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Part-4

17 May 2023

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"Richard's very well. Richard's at a Committee," said Clarissa.
And she opened her scissors, and said, did he mind her just finishing
what she was doing to her dress, for they had a party that night?
"Which I shan't ask you to," she said. "My dear Peter!" she said.
But it was delicious to hear her say that—my dear Peter! Indeed, it was
all so delicious—the silver, the chairs; all so delicious!
Why wouldn't she ask him to her party? he asked.
Now of course, thought Clarissa, he's enchanting! perfectly enchant-
ing! Now I remember how impossible it was ever to make up my
mind—and why did I make up my mind—not to marry him? she
wondered, that awful summer?
"But it's so extraordinary that you should have come this morning!"
she cried, putting her hands, one on top of another, down on her dress.
"Do you remember," she said, "how the blinds used to flap at
Bourton?"
"They did," he said; and he remembered breakfasting alone, very awk-
wardly, with her father; who had died; and he had not written to
Clarissa. But he had never got on well with old Parry, that querulous,
weak-kneed old man, Clarissa's father, Justin Parry.
"I often wish I'd got on better with your father," he said.
"But he never liked any one who—our friends," said Clarissa; and
could have bitten her tongue for thus reminding Peter that he had
wanted to marry her.
Of course I did, thought Peter; it almost broke my heart too, he
thought; and was overcome with his own grief, which rose like a moon
looked at from a terrace, ghastly beautiful with light from the sunken
day. I was more unhappy than I've ever been since, he thought. And as if
in truth he were sitting there on the terrace he edged a little towards
Clarissa; put his hand out; raised it; let it fall. There above them it hung,
that moon. She too seemed to be sitting with him on the terrace, in the
moonlight.
"Herbert has it now," she said. "I never go there now," she said.
Then, just as happens on a terrace in the moonlight, when one person
begins to feel ashamed that he is already bored, and yet as the other sits
silent, very quiet, sadly looking at the moon, does not like to speak,
moves his foot, clears his throat, notices some iron scroll on a table leg,
stirs a leaf, but says nothing—so Peter Walsh did now. For why go back
like this to the past? he thought. Why make him think of it again? Why
make him suffer, when she had tortured him so infernally? Why?
"Do you remember the lake?" she said, in an abrupt voice, under the
pressure of an emotion which caught her heart, made the muscles of her
throat stiff, and contracted her lips in a spasm as she said "lake." For she
was a child, throwing bread to the ducks, between her parents, and at
the same time a grown woman coming to her parents who stood by the
lake, holding her life in her arms which, as she neared them, grew larger
and larger in her arms, until it became a whole life, a complete life,
which she put down by them and said, "This is what I have made of it!
This!" And what had she made of it? What, indeed? sitting there sewing
this morning with Peter.
She looked at Peter Walsh; her look, passing through all that time and
that emotion, reached him doubtfully; settled on him tearfully; and rose
and fluttered away, as a bird touches a branch and rises and flutters
away. Quite simply she wiped her eyes.
"Yes," said Peter. "Yes, yes, yes," he said, as if she drew up to the sur-
face something which positively hurt him as it rose. Stop! Stop! he
wanted to cry. For he was not old; his life was not over; not by any
means. He was only just past fifty. Shall I tell her, he thought, or not? He
would like to make a clean breast of it all. But she is too cold, he thought;
sewing, with her scissors; Daisy would look ordinary beside Clarissa.
And she would think me a failure, which I am in their sense, he thought;
in the Dalloways' sense. Oh yes, he had no doubt about that; he was a
failure, compared with all this—the inlaid table, the mounted paper-
knife, the dolphin and the candlesticks, the chair-covers and the old
valuable English tinted prints—he was a failure! I detest the smugness of
the whole affair, he thought; Richard's doing, not Clarissa's; save that she
married him. (Here Lucy came into the room, carrying silver, more sil-
ver, but charming, slender, graceful she looked, he thought, as she
stooped to put it down.) And this has been going on all the time! he
thought; week after week; Clarissa's life; while I—he thought; and at
once everything seemed to radiate from him; journeys; rides; quarrels;
adventures; bridge parties; love affairs; work; work, work! and he took
out his knife quite openly—his old horn-handled knife which Clarissa
could swear he had had these thirty years—and clenched his fist upon it.
What an extraordinary habit that was, Clarissa thought; always play-
ing with a knife. Always making one feel, too, frivolous; empty-minded;
a mere silly chatterbox, as he used. But I too, she thought, and, taking up
her needle, summoned, like a Queen whose guards have fallen asleep
and left her unprotected (she had been quite taken aback by this visit—it
had upset her) so that any one can stroll in and have a look at her where she lies with the brambles curving over her, summoned to her help the
things she did; the things she liked; her husband; Elizabeth; her self, in
short, which Peter hardly knew now, all to come about her and beat off
the enemy.
