthistheinlaidtable,themountedpaperknife,
thedolphinandthecandlesticks,thechaircoversandtheold
valuableEnglishtintedprintshewasafailure!Idetestthe
smugnessofthewholeaffair,hethought;Richard'sdoing,not
Clarissa's;savethatshemarriedhim.(HereLucycameintothe
room,carryingsilver,moresilver,butcharming,slender,graceful
shelooked,hethought,asshestoopedtoputitdown.)Andthis
hasbeengoingonallthetime!hethought;weekafterweek;
Clarissa'slife;whileIhethought;andatonceeverythingseemed
toradiatefromhim;journeys;rides;quarrels;adventures;bridge
parties;loveaffairs;work;work,work!andhetookouthisknife
quiteopenlyhisoldhornhandledknifewhichClarissacouldswear
hehadhadthesethirtyyearsandclenchedhisfistuponit.
Whatanextraordinaryhabitthatwas,Clarissathought;always
playingwithaknife.Alwaysmakingonefeel,too,frivolous;
emptyminded;ameresillychatterbox,asheused.ButItoo,she
thought,and,takingupherneedle,summoned,likeaQueenwhose
guardshavefallenasleepandleftherunprotected(shehadbeen
quitetakenabackbythisvisitithadupsether)sothatanyone
canstrollinandhavealookatherwhereshelieswiththe
bramblescurvingoverher,summonedtoherhelpthethingsshedid;
thethingssheliked;herhusband;Elizabeth;herself,inshort,
whichPeterhardlyknewnow,alltocomeaboutherandbeatoffthe
enemy.
"Well,andwhat'shappenedtoyou?"shesaid.Sobeforeabattle
begins,thehorsespawtheground;tosstheirheads;thelight
shinesontheirflanks;theirneckscurve.SoPeterWalshand
Clarissa,sittingsidebysideonthebluesofa,challengedeach
other.Hispowerschafedandtossedinhim.Heassembledfrom
differentquartersallsortsofthings;praise;hiscareerat
Oxford;hismarriage,whichsheknewnothingwhateverabout;howhe
hadloved;andaltogetherdonehisjob.
"Millionsofthings!"heexclaimed,and,urgedbytheassemblyof
powerswhichwerenowchargingthiswayandthatandgivinghimthe
feelingatoncefrighteningandextremelyexhilaratingofbeing
rushedthroughtheairontheshouldersofpeoplehecouldno
longersee,heraisedhishandstohisforehead.
Clarissasatveryupright;drewinherbreath.
"Iaminlove,"hesaid,nottoherhowever,buttosomeoneraised
upinthedarksothatyoucouldnottouchherbutmustlayyour
garlanddownonthegrassinthedark.
"Inlove,"herepeated,nowspeakingratherdrylytoClarissa
Dalloway;"inlovewithagirlinIndia."Hehaddepositedhis
garland.Clarissacouldmakewhatshewouldofit.
"Inlove!"shesaid.Thatheathisageshouldbesuckedunderin
hislittlebowtiebythatmonster!Andthere'snofleshonhis
neck;hishandsarered;andhe'ssixmonthsolderthanIam!her
eyeflashedbacktoher;butinherheartshefelt,allthesame,
heisinlove.Hehasthat,shefelt;heisinlove.
Buttheindomitableegotismwhichforeverridesdownthehosts
opposedtoit,theriverwhichsayson,on,on;eventhough,it
admits,theremaybenogoalforuswhatever,stillon,on;this
indomitableegotismchargedhercheekswithcolour;madeherlook
veryyoung;verypink;verybrighteyedasshesatwithherdress
uponherknee,andherneedleheldtotheendofgreensilk,
tremblingalittle.Hewasinlove!Notwithher.Withsome
youngerwoman,ofcourse.
"Andwhoisshe?"sheasked.
Nowthisstatuemustbebroughtfromitsheightandsetdown
betweenthem.
"Amarriedwoman,unfortunately,"hesaid;"thewifeofaMajorin
theIndianArmy."
Andwithacuriousironicalsweetnesshesmiledasheplacedherin
thisridiculouswaybeforeClarissa.
(Allthesame,heisinlove,thoughtClarissa.)
"Shehas,"hecontinued,veryreasonably,"twosmallchildren;a
boyandagirl;andIhavecomeovertoseemylawyersaboutthe
divorce."
Theretheyare!hethought.Dowhatyoulikewiththem,Clarissa!
Theretheyare!Andsecondbyseconditseemedtohimthatthe
wifeoftheMajorintheIndianArmy(hisDaisy)andhertwosmall
childrenbecamemoreandmorelovelyasClarissalookedatthem;as
ifhehadsetlighttoagreypelletonaplateandtherehadrisen
upalovelytreeinthebriskseasaltedairoftheirintimacy(for
insomewaysnooneunderstoodhim,feltwithhim,asClarissa
did)theirexquisiteintimacy.
Sheflatteredhim;shefooledhim,thoughtClarissa;shapingthe
woman,thewifeoftheMajorintheIndianArmy,withthreestrokes
ofaknife.Whatawaste!Whatafolly!AllhislifelongPeter
hadbeenfooledlikethat;firstgettingsentdownfromOxford;
nextmarryingthegirlontheboatgoingouttoIndia;nowthewife
ofaMajorintheIndianArmythankHeavenshehadrefusedto
marryhim!Still,hewasinlove;heroldfriend,herdearPeter,
hewasinlove.
"Butwhatareyougoingtodo?"sheaskedhim.Ohthelawyersand
solicitors,Messrs.HooperandGrateleyofLincoln'sInn,theywere
goingtodoit,hesaid.Andheactuallyparedhisnailswithhis
pocketknife.
ForHeaven'ssake,leaveyourknifealone!shecriedtoherselfin
irrepressibleirritation;itwashissillyunconventionality,his
weakness;hislackoftheghostofanotionwhatanyoneelsewas
feelingthatannoyedher,hadalwaysannoyedher;andnowathis
age,howsilly!
Iknowallthat,Peterthought;IknowwhatI'mupagainst,he
thought,runninghisfingeralongthebladeofhisknife,Clarissa
andDallowayandalltherestofthem;butI'llshowClarissaand
thentohisuttersurprise,suddenlythrownbythoseuncontrollable
forcesthrownthroughtheair,heburstintotears;wept;wept
withouttheleastshame,sittingonthesofa,thetearsrunning
downhischeeks.
AndClarissahadleantforward,takenhishand,drawnhimtoher,
kissedhim,actuallyhadfelthisfaceonhersbeforeshecould
downthebrandishingofsilverflashingplumeslikepampasgrass
inatropicgaleinherbreast,which,subsiding,lefther
holdinghishand,pattinghiskneeand,feelingasshesatback
extraordinarilyathereasewithhimandlighthearted,allina
clapitcameoverher,IfIhadmarriedhim,thisgaietywouldhave
beenmineallday!
Itwasalloverforher.Thesheetwasstretchedandthebed
narrow.Shehadgoneupintothetoweraloneandleftthem
blackberryinginthesun.Thedoorhadshut,andthereamongthe
dustoffallenplasterandthelitterofbirds'nestshowdistant
theviewhadlooked,andthesoundscamethinandchill(onceon
LeithHill,sheremembered),andRichard,Richard!shecried,asa
sleeperinthenightstartsandstretchesahandinthedarkfor
help.LunchingwithLadyBruton,itcamebacktoher.Hehasleft
me;Iamaloneforever,shethought,foldingherhandsuponher
knee.
PeterWalshhadgotupandcrossedtothewindowandstoodwithhis
backtoher,flickingabandannahandkerchieffromsidetoside.
Masterlyanddryanddesolatehelooked,histhinshoulderblades
liftinghiscoatslightly;blowinghisnoseviolently.Takeme
withyou,Clarissathoughtimpulsively,asifhewerestarting
directlyuponsomegreatvoyage;andthen,nextmoment,itwasas
ifthefiveactsofaplaythathadbeenveryexcitingandmoving
werenowoverandshehadlivedalifetimeinthemandhadrun
away,hadlivedwithPeter,anditwasnowover.
Nowitwastimetomove,and,asawomangathersherthings
together,hercloak,hergloves,heroperaglasses,andgetsupto
gooutofthetheatreintothestreet,sherosefromthesofaand
wenttoPeter.
Anditwasawfullystrange,hethought,howshestillhadthe
power,asshecametinkling,rustling,stillhadthepowerasshe
cameacrosstheroom,tomakethemoon,whichhedetested,riseat
Bourtonontheterraceinthesummersky.
"Tellme,"hesaid,seizingherbytheshoulders."Areyouhappy,
Clarissa?DoesRichard"
Thedooropened.
"HereismyElizabeth,"saidClarissa,emotionally,histrionically,
perhaps.
"Howd'ydo?"saidElizabethcomingforward.
ThesoundofBigBenstrikingthehalfhourstruckoutbetweenthem
withextraordinaryvigour,asifayoungman,strong,indifferent,
inconsiderate,wereswingingdumbbellsthiswayandthat.
"Hullo,Elizabeth!"criedPeter,stuffinghishandkerchiefintohis
pocket,goingquicklytoher,saying"Goodbye,Clarissa"without
lookingather,leavingtheroomquickly,andrunningdownstairs
andopeningthehalldoor.
"Peter!Peter!"criedClarissa,followinghimoutontothe
landing."Mypartytonight!Remembermypartytonight!"she
cried,havingtoraisehervoiceagainsttheroaroftheopenair,
and,overwhelmedbythetrafficandthesoundofalltheclocks
striking,hervoicecrying"Remembermypartytonight!"sounded
frailandthinandveryfarawayasPeterWalshshutthedoor.
Remembermyparty,remembermyparty,saidPeterWalshashe
steppeddownthestreet,speakingtohimselfrhythmically,intime
withtheflowofthesound,thedirectdownrightsoundofBigBen
strikingthehalfhour.(Theleadencirclesdissolvedintheair.)
Ohtheseparties,hethought;Clarissa'sparties.Whydoesshe
givetheseparties,hethought.Notthatheblamedherorthis
effigyofamaninatailcoatwithacarnationinhisbuttonhole
comingtowardshim.Onlyonepersonintheworldcouldbeashe
was,inlove.Andtherehewas,thisfortunateman,himself,
reflectedintheplateglasswindowofamotorcarmanufacturerin
VictoriaStreet.AllIndialaybehindhim;plains,mountains;
epidemicsofcholera;adistricttwiceasbigasIreland;decisions
hehadcometoalonehe,PeterWalsh;whowasnowreallyforthe
firsttimeinhislife,inlove.Clarissahadgrownhard,he
thought;andatriflesentimentalintothebargain,hesuspected,
lookingatthegreatmotorcarscapableofdoinghowmanymileson
howmanygallons?Forhehadaturnformechanics;hadinventeda
ploughinhisdistrict,hadorderedwheelbarrowsfromEngland,but
thecoolieswouldn'tusethem,allofwhichClarissaknewnothing
whateverabout.
Thewayshesaid"HereismyElizabeth!"thatannoyedhim.Why
not"Here'sElizabeth"simply?Itwasinsincere.AndElizabeth
didn'tlikeiteither.(Stillthelasttremorsofthegreat
boomingvoiceshooktheairroundhim;thehalfhour;stillearly;
onlyhalfpastelevenstill.)Forheunderstoodyoungpeople;he
likedthem.TherewasalwayssomethingcoldinClarissa,he
thought.Shehadalways,evenasagirl,asortoftimidity,which
inmiddleagebecomesconventionality,andthenit'sallup,it's
allup,hethought,lookingratherdrearilyintotheglassydepths,
andwonderingwhetherbycallingatthathourhehadannoyedher;
overcomewithshamesuddenlyathavingbeenafool;wept;been
emotional;toldhereverything,asusual,asusual.
Asacloudcrossesthesun,silencefallsonLondon;andfallson
themind.Effortceases.Timeflapsonthemast.Therewestop;
therewestand.Rigid,theskeletonofhabitaloneupholdsthe
humanframe.Wherethereisnothing,PeterWalshsaidtohimself;
feelinghollowedout,utterlyemptywithin.Clarissarefusedme,
hethought.Hestoodtherethinking,Clarissarefusedme.
Ah,saidSt.Margaret's,likeahostesswhocomesintoherdrawingroom
ontheverystrokeofthehourandfindshergueststhere
already.Iamnotlate.No,itispreciselyhalfpasteleven,she
says.Yet,thoughsheisperfectlyright,hervoice,beingthe
voiceofthehostess,isreluctanttoinflictitsindividuality.
Somegriefforthepastholdsitback;someconcernforthe
present.Itishalfpasteleven,shesays,andthesoundofSt.
Margaret'sglidesintotherecessesoftheheartandburiesitself
inringafterringofsound,likesomethingalivewhichwantsto
confideitself,todisperseitself,tobe,withatremorof
delight,atrestlikeClarissaherself,thoughtPeterWalsh,
comingdownthestairsonthestrokeofthehourinwhite.Itis
Clarissaherself,hethought,withadeepemotion,andan
extraordinarilyclear,yetpuzzling,recollectionofher,asif
thisbellhadcomeintotheroomyearsago,wheretheysatatsome
momentofgreatintimacy,andhadgonefromonetotheotherand
hadleft,likeabeewithhoney,ladenwiththemoment.Butwhat
room?Whatmoment?Andwhyhadhebeensoprofoundlyhappywhen
theclockwasstriking?Then,asthesoundofSt.Margaret's
languished,hethought,Shehasbeenill,andthesoundexpressed
languorandsuffering.Itwasherheart,heremembered;andthe
suddenloudnessofthefinalstroketolledfordeaththatsurprised
inthemidstoflife,Clarissafallingwhereshestood,inher
drawingroom.No!No!hecried.Sheisnotdead!Iamnotold,
hecried,andmarchedupWhitehall,asifthererolleddowntohim,
vigorous,unending,hisfuture.
Hewasnotold,orset,ordriedintheleast.Asforcaringwhat
theysaidofhimtheDalloways,theWhitbreads,andtheirset,he
carednotastrawnotastraw(thoughitwastruehewouldhave,
sometimeorother,toseewhetherRichardcouldn'thelphimto
somejob).Striding,staring,heglaredatthestatueoftheDuke
ofCambridge.HehadbeensentdownfromOxfordtrue.Hehad
beenaSocialist,insomesenseafailuretrue.Stillthefuture
ofcivilisationlies,hethought,inthehandsofyoungmenlike
that;ofyoungmensuchashewas,thirtyyearsago;withtheir
loveofabstractprinciples;gettingbookssentouttothemallthe
wayfromLondontoapeakintheHimalayas;readingscience;
readingphilosophy.Thefutureliesinthehandsofyoungmenlike
that,hethought.
Apatterlikethepatterofleavesinawoodcamefrombehind,and
withitarustling,regularthuddingsound,whichasitovertook
himdrummedhisthoughts,strictinstep,upWhitehall,withouthis
doing.Boysinuniform,carryingguns,marchedwiththeireyes
aheadofthem,marched,theirarmsstiff,andontheirfacesan
expressionlikethelettersofalegendwrittenroundthebaseofa
statuepraisingduty,gratitude,fidelity,loveofEngland.
Itis,thoughtPeterWalsh,beginningtokeepstepwiththem,a
veryfinetraining.Buttheydidnotlookrobust.Theywereweedy
forthemostpart,boysofsixteen,whomight,tomorrow,stand
behindbowlsofrice,cakesofsoaponcounters.Nowtheyworeon
themunmixedwithsensualpleasureordailypreoccupationsthe
solemnityofthewreathwhichtheyhadfetchedfromFinsbury
Pavementtotheemptytomb.Theyhadtakentheirvow.Thetraffic
respectedit;vanswerestopped.
Ican'tkeepupwiththem,PeterWalshthought,astheymarchedup
Whitehall,andsureenough,ontheymarched,pasthim,pastevery
one,intheirsteadyway,asifonewillworkedlegsandarms
uniformly,andlife,withitsvarieties,itsirreticences,hadbeen
laidunderapavementofmonumentsandwreathsanddruggedintoa
stiffyetstaringcorpsebydiscipline.Onehadtorespectit;one
mightlaugh;butonehadtorespectit,hethought.Theretheygo,
thoughtPeterWalsh,pausingattheedgeofthepavement;andall
theexaltedstatues,Nelson,Gordon,Havelock,theblack,the
spectacularimagesofgreatsoldiersstoodlookingaheadofthem,
asiftheytoohadmadethesamerenunciation(PeterWalshfelthe
toohadmadeit,thegreatrenunciation),trampledunderthesame
temptations,andachievedatlengthamarblestare.Butthestare
PeterWalshdidnotwantforhimselfintheleast;thoughhecould
respectitinothers.Hecouldrespectitinboys.Theydon't
knowthetroublesofthefleshyet,hethought,asthemarching
boysdisappearedinthedirectionoftheStrandallthatI'vebeen
through,hethought,crossingtheroad,andstandingunderGordon's
statue,Gordonwhomasaboyhehadworshipped;Gordonstanding
lonelywithonelegraisedandhisarmscrossed,poorGordon,he
thought.
AndjustbecausenobodyyetknewhewasinLondon,exceptClarissa,
andtheearth,afterthevoyage,stillseemedanislandtohim,the
strangenessofstandingalone,alive,unknown,athalfpasteleven
inTrafalgarSquareovercamehim.Whatisit?WhereamI?And
why,afterall,doesonedoit?hethought,thedivorceseemingall
moonshine.Anddownhismindwentflatasamarsh,andthreegreat
emotionsbowledoverhim;understanding;avastphilanthropy;and
finally,asiftheresultoftheothers,anirrepressible,
exquisitedelight;asifinsidehisbrainbyanotherhandstrings
werepulled,shuttersmoved,andhe,havingnothingtodowithit,
yetstoodattheopeningofendlessavenues,downwhichifhechose
hemightwander.Hehadnotfeltsoyoungforyears.
Hehadescaped!wasutterlyfreeashappensinthedownfallof
habitwhenthemind,likeanunguardedflame,bowsandbendsand
seemsabouttoblowfromitsholding.Ihaven'tfeltsoyoungfor
years!thoughtPeter,escaping(onlyofcourseforanhourorso)
frombeingpreciselywhathewas,andfeelinglikeachildwhoruns
outofdoors,andsees,asheruns,hisoldnursewavingatthe
wrongwindow.Butshe'sextraordinarilyattractive,hethought,
as,walkingacrossTrafalgarSquareinthedirectionofthe
Haymarket,cameayoungwomanwho,asshepassedGordon'sstatue,
seemed,PeterWalshthought(susceptibleashewas),toshedveil
afterveil,untilshebecametheverywomanhehadalwayshadin
mind;young,butstately;merry,butdiscreet;black,but
enchanting.
Straighteninghimselfandstealthilyfingeringhispocketknifehe
startedafterhertofollowthiswoman,thisexcitement,which
seemedevenwithitsbackturnedtoshedonhimalightwhich
connectedthem,whichsingledhimout,asiftherandomuproarof
thetraffichadwhisperedthroughhollowedhandshisname,not
Peter,buthisprivatenamewhichhecalledhimselfinhisown
thoughts."You,"shesaid,only"you,"sayingitwithherwhite
glovesandhershoulders.Thenthethinlongcloakwhichthewind
stirredasshewalkedpastDent'sshopinCockspurStreetblewout
withanenvelopingkindness,amournfultenderness,asofarmsthat
wouldopenandtakethetired
Butshe'snotmarried;she'syoung;quiteyoung,thoughtPeter,the
redcarnationhehadseenherwearasshecameacrossTrafalgar
Squareburningagaininhiseyesandmakingherlipsred.Butshe
waitedatthekerbstone.Therewasadignityabouther.Shewas
notworldly,likeClarissa;notrich,likeClarissa.Wasshe,he
wonderedasshemoved,respectable?Witty,withalizard's
flickeringtongue,hethought(foronemustinvent,mustallow
oneselfalittlediversion),acoolwaitingwit,adartingwit;not
noisy.
Shemoved;shecrossed;hefollowedher.Toembarrassherwasthe
lastthinghewished.Stillifshestoppedhewouldsay"Comeand
haveanice,"hewouldsay,andshewouldanswer,perfectlysimply,
"Ohyes."
Butotherpeoplegotbetweentheminthestreet,obstructinghim,
blottingherout.Hepursued;shechanged.Therewascolourin
hercheeks;mockeryinhereyes;hewasanadventurer,reckless,he
thought,swift,daring,indeed(landedashewaslastnightfrom
India)aromanticbuccaneer,carelessofallthesedamned
proprieties,yellowdressinggowns,pipes,fishingrods,inthe
shopwindows;andrespectabilityandeveningpartiesandspruceold
menwearingwhiteslipsbeneaththeirwaistcoats.Hewasa
buccaneer.Onandonshewent,acrossPiccadilly,andupRegent
Street,aheadofhim,hercloak,hergloves,hershoulders
combiningwiththefringesandthelacesandthefeatherboasin
thewindowstomakethespiritoffineryandwhimsywhichdwindled
outoftheshopsontothepavement,asthelightofalampgoes
waveringatnightoverhedgesinthedarkness.
Laughinganddelightful,shehadcrossedOxfordStreetandGreat
PortlandStreetandturneddownoneofthelittlestreets,andnow,
andnow,thegreatmomentwasapproaching,fornowsheslackened,
openedherbag,andwithonelookinhisdirection,butnotathim,
onelookthatbadefarewell,summedupthewholesituationand
dismissedittriumphantly,forever,hadfittedherkey,openedthe
door,andgone!Clarissa'svoicesaying,Remembermyparty,
Remembermyparty,sanginhisears.Thehousewasoneofthose
flatredhouseswithhangingflowerbasketsofvagueimpropriety.
Itwasover.
Well,I'vehadmyfun;I'vehadit,hethought,lookingupatthe
swingingbasketsofpalegeraniums.Anditwassmashedtoatoms
hisfun,foritwashalfmadeup,asheknewverywell;invented,
thisescapadewiththegirl;madeup,asonemakesupthebetter
partoflife,hethoughtmakingoneselfup;makingherup;
creatinganexquisiteamusement,andsomethingmore.Butoddit
was,andquitetrue;allthisonecouldnevershareitsmashedto
atoms.
Heturned;wentupthestreet,thinkingtofindsomewheretosit,
tillitwastimeforLincoln'sInnforMessrs.Hooperand
Grateley.Whereshouldhego?Nomatter.Upthestreet,then,
towardsRegent'sPark.Hisbootsonthepavementstruckout"no
matter";foritwasearly,stillveryearly.
Itwasasplendidmorningtoo.Likethepulseofaperfectheart,
lifestruckstraightthroughthestreets.Therewasnofumbling
nohesitation.Sweepingandswerving,accurately,punctually,
noiselessly,there,preciselyattherightinstant,themotorcar
stoppedatthedoor.Thegirl,silkstockinged,feathered,
evanescent,butnottohimparticularlyattractive(forhehadhad
hisfling),alighted.Admirablebutlers,tawnychowdogs,halls
laidinblackandwhitelozengeswithwhiteblindsblowing,Peter
sawthroughtheopeneddoorandapprovedof.Asplendid
achievementinitsownway,afterall,London;theseason;
civilisation.ComingashedidfromarespectableAngloIndian
familywhichforatleastthreegenerationshadadministeredthe
affairsofacontinent(it'sstrange,hethought,whatasentiment
Ihaveaboutthat,dislikingIndia,andempire,andarmyashe
did),thereweremomentswhencivilisation,evenofthissort,
seemeddeartohimasapersonalpossession;momentsofpridein
England;inbutlers;chowdogs;girlsintheirsecurity.
Ridiculousenough,stillthereitis,hethought.Andthedoctors
andmenofbusinessandcapablewomenallgoingabouttheir
business,punctual,alert,robust,seemedtohimwhollyadmirable,
goodfellows,towhomonewouldentrustone'slife,companionsin
theartofliving,whowouldseeonethrough.Whatwithonething
andanother,theshowwasreallyverytolerable;andhewouldsit
downintheshadeandsmoke.
TherewasRegent'sPark.Yes.Asachildhehadwalkedin
Regent'sParkodd,hethought,howthethoughtofchildhoodkeeps
comingbacktometheresultofseeingClarissa,perhaps;for
womenlivemuchmoreinthepastthanwedo,hethought.They
attachthemselvestoplaces;andtheirfathersawoman'salways
proudofherfather.Bourtonwasaniceplace,averyniceplace,
butIcouldnevergetonwiththeoldman,hethought.Therewas
quiteasceneonenightanargumentaboutsomethingorother,
what,hecouldnotremember.Politicspresumably.
Yes,herememberedRegent'sPark;thelongstraightwalk;the
littlehousewhereoneboughtairballstotheleft;anabsurd
statuewithaninscriptionsomewhereorother.Helookedforan
emptyseat.Hedidnotwanttobebothered(feelingalittle
drowsyashedid)bypeopleaskinghimthetime.Anelderlygrey
nurse,withababyasleepinitsperambulatorthatwasthebesthe
coulddoforhimself;sitdownatthefarendoftheseatbythat
nurse.
She'saqueerlookinggirl,hethought,suddenlyremembering
Elizabethasshecameintotheroomandstoodbyhermother.Grown
big;quitegrownup,notexactlypretty;handsomerather;andshe
can'tbemorethaneighteen.Probablyshedoesn'tgetonwith
Clarissa."There'smyElizabeth"thatsortofthingwhynot
"Here'sElizabeth"simply?tryingtomakeout,likemostmothers,
thatthingsarewhatthey'renot.Shetruststohercharmtoo
much,hethought.Sheoverdoesit.
Therichbenignantcigarsmokeeddiedcoollydownhisthroat;he
puffeditoutagaininringswhichbreastedtheairbravelyfora
moment;blue,circularIshalltryandgetawordalonewith
Elizabethtonight,hethoughtthenbegantowobbleintohourglass
shapesandtaperaway;oddshapestheytake,hethought.
Suddenlyheclosedhiseyes,raisedhishandwithaneffort,and
threwawaytheheavyendofhiscigar.Agreatbrushsweptsmooth
acrosshismind,sweepingacrossitmovingbranches,children's
voices,theshuffleoffeet,andpeoplepassing,andhumming
traffic,risingandfallingtraffic.Down,downhesankintothe
plumesandfeathersofsleep,sank,andwasmuffledover.
ThegreynurseresumedherknittingasPeterWalsh,onthehotseat
besideher,begansnoring.Inhergreydress,movingherhands
indefatigablyyetquietly,sheseemedlikethechampionofthe
rightsofsleepers,likeoneofthosespectralpresenceswhichrise
intwilightinwoodsmadeofskyandbranches.Thesolitary
traveller,haunteroflanes,disturberofferns,anddevastatorof
greathemlockplants,lookingup,suddenlyseesthegiantfigureat
theendoftheride.
Byconvictionanatheistperhaps,heistakenbysurprisewith
momentsofextraordinaryexaltation.Nothingexistsoutsideus
exceptastateofmind,hethinks;adesireforsolace,forrelief,
forsomethingoutsidethesemiserablepigmies,thesefeeble,these
ugly,thesecravenmenandwomen.Butifhecanconceiveofher,
theninsomesortsheexists,hethinks,andadvancingdownthe
pathwithhiseyesuponskyandbranchesherapidlyendowsthem
withwomanhood;seeswithamazementhowgravetheybecome;how
majestically,asthebreezestirsthem,theydispensewithadark
flutteroftheleavescharity,comprehension,absolution,andthen,
flingingthemselvessuddenlyaloft,confoundthepietyoftheir
aspectwithawildcarouse.
Sucharethevisionswhichproffergreatcornucopiasfulloffruit
tothesolitarytraveller,ormurmurinhisearlikesirens
lollopingawayonthegreenseawaves,oraredashedinhisface
likebunchesofroses,orrisetothesurfacelikepalefaceswhich
fishermenflounderthroughfloodstoembrace.
Sucharethevisionswhichceaselesslyfloatup,pacebeside,put
theirfacesinfrontof,theactualthing;oftenoverpoweringthe
solitarytravellerandtakingawayfromhimthesenseoftheearth,
thewishtoreturn,andgivinghimforsubstituteageneralpeace,
asif(sohethinksasheadvancesdowntheforestride)allthis
feveroflivingweresimplicityitself;andmyriadsofthings
mergedinonething;andthisfigure,madeofskyandbranchesas
itis,hadrisenfromthetroubledsea(heiselderly,pastfifty
now)asashapemightbesuckedupoutofthewavestoshowerdown
fromhermagnificenthandscompassion,comprehension,absolution.
So,hethinks,mayInevergobacktothelamplight;tothe
sittingroom;neverfinishmybook;neverknockoutmypipe;never
ringforMrs.Turnertoclearaway;ratherletmewalkstraighton
tothisgreatfigure,whowill,withatossofherhead,mountme
onherstreamersandletmeblowtonothingnesswiththerest.
Sucharethevisions.Thesolitarytravellerissoonbeyondthe
wood;andthere,comingtothedoorwithshadedeyes,possiblyto
lookforhisreturn,withhandsraised,withwhiteapronblowing,
isanelderlywomanwhoseems(sopowerfulisthisinfirmity)to
seek,overadesert,alostson;tosearchforariderdestroyed;
tobethefigureofthemotherwhosesonshavebeenkilledinthe
battlesoftheworld.So,asthesolitarytravelleradvancesdown
thevillagestreetwherethewomenstandknittingandthemendig
inthegarden,theeveningseemsominous;thefiguresstill;asif
someaugustfate,knowntothem,awaitedwithoutfear,wereabout
tosweepthemintocompleteannihilation.
Indoorsamongordinarythings,thecupboard,thetable,thewindowsill
withitsgeraniums,suddenlytheoutlineofthelandlady,
bendingtoremovethecloth,becomessoftwithlight,anadorable
emblemwhichonlytherecollectionofcoldhumancontactsforbids
ustoembrace.Shetakesthemarmalade;sheshutsitinthe
cupboard.
"Thereisnothingmoretonight,sir?"
Buttowhomdoesthesolitarytravellermakereply?
SotheelderlynurseknittedoverthesleepingbabyinRegent's
Park.SoPeterWalshsnored.
Hewokewithextremesuddenness,sayingtohimself,"Thedeathof
thesoul."
"Lord,Lord!"hesaidtohimselfoutloud,stretchingandopening
hiseyes."Thedeathofthesoul."Thewordsattachedthemselves
tosomescene,tosomeroom,tosomepasthehadbeendreamingof.
Itbecameclearer;thescene,theroom,thepasthehadbeen
dreamingof.
ItwasatBourtonthatsummer,earlyinthe'nineties,whenhewas
sopassionatelyinlovewithClarissa.Therewereagreatmany
peoplethere,laughingandtalking,sittingroundatableaftertea
andtheroomwasbathedinyellowlightandfullofcigarette
smoke.Theyweretalkingaboutamanwhohadmarriedhis
housemaid,oneoftheneighbouringsquires,hehadforgottenhis
name.Hehadmarriedhishousemaid,andshehadbeenbroughtto
Bourtontocallanawfulvisitithadbeen.Shewasabsurdly
overdressed,"likeacockatoo,"Clarissahadsaid,imitatingher,
andsheneverstoppedtalking.Onandonshewent,onandon.
Clarissaimitatedher.ThensomebodysaidSallySetonitwasdid
itmakeanyrealdifferencetoone'sfeelingstoknowthatbefore
they'dmarriedshehadhadababy?(Inthosedays,inmixed
company,itwasaboldthingtosay.)HecouldseeClarissanow,
turningbrightpink;somehowcontracting;andsaying,"Oh,Ishall
neverbeabletospeaktoheragain!"Whereuponthewholeparty
sittingroundtheteatableseemedtowobble.Itwasvery
uncomfortable.
Hehadn'tblamedherformindingthefact,sinceinthosedaysa
girlbroughtupasshewas,knewnothing,butitwashermanner
thatannoyedhim;timid;hard;somethingarrogant;unimaginative;
prudish."Thedeathofthesoul."Hehadsaidthatinstinctively,
ticketingthemomentasheusedtodothedeathofhersoul.
Everyonewobbled;everyoneseemedtobow,asshespoke,andthen
tostandupdifferent.HecouldseeSallySeton,likeachildwho
hasbeeninmischief,leaningforward,ratherflushed,wantingto
talk,butafraid,andClarissadidfrightenpeople.(Shewas
Clarissa'sgreatestfriend,alwaysabouttheplace,totallyunlike
her,anattractivecreature,handsome,dark,withthereputationin
thosedaysofgreatdaringandheusedtogivehercigars,which
shesmokedinherbedroom.Shehadeitherbeenengagedtosomebody
orquarrelledwithherfamilyandoldParrydislikedthemboth
equally,whichwasagreatbond.)ThenClarissa,stillwithanair
ofbeingoffendedwiththemall,gotup,madesomeexcuse,andwent
off,alone.Assheopenedthedoor,incamethatgreatshaggydog
whichranaftersheep.Sheflungherselfuponhim,wentinto
raptures.ItwasasifshesaidtoPeteritwasallaimedathim,
heknew"Iknowyouthoughtmeabsurdaboutthatwomanjustnow;
butseehowextraordinarilysympatheticIam;seehowIlovemy
Rob!"
Theyhadalwaysthisqueerpowerofcommunicatingwithoutwords.
Sheknewdirectlyhecriticisedher.Thenshewoulddosomething
quiteobvioustodefendherself,likethisfusswiththedogbut
itnevertookhimin,healwayssawthroughClarissa.Notthathe
saidanything,ofcourse;justsatlookingglum.Itwastheway
theirquarrelsoftenbegan.
Sheshutthedoor.Atoncehebecameextremelydepressed.Itall
seemeduselessgoingonbeinginlove;goingonquarrelling;going
onmakingitup,andhewanderedoffalone,amongouthouses,
stables,lookingatthehorses.(Theplacewasquiteahumbleone;
theParryswereneververywelloff;buttherewerealwaysgrooms
andstableboysaboutClarissalovedridingandanoldcoachman
whatwashisname?anoldnurse,oldMoody,oldGoody,somesuch
nametheycalledher,whomonewastakentovisitinalittleroom
withlotsofphotographs,lotsofbirdcages.)
Itwasanawfulevening!Hegrewmoreandmoregloomy,notabout
thatonly;abouteverything.Andhecouldn'tseeher;couldn't
explaintoher;couldn'thaveitout.Therewerealwayspeople
aboutshe'dgoonasifnothinghadhappened.Thatwasthe
devilishpartofherthiscoldness,thiswoodenness,something
veryprofoundinher,whichhehadfeltagainthismorningtalking
toher;animpenetrability.YetHeavenknowshelovedher.She
hadsomequeerpoweroffiddlingonone'snerves,turningone's
nervestofiddlestrings,yes.
Hehadgoneintodinnerratherlate,fromsomeidioticideaof
makinghimselffelt,andhadsatdownbyoldMissParryAunt
HelenaMr.Parry'ssister,whowassupposedtopreside.Thereshe
satinherwhiteCashmereshawl,withherheadagainstthewindow
aformidableoldlady,butkindtohim,forhehadfoundhersome
rareflower,andshewasagreatbotanist,marchingoffinthick
bootswithablackcollectingboxslungbetweenhershoulders.He
satdownbesideher,andcouldn'tspeak.Everythingseemedtorace
pasthim;hejustsatthere,eating.Andthenhalfwaythrough
dinnerhemadehimselflookacrossatClarissaforthefirsttime.
Shewastalkingtoayoungmanonherright.Hehadasudden
revelation."Shewillmarrythatman,"hesaidtohimself.He
didn'tevenknowhisname.
Forofcourseitwasthatafternoon,thatveryafternoon,that
Dallowayhadcomeover;andClarissacalledhim"Wickham";thatwas
thebeginningofitall.Somebodyhadbroughthimover;and
Clarissagothisnamewrong.Sheintroducedhimtoeverybodyas
Wickham.Atlasthesaid"MynameisDalloway!"thatwashis
firstviewofRichardafairyoungman,ratherawkward,sittingon
adeckchair,andblurtingout"MynameisDalloway!"Sallygot
holdofit;alwaysafterthatshecalledhim"MynameisDalloway!"
Hewasapreytorevelationsatthattime.Thisonethatshe
wouldmarryDallowaywasblindingoverwhelmingatthemoment.
Therewasasortofhowcouldheputit?asortofeaseinher
mannertohim;somethingmaternal;somethinggentle.Theywere
talkingaboutpolitics.Allthroughdinnerhetriedtohearwhat
theyweresaying.
AfterwardshecouldrememberstandingbyoldMissParry'schairin
thedrawingroom.Clarissacameup,withherperfectmanners,like
arealhostess,andwantedtointroducehimtosomeonespokeas
iftheyhadnevermetbefore,whichenragedhim.Yeteventhenhe
admiredherforit.Headmiredhercourage;hersocialinstinct;
headmiredherpowerofcarryingthingsthrough."Theperfect
hostess,"hesaidtoher,whereuponshewincedallover.Buthe
meanthertofeelit.Hewouldhavedoneanythingtohurther
afterseeingherwithDalloway.Soshelefthim.Andhehada
feelingthattheywereallgatheredtogetherinaconspiracy
againsthimlaughingandtalkingbehindhisback.Therehestood
byMissParry'schairasthoughhehadbeencutoutofwood,he
talkingaboutwildflowers.Never,neverhadhesufferedso
infernally!Hemusthaveforgotteneventopretendtolisten;at
lasthewokeup;hesawMissParrylookingratherdisturbed,rather
indignant,withherprominenteyesfixed.Healmostcriedoutthat
hecouldn'tattendbecausehewasinHell!Peoplebegangoingout
oftheroom.Heheardthemtalkingaboutfetchingcloaks;about
itsbeingcoldonthewater,andsoon.Theyweregoingboatingon
thelakebymoonlightoneofSally'smadideas.Hecouldhearher
describingthemoon.Andtheyallwentout.Hewasleftquite
alone.
