To the Lighthouse
Important Quotations Explained
shall blame him? Who will not secretly rejoice when the hero puts
his armour off, and halts by the window and gazes at his wife and
son, who, very distant at first, gradually come closer and closer,
till lips and book and head are clearly before him, though still
lovely and unfamiliar from the intensity of his isolation and the
waste of ages and the perishing of the stars, and finally putting
his pipe in his pocket and bending his magnificent head before her—who will
blame him if he does homage to the beauty of the world?
loving, as people called it, make her and Mrs. Ramsay one? for it
was not knowledge but unity that she desired, not inscriptions on
tablets, nothing that could be written in any language known to
men, but intimacy itself, which is knowledge, she had thought, leaning
her head on Mrs. Ramsay’s knee.
partook . . . of eternity . . . there is a coherence in things,
a stability; something, she meant, is immune from change, and shines
out (she glanced at the window with its ripple of reflected lights)
in the face of the flowing, the fleeting, the spectral, like a ruby;
so that again tonight she had the feeling she had had once today,
already, of peace, of rest. Of such moments, she thought, the thing
is made that endures.
could not say it. . . . [A}s she looked at him she began to smile,
for though she had not said a word, he knew, of course he knew,
that she loved him. He could not deny it. And smiling she looked
out of the window and said (thinking to herself, Nothing on earth
can equal this happiness)—
“Yes, you were right. It’s going to be wet tomorrow. You won’t be able to go.” And she looked at him smiling. For she had triumphed again. She had not said it: yet he knew.
Lighthouse was then a silvery, misty-looking tower with a yellow
eye, that opened suddenly, and softly in the evening. Now—
James looked at the Lighthouse. He could see the white-washed rocks; the tower, stark and straight; he could see that it was barred with black and white; he could see windows in it; he could even see washing spread on the rocks to dry. So that was the Lighthouse, was it?
No, the other was also the Lighthouse. For nothing was simply one thing. The other Lighthouse was true too.
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