"Well, and what's happened to you?" she said. So before a battle be-
gins, the horses paw the ground; toss their heads; the light shines on
their flanks; their necks curve. So Peter Walsh and Clarissa, sitting side
by side on the blue sofa, challenged each other. His powers chafed and
tossed in him. He assembled from different quarters all sorts of things;
praise; his career at Oxford; his marriage, which she knew nothing
whatever about; how he had loved; and altogether done his job.
"Millions of things!" he exclaimed, and, urged by the assembly of
powers which were now charging this way and that and giving him the
feeling at once frightening and extremely exhilarating of being rushed
through the air on the shoulders of people he could no longer see, he
raised his hands to his forehead.
Clarissa sat very upright; drew in her breath.
"I am in love," he said, not to her however, but to some one raised up
in the dark so that you could not touch her but must lay your garland
down on the grass in the dark.
"In love," he repeated, now speaking rather dryly to Clarissa Dallo-
way; "in love with a girl in India." He had deposited his garland. Clarissa
could make what she would of it.
"In love!" she said. That he at his age should be sucked under in his
little bow-tie by that monster! And there's no flesh on his neck; his hands
are red; and he's six months older than I am! her eye flashed back to her;
but in her heart she felt, all the same, he is in love. He has that, she felt;
he is in love.
But the indomitable egotism which for ever rides down the hosts op-
posed to it, the river which says on, on, on; even though, it admits, there
may be no goal for us whatever, still on, on; this indomitable egotism
charged her cheeks with colour; made her look very young; very pink;
very bright-eyed as she sat with her dress upon her knee, and her needle
held to the end of green silk, trembling a little. He was in love! Not with
her. With some younger woman, of course.
"And who is she?" she asked.
Now this statue must be brought from its height and set down
between them.
"A married woman, unfortunately," he said; "the wife of a Major in the
Indian Army."
And with a curious ironical sweetness he smiled as he placed her in
this ridiculous way before Clarissa.
(All the same, he is in love, thought Clarissa.)
"She has," he continued, very reasonably, "two small children; a boy
and a girl; and I have come over to see my lawyers about the divorce."
There they are! he thought. Do what you like with them, Clarissa!
There they are! And second by second it seemed to him that the wife of
the Major in the Indian Army (his Daisy) and her two small children be-
came more and more lovely as Clarissa looked at them; as if he had set
light to a grey pellet on a plate and there had risen up a lovely tree in the
brisk sea-salted air of their intimacy (for in some ways no one under-
stood him, felt with him, as Clarissa did)—their exquisite intimacy.
She flattered him; she fooled him, thought Clarissa; shaping the wo-
man, the wife of the Major in the Indian Army, with three strokes of a
knife. What a waste! What a folly! All his life long Peter had been fooled
like that; first getting sent down from Oxford; next marrying the girl on
the boat going out to India; now the wife of a Major in the Indian
Army—thank Heaven she had refused to marry him! Still, he was in
love; her old friend, her dear Peter, he was in love.
"But what are you going to do?" she asked him. Oh the lawyers and
solicitors, Messrs. Hooper and Grateley of Lincoln's Inn, they were going
to do it, he said. And he actually pared his nails with his pocket-knife.
For Heaven's sake, leave your knife alone! she cried to herself in irre-
pressible irritation; it was his silly unconventionality, his weakness; his
lack of the ghost of a notion what any one else was feeling that annoyed
her, had always annoyed her; and now at his age, how silly!
I know all that, Peter thought; I know what I'm up against, he thought,
running his finger along the blade of his knife, Clarissa and Dalloway
and all the rest of them; but I'll show Clarissa—and then to his utter sur-
prise, suddenly thrown by those uncontrollable forces thrown through
the air, he burst into tears; wept; wept without the least shame, sitting on
the sofa, the tears running down his cheeks.
And Clarissa had leant forward, taken his hand, drawn him to her,
kissed him,—actually had felt his face on hers before she could down the
brandishing of silver flashing—plumes like pampas grass in a tropic gale
in her breast, which, subsiding, left her holding his hand, patting his
knee and, feeling as she sat back extraordinarily at her ease with him and
light-hearted, all in a clap it came over her, If I had married him, this
gaiety would have been mine all day!
It was all over for her. The sheet was stretched and the bed narrow.
She had gone up into the tower alone and left them blackberrying in the
sun. The door had shut, and there among the dust of fallen plaster and
the litter of birds' nests how distant the view had looked, and the sounds
came thin and chill (once on Leith Hill, she remembered), and Richard,
Richard! she cried, as a sleeper in the night starts and stretches a hand in
the dark for help. Lunching with Lady Bruton, it came back to her. He
has left me; I am alone for ever, she thought, folding her hands upon her
knee.
Peter Walsh had got up and crossed to the window and stood with his
back to her, flicking a bandanna handkerchief from side to side. Masterly
and dry and desolate he looked, his thin shoulder-blades lifting his coat
slightly; blowing his nose violently. Take me with you, Clarissa thought
impulsively, as if he were starting directly upon some great voyage; and
then, next moment, it was as if the five acts of a play that had been very
exciting and moving were now over and she had lived a lifetime in them
and had run away, had lived with Peter, and it was now over.