"Don'tyouwanttogowiththem?"saidAuntHelenaoldMiss
Parry!shehadguessed.Andheturnedroundandtherewas
Clarissaagain.Shehadcomebacktofetchhim.Hewasovercome
byhergenerosityhergoodness.
"Comealong,"shesaid."They'rewaiting."Hehadneverfeltso
happyinthewholeofhislife!Withoutawordtheymadeitup.
Theywalkeddowntothelake.Hehadtwentyminutesofperfect
happiness.Hervoice,herlaugh,herdress(somethingfloating,
white,crimson),herspirit,heradventurousness;shemadethemall
disembarkandexploretheisland;shestartledahen;shelaughed;
shesang.Andallthetime,heknewperfectlywell,Dallowaywas
fallinginlovewithher;shewasfallinginlovewithDalloway;
butitdidn'tseemtomatter.Nothingmattered.Theysatonthe
groundandtalkedheandClarissa.Theywentinandoutofeach
other'smindswithoutanyeffort.Andtheninaseconditwas
over.Hesaidtohimselfastheyweregettingintotheboat,"She
willmarrythatman,"dully,withoutanyresentment;butitwasan
obviousthing.DallowaywouldmarryClarissa.
Dallowayrowedthemin.Hesaidnothing.Butsomehowasthey
watchedhimstart,jumpingontohisbicycletoridetwentymiles
throughthewoods,wobblingoffdownthedrive,wavinghishandand
disappearing,heobviouslydidfeel,instinctively,tremendously,
strongly,allthat;thenight;theromance;Clarissa.Hedeserved
tohaveher.
Forhimself,hewasabsurd.HisdemandsuponClarissa(hecould
seeitnow)wereabsurd.Heaskedimpossiblethings.Hemade
terriblescenes.Shewouldhaveacceptedhimstill,perhaps,ifhe
hadbeenlessabsurd.Sallythoughtso.Shewrotehimallthat
summerlongletters;howtheyhadtalkedofhim;howshehad
praisedhim,howClarissaburstintotears!Itwasanextraordinary
summerallletters,scenes,telegramsarrivingatBourtonearlyin
themorning,hangingabouttilltheservantswereup;appalling
ttetteswitholdMr.Parryatbreakfast;AuntHelenaformidable
butkind;Sallysweepinghimofffortalksinthevegetablegarden;
Clarissainbedwithheadaches.
Thefinalscene,theterriblescenewhichhebelievedhadmattered
morethananythinginthewholeofhislife(itmightbean
exaggerationbutstillsoitdidseemnow)happenedatthree
o'clockintheafternoonofaveryhotday.Itwasatriflethat
leduptoitSallyatlunchsayingsomethingaboutDalloway,and
callinghim"MynameisDalloway";whereuponClarissasuddenly
stiffened,coloured,inawayshehad,andrappedoutsharply,
"We'vehadenoughofthatfeeblejoke."Thatwasall;butforhim
itwaspreciselyasifshehadsaid,"I'monlyamusingmyselfwith
you;I'veanunderstandingwithRichardDalloway."Sohetookit.
Hehadnotsleptfornights."It'sgottobefinishedonewayor
theother,"hesaidtohimself.HesentanotetoherbySally
askinghertomeethimbythefountainatthree."Somethingvery
importanthashappened,"hescribbledattheendofit.
Thefountainwasinthemiddleofalittleshrubbery,farfromthe
house,withshrubsandtreesallroundit.Thereshecame,even
beforethetime,andtheystoodwiththefountainbetweenthem,the
spout(itwasbroken)dribblingwaterincessantly.Howsightsfix
themselvesuponthemind!Forexample,thevividgreenmoss.
Shedidnotmove."Tellmethetruth,tellmethetruth,"hekept
onsaying.Hefeltasifhisforeheadwouldburst.Sheseemed
contracted,petrified.Shedidnotmove."Tellmethetruth,"he
repeated,whensuddenlythatoldmanBreitkopfpoppedhisheadin
carryingtheTimes;staredatthem;gaped;andwentaway.They
neitherofthemmoved."Tellmethetruth,"herepeated.Hefelt
thathewasgrindingagainstsomethingphysicallyhard;shewas
unyielding.Shewaslikeiron,likeflint,rigidupthebackbone.
Andwhenshesaid,"It'snouse.It'snouse.Thisistheend"
afterhehadspokenforhours,itseemed,withthetearsrunning
downhischeeksitwasasifshehadhithimintheface.She
turned,shelefthim,wentaway.
"Clarissa!"hecried."Clarissa!"Butshenevercameback.It
wasover.Hewentawaythatnight.Heneversawheragain.
Itwasawful,hecried,awful,awful!
Still,thesunwashot.Still,onegotoverthings.Still,life
hadawayofaddingdaytoday.Still,hethought,yawningand
beginningtotakenoticeRegent'sParkhadchangedverylittle
sincehewasaboy,exceptforthesquirrelsstill,presumably
therewerecompensationswhenlittleEliseMitchell,whohadbeen
pickinguppebblestoaddtothepebblecollectionwhichsheand
herbrotherweremakingonthenurserymantelpiece,plumpedher
handfuldownonthenurse'skneeandscuddedoffagainfulltilt
intoalady'slegs.PeterWalshlaughedout.
ButLucreziaWarrenSmithwassayingtoherself,It'swicked;why
shouldIsuffer?shewasasking,asshewalkeddownthebroadpath.
No;Ican'tstanditanylonger,shewassaying,havingleft
Septimus,whowasn'tSeptimusanylonger,tosayhard,cruel,
wickedthings,totalktohimself,totalktoadeadman,onthe
seatoverthere;whenthechildranfulltiltintoher,fellflat,
andburstoutcrying.
Thatwascomfortingrather.Shestoodherupright,dustedher
frock,kissedher.
Butforherselfshehaddonenothingwrong;shehadlovedSeptimus;
shehadbeenhappy;shehadhadabeautifulhome,andthereher
sisterslivedstill,makinghats.WhyshouldSHEsuffer?
Thechildranstraightbacktoitsnurse,andReziasawher
scolded,comforted,takenupbythenursewhoputdownher
knitting,andthekindlookingmangaveherhiswatchtoblowopen
tocomfortherbutwhyshouldSHEbeexposed?Whynotleftin
Milan?Whytortured?Why?
Slightlywavedbytearsthebroadpath,thenurse,themaningrey,
theperambulator,roseandfellbeforehereyes.Toberockedby
thismalignanttorturerwasherlot.Butwhy?Shewaslikeabird
shelteringunderthethinhollowofaleaf,whoblinksatthesun
whentheleafmoves;startsatthecrackofadrytwig.Shewas
exposed;shewassurroundedbytheenormoustrees,vastcloudsof
anindifferentworld,exposed;tortured;andwhyshouldshesuffer?
Why?
Shefrowned;shestampedherfoot.Shemustgobackagainto
SeptimussinceitwasalmosttimeforthemtobegoingtoSir
WilliamBradshaw.Shemustgobackandtellhim,gobacktohim
sittingthereonthegreenchairunderthetree,talkingto
himself,ortothatdeadmanEvans,whomshehadonlyseenoncefor
amomentintheshop.Hehadseemedanicequietman;agreat
friendofSeptimus's,andhehadbeenkilledintheWar.Butsuch
thingshappentoeveryone.Everyonehasfriendswhowerekilled
intheWar.Everyonegivesupsomethingwhentheymarry.Shehad
givenupherhome.Shehadcometolivehere,inthisawfulcity.
ButSeptimuslethimselfthinkabouthorriblethings,asshecould
too,ifshetried.Hehadgrownstrangerandstranger.Hesaid
peopleweretalkingbehindthebedroomwalls.Mrs.Filmerthought
itodd.Hesawthingstoohehadseenanoldwoman'sheadinthe
middleofafern.Yethecouldbehappywhenhechose.Theywent
toHamptonCourtontopofabus,andtheywereperfectlyhappy.
Allthelittleredandyellowflowerswereoutonthegrass,like
floatinglampshesaid,andtalkedandchatteredandlaughed,
makingupstories.Suddenlyhesaid,"Nowwewillkillourselves,"
whentheywerestandingbytheriver,andhelookedatitwitha
lookwhichshehadseeninhiseyeswhenatrainwentby,oran
omnibusalookasifsomethingfascinatedhim;andshefelthewas
goingfromherandshecaughthimbythearm.Butgoinghomehe
wasperfectlyquietperfectlyreasonable.Hewouldarguewithher
aboutkillingthemselves;andexplainhowwickedpeoplewere;how
hecouldseethemmakingupliesastheypassedinthestreet.He
knewalltheirthoughts,hesaid;hekneweverything.Heknewthe
meaningoftheworld,hesaid.
Thenwhentheygotbackhecouldhardlywalk.Helayonthesofa
andmadeherholdhishandtopreventhimfromfallingdown,down,
hecried,intotheflames!andsawfaceslaughingathim,calling
himhorribledisgustingnames,fromthewalls,andhandspointing
roundthescreen.Yettheywerequitealone.Buthebegantotalk
aloud,answeringpeople,arguing,laughing,crying,gettingvery
excitedandmakingherwritethingsdown.Perfectnonsenseitwas;
aboutdeath;aboutMissIsabelPole.Shecouldstanditnolonger.
Shewouldgoback.
Shewasclosetohimnow,couldseehimstaringatthesky,
muttering,claspinghishands.YetDr.Holmessaidtherewas
nothingthematterwithhim.Whatthenhadhappenedwhyhadhe
gone,then,why,whenshesatbyhim,didhestart,frownather,
moveaway,andpointatherhand,takeherhand,lookatit
terrified?
Wasitthatshehadtakenoffherweddingring?"Myhandhasgrown
sothin,"shesaid."Ihaveputitinmypurse,"shetoldhim.
Hedroppedherhand.Theirmarriagewasover,hethought,with
agony,withrelief.Theropewascut;hemounted;hewasfree,as
itwasdecreedthathe,Septimus,thelordofmen,shouldbefree;
alone(sincehiswifehadthrownawayherweddingring;sinceshe
hadlefthim),he,Septimus,wasalone,calledforthinadvanceof
themassofmentohearthetruth,tolearnthemeaning,whichnow
atlast,afterallthetoilsofcivilisationGreeks,Romans,
Shakespeare,Darwin,andnowhimselfwastobegivenwholeto....
"Towhom?"heaskedaloud."TothePrimeMinister,"thevoices
whichrustledabovehisheadreplied.Thesupremesecretmustbe
toldtotheCabinet;firstthattreesarealive;nextthereisno
crime;nextlove,universallove,hemuttered,gasping,trembling,
painfullydrawingouttheseprofoundtruthswhichneeded,sodeep
werethey,sodifficult,animmenseefforttospeakout,butthe
worldwasentirelychangedbythemforever.
Nocrime;love;herepeated,fumblingforhiscardandpencil,when
aSkyeterriersnuffedhistrousersandhestartedinanagonyof
fear.Itwasturningintoaman!Hecouldnotwatchithappen!
Itwashorrible,terribletoseeadogbecomeaman!Atoncethe
dogtrottedaway.
Heavenwasdivinelymerciful,infinitelybenignant.Itsparedhim,
pardonedhisweakness.Butwhatwasthescientificexplanation
(foronemustbescientificaboveallthings)?Whycouldhesee
throughbodies,seeintothefuture,whendogswillbecomemen?It
wastheheatwavepresumably,operatinguponabrainmadesensitive
byeonsofevolution.Scientificallyspeaking,thefleshwas
meltedofftheworld.Hisbodywasmacerateduntilonlythenerve
fibreswereleft.Itwasspreadlikeaveiluponarock.
Helaybackinhischair,exhaustedbutupheld.Helayresting,
waiting,beforeheagaininterpreted,witheffort,withagony,to
mankind.Helayveryhigh,onthebackoftheworld.Theearth
thrilledbeneathhim.Redflowersgrewthroughhisflesh;their
stiffleavesrustledbyhishead.Musicbeganclangingagainstthe
rocksuphere.Itisamotorhorndowninthestreet,hemuttered;
butuphereitcannonedfromrocktorock,divided,metinshocks
ofsoundwhichroseinsmoothcolumns(thatmusicshouldbevisible
wasadiscovery)andbecameananthem,ananthemtwinedroundnow
byashepherdboy'spiping(That'sanoldmanplayingapenny
whistlebythepublichouse,hemuttered)which,astheboystood
stillcamebubblingfromhispipe,andthen,asheclimbedhigher,
madeitsexquisiteplaintwhilethetrafficpassedbeneath.This
boy'selegyisplayedamongthetraffic,thoughtSeptimus.Nowhe
withdrawsupintothesnows,androseshangabouthimthethick
redroseswhichgrowonmybedroomwall,heremindedhimself.The
musicstopped.Hehashispenny,hereasoneditout,andhasgone
ontothenextpublichouse.
Buthehimselfremainedhighonhisrock,likeadrownedsailoron
arock.Ileantovertheedgeoftheboatandfelldown,he
thought.Iwentunderthesea.Ihavebeendead,andyetamnow
alive,butletmereststill;hebegged(hewastalkingtohimself
againitwasawful,awful!);andas,beforewaking,thevoicesof
birdsandthesoundofwheelschimeandchatterinaqueerharmony,
growlouderandlouderandthesleeperfeelshimselfdrawingtothe
shoresoflife,sohefelthimselfdrawingtowardslife,thesun
growinghotter,criessoundinglouder,somethingtremendousabout
tohappen.
Hehadonlytoopenhiseyes;butaweightwasonthem;afear.He
strained;hepushed;helooked;hesawRegent'sParkbeforehim.
Longstreamersofsunlightfawnedathisfeet.Thetreeswaved,
brandished.Wewelcome,theworldseemedtosay;weaccept;we
create.Beauty,theworldseemedtosay.Andasiftoproveit
(scientifically)whereverhelookedatthehouses,attherailings,
attheantelopesstretchingoverthepalings,beautysprang
instantly.Towatchaleafquiveringintherushofairwasan
exquisitejoy.Upintheskyswallowsswooping,swerving,flinging
themselvesinandout,roundandround,yetalwayswithperfect
controlasifelasticsheldthem;andthefliesrisingandfalling;
andthesunspottingnowthisleaf,nowthat,inmockery,dazzling
itwithsoftgoldinpuregoodtemper;andnowandagainsomechime
(itmightbeamotorhorn)tinklingdivinelyonthegrassstalks
allofthis,calmandreasonableasitwas,madeoutofordinary
thingsasitwas,wasthetruthnow;beauty,thatwasthetruth
now.Beautywaseverywhere.
"Itistime,"saidRezia.
Theword"time"splititshusk;poureditsrichesoverhim;and
fromhislipsfelllikeshells,likeshavingsfromaplane,without
hismakingthem,hard,white,imperishablewords,andflewto
attachthemselvestotheirplacesinanodetoTime;animmortal
odetoTime.Hesang.Evansansweredfrombehindthetree.The
deadwereinThessaly,Evanssang,amongtheorchids.Therethey
waitedtilltheWarwasover,andnowthedead,nowEvanshimself
"ForGod'ssakedon'tcome!"Septimuscriedout.Forhecouldnot
lookuponthedead.
Butthebranchesparted.Amaningreywasactuallywalking
towardsthem.ItwasEvans!Butnomudwasonhim;nowounds;he
wasnotchanged.Imusttellthewholeworld,Septimuscried,
raisinghishand(asthedeadmaninthegreysuitcamenearer),
raisinghishandlikesomecolossalfigurewhohaslamentedthe
fateofmanforagesinthedesertalonewithhishandspressedto
hisforehead,furrowsofdespaironhischeeks,andnowseeslight
onthedesert'sedgewhichbroadensandstrikestheironblack
figure(andSeptimushalfrosefromhischair),andwithlegionsof
menprostratebehindhimhe,thegiantmourner,receivesforone
momentonhisfacethewhole
"ButIamsounhappy,Septimus,"saidReziatryingtomakehimsit
down.
Themillionslamented;foragestheyhadsorrowed.Hewouldturn
round,hewouldtelltheminafewmoments,onlyafewmoments
more,ofthisrelief,ofthisjoy,ofthisastonishingrevelation
"Thetime,Septimus,"Reziarepeated."Whatisthetime?"
Hewastalking,hewasstarting,thismanmustnoticehim.Hewas
lookingatthem.
"Iwilltellyouthetime,"saidSeptimus,veryslowly,very
drowsily,smilingmysteriously.Ashesatsmilingatthedeadman
inthegreysuitthequarterstruckthequartertotwelve.
Andthatisbeingyoung,PeterWalshthoughtashepassedthem.
Tobehavinganawfulscenethepoorgirllookedabsolutely
desperateinthemiddleofthemorning.Butwhatwasitabout,he
wondered,whathadtheyoungmanintheovercoatbeensayingtoher
tomakeherlooklikethat;whatawfulfixhadtheygotthemselves
into,bothtolooksodesperateasthatonafinesummermorning?
TheamusingthingaboutcomingbacktoEngland,afterfiveyears,
wasthewayitmade,anyhowthefirstdays,thingsstandoutasif
onehadneverseenthembefore;loverssquabblingunderatree;the
domesticfamilylifeoftheparks.NeverhadheseenLondonlook
soenchantingthesoftnessofthedistances;therichness;the
greenness;thecivilisation,afterIndia,hethought,strolling
acrossthegrass.
Thissusceptibilitytoimpressionshadbeenhisundoingnodoubt.
Stillathisagehehad,likeaboyoragirleven,these
alternationsofmood;gooddays,baddays,fornoreasonwhatever,
happinessfromaprettyface,downrightmiseryatthesightofa
frump.AfterIndiaofcourseonefellinlovewitheverywomanone
met.Therewasafreshnessaboutthem;eventhepoorestdressed
betterthanfiveyearsagosurely;andtohiseyethefashionshad
neverbeensobecoming;thelongblackcloaks;theslimness;the
elegance;andthenthedeliciousandapparentlyuniversalhabitof
paint.Everywoman,eventhemostrespectable,hadrosesblooming
underglass;lipscutwithaknife;curlsofIndianink;therewas
design,art,everywhere;achangeofsomesorthadundoubtedly
takenplace.Whatdidtheyoungpeoplethinkabout?PeterWalsh
askedhimself.
Thosefiveyears1918to1923hadbeen,hesuspected,somehow
veryimportant.Peoplelookeddifferent.Newspapersseemed
different.Nowforinstancetherewasamanwritingquiteopenly
inoneoftherespectableweekliesaboutwaterclosets.Thatyou
couldn'thavedonetenyearsagowrittenquiteopenlyaboutwaterclosets
inarespectableweekly.Andthenthistakingoutastick
ofrouge,orapowderpuffandmakingupinpublic.Onboardship
cominghometherewerelotsofyoungmenandgirlsBettyand
Bertieherememberedinparticularcarryingonquiteopenly;the
oldmothersittingandwatchingthemwithherknitting,coolasa
cucumber.Thegirlwouldstandstillandpowderhernoseinfront
ofeveryone.Andtheyweren'tengaged;justhavingagoodtime;
nofeelingshurtoneitherside.AshardasnailsshewasBetty
What'shername;butathoroughgoodsort.Shewouldmakeavery
goodwifeatthirtyshewouldmarrywhenitsuitedhertomarry;
marrysomerichmanandliveinalargehousenearManchester.
Whowasitnowwhohaddonethat?PeterWalshaskedhimself,
turningintotheBroadWalk,marriedarichmanandlivedina
largehousenearManchester?Somebodywhohadwrittenhimalong,
gushingletterquitelatelyabout"bluehydrangeas."Itwasseeing
bluehydrangeasthatmadeherthinkofhimandtheolddaysSally
Seton,ofcourse!ItwasSallySetonthelastpersonintheworld
onewouldhaveexpectedtomarryarichmanandliveinalarge
housenearManchester,thewild,thedaring,theromanticSally!
Butofallthatancientlot,Clarissa'sfriendsWhitbreads,
Kinderleys,Cunninghams,KinlochJones'sSallywasprobablythe
best.Shetriedtogetholdofthingsbytherightendanyhow.
ShesawthroughHughWhitbreadanyhowtheadmirableHughwhen
Clarissaandtherestwereathisfeet.
"TheWhitbreads?"hecouldhearhersaying."Whoarethe
Whitbreads?Coalmerchants.Respectabletradespeople."
Hughshedetestedforsomereason.Hethoughtofnothingbuthis
ownappearance,shesaid.HeoughttohavebeenaDuke.Hewould
becertaintomarryoneoftheRoyalPrincesses.Andofcourse
Hughhadthemostextraordinary,themostnatural,themostsublime
respectfortheBritisharistocracyofanyhumanbeinghehadever
comeacross.EvenClarissahadtoownthat.Oh,buthewassucha
dear,sounselfish,gaveupshootingtopleasehisoldmother
rememberedhisaunts'birthdays,andsoon.
Sally,todoherjustice,sawthroughallthat.Oneofthethings
herememberedbestwasanargumentoneSundaymorningatBourton
aboutwomen'srights(thatantediluviantopic),whenSallysuddenly
losthertemper,flaredup,andtoldHughthatherepresentedall
thatwasmostdetestableinBritishmiddleclasslife.Shetold
himthatsheconsideredhimresponsibleforthestateof"those
poorgirlsinPiccadilly"Hugh,theperfectgentleman,poorHugh!
neverdidamanlookmorehorrified!Shediditonpurposeshe
saidafterwards(fortheyusedtogettogetherinthevegetable
gardenandcomparenotes)."He'sreadnothing,thoughtnothing,
feltnothing,"hecouldhearhersayinginthatveryemphaticvoice
whichcarriedsomuchfartherthansheknew.Thestableboyshad
morelifeinthemthanHugh,shesaid.Hewasaperfectspecimen
ofthepublicschooltype,shesaid.NocountrybutEnglandcould
haveproducedhim.Shewasreallyspiteful,forsomereason;had
somegrudgeagainsthim.Somethinghadhappenedheforgotwhat
inthesmokingroom.Hehadinsultedherkissedher?Incredible!
NobodybelievedawordagainstHughofcourse.Whocould?Kissing
Sallyinthesmokingroom!IfithadbeensomeHonourableEdithor
LadyViolet,perhaps;butnotthatragamuffinSallywithoutapenny
tohername,andafatheroramothergamblingatMonteCarlo.For
ofallthepeoplehehadevermetHughwasthegreatestsnobthe
mostobsequiousno,hedidn'tcringeexactly.Hewastoomuchof
aprigforthat.Afirstratevaletwastheobviouscomparison
somebodywhowalkedbehindcarryingsuitcases;couldbetrustedto
sendtelegramsindispensabletohostesses.Andhe'dfoundhis
jobmarriedhisHonourableEvelyn;gotsomelittlepostatCourt,
lookedaftertheKing'scellars,polishedtheImperialshoebuckles,
wentaboutinkneebreechesandlaceruffles.How
remorselesslifeis!AlittlejobatCourt!
Hehadmarriedthislady,theHonourableEvelyn,andtheylived
hereabouts,sohethought(lookingatthepompoushouses
overlookingthePark),forhehadlunchedthereonceinahouse
whichhad,likeallHugh'spossessions,somethingthatnoother
housecouldpossiblyhavelinencupboardsitmighthavebeen.You
hadtogoandlookatthemyouhadtospendagreatdealoftime
alwaysadmiringwhateveritwaslinencupboards,pillowcases,old
oakfurniture,pictures,whichHughhadpickedupforanoldsong.
ButMrs.Hughsometimesgavetheshowaway.Shewasoneofthose
obscuremouselikelittlewomenwhoadmirebigmen.Shewas
almostnegligible.Thensuddenlyshewouldsaysomethingquite
unexpectedsomethingsharp.Shehadtherelicsofthegrand
mannerperhaps.Thesteamcoalwasalittletoostrongforherit
madetheatmospherethick.Andsotheretheylived,withtheir
linencupboardsandtheiroldmastersandtheirpillowcases
fringedwithreallaceattherateoffiveortenthousandayear
presumably,whilehe,whowastwoyearsolderthanHugh,cadgedfor
ajob.
Atfiftythreehehadtocomeandaskthemtoputhimintosome
secretary'soffice,tofindhimsomeusher'sjobteachinglittle
boysLatin,atthebeckandcallofsomemandarininanoffice,
somethingthatbroughtinfivehundredayear;forifhemarried
Daisy,evenwithhispension,theycouldneverdoonless.
Whitbreadcoulddoitpresumably;orDalloway.Hedidn'tmindwhat
heaskedDalloway.Hewasathoroughgoodsort;abitlimited;a
bitthickinthehead;yes;butathoroughgoodsort.Whateverhe
tookuphedidinthesamematteroffactsensibleway;withouta
touchofimagination,withoutasparkofbrilliancy,butwiththe
inexplicablenicenessofhistype.Heoughttohavebeenacountry
gentlemanhewaswastedonpolitics.Hewasathisbestoutof
doors,withhorsesanddogshowgoodhewas,forinstance,when
thatgreatshaggydogofClarissa'sgotcaughtinatrapandhad
itspawhalftornoff,andClarissaturnedfaintandDallowaydid
thewholething;bandaged,madesplints;toldClarissanottobea
fool.Thatwaswhatshelikedhimforperhapsthatwaswhatshe
needed."Now,mydear,don'tbeafool.Holdthisfetchthat,"
allthetimetalkingtothedogasifitwereahumanbeing.
Buthowcouldsheswallowallthatstuffaboutpoetry?Howcould
shelethimholdforthaboutShakespeare?Seriouslyandsolemnly
RichardDallowaygotonhishindlegsandsaidthatnodecentman
oughttoreadShakespeare'ssonnetsbecauseitwaslikelistening
atkeyholes(besidestherelationshipwasnotonethathe
approved).Nodecentmanoughttolethiswifevisitadeceased
wife'ssister.Incredible!Theonlythingtodowastopelthim
withsugaredalmondsitwasatdinner.ButClarissasuckeditall
in;thoughtitsohonestofhim;soindependentofhim;Heaven
knowsifshedidn'tthinkhimthemostoriginalmindshe'dever
met!
ThatwasoneofthebondsbetweenSallyandhimself.Therewasa
gardenwheretheyusedtowalk,awalledinplace,withrosebushes
andgiantcauliflowershecouldrememberSallytearingoffarose,
stoppingtoexclaimatthebeautyofthecabbageleavesinthe
moonlight(itwasextraordinaryhowvividlyitallcamebackto
him,thingshehadn'tthoughtofforyears,)whilesheimplored
him,halflaughingofcourse,tocarryoffClarissa,tosaveher
fromtheHughsandtheDallowaysandalltheother"perfect
gentlemen"whowould"stiflehersoul"(shewrotereamsofpoetry
inthosedays),makeamerehostessofher,encourageher
worldliness.ButonemustdoClarissajustice.Shewasn'tgoing
tomarryHughanyhow.Shehadaperfectlyclearnotionofwhatshe
wanted.Heremotionswereallonthesurface.Beneath,shewas
veryshrewdafarbetterjudgeofcharacterthanSally,for
instance,andwithitall,purelyfeminine;withthatextraordinary
gift,thatwoman'sgift,ofmakingaworldofherownwherevershe
happenedtobe.Shecameintoaroom;shestood,ashehadoften
seenher,inadoorwaywithlotsofpeopleroundher.Butitwas
Clarissaoneremembered.Notthatshewasstriking;notbeautiful
atall;therewasnothingpicturesqueabouther;sheneversaid
anythingspeciallyclever;thereshewas,however;thereshewas.
No,no,no!Hewasnotinlovewithheranymore!Heonlyfelt,
afterseeingherthatmorning,amongherscissorsandsilks,making
readyfortheparty,unabletogetawayfromthethoughtofher;
shekeptcomingbackandbacklikeasleeperjoltingagainsthimin
arailwaycarriage;whichwasnotbeinginlove,ofcourse;itwas
thinkingofher,criticisingher,startingagain,afterthirty
years,tryingtoexplainher.Theobviousthingtosayofherwas
thatshewasworldly;caredtoomuchforrankandsocietyand
gettingonintheworldwhichwastrueinasense;shehad
admittedittohim.(Youcouldalwaysgethertoownupifyou
tookthetrouble;shewashonest.)Whatshewouldsaywasthatshe
hatedfrumps,fogies,failures,likehimselfpresumably;thought
peoplehadnorighttoslouchaboutwiththeirhandsintheir
pockets;mustdosomething,besomething;andthesegreatswells,
theseDuchesses,thesehoaryoldCountessesonemetinherdrawingroom,
unspeakablyremoteashefeltthemtobefromanythingthat
matteredastraw,stoodforsomethingrealtoher.Lady
Bexborough,shesaidonce,heldherselfupright(sodidClarissa
herself;sheneverloungedinanysenseoftheword;shewas
straightasadart,alittlerigidinfact).Shesaidtheyhada
kindofcouragewhichtheoldershegrewthemoresherespected.
InallthistherewasagreatdealofDalloway,ofcourse;agreat
dealofthepublicspirited,BritishEmpire,tariffreform,
governingclassspirit,whichhadgrownonher,asittendstodo.
Withtwicehiswits,shehadtoseethingsthroughhiseyesoneof
thetragediesofmarriedlife.Withamindofherown,shemust
alwaysbequotingRichardasifonecouldn'tknowtoatittlewhat
RichardthoughtbyreadingtheMorningPostofamorning!These
partiesforexamplewereallforhim,orforherideaofhim(todo
RichardjusticehewouldhavebeenhappierfarminginNorfolk).
Shemadeherdrawingroomasortofmeetingplace;shehadagenius
forit.Overandoveragainhehadseenhertakesomerawyouth,
twisthim,turnhim,wakehimup;sethimgoing.Infinitenumbers
ofdullpeopleconglomeratedroundherofcourse.Butodd
unexpectedpeopleturnedup;anartistsometimes;sometimesa
writer;queerfishinthatatmosphere.Andbehinditallwasthat
networkofvisiting,leavingcards,beingkindtopeople;running
aboutwithbunchesofflowers,littlepresents;Soandsowasgoing
toFrancemusthaveanaircushion;arealdrainonherstrength;
allthatinterminabletrafficthatwomenofhersortkeepup;but
shediditgenuinely,fromanaturalinstinct.
Oddlyenough,shewasoneofthemostthoroughgoingscepticshehad
evermet,andpossibly(thiswasatheoryheusedtomakeupto
accountforher,sotransparentinsomeways,soinscrutablein
others),possiblyshesaidtoherself,Asweareadoomedrace,
chainedtoasinkingship(herfavouritereadingasagirlwas
HuxleyandTyndall,andtheywerefondofthesenautical
metaphors),asthewholethingisabadjoke,letus,atanyrate,
doourpart;mitigatethesufferingsofourfellowprisoners
(Huxleyagain);decoratethedungeonwithflowersandaircushions;
beasdecentaswepossiblycan.Thoseruffians,theGods,shan't
haveitalltheirownway,hernotionbeingthattheGods,who
neverlostachanceofhurting,thwartingandspoilinghumanlives
wereseriouslyputoutif,allthesame,youbehavedlikealady.
ThatphasecamedirectlyafterSylvia'sdeaththathorrible
affair.Toseeyourownsisterkilledbyafallingtree(all
JustinParry'sfaultallhiscarelessness)beforeyourveryeyes,
agirltooonthevergeoflife,themostgiftedofthem,Clarissa
alwayssaid,wasenoughtoturnonebitter.Latershewasn'tso
positiveperhaps;shethoughttherewerenoGods;noonewasto
blame;andsosheevolvedthisatheist'sreligionofdoinggoodfor
thesakeofgoodness.
Andofcoursesheenjoyedlifeimmensely.Itwashernatureto
enjoy(thoughgoodnessonlyknows,shehadherreserves;itwasa
meresketch,heoftenfelt,thatevenhe,afteralltheseyears,
couldmakeofClarissa).Anyhowtherewasnobitternessinher;
noneofthatsenseofmoralvirtuewhichissorepulsiveingood
women.Sheenjoyedpracticallyeverything.Ifyouwalkedwithher
inHydeParknowitwasabedoftulips,nowachildina
perambulator,nowsomeabsurdlittledramashemadeuponthespur
ofthemoment.(Verylikely,shewouldhavetalkedtothose
lovers,ifshehadthoughtthemunhappy.)Shehadasenseof
comedythatwasreallyexquisite,butsheneededpeople,always
people,tobringitout,withtheinevitableresultthatshe
fritteredhertimeaway,lunching,dining,givingtheseincessant
partiesofhers,talkingnonsense,sayingsthingsshedidn'tmean,
bluntingtheedgeofhermind,losingherdiscrimination.There
shewouldsitattheheadofthetabletakinginfinitepainswith
someoldbufferwhomightbeusefultoDallowaytheyknewthemost
appallingboresinEuropeorincameElizabethandeverythingmust
givewaytoHER.ShewasataHighSchool,attheinarticulate
stagelasttimehewasover,aroundeyed,palefacedgirl,with
nothingofhermotherinher,asilentstolidcreature,whotookit
allasamatterofcourse,lethermothermakeafussofher,and
thensaid"MayIgonow?"likeachildoffour;goingoff,Clarissa
explained,withthatmixtureofamusementandpridewhichDalloway
himselfseemedtorouseinher,toplayhockey.AndnowElizabeth
was"out,"presumably;thoughthimanoldfogy,laughedather
mother'sfriends.Ahwell,sobeit.Thecompensationofgrowing
old,PeterWalshthought,comingoutofRegent'sPark,andholding
hishatinhand,wassimplythis;thatthepassionsremainas
strongasever,butonehasgainedatlast!thepowerwhichadds
thesupremeflavourtoexistence,thepoweroftakingholdof
experience,ofturningitround,slowly,inthelight.
Aterribleconfessionitwas(heputhishatonagain),butnow,at
theageoffiftythreeonescarcelyneededpeopleanymore.Life
itself,everymomentofit,everydropofit,here,thisinstant,
now,inthesun,inRegent'sPark,wasenough.Toomuchindeed.A
wholelifetimewastooshorttobringout,nowthatonehad
acquiredthepower,thefullflavour;toextracteveryounceof
pleasure,everyshadeofmeaning;whichbothweresomuchmore
solidthantheyusedtobe,somuchlesspersonal.Itwas
impossiblethatheshouldeversufferagainasClarissahadmade
himsuffer.Forhoursatatime(prayGodthatonemightsaythese
thingswithoutbeingoverheard!),forhoursanddayshenever
thoughtofDaisy.
Coulditbethathewasinlovewithherthen,rememberingthe
misery,thetorture,theextraordinarypassionofthosedays?It
wasadifferentthingaltogetheramuchpleasanterthingthe
truthbeing,ofcourse,thatnowSHEwasinlovewithHIM.And
thatperhapswasthereasonwhy,whentheshipactuallysailed,he
feltanextraordinaryrelief,wantednothingsomuchastobe
alone;wasannoyedtofindallherlittleattentionscigars,
notes,arugforthevoyageinhiscabin.Everyoneiftheywere
honestwouldsaythesame;onedoesn'twantpeopleafterfifty;one
doesn'twanttogoontellingwomentheyarepretty;that'swhat
mostmenoffiftywouldsay,PeterWalshthought,iftheywere
honest.
Butthentheseastonishingaccessesofemotionburstingintotears
thismorning,whatwasallthatabout?WhatcouldClarissahave
thoughtofhim?thoughthimafoolpresumably,notforthefirst
time.Itwasjealousythatwasatthebottomofitjealousywhich
surviveseveryotherpassionofmankind,PeterWalshthought,
holdinghispocketknifeatarm'slength.Shehadbeenmeeting
MajorOrde,Daisysaidinherlastletter;saiditonpurposehe
knew;saidittomakehimjealous;hecouldseeherwrinklingher
foreheadasshewrote,wonderingwhatshecouldsaytohurthim;
andyetitmadenodifference;hewasfurious!Allthispotherof
comingtoEnglandandseeinglawyerswasn'ttomarryher,butto
preventherfrommarryinganybodyelse.Thatwaswhattortured
him,thatwaswhatcameoverhimwhenhesawClarissasocalm,so
cold,sointentonherdressorwhateveritwas;realisingwhatshe
mighthavesparedhim,whatshehadreducedhimtoawhimpering,
snivellingoldass.Butwomen,hethought,shuttinghispocketknife,
don'tknowwhatpassionis.Theydon'tknowthemeaningof
ittomen.Clarissawasascoldasanicicle.Thereshewouldsit
onthesofabyhisside,lethimtakeherhand,givehimonekiss
Herehewasatthecrossing.
Asoundinterruptedhim;afrailquiveringsound,avoicebubbling
upwithoutdirection,vigour,beginningorend,runningweaklyand
shrillyandwithanabsenceofallhumanmeaninginto
eeumfahumso
foosweetooeemoo
thevoiceofnoageorsex,thevoiceofanancientspringspouting
fromtheearth;whichissued,justoppositeRegent'sParkTube
stationfromatallquiveringshape,likeafunnel,likearusty
pump,likeawindbeatentreeforeverbarrenofleaveswhichlets
thewindrunupanddownitsbranchessinging
eeumfahumso
foosweetooeemoo
androcksandcreaksandmoansintheeternalbreeze.
Throughallageswhenthepavementwasgrass,whenitwasswamp,
throughtheageoftuskandmammoth,throughtheageofsilent
sunrise,thebatteredwomanforsheworeaskirtwithherright
handexposed,herleftclutchingatherside,stoodsingingof
lovelovewhichhaslastedamillionyears,shesang,lovewhich
prevails,andmillionsofyearsago,herlover,whohadbeendead
thesecenturies,hadwalked,shecrooned,withherinMay;butin
thecourseofages,longassummerdays,andflaming,she
remembered,withnothingbutredasters,hehadgone;death's
enormoussicklehadsweptthosetremendoushills,andwhenatlast
shelaidherhoaryandimmenselyagedheadontheearth,nowbecome
amerecinderofice,sheimploredtheGodstolaybyhersidea
bunchofpurpleheather,thereonherhighburialplacewhichthe
lastraysofthelastsuncaressed;forthenthepageantofthe
universewouldbeover.
AstheancientsongbubbledupoppositeRegent'sParkTubestation
stilltheearthseemedgreenandflowery;still,thoughitissued
fromsorudeamouth,amereholeintheearth,muddytoo,matted
withrootfibresandtangledgrasses,stilltheoldbubbling
burblingsong,soakingthroughtheknottedrootsofinfiniteages,
andskeletonsandtreasure,streamedawayinrivuletsoverthe
pavementandallalongtheMaryleboneRoad,anddowntowards
Euston,fertilising,leavingadampstain.
StillrememberinghowonceinsomeprimevalMayshehadwalkedwith
herlover,thisrustypump,thisbatteredoldwomanwithonehand
exposedforcopperstheotherclutchingherside,wouldstillbe
thereintenmillionyears,rememberinghowonceshehadwalkedin
May,wheretheseaflowsnow,withwhomitdidnotmatterhewasa
man,ohyes,amanwhohadlovedher.Butthepassageofageshad
blurredtheclarityofthatancientMayday;thebrightpetalled
flowerswerehoarandsilverfrosted;andshenolongersaw,when
sheimploredhim(asshedidnowquiteclearly)"lookinmyeyes
withthysweeteyesintently,"shenolongersawbrowneyes,black
whiskersorsunburntfacebutonlyaloomingshape,ashadowshape,
towhich,withthebirdlikefreshnessoftheveryagedshestill
twittered"givemeyourhandandletmepressitgently"(Peter
Walshcouldn'thelpgivingthepoorcreatureacoinashestepped
intohistaxi),"andifsomeoneshouldsee,whatmatterthey?"she
demanded;andherfistclutchedatherside,andshesmiled,
pocketinghershilling,andallpeeringinquisitiveeyesseemed
blottedout,andthepassinggenerationsthepavementwascrowded
withbustlingmiddleclasspeoplevanished,likeleaves,tobe
troddenunder,tobesoakedandsteepedandmademouldofbythat
eternalspring
eeumfahumso
foosweetooeemoo
"Pooroldwoman,"saidReziaWarrenSmith,waitingtocross.
Ohpooroldwretch!
Supposeitwasawetnight?Supposeone'sfather,orsomebodywho
hadknownoneinbetterdayshadhappenedtopass,andsawone
standingthereinthegutter?Andwheredidshesleepatnight?
Cheerfully,almostgaily,theinvinciblethreadofsoundwoundup
intotheairlikethesmokefromacottagechimney,windingup
cleanbeechtreesandissuinginatuftofbluesmokeamongthe
topmostleaves."Andifsomeoneshouldsee,whatmatterthey?"
Sinceshewassounhappy,forweeksandweeksnow,Reziahadgiven
meaningstothingsthathappened,almostfeltsometimesthatshe
muststoppeopleinthestreet,iftheylookedgood,kindpeople,
justtosaytothem"Iamunhappy";andthisoldwomansingingin
thestreet"ifsomeoneshouldsee,whatmatterthey?"madeher
suddenlyquitesurethateverythingwasgoingtoberight.They
weregoingtoSirWilliamBradshaw;shethoughthisnamesounded
nice;hewouldcureSeptimusatonce.Andthentherewasa
brewer'scart,andthegreyhorseshaduprightbristlesofstrawin
theirtails;therewerenewspaperplacards.Itwasasilly,silly
dream,beingunhappy.
Sotheycrossed,Mr.andMrs.SeptimusWarrenSmith,andwasthere,
afterall,anythingtodrawattentiontothem,anythingtomakea
passerbysuspecthereisayoungmanwhocarriesinhimthe
greatestmessageintheworld,andis,moreover,thehappiestman
intheworld,andthemostmiserable?Perhapstheywalkedmore
slowlythanotherpeople,andtherewassomethinghesitating,
trailing,intheman'swalk,butwhatmorenaturalforaclerk,who
hasnotbeenintheWestEndonaweekdayatthishourforyears,
thantokeeplookingatthesky,lookingatthis,thatandthe
other,asifPortlandPlacewerearoomhehadcomeintowhenthe
familyareaway,thechandeliersbeinghunginhollandbags,and
thecaretaker,assheletsinlongshaftsofdustylightupon
deserted,queerlookingarmchairs,liftingonecornerofthelong
blinds,explainstothevisitorswhatawonderfulplaceitis;how
wonderful,butatthesametime,hethinks,ashelooksatchairs
andtables,howstrange.
Tolookat,hemighthavebeenaclerk,butofthebettersort;for
heworebrownboots;hishandswereeducated;so,too,hisprofile
hisangular,bignosed,intelligent,sensitiveprofile;butnot
hislipsaltogether,fortheywereloose;andhiseyes(aseyes
tendtobe),eyesmerely;hazel,large;sothathewas,onthe
whole,abordercase,neitheronethingnortheother,mightend
withahouseatPurleyandamotorcar,orcontinuerenting
apartmentsinbackstreetsallhislife;oneofthosehalfeducated,
selfeducatedmenwhoseeducationisalllearntfrom
booksborrowedfrompubliclibraries,readintheeveningafterthe
day'swork,ontheadviceofwellknownauthorsconsultedby
letter.
Asfortheotherexperiences,thesolitaryones,whichpeoplego
throughalone,intheirbedrooms,intheiroffices,walkingthe
fieldsandthestreetsofLondon,hehadthem;hadlefthome,a
mereboy,becauseofhismother;shelied;becausehecamedownto
teaforthefiftiethtimewithhishandsunwashed;becausehecould
seenofutureforapoetinStroud;andso,makingaconfidantof
hislittlesister,hadgonetoLondonleavinganabsurdnotebehind
him,suchasgreatmenhavewritten,andtheworldhasreadlater
whenthestoryoftheirstruggleshasbecomefamous.
LondonhasswallowedupmanymillionsofyoungmencalledSmith;
thoughtnothingoffantasticChristiannameslikeSeptimuswith
whichtheirparentshavethoughttodistinguishthem.Lodgingoff
theEustonRoad,therewereexperiences,againexperiences,suchas
changeafaceintwoyearsfromapinkinnocentovaltoaface
lean,contracted,hostile.Butofallthiswhatcouldthemost
observantoffriendshavesaidexceptwhatagardenersayswhenhe
openstheconservatorydoorinthemorningandfindsanewblossom
onhisplant:Ithasflowered;floweredfromvanity,ambition,
idealism,passion,loneliness,courage,laziness,theusualseeds,
whichallmuddledup(inaroomofftheEustonRoad),madehimshy,
andstammering,madehimanxioustoimprovehimself,madehimfall
inlovewithMissIsabelPole,lecturingintheWaterlooRoadupon
Shakespeare.
WashenotlikeKeats?sheasked;andreflectedhowshemightgive
himatasteofAntonyandCleopatraandtherest;lenthimbooks;
wrotehimscrapsofletters;andlitinhimsuchafireasburns
onlyonceinalifetime,withoutheat,flickeringaredgoldflame
infinitelyetherealandinsubstantialoverMissPole;Antonyand
Cleopatra;andtheWaterlooRoad.Hethoughtherbeautiful,
believedherimpeccablywise;dreamedofher,wrotepoemstoher,
which,ignoringthesubject,shecorrectedinredink;hesawher,
onesummerevening,walkinginagreendressinasquare."Ithas
flowered,"thegardenermighthavesaid,hadheopenedthedoor;
hadhecomein,thatistosay,anynightaboutthistime,and
foundhimwriting;foundhimtearinguphiswriting;foundhim
finishingamasterpieceatthreeo'clockinthemorningandrunning
outtopacethestreets,andvisitingchurches,andfastingone
day,drinkinganother,devouringShakespeare,Darwin,TheHistory
ofCivilisation,andBernardShaw.
Somethingwasup,Mr.Brewerknew;Mr.Brewer,managingclerkat
SibleysandArrowsmiths,auctioneers,valuers,landandestate
agents;somethingwasup,hethought,and,beingpaternalwithhis
youngmen,andthinkingveryhighlyofSmith'sabilities,and
prophesyingthathewould,intenorfifteenyears,succeedtothe
leatherarmchairintheinnerroomundertheskylightwiththe
deedboxesroundhim,"ifhekeepshishealth,"saidMr.Brewer,
andthatwasthedangerhelookedweakly;advisedfootball,
invitedhimtosupperandwasseeinghiswaytoconsider
recommendingariseofsalary,whensomethinghappenedwhichthrew
outmanyofMr.Brewer'scalculations,tookawayhisablestyoung
fellows,andeventually,sopryingandinsidiouswerethefingers
oftheEuropeanWar,smashedaplastercastofCeres,plougheda
holeinthegeraniumbeds,andutterlyruinedthecook'snervesat
Mr.Brewer'sestablishmentatMuswellHill.
Septimuswasoneofthefirsttovolunteer.HewenttoFranceto
saveanEnglandwhichconsistedalmostentirelyofShakespeare's
playsandMissIsabelPoleinagreendresswalkinginasquare.
ThereinthetrenchesthechangewhichMr.Brewerdesiredwhenhe
advisedfootballwasproducedinstantly;hedevelopedmanliness;he
waspromoted;hedrewtheattention,indeedtheaffectionofhis
officer,Evansbyname.Itwasacaseoftwodogsplayingona
hearthrug;oneworryingapaperscrew,snarling,snapping,giving
apinch,nowandthen,attheolddog'sear;theotherlying
somnolent,blinkingatthefire,raisingapaw,turningand
growlinggoodtemperedly.Theyhadtobetogether,sharewitheach
other,fightwitheachother,quarrelwitheachother.Butwhen
Evans(Reziawhohadonlyseenhimoncecalledhim"aquietman,"a
sturdyredhairedman,undemonstrativeinthecompanyofwomen),
whenEvanswaskilled,justbeforetheArmistice,inItaly,
Septimus,farfromshowinganyemotionorrecognisingthatherewas
theendofafriendship,congratulatedhimselfuponfeelingvery
littleandveryreasonably.TheWarhadtaughthim.Itwas
sublime.Hehadgonethroughthewholeshow,friendship,European
War,death,hadwonpromotion,wasstillunderthirtyandwasbound
tosurvive.Hewasrightthere.Thelastshellsmissedhim.He
watchedthemexplodewithindifference.Whenpeacecamehewasin
Milan,billetedinthehouseofaninnkeeperwithacourtyard,
flowersintubs,littletablesintheopen,daughtersmakinghats,
andtoLucrezia,theyoungerdaughter,hebecameengagedone
eveningwhenthepanicwasonhimthathecouldnotfeel.
Fornowthatitwasallover,trucesigned,andthedeadburied,he
had,especiallyintheevening,thesesuddenthunderclapsoffear.
Hecouldnotfeel.Asheopenedthedooroftheroomwherethe
Italiangirlssatmakinghats,hecouldseethem;couldhearthem;
theywererubbingwiresamongcolouredbeadsinsaucers;theywere
turningbuckramshapesthiswayandthat;thetablewasallstrewn
withfeathers,spangles,silks,ribbons;scissorswererappingon
thetable;butsomethingfailedhim;hecouldnotfeel.Still,
scissorsrapping,girlslaughing,hatsbeingmadeprotectedhim;he
wasassuredofsafety;hehadarefuge.Buthecouldnotsitthere
allnight.Thereweremomentsofwakingintheearlymorning.The
bedwasfalling;hewasfalling.Ohforthescissorsandthe
lamplightandthebuckramshapes!HeaskedLucreziatomarryhim,
theyoungerofthetwo,thegay,thefrivolous,withthoselittle
artist'sfingersthatshewouldholdupandsay"Itisallin
them."Silk,feathers,whatnotwerealivetothem.
"Itisthehatthatmattersmost,"shewouldsay,whentheywalked
outtogether.Everyhatthatpassed,shewouldexamine;andthe
cloakandthedressandthewaythewomanheldherself.Illdressing,
overdressingshestigmatised,notsavagely,ratherwith
impatientmovementsofthehands,likethoseofapainterwhoputs
fromhimsomeobviouswellmeantglaringimposture;andthen,
generously,butalwayscritically,shewouldwelcomeashopgirlwho
hadturnedherlittlebitofstuffgallantly,orpraise,wholly,
withenthusiasticandprofessionalunderstanding,aFrenchlady
descendingfromhercarriage,inchinchilla,robes,pearls.
"Beautiful!"shewouldmurmur,nudgingSeptimus,thathemightsee.
Butbeautywasbehindapaneofglass.Eventaste(Rezialiked
ices,chocolates,sweetthings)hadnorelishtohim.Heputdown
hiscuponthelittlemarbletable.Helookedatpeopleoutside;
happytheyseemed,collectinginthemiddleofthestreet,
shouting,laughing,squabblingovernothing.Buthecouldnot
taste,hecouldnotfeel.Intheteashopamongthetablesandthe
chatteringwaiterstheappallingfearcameoverhimhecouldnot
feel.Hecouldreason;hecouldread,Danteforexample,quite
easily("Septimus,doputdownyourbook,"saidRezia,gently
shuttingtheInferno),hecouldadduphisbill;hisbrainwas
perfect;itmustbethefaultoftheworldthenthathecouldnot
feel.
"TheEnglisharesosilent,"Reziasaid.Shelikedit,shesaid.
SherespectedtheseEnglishmen,andwantedtoseeLondon,andthe
Englishhorses,andthetailormadesuits,andcouldremember
hearinghowwonderfultheshopswere,fromanAuntwhohadmarried
andlivedinSoho.
Itmightbepossible,Septimusthought,lookingatEnglandfromthe
trainwindow,astheyleftNewhaven;itmightbepossiblethatthe
worlditselfiswithoutmeaning.
Attheofficetheyadvancedhimtoapostofconsiderable
responsibility.Theywereproudofhim;hehadwoncrosses."You
havedoneyourduty;itisuptous"beganMr.Brewer;andcould
notfinish,sopleasurablewashisemotion.Theytookadmirable
lodgingsofftheTottenhamCourtRoad.
HereheopenedShakespeareoncemore.Thatboy'sbusinessofthe
intoxicationoflanguageAntonyandCleopatrahadshrivelled
utterly.HowShakespeareloathedhumanitytheputtingonof
clothes,thegettingofchildren,thesordidityofthemouthand
thebelly!ThiswasnowrevealedtoSeptimus;themessagehidden
inthebeautyofwords.Thesecretsignalwhichonegeneration
passes,underdisguise,tothenextisloathing,hatred,despair.
Dantethesame.Aeschylus(translated)thesame.ThereReziasat
atthetabletrimminghats.ShetrimmedhatsforMrs.Filmer's
friends;shetrimmedhatsbythehour.Shelookedpale,
mysterious,likealily,drowned,underwater,hethought.
"TheEnglisharesoserious,"shewouldsay,puttingherarmsround
Septimus,hercheekagainsthis.
LovebetweenmanandwomanwasrepulsivetoShakespeare.The
businessofcopulationwasfilthtohimbeforetheend.But,Rezia
said,shemusthavechildren.Theyhadbeenmarriedfiveyears.
TheywenttotheTowertogether;totheVictoriaandAlbertMuseum;
stoodinthecrowdtoseetheKingopenParliament.Andtherewere
theshopshatshops,dressshops,shopswithleatherbagsinthe
window,whereshewouldstandstaring.Butshemusthaveaboy.
ShemusthaveasonlikeSeptimus,shesaid.Butnobodycouldbe
likeSeptimus;sogentle;soserious;soclever.Couldshenot
readShakespearetoo?WasShakespeareadifficultauthor?she
asked.
Onecannotbringchildrenintoaworldlikethis.Onecannot
perpetuatesuffering,orincreasethebreedoftheselustful
animals,whohavenolastingemotions,butonlywhimsandvanities,
eddyingthemnowthisway,nowthat.
Hewatchedhersnip,shape,asonewatchesabirdhop,flitinthe
grass,withoutdaringtomoveafinger.Forthetruthis(lether
ignoreit)thathumanbeingshaveneitherkindness,norfaith,nor
charitybeyondwhatservestoincreasethepleasureofthemoment.
Theyhuntinpacks.Theirpacksscourthedesertandvanish
screamingintothewilderness.Theydesertthefallen.Theyare
plasteredoverwithgrimaces.TherewasBrewerattheoffice,with
hiswaxedmoustache,coraltiepin,whiteslip,andpleasurable
emotionsallcoldnessandclamminesswithin,hisgeraniumsruined
intheWarhiscook'snervesdestroyed;orAmeliaWhat'shername,
handingroundcupsofteapunctuallyatfivealeering,sneering
obscenelittleharpy;andtheTomsandBertiesintheirstarched
shirtfrontsoozingthickdropsofvice.Theyneversawhim
drawingpicturesofthemnakedattheiranticsinhisnotebook.In
thestreet,vansroaredpasthim;brutalityblaredoutonplacards;
menweretrappedinmines;womenburntalive;andonceamaimed
fileoflunaticsbeingexercisedordisplayedforthediversionof
thepopulace(wholaughedaloud),ambledandnoddedandgrinned
pasthim,intheTottenhamCourtRoad,eachhalfapologetically,
yettriumphantly,inflictinghishopelesswoe.AndwouldHEgo
mad?
AtteaReziatoldhimthatMrs.Filmer'sdaughterwasexpectinga
baby.SHEcouldnotgrowoldandhavenochildren!Shewasvery
lonely,shewasveryunhappy!Shecriedforthefirsttimesince
theyweremarried.Farawayheheardhersobbing;heheardit
accurately,henoticeditdistinctly;hecomparedittoapiston
thumping.Buthefeltnothing.
Hiswifewascrying,andhefeltnothing;onlyeachtimeshesobbed
inthisprofound,thissilent,thishopelessway,hedescended
anotherstepintothepit.
Atlast,withamelodramaticgesturewhichheassumedmechanically
andwithcompleteconsciousnessofitsinsincerity,hedroppedhis
headonhishands.Nowhehadsurrendered;nowotherpeoplemust
helphim.Peoplemustbesentfor.Hegavein.
Nothingcouldrousehim.Reziaputhimtobed.Shesentfora
doctorMrs.Filmer'sDr.Holmes.Dr.Holmesexaminedhim.There
wasnothingwhateverthematter,saidDr.Holmes.Oh,whata
relief!Whatakindman,whatagoodman!thoughtRezia.Whenhe
feltlikethathewenttotheMusicHall,saidDr.Holmes.Hetook
adayoffwithhiswifeandplayedgolf.Whynottrytwotabloids
ofbromidedissolvedinaglassofwateratbedtime?Theseold
Bloomsburyhouses,saidDr.Holmes,tappingthewall,areoften
fullofveryfinepanelling,whichthelandlordshavethefollyto
paperover.Onlytheotherday,visitingapatient,SirSomebody
SomethinginBedfordSquare
Sotherewasnoexcuse;nothingwhateverthematter,exceptthesin
forwhichhumannaturehadcondemnedhimtodeath;thathedidnot
feel.HehadnotcaredwhenEvanswaskilled;thatwasworst;but
alltheothercrimesraisedtheirheadsandshooktheirfingersand
jeeredandsneeredovertherailofthebedintheearlyhoursof
themorningattheprostratebodywhichlayrealisingits
degradation;howhehadmarriedhiswifewithoutlovingher;had
liedtoher;seducedher;outragedMissIsabelPole,andwasso
pockedandmarkedwithvicethatwomenshudderedwhentheysawhim
inthestreet.Theverdictofhumannatureonsuchawretchwas
death.
Dr.Holmescameagain.Large,freshcoloured,handsome,flicking
hisboots,lookingintheglass,hebrusheditallaside
headaches,sleeplessness,fears,dreamsnervesymptomsandnothing
more,hesaid.IfDr.Holmesfoundhimselfevenhalfapoundbelow
elevenstonesix,heaskedhiswifeforanotherplateofporridge
atbreakfast.(Reziawouldlearntocookporridge.)But,he
continued,healthislargelyamatterinourowncontrol.Throw
yourselfintooutsideinterests;takeupsomehobby.Heopened
ShakespeareAntonyandCleopatra;pushedShakespeareaside.Some
hobby,saidDr.Holmes,fordidhenotowehisownexcellenthealth
(andheworkedashardasanymaninLondon)tothefactthathe
couldalwaysswitchofffromhispatientsontooldfurniture?And
whataveryprettycomb,ifhemightsayso,Mrs.WarrenSmithwas
wearing!
Whenthedamnedfoolcameagain,Septimusrefusedtoseehim.Did
heindeed?saidDr.Holmes,smilingagreeably.Reallyhehadto
givethatcharminglittlelady,Mrs.Smith,afriendlypushbefore
hecouldgetpastherintoherhusband'sbedroom.
"Soyou'reinafunk,"hesaidagreeably,sittingdownbyhis
patient'sside.Hehadactuallytalkedofkillinghimselftohis
wife,quiteagirl,aforeigner,wasn'tshe?Didn'tthatgiveher
averyoddideaofEnglishhusbands?Didn'toneoweperhapsaduty
toone'swife?Wouldn'titbebettertodosomethinginsteadof
lyinginbed?Forhehadhadfortyyears'experiencebehindhim;
andSeptimuscouldtakeDr.Holmes'swordforittherewasnothing
whateverthematterwithhim.AndnexttimeDr.Holmescamehe
hopedtofindSmithoutofbedandnotmakingthatcharminglittle
ladyhiswifeanxiousabouthim.
Humannature,inshort,wasonhimtherepulsivebrute,withthe
bloodrednostrils.Holmeswasonhim.Dr.Holmescamequite
regularlyeveryday.Onceyoustumble,Septimuswroteontheback
ofapostcard,humannatureisonyou.Holmesisonyou.Their
onlychancewastoescape,withoutlettingHolmesknow;toItaly
anywhere,anywhere,awayfromDr.Holmes.
ButReziacouldnotunderstandhim.Dr.Holmeswassuchakind
man.HewassointerestedinSeptimus.Heonlywantedtohelp
them,hesaid.Hehadfourlittlechildrenandhehadaskedherto
tea,shetoldSeptimus.
Sohewasdeserted.Thewholeworldwasclamouring:Kill
yourself,killyourself,foroursakes.Butwhyshouldhekill
himselffortheirsakes?Foodwaspleasant;thesunhot;andthis
killingoneself,howdoesonesetaboutit,withatableknife,
uglily,withfloodsofblood,bysuckingagaspipe?Hewastoo
weak;hecouldscarcelyraisehishand.Besides,nowthathewas
quitealone,condemned,deserted,asthosewhoareabouttodieare
alone,therewasaluxuryinit,anisolationfullofsublimity;a
freedomwhichtheattachedcanneverknow.Holmeshadwonof
course;thebrutewiththerednostrilshadwon.ButevenHolmes
himselfcouldnottouchthislastrelicstrayingontheedgeofthe
world,thisoutcast,whogazedbackattheinhabitedregions,who
lay,likeadrownedsailor,ontheshoreoftheworld.
Itwasatthatmoment(Reziagoneshopping)thatthegreat
revelationtookplace.Avoicespokefrombehindthescreen.
Evanswasspeaking.Thedeadwerewithhim.
"Evans,Evans!"hecried.
Mr.Smithwastalkingaloudtohimself,Agnestheservantgirl
criedtoMrs.Filmerinthekitchen."Evans,Evans,"hehadsaid
asshebroughtinthetray.Shejumped,shedid.Shescuttled
downstairs.
AndReziacamein,withherflowers,andwalkedacrosstheroom,
andputtherosesinavase,uponwhichthesunstruckdirectly,
anditwentlaughing,leapingroundtheroom.
Shehadhadtobuytheroses,Reziasaid,fromapoormaninthe
street.Buttheywerealmostdeadalready,shesaid,arrangingthe
roses.
Sotherewasamanoutside;Evanspresumably;andtheroses,which
Reziasaidwerehalfdead,hadbeenpickedbyhiminthefieldsof
Greece."Communicationishealth;communicationishappiness,
communication"hemuttered.
"Whatareyousaying,Septimus?"Reziaasked,wildwithterror,for
hewastalkingtohimself.
ShesentAgnesrunningforDr.Holmes.Herhusband,shesaid,was
mad.Hescarcelyknewher.
"Youbrute!Youbrute!"criedSeptimus,seeinghumannature,that
isDr.Holmes,entertheroom.
"Nowwhat'sallthisabout?"saidDr.Holmesinthemostamiable
wayintheworld."Talkingnonsensetofrightenyourwife?"But
hewouldgivehimsomethingtomakehimsleep.Andiftheywere
richpeople,saidDr.Holmes,lookingironicallyroundtheroom,by
allmeansletthemgotoHarleyStreet;iftheyhadnoconfidence
inhim,saidDr.Holmes,lookingnotquitesokind.
Itwaspreciselytwelveo'clock;twelvebyBigBen;whosestroke
waswaftedoverthenorthernpartofLondon;blentwiththatof
otherclocks,mixedinathinetherealwaywiththecloudsand
wispsofsmoke,anddiedupthereamongtheseagullstwelve
o'clockstruckasClarissaDallowaylaidhergreendressonher
bed,andtheWarrenSmithswalkeddownHarleyStreet.Twelvewas
thehouroftheirappointment.Probably,Reziathought,thatwas
SirWilliamBradshaw'shousewiththegreymotorcarinfrontof
it.Theleadencirclesdissolvedintheair.
IndeeditwasSirWilliamBradshaw'smotorcar;low,powerful,
greywithplaininitials'interlockedonthepanel,asifthepomps
ofheraldrywereincongruous,thismanbeingtheghostlyhelper,
thepriestofscience;and,asthemotorcarwasgrey,sotomatch
itssobersuavity,greyfurs,silvergreyrugswereheapedinit,
tokeepherladyshipwarmwhileshewaited.ForoftenSirWilliam
wouldtravelsixtymilesormoredownintothecountrytovisitthe
rich,theafflicted,whocouldaffordtheverylargefeewhichSir
Williamveryproperlychargedforhisadvice.Herladyshipwaited
withtherugsaboutherkneesanhourormore,leaningback,
thinkingsometimesofthepatient,sometimes,excusably,ofthe
wallofgold,mountingminutebyminutewhileshewaited;thewall
ofgoldthatwasmountingbetweenthemandallshiftsandanxieties
(shehadbornethembravely;theyhadhadtheirstruggles)until
shefeltwedgedonacalmocean,whereonlyspicewindsblow;
respected,admired,envied,withscarcelyanythinglefttowish
for,thoughsheregrettedherstoutness;largedinnerpartiesevery
Thursdaynighttotheprofession;anoccasionalbazaartobe
opened;Royaltygreeted;toolittletime,alas,withherhusband,
whoseworkgrewandgrew;aboydoingwellatEton;shewouldhave
likedadaughtertoo;interestsshehad,however,inplenty;child
welfare;theaftercareoftheepileptic,andphotography,sothat
iftherewasachurchbuilding,orachurchdecaying,shebribed
thesexton,gotthekeyandtookphotographs,whichwerescarcely
tobedistinguishedfromtheworkofprofessionals,whileshe
waited.
SirWilliamhimselfwasnolongeryoung.Hehadworkedveryhard;
hehadwonhispositionbysheerability(beingthesonofa
shopkeeper);lovedhisprofession;madeafinefigureheadat
ceremoniesandspokewellallofwhichhadbythetimehewas
knightedgivenhimaheavylook,awearylook(thestreamof
patientsbeingsoincessant,theresponsibilitiesandprivilegesof
hisprofessionsoonerous),whichweariness,togetherwithhisgrey
hairs,increasedtheextraordinarydistinctionofhispresenceand
gavehimthereputation(oftheutmostimportanceindealingwith
nervecases)notmerelyoflightningskill,andalmostinfallible
accuracyindiagnosisbutofsympathy;tact;understandingofthe
humansoul.Hecouldseethefirstmomenttheycameintotheroom
(theWarrenSmithstheywerecalled);hewascertaindirectlyhe
sawtheman;itwasacaseofextremegravity.Itwasacaseof
completebreakdowncompletephysicalandnervousbreakdown,with
everysymptominanadvancedstage,heascertainedintwoorthree
minutes(writinganswerstoquestions,murmureddiscreetly,ona
pinkcard).
HowlonghadDr.Holmesbeenattendinghim?
Sixweeks.
Prescribedalittlebromide?Saidtherewasnothingthematter?
Ahyes(thosegeneralpractitioners!thoughtSirWilliam.Ittook
halfhistimetoundotheirblunders.Somewereirreparable).
"YouservedwithgreatdistinctionintheWar?"
Thepatientrepeatedtheword"war"interrogatively.
Hewasattachingmeaningstowordsofasymbolicalkind.Aserious
symptom,tobenotedonthecard.
"TheWar?"thepatientasked.TheEuropeanWarthatlittleshindy
ofschoolboyswithgunpowder?Hadheservedwithdistinction?He
reallyforgot.IntheWaritselfhehadfailed.
"Yes,heservedwiththegreatestdistinction,"Reziaassuredthe
doctor;"hewaspromoted."
"Andtheyhavetheveryhighestopinionofyouatyouroffice?"Sir
Williammurmured,glancingatMr.Brewer'sverygenerouslyworded
letter."Sothatyouhavenothingtoworryyou,nofinancial
anxiety,nothing?"
Hehadcommittedanappallingcrimeandbeencondemnedtodeathby
humannature.
"IhaveIhave,"hebegan,"committedacrime"
"Hehasdonenothingwrongwhatever,"Reziaassuredthedoctor.If
Mr.Smithwouldwait,saidSirWilliam,hewouldspeaktoMrs.
Smithinthenextroom.Herhusbandwasveryseriouslyill,Sir
Williamsaid.Didhethreatentokillhimself?
Oh,hedid,shecried.Buthedidnotmeanit,shesaid.Of
coursenot.Itwasmerelyaquestionofrest,saidSirWilliam;of
rest,rest,rest;alongrestinbed.Therewasadelightfulhome
downinthecountrywhereherhusbandwouldbeperfectlylooked
after.Awayfromher?sheasked.Unfortunately,yes;thepeople
wecareformostarenotgoodforuswhenweareill.Buthewas
notmad,washe?SirWilliamsaidheneverspokeof"madness";he
calleditnothavingasenseofproportion.Butherhusbanddid
notlikedoctors.Hewouldrefusetogothere.Shortlyandkindly
SirWilliamexplainedtoherthestateofthecase.Hehad
threatenedtokillhimself.Therewasnoalternative.Itwasa
questionoflaw.Hewouldlieinbedinabeautifulhouseinthe
country.Thenurseswereadmirable.SirWilliamwouldvisithim
onceaweek.IfMrs.WarrenSmithwasquitesureshehadnomore
questionstoaskheneverhurriedhispatientstheywouldreturn
toherhusband.ShehadnothingmoretoasknotofSirWilliam.
Sotheyreturnedtothemostexaltedofmankind;thecriminalwho
facedhisjudges;thevictimexposedontheheights;thefugitive;
thedrownedsailor;thepoetoftheimmortalode;theLordwhohad
gonefromlifetodeath;toSeptimusWarrenSmith,whosatinthe
armchairundertheskylightstaringataphotographofLady
BradshawinCourtdress,mutteringmessagesaboutbeauty.
"Wehavehadourlittletalk,"saidSirWilliam.
"Hesaysyouarevery,veryill,"Reziacried.
"Wehavebeenarrangingthatyoushouldgointoahome,"saidSir
William.
"OneofHolmes'shomes?"sneeredSeptimus.
Thefellowmadeadistastefulimpression.FortherewasinSir
William,whosefatherhadbeenatradesman,anaturalrespectfor
breedingandclothing,whichshabbinessnettled;again,more
profoundly,therewasinSirWilliam,whohadneverhadtimefor
reading,agrudge,deeplyburied,againstcultivatedpeoplewho
cameintohisroomandintimatedthatdoctors,whoseprofessionis
aconstantstrainuponallthehighestfaculties,arenoteducated
men.
"OneofMYhomes,Mr.WarrenSmith,"hesaid,"wherewewillteach
youtorest."
Andtherewasjustonethingmore.
HewasquitecertainthatwhenMr.WarrenSmithwaswellhewasthe
lastmanintheworldtofrightenhiswife.Buthehadtalkedof
killinghimself.
"Weallhaveourmomentsofdepression,"saidSirWilliam.
Onceyoufall,Septimusrepeatedtohimself,humannatureison
you.HolmesandBradshawareonyou.Theyscourthedesert.They
flyscreamingintothewilderness.Therackandthethumbscreware
applied.Humannatureisremorseless.
"Impulsescameuponhimsometimes?"SirWilliamasked,withhis
pencilonapinkcard.
Thatwashisownaffair,saidSeptimus.
"Nobodylivesforhimselfalone,"saidSirWilliam,glancingatthe
photographofhiswifeinCourtdress.
"Andyouhaveabrilliantcareerbeforeyou,"saidSirWilliam.
TherewasMr.Brewer'sletteronthetable."Anexceptionally
brilliantcareer."
Butifheconfessed?Ifhecommunicated?Wouldtheylethimoff
then,historturers?
"II"hestammered.
Butwhatwashiscrime?Hecouldnotrememberit.
"Yes?"SirWilliamencouragedhim.(Butitwasgrowinglate.)
Love,trees,thereisnocrimewhatwashismessage?
Hecouldnotrememberit.
"II"Septimusstammered.
"Trytothinkaslittleaboutyourselfaspossible,"saidSir
Williamkindly.Really,hewasnotfittobeabout.
Wasthereanythingelsetheywishedtoaskhim?SirWilliamwould
makeallarrangements(hemurmuredtoRezia)andhewouldlether
knowbetweenfiveandsixthateveninghemurmured.
"Trusteverythingtome,"hesaid,anddismissedthem.
Never,neverhadReziafeltsuchagonyinherlife!Shehadasked
forhelpandbeendeserted!Hehadfailedthem!SirWilliam
Bradshawwasnotaniceman.
Theupkeepofthatmotorcaralonemustcosthimquitealot,said
Septimus,whentheygotoutintothestreet.
Sheclungtohisarm.Theyhadbeendeserted.
Butwhatmoredidshewant?
Tohispatientshegavethreequartersofanhour;andifinthis
exactingsciencewhichhastodowithwhat,afterall,weknow
nothingaboutthenervoussystem,thehumanbrainadoctorloses
hissenseofproportion,asadoctorhefails.Healthwemust
have;andhealthisproportion;sothatwhenamancomesintoyour
roomandsaysheisChrist(acommondelusion),andhasamessage,
astheymostlyhave,andthreatens,astheyoftendo,tokill
himself,youinvokeproportion;orderrestinbed;restin
solitude;silenceandrest;restwithoutfriends,withoutbooks,
withoutmessages;sixmonths'rest;untilamanwhowentin
weighingsevenstonesixcomesoutweighingtwelve.
Proportion,divineproportion,SirWilliam'sgoddess,wasacquired
bySirWilliamwalkinghospitals,catchingsalmon,begettingone
soninHarleyStreetbyLadyBradshaw,whocaughtsalmonherself
andtookphotographsscarcelytobedistinguishedfromtheworkof
professionals.Worshippingproportion,SirWilliamnotonly
prosperedhimselfbutmadeEnglandprosper,secludedherlunatics,
forbadechildbirth,penaliseddespair,madeitimpossibleforthe
unfittopropagatetheirviewsuntilthey,too,sharedhissenseof
proportionhis,iftheyweremen,LadyBradshaw'siftheywere
women(sheembroidered,knitted,spentfournightsoutofsevenat
homewithherson),sothatnotonlydidhiscolleaguesrespect
him,hissubordinatesfearhim,butthefriendsandrelationsof
hispatientsfeltforhimthekeenestgratitudeforinsistingthat
thesepropheticChristsandChristesses,whoprophesiedtheendof
theworld,ortheadventofGod,shoulddrinkmilkinbed,asSir
Williamordered;SirWilliamwithhisthirtyyears'experienceof
thesekindsofcases,andhisinfallibleinstinct,thisismadness,
thissense;infact,hissenseofproportion.
ButProportionhasasister,lesssmiling,moreformidable,a
GoddessevennowengagedintheheatandsandsofIndia,themud
andswampofAfrica,thepurlieusofLondon,whereverinshortthe
climateorthedeviltemptsmentofallfromthetruebeliefwhich
isherownisevennowengagedindashingdownshrines,smashing
idols,andsettingupintheirplaceherownsterncountenance.
Conversionishernameandshefeastsonthewillsoftheweakly,
lovingtoimpress,toimpose,adoringherownfeaturesstampedon
thefaceofthepopulace.AtHydeParkCorneronatubshestands
preaching;shroudsherselfinwhiteandwalkspenitentially
disguisedasbrotherlylovethroughfactoriesandparliaments;
offershelp,butdesirespower;smitesoutofherwayroughlythe
dissentient,ordissatisfied;bestowsherblessingonthosewho,
lookingupward,catchsubmissivelyfromhereyesthelightoftheir
own.Thisladytoo(ReziaWarrenSmithdivinedit)hadher
dwellinginSirWilliam'sheart,thoughconcealed,asshemostly
is,undersomeplausibledisguise;somevenerablename;love,duty,
selfsacrifice.Howhewouldworkhowtoiltoraisefunds,
propagatereforms,initiateinstitutions!Butconversion,
fastidiousGoddess,lovesbloodbetterthanbrick,andfeastsmost
subtlyonthehumanwill.Forexample,LadyBradshaw.Fifteen
yearsagoshehadgoneunder.Itwasnothingyoucouldputyour
fingeron;therehadbeennoscene,nosnap;onlytheslowsinking,
waterlogged,ofherwillintohis.Sweetwashersmile,swifther
submission;dinnerinHarleyStreet,numberingeightornine
courses,feedingtenorfifteenguestsoftheprofessionalclasses,
wassmoothandurbane.Onlyastheeveningworeonaveryslight
dulness,oruneasinessperhaps,anervoustwitch,fumble,stumble
andconfusionindicated,whatitwasreallypainfultobelieve
thatthepoorladylied.Once,longago,shehadcaughtsalmon
freely:now,quicktoministertothecravingwhichlither
husband'seyesooililyfordominion,forpower,shecramped,
squeezed,pared,pruned,drewback,peepedthrough;sothatwithout
knowingpreciselywhatmadetheeveningdisagreeable,andcaused
thispressureonthetopofthehead(whichmightwellbeimputed
totheprofessionalconversation,orthefatigueofagreatdoctor
whoselife,LadyBradshawsaid,"isnothisownbuthispatients'")
disagreeableitwas:sothatguests,whentheclockstruckten,
breathedintheairofHarleyStreetevenwithrapture;which
relief,however,wasdeniedtohispatients.
Thereinthegreyroom,withthepicturesonthewall,andthe
valuablefurniture,underthegroundglassskylight,theylearnt
theextentoftheirtransgressions;huddledupinarmchairs,they
watchedhimgothrough,fortheirbenefit,acuriousexercisewith
thearms,whichheshotout,broughtsharplybacktohiship,to
prove(ifthepatientwasobstinate)thatSirWilliamwasmasterof
hisownactions,whichthepatientwasnot.Theresomeweakly
brokedown;sobbed,submitted;others,inspiredbyHeavenknows
whatintemperatemadness,calledSirWilliamtohisfaceadamnable
humbug;questioned,evenmoreimpiously,lifeitself.Whylive?
theydemanded.SirWilliamrepliedthatlifewasgood.Certainly
LadyBradshawinostrichfeathershungoverthemantelpiece,andas
forhisincomeitwasquitetwelvethousandayear.Buttous,
theyprotested,lifehasgivennosuchbounty.Heacquiesced.
Theylackedasenseofproportion.Andperhaps,afterall,there
isnoGod?Heshruggedhisshoulders.Inshort,thislivingor
notlivingisanaffairofourown?Buttheretheyweremistaken.
SirWilliamhadafriendinSurreywheretheytaught,whatSir
Williamfranklyadmittedwasadifficultartasenseof
proportion.Therewere,moreover,familyaffection;honour;
courage;andabrilliantcareer.AllofthesehadinSirWilliama
resolutechampion.Iftheyfailedhim,hehadtosupportpolice
andthegoodofsociety,which,heremarkedveryquietly,would
takecare,downinSurrey,thattheseunsocialimpulses,bredmore
thananythingbythelackofgoodblood,wereheldincontrol.And
thenstoleoutfromherhidingplaceandmountedherthronethat
Goddesswhoselustistooverrideopposition,tostampindelibly
inthesanctuariesofotherstheimageofherself.Naked,
defenceless,theexhausted,thefriendlessreceivedtheimpressof
SirWilliam'swill.Heswooped;hedevoured.Heshutpeopleup.
ItwasthiscombinationofdecisionandhumanitythatendearedSir
Williamsogreatlytotherelationsofhisvictims.
ButReziaWarrenSmithcried,walkingdownHarleyStreet,thatshe
didnotlikethatman.
Shreddingandslicing,dividingandsubdividing,theclocksof
HarleyStreetnibbledattheJuneday,counselledsubmission,
upheldauthority,andpointedoutinchorusthesupremeadvantages
ofasenseofproportion,untilthemoundoftimewassofar
diminishedthatacommercialclock,suspendedaboveashopin
OxfordStreet,announced,geniallyandfraternally,asifitwerea
pleasuretoMessrs.RigbyandLowndestogivetheinformation
gratis,thatitwashalfpastone.
Lookingup,itappearedthateachletteroftheirnamesstoodfor
oneofthehours;subconsciouslyonewasgratefultoRigbyand
LowndesforgivingonetimeratifiedbyGreenwich;andthis
gratitude(soHughWhitbreadruminated,dallyingthereinfrontof
theshopwindow),naturallytooktheformlaterofbuyingoffRigby
andLowndessocksorshoes.Soheruminated.Itwashishabit.
Hedidnotgodeeply.Hebrushedsurfaces;thedeadlanguages,the
living,lifeinConstantinople,Paris,Rome;riding,shooting,
tennis,ithadbeenonce.Themaliciousassertedthathenowkept
guardatBuckinghamPalace,dressedinsilkstockingsandkneebreeches,
overwhatnobodyknew.Buthediditextremely
efficiently.HehadbeenafloatonthecreamofEnglishsociety
forfiftyfiveyears.HehadknownPrimeMinisters.His
affectionswereunderstoodtobedeep.Andifitweretruethathe
hadnottakenpartinanyofthegreatmovementsofthetimeor
heldimportantoffice,oneortwohumblereformsstoodtohis
credit;animprovementinpublicshelterswasone;theprotection
ofowlsinNorfolkanother;servantgirlshadreasontobegrateful
tohim;andhisnameattheendofletterstotheTimes,askingfor
funds,appealingtothepublictoprotect,topreserve,toclearup
litter,toabatesmoke,andstampoutimmoralityinparks,
commandedrespect.
Amagnificentfigurehecuttoo,pausingforamoment(asthesound
ofthehalfhourdiedaway)tolookcritically,magisterially,at
socksandshoes;impeccable,substantial,asifhebeheldtheworld
fromacertaineminence,anddressedtomatch;butrealisedthe
obligationswhichsize,wealth,health,entail,andobserved
punctiliouslyevenwhennotabsolutelynecessary,little
courtesies,oldfashionedceremonieswhichgaveaqualitytohis
manner,somethingtoimitate,somethingtorememberhimby,forhe
wouldneverlunch,forexample,withLadyBruton,whomhehadknown
thesetwentyyears,withoutbringingherinhisoutstretchedhanda
bunchofcarnationsandaskingMissBrush,LadyBruton'ssecretary,
afterherbrotherinSouthAfrica,which,forsomereason,Miss
Brush,deficientthoughshewasineveryattributeoffemalecharm,
somuchresentedthatshesaid"Thankyou,he'sdoingverywellin
SouthAfrica,"when,forhalfadozenyears,hehadbeendoing
badlyinPortsmouth.
LadyBrutonherselfpreferredRichardDalloway,whoarrivedatthe
nextmoment.Indeedtheymetonthedoorstep.
LadyBrutonpreferredRichardDallowayofcourse.Hewasmadeof
muchfinermaterial.Butshewouldn'tletthemrundownherpoor
dearHugh.Shecouldneverforgethiskindnesshehadbeenreally
remarkablykindsheforgotpreciselyuponwhatoccasion.Buthe
hadbeenremarkablykind.Anyhow,thedifferencebetweenoneman
andanotherdoesnotamounttomuch.Shehadneverseenthesense
ofcuttingpeopleup,asClarissaDallowaydidcuttingthemupand
stickingthemtogetheragain;notatanyratewhenonewassixtytwo.
ShetookHugh'scarnationswithherangulargrimsmile.
Therewasnobodyelsecoming,shesaid.Shehadgotthemthereon
falsepretences,tohelpheroutofadifficulty
"Butletuseatfirst,"shesaid.
Andsotherebeganasoundlessandexquisitepassingtoandfro
throughswingdoorsofapronedwhitecappedmaids,handmaidensnot
ofnecessity,butadeptsinamysteryorgranddeceptionpractised
byhostessesinMayfairfromonethirtytotwo,when,withawave
ofthehand,thetrafficceases,andthererisesinsteadthis
profoundillusioninthefirstplaceaboutthefoodhowitisnot
paidfor;andthenthatthetablespreadsitselfvoluntarilywith
glassandsilver,littlemats,saucersofredfruit;filmsofbrown
creammaskturbot;incasserolesseveredchickensswim;coloured,
undomestic,thefireburns;andwiththewineandthecoffee(not
paidfor)risejocundvisionsbeforemusingeyes;gently
speculativeeyes;eyestowhomlifeappearsmusical,mysterious;
eyesnowkindledtoobservegeniallythebeautyofthered
carnationswhichLadyBruton(whosemovementswerealwaysangular)
hadlaidbesideherplate,sothatHughWhitbread,feelingatpeace
withtheentireuniverseandatthesametimecompletelysureof
hisstanding,said,restinghisfork,
"Wouldn'ttheylookcharmingagainstyourlace?"
MissBrushresentedthisfamiliarityintensely.Shethoughthiman
underbredfellow.ShemadeLadyBrutonlaugh.
LadyBrutonraisedthecarnations,holdingthemratherstifflywith
muchthesameattitudewithwhichtheGeneralheldthescrollin
thepicturebehindher;sheremainedfixed,tranced.Whichwasshe
now,theGeneral'sgreatgranddaughter?greatgreatgranddaughter?
RichardDallowayaskedhimself.SirRoderick,SirMiles,
SirTalbotthatwasit.Itwasremarkablehowinthatfamilythe
likenesspersistedinthewomen.Sheshouldhavebeenageneralof
dragoonsherself.AndRichardwouldhaveservedunderher,
cheerfully;hehadthegreatestrespectforher;hecherishedthese
romanticviewsaboutwellsetupoldwomenofpedigree,andwould
haveliked,inhisgoodhumouredway,tobringsomeyounghotheads
ofhisacquaintancetolunchwithher;asifatypelikeherscould
bebredofamiableteadrinkingenthusiasts!Heknewhercountry.
Heknewherpeople.Therewasavine,stillbearing,whicheither
LovelaceorHerricksheneverreadawordpoetryofherself,but
sothestoryranhadsatunder.Betterwaittoputbeforethem
thequestionthatbotheredher(aboutmakinganappealtothe
public;ifso,inwhattermsandsoon),betterwaituntilthey
havehadtheircoffee,LadyBrutonthought;andsolaidthe
carnationsdownbesideherplate.
"How'sClarissa?"sheaskedabruptly.
ClarissaalwayssaidthatLadyBrutondidnotlikeher.Indeed,
LadyBrutonhadthereputationofbeingmoreinterestedinpolitics
thanpeople;oftalkinglikeaman;ofhavinghadafingerinsome
notoriousintrigueoftheeighties,whichwasnowbeginningtobe
mentionedinmemoirs.Certainlytherewasanalcoveinher
drawingroom,andatableinthatalcove,andaphotographupon
thattableofGeneralSirTalbotMoore,nowdeceased,whohad
writtenthere(oneeveningintheeighties)inLadyBruton's
presence,withhercognisance,perhapsadvice,atelegramordering
theBritishtroopstoadvanceuponanhistoricaloccasion.(She
keptthepenandtoldthestory.)Thus,whenshesaidinher
offhandway"How'sClarissa?"husbandshaddifficultyinpersuading
theirwivesandindeed,howeverdevoted,weresecretlydoubtful
themselves,ofherinterestinwomenwhooftengotintheir
husbands'way,preventedthemfromacceptingpostsabroad,andhad
tobetakentotheseasideinthemiddleofthesessiontorecover
frominfluenza.Neverthelessherinquiry,"How'sClarissa?"was
knownbywomeninfallibly,tobeasignalfromawellwisher,from
analmostsilentcompanion,whoseutterances(halfadozenperhaps
inthecourseofalifetime)signifiedrecognitionofsomefeminine
comradeshipwhichwentbeneathmasculinelunchpartiesandunited
LadyBrutonandMrs.Dalloway,whoseldommet,andappearedwhen
theydidmeetindifferentandevenhostile,inasingularbond.
"ImetClarissaintheParkthismorning,"saidHughWhitbread,
divingintothecasserole,anxioustopayhimselfthislittle
tribute,forhehadonlytocometoLondonandhemeteverybodyat
once;butgreedy,oneofthegreediestmenshehadeverknown,
MillyBrushthought,whoobservedmenwithunflinchingrectitude,
andwascapableofeverlastingdevotion,toherownsexin
particular,beingknobbed,scraped,angular,andentirelywithout
femininecharm.
"D'youknowwho'sintown?"saidLadyBrutonsuddenlybethinking
her."Ouroldfriend,PeterWalsh."
Theyallsmiled.PeterWalsh!AndMr.Dallowaywasgenuinely
glad,MillyBrushthought;andMr.Whitbreadthoughtonlyofhis
chicken.
PeterWalsh!Allthree,LadyBruton,HughWhitbread,andRichard
Dalloway,rememberedthesamethinghowpassionatelyPeterhad
beeninlove;beenrejected;gonetoIndia;comeacropper;madea
messofthings;andRichardDallowayhadaverygreatlikingfor
thedearoldfellowtoo.MillyBrushsawthat;sawadepthinthe
brownofhiseyes;sawhimhesitate;consider;whichinterested
her,asMr.Dallowayalwaysinterestedher,forwhatwashe
thinking,shewondered,aboutPeterWalsh?
ThatPeterWalshhadbeeninlovewithClarissa;thathewouldgo
backdirectlyafterlunchandfindClarissa;thathewouldtell
her,insomanywords,thathelovedher.Yes,hewouldsaythat.
MillyBrushoncemightalmosthavefalleninlovewiththese
silences;andMr.Dallowaywasalwayssodependable;sucha
gentlemantoo.Now,beingforty,LadyBrutonhadonlytonod,or
turnherheadalittleabruptly,andMillyBrushtookthesignal,
howeverdeeplyshemightbesunkinthesereflectionsofadetached
spirit,ofanuncorruptedsoulwhomlifecouldnotbamboozle,
becauselifehadnotofferedheratrinketoftheslightestvalue;
notacurl,smile,lip,cheek,nose;nothingwhatever;LadyBruton
hadonlytonod,andPerkinswasinstructedtoquickenthecoffee.
"Yes;PeterWalshhascomeback,"saidLadyBruton.Itwasvaguely
flatteringtothemall.Hehadcomeback,battered,unsuccessful,
totheirsecureshores.Buttohelphim,theyreflected,was
impossible;therewassomeflawinhischaracter.HughWhitbread
saidonemightofcoursementionhisnametoSoandso.He
wrinkledlugubriously,consequentially,atthethoughtofthe
lettershewouldwritetotheheadsofGovernmentofficesabout"my
oldfriend,PeterWalsh,"andsoon.Butitwouldn'tleadto
anythingnottoanythingpermanent,becauseofhischaracter.
"Introublewithsomewoman,"saidLadyBruton.Theyhadall
guessedthatTHATwasatthebottomofit.
"However,"saidLadyBruton,anxioustoleavethesubject,"we
shallhearthewholestoryfromPeterhimself."
(Thecoffeewasveryslowincoming.)
"Theaddress?"murmuredHughWhitbread;andtherewasatoncea
rippleinthegreytideofservicewhichwashedroundLadyBruton
dayin,dayout,collecting,intercepting,envelopingherinafine
tissuewhichbrokeconcussions,mitigatedinterruptions,andspread
roundthehouseinBrookStreetafinenetwherethingslodgedand
werepickedoutaccurately,instantly,bygreyhairedPerkins,who
hadbeenwithLadyBrutonthesethirtyyearsandnowwrotedownthe
address;handedittoMr.Whitbread,whotookouthispocketbook,
raisedhiseyebrows,andslippingitinamongdocumentsofthe
highestimportance,saidthathewouldgetEvelyntoaskhimto
lunch.
(TheywerewaitingtobringthecoffeeuntilMr.Whitbreadhad
finished.)
Hughwasveryslow,LadyBrutonthought.Hewasgettingfat,she
noticed.Richardalwayskepthimselfinthepinkofcondition.
Shewasgettingimpatient;thewholeofherbeingwassetting
positively,undeniably,domineeringlybrushingasideallthis
unnecessarytrifling(PeterWalshandhisaffairs)uponthat
subjectwhichengagedherattention,andnotmerelyherattention,
butthatfibrewhichwastheramrodofhersoul,thatessential
partofherwithoutwhichMillicentBrutonwouldnothavebeen
MillicentBruton;thatprojectforemigratingyoungpeopleofboth
sexesbornofrespectableparentsandsettingthemupwithafair
prospectofdoingwellinCanada.Sheexaggerated.Shehad
perhapslosthersenseofproportion.Emigrationwasnottoothers
theobviousremedy,thesublimeconception.Itwasnottothem
(nottoHugh,orRichard,oreventodevotedMissBrush)the
liberatorofthepentegotism,whichastrongmartialwoman,well
nourished,welldescended,ofdirectimpulses,downrightfeelings,
andlittleintrospectivepower(broadandsimplewhycouldnot
everyonebebroadandsimple?sheasked)feelsrisewithinher,
onceyouthispast,andmustejectuponsomeobjectitmaybe
Emigration,itmaybeEmancipation;butwhateveritbe,thisobject
roundwhichtheessenceofhersoulisdailysecreted,becomes
inevitablyprismatic,lustrous,halflookingglass,halfprecious
stone;nowcarefullyhiddenincasepeopleshouldsneeratit;now
proudlydisplayed.Emigrationhadbecome,inshort,largelyLady
Bruton.
Butshehadtowrite.AndonelettertotheTimes,sheusedtosay
toMissBrush,costhermorethantoorganiseanexpeditionto
SouthAfrica(whichshehaddoneinthewar).Afteramorning's
battlebeginning,tearingup,beginningagain,sheusedtofeelthe
futilityofherownwomanhoodasshefeltitonnootheroccasion,
andwouldturngratefullytothethoughtofHughWhitbreadwho
possessednoonecoulddoubtittheartofwritingletterstothe
Times.
Abeingsodifferentlyconstitutedfromherself,withsucha
commandoflanguage;abletoputthingsaseditorslikethemput;
hadpassionswhichonecouldnotcallsimplygreed.LadyBruton
oftensuspendedjudgementuponmenindeferencetothemysterious
accordinwhichthey,butnowoman,stoodtothelawsofthe
universe;knewhowtoputthings;knewwhatwassaid;sothatif
Richardadvisedher,andHughwroteforher,shewassureofbeing
somehowright.SosheletHugheathissouffl;askedafterpoor
Evelyn;waiteduntiltheyweresmoking,andthensaid,
"Milly,wouldyoufetchthepapers?"
AndMissBrushwentout,cameback;laidpapersonthetable;and
Hughproducedhisfountainpen;hissilverfountainpen,whichhad
donetwentyyears'service,hesaid,unscrewingthecap.Itwas
stillinperfectorder;hehadshownittothemakers;therewasno
reason,theysaid,whyitshouldeverwearout;whichwassomehow
toHugh'scredit,andtothecreditofthesentimentswhichhispen
expressed(soRichardDallowayfelt)asHughbegancarefully
writingcapitalletterswithringsroundtheminthemargin,and
thusmarvellouslyreducedLadyBruton'stanglestosense,to
grammarsuchastheeditoroftheTimes,LadyBrutonfelt,watching
themarvelloustransformation,mustrespect.Hughwasslow.Hugh
waspertinacious.Richardsaidonemusttakerisks.Hughproposed
modificationsindeferencetopeople'sfeelings,which,hesaid
rathertartlywhenRichardlaughed,"hadtobeconsidered,"and
readout"how,therefore,weareofopinionthatthetimesareripe
...thesuperfluousyouthofoureverincreasingpopulation...
whatweowetothedead..."whichRichardthoughtallstuffing
andbunkum,butnoharminit,ofcourse,andHughwentondrafting
sentimentsinalphabeticalorderofthehighestnobility,brushing
thecigarashfromhiswaistcoat,andsummingupnowandthenthe
progresstheyhadmadeuntil,finally,hereadoutthedraftofa
letterwhichLadyBrutonfeltcertainwasamasterpiece.Couldher
ownmeaningsoundlikethat?
Hughcouldnotguaranteethattheeditorwouldputitin;buthe
wouldbemeetingsomebodyatluncheon.
WhereuponLadyBruton,whoseldomdidagracefulthing,stuffedall
Hugh'scarnationsintothefrontofherdress,andflingingher
handsoutcalledhim"MyPrimeMinister!"Whatshewouldhavedone
withoutthembothshedidnotknow.Theyrose.AndRichard
DallowaystrolledoffasusualtohavealookattheGeneral's
portrait,becausehemeant,wheneverhehadamomentofleisure,to
writeahistoryofLadyBruton'sfamily.
AndMillicentBrutonwasveryproudofherfamily.Buttheycould
wait,theycouldwait,shesaid,lookingatthepicture;meaning
thatherfamily,ofmilitarymen,administrators,admirals,had
beenmenofaction,whohaddonetheirduty;andRichard'sfirst
dutywastohiscountry,butitwasafineface,shesaid;andall
thepaperswerereadyforRicharddownatAldmixtonwheneverthe
timecame;theLabourGovernmentshemeant."Ah,thenewsfrom
India!"shecried.
Andthen,astheystoodinthehalltakingyellowglovesfromthe
bowlonthemalachitetableandHughwasofferingMissBrushwith
quiteunnecessarycourtesysomediscardedticketorother
compliment,whichsheloathedfromthedepthsofherheartand
blushedbrickred,RichardturnedtoLadyBruton,withhishatin
hishand,andsaid,
"Weshallseeyouatourpartytonight?"whereuponLadyBruton
resumedthemagnificencewhichletterwritinghadshattered.She
mightcome;orshemightnotcome.Clarissahadwonderfulenergy.
PartiesterrifiedLadyBruton.Butthen,shewasgettingold.So
sheintimated,standingatherdoorway;handsome;veryerect;while
herchowstretchedbehindher,andMissBrushdisappearedintothe
backgroundwithherhandsfullofpapers.
AndLadyBrutonwentponderously,majestically,uptoherroom,
lay,onearmextended,onthesofa.Shesighed,shesnored,not
thatshewasasleep,onlydrowsyandheavy,drowsyandheavy,like
afieldofcloverinthesunshinethishotJuneday,withthebees
goingroundandaboutandtheyellowbutterflies.Alwaysshewent
backtothosefieldsdowninDevonshire,whereshehadjumpedthe
brooksonPatty,herpony,withMortimerandTom,herbrothers.
Andtherewerethedogs;thereweretherats;therewereherfather
andmotheronthelawnunderthetrees,withtheteathingsout,
andthebedsofdahlias,thehollyhocks,thepampasgrass;and
they,littlewretches,alwaysuptosomemischief!stealingback
throughtheshrubbery,soasnottobeseen,allbedraggledfrom
someroguery.Whatoldnurseusedtosayaboutherfrocks!
Ahdear,sheremembereditwasWednesdayinBrookStreet.Those
kindgoodfellows,RichardDalloway,HughWhitbread,hadgonethis
hotdaythroughthestreetswhosegrowlcameuptoherlyingonthe
sofa.Powerwashers,position,income.Shehadlivedinthe
forefrontofhertime.Shehadhadgoodfriends;knowntheablest
menofherday.MurmuringLondonfloweduptoher,andherhand,
lyingonthesofaback,curleduponsomeimaginarybatonsuchas
hergrandfathersmighthaveheld,holdingwhichsheseemed,drowsy
andheavy,tobecommandingbattalionsmarchingtoCanada,and
thosegoodfellowswalkingacrossLondon,thatterritoryoftheirs,
thatlittlebitofcarpet,Mayfair.
Andtheywentfurtherandfurtherfromher,beingattachedtoher
byathinthread(sincetheyhadlunchedwithher)whichwould
stretchandstretch,getthinnerandthinnerastheywalkedacross
London;asifone'sfriendswereattachedtoone'sbody,after
lunchingwiththem,byathinthread,which(asshedozedthere)
becamehazywiththesoundofbells,strikingthehourorringing
toservice,asasinglespider'sthreadisblottedwithraindrops,
and,burdened,sagsdown.Sosheslept.
AndRichardDallowayandHughWhitbreadhesitatedatthecornerof
ConduitStreetattheverymomentthatMillicentBruton,lyingon
thesofa,letthethreadsnap;snored.Contrarywindsbuffetedat
thestreetcorner.Theylookedinatashopwindow;theydidnot
wishtobuyortotalkbuttopart,onlywithcontrarywinds
buffetingthestreetcorner,withsomesortoflapseinthetides
ofthebody,twoforcesmeetinginaswirl,morningandafternoon,
theypaused.Somenewspaperplacardwentupintheair,gallantly,
likeakiteatfirst,thenpaused,swooped,fluttered;andalady's
veilhung.Yellowawningstrembled.Thespeedofthemorning
trafficslackened,andsinglecartsrattledcarelesslydownhalfempty
streets.InNorfolk,ofwhichRichardDallowaywashalf
thinking,asoftwarmwindblewbackthepetals;confusedthe
waters;ruffledthefloweringgrasses.Haymakers,whohadpitched
beneathhedgestosleepawaythemorningtoil,partedcurtainsof
greenblades;movedtremblingglobesofcowparsleytoseethesky;
theblue,thesteadfast,theblazingsummersky.
AwarethathewaslookingatasilvertwohandledJacobeanmug,and
thatHughWhitbreadadmiredcondescendinglywithairsof
connoisseurshipaSpanishnecklacewhichhethoughtofaskingthe
priceofincaseEvelynmightlikeitstillRichardwastorpid;
couldnotthinkormove.Lifehadthrownupthiswreckage;shop
windowsfullofcolouredpaste,andonestoodstarkwiththe
lethargyoftheold,stiffwiththerigidityoftheold,looking
in.EvelynWhitbreadmightliketobuythisSpanishnecklaceso
shemight.Yawnhemust.Hughwasgoingintotheshop.
"Rightyouare!"saidRichard,following.
Goodnessknowshedidn'twanttogobuyingnecklaceswithHugh.
Buttherearetidesinthebody.Morningmeetsafternoon.Borne
likeafrailshallopondeep,deepfloods,LadyBruton'sgreatgrandfather
andhismemoirandhiscampaignsinNorthAmericawere
whelmedandsunk.AndMillicentBrutontoo.Shewentunder.
Richarddidn'tcareastrawwhatbecameofEmigration;aboutthat
letter,whethertheeditorputitinornot.Thenecklacehung
stretchedbetweenHugh'sadmirablefingers.Lethimgiveittoa
girl,ifhemustbuyjewelsanygirl,anygirlinthestreet.For
theworthlessnessofthislifedidstrikeRichardprettyforcibly
buyingnecklacesforEvelyn.Ifhe'dhadaboyhe'dhavesaid,
Work,work.ButhehadhisElizabeth;headoredhisElizabeth.
"IshouldliketoseeMr.Dubonnet,"saidHughinhiscurtworldly
way.ItappearedthatthisDubonnethadthemeasurementsofMrs.
Whitbread'sneck,or,morestrangelystill,knewherviewsupon
Spanishjewelleryandtheextentofherpossessionsinthatline
(whichHughcouldnotremember).AllofwhichseemedtoRichard
Dallowayawfullyodd.ForhenevergaveClarissapresents,except
abracelettwoorthreeyearsago,whichhadnotbeenasuccess.
Sheneverworeit.Itpainedhimtorememberthatsheneverwore
it.Andasasinglespider'sthreadafterwaveringhereandthere
attachesitselftothepointofaleaf,soRichard'smind,
recoveringfromitslethargy,setnowonhiswife,Clarissa,whom
PeterWalshhadlovedsopassionately;andRichardhadhadasudden
visionofherthereatluncheon;ofhimselfandClarissa;oftheir
lifetogether;andhedrewthetrayofoldjewelstowardshim,and
takingupfirstthisbroochthenthatring,"Howmuchisthat?"he
asked,butdoubtedhisowntaste.Hewantedtoopenthedrawingroom
doorandcomeinholdingoutsomething;apresentfor
Clarissa.Onlywhat?ButHughwasonhislegsagain.Hewas
unspeakablypompous.Really,afterdealinghereforthirtyfive
yearshewasnotgoingtobeputoffbyamereboywhodidnotknow
hisbusiness.ForDubonnet,itseemed,wasout,andHughwouldnot
buyanythinguntilMr.Dubonnetchosetobein;atwhichtheyouth
flushedandbowedhiscorrectlittlebow.Itwasallperfectly
correct.AndyetRichardcouldn'thavesaidthattosavehislife!
Whythesepeoplestoodthatdamnedinsolencehecouldnotconceive.
Hughwasbecominganintolerableass.RichardDallowaycouldnot
standmorethananhourofhissociety.And,flickinghisbowler
hatbywayoffarewell,RichardturnedatthecornerofConduit
Streeteager,yes,veryeager,totravelthatspider'sthreadof
attachmentbetweenhimselfandClarissa;hewouldgostraightto
her,inWestminster.
Buthewantedtocomeinholdingsomething.Flowers?Yes,
flowers,sincehedidnottrusthistasteingold;anynumberof
flowers,roses,orchids,tocelebratewhatwas,reckoningthingsas
youwill,anevent;thisfeelingaboutherwhentheyspokeofPeter
Walshatluncheon;andtheyneverspokeofit;notforyearshad
theyspokenofit;which,hethought,graspinghisredandwhite
rosestogether(avastbunchintissuepaper),isthegreatest
mistakeintheworld.Thetimecomeswhenitcan'tbesaid;one's
tooshytosayit,hethought,pocketinghissixpenceortwoof
change,settingoffwithhisgreatbunchheldagainsthisbodyto
Westminstertosaystraightoutinsomanywords(whatevershe
mightthinkofhim),holdingouthisflowers,"Iloveyou."Why
not?Reallyitwasamiraclethinkingofthewar,andthousandsof
poorchaps,withalltheirlivesbeforethem,shovelledtogether,
alreadyhalfforgotten;itwasamiracle.Herehewaswalking
acrossLondontosaytoClarissainsomanywordsthatheloved
her.Whichoneneverdoessay,hethought.Partlyone'slazy;
partlyone'sshy.AndClarissaitwasdifficulttothinkofher;
exceptinstarts,asatluncheon,whenhesawherquitedistinctly;
theirwholelife.Hestoppedatthecrossing;andrepeatedbeing
simplebynature,andundebauched,becausehehadtramped,and
shot;beingpertinaciousanddogged,havingchampionedthedowntrodden
andfollowedhisinstinctsintheHouseofCommons;being
preservedinhissimplicityyetatthesametimegrownrather
speechless,ratherstiffherepeatedthatitwasamiraclethathe
shouldhavemarriedClarissa;amiraclehislifehadbeena
miracle,hethought;hesitatingtocross.Butitdidmakehis
bloodboiltoseelittlecreaturesoffiveorsixcrossing
Piccadillyalone.Thepoliceoughttohavestoppedthetrafficat
once.HehadnoillusionsabouttheLondonpolice.Indeed,hewas
collectingevidenceoftheirmalpractices;andthosecostermongers,
notallowedtostandtheirbarrowsinthestreets;andprostitutes,
goodLord,thefaultwasn'tinthem,norinyoungmeneither,but
inourdetestablesocialsystemandsoforth;allofwhichhe
considered,couldbeseenconsidering,grey,dogged,dapper,clean,
ashewalkedacrosstheParktotellhiswifethathelovedher.
Forhewouldsayitinsomanywords,whenhecameintotheroom.
Becauseitisathousandpitiesnevertosaywhatonefeels,he
thought,crossingtheGreenParkandobservingwithpleasurehowin
theshadeofthetreeswholefamilies,poorfamilies,were
sprawling;childrenkickinguptheirlegs;suckingmilk;paperbags
thrownabout,whichcouldeasilybepickedup(ifpeopleobjected)
byoneofthosefatgentlemeninlivery;forhewasofopinionthat
everypark,andeverysquare,duringthesummermonthsshouldbe
opentochildren(thegrassoftheparkflushedandfaded,lighting
upthepoormothersofWestminsterandtheircrawlingbabies,asif
ayellowlampweremovedbeneath).Butwhatcouldbedonefor
femalevagrantslikethatpoorcreature,stretchedonherelbow(as
ifshehadflungherselfontheearth,ridofallties,toobserve
curiously,tospeculateboldly,toconsiderthewhysandthe
wherefores,impudent,looselipped,humorous),hedidnotknow.
Bearinghisflowerslikeaweapon,RichardDallowayapproachedher;
intenthepassedher;stilltherewastimeforasparkbetween
themshelaughedatthesightofhim,hesmiledgoodhumouredly,
consideringtheproblemofthefemalevagrant;notthattheywould
everspeak.ButhewouldtellClarissathathelovedher,inso
manywords.Hehad,onceuponatime,beenjealousofPeterWalsh;
jealousofhimandClarissa.Butshehadoftensaidtohimthat
shehadbeenrightnottomarryPeterWalsh;which,knowing
Clarissa,wasobviouslytrue;shewantedsupport.Notthatshewas
weak;butshewantedsupport.
AsforBuckinghamPalace(likeanoldprimadonnafacingthe
audienceallinwhite)youcan'tdenyitacertaindignity,he
considered,nordespisewhatdoes,afterall,standtomillionsof
people(alittlecrowdwaswaitingatthegatetoseetheKing
driveout)forasymbol,absurdthoughitis;achildwithaboxof
brickscouldhavedonebetter,hethought;lookingatthememorial
toQueenVictoria(whomhecouldrememberinherhornspectacles
drivingthroughKensington),itswhitemound,itsbillowing
motherliness;buthelikedbeingruledbythedescendantofHorsa;
helikedcontinuity;andthesenseofhandingonthetraditionsof
thepast.Itwasagreatageinwhichtohavelived.Indeed,his
ownlifewasamiracle;lethimmakenomistakeaboutit;herehe
was,intheprimeoflife,walkingtohishouseinWestminsterto
tellClarissathathelovedher.Happinessisthishethought.
Itisthis,hesaid,asheenteredDean'sYard.BigBenwas
beginningtostrike,firstthewarning,musical;thenthehour,
irrevocable.Lunchpartieswastetheentireafternoon,hethought,
approachinghisdoor.
ThesoundofBigBenfloodedClarissa'sdrawingroom,whereshe
sat,eversoannoyed,atherwritingtable;worried;annoyed.It
wasperfectlytruethatshehadnotaskedEllieHendersontoher
party;butshehaddoneitonpurpose.NowMrs.Marshamwrote"she
hadtoldEllieHendersonshewouldaskClarissaElliesomuch
wantedtocome."
ButwhyshouldsheinviteallthedullwomeninLondontoher
parties?WhyshouldMrs.Marshaminterfere?Andtherewas
ElizabethclosetedallthistimewithDorisKilman.Anythingmore
nauseatingshecouldnotconceive.Prayeratthishourwiththat
woman.Andthesoundofthebellfloodedtheroomwithits
melancholywave;whichreceded,andgathereditselftogetherto
falloncemore,whensheheard,distractingly,somethingfumbling,
somethingscratchingatthedoor.Whoatthishour?Three,good
Heavens!Threealready!Forwithoverpoweringdirectnessand
dignitytheclockstruckthree;andsheheardnothingelse;butthe
doorhandleslippedroundandincameRichard!Whatasurprise!
IncameRichard,holdingoutflowers.Shehadfailedhim,onceat
Constantinople;andLadyBruton,whoselunchpartiesweresaidto
beextraordinarilyamusing,hadnotaskedher.Hewasholdingout
flowersroses,redandwhiteroses.(Buthecouldnotbring
himselftosayhelovedher;notinsomanywords.)
Buthowlovely,shesaid,takinghisflowers.Sheunderstood;she
understoodwithouthisspeaking;hisClarissa.Sheputthemin
vasesonthemantelpiece.Howlovelytheylooked!shesaid.And
wasitamusing,sheasked?HadLadyBrutonaskedafterher?Peter
Walshwasback.Mrs.Marshamhadwritten.MustsheaskEllie
Henderson?ThatwomanKilmanwasupstairs.
"Butletussitdownforfiveminutes,"saidRichard.
Italllookedsoempty.Allthechairswereagainstthewall.
Whathadtheybeendoing?Oh,itwasfortheparty;no,hehadnot
forgotten,theparty.PeterWalshwasback.Ohyes;shehadhad
him.Andhewasgoingtogetadivorce;andhewasinlovewith
somewomanoutthere.Andhehadn'tchangedintheslightest.
Thereshewas,mendingherdress....
"ThinkingofBourton,"shesaid.
"Hughwasatlunch,"saidRichard.Shehadmethimtoo!Well,he
wasgettingabsolutelyintolerable.BuyingEvelynnecklaces;
fatterthanever;anintolerableass.
"Anditcameoverme'Imighthavemarriedyou,'"shesaid,
thinkingofPetersittingthereinhislittlebowtie;withthat
knife,openingit,shuttingit."Justashealwayswas,youknow."
Theyweretalkingabouthimatlunch,saidRichard.(Buthecould
nottellherhelovedher.Heheldherhand.Happinessisthis,
hethought.)TheyhadbeenwritingalettertotheTimesfor
MillicentBruton.ThatwasaboutallHughwasfitfor.
"AndourdearMissKilman?"heasked.Clarissathoughttheroses
absolutelylovely;firstbunchedtogether;nowoftheirownaccord
startingapart.
"Kilmanarrivesjustaswe'vedonelunch,"shesaid."Elizabeth
turnspink.Theyshutthemselvesup.Isupposethey'repraying."
Lord!Hedidn'tlikeit;butthesethingspassoverifyoulet
them.
"Inamackintoshwithanumbrella,"saidClarissa.
Hehadnotsaid"Iloveyou";butheheldherhand.Happinessis
this,isthis,hethought.
"ButwhyshouldIaskallthedullwomeninLondontomyparties?"
saidClarissa.AndifMrs.Marshamgaveaparty,didSHEinvite
herguests?
"PoorEllieHenderson,"saidRicharditwasaveryoddthinghow
muchClarissamindedaboutherparties,hethought.
ButRichardhadnonotionofthelookofaroom.Howeverwhatwas
hegoingtosay?
Ifsheworriedaboutthesepartieshewouldnotlethergivethem.
DidshewishshehadmarriedPeter?Buthemustgo.
Hemustbeoff,hesaid,gettingup.Buthestoodforamomentas
ifhewereabouttosaysomething;andshewonderedwhat?Why?
Thereweretheroses.
"SomeCommittee?"sheasked,asheopenedthedoor.
"Armenians,"hesaid;orperhapsitwas"Albanians."
Andthereisadignityinpeople;asolitude;evenbetweenhusband
andwifeagulf;andthatonemustrespect,thoughtClarissa,
watchinghimopenthedoor;foronewouldnotpartwithitoneself,
ortakeit,againsthiswill,fromone'shusband,withoutlosing
one'sindependence,one'sselfrespectsomething,afterall,
priceless.
Hereturnedwithapillowandaquilt.
"Anhour'scompleterestafterluncheon,"hesaid.Andhewent.
Howlikehim!Hewouldgoonsaying"Anhour'scompleterestafter
luncheon"totheendoftime,becauseadoctorhadordereditonce.
Itwaslikehimtotakewhatdoctorssaidliterally;partofhis
adorable,divinesimplicity,whichnoonehadtothesameextent;
whichmadehimgoanddothethingwhilesheandPeterfrittered
theirtimeawaybickering.HewasalreadyhalfwaytotheHouseof
Commons,tohisArmenians,hisAlbanians,havingsettledheronthe
sofa,lookingathisroses.Andpeoplewouldsay,"Clarissa
Dallowayisspoilt."Shecaredmuchmoreforherrosesthanfor
theArmenians.Huntedoutofexistence,maimed,frozen,the
victimsofcrueltyandinjustice(shehadheardRichardsaysoover
andoveragain)no,shecouldfeelnothingfortheAlbanians,or
wasittheArmenians?butshelovedherroses(didn'tthathelpthe
Armenians?)theonlyflowersshecouldbeartoseecut.But
RichardwasalreadyattheHouseofCommons;athisCommittee,
havingsettledallherdifficulties.Butno;alas,thatwasnot
true.HedidnotseethereasonsagainstaskingEllieHenderson.
Shewoulddoit,ofcourse,ashewishedit.Sincehehadbrought
thepillows,shewouldliedown....Butbutwhydidshe
suddenlyfeel,fornoreasonthatshecoulddiscover,desperately
unhappy?Asapersonwhohasdroppedsomegrainofpearlor
diamondintothegrassandpartsthetallbladesverycarefully,
thiswayandthat,andsearcheshereandtherevainly,andatlast
spiesitthereattheroots,soshewentthroughonethingand
another;no,itwasnotSallySetonsayingthatRichardwouldnever
beintheCabinetbecausehehadasecondclassbrain(itcameback
toher);no,shedidnotmindthat;norwasittodowithElizabeth
eitherandDorisKilman;thosewerefacts.Itwasafeeling,some
unpleasantfeeling,earlierinthedayperhaps;somethingthat
Peterhadsaid,combinedwithsomedepressionofherown,inher
bedroom,takingoffherhat;andwhatRichardhadsaidhadaddedto
it,butwhathadhesaid?Therewerehisroses.Herparties!
Thatwasit!Herparties!Bothofthemcriticisedhervery
unfairly,laughedatherveryunjustly,forherparties.Thatwas
it!Thatwasit!
Well,howwasshegoingtodefendherself?Nowthatsheknewwhat
itwas,shefeltperfectlyhappy.Theythought,orPeteratany
ratethought,thatsheenjoyedimposingherself;likedtohave
famouspeopleabouther;greatnames;wassimplyasnobinshort.
Well,Petermightthinkso.Richardmerelythoughtitfoolishof
hertolikeexcitementwhensheknewitwasbadforherheart.It
waschildish,hethought.Andbothwerequitewrong.Whatshe
likedwassimplylife.
"That'swhatIdoitfor,"shesaid,speakingaloud,tolife.
Sinceshewaslyingonthesofa,cloistered,exempt,thepresence
ofthisthingwhichshefelttobesoobviousbecamephysically
existent;withrobesofsoundfromthestreet,sunny,withhot
breath,whispering,blowingouttheblinds.ButsupposePetersaid
toher,"Yes,yes,butyourpartieswhat'sthesenseofyour
parties?"allshecouldsaywas(andnobodycouldbeexpectedto
understand):They'reanoffering;whichsoundedhorriblyvague.
ButwhowasPetertomakeoutthatlifewasallplainsailing?
Peteralwaysinlove,alwaysinlovewiththewrongwoman?What's
yourlove?shemightsaytohim.Andsheknewhisanswer;howit
isthemostimportantthingintheworldandnowomanpossibly
understoodit.Verywell.Butcouldanymanunderstandwhatshe
meanteither?aboutlife?ShecouldnotimaginePeterorRichard
takingthetroubletogiveapartyfornoreasonwhatever.
Buttogodeeper,beneathwhatpeoplesaid(andthesejudgements,
howsuperficial,howfragmentarytheyare!)inherownmindnow,
whatdiditmeantoher,thisthingshecalledlife?Oh,itwas
veryqueer.HerewasSoandsoinSouthKensington;someoneupin
Bayswater;andsomebodyelse,say,inMayfair.Andshefeltquite
continuouslyasenseoftheirexistence;andshefeltwhatawaste;
andshefeltwhatapity;andshefeltifonlytheycouldbe
broughttogether;soshedidit.Anditwasanoffering;to
combine,tocreate;buttowhom?
Anofferingforthesakeofoffering,perhaps.Anyhow,itwasher
gift.Nothingelsehadsheoftheslightestimportance;couldnot
think,write,evenplaythepiano.ShemuddledArmeniansand
Turks;lovedsuccess;hateddiscomfort;mustbeliked;talked
oceansofnonsense:andtothisday,askherwhattheEquatorwas,
andshedidnotknow.Allthesame,thatonedayshouldfollow
another;Wednesday,Thursday,Friday,Saturday;thatoneshould
wakeupinthemorning;seethesky;walkinthepark;meetHugh
Whitbread;thensuddenlyincamePeter;thentheseroses;itwas
enough.Afterthat,howunbelievabledeathwas!thatitmustend;
andnooneinthewholeworldwouldknowhowshehadloveditall;
how,everyinstant...
Thedooropened.Elizabethknewthathermotherwasresting.She
cameinveryquietly.Shestoodperfectlystill.Wasitthatsome
MongolhadbeenwreckedonthecoastofNorfolk(asMrs.Hilbery
said),hadmixedwiththeDallowayladies,perhaps,ahundredyears
ago?FortheDalloways,ingeneral,werefairhaired;blueeyed;
Elizabeth,onthecontrary,wasdark;hadChineseeyesinapale
face;anOrientalmystery;wasgentle,considerate,still.Asa
child,shehadhadaperfectsenseofhumour;butnowatseventeen,
why,Clarissacouldnotintheleastunderstand,shehadbecome
veryserious;likeahyacinth,sheathedinglossygreen,withbuds
justtinted,ahyacinthwhichhashadnosun.
Shestoodquitestillandlookedathermother;butthedoorwas
ajar,andoutsidethedoorwasMissKilman,asClarissaknew;Miss
Kilmaninhermackintosh,listeningtowhatevertheysaid.
Yes,MissKilmanstoodonthelanding,andworeamackintosh;but
hadherreasons.First,itwascheap;second,shewasoverforty;
anddidnot,afterall,dresstoplease.Shewaspoor,moreover;
degradinglypoor.Otherwiseshewouldnotbetakingjobsfrom
peopleliketheDalloways;fromrichpeople,wholikedtobekind.
Mr.Dalloway,todohimjustice,hadbeenkind.ButMrs.Dalloway
hadnot.Shehadbeenmerelycondescending.Shecamefromthe
mostworthlessofallclassestherich,withasmatteringof
culture.Theyhadexpensivethingseverywhere;pictures,carpets,
lotsofservants.Sheconsideredthatshehadaperfectrightto
anythingthattheDallowaysdidforher.
Shehadbeencheated.Yes,thewordwasnoexaggeration,for
surelyagirlhasarighttosomekindofhappiness?Andshehad
neverbeenhappy,whatwithbeingsoclumsyandsopoor.Andthen,
justasshemighthavehadachanceatMissDolby'sschool,thewar
came;andshehadneverbeenabletotelllies.MissDolbythought
shewouldbehappierwithpeoplewhosharedherviewsaboutthe
Germans.Shehadhadtogo.Itwastruethatthefamilywasof
Germanorigin;speltthenameKiehlmanintheeighteenthcentury;
butherbrotherhadbeenkilled.Theyturnedheroutbecauseshe
wouldnotpretendthattheGermanswereallvillainswhenshehad
Germanfriends,whentheonlyhappydaysofherlifehadbeenspent
inGermany!Andafterall,shecouldreadhistory.Shehadhadto
takewhatevershecouldget.Mr.Dallowayhadcomeacrossher
workingfortheFriends.Hehadallowedher(andthatwasreally
generousofhim)toteachhisdaughterhistory.Alsoshedida
littleExtensionlecturingandsoon.ThenOurLordhadcometo
her(andhereshealwaysbowedherhead).Shehadseenthelight
twoyearsandthreemonthsago.Nowshedidnotenvywomenlike
ClarissaDalloway;shepitiedthem.
Shepitiedanddespisedthemfromthebottomofherheart,asshe
stoodonthesoftcarpet,lookingattheoldengravingofalittle
girlwithamuff.Withallthisluxurygoingon,whathopewas
thereforabetterstateofthings?Insteadoflyingonasofa
"Mymotherisresting,"Elizabethhadsaidsheshouldhavebeenin
afactory;behindacounter;Mrs.Dallowayandalltheotherfine
ladies!
Bitterandburning,MissKilmanhadturnedintoachurchtwoyears
threemonthsago.ShehadheardtheRev.EdwardWhittakerpreach;
theboyssing;hadseenthesolemnlightsdescend,andwhetherit
wasthemusic,orthevoices(sheherselfwhenaloneintheevening
foundcomfortinaviolin;butthesoundwasexcruciating;shehad
noear),thehotandturbulentfeelingswhichboiledandsurgedin
herhadbeenassuagedasshesatthere,andshehadweptcopiously,
andgonetocallonMr.Whittakerathisprivatehousein
Kensington.ItwasthehandofGod,hesaid.TheLordhadshown
hertheway.Sonow,wheneverthehotandpainfulfeelingsboiled
withinher,thishatredofMrs.Dalloway,thisgrudgeagainstthe
world,shethoughtofGod.ShethoughtofMr.Whittaker.Ragewas
succeededbycalm.Asweetsavourfilledherveins,herlips
parted,and,standingformidableuponthelandinginher
mackintosh,shelookedwithsteadyandsinisterserenityatMrs.
Dalloway,whocameoutwithherdaughter.
Elizabethsaidshehadforgottenhergloves.ThatwasbecauseMiss
Kilmanandhermotherhatedeachother.Shecouldnotbeartosee
themtogether.Sheranupstairstofindhergloves.
ButMissKilmandidnothateMrs.Dalloway.Turningherlarge
gooseberrycolouredeyesuponClarissa,observinghersmallpink
face,herdelicatebody,herairoffreshnessandfashion,Miss
Kilmanfelt,Fool!Simpleton!Youwhohaveknownneithersorrow
norpleasure;whohavetrifledyourlifeaway!Andthererosein
heranovermasteringdesiretoovercomeher;tounmaskher.Ifshe
couldhavefelledheritwouldhaveeasedher.Butitwasnotthe
body;itwasthesoulanditsmockerythatshewishedtosubdue;
makefeelhermastery.Ifonlyshecouldmakeherweep;couldruin
her;humiliateher;bringhertoherkneescrying,Youareright!
ButthiswasGod'swill,notMissKilman's.Itwastobea
religiousvictory.Sosheglared;sosheglowered.
Clarissawasreallyshocked.ThisaChristianthiswoman!This
womanhadtakenherdaughterfromher!Sheintouchwithinvisible
presences!Heavy,ugly,commonplace,withoutkindnessorgrace,
sheknowthemeaningoflife!
"YouaretakingElizabethtotheStores?"Mrs.Dallowaysaid.
MissKilmansaidshewas.Theystoodthere.MissKilmanwasnot
goingtomakeherselfagreeable.Shehadalwaysearnedherliving.
Herknowledgeofmodernhistorywasthoroughintheextreme.She
didoutofhermeagreincomesetasidesomuchforcausesshe
believedin;whereasthiswomandidnothing,believednothing;
broughtupherdaughterbutherewasElizabeth,ratheroutof
breath,thebeautifulgirl.
SotheyweregoingtotheStores.Odditwas,asMissKilmanstood
there(andstandshedid,withthepowerandtaciturnityofsome
prehistoricmonsterarmouredforprimevalwarfare),how,secondby
second,theideaofherdiminished,howhatred(whichwasfor
ideas,notpeople)crumbled,howshelosthermalignity,hersize,
becamesecondbysecondmerelyMissKilman,inamackintosh,whom
HeavenknowsClarissawouldhavelikedtohelp.
Atthisdwindlingofthemonster,Clarissalaughed.Sayinggoodbye,
shelaughed.
Offtheywenttogether,MissKilmanandElizabeth,downstairs.
Withasuddenimpulse,withaviolentanguish,forthiswomanwas
takingherdaughterfromher,Clarissaleantoverthebannisters
andcriedout,"Remembertheparty!Rememberourpartytonight!"
ButElizabethhadalreadyopenedthefrontdoor;therewasavan
passing;shedidnotanswer.
Loveandreligion!thoughtClarissa,goingbackintothedrawingroom,
tinglingallover.Howdetestable,howdetestabletheyare!
FornowthatthebodyofMissKilmanwasnotbeforeher,it
overwhelmedhertheidea.Thecruelestthingsintheworld,she
thought,seeingthemclumsy,hot,domineering,hypocritical,
eavesdropping,jealous,infinitelycruelandunscrupulous,dressed
inamackintoshcoat,onthelanding;loveandreligion.Hadshe
evertriedtoconvertanyoneherself?Didshenotwisheverybody
merelytobethemselves?Andshewatchedoutofthewindowtheold
ladyoppositeclimbingupstairs.Letherclimbupstairsifshe
wantedto;letherstop;thenlether,asClarissahadoftenseen
her,gainherbedroom,parthercurtains,anddisappearagaininto
thebackground.Somehowonerespectedthatthatoldwomanlooking
outofthewindow,quiteunconsciousthatshewasbeingwatched.
Therewassomethingsolemninitbutloveandreligionwould
destroythat,whateveritwas,theprivacyofthesoul.Theodious
Kilmanwoulddestroyit.Yetitwasasightthatmadeherwantto
cry.
Lovedestroyedtoo.Everythingthatwasfine,everythingthatwas
truewent.TakePeterWalshnow.Therewasaman,charming,
clever,withideasabouteverything.Ifyouwantedtoknowabout
Pope,say,orAddison,orjusttotalknonsense,whatpeoplewere
like,whatthingsmeant,Peterknewbetterthananyone.Itwas
Peterwhohadhelpedher;Peterwhohadlentherbooks.Butlook
atthewomenhelovedvulgar,trivial,commonplace.Thinkof
Peterinlovehecametoseeherafteralltheseyears,andwhat
didhetalkabout?Himself.Horriblepassion!shethought.
Degradingpassion!shethought,thinkingofKilmanandher
ElizabethwalkingtotheArmyandNavyStores.
BigBenstruckthehalfhour.
Howextraordinaryitwas,strange,yes,touching,toseetheold
lady(theyhadbeenneighbourseversomanyyears)moveawayfrom
thewindow,asifshewereattachedtothatsound,thatstring.
Giganticasitwas,ithadsomethingtodowithher.Down,down,
intothemidstofordinarythingsthefingerfellmakingthemoment
solemn.Shewasforced,soClarissaimagined,bythatsound,to
move,togobutwhere?Clarissatriedtofollowherassheturned
anddisappeared,andcouldstilljustseeherwhitecapmovingat
thebackofthebedroom.Shewasstilltheremovingaboutatthe
otherendoftheroom.Whycreedsandprayersandmackintoshes?
when,thoughtClarissa,that'sthemiracle,that'sthemystery;
thatoldlady,shemeant,whomshecouldseegoingfromchestof
drawerstodressingtable.Shecouldstillseeher.Andthe
suprememysterywhichKilmanmightsayshehadsolved,orPeter
mightsayhehadsolved,butClarissadidn'tbelieveeitherofthem
hadtheghostofanideaofsolving,wassimplythis:herewasone
room;thereanother.Didreligionsolvethat,orlove?
Lovebutheretheotherclock,theclockwhichalwaysstrucktwo
minutesafterBigBen,cameshufflinginwithitslapfullofodds
andends,whichitdumpeddownasifBigBenwereallverywell
withhismajestylayingdownthelaw,sosolemn,sojust,butshe
mustrememberallsortsoflittlethingsbesidesMrs.Marsham,
EllieHenderson,glassesforicesallsortsoflittlethingscame
floodingandlappinganddancinginonthewakeofthatsolemn
strokewhichlayflatlikeabarofgoldonthesea.Mrs.Marsham,
EllieHenderson,glassesforices.Shemusttelephonenowatonce.
Volubly,troublously,thelateclocksounded,cominginonthewake
ofBigBen,withitslapfulloftrifles.Beatenup,brokenupby
theassaultofcarriages,thebrutalityofvans,theeageradvance
ofmyriadsofangularmen,offlauntingwomen,thedomesandspires
ofofficesandhospitals,thelastrelicsofthislapfullofodds
andendsseemedtobreak,likethesprayofanexhaustedwave,upon
thebodyofMissKilmanstandingstillinthestreetforamoment
tomutter"Itistheflesh."
Itwasthefleshthatshemustcontrol.ClarissaDallowayhad
insultedher.Thatsheexpected.Butshehadnottriumphed;she
hadnotmasteredtheflesh.Ugly,clumsy,ClarissaDallowayhad
laughedatherforbeingthat;andhadrevivedthefleshlydesires,
forshemindedlookingasshedidbesideClarissa.Norcouldshe
talkasshedid.Butwhywishtoresembleher?Why?Shedespised
Mrs.Dallowayfromthebottomofherheart.Shewasnotserious.
Shewasnotgood.Herlifewasatissueofvanityanddeceit.Yet
DorisKilmanhadbeenovercome.Shehad,asamatteroffact,very
nearlyburstintotearswhenClarissaDallowaylaughedather."It
istheflesh,itistheflesh,"shemuttered(itbeingherhabitto
talkaloud)tryingtosubduethisturbulentandpainfulfeelingas
shewalkeddownVictoriaStreet.SheprayedtoGod.Shecouldnot
helpbeingugly;shecouldnotaffordtobuyprettyclothes.
ClarissaDallowayhadlaughedbutshewouldconcentratehermind
uponsomethingelseuntilshehadreachedthepillarbox.Atany
rateshehadgotElizabeth.Butshewouldthinkofsomethingelse;
shewouldthinkofRussia;untilshereachedthepillarbox.
Howniceitmustbe,shesaid,inthecountry,struggling,asMr.
Whittakerhadtoldher,withthatviolentgrudgeagainsttheworld
whichhadscornedher,sneeredather,castheroff,beginningwith
thisindignitytheinflictionofherunlovablebodywhichpeople
couldnotbeartosee.Doherhairasshemight,herforehead
remainedlikeanegg,bald,white.Noclothessuitedher.She
mightbuyanything.Andforawoman,ofcourse,thatmeantnever
meetingtheoppositesex.Neverwouldshecomefirstwithanyone.
Sometimeslatelyithadseemedtoherthat,exceptforElizabeth,
herfoodwasallthatshelivedfor;hercomforts;herdinner,her
tea;herhotwaterbottleatnight.Butonemustfight;vanquish;
havefaithinGod.Mr.Whittakerhadsaidshewastherefora
purpose.Butnooneknewtheagony!Hesaid,pointingtothe
crucifix,thatGodknew.Butwhyshouldshehavetosufferwhen
otherwomen,likeClarissaDalloway,escaped?Knowledgecomes
throughsuffering,saidMr.Whittaker.
Shehadpassedthepillarbox,andElizabethhadturnedintothe
coolbrowntobaccodepartmentoftheArmyandNavyStoreswhileshe
wasstillmutteringtoherselfwhatMr.Whittakerhadsaidabout
knowledgecomingthroughsufferingandtheflesh."Theflesh,"she
muttered.
Whatdepartmentdidshewant?Elizabethinterruptedher.
"Petticoats,"shesaidabruptly,andstalkedstraightontothe
lift.
Uptheywent.Elizabethguidedherthiswayandthat;guidedher
inherabstractionasifshehadbeenagreatchild,anunwieldy
battleship.Therewerethepetticoats,brown,decorous,striped,
frivolous,solid,flimsy;andshechose,inherabstraction,
portentously,andthegirlservingthoughthermad.
Elizabethratherwondered,astheydiduptheparcel,whatMiss
Kilmanwasthinking.Theymusthavetheirtea,saidMissKilman,
rousing,collectingherself.Theyhadtheirtea.
ElizabethratherwonderedwhetherMissKilmancouldbehungry.It
washerwayofeating,eatingwithintensity,thenlooking,again
andagain,ataplateofsugaredcakesonthetablenextthem;
then,whenaladyandachildsatdownandthechildtookthecake,
couldMissKilmanreallymindit?Yes,MissKilmandidmindit.
Shehadwantedthatcakethepinkone.Thepleasureofeatingwas
almosttheonlypurepleasurelefther,andthentobebaffledeven
inthat!
Whenpeoplearehappy,theyhaveareserve,shehadtoldElizabeth,
uponwhichtodraw,whereasshewaslikeawheelwithoutatyre
(shewasfondofsuchmetaphors),joltedbyeverypebble,soshe
wouldsaystayingonafterthelessonstandingbythefireplace
withherbagofbooks,her"satchel,"shecalledit,onaTuesday
morning,afterthelessonwasover.Andshetalkedtooaboutthe
war.Afterall,therewerepeoplewhodidnotthinktheEnglish
invariablyright.Therewerebooks.Thereweremeetings.There
wereotherpointsofview.WouldElizabethliketocomewithher
tolistentoSoandso(amostextraordinarylookingoldman)?
ThenMissKilmantookhertosomechurchinKensingtonandtheyhad
teawithaclergyman.Shehadlentherbooks.Law,medicine,
politics,allprofessionsareopentowomenofyourgeneration,
saidMissKilman.Butforherself,hercareerwasabsolutely
ruinedandwasitherfault?Goodgracious,saidElizabeth,no.
Andhermotherwouldcomecallingtosaythatahamperhadcome
fromBourtonandwouldMissKilmanlikesomeflowers?ToMiss
Kilmanshewasalwaysvery,verynice,butMissKilmansquashedthe
flowersallinabunch,andhadn'tanysmalltalk,andwhat
interestedMissKilmanboredhermother,andMissKilmanandshe
wereterribletogether;andMissKilmanswelledandlookedvery
plain.ButthenMissKilmanwasfrightfullyclever.Elizabethhad
neverthoughtaboutthepoor.Theylivedwitheverythingthey
wanted,hermotherhadbreakfastinbedeveryday;Lucycarriedit
up;andshelikedoldwomenbecausetheywereDuchesses,andbeing
descendedfromsomeLord.ButMissKilmansaid(oneofthose
Tuesdaymorningswhenthelessonwasover),"Mygrandfatherkeptan
oilandcolourshopinKensington."MissKilmanmadeonefeelso
small.
MissKilmantookanothercupoftea.Elizabeth,withheroriental
bearing,herinscrutablemystery,satperfectlyupright;no,she
didnotwantanythingmore.Shelookedforherglovesherwhite
gloves.Theywereunderthetable.Ah,butshemustnotgo!Miss
Kilmancouldnotlethergo!thisyouth,thatwassobeautiful,
thisgirl,whomshegenuinelyloved!Herlargehandopenedand
shutonthetable.
Butperhapsitwasalittleflatsomehow,Elizabethfelt.And
reallyshewouldliketogo.
ButsaidMissKilman,"I'venotquitefinishedyet."
Ofcourse,then,Elizabethwouldwait.Butitwasratherstuffyin
here.
"Areyougoingtothepartytonight?"MissKilmansaid.Elizabeth
supposedshewasgoing;hermotherwantedhertogo.Shemustnot
letpartiesabsorbher,MissKilmansaid,fingeringthelasttwo
inchesofachocolateclair.
Shedidnotmuchlikeparties,Elizabethsaid.MissKilmanopened
hermouth,slightlyprojectedherchin,andswalloweddownthelast
inchesofthechocolateclair,thenwipedherfingers,andwashed
thetearoundinhercup.
Shewasabouttosplitasunder,shefelt.Theagonywasso
terrific.Ifshecouldgraspher,ifshecouldclaspher,ifshe
couldmakeherhersabsolutelyandforeverandthendie;thatwas
allshewanted.Buttosithere,unabletothinkofanythingto
say;toseeElizabethturningagainsther;tobefeltrepulsive
evenbyheritwastoomuch;shecouldnotstandit.Thethick
fingerscurledinwards.
"Inevergotoparties,"saidMissKilman,justtokeepElizabeth
fromgoing."Peopledon'taskmetoparties"andsheknewasshe
saiditthatitwasthisegotismthatwasherundoing;Mr.
Whittakerhadwarnedher;butshecouldnothelpit.Shehad
sufferedsohorribly."Whyshouldtheyaskme?"shesaid."I'm
plain,I'munhappy."Sheknewitwasidiotic.Butitwasall
thosepeoplepassingpeoplewithparcelswhodespisedher,who
madehersayit.However,shewasDorisKilman.Shehadher
degree.Shewasawomanwhohadmadeherwayintheworld.Her
knowledgeofmodernhistorywasmorethanrespectable.
"Idon'tpitymyself,"shesaid."Ipity"shemeanttosay"your
mother"butno,shecouldnot,nottoElizabeth."Ipityother
people,"shesaid,"more."
Likesomedumbcreaturewhohasbeenbroughtuptoagateforan
unknownpurpose,andstandstherelongingtogallopaway,Elizabeth
Dallowaysatsilent.WasMissKilmangoingtosayanythingmore?
"Don'tquiteforgetme,"saidDorisKilman;hervoicequivered.
Rightawaytotheendofthefieldthedumbcreaturegallopedin
terror.
Thegreathandopenedandshut.
Elizabethturnedherhead.Thewaitresscame.Onehadtopayat
thedesk,Elizabethsaid,andwentoff,drawingout,soMissKilman
felt,theveryentrailsinherbody,stretchingthemasshecrossed
theroom,andthen,withafinaltwist,bowingherheadvery
politely,shewent.
Shehadgone.MissKilmansatatthemarbletableamongthe
clairs,strickenonce,twice,thricebyshocksofsuffering.She
hadgone.Mrs.Dallowayhadtriumphed.Elizabethhadgone.
Beautyhadgone,youthhadgone.
Soshesat.Shegotup,blunderedoffamongthelittletables,
rockingslightlyfromsidetoside,andsomebodycameafterher
withherpetticoat,andshelostherway,andwashemmedinby
trunksspeciallypreparedfortakingtoIndia;nextgotamongthe
accouchementsets,andbabylinen;throughallthecommoditiesof
theworld,perishableandpermanent,hams,drugs,flowers,
stationery,variouslysmelling,nowsweet,nowsourshelurched;
sawherselfthuslurchingwithherhataskew,veryredintheface,
fulllengthinalookingglass;andatlastcameoutintothe
street.
ThetowerofWestminsterCathedralroseinfrontofher,the
habitationofGod.Inthemidstofthetraffic,therewasthe
habitationofGod.Doggedlyshesetoffwithherparceltothat
othersanctuary,theAbbey,where,raisingherhandsinatent
beforeherface,shesatbesidethosedrivenintosheltertoo;the
variouslyassortedworshippers,nowdivestedofsocialrank,almost
ofsex,astheyraisedtheirhandsbeforetheirfaces;butonce
theyremovedthem,instantlyreverent,middleclass,Englishmen
andwomen,someofthemdesirousofseeingthewaxworks.
ButMissKilmanheldhertentbeforeherface.Nowshewas
deserted;nowrejoined.Newworshipperscameinfromthestreetto
replacethestrollers,andstill,aspeoplegazedroundand
shuffledpastthetomboftheUnknownWarrior,stillshebarredher
eyeswithherfingersandtriedinthisdoubledarkness,forthe
lightintheAbbeywasbodiless,toaspireabovethevanities,the
desires,thecommodities,toridherselfbothofhatredandof
love.Herhandstwitched.Sheseemedtostruggle.Yettoothers
GodwasaccessibleandthepathtoHimsmooth.Mr.Fletcher,
retired,oftheTreasury,Mrs.Gorham,widowofthefamousK.C.,
approachedHimsimply,andhavingdonetheirpraying,leantback,
enjoyedthemusic(theorganpealedsweetly),andsawMissKilman
attheendoftherow,praying,praying,and,beingstillonthe
thresholdoftheirunderworld,thoughtofhersympatheticallyasa
soulhauntingthesameterritory;asoulcutoutofimmaterial
substance;notawoman,asoul.
ButMr.Fletcherhadtogo.Hehadtopassher,andbeinghimself
neatasanewpin,couldnothelpbeingalittledistressedbythe
poorlady'sdisorder;herhairdown;herparcelonthefloor.She
didnotatoncelethimpass.But,ashestoodgazingabouthim,
atthewhitemarbles,greywindowpanes,andaccumulatedtreasures
(forhewasextremelyproudoftheAbbey),herlargeness,
robustness,andpowerasshesatthereshiftingherkneesfromtime
totime(itwassoroughtheapproachtoherGodsotoughher
desires)impressedhim,astheyhadimpressedMrs.Dalloway(she
couldnotgetthethoughtofheroutofhermindthatafternoon),
theRev.EdwardWhittaker,andElizabethtoo.
AndElizabethwaitedinVictoriaStreetforanomnibus.Itwasso
nicetobeoutofdoors.Shethoughtperhapssheneednotgohome
justyet.Itwassonicetobeoutintheair.Soshewouldget
ontoanomnibus.Andalready,evenasshestoodthere,inher
verywellcutclothes,itwasbeginning....Peoplewere
beginningtocomparehertopoplartrees,earlydawn,hyacinths,
fawns,runningwater,andgardenlilies;anditmadeherlifea
burdentoher,forshesomuchpreferredbeingleftalonetodo
whatshelikedinthecountry,buttheywouldcompareherto
lilies,andshehadtogotoparties,andLondonwassodreary
comparedwithbeingaloneinthecountrywithherfatherandthe
dogs.
Busesswooped,settled,wereoffgarishcaravans,glisteningwith
redandyellowvarnish.Butwhichshouldshegetonto?Shehad
nopreferences.Ofcourse,shewouldnotpushherway.She
inclinedtobepassive.Itwasexpressionsheneeded,buthereyes
werefine,Chinese,oriental,and,ashermothersaid,withsuch
niceshouldersandholdingherselfsostraight,shewasalways
charmingtolookat;andlately,intheeveningespecially,when
shewasinterested,forsheneverseemedexcited,shelookedalmost
beautiful,verystately,veryserene.Whatcouldshebethinking?
Everymanfellinlovewithher,andshewasreallyawfullybored.
Foritwasbeginning.Hermothercouldseethatthecompliments
werebeginning.Thatshedidnotcaremoreaboutitforinstance
forherclothessometimesworriedClarissa,butperhapsitwasas
wellwithallthosepuppiesandguineapigsabouthavingdistemper,
anditgaveheracharm.Andnowtherewasthisoddfriendship
withMissKilman.Well,thoughtClarissaaboutthreeo'clockin
themorning,readingBaronMarbotforshecouldnotsleep,it
provesshehasaheart.
SuddenlyElizabethsteppedforwardandmostcompetentlyboardedthe
omnibus,infrontofeverybody.Shetookaseatontop.The
impetuouscreatureapiratestartedforward,sprangaway;shehad
toholdtherailtosteadyherself,forapirateitwas,reckless,
unscrupulous,bearingdownruthlessly,circumventingdangerously,
boldlysnatchingapassenger,orignoringapassenger,squeezing
eellikeandarrogantinbetween,andthenrushinginsolentlyall
sailsspreadupWhitehall.AnddidElizabethgiveonethoughtto
poorMissKilmanwholovedherwithoutjealousy,towhomshehad
beenafawnintheopen,amooninaglade?Shewasdelightedto
befree.Thefreshairwassodelicious.Ithadbeensostuffyin
theArmyandNavyStores.Andnowitwaslikeriding,tobe
rushingupWhitehall;andtoeachmovementoftheomnibusthe
beautifulbodyinthefawncolouredcoatrespondedfreelylikea
rider,likethefigureheadofaship,forthebreezeslightly
disarrayedher;theheatgavehercheeksthepallorofwhite
paintedwood;andherfineeyes,havingnoeyestomeet,gazed
ahead,blank,bright,withthestaringincredibleinnocenceof
sculpture.
ItwasalwaystalkingaboutherownsufferingsthatmadeMiss
Kilmansodifficult.Andwassheright?Ifitwasbeingon
committeesandgivinguphoursandhourseveryday(shehardlyever
sawhiminLondon)thathelpedthepoor,herfatherdidthat,
goodnessknows,ifthatwaswhatMissKilmanmeantaboutbeinga
Christian;butitwassodifficulttosay.Oh,shewouldliketo
goalittlefurther.AnotherpennywasittotheStrand?Herewas
anotherpennythen.ShewouldgouptheStrand.
Shelikedpeoplewhowereill.Andeveryprofessionisopentothe
womenofyourgeneration,saidMissKilman.Soshemightbea
doctor.Shemightbeafarmer.Animalsareoftenill.Shemight
ownathousandacresandhavepeopleunderher.Shewouldgoand
seethemintheircottages.ThiswasSomersetHouse.Onemightbe
averygoodfarmerandthat,strangelyenoughthoughMissKilman
hadhershareinit,wasalmostentirelyduetoSomersetHouse.It
lookedsosplendid,soserious,thatgreatgreybuilding.Andshe
likedthefeelingofpeopleworking.Shelikedthosechurches,
likeshapesofgreypaper,breastingthestreamoftheStrand.It
wasquitedifferentherefromWestminster,shethought,gettingoff
atChanceryLane.Itwassoserious;itwassobusy.Inshort,
shewouldliketohaveaprofession.Shewouldbecomeadoctor,a
farmer,possiblygointoParliament,ifshefounditnecessary,all
becauseoftheStrand.
Thefeetofthosepeoplebusyabouttheiractivities,handsputting
stonetostone,mindseternallyoccupiednotwithtrivial
chatterings(comparingwomentopoplarswhichwasratherexciting,
ofcourse,butverysilly),butwiththoughtsofships,of
business,oflaw,ofadministration,andwithitallsostately
(shewasintheTemple),gay(therewastheriver),pious(there
wastheChurch),madeherquitedetermined,whateverhermother
mightsay,tobecomeeitherafarmeroradoctor.Butshewas,of
course,ratherlazy.
Anditwasmuchbettertosaynothingaboutit.Itseemedso
silly.Itwasthesortofthingthatdidsometimeshappen,when
onewasalonebuildingswithoutarchitects'names,crowdsof
peoplecomingbackfromthecityhavingmorepowerthansingle
clergymeninKensington,thananyofthebooksMissKilmanhadlent
her,tostimulatewhatlayslumbrous,clumsy,andshyonthemind's
sandyfloortobreaksurface,asachildsuddenlystretchesits
arms;itwasjustthat,perhaps,asigh,astretchofthearms,an
impulse,arevelation,whichhasitseffectsforever,andthen
downagainitwenttothesandyfloor.Shemustgohome.Shemust
dressfordinner.Butwhatwasthetime?wherewasaclock?
ShelookedupFleetStreet.Shewalkedjustalittlewaytowards
St.Paul's,shyly,likesomeonepenetratingontiptoe,exploringa
strangehousebynightwithacandle,onedgelesttheownershould
suddenlyflingwidehisbedroomdoorandaskherbusiness,nordid
shedarewanderoffintoqueeralleys,temptingbyestreets,any
morethaninastrangehouseopendoorswhichmightbebedroom
doors,orsittingroomdoors,orleadstraighttothelarder.For
noDallowayscamedowntheStranddaily;shewasapioneer,a
stray,venturing,trusting.
Inmanyways,hermotherfelt,shewasextremelyimmature,likea
childstill,attachedtodolls,tooldslippers;aperfectbaby;
andthatwascharming.Butthen,ofcourse,therewasinthe
Dallowayfamilythetraditionofpublicservice.Abbesses,
principals,headmistresses,dignitaries,intherepublicofwomen
withoutbeingbrilliant,anyofthem,theywerethat.She
penetratedalittlefurtherinthedirectionofSt.Paul's.She
likedthegeniality,sisterhood,motherhood,brotherhoodofthis
uproar.Itseemedtohergood.Thenoisewastremendous;and
suddenlythereweretrumpets(theunemployed)blaring,rattling
aboutintheuproar;militarymusic;asifpeopleweremarching;
yethadtheybeendyinghadsomewomanbreathedherlastand
whoeverwaswatching,openingthewindowoftheroomwhereshehad
justbroughtoffthatactofsupremedignity,lookeddownonFleet
Street,thatuproar,thatmilitarymusicwouldhavecometriumphing
uptohim,consolatory,indifferent.
Itwasnotconscious.Therewasnorecognitioninitofone
fortune,orfate,andforthatveryreasoneventothosedazedwith
watchingforthelastshiversofconsciousnessonthefacesofthe
dying,consoling.Forgetfulnessinpeoplemightwound,their
ingratitudecorrode,butthisvoice,pouringendlessly,yearin
yearout,wouldtakewhateveritmightbe;thisvow;thisvan;this
life;thisprocession,wouldwrapthemallaboutandcarrythemon,
asintheroughstreamofaglaciertheiceholdsasplinterof
bone,abluepetal,someoaktrees,androllsthemon.
Butitwaslaterthanshethought.Hermotherwouldnotlikeher
tobewanderingoffalonelikethis.Sheturnedbackdownthe
Strand.
Apuffofwind(inspiteoftheheat,therewasquiteawind)blew
athinblackveiloverthesunandovertheStrand.Thefaces
faded;theomnibusessuddenlylosttheirglow.Foralthoughthe
cloudswereofmountainouswhitesothatonecouldfancyhacking
hardchipsoffwithahatchet,withbroadgoldenslopes,lawnsof
celestialpleasuregardens,ontheirflanks,andhadallthe
appearanceofsettledhabitationsassembledfortheconferenceof
godsabovetheworld,therewasaperpetualmovementamongthem.
Signswereinterchanged,when,asiftofulfilsomeschemearranged
already,nowasummitdwindled,nowawholeblockofpyramidalsize
whichhadkeptitsstationinalterablyadvancedintothemidstor
gravelyledtheprocessiontofreshanchorage.Fixedthoughthey
seemedattheirposts,atrestinperfectunanimity,nothingcould
befresher,freer,moresensitivesuperficiallythanthesnowwhite
orgoldkindledsurface;tochange,togo,todismantlethesolemn
assemblagewasimmediatelypossible;andinspiteofthegrave
fixity,theaccumulatedrobustnessandsolidity,nowtheystruck
lighttotheearth,nowdarkness.
Calmlyandcompetently,ElizabethDallowaymountedtheWestminster
omnibus.
Goingandcoming,beckoning,signalling,sothelightandshadow
whichnowmadethewallgrey,nowthebananasbrightyellow,now
madetheStrandgrey,nowmadetheomnibusesbrightyellow,seemed
toSeptimusWarrenSmithlyingonthesofainthesittingroom;
watchingthewaterygoldglowandfadewiththeastonishing
sensibilityofsomelivecreatureontheroses,onthewallpaper.
Outsidethetreesdraggedtheirleaveslikenetsthroughthedepths
oftheair;thesoundofwaterwasintheroomandthroughthe
wavescamethevoicesofbirdssinging.Everypowerpouredits
treasuresonhishead,andhishandlaythereonthebackofthe
sofa,ashehadseenhishandliewhenhewasbathing,floating,on
thetopofthewaves,whilefarawayonshorehehearddogsbarking
andbarkingfaraway.Fearnomore,saystheheartinthebody;
fearnomore.
Hewasnotafraid.AteverymomentNaturesignifiedbysome
laughinghintlikethatgoldspotwhichwentroundthewallthere,
there,thereherdeterminationtoshow,bybrandishingherplumes,
shakinghertresses,flinginghermantlethiswayandthat,
beautifully,alwaysbeautifully,andstandingcloseuptobreathe
throughherhollowedhandsShakespeare'swords,hermeaning.
Rezia,sittingatthetabletwistingahatinherhands,watched
him;sawhimsmiling.Hewashappythen.Butshecouldnotbear
toseehimsmiling.Itwasnotmarriage;itwasnotbeingone's
husbandtolookstrangelikethat,alwaystobestarting,laughing,
sittinghourafterhoursilent,orclutchingherandtellingherto
write.Thetabledrawerwasfullofthosewritings;aboutwar;
aboutShakespeare;aboutgreatdiscoveries;howthereisnodeath.
Latelyhehadbecomeexcitedsuddenlyfornoreason(andbothDr.
HolmesandSirWilliamBradshawsaidexcitementwastheworstthing
forhim),andwavedhishandsandcriedoutthatheknewthetruth!
Hekneweverything!Thatman,hisfriendwhowaskilled,Evans,
hadcome,hesaid.Hewassingingbehindthescreen.Shewroteit
downjustashespokeit.Somethingswereverybeautiful;others
sheernonsense.Andhewasalwaysstoppinginthemiddle,changing
hismind;wantingtoaddsomething;hearingsomethingnew;
listeningwithhishandup.
Butsheheardnothing.
Andoncetheyfoundthegirlwhodidtheroomreadingoneofthese
papersinfitsoflaughter.Itwasadreadfulpity.Forthatmade
Septimuscryoutabouthumancrueltyhowtheyteareachotherto
pieces.Thefallen,hesaid,theyteartopieces."Holmesison
us,"hewouldsay,andhewouldinventstoriesaboutHolmes;Holmes
eatingporridge;HolmesreadingShakespearemakinghimselfroar
withlaughterorrage,forDr.Holmesseemedtostandforsomething
horribletohim."Humannature,"hecalledhim.Thentherewere
thevisions.Hewasdrowned,heusedtosay,andlyingonacliff
withthegullsscreamingoverhim.Hewouldlookovertheedgeof
thesofadownintothesea.Orhewashearingmusic.Reallyit
wasonlyabarrelorganorsomemancryinginthestreet.But
"Lovely!"heusedtocry,andthetearswouldrundownhischeeks,
whichwastoherthemostdreadfulthingofall,toseeamanlike
Septimus,whohadfought,whowasbrave,crying.Andhewouldlie
listeninguntilsuddenlyhewouldcrythathewasfallingdown,
downintotheflames!Actuallyshewouldlookforflames,itwas
sovivid.Buttherewasnothing.Theywerealoneintheroom.It
wasadream,shewouldtellhimandsoquiethimatlast,but
sometimesshewasfrightenedtoo.Shesighedasshesatsewing.
Hersighwastenderandenchanting,likethewindoutsideawoodin
theevening.Nowsheputdownherscissors;nowsheturnedtotake
somethingfromthetable.Alittlestir,alittlecrinkling,a
littletappingbuiltupsomethingonthetablethere,whereshesat
sewing.Throughhiseyelasheshecouldseeherblurredoutline;
herlittleblackbody;herfaceandhands;herturningmovementsat
thetable,asshetookupareel,orlooked(shewasapttolose
things)forhersilk.ShewasmakingahatforMrs.Filmer's
marrieddaughter,whosenamewashehadforgottenhername.
"WhatisthenameofMrs.Filmer'smarrieddaughter?"heasked.
"Mrs.Peters,"saidRezia.Shewasafraiditwastoosmall,she
said,holdingitbeforeher.Mrs.Peterswasabigwoman;butshe
didnotlikeher.ItwasonlybecauseMrs.Filmerhadbeensogood
tothem."Shegavemegrapesthismorning,"shesaidthatRezia
wantedtodosomethingtoshowthattheyweregrateful.Shehad
comeintotheroomtheothereveningandfoundMrs.Peters,who
thoughttheywereout,playingthegramophone.
"Wasittrue?"heasked.Shewasplayingthegramophone?Yes;she
hadtoldhimaboutitatthetime;shehadfoundMrs.Peters
playingthegramophone.
Hebegan,verycautiously,toopenhiseyes,toseewhethera
gramophonewasreallythere.Butrealthingsrealthingsweretoo
exciting.Hemustbecautious.Hewouldnotgomad.Firsthe
lookedatthefashionpapersonthelowershelf,then,graduallyat
thegramophonewiththegreentrumpet.Nothingcouldbemore
exact.Andso,gatheringcourage,helookedatthesideboard;the
plateofbananas;theengravingofQueenVictoriaandthePrince
Consort;atthemantelpiece,withthejarofroses.Noneofthese
thingsmoved.Allwerestill;allwerereal.
"Sheisawomanwithaspitefultongue,"saidRezia.
"WhatdoesMr.Petersdo?"Septimusasked.
"Ah,"saidRezia,tryingtoremember.ShethoughtMrs.Filmerhad
saidthathetravelledforsomecompany."JustnowheisinHull,"
shesaid.
"Justnow!"ShesaidthatwithherItalianaccent.Shesaidthat
herself.Heshadedhiseyessothathemightseeonlyalittleof
herfaceatatime,firstthechin,thenthenose,thenthe
forehead,incaseitweredeformed,orhadsometerriblemarkon
it.Butno,thereshewas,perfectlynatural,sewing,withthe
pursedlipsthatwomenhave,theset,themelancholyexpression,
whensewing.Buttherewasnothingterribleaboutit,heassured
himself,lookingasecondtime,athirdtimeatherface,her
hands,forwhatwasfrighteningordisgustinginherasshesat
thereinbroaddaylight,sewing?Mrs.Petershadaspiteful
tongue.Mr.PeterswasinHull.Whythenrageandprophesy?Why
flyscourgedandoutcast?Whybemadetotrembleandsobbythe
clouds?WhyseektruthsanddelivermessageswhenReziasat
stickingpinsintothefrontofherdress,andMr.Peterswasin
Hull?Miracles,revelations,agonies,loneliness,fallingthrough
thesea,down,downintotheflames,allwereburntout,forhehad
asense,ashewatchedReziatrimmingthestrawhatforMrs.
Peters,ofacoverletofflowers.
"It'stoosmallforMrs.Peters,"saidSeptimus.
Forthefirsttimefordayshewasspeakingasheusedtodo!Of
courseitwasabsurdlysmall,shesaid.ButMrs.Petershad
chosenit.
Hetookitoutofherhands.Hesaiditwasanorgangrinder's
monkey'shat.
Howitrejoicedherthat!Notforweekshadtheylaughedlikethis
together,pokingfunprivatelylikemarriedpeople.Whatshemeant
wasthatifMrs.Filmerhadcomein,orMrs.Petersoranybodythey
wouldnothaveunderstoodwhatsheandSeptimuswerelaughingat.
"There,"shesaid,pinningarosetoonesideofthehat.Never
hadshefeltsohappy!Neverinherlife!
Butthatwasstillmoreridiculous,Septimussaid.Nowthepoor
womanlookedlikeapigatafair.(Nobodyevermadeherlaughas
Septimusdid.)
Whathadshegotinherworkbox?Shehadribbonsandbeads,
tassels,artificialflowers.Shetumbledthemoutonthetable.
Hebeganputtingoddcolourstogetherforthoughhehadno
fingers,couldnotevendoupaparcel,hehadawonderfuleye,and
oftenhewasright,sometimesabsurd,ofcourse,butsometimes
wonderfullyright.
"Sheshallhaveabeautifulhat!"hemurmured,takingupthisand
that,Reziakneelingbyhisside,lookingoverhisshoulder.Now
itwasfinishedthatistosaythedesign;shemuststitchit
together.Butshemustbevery,verycareful,hesaid,tokeepit
justashehadmadeit.
Soshesewed.Whenshesewed,hethought,shemadeasoundlikea
kettleonthehob;bubbling,murmuring,alwaysbusy,herstrong
littlepointedfingerspinchingandpoking;herneedleflashing
straight.Thesunmightgoinandout,onthetassels,onthe
wallpaper,buthewouldwait,hethought,stretchingouthisfeet,
lookingathisringedsockattheendofthesofa;hewouldwaitin
thiswarmplace,thispocketofstillair,whichonecomesonat
theedgeofawoodsometimesintheevening,when,becauseofa
fallintheground,orsomearrangementofthetrees(onemustbe
scientificaboveall,scientific),warmthlingers,andtheair
buffetsthecheeklikethewingofabird.
"Thereitis,"saidRezia,twirlingMrs.Peters'hatonthetipsof
herfingers."That'lldoforthemoment.Later..."her
sentencebubbledawaydrip,drip,drip,likeacontentedtapleft
running.
Itwaswonderful.Neverhadhedoneanythingwhichmadehimfeel
soproud.Itwassoreal,itwassosubstantial,Mrs.Peters'hat.
"Justlookatit,"hesaid.
Yes,itwouldalwaysmakeherhappytoseethathat.Hehadbecome
himselfthen,hehadlaughedthen.Theyhadbeenalonetogether.
Alwaysshewouldlikethathat.
Hetoldhertotryiton.
"ButImustlooksoqueer!"shecried,runningovertotheglass
andlookingfirstthissidethenthat.Thenshesnatcheditoff
again,fortherewasatapatthedoor.CoulditbeSirWilliam
Bradshaw?Hadhesentalready?
No!itwasonlythesmallgirlwiththeeveningpaper.
Whatalwayshappened,thenhappenedwhathappenedeverynightof
theirlives.Thesmallgirlsuckedherthumbatthedoor;Rezia
wentdownonherknees;Reziacooedandkissed;Reziagotabagof
sweetsoutofthetabledrawer.Forsoitalwayshappened.First
onething,thenanother.Soshebuiltitup,firstonethingand
thenanother.Dancing,skipping,roundandroundtheroomthey
went.Hetookthepaper.Surreywasallout,heread.Therewas
aheatwave.Reziarepeated:Surreywasallout.Therewasa
heatwave,makingitpartofthegameshewasplayingwithMrs.
Filmer'sgrandchild,bothofthemlaughing,chatteringatthesame
time,attheirgame.Hewasverytired.Hewasveryhappy.He
wouldsleep.Heshuthiseyes.Butdirectlyhesawnothingthe
soundsofthegamebecamefainterandstrangerandsoundedlikethe
criesofpeopleseekingandnotfinding,andpassingfurtherand
furtheraway.Theyhadlosthim!
Hestartedupinterror.Whatdidhesee?Theplateofbananason
thesideboard.Nobodywasthere(Reziahadtakenthechildtoits
mother.Itwasbedtime).Thatwasit:tobealoneforever.That
wasthedoompronouncedinMilanwhenhecameintotheroomandsaw
themcuttingoutbuckramshapeswiththeirscissors;tobealone
forever.
Hewasalonewiththesideboardandthebananas.Hewasalone,
exposedonthisbleakeminence,stretchedoutbutnotonahilltop;
notonacrag;onMrs.Filmer'ssittingroomsofa.Asforthe
visions,thefaces,thevoicesofthedead,wherewerethey?There
wasascreeninfrontofhim,withblackbulrushesandblue
swallows.Wherehehadonceseenmountains,wherehehadseen
faces,wherehehadseenbeauty,therewasascreen.
"Evans!"hecried.Therewasnoanswer.Amousehadsqueaked,or
acurtainrustled.Thosewerethevoicesofthedead.Thescreen,
thecoalscuttle,thesideboardremainedtohim.Lethimthenface
thescreen,thecoalscuttleandthesideboard...butRezia
burstintotheroomchattering.
Someletterhadcome.Everybody'splanswerechanged.Mrs.Filmer
wouldnotbeabletogotoBrightonafterall.Therewasnotime
toletMrs.Williamsknow,andreallyReziathoughtitvery,very
annoying,whenshecaughtsightofthehatandthought...
perhaps...she...mightjustmakealittle....Hervoice
diedoutincontentedmelody.
"Ah,damn!"shecried(itwasajokeoftheirs,herswearing),the
needlehadbroken.Hat,child,Brighton,needle.Shebuiltitup;
firstonething,thenanother,shebuiltitup,sewing.
Shewantedhimtosaywhetherbymovingtheroseshehadimproved
thehat.Shesatontheendofthesofa.
Theywereperfectlyhappynow,shesaid,suddenly,puttingthehat
down.Forshecouldsayanythingtohimnow.Shecouldsay
whatevercameintoherhead.Thatwasalmostthefirstthingshe
hadfeltabouthim,thatnightinthecafwhenhehadcomeinwith
hisEnglishfriends.Hehadcomein,rathershyly,lookinground
him,andhishathadfallenwhenhehungitup.Thatshecould
remember.SheknewhewasEnglish,thoughnotoneofthelarge
Englishmenhersisteradmired,forhewasalwaysthin;buthehada
beautifulfreshcolour;andwithhisbignose,hisbrighteyes,his
wayofsittingalittlehunchedmadeherthink,shehadoftentold
him,ofayounghawk,thatfirsteveningshesawhim,whenthey
wereplayingdominoes,andhehadcomeinofayounghawk;but
withherhewasalwaysverygentle.Shehadneverseenhimwildor
drunk,onlysufferingsometimesthroughthisterriblewar,buteven
so,whenshecamein,hewouldputitallaway.Anything,anything
inthewholeworld,anylittlebotherwithherwork,anythingthat
struckhertosayshewouldtellhim,andheunderstoodatonce.
Herownfamilyevenwerenotthesame.Beingolderthanshewas
andbeingsocleverhowserioushewas,wantinghertoread
Shakespearebeforeshecouldevenreadachild'sstoryinEnglish!
beingsomuchmoreexperienced,hecouldhelpher.Andshetoo
couldhelphim.
Butthishatnow.Andthen(itwasgettinglate)SirWilliam
Bradshaw.
Sheheldherhandstoherhead,waitingforhimtosaydidhelike
thehatornot,andasshesatthere,waiting,lookingdown,he
couldfeelhermind,likeabird,fallingfrombranchtobranch,
andalwaysalighting,quiterightly;hecouldfollowhermind,as
shesatthereinoneofthoselooselaxposesthatcametoher
naturallyand,ifheshouldsayanything,atonceshesmiled,like
abirdalightingwithallitsclawsfirmuponthebough.
ButherememberedBradshawsaid,"Thepeoplewearemostfondof
arenotgoodforuswhenweareill."Bradshawsaid,hemustbe
taughttorest.Bradshawsaidtheymustbeseparated.
"Must,""must,"why"must"?WhatpowerhadBradshawoverhim?
"WhatrighthasBradshawtosay'must'tome?"hedemanded.
"Itisbecauseyoutalkedofkillingyourself,"saidRezia.
(Mercifully,shecouldnowsayanythingtoSeptimus.)
Sohewasintheirpower!HolmesandBradshawwereonhim!The
brutewiththerednostrilswassnuffingintoeverysecretplace!
"Must"itcouldsay!Wherewerehispapers?thethingshehad
written?
Shebroughthimhispapers,thethingshehadwritten,thingsshe
hadwrittenforhim.Shetumbledthemoutontothesofa.They
lookedatthemtogether.Diagrams,designs,littlemenandwomen
brandishingsticksforarms,withwingswerethey?ontheir
backs;circlestracedroundshillingsandsixpencesthesunsand
stars;zigzaggingprecipiceswithmountaineersascendingroped
together,exactlylikeknivesandforks;seapieceswithlittle
faceslaughingoutofwhatmightperhapsbewaves:themapofthe
world.Burnthem!hecried.Nowforhiswritings;howthedead
singbehindrhododendronbushes;odestoTime;conversationswith
Shakespeare;Evans,Evans,Evanshismessagesfromthedead;do
notcutdowntrees;tellthePrimeMinister.Universallove:the
meaningoftheworld.Burnthem!hecried.
ButRezialaidherhandsonthem.Somewereverybeautiful,she
thought.Shewouldtiethemup(forshehadnoenvelope)witha
pieceofsilk.
Eveniftheytookhim,shesaid,shewouldgowithhim.Theycould
notseparatethemagainsttheirwills,shesaid.
Shufflingtheedgesstraight,shedidupthepapers,andtiedthe
parcelalmostwithoutlooking,sittingbesidehim,hethought,as
ifallherpetalswereabouther.Shewasafloweringtree;and
throughherbrancheslookedoutthefaceofalawgiver,whohad
reachedasanctuarywhereshefearednoone;notHolmes;not
Bradshaw;amiracle,atriumph,thelastandgreatest.Staggering
hesawhermounttheappallingstaircase,ladenwithHolmesand
Bradshaw,menwhoneverweighedlessthanelevenstonesix,who
senttheirwivestoCourt,menwhomadetenthousandayearand
talkedofproportion;whodifferentintheirverdicts(forHolmes
saidonething,Bradshawanother),yetjudgestheywere;whomixed
thevisionandthesideboard;sawnothingclear,yetruled,yet
inflicted."Must"theysaid.Overthemshetriumphed.
"There!"shesaid.Thepapersweretiedup.Nooneshouldgetat
them.Shewouldputthemaway.
And,shesaid,nothingshouldseparatethem.Shesatdownbeside
himandcalledhimbythenameofthathawkorcrowwhichbeing
maliciousandagreatdestroyerofcropswaspreciselylikehim.
Noonecouldseparatethem,shesaid.
Thenshegotuptogointothebedroomtopacktheirthings,but
hearingvoicesdownstairsandthinkingthatDr.Holmeshadperhaps
called,randowntopreventhimcomingup.
SeptimuscouldhearhertalkingtoHolmesonthestaircase.
"Mydearlady,Ihavecomeasafriend,"Holmeswassaying.
"No.Iwillnotallowyoutoseemyhusband,"shesaid.
Hecouldseeher,likealittlehen,withherwingsspreadbarring
hispassage.ButHolmespersevered.
"Mydearlady,allowme..."Holmessaid,puttingheraside
(Holmeswasapowerfullybuiltman).
Holmeswascomingupstairs.Holmeswouldburstopenthedoor.
Holmeswouldsay"Inafunk,eh?"Holmeswouldgethim.Butno;
notHolmes;notBradshaw.Gettingupratherunsteadily,hopping
indeedfromfoottofoot,heconsideredMrs.Filmer'sniceclean
breadknifewith"Bread"carvedonthehandle.Ah,butonemustn't
spoilthat.Thegasfire?Butitwastoolatenow.Holmeswas
coming.Razorshemighthavegot,butRezia,whoalwaysdidthat
sortofthing,hadpackedthem.Thereremainedonlythewindow,
thelargeBloomsburylodginghousewindow,thetiresome,the
troublesome,andrathermelodramaticbusinessofopeningthewindow
andthrowinghimselfout.Itwastheirideaoftragedy,nothisor
Rezia's(forshewaswithhim).HolmesandBradshawlikethatsort
ofthing.(Hesatonthesill.)Buthewouldwaittillthevery
lastmoment.Hedidnotwanttodie.Lifewasgood.Thesunhot.
OnlyhumanbeingswhatdidTHEYwant?Comingdownthestaircase
oppositeanoldmanstoppedandstaredathim.Holmeswasatthe
door."I'llgiveityou!"hecried,andflunghimselfvigorously,
violentlydownontoMrs.Filmer'sarearailings.
"Thecoward!"criedDr.Holmes,burstingthedooropen.Reziaran
tothewindow,shesaw;sheunderstood.Dr.HolmesandMrs.Filmer
collidedwitheachother.Mrs.Filmerflappedherapronandmade
herhidehereyesinthebedroom.Therewasagreatdealof
runningupanddownstairs.Dr.Holmescameinwhiteasasheet,
shakingallover,withaglassinhishand.Shemustbebraveand
drinksomething,hesaid(Whatwasit?Somethingsweet),forher
husbandwashorriblymangled,wouldnotrecoverconsciousness,she
mustnotseehim,mustbesparedasmuchaspossible,wouldhave
theinquesttogothrough,pooryoungwoman.Whocouldhave
foretoldit?Asuddenimpulse,noonewasintheleasttoblame
(hetoldMrs.Filmer).Andwhythedevilhedidit,Dr.Holmes
couldnotconceive.
Itseemedtoherasshedrankthesweetstuffthatshewasopening
longwindows,steppingoutintosomegarden.Butwhere?Theclock
wasstrikingone,two,three:howsensiblethesoundwas;compared
withallthisthumpingandwhispering;likeSeptimushimself.She
wasfallingasleep.Buttheclockwentonstriking,four,five,
sixandMrs.Filmerwavingherapron(theywouldn'tbringthebody
inhere,wouldthey?)seemedpartofthatgarden;oraflag.She
hadonceseenaflagslowlyripplingoutfromamastwhenshe
stayedwithherauntatVenice.Menkilledinbattlewerethus
saluted,andSeptimushadbeenthroughtheWar.Ofhermemories,
mostwerehappy.
Sheputonherhat,andranthroughcornfieldswherecouldithave
been?ontosomehill,somewherenearthesea,fortherewere
ships,gulls,butterflies;theysatonacliff.InLondontoo,
theretheysat,and,halfdreaming,cametoherthroughthebedroom
door,rainfalling,whisperings,stirringsamongdrycorn,the
caressofthesea,asitseemedtoher,hollowingtheminits
archedshellandmurmuringtoherlaidonshore,strewnshefelt,
likeflyingflowersoversometomb.
"Heisdead,"shesaid,smilingatthepooroldwomanwhoguarded
herwithherhonestlightblueeyesfixedonthedoor.(They
wouldn'tbringhiminhere,wouldthey?)ButMrs.Filmerpoohpoohed.
Ohno,ohno!Theywerecarryinghimawaynow.Oughtshe
nottobetold?Marriedpeopleoughttobetogether,Mrs.Filmer
thought.Buttheymustdoasthedoctorsaid.
"Lethersleep,"saidDr.Holmes,feelingherpulse.Shesawthe
largeoutlineofhisbodystandingdarkagainstthewindow.So
thatwasDr.Holmes.
Oneofthetriumphsofcivilisation,PeterWalshthought.Itis
oneofthetriumphsofcivilisation,asthelighthighbellofthe
ambulancesounded.Swiftly,cleanlytheambulancespedtothe
hospital,havingpickedupinstantly,humanely,somepoordevil;
someonehitonthehead,struckdownbydisease,knockedover
perhapsaminuteorsoagoatoneofthesecrossings,asmight
happentooneself.Thatwascivilisation.Itstruckhimcoming
backfromtheEasttheefficiency,theorganisation,thecommunal
spiritofLondon.Everycartorcarriageofitsownaccorddrew
asidetolettheambulancepass.Perhapsitwasmorbid;orwasit
nottouchingrather,therespectwhichtheyshowedthisambulance
withitsvictiminsidebusymenhurryinghomeyetinstantly
bethinkingthemasitpassedofsomewife;orpresumablyhoweasily
itmighthavebeenthemthere,stretchedonashelfwithadoctor
andanurse....Ah,butthinkingbecamemorbid,sentimental,
directlyonebeganconjuringupdoctors,deadbodies;alittleglow
ofpleasure,asortoflusttoooverthevisualimpressionwarned
onenottogoonwiththatsortofthinganymorefataltoart,
fataltofriendship.True.Andyet,thoughtPeterWalsh,asthe
ambulanceturnedthecornerthoughthelighthighbellcouldbe
hearddownthenextstreetandstillfartherasitcrossedthe
TottenhamCourtRoad,chimingconstantly,itistheprivilegeof
loneliness;inprivacyonemaydoasonechooses.Onemightweep
ifnoonesaw.Ithadbeenhisundoingthissusceptibilityin
AngloIndiansociety;notweepingattherighttime,orlaughing
either.Ihavethatinme,hethoughtstandingbythepillarbox,
whichcouldnowdissolveintears.Why,Heavenknows.Beautyof
somesortprobably,andtheweightoftheday,whichbeginningwith
thatvisittoClarissahadexhaustedhimwithitsheat,its
intensity,andthedrip,drip,ofoneimpressionafteranotherdown
intothatcellarwheretheystood,deep,dark,andnoonewould
everknow.Partlyforthatreason,itssecrecy,completeand
inviolable,hehadfoundlifelikeanunknowngarden,fullofturns
andcorners,surprising,yes;reallyittookone'sbreathaway,
thesemoments;therecomingtohimbythepillarboxoppositethe
BritishMuseumoneofthem,amoment,inwhichthingscame
together;thisambulance;andlifeanddeath.Itwasasifhewere
suckeduptosomeveryhighroofbythatrushofemotionandthe
restofhim,likeawhiteshellsprinkledbeach,leftbare.Ithad
beenhisundoinginAngloIndiansocietythissusceptibility.
Clarissaonce,goingontopofanomnibuswithhimsomewhere,
Clarissasuperficiallyatleast,soeasilymoved,nowindespair,
nowinthebestofspirits,allaquiverinthosedaysandsuchgood
company,spottingqueerlittlescenes,names,peoplefromthetop
ofabus,fortheyusedtoexploreLondonandbringbackbagsfull
oftreasuresfromtheCaledonianmarketClarissahadatheoryin
thosedaystheyhadheapsoftheories,alwaystheories,as
youngpeoplehave.Itwastoexplainthefeelingtheyhadof
dissatisfaction;notknowingpeople;notbeingknown.Forhow
couldtheyknoweachother?Youmeteveryday;thennotforsix
months,oryears.Itwasunsatisfactory,theyagreed,howlittle
oneknewpeople.Butshesaid,sittingonthebusgoingup
ShaftesburyAvenue,shefeltherselfeverywhere;not"here,here,
here";andshetappedthebackoftheseat;buteverywhere.She
wavedherhand,goingupShaftesburyAvenue.Shewasallthat.So
thattoknowher,oranyone,onemustseekoutthepeoplewho
completedthem;eventheplaces.Oddaffinitiesshehadwith
peopleshehadneverspokento,somewomaninthestreet,someman
behindacountereventrees,orbarns.Itendedinatranscendental
theorywhich,withherhorrorofdeath,allowedhertobelieve,or
saythatshebelieved(forallherscepticism),thatsinceour
apparitions,thepartofuswhichappears,aresomomentarycompared
withtheother,theunseenpartofus,whichspreadswide,the
unseenmightsurvive,berecoveredsomehowattachedtothisperson
orthat,orevenhauntingcertainplacesafterdeath...perhaps
perhaps.
Lookingbackoverthatlongfriendshipofalmostthirtyyearsher
theoryworkedtothisextent.Brief,broken,oftenpainfulas
theiractualmeetingshadbeenwhatwithhisabsencesand
interruptions(thismorning,forinstance,incameElizabeth,like
alongleggedcolt,handsome,dumb,justashewasbeginningto
talktoClarissa)theeffectofthemonhislifewasimmeasurable.
Therewasamysteryaboutit.Youweregivenasharp,acute,
uncomfortablegraintheactualmeeting;horriblypainfulasoften
asnot;yetinabsence,inthemostunlikelyplaces,itwould
flowerout,open,sheditsscent,letyoutouch,taste,lookabout
you,getthewholefeelofitandunderstanding,afteryearsof
lyinglost.Thusshehadcometohim;onboardship;inthe
Himalayas;suggestedbytheoddestthings(soSallySeton,
generous,enthusiasticgoose!thoughtofHIMwhenshesawblue
hydrangeas).Shehadinfluencedhimmorethananypersonhehad
everknown.Andalwaysinthiswaycomingbeforehimwithouthis
wishingit,cool,ladylike,critical;orravishing,romantic,
recallingsomefieldorEnglishharvest.Hesawhermostoften
inthecountry,notinLondon.Onesceneafteranotherat
Bourton....
Hehadreachedhishotel.Hecrossedthehall,withitsmoundsof
reddishchairsandsofas,itsspikeleaved,witheredlooking
plants.Hegothiskeyoffthehook.Theyoungladyhandedhim
someletters.HewentupstairshesawhermostoftenatBourton,
inthelatesummer,whenhestayedthereforaweek,orfortnight
even,aspeopledidinthosedays.Firstontopofsomehillthere
shewouldstand,handsclappedtoherhair,hercloakblowingout,
pointing,cryingtothemshesawtheSevernbeneath.Orina
wood,makingthekettleboilveryineffectivewithherfingers;
thesmokecurtseying,blowingintheirfaces;herlittlepinkface
showingthrough;beggingwaterfromanoldwomaninacottage,who
cametothedoortowatchthemgo.Theywalkedalways;theothers
drove.Shewasboreddriving,dislikedallanimals,exceptthat
dog.Theytrampedmilesalongroads.Shewouldbreakofftoget
herbearings,pilothimbackacrosscountry;andallthetimethey
argued,discussedpoetry,discussedpeople,discussedpolitics(she
wasaRadicalthen);nevernoticingathingexceptwhenshe
stopped,criedoutatavieworatree,andmadehimlookwithher;
andsoonagain,throughstubblefields,shewalkingahead,witha
flowerforheraunt,nevertiredofwalkingforallherdelicacy;
todropdownonBourtoninthedusk.Then,afterdinner,old
Breitkopfwouldopenthepianoandsingwithoutanyvoice,andthey
wouldliesunkinarmchairs,tryingnottolaugh,butalways
breakingdownandlaughing,laughinglaughingatnothing.
Breitkopfwassupposednottosee.Andtheninthemorning,
flirtingupanddownlikeawagtailinfrontofthehouse....
Ohitwasaletterfromher!Thisblueenvelope;thatwasher
hand.Andhewouldhavetoreadit.Herewasanotherofthose
meetings,boundtobepainful!Toreadherletterneededthedevil
ofaneffort."Howheavenlyitwastoseehim.Shemusttellhim
that."Thatwasall.
Butitupsethim.Itannoyedhim.Hewishedshehadn'twritten
it.Comingontopofhisthoughts,itwaslikeanudgeinthe
ribs.Whycouldn'tshelethimbe?Afterall,shehadmarried
Dalloway,andlivedwithhiminperfecthappinessalltheseyears.
Thesehotelsarenotconsolingplaces.Farfromit.Anynumberof
peoplehadhunguptheirhatsonthosepegs.Eventheflies,if
youthoughtofit,hadsettledonotherpeople'snoses.Asforthe
cleanlinesswhichhithimintheface,itwasn'tcleanliness,so
muchasbareness,frigidity;athingthathadtobe.Somearid
matronmadeherroundsatdawnsniffing,peering,causingbluenosed
maidstoscour,foralltheworldasifthenextvisitorwere
ajointofmeattobeservedonaperfectlycleanplatter.For
sleep,onebed;forsittingin,onearmchair;forcleaningone's
teethandshavingone'schin,onetumbler,onelookingglass.
Books,letters,dressinggown,slippedaboutontheimpersonality
ofthehorsehairlikeincongruousimpertinences.Anditwas
Clarissa'sletterthatmadehimseeallthis."Heavenlytosee
you.Shemustsayso!"Hefoldedthepaper;pusheditaway;
nothingwouldinducehimtoreaditagain!
Togetthatlettertohimbysixo'clockshemusthavesatdownand
writtenitdirectlyhelefther;stampedit;sentsomebodytothe
post.Itwas,aspeoplesay,verylikeher.Shewasupsetbyhis
visit.Shehadfeltagreatdeal;hadforamoment,whenshe
kissedhishand,regretted,enviedhimeven,rememberedpossibly
(forhesawherlookit)somethinghehadsaidhowtheywould
changetheworldifshemarriedhimperhaps;whereas,itwasthis;
itwasmiddleage;itwasmediocrity;thenforcedherselfwithher
indomitablevitalitytoputallthataside,therebeinginhera
threadoflifewhichfortoughness,endurance,powertoovercome
obstacles,andcarryhertriumphantlythroughhehadneverknown
thelikeof.Yes;buttherewouldcomeareactiondirectlyheleft
theroom.Shewouldbefrightfullysorryforhim;shewouldthink
whatintheworldshecoulddotogivehimpleasure(shortalways
oftheonething)andhecouldseeherwiththetearsrunningdown
hercheeksgoingtoherwritingtableanddashingoffthatoneline
whichhewastofindgreetinghim...."Heavenlytoseeyou!"
Andshemeantit.
PeterWalshhadnowunlacedhisboots.
Butitwouldnothavebeenasuccess,theirmarriage.Theother
thing,afterall,camesomuchmorenaturally.
Itwasodd;itwastrue;lotsofpeoplefeltit.PeterWalsh,who
haddonejustrespectably,filledtheusualpostsadequately,was
liked,butthoughtalittlecranky,gavehimselfairsitwasodd
thatHEshouldhavehad,especiallynowthathishairwasgrey,a
contentedlook;alookofhavingreserves.Itwasthisthatmade
himattractivetowomenwholikedthesensethathewasnot
altogethermanly.Therewassomethingunusualabouthim,or
somethingbehindhim.Itmightbethathewasbookishnevercame
toseeyouwithouttakingupthebookonthetable(hewasnow
reading,withhisbootlacestrailingonthefloor);orthathewas
agentleman,whichshoweditselfinthewayheknockedtheashes
outofhispipe,andinhismannersofcoursetowomen.Foritwas
verycharmingandquiteridiculoushoweasilysomegirlwithouta
grainofsensecouldtwisthimroundherfinger.Butatherown
risk.Thatistosay,thoughhemightbeeversoeasy,andindeed
withhisgaietyandgoodbreedingfascinatingtobewith,itwas
onlyuptoapoint.Shesaidsomethingno,no;hesawthrough
that.Hewouldn'tstandthatno,no.Thenhecouldshoutand
rockandholdhissidestogetheroversomejokewithmen.Hewas
thebestjudgeofcookinginIndia.Hewasaman.Butnotthe
sortofmanonehadtorespectwhichwasamercy;notlikeMajor
Simmons,forinstance;notintheleastlikethat,Daisythought,
when,inspiteofhertwosmallchildren,sheusedtocomparethem.
Hepulledoffhisboots.Heemptiedhispockets.Outcamewith
hispocketknifeasnapshotofDaisyontheverandah;Daisyallin
white,withafoxterrieronherknee;verycharming,verydark;
thebesthehadeverseenofher.Itdidcome,afterallso
naturally;somuchmorenaturallythanClarissa.Nofuss.No
bother.Nofinickingandfidgeting.Allplainsailing.Andthe
dark,adorablyprettygirlontheverandahexclaimed(hecouldhear
her).Ofcourse,ofcourseshewouldgivehimeverything!she
cried(shehadnosenseofdiscretion)everythinghewanted!she
cried,runningtomeethim,whoevermightbelooking.Andshewas
onlytwentyfour.Andshehadtwochildren.Well,well!
Wellindeedhehadgothimselfintoamessathisage.Anditcame
overhimwhenhewokeinthenightprettyforcibly.Supposethey
didmarry?Forhimitwouldbeallverywell,butwhatabouther?
Mrs.Burgess,agoodsortandnochatterbox,inwhomhehad
confided,thoughtthisabsenceofhisinEngland,ostensiblytosee
lawyersmightservetomakeDaisyreconsider,thinkwhatitmeant.
Itwasaquestionofherposition,Mrs.Burgesssaid;thesocial
barrier;givingupherchildren.She'dbeawidowwithapastone
ofthesedays,dragglingaboutinthesuburbs,ormorelikely,
indiscriminate(youknow,shesaid,whatsuchwomengetlike,with
toomuchpaint).ButPeterWalshpoohpoohedallthat.Hedidn't
meantodieyet.Anyhowshemustsettleforherself;judgefor
herself,hethought,paddingabouttheroominhissocks,smoothing
outhisdressshirt,forhemightgotoClarissa'sparty,orhe
mightgotooneoftheHalls,orhemightsettleinandreadan
absorbingbookwrittenbyamanheusedtoknowatOxford.Andif
hedidretire,that'swhathe'ddowritebooks.Hewouldgoto
OxfordandpokeaboutintheBodleian.Vainlythedark,adorably
prettygirlrantotheendoftheterrace;vainlywavedherhand;
vainlycriedshedidn'tcareastrawwhatpeoplesaid.Therehe
was,themanshethoughttheworldof,theperfectgentleman,the
fascinating,thedistinguished(andhisagemadenottheleast
differencetoher),paddingaboutaroominanhotelinBloomsbury,
shaving,washing,continuing,ashetookupcans,putdownrazors,
topokeaboutintheBodleian,andgetatthetruthaboutoneor
twolittlemattersthatinterestedhim.Andhewouldhaveachat
withwhoeveritmightbe,andsocometodisregardmoreandmore
precisehoursforlunch,andmissengagements,andwhenDaisyasked
him,asshewould,forakiss,ascene,failtocomeuptothe
scratch(thoughhewasgenuinelydevotedtoher)inshortitmight
behappier,asMrs.Burgesssaid,thatsheshouldforgethim,or
merelyrememberhimashewasinAugust1922,likeafigure
standingatthecrossroadsatdusk,whichgrowsmoreandmore
remoteasthedogcartspinsaway,carryinghersecurelyfastened
tothebackseat,thoughherarmsareoutstretched,andasshesees
thefiguredwindleanddisappearstillshecriesouthowshewould
doanythingintheworld,anything,anything,anything....
Heneverknewwhatpeoplethought.Itbecamemoreandmore
difficultforhimtoconcentrate.Hebecameabsorbed;hebecame
busiedwithhisownconcerns;nowsurly,nowgay;dependenton
women,absentminded,moody,lessandlessable(sohethoughtas
heshaved)tounderstandwhyClarissacouldn'tsimplyfindthema
lodgingandbenicetoDaisy;introduceher.Andthenhecould
justjustdowhat?justhauntandhover(hewasatthemoment
actuallyengagedinsortingoutvariouskeys,papers),swoopand
taste,bealone,inshort,sufficienttohimself;andyetnobodyof
coursewasmoredependentuponothers(hebuttonedhiswaistcoat);
ithadbeenhisundoing.Hecouldnotkeepoutofsmokingrooms,
likedcolonels,likedgolf,likedbridge,andaboveallwomen's
society,andthefinenessoftheircompanionship,andtheir
faithfulnessandaudacityandgreatnessinlovingwhichthoughit
haditsdrawbacksseemedtohim(andthedark,adorablyprettyface
wasontopoftheenvelopes)sowhollyadmirable,sosplendida
flowertogrowonthecrestofhumanlife,andyethecouldnot
comeuptothescratch,beingalwaysapttoseeroundthings
(Clarissahadsappedsomethinginhimpermanently),andtotire
veryeasilyofmutedevotionandtowantvarietyinlove,thoughit
wouldmakehimfuriousifDaisylovedanybodyelse,furious!forhe
wasjealous,uncontrollablyjealousbytemperament.Hesuffered
tortures!Butwherewashisknife;hiswatch;hisseals,hisnotecase,
andClarissa'sletterwhichhewouldnotreadagainbutliked
tothinkof,andDaisy'sphotograph?Andnowfordinner.
Theywereeating.
Sittingatlittletablesroundvases,dressedornotdressed,with
theirshawlsandbagslaidbesidethem,withtheirairoffalse
composure,fortheywerenotusedtosomanycoursesatdinner,and
confidence,fortheywereabletopayforit,andstrain,forthey
hadbeenrunningaboutLondonalldayshopping,sightseeing;and
theirnaturalcuriosity,fortheylookedroundandupasthenicelooking
gentlemaninhornrimmedspectaclescamein,andtheirgood
nature,fortheywouldhavebeengladtodoanylittleservice,
suchaslendatimetableorimpartusefulinformation,andtheir
desire,pulsinginthem,tuggingatthemsubterraneously,somehow
toestablishconnectionsifitwereonlyabirthplace(Liverpool,
forexample)incommonorfriendsofthesamename;withtheir
furtiveglances,oddsilences,andsuddenwithdrawalsintofamily
jocularityandisolation;theretheysateatingdinnerwhenMr.
Walshcameinandtookhisseatatalittletablebythecurtain.
Itwasnotthathesaidanything,forbeingsolitaryhecouldonly
addresshimselftothewaiter;itwashiswayoflookingatthe
menu,ofpointinghisforefingertoaparticularwine,ofhitching
himselfuptothetable,ofaddressinghimselfseriously,not
gluttonouslytodinner,thatwonhimtheirrespect;which,having
toremainunexpressedforthegreaterpartofthemeal,flaredup
atthetablewheretheMorrisessatwhenMr.Walshwasheardtosay
attheendofthemeal,"Bartlettpears."Whyheshouldhave
spokensomoderatelyyetfirmly,withtheairofadisciplinarian
wellwithinhisrightswhicharefoundeduponjustice,neither
youngCharlesMorris,noroldCharles,neitherMissElainenorMrs.
Morrisknew.Butwhenhesaid,"Bartlettpears,"sittingaloneat
histable,theyfeltthathecountedontheirsupportinsome
lawfuldemand;waschampionofacausewhichimmediatelybecame
theirown,sothattheireyesmethiseyessympathetically,and
whentheyallreachedthesmokingroomsimultaneously,alittle
talkbetweenthembecameinevitable.
ItwasnotveryprofoundonlytotheeffectthatLondonwas
crowded;hadchangedinthirtyyears;thatMr.Morrispreferred
Liverpool;thatMrs.MorrishadbeentotheWestminsterflowershow,
andthattheyhadallseenthePrinceofWales.Yet,thought
PeterWalsh,nofamilyintheworldcancomparewiththeMorrises;
nonewhatever;andtheirrelationstoeachotherareperfect,and
theydon'tcareahangfortheupperclasses,andtheylikewhat
theylike,andElaineistrainingforthefamilybusiness,andthe
boyhaswonascholarshipatLeeds,andtheoldlady(whoisabout
hisownage)hasthreemorechildrenathome;andtheyhavetwo
motorcars,butMr.MorrisstillmendsthebootsonSunday:itis
superb,itisabsolutelysuperb,thoughtPeterWalsh,swayinga
littlebackwardsandforwardswithhisliqueurglassinhishand
amongthehairyredchairsandashtrays,feelingverywellpleased
withhimself,fortheMorriseslikedhim.Yes,theylikedaman
whosaid,"Bartlettpears."Theylikedhim,hefelt.
HewouldgotoClarissa'sparty.(TheMorrisesmovedoff;butthey
wouldmeetagain.)HewouldgotoClarissa'sparty,becausehe
wantedtoaskRichardwhattheyweredoinginIndiathe
conservativeduffers.Andwhat'sbeingacted?Andmusic....
Ohyes,andmeregossip.
Forthisisthetruthaboutoursoul,hethought,ourself,who
fishlikeinhabitsdeepseasandpliesamongobscuritiesthreading
herwaybetweenthebolesofgiantweeds,oversunflickeredspaces
andonandonintogloom,cold,deep,inscrutable;suddenlyshe
shootstothesurfaceandsportsonthewindwrinkledwaves;that
is,hasapositiveneedtobrush,scrape,kindleherself,
gossiping.WhatdidtheGovernmentmeanRichardDallowaywould
knowtodoaboutIndia?
Sinceitwasaveryhotnightandthepaperboyswentbywith
placardsproclaiminginhugeredlettersthattherewasaheatwave,
wickerchairswereplacedonthehotelstepsandthere,
sipping,smoking,detachedgentlemensat.PeterWalshsatthere.
Onemightfancythatday,theLondonday,wasjustbeginning.Like
awomanwhohadslippedoffherprintdressandwhiteapronto
arrayherselfinblueandpearls,thedaychanged,putoffstuff,
tookgauze,changedtoevening,andwiththesamesighof
exhilarationthatawomanbreathes,tumblingpetticoatsonthe
floor,ittoosheddust,heat,colour;thetrafficthinned;motor
cars,tinkling,darting,succeededthelumberofvans;andhereand
thereamongthethickfoliageofthesquaresanintenselighthung.
Iresign,theeveningseemedtosay,asitpaledandfadedabove
thebattlementsandprominences,moulded,pointed,ofhotel,flat,
andblockofshops,Ifade,shewasbeginning,Idisappear,but
Londonwouldhavenoneofit,andrushedherbayonetsintothesky,
pinionedher,constrainedhertopartnershipinherrevelry.
ForthegreatrevolutionofMr.Willett'ssummertimehadtaken
placesincePeterWalsh'slastvisittoEngland.Theprolonged
eveningwasnewtohim.Itwasinspiriting,rather.Forasthe
youngpeoplewentbywiththeirdespatchboxes,awfullygladtobe
free,proudtoo,dumbly,ofsteppingthisfamouspavement,joyofa
kind,cheap,tinselly,ifyoulike,butallthesamerapture,
flushedtheirfaces.Theydressedwelltoo;pinkstockings;pretty
shoes.Theywouldnowhavetwohoursatthepictures.It
sharpened,itrefinedthem,theyellowblueeveninglight;andon
theleavesinthesquareshonelurid,lividtheylookedasif
dippedinseawaterthefoliageofasubmergedcity.Hewas
astonishedbythebeauty;itwasencouragingtoo,forwherethe
returnedAngloIndiansatbyrights(heknewcrowdsofthem)inthe
OrientalClubbiliouslysumminguptheruinoftheworld,herewas
he,asyoungasever;envyingyoungpeopletheirsummertimeand
therestofit,andmorethansuspectingfromthewordsofagirl,
fromahousemaid'slaughterintangiblethingsyoucouldn'tlay
yourhandsonthatshiftinthewholepyramidalaccumulationwhich
inhisyouthhadseemedimmovable.Ontopofthemithadpressed;
weighedthemdown,thewomenespecially,likethoseflowers
Clarissa'sAuntHelenausedtopressbetweensheetsofgrey
blottingpaperwithLittr'sdictionaryontop,sittingunderthe
lampafterdinner.Shewasdeadnow.Hehadheardofher,from
Clarissa,losingthesightofoneeye.Itseemedsofittingone
ofnature'smasterpiecesthatoldMissParryshouldturntoglass.
Shewoulddielikesomebirdinafrostgrippingherperch.She
belongedtoadifferentage,butbeingsoentire,socomplete,
wouldalwaysstanduponthehorizon,stonewhite,eminent,likea
lighthousemarkingsomepaststageonthisadventurous,long,long
voyage,thisinterminable(hefeltforacoppertobuyapaperand
readaboutSurreyandYorkshirehehadheldoutthatcopper
millionsoftimes.Surreywasalloutoncemore)this
interminablelife.Butcricketwasnomeregame.Cricketwas
important.Hecouldneverhelpreadingaboutcricket.Hereadthe
scoresinthestoppressfirst,thenhowitwasahotday;then
aboutamurdercase.Havingdonethingsmillionsoftimesenriched
them,thoughitmightbesaidtotakethesurfaceoff.Thepast
enriched,andexperience,andhavingcaredforoneortwopeople,
andsohavingacquiredthepowerwhichtheyounglack,ofcutting
short,doingwhatonelikes,notcaringarapwhatpeoplesayand
comingandgoingwithoutanyverygreatexpectations(helefthis
paperonthetableandmovedoff),whichhowever(andhelookedfor
hishatandcoat)wasnotaltogethertrueofhim,nottonight,for
herehewasstartingtogotoaparty,athisage,withthebelief
uponhimthathewasabouttohaveanexperience.Butwhat?
Beautyanyhow.Notthecrudebeautyoftheeye.Itwasnotbeauty
pureandsimpleBedfordPlaceleadingintoRussellSquare.Itwas
straightnessandemptinessofcourse;thesymmetryofacorridor;
butitwasalsowindowslitup,apiano,agramophonesounding;a
senseofpleasuremakinghidden,butnowandagainemergingwhen,
throughtheuncurtainedwindow,thewindowleftopen,onesaw
partiessittingovertables,youngpeopleslowlycircling,
conversationsbetweenmenandwomen,maidsidlylookingout(a
strangecommenttheirs,whenworkwasdone),stockingsdryingon
topledges,aparrot,afewplants.Absorbing,mysterious,of
infiniterichness,thislife.Andinthelargesquarewherethe
cabsshotandswervedsoquick,therewereloiteringcouples,
dallying,embracing,shrunkupundertheshowerofatree;thatwas
moving;sosilent,soabsorbed,thatonepassed,discreetly,
timidly,asifinthepresenceofsomesacredceremonytointerrupt
whichwouldhavebeenimpious.Thatwasinteresting.Andsoon
intotheflareandglare.
Hislightovercoatblewopen,hesteppedwithindescribable
idiosyncrasy,lentalittleforward,tripped,withhishandsbehind
hisbackandhiseyesstillalittlehawklike;hetrippedthrough
London,towardsWestminster,observing.
Waseverybodydiningout,then?Doorswerebeingopenedherebya
footmantoletissueahighsteppingolddame,inbuckledshoes,
withthreepurpleostrichfeathersinherhair.Doorswerebeing
openedforladieswrappedlikemummiesinshawlswithbright
flowersonthem,ladieswithbareheads.Andinrespectable
quarterswithstuccopillarsthroughsmallfrontgardenslightly
swathedwithcombsintheirhair(havingrunuptoseethe
children),womencame;menwaitedforthem,withtheircoats
blowingopen,andthemotorstarted.Everybodywasgoingout.
Whatwiththesedoorsbeingopened,andthedescentandthestart,
itseemedasifthewholeofLondonwereembarkinginlittleboats
mooredtothebank,tossingonthewaters,asifthewholeplace
werefloatingoffincarnival.AndWhitehallwasskatedover,
silverbeatenasitwas,skatedoverbyspiders,andtherewasa
senseofmidgesroundthearclamps;itwassohotthatpeople
stoodabouttalking.AndhereinWestminsterwasaretiredJudge,
presumably,sittingfoursquareathishousedoordressedallin
white.AnAngloIndianpresumably.
Andhereashindyofbrawlingwomen,drunkenwomen;hereonlya
policemanandloominghouses,highhouses,domedhouses,churches,
parliaments,andthehootofasteamerontheriver,ahollowmisty
cry.Butitwasherstreet,this,Clarissa's;cabswererushing
roundthecorner,likewaterroundthepiersofabridge,drawn
together,itseemedtohimbecausetheyborepeoplegoingtoher
party,Clarissa'sparty.
Thecoldstreamofvisualimpressionsfailedhimnowasiftheeye
wereacupthatoverflowedandlettherestrundownitschina
wallsunrecorded.Thebrainmustwakenow.Thebodymustcontract
now,enteringthehouse,thelightedhouse,wherethedoorstood
open,wherethemotorcarswerestanding,andbrightwomen
descending:thesoulmustbraveitselftoendure.Heopenedthe
bigbladeofhispocketknife.
Lucycamerunningfulltiltdownstairs,havingjustnippedinto
thedrawingroomtosmoothacover,tostraightenachair,topause
amomentandfeelwhoevercameinmustthinkhowclean,howbright,
howbeautifullycaredfor,whentheysawthebeautifulsilver,the
brassfireirons,thenewchaircovers,andthecurtainsofyellow
chintz:sheappraisedeach;heardaroarofvoices;peoplealready
comingupfromdinner;shemustfly!
ThePrimeMinisterwascoming,Agnessaid:soshehadheardthem
sayinthediningroom,shesaid,cominginwithatrayofglasses.
Diditmatter,diditmatterintheleast,onePrimeMinistermore
orless?ItmadenodifferenceatthishourofthenighttoMrs.
Walkeramongtheplates,saucepans,cullenders,fryingpans,
chickeninaspic,icecreamfreezers,paredcrustsofbread,
lemons,souptureens,andpuddingbasinswhich,howeverhardthey
washedupinthesculleryseemedtobeallontopofher,onthe
kitchentable,onchairs,whilethefireblaredandroared,the
electriclightsglared,andstillsupperhadtobelaid.Allshe
feltwas,onePrimeMinistermoreorlessmadenotascrapof
differencetoMrs.Walker.
Theladiesweregoingupstairsalready,saidLucy;theladieswere
goingup,onebyone,Mrs.Dallowaywalkinglastandalmostalways
sendingbacksomemessagetothekitchen,"MylovetoMrs.Walker,"
thatwasitonenight.Nextmorningtheywouldgooverthedishes
thesoup,thesalmon;thesalmon,Mrs.Walkerknew,asusual
underdone,forshealwaysgotnervousaboutthepuddingandleftit
toJenny;soithappened,thesalmonwasalwaysunderdone.But
someladywithfairhairandsilverornamentshadsaid,Lucysaid,
abouttheentre,wasitreallymadeathome?Butitwasthe
salmonthatbotheredMrs.Walker,asshespuntheplatesroundand
round,andpulledindampersandpulledoutdampers;andtherecame
aburstoflaughterfromthediningroom;avoicespeaking;then
anotherburstoflaughterthegentlemenenjoyingthemselveswhen
theladieshadgone.Thetokay,saidLucyrunningin.Mr.
Dallowayhadsentforthetokay,fromtheEmperor'scellars,the
ImperialTokay.
Itwasbornethroughthekitchen.OverhershoulderLucyreported
howMissElizabethlookedquitelovely;shecouldn'ttakehereyes
offher;inherpinkdress,wearingthenecklaceMr.Dallowayhad
givenher.Jennymustrememberthedog,MissElizabeth'sfoxterrier,
which,sinceitbit,hadtobeshutupandmight,
Elizabeththought,wantsomething.Jennymustrememberthedog.
ButJennywasnotgoingupstairswithallthosepeopleabout.
Therewasamotoratthedooralready!Therewasaringatthe
bellandthegentlemenstillinthediningroom,drinkingtokay!
There,theyweregoingupstairs;thatwasthefirsttocome,and
nowtheywouldcomefasterandfaster,sothatMrs.Parkinson
(hiredforparties)wouldleavethehalldoorajar,andthehall
wouldbefullofgentlemenwaiting(theystoodwaiting,sleeking
downtheirhair)whiletheladiestooktheircloaksoffintheroom
alongthepassage;whereMrs.Barnethelpedthem,oldEllenBarnet,
whohadbeenwiththefamilyforfortyyears,andcameeverysummer
tohelptheladies,andrememberedmotherswhentheyweregirls,
andthoughveryunassumingdidshakehands;said"milady"very
respectfully,yethadahumorouswaywithher,lookingattheyoung
ladies,andeversotactfullyhelpingLadyLovejoy,whohadsome
troublewithherunderbodice.Andtheycouldnothelpfeeling,
LadyLovejoyandMissAlice,thatsomelittleprivilegeinthe
matterofbrushandcomb,wasawardedthemhavingknownMrs.
Barnet"thirtyyears,milady,"Mrs.Barnetsuppliedher.Young
ladiesdidnotusetorouge,saidLadyLovejoy,whentheystayedat
Bourtonintheolddays.AndMissAlicedidn'tneedrouge,said
Mrs.Barnet,lookingatherfondly.ThereMrs.Barnetwouldsit,
inthecloakroom,pattingdownthefurs,smoothingouttheSpanish
shawls,tidyingthedressingtable,andknowingperfectlywell,in
spiteofthefursandtheembroideries,whichwereniceladies,
whichwerenot.Thedearoldbody,saidLadyLovejoy,mountingthe
stairs,Clarissa'soldnurse.
AndthenLadyLovejoystiffened."LadyandMissLovejoy,"shesaid
toMr.Wilkins(hiredforparties).Hehadanadmirablemanner,as
hebentandstraightenedhimself,bentandstraightenedhimselfand
announcedwithperfectimpartiality"LadyandMissLovejoy...
SirJohnandLadyNeedham...MissWeld...Mr.Walsh."His
mannerwasadmirable;hisfamilylifemustbeirreproachable,
exceptthatitseemedimpossiblethatabeingwithgreenishlips
andshavencheekscouldeverhaveblunderedintothenuisanceof
children.
"Howdelightfultoseeyou!"saidClarissa.Shesaidittoevery
one.Howdelightfultoseeyou!Shewasatherworsteffusive,
insincere.Itwasagreatmistaketohavecome.Heshouldhave
stayedathomeandreadhisbook,thoughtPeterWalsh;shouldhave
gonetoamusichall;heshouldhavestayedathome,forheknewno
one.
Ohdear,itwasgoingtobeafailure;acompletefailure,Clarissa
feltitinherbonesasdearoldLordLexhamstoodthere
apologisingforhiswifewhohadcaughtcoldattheBuckingham
Palacegardenparty.ShecouldseePeteroutofthetailofher
eye,criticisingher,there,inthatcorner.Why,afterall,did
shedothesethings?Whyseekpinnaclesandstanddrenchedin
fire?Mightitconsumeheranyhow!Burnhertocinders!Better
anything,betterbrandishone'storchandhurlittoearththan
taperanddwindleawaylikesomeEllieHenderson!Itwas
extraordinaryhowPeterputherintothesestatesjustbycoming
andstandinginacorner.Hemadeherseeherself;exaggerate.It
wasidiotic.Butwhydidhecome,then,merelytocriticise?Why
alwaystake,nevergive?Whynotriskone'sonelittlepointof
view?Therehewaswanderingoff,andshemustspeaktohim.But
shewouldnotgetthechance.Lifewasthathumiliation,
renunciation.WhatLordLexhamwassayingwasthathiswifewould
notwearherfursatthegardenpartybecause"mydear,youladies
areallalike"LadyLexhambeingseventyfiveatleast!Itwas
delicious,howtheypettedeachother,thatoldcouple.Shedid
likeoldLordLexham.Shedidthinkitmattered,herparty,andit
madeherfeelquitesicktoknowthatitwasallgoingwrong,all
fallingflat.Anything,anyexplosion,anyhorrorwasbetterthan
peoplewanderingaimlessly,standinginabunchatacornerlike
EllieHenderson,notevencaringtoholdthemselvesupright.
GentlytheyellowcurtainwithallthebirdsofParadiseblewout
anditseemedasiftherewereaflightofwingsintotheroom,
rightout,thensuckedback.(Forthewindowswereopen.)Wasit
draughty,EllieHendersonwondered?Shewassubjecttochills.
Butitdidnotmatterthatsheshouldcomedownsneezingtomorrow;
itwasthegirlswiththeirnakedshouldersshethoughtof,being
trainedtothinkofothersbyanoldfather,aninvalid,latevicar
ofBourton,buthewasdeadnow;andherchillsneverwenttoher
chest,never.Itwasthegirlsshethoughtof,theyounggirls
withtheirbareshoulders,sheherselfhavingalwaysbeenawispof
acreature,withherthinhairandmeagreprofile;thoughnow,past
fifty,therewasbeginningtoshinethroughsomemildbeam,
somethingpurifiedintodistinctionbyyearsofselfabnegationbut
obscuredagain,perpetually,byherdistressinggentility,her
panicfear,whicharosefromthreehundredpounds'income,andher
weaponlessstate(shecouldnotearnapenny)anditmadeher
timid,andmoreandmoredisqualifiedyearbyyeartomeetwelldressed
peoplewhodidthissortofthingeverynightofthe
season,merelytellingtheirmaids"I'llwearsoandso,"whereas
EllieHendersonranoutnervouslyandboughtcheappinkflowers,
halfadozen,andthenthrewashawloverheroldblackdress.For
herinvitationtoClarissa'spartyhadcomeatthelastmoment.
Shewasnotquitehappyaboutit.Shehadasortoffeelingthat
Clarissahadnotmeanttoaskherthisyear.
Whyshouldshe?Therewasnoreasonreally,exceptthattheyhad
alwaysknowneachother.Indeed,theywerecousins.Butnaturally
theyhadratherdriftedapart,Clarissabeingsosoughtafter.It
wasaneventtoher,goingtoaparty.Itwasquiteatreatjust
toseethelovelyclothes.Wasn'tthatElizabeth,grownup,with
herhairdoneinthefashionableway,inthepinkdress?Yetshe
couldnotbemorethanseventeen.Shewasvery,veryhandsome.
Butgirlswhentheyfirstcameoutdidn'tseemtowearwhiteas
theyused.(ShemustremembereverythingtotellEdith.)Girls
worestraightfrocks,perfectlytight,withskirtswellabovethe
ankles.Itwasnotbecoming,shethought.
So,withherweakeyesight,EllieHendersoncranedratherforward,
anditwasn'tsomuchshewhomindednothavinganyonetotalkto
(shehardlyknewanybodythere),forshefeltthattheywereall
suchinterestingpeopletowatch;politicianspresumably;Richard
Dalloway'sfriends;butitwasRichardhimselfwhofeltthathe
couldnotletthepoorcreaturegoonstandingthereallthe
eveningbyherself.
"Well,Ellie,andhow'stheworldtreatingYOU?"hesaidinhis
genialway,andEllieHenderson,gettingnervousandflushingand
feelingthatitwasextraordinarilyniceofhimtocomeandtalkto
her,saidthatmanypeoplereallyfelttheheatmorethanthecold.
"Yes,theydo,"saidRichardDalloway."Yes."
Butwhatmoredidonesay?
"Hullo,Richard,"saidsomebody,takinghimbytheelbow,and,good
Lord,therewasoldPeter,oldPeterWalsh.Hewasdelightedto
seehimeversopleasedtoseehim!Hehadn'tchangedabit.And
offtheywenttogetherwalkingrightacrosstheroom,givingeach
otherlittlepats,asiftheyhadn'tmetforalongtime,Ellie
Hendersonthought,watchingthemgo,certainsheknewthatman's
face.Atallman,middleaged,ratherfineeyes,dark,wearing
spectacles,withalookofJohnBurrows.Edithwouldbesureto
know.
ThecurtainwithitsflightofbirdsofParadiseblewoutagain.
AndClarissasawshesawRalphLyonbeatitback,andgoon
talking.Soitwasn'tafailureafterall!itwasgoingtobeall
rightnowherparty.Ithadbegun.Ithadstarted.Butitwas
stilltouchandgo.Shemuststandthereforthepresent.People
seemedtocomeinarush.
ColonelandMrs.Garrod...Mr.HughWhitbread...Mr.Bowley
...Mrs.Hilbery...LadyMaryMaddox...Mr.Quin...
intonedWilkin.Shehadsixorsevenwordswitheach,andthey
wenton,theywentintotherooms;intosomethingnow,notnothing,
sinceRalphLyonhadbeatbackthecurtain.
Andyetforherownpart,itwastoomuchofaneffort.Shewas
notenjoyingit.Itwastoomuchlikebeingjustanybody,
standingthere;anybodycoulddoit;yetthisanybodyshedida
littleadmire,couldn'thelpfeelingthatshehad,anyhow,made
thishappen,thatitmarkedastage,thispostthatshefelt
herselftohavebecome,foroddlyenoughshehadquiteforgotten
whatshelookedlike,butfeltherselfastakedriveninatthetop
ofherstairs.Everytimeshegaveapartyshehadthisfeelingof
beingsomethingnotherself,andthateveryonewasunrealinone
way;muchmorerealinanother.Itwas,shethought,partlytheir
clothes,partlybeingtakenoutoftheirordinaryways,partlythe
background,itwaspossibletosaythingsyoucouldn'tsayanyhow
else,thingsthatneededaneffort;possibletogomuchdeeper.
Butnotforher;notyetanyhow.
"Howdelightfultoseeyou!"shesaid.DearoldSirHarry!He
wouldknoweveryone.
Andwhatwassooddaboutitwasthesenseonehadastheycameup
thestairsoneafteranother,Mrs.MountandCelia,HerbertAinsty,
Mrs.DakersohandLadyBruton!
"Howawfullygoodofyoutocome!"shesaid,andshemeantitit
wasoddhowstandingthereonefeltthemgoingon,goingon,some
quiteold,some...
WHATname?LadyRosseter?ButwhoonearthwasLadyRosseter?
"Clarissa!"Thatvoice!ItwasSallySeton!SallySeton!after
alltheseyears!Sheloomedthroughamist.Forshehadn'tlooked
likeTHAT,SallySeton,whenClarissagraspedthehotwatercan,to
thinkofherunderthisroof,underthisroof!Notlikethat!
Allontopofeachother,embarrassed,laughing,wordstumbledout
passingthroughLondon;heardfromClaraHaydon;whatachanceof
seeingyou!SoIthrustmyselfinwithoutaninvitation....
Onemightputdownthehotwatercanquitecomposedly.Thelustre
hadgoneoutofher.Yetitwasextraordinarytoseeheragain,
older,happier,lesslovely.Theykissedeachother,firstthis
cheekthenthat,bythedrawingroomdoor,andClarissaturned,
withSally'shandinhers,andsawherroomsfull,heardtheroar
ofvoices,sawthecandlesticks,theblowingcurtains,andthe
roseswhichRichardhadgivenher.
"Ihavefiveenormousboys,"saidSally.
Shehadthesimplestegotism,themostopendesiretobethought
firstalways,andClarissalovedherforbeingstilllikethat."I
can'tbelieveit!"shecried,kindlingalloverwithpleasureat
thethoughtofthepast.
Butalas,Wilkins;Wilkinswantedher;Wilkinswasemittingina
voiceofcommandingauthorityasifthewholecompanymustbe
admonishedandthehostessreclaimedfromfrivolity,onename:
"ThePrimeMinister,"saidPeterWalsh.
ThePrimeMinister?Wasitreally?EllieHendersonmarvelled.
WhatathingtotellEdith!
Onecouldn'tlaughathim.Helookedsoordinary.Youmighthave
stoodhimbehindacounterandboughtbiscuitspoorchap,all
riggedupingoldlace.Andtobefair,ashewenthisrounds,
firstwithClarissathenwithRichardescortinghim,hediditvery
well.Hetriedtolooksomebody.Itwasamusingtowatch.Nobody
lookedathim.Theyjustwentontalking,yetitwasperfectly
plainthattheyallknew,felttothemarrowoftheirbones,this
majestypassing;thissymbolofwhattheyallstoodfor,English
society.OldLadyBruton,andshelookedveryfinetoo,very
stalwartinherlace,swamup,andtheywithdrewintoalittleroom
whichatoncebecamespiedupon,guarded,andasortofstirand
rustlerippledthrougheveryone,openly:thePrimeMinister!
Lord,lord,thesnobberyoftheEnglish!thoughtPeterWalsh,
standinginthecorner.Howtheyloveddressingupingoldlace
anddoinghomage!There!Thatmustbe,byJoveitwas,Hugh
Whitbread,snuffingroundtheprecinctsofthegreat,grownrather
fatter,ratherwhiter,theadmirableHugh!
Helookedalwaysasifhewereonduty,thoughtPeter,a
privileged,butsecretivebeing,hoardingsecretswhichhewould
dietodefend,thoughitwasonlysomelittlepieceoftittletattle
droppedbyacourtfootman,whichwouldbeinallthepapers
tomorrow.Suchwerehisrattles,hisbaubles,inplayingwith
whichhehadgrownwhite,cometothevergeofoldage,enjoying
therespectandaffectionofallwhohadtheprivilegeofknowing
thistypeoftheEnglishpublicschoolman.Inevitablyonemadeup
thingslikethataboutHugh;thatwashisstyle;thestyleofthose
admirableletterswhichPeterhadreadthousandsofmilesacross
theseaintheTimes,andhadthankedGodhewasoutofthat
pernicioushubblebubbleifitwereonlytohearbaboonschatter
andcooliesbeattheirwives.Anoliveskinnedyouthfromoneof
theUniversitiesstoodobsequiouslyby.Himhewouldpatronise,
initiate,teachhowtogeton.Forhelikednothingbetterthan
doingkindnesses,makingtheheartsofoldladiespalpitatewith
thejoyofbeingthoughtofintheirage,theiraffliction,
thinkingthemselvesquiteforgotten,yetherewasdearHughdriving
upandspendinganhourtalkingofthepast,rememberingtrifles,
praisingthehomemadecake,thoughHughmighteatcakewitha
Duchessanydayofhislife,and,tolookathim,probablydid
spendagooddealoftimeinthatagreeableoccupation.TheAlljudging,
theAllmerciful,mightexcuse.PeterWalshhadnomercy.
Villainstheremustbe,andGodknowstherascalswhogethanged
forbatteringthebrainsofagirloutinatraindolessharmon
thewholethanHughWhitbreadandhiskindness.Lookathimnow,
ontiptoe,dancingforward,bowingandscraping,asthePrime
MinisterandLadyBrutonemerged,intimatingforalltheworldto
seethathewasprivilegedtosaysomething,somethingprivate,to
LadyBrutonasshepassed.Shestopped.Shewaggedherfineold
head.Shewasthankinghimpresumablyforsomepieceofservility.
Shehadhertoadies,minorofficialsinGovernmentofficeswhoran
aboutputtingthroughlittlejobsonherbehalf,inreturnfor
whichshegavethemluncheon.Butshederivedfromtheeighteenth
century.Shewasallright.
AndnowClarissaescortedherPrimeMinisterdowntheroom,
prancing,sparkling,withthestatelinessofhergreyhair.She
woreearrings,andasilvergreenmermaid'sdress.Lollopingon
thewavesandbraidinghertressessheseemed,havingthatgift
still;tobe;toexist;tosumitallupinthemomentasshe
passed;turned,caughtherscarfinsomeotherwoman'sdress,
unhitchedit,laughed,allwiththemostperfecteaseandairofa
creaturefloatinginitselement.Butagehadbrushedher;evenas
amermaidmightbeholdinherglassthesettingsunonsomevery
cleareveningoverthewaves.Therewasabreathoftenderness;
herseverity,herprudery,herwoodennesswereallwarmedthrough
now,andshehadaboutherasshesaidgoodbyetothethickgoldlaced
manwhowasdoinghisbest,andgoodlucktohim,tolook
important,aninexpressibledignity;anexquisitecordiality;asif
shewishedthewholeworldwell,andmustnow,beingonthevery
vergeandrimofthings,takeherleave.Soshemadehimthink.
(Buthewasnotinlove.)
Indeed,Clarissafelt,thePrimeMinisterhadbeengoodtocome.
And,walkingdowntheroomwithhim,withSallythereandPeter
thereandRichardverypleased,withallthosepeoplerather
inclined,perhaps,toenvy,shehadfeltthatintoxicationofthe
moment,thatdilatationofthenervesoftheheartitselftillit
seemedtoquiver,steeped,upright;yes,butafterallitwaswhat
otherpeoplefelt,that;for,thoughsheloveditandfeltit
tingleandsting,stillthesesemblances,thesetriumphs(dearold
Peter,forexample,thinkinghersobrilliant),hadahollowness;
atarm'slengththeywere,notintheheart;anditmightbethat
shewasgrowingoldbuttheysatisfiedhernolongerastheyused;
andsuddenly,asshesawthePrimeMinistergodownthestairs,the
giltrimoftheSirJoshuapictureofthelittlegirlwithamuff
broughtbackKilmanwitharush;Kilmanherenemy.Thatwas
satisfying;thatwasreal.Ah,howshehatedherhot,
hypocritical,corrupt;withallthatpower;Elizabeth'sseducer;
thewomanwhohadcreptintostealanddefile(Richardwouldsay,
Whatnonsense!).Shehatedher:shelovedher.Itwasenemiesone
wanted,notfriendsnotMrs.DurrantandClara,SirWilliamand
LadyBradshaw,MissTruelockandEleanorGibson(whomshesaw
comingupstairs).Theymustfindheriftheywantedher.Shewas
fortheparty!
TherewasheroldfriendSirHarry.
"DearSirHarry!"shesaid,goinguptothefineoldfellowwhohad
producedmorebadpicturesthananyothertwoAcademiciansinthe
wholeofSt.John'sWood(theywerealwaysofcattle,standingin
sunsetpoolsabsorbingmoisture,orsignifying,forhehada
certainrangeofgesture,bytheraisingofoneforelegandthe
tossoftheantlers,"theApproachoftheStranger"allhis
activities,diningout,racing,werefoundedoncattlestanding
absorbingmoistureinsunsetpools).
"Whatareyoulaughingat?"sheaskedhim.ForWillieTitcomband
SirHarryandHerbertAinstywerealllaughing.Butno.SirHarry
couldnottellClarissaDalloway(muchthoughhelikedher;ofher
typehethoughtherperfect,andthreatenedtopainther)his
storiesofthemusichallstage.Hechaffedheraboutherparty.
Hemissedhisbrandy.Thesecircles,hesaid,wereabovehim.But
helikedher;respectedher,inspiteofherdamnable,difficult
upperclassrefinement,whichmadeitimpossibletoaskClarissa
Dallowaytositonhisknee.Andupcamethatwanderingwillo'
thewisp,thatvagulousphosphorescence,oldMrs.Hilbery,
stretchingherhandstotheblazeofhislaughter(abouttheDuke
andtheLady),which,asshehearditacrosstheroom,seemedto
reassureheronapointwhichsometimesbotheredherifshewoke
earlyinthemorninganddidnotliketocallhermaidforacupof
tea;howitiscertainwemustdie.
"Theywon'ttellustheirstories,"saidClarissa.
"DearClarissa!"exclaimedMrs.Hilbery.Shelookedtonight,she
said,solikehermotherasshefirstsawherwalkinginagarden
inagreyhat.
AndreallyClarissa'seyesfilledwithtears.Hermother,walking
inagarden!Butalas,shemustgo.
FortherewasProfessorBrierly,wholecturedonMilton,talkingto
littleJimHutton(whowasunableevenforapartylikethisto
compassbothtieandwaistcoatormakehishairlieflat),andeven
atthisdistancetheywerequarrelling,shecouldsee.For
ProfessorBrierlywasaveryqueerfish.Withallthosedegrees,
honours,lectureshipsbetweenhimandthescribblershesuspected
instantlyanatmospherenotfavourabletohisqueercompound;his
prodigiouslearningandtimidity;hiswintrycharmwithout
cordiality;hisinnocenceblentwithsnobbery;hequiveredifmade
consciousbyalady'sunkempthair,ayouth'sboots,ofan
underworld,verycreditabledoubtless,ofrebels,ofardentyoung
people;ofwouldbegeniuses,andintimatedwithalittletossof
thehead,withasniffHumph!thevalueofmoderation;ofsome
slighttrainingintheclassicsinordertoappreciateMilton.
ProfessorBrierly(Clarissacouldsee)wasn'thittingitoffwith
littleJimHutton(whoworeredsocks,hisblackbeingatthe
laundry)aboutMilton.Sheinterrupted.
ShesaidshelovedBach.SodidHutton.Thatwasthebondbetween
them,andHutton(averybadpoet)alwaysfeltthatMrs.Dalloway
wasfarthebestofthegreatladieswhotookaninterestinart.
Itwasoddhowstrictshewas.Aboutmusicshewaspurely
impersonal.Shewasratheraprig.Buthowcharmingtolookat!
Shemadeherhousesoniceifitweren'tforherProfessors.
Clarissahadhalfamindtosnatchhimoffandsethimdownatthe
pianointhebackroom.Forheplayeddivinely.
"Butthenoise!"shesaid."Thenoise!"
"Thesignofasuccessfulparty."Noddingurbanely,theProfessor
steppeddelicatelyoff.
"HeknowseverythinginthewholeworldaboutMilton,"said
Clarissa.
"Doesheindeed?"saidHutton,whowouldimitatetheProfessor
throughoutHampstead;theProfessoronMilton;theProfessoron
moderation;theProfessorsteppingdelicatelyoff.
Butshemustspeaktothatcouple,saidClarissa,LordGaytonand
NancyBlow.
NotthatTHEYaddedperceptiblytothenoiseoftheparty.They
werenottalking(perceptibly)astheystoodsidebysidebythe
yellowcurtains.Theywouldsoonbeoffelsewhere,together;and
neverhadverymuchtosayinanycircumstances.Theylooked;that
wasall.Thatwasenough.Theylookedsoclean,sosound,she
withanapricotbloomofpowderandpaint,buthescrubbed,rinsed,
withtheeyesofabird,sothatnoballcouldpasshimorstroke
surprisehim.Hestruck,heleapt,accurately,onthespot.
Ponies'mouthsquiveredattheendofhisreins.Hehadhis
honours,ancestralmonuments,bannershanginginthechurchat
home.Hehadhisduties;histenants;amotherandsisters;had
beenalldayatLords,andthatwaswhattheyweretalkingabout
cricket,cousins,themovieswhenMrs.Dallowaycameup.Lord
Gaytonlikedhermostawfully.SodidMissBlow.Shehadsuch
charmingmanners.
"Itisangelicitisdeliciousofyoutohavecome!"shesaid.
ShelovedLords;shelovedyouth,andNancy,dressedatenormous
expensebythegreatestartistsinParis,stoodtherelookingasif
herbodyhadmerelyputforth,ofitsownaccord,agreenfrill.
"Ihadmeanttohavedancing,"saidClarissa.
Fortheyoungpeoplecouldnottalk.Andwhyshouldthey?Shout,
embrace,swing,beupatdawn;carrysugartoponies;kissand
caressthesnoutsofadorablechows;andthenalltinglingand
streaming,plungeandswim.Buttheenormousresourcesofthe
Englishlanguage,thepoweritbestows,afterall,ofcommunicating
feelings(attheirage,sheandPeterwouldhavebeenarguingall
theevening),wasnotforthem.Theywouldsolidifyyoung.They
wouldbegoodbeyondmeasuretothepeopleontheestate,but
alone,perhaps,ratherdull.
"Whatapity!"shesaid."Ihadhopedtohavedancing."
Itwassoextraordinarilyniceofthemtohavecome!Buttalkof
dancing!Theroomswerepacked.
TherewasoldAuntHelenainhershawl.Alas,shemustleavethem
LordGaytonandNancyBlow.TherewasoldMissParry,heraunt.
ForMissHelenaParrywasnotdead:MissParrywasalive.Shewas
pasteighty.Sheascendedstaircasesslowlywithastick.Shewas
placedinachair(Richardhadseentoit).Peoplewhohadknown
Burmainthe'seventieswerealwaysleduptoher.WherehadPeter
gotto?Theyusedtobesuchfriends.Foratthementionof
India,orevenCeylon,hereyes(onlyonewasglass)slowly
deepened,becameblue,beheld,nothumanbeingsshehadnotender
memories,noproudillusionsaboutViceroys,Generals,Mutiniesit
wasorchidsshesaw,andmountainpassesandherselfcarriedonthe
backsofcooliesinthe'sixtiesoversolitarypeaks;ordescending
touprootorchids(startlingblossoms,neverbeheldbefore)which
shepaintedinwatercolour;anindomitableEnglishwoman,fretful
ifdisturbedbytheWar,say,whichdroppedabombathervery
door,fromherdeepmeditationoverorchidsandherownfigure
journeyinginthe'sixtiesinIndiabutherewasPeter.
"ComeandtalktoAuntHelenaaboutBurma,"saidClarissa.
Andyethehadnothadawordwithheralltheevening!
"Wewilltalklater,"saidClarissa,leadinghimuptoAuntHelena,
inherwhiteshawl,withherstick.
"PeterWalsh,"saidClarissa.
Thatmeantnothing.
Clarissahadaskedher.Itwastiring;itwasnoisy;butClarissa
hadaskedher.Soshehadcome.Itwasapitythattheylivedin
LondonRichardandClarissa.IfonlyforClarissa'shealthit
wouldhavebeenbettertoliveinthecountry.ButClarissahad
alwaysbeenfondofsociety.
"HehasbeeninBurma,"saidClarissa.
Ah.ShecouldnotresistrecallingwhatCharlesDarwinhadsaid
aboutherlittlebookontheorchidsofBurma.
(ClarissamustspeaktoLadyBruton.)
Nodoubtitwasforgottennow,herbookontheorchidsofBurma,
butitwentintothreeeditionsbefore1870,shetoldPeter.She
rememberedhimnow.HehadbeenatBourton(andhehadlefther,
PeterWalshremembered,withoutawordinthedrawingroomthat
nightwhenClarissahadaskedhimtocomeboating).
"Richardsomuchenjoyedhislunchparty,"saidClarissatoLady
Bruton.
"Richardwasthegreatestpossiblehelp,"LadyBrutonreplied."He
helpedmetowritealetter.Andhowareyou?"
"Oh,perfectlywell!"saidClarissa.(LadyBrutondetestedillness
inthewivesofpoliticians.)
"Andthere'sPeterWalsh!"saidLadyBruton(forshecouldnever
thinkofanythingtosaytoClarissa;thoughshelikedher.She
hadlotsoffinequalities;buttheyhadnothingincommonsheand
Clarissa.ItmighthavebeenbetterifRichardhadmarriedawoman
withlesscharm,whowouldhavehelpedhimmoreinhiswork.He
hadlosthischanceoftheCabinet)."There'sPeterWalsh!"she
said,shakinghandswiththatagreeablesinner,thatveryable
fellowwhoshouldhavemadeanameforhimselfbuthadn't(always
indifficultieswithwomen),and,ofcourse,oldMissParry.
Wonderfuloldlady!
LadyBrutonstoodbyMissParry'schair,aspectralgrenadier,
drapedinblack,invitingPeterWalshtolunch;cordial;but
withoutsmalltalk,rememberingnothingwhateveraboutthefloraor
faunaofIndia.Shehadbeenthere,ofcourse;hadstayedwith
threeViceroys;thoughtsomeoftheIndianciviliansuncommonly
finefellows;butwhatatragedyitwasthestateofIndia!The
PrimeMinisterhadjustbeentellingher(oldMissParryhuddledup
inhershawl,didnotcarewhatthePrimeMinisterhadjustbeen
tellingher),andLadyBrutonwouldliketohavePeterWalsh's
opinion,hebeingfreshfromthecentre,andshewouldgetSir
Sampsontomeethim,forreallyitpreventedherfromsleepingat
night,thefollyofit,thewickednessshemightsay,beinga
soldier'sdaughter.Shewasanoldwomannow,notgoodformuch.
Butherhouse,herservants,hergoodfriendMillyBrushdidhe
rememberher?wereallthereonlyaskingtobeusedififthey
couldbeofhelp,inshort.ForsheneverspokeofEngland,but
thisisleofmen,thisdear,dearland,wasinherblood(without
readingShakespeare),andifeverawomancouldhavewornthe
helmetandshotthearrow,couldhaveledtroopstoattack,ruled
withindomitablejusticebarbarianhordesandlainunderashield
noselessinachurch,ormadeagreengrassmoundonsomeprimeval
hillside,thatwomanwasMillicentBruton.Debarredbyhersexand
sometruancy,too,ofthelogicalfaculty(shefounditimpossible
towritealettertotheTimes),shehadthethoughtofEmpire
alwaysathand,andhadacquiredfromherassociationwiththat
armouredgoddessherramrodbearing,herrobustnessofdemeanour,
sothatonecouldnotfigureherevenindeathpartedfromthe
earthorroamingterritoriesoverwhich,insomespiritualshape,
theUnionJackhadceasedtofly.TobenotEnglishevenamongthe
deadno,no!Impossible!
ButwasitLadyBruton(whomsheusedtoknow)?WasitPeterWalsh
growngrey?LadyRosseteraskedherself(whohadbeenSally
Seton).ItwasoldMissParrycertainlytheoldauntwhousedto
besocrosswhenshestayedatBourton.Nevershouldsheforget
runningalongthepassagenaked,andbeingsentforbyMissParry!
AndClarissa!ohClarissa!Sallycaughtherbythearm.
Clarissastoppedbesidethem.
"ButIcan'tstay,"shesaid."Ishallcomelater.Wait,"she
said,lookingatPeterandSally.Theymustwait,shemeant,until
allthesepeoplehadgone.
"Ishallcomeback,"shesaid,lookingatheroldfriends,Sally
andPeter,whowereshakinghands,andSally,rememberingthepast
nodoubt,waslaughing.
Buthervoicewaswrungofitsoldravishingrichness;hereyesnot
aglowastheyusedtobe,whenshesmokedcigars,whensherandown
thepassagetofetchherspongebag,withoutastitchofclothing
onher,andEllenAtkinsasked,Whatifthegentlemenhadmether?
Buteverybodyforgaveher.Shestoleachickenfromthelarder
becauseshewashungryinthenight;shesmokedcigarsinher
bedroom;sheleftapricelessbookinthepunt.Buteverybody
adoredher(exceptperhapsPapa).Itwasherwarmth;hervitality
shewouldpaint,shewouldwrite.Oldwomeninthevillagenever
tothisdayforgottoaskafter"yourfriendintheredcloakwho
seemedsobright."SheaccusedHughWhitbread,ofallpeople(and
therehewas,heroldfriendHugh,talkingtothePortuguese
Ambassador),ofkissingherinthesmokingroomtopunishherfor
sayingthatwomenshouldhavevotes.Vulgarmendid,shesaid.
AndClarissarememberedhavingtopersuadehernottodenouncehim
atfamilyprayerswhichshewascapableofdoingwithherdaring,
herrecklessness,hermelodramaticloveofbeingthecentreof
everythingandcreatingscenes,anditwasbound,Clarissausedto
think,toendinsomeawfultragedy;herdeath;hermartyrdom;
insteadofwhichshehadmarried,quiteunexpectedly,abaldman
withalargebuttonholewhoowned,itwassaid,cottonmillsat
Manchester.Andshehadfiveboys!
SheandPeterhadsettleddowntogether.Theyweretalking:it
seemedsofamiliarthattheyshouldbetalking.Theywould
discussthepast.Withthetwoofthem(moreeventhanwith
Richard)shesharedherpast;thegarden;thetrees;oldJoseph
BreitkopfsingingBrahmswithoutanyvoice;thedrawingroom
wallpaper;thesmellofthemats.ApartofthisSallymustalways
be;Petermustalwaysbe.Butshemustleavethem.Therewerethe
Bradshaws,whomshedisliked.ShemustgouptoLadyBradshaw(in
greyandsilver,balancinglikeasealionattheedgeofitstank,
barkingforinvitations,Duchesses,thetypicalsuccessfulman's
wife),shemustgouptoLadyBradshawandsay...
ButLadyBradshawanticipatedher.
"Weareshockinglylate,dearMrs.Dalloway,wehardlydaredto
comein,"shesaid.
AndSirWilliam,wholookedverydistinguished,withhisgreyhair
andblueeyes,saidyes;theyhadnotbeenabletoresistthe
temptation.HewastalkingtoRichardaboutthatBillprobably,
whichtheywantedtogetthroughtheCommons.Whydidthesightof
him,talkingtoRichard,curlherup?Helookedwhathewas,a
greatdoctor.Amanabsolutelyattheheadofhisprofession,very
powerful,ratherworn.Forthinkwhatcasescamebeforehim
peopleintheuttermostdepthsofmisery;peopleonthevergeof
insanity;husbandsandwives.Hehadtodecidequestionsof
appallingdifficulty.Yetwhatshefeltwas,onewouldn'tlike
SirWilliamtoseeoneunhappy.No;notthatman.
"HowisyoursonatEton?"sheaskedLadyBradshaw.
Hehadjustmissedhiseleven,saidLadyBradshaw,becauseofthe
mumps.Hisfathermindedevenmorethanhedid,shethought
"being,"shesaid,"nothingbutagreatboyhimself."
ClarissalookedatSirWilliam,talkingtoRichard.Hedidnot
looklikeaboynotintheleastlikeaboy.Shehadoncegone
withsomeonetoaskhisadvice.Hehadbeenperfectlyright;
extremelysensible.ButHeavenswhatarelieftogetouttothe
streetagain!Therewassomepoorwretchsobbing,sheremembered,
inthewaitingroom.ButshedidnotknowwhatitwasaboutSir
William;whatexactlyshedisliked.OnlyRichardagreedwithher,
"didn'tlikehistaste,didn'tlikehissmell."Buthewas
extraordinarilyable.TheyweretalkingaboutthisBill.Some
case,SirWilliamwasmentioning,loweringhisvoice.Ithadits
bearinguponwhathewassayingaboutthedeferredeffectsofshell
shock.TheremustbesomeprovisionintheBill.
Sinkinghervoice,drawingMrs.Dallowayintotheshelterofa
commonfemininity,acommonprideintheillustriousqualitiesof
husbandsandtheirsadtendencytooverwork,LadyBradshaw(poor
gooseonedidn'tdislikeher)murmuredhow,"justaswewere
starting,myhusbandwascalleduponthetelephone,averysad
case.Ayoungman(thatiswhatSirWilliamistellingMr.
Dalloway)hadkilledhimself.Hehadbeeninthearmy."Oh!
thoughtClarissa,inthemiddleofmyparty,here'sdeath,she
thought.
Shewenton,intothelittleroomwherethePrimeMinisterhadgone
withLadyBruton.Perhapstherewassomebodythere.Buttherewas
nobody.ThechairsstillkepttheimpressofthePrimeMinister
andLadyBruton,sheturneddeferentially,hesittingfoursquare,
authoritatively.TheyhadbeentalkingaboutIndia.Therewas
nobody.Theparty'ssplendourfelltothefloor,sostrangeitwas
tocomeinaloneinherfinery.
WhatbusinesshadtheBradshawstotalkofdeathatherparty?A
youngmanhadkilledhimself.Andtheytalkedofitatherparty
theBradshaws,talkedofdeath.Hehadkilledhimselfbuthow?
Alwaysherbodywentthroughitfirst,whenshewastold,suddenly,
ofanaccident;herdressflamed,herbodyburnt.Hehadthrown
himselffromawindow.Uphadflashedtheground;throughhim,
blundering,bruising,wenttherustyspikes.Therehelaywitha
thud,thud,thudinhisbrain,andthenasuffocationofblackness.
Soshesawit.Butwhyhadhedoneit?AndtheBradshawstalked
ofitatherparty!
ShehadoncethrownashillingintotheSerpentine,neveranything
more.Buthehadflungitaway.Theywentonliving(shewould
havetogoback;theroomswerestillcrowded;peoplekepton
coming).They(alldayshehadbeenthinkingofBourton,ofPeter,
ofSally),theywouldgrowold.Athingtherewasthatmattered;a
thing,wreathedaboutwithchatter,defaced,obscuredinherown
life,letdropeverydayincorruption,lies,chatter.Thishehad
preserved.Deathwasdefiance.Deathwasanattemptto
communicate;peoplefeelingtheimpossibilityofreachingthe
centrewhich,mystically,evadedthem;closenessdrewapart;
rapturefaded,onewasalone.Therewasanembraceindeath.
Butthisyoungmanwhohadkilledhimselfhadheplungedholding
histreasure?"Ifitwerenowtodie,'twerenowtobemost
happy,"shehadsaidtoherselfonce,comingdowninwhite.
Ortherewerethepoetsandthinkers.Supposehehadhadthat
passion,andhadgonetoSirWilliamBradshaw,agreatdoctoryet
toherobscurelyevil,withoutsexorlust,extremelypoliteto
women,butcapableofsomeindescribableoutrageforcingyour
soul,thatwasitifthisyoungmanhadgonetohim,andSir
Williamhadimpressedhim,likethat,withhispower,mighthenot
thenhavesaid(indeedshefeltitnow),Lifeismadeintolerable;
theymakelifeintolerable,menlikethat?
Then(shehadfeltitonlythismorning)therewastheterror;the
overwhelmingincapacity,one'sparentsgivingitintoone'shands,
thislife,tobelivedtotheend,tobewalkedwithserenely;
therewasinthedepthsofherheartanawfulfear.Evennow,
quiteoftenifRichardhadnotbeentherereadingtheTimes,so
thatshecouldcrouchlikeabirdandgraduallyrevive,send
roaringupthatimmeasurabledelight,rubbingsticktostick,one
thingwithanother,shemusthaveperished.Butthatyoungmanhad
killedhimself.
Somehowitwasherdisasterherdisgrace.Itwasherpunishment
toseesinkanddisappearhereaman,thereawoman,inthis
profounddarkness,andsheforcedtostandhereinherevening
dress.Shehadschemed;shehadpilfered.Shewasneverwholly
admirable.Shehadwantedsuccess.LadyBexboroughandtherest
ofit.AndonceshehadwalkedontheterraceatBourton.
ItwasduetoRichard;shehadneverbeensohappy.Nothingcould
beslowenough;nothinglasttoolong.Nopleasurecouldequal,
shethought,straighteningthechairs,pushinginonebookonthe
shelf,thishavingdonewiththetriumphsofyouth,lostherselfin
theprocessofliving,tofindit,withashockofdelight,asthe
sunrose,asthedaysank.Manyatimehadshegone,atBourton
whentheywerealltalking,tolookatthesky;orseenitbetween
people'sshouldersatdinner;seenitinLondonwhenshecouldnot
sleep.Shewalkedtothewindow.
Itheld,foolishastheideawas,somethingofherowninit,this
countrysky,thisskyaboveWestminster.Shepartedthecurtains;
shelooked.Oh,buthowsurprising!intheroomoppositetheold
ladystaredstraightather!Shewasgoingtobed.Andthesky.
Itwillbeasolemnsky,shehadthought,itwillbeaduskysky,
turningawayitscheekinbeauty.Butthereitwasashenpale,
racedoverquicklybytaperingvastclouds.Itwasnewtoher.
Thewindmusthaverisen.Shewasgoingtobed,intheroom
opposite.Itwasfascinatingtowatchher,movingabout,thatold
lady,crossingtheroom,comingtothewindow.Couldsheseeher?
Itwasfascinating,withpeoplestilllaughingandshoutinginthe
drawingroom,towatchthatoldwoman,quitequietly,goingtobed.
Shepulledtheblindnow.Theclockbeganstriking.Theyoungman
hadkilledhimself;butshedidnotpityhim;withtheclock
strikingthehour,one,two,three,shedidnotpityhim,withall
thisgoingon.There!theoldladyhadputoutherlight!the
wholehousewasdarknowwiththisgoingon,sherepeated,andthe
wordscametoher,Fearnomoretheheatofthesun.Shemustgo
backtothem.Butwhatanextraordinarynight!Shefeltsomehow
verylikehimtheyoungmanwhohadkilledhimself.Shefeltglad
thathehaddoneit;thrownitaway.Theclockwasstriking.The
leadencirclesdissolvedintheair.Hemadeherfeelthebeauty;
madeherfeelthefun.Butshemustgoback.Shemustassemble.
ShemustfindSallyandPeter.Andshecameinfromthelittle
room.
"ButwhereisClarissa?"saidPeter.Hewassittingonthesofa
withSally.(Afteralltheseyearshereallycouldnotcallher
"LadyRosseter.")"Where'sthewomangoneto?"heasked."Where's
Clarissa?"
Sallysupposed,andsodidPeterforthematterofthat,thatthere
werepeopleofimportance,politicians,whomneitherofthemknew
unlessbysightinthepicturepapers,whomClarissahadtobenice
to,hadtotalkto.Shewaswiththem.YettherewasRichard
DallowaynotintheCabinet.Hehadn'tbeenasuccess,Sally
supposed?Forherself,shescarcelyeverreadthepapers.She
sometimessawhisnamementioned.Butthenwell,shelivedavery
solitarylife,inthewilds,Clarissawouldsay,amonggreat
merchants,greatmanufacturers,men,afterall,whodidthings.
Shehaddonethingstoo!
"Ihavefivesons!"shetoldhim.
Lord,Lord,whatachangehadcomeoverher!thesoftnessof
motherhood;itsegotismtoo.Lasttimetheymet,Peterremembered,
hadbeenamongthecauliflowersinthemoonlight,theleaves"like
roughbronze"shehadsaid,withherliteraryturn;andshehad
pickedarose.Shehadmarchedhimupanddownthatawfulnight,
afterthescenebythefountain;hewastocatchthemidnight
train.Heavens,hehadwept!
Thatwashisoldtrick,openingapocketknife,thoughtSally,
alwaysopeningandshuttingaknifewhenhegotexcited.Theyhad
beenvery,veryintimate,sheandPeterWalsh,whenhewasinlove
withClarissa,andtherewasthatdreadful,ridiculoussceneover
RichardDallowayatlunch.ShehadcalledRichard"Wickham."Why
notcallRichard"Wickham"?Clarissahadflaredup!andindeed
theyhadneverseeneachothersince,sheandClarissa,notmore
thanhalfadozentimesperhapsinthelasttenyears.AndPeter
WalshhadgoneofftoIndia,andshehadheardvaguelythathehad
madeanunhappymarriage,andshedidn'tknowwhetherhehadany
children,andshecouldn'taskhim,forhehadchanged.Hewas
rathershrivelledlooking,butkinder,shefelt,andshehadareal
affectionforhim,forhewasconnectedwithheryouth,andshe
stillhadalittleEmilyBronthehadgivenher,andhewasto
write,surely?Inthosedayshewastowrite.
"Haveyouwritten?"sheaskedhim,spreadingherhand,herfirmand
shapelyhand,onherkneeinawayherecalled.
"Notaword!"saidPeterWalsh,andshelaughed.
Shewasstillattractive,stillapersonage,SallySeton.Butwho
wasthisRosseter?Heworetwocamelliasonhisweddingdaythat
wasallPeterknewofhim."Theyhavemyriadsofservants,miles
ofconservatories,"Clarissawrote;somethinglikethat.Sally
owneditwithashoutoflaughter.
"Yes,Ihavetenthousandayear"whetherbeforethetaxwaspaid
orafter,shecouldn'tremember,forherhusband,"whomyoumust
meet,"shesaid,"whomyouwouldlike,"shesaid,didallthatfor
her.
AndSallyusedtobeinragsandtatters.Shehadpawnedher
grandmother'sringwhichMarieAntoinettehadgivenhergreatgrandfather
tocometoBourton.
Ohyes,Sallyremembered;shehaditstill,arubyringwhichMarie
Antoinettehadgivenhergreatgrandfather.Sheneverhadapenny
tohernameinthosedays,andgoingtoBourtonalwaysmeantsome
frightfulpinch.ButgoingtoBourtonhadmeantsomuchtoher
hadkepthersane,shebelieved,sounhappyhadshebeenathome.
Butthatwasallathingofthepastallovernow,shesaid.And
Mr.Parrywasdead;andMissParrywasstillalive.Neverhadhe
hadsuchashockinhislife!saidPeter.Hehadbeenquite
certainshewasdead.Andthemarriagehadbeen,Sallysupposed,a
success?Andthatveryhandsome,veryselfpossessedyoungwoman
wasElizabeth,overthere,bythecurtains,inred.
(Shewaslikeapoplar,shewaslikeariver,shewaslikea
hyacinth,WillieTitcombwasthinking.Ohhowmuchnicertobein
thecountryanddowhatsheliked!Shecouldhearherpoordog
howling,Elizabethwascertain.)ShewasnotabitlikeClarissa,
PeterWalshsaid.
"Oh,Clarissa!"saidSally.
WhatSallyfeltwassimplythis.ShehadowedClarissaanenormous
amount.Theyhadbeenfriends,notacquaintances,friends,andshe
stillsawClarissaallinwhitegoingaboutthehousewithher
handsfullofflowerstothisdaytobaccoplantsmadeherthinkof
Bourton.ButdidPeterunderstand?shelackedsomething.Lacked
whatwasit?Shehadcharm;shehadextraordinarycharm.Butto
befrank(andshefeltthatPeterwasanoldfriend,arealfriend
didabsencematter?diddistancematter?Shehadoftenwantedto
writetohim,buttornitup,yetfeltheunderstood,forpeople
understandwithoutthingsbeingsaid,asonerealisesgrowingold,
andoldshewas,hadbeenthatafternoontoseehersonsatEton,
wheretheyhadthemumps),tobequitefrankthen,howcould
Clarissahavedoneit?marriedRichardDalloway?asportsman,a
manwhocaredonlyfordogs.Literally,whenhecameintotheroom
hesmeltofthestables.Andthenallthis?Shewavedherhand.
HughWhitbreaditwas,strollingpastinhiswhitewaistcoat,dim,
fat,blind,pasteverythinghelooked,exceptselfesteemand
comfort.
"He'snotgoingtorecogniseUS,"saidSally,andreallyshehadn't
thecouragesothatwasHugh!theadmirableHugh!
"Andwhatdoeshedo?"sheaskedPeter.
HeblackedtheKing'sbootsorcountedbottlesatWindsor,Peter
toldher.Peterkepthissharptonguestill!ButSallymustbe
frank,Petersaid.Thatkissnow,Hugh's.
Onthelips,sheassuredhim,inthesmokingroomoneevening.She
wentstraighttoClarissainarage.Hughdidn'tdosuchthings!
Clarissasaid,theadmirableHugh!Hugh'ssockswerewithout
exceptionthemostbeautifulshehadeverseenandnowhisevening
dress.Perfect!Andhadhechildren?
"EverybodyintheroomhassixsonsatEton,"Petertoldher,
excepthimself.He,thankGod,hadnone.Nosons,nodaughters,
nowife.Well,hedidn'tseemtomind,saidSally.Helooked
younger,shethought,thananyofthem.
Butithadbeenasillythingtodo,inmanyways,Petersaid,to
marrylikethat;"aperfectgooseshewas,"hesaid,but,hesaid,
"wehadasplendidtimeofit,"buthowcouldthatbe?Sally
wondered;whatdidhemean?andhowodditwastoknowhimandyet
notknowasinglethingthathadhappenedtohim.Anddidhesay
itoutofpride?Verylikely,forafterallitmustbegallingfor
him(thoughhewasanoddity,asortofsprite,notatallan
ordinaryman),itmustbelonelyathisagetohavenohome,
nowheretogoto.Buthemuststaywiththemforweeksandweeks.
Ofcoursehewould;hewouldlovetostaywiththem,andthatwas
howitcameout.AlltheseyearstheDallowayshadneverbeen
once.Timeaftertimetheyhadaskedthem.Clarissa(foritwas
Clarissaofcourse)wouldnotcome.For,saidSally,Clarissawas
atheartasnobonehadtoadmitit,asnob.Anditwasthatthat
wasbetweenthem,shewasconvinced.Clarissathoughtshehad
marriedbeneathher,herhusbandbeingshewasproudofita
miner'sson.Everypennytheyhadhehadearned.Asalittleboy
(hervoicetrembled)hehadcarriedgreatsacks.
(Andsoshewouldgoon,Peterfelt,hourafterhour;theminer's
son;peoplethoughtshehadmarriedbeneathher;herfivesons;and
whatwastheotherthingplants,hydrangeas,syringas,very,very
rarehibiscusliliesthatnevergrownorthoftheSuezCanal,but
she,withonegardenerinasuburbnearManchester,hadbedsof
them,positivelybeds!NowallthatClarissahadescaped,
unmaternalasshewas.)
Asnobwasshe?Yes,inmanyways.Wherewasshe,allthistime?
Itwasgettinglate.
"Yet,"saidSally,"whenIheardClarissawasgivingaparty,I
feltIcouldn'tNOTcomemustseeheragain(andI'mstayingin
VictoriaStreet,practicallynextdoor).SoIjustcamewithoutan
invitation.But,"shewhispered,"tellme,do.Whoisthis?"
ItwasMrs.Hilbery,lookingforthedoor.Forhowlateitwas
getting!And,shemurmured,asthenightgrewlater,aspeople
went,onefoundoldfriends;quietnooksandcorners;andthe
loveliestviews.Didtheyknow,sheasked,thattheywere
surroundedbyanenchantedgarden?Lightsandtreesandwonderful
gleaminglakesandthesky.Justafewfairylamps,Clarissa
Dallowayhadsaid,inthebackgarden!Butshewasamagician!It
wasapark....Andshedidn'tknowtheirnames,butfriendsshe
knewtheywere,friendswithoutnames,songswithoutwords,always
thebest.Butthereweresomanydoors,suchunexpectedplaces,
shecouldnotfindherway.
"OldMrs.Hilbery,"saidPeter;butwhowasthat?thatlady
standingbythecurtainalltheevening,withoutspeaking?Heknew
herface;connectedherwithBourton.Surelysheusedtocutup
underclothesatthelargetableinthewindow?Davidson,wasthat
hername?
"Oh,thatisEllieHenderson,"saidSally.Clarissawasreally
veryhardonher.Shewasacousin,verypoor.ClarissaWAShard
onpeople.
Shewasrather,saidPeter.Yet,saidSally,inheremotionalway,
witharushofthatenthusiasmwhichPeterusedtoloveherfor,
yetdreadedalittlenow,soeffusiveshemightbecomehow
generoustoherfriendsClarissawas!andwhatararequalityone
foundit,andhowsometimesatnightoronChristmasDay,whenshe
countedupherblessings,sheputthatfriendshipfirst.Theywere
young;thatwasit.Clarissawaspurehearted;thatwasit.Peter
wouldthinkhersentimental.Soshewas.Forshehadcometofeel
thatitwastheonlythingworthsayingwhatonefelt.Cleverness
wassilly.Onemustsaysimplywhatonefelt.
"ButIdonotknow,"saidPeterWalsh,"whatIfeel."
PoorPeter,thoughtSally.WhydidnotClarissacomeandtalkto
them?Thatwaswhathewaslongingfor.Sheknewit.Allthe
timehewasthinkingonlyofClarissa,andwasfidgetingwithhis
knife.
Hehadnotfoundlifesimple,Petersaid.Hisrelationswith
Clarissahadnotbeensimple.Ithadspoilthislife,hesaid.
(TheyhadbeensointimateheandSallySeton,itwasabsurdnot
tosayit.)Onecouldnotbeinlovetwice,hesaid.Andwhat
couldshesay?Still,itisbettertohaveloved(buthewould
thinkhersentimentalheusedtobesosharp).Hemustcomeand
staywiththeminManchester.Thatisallverytrue,hesaid.All
verytrue.Hewouldlovetocomeandstaywiththem,directlyhe
haddonewhathehadtodoinLondon.
AndClarissahadcaredforhimmorethanshehadevercaredfor
Richard.Sallywaspositiveofthat.
"No,no,no!"saidPeter(Sallyshouldnothavesaidthatshewent
toofar).Thatgoodfellowtherehewasattheendoftheroom,
holdingforth,thesameasever,dearoldRichard.Whowashe
talkingto?Sallyasked,thatverydistinguishedlookingman?
Livinginthewildsasshedid,shehadaninsatiablecuriosityto
knowwhopeoplewere.ButPeterdidnotknow.Hedidnotlikehis
looks,hesaid,probablyaCabinetMinister.Ofthemall,Richard
seemedtohimthebest,hesaidthemostdisinterested.
"Butwhathashedone?"Sallyasked.Publicwork,shesupposed.
Andweretheyhappytogether?Sallyasked(sheherselfwas
extremelyhappy);for,sheadmitted,sheknewnothingaboutthem,
onlyjumpedtoconclusions,asonedoes,forwhatcanoneknoweven
ofthepeopleoneliveswitheveryday?sheasked.Arewenotall
prisoners?Shehadreadawonderfulplayaboutamanwhoscratched
onthewallofhiscell,andshehadfeltthatwastrueoflife
onescratchedonthewall.Despairingofhumanrelationships
(peopleweresodifficult),sheoftenwentintohergardenandgot
fromherflowersapeacewhichmenandwomennevergaveher.But
no;hedidnotlikecabbages;hepreferredhumanbeings,Peter
said.Indeed,theyoungarebeautiful,Sallysaid,watching
Elizabethcrosstheroom.HowunlikeClarissaatherage!Could
hemakeanythingofher?Shewouldnotopenherlips.Notmuch,
notyet,Peteradmitted.Shewaslikealily,Sallysaid,alily
bythesideofapool.ButPeterdidnotagreethatweknow
nothing.Weknoweverything,hesaid;atleasthedid.
Butthesetwo,Sallywhispered,thesetwocomingnow(andreally
shemustgo,ifClarissadidnotcomesoon),thisdistinguishedlooking
manandhisrathercommonlookingwifewhohadbeentalking
toRichardwhatcouldoneknowaboutpeoplelikethat?
"Thatthey'redamnablehumbugs,"saidPeter,lookingatthem
casually.HemadeSallylaugh.
ButSirWilliamBradshawstoppedatthedoortolookatapicture.
Helookedinthecornerfortheengraver'sname.Hiswifelooked
too.SirWilliamBradshawwassointerestedinart.
Whenonewasyoung,saidPeter,onewastoomuchexcitedtoknow
people.Nowthatonewasold,fiftytwotobeprecise(Sallywas
fiftyfive,inbody,shesaid,butherheartwaslikeagirl'sof
twenty);nowthatonewasmaturethen,saidPeter,onecouldwatch,
onecouldunderstand,andonedidnotlosethepoweroffeeling,he
said.No,thatistrue,saidSally.Shefeltmoredeeply,more
passionately,everyyear.Itincreased,hesaid,alas,perhaps,
butoneshouldbegladofititwentonincreasinginhis
experience.TherewassomeoneinIndia.Hewouldliketotell
Sallyabouther.HewouldlikeSallytoknowher.Shewas
married,hesaid.Shehadtwosmallchildren.Theymustallcome
toManchester,saidSallyhemustpromisebeforetheyleft.
There'sElizabeth,hesaid,shefeelsnothalfwhatwefeel,not
yet.But,saidSally,watchingElizabethgotoherfather,onecan
seetheyaredevotedtoeachother.Shecouldfeelitbytheway
Elizabethwenttoherfather.
Forherfatherhadbeenlookingather,ashestoodtalkingtothe
Bradshaws,andhehadthoughttohimself,Whoisthatlovelygirl?
AndsuddenlyherealisedthatitwashisElizabeth,andhehadnot
recognisedher,shelookedsolovelyinherpinkfrock!Elizabeth
hadfelthimlookingatherasshetalkedtoWillieTitcomb.So
shewenttohimandtheystoodtogether,nowthatthepartywas
almostover,lookingatthepeoplegoing,andtheroomsgetting
emptierandemptier,withthingsscatteredonthefloor.Even
EllieHendersonwasgoing,nearlylastofall,thoughnoonehad
spokentoher,butshehadwantedtoseeeverything,totellEdith.
AndRichardandElizabethwererathergladitwasover,butRichard
wasproudofhisdaughter.Andhehadnotmeanttotellher,but
hecouldnothelptellingher.Hehadlookedather,hesaid,and
hehadwondered,Whoisthatlovelygirl?anditwashisdaughter!
Thatdidmakeherhappy.Butherpoordogwashowling.
"Richardhasimproved.Youareright,"saidSally."Ishallgo
andtalktohim.Ishallsaygoodnight.Whatdoesthebrain
matter,"saidLadyRosseter,gettingup,"comparedwiththeheart?"
"Iwillcome,"saidPeter,buthesatonforamoment.Whatis
thisterror?whatisthisecstasy?hethoughttohimself.Whatis
itthatfillsmewithextraordinaryexcitement?
ItisClarissa,hesaid.
Forthereshewas.
End

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