Now it was time to move, and, as a woman gathers her things togeth-
er, her cloak, her gloves, her opera-glasses, and gets up to go out of the
theatre into the street, she rose from the sofa and went to Peter.
And it was awfully strange, he thought, how she still had the power,
as she came tinkling, rustling, still had the power as she came across the
room, to make the moon, which he detested, rise at Bourton on the ter-
race in the summer sky.
"Tell me," he said, seizing her by the shoulders. "Are you happy,
Clarissa? Does Richard—"
The door opened.
"Here is my Elizabeth," said Clarissa, emotionally, histrionically,
perhaps.
"How d'y do?" said Elizabeth coming forward.
The sound of Big Ben striking the half-hour struck out between them
with extraordinary vigour, as if a young man, strong, indifferent, incon-
siderate, were swinging dumb-bells this way and that.
"Hullo, Elizabeth!" cried Peter, stuffing his handkerchief into his pock-
et, going quickly to her, saying "Good-bye, Clarissa" without looking at
her, leaving the room quickly, and running downstairs and opening the
hall door.
"Peter! Peter!" cried Clarissa, following him out on to the landing. "My
party to-night! Remember my party to-night!" she cried, having to raise
her voice against the roar of the open air, and, overwhelmed by the
traffic and the sound of all the clocks striking, her voice crying
"Remember my party to-night!" sounded frail and thin and very far away
as Peter Walsh shut the door.
Remember my party, remember my party, said Peter Walsh as he
stepped down the street, speaking to himself rhythmically, in time with
the flow of the sound, the direct downright sound of Big Ben striking the
half-hour. (The leaden circles dissolved in the air.) Oh these parties, he
thought; Clarissa's parties. Why does she give these parties, he thought.
Not that he blamed her or this effigy of a man in a tail-coat with a carna-
tion in his buttonhole coming towards him. Only one person in the
world could be as he was, in love. And there he was, this fortunate man,
himself, reflected in the plate-glass window of a motor-car manufacturer
in Victoria Street. All India lay behind him; plains, mountains; epidemics
of cholera; a district twice as big as Ireland; decisions he had come to
alone—he, Peter Walsh; who was now really for the first time in his life,
in love. Clarissa had grown hard, he thought; and a trifle sentimental in-
to the bargain, he suspected, looking at the great motor-cars capable of
doing—how many miles on how many gallons? For he had a turn for
mechanics; had invented a plough in his district, had ordered wheel-bar-
rows from England, but the coolies wouldn't use them, all of which
Clarissa knew nothing whatever about.
The way she said "Here is my Elizabeth!"—that annoyed him. Why not
"Here's Elizabeth" simply? It was insincere. And Elizabeth didn't like it
either. (Still the last tremors of the great booming voice shook the air
round him; the half-hour; still early; only half-past eleven still.) For he
understood young people; he liked them. There was always something
cold in Clarissa, he thought. She had always, even as a girl, a sort of
timidity, which in middle age becomes conventionality, and then it's all
up, it's all up, he thought, looking rather drearily into the glassy depths,
and wondering whether by calling at that hour he had annoyed her;
overcome with shame suddenly at having been a fool; wept; been emo-
tional; told her everything, as usual, as usual.
As a cloud crosses the sun, silence falls on London; and falls on the
mind. Effort ceases. Time flaps on the mast. There we stop; there we
stand. Rigid, the skeleton of habit alone upholds the human frame.
Where there is nothing, Peter Walsh said to himself; feeling hollowed
out, utterly empty within. Clarissa refused me, he thought. He stood
there thinking, Clarissa refused me.
Ah, said St. Margaret's, like a hostess who comes into her drawing-
room on the very stroke of the hour and finds her guests there already. I
am not late. No, it is precisely half-past eleven, she says. Yet, though she
is perfectly right, her voice, being the voice of the hostess, is reluctant to
inflict its individuality. Some grief for the past holds it back; some con-
cern for the present. It is half-past eleven, she says, and the sound of St.
Margaret's glides into the recesses of the heart and buries itself in ring
after ring of sound, like something alive which wants to confide itself, to
disperse itself, to be, with a tremor of delight, at rest—like Clarissa her-
self, thought Peter Walsh, coming down the stairs on the stroke of the
hour in white. It is Clarissa herself, he thought, with a deep emotion, and
an extraordinarily clear, yet puzzling, recollection of her, as if this bell
had come into the room years ago, where they sat at some moment of
great intimacy, and had gone from one to the other and had left, like a
bee with honey, laden with the moment. But what room? What moment?
And why had he been so profoundly happy when the clock was strik-
ing? Then, as the sound of St. Margaret's languished, he thought, She has
been ill, and the sound expressed languor and suffering. It was her heart,
he remembered; and the sudden loudness of the final stroke tolled for
death that surprised in the midst of life, Clarissa falling where she stood,
in her drawing-room. No! No! he cried. She is not dead! I am not old, he
cried, and marched up Whitehall, as if there rolled down to him, vigor-
ous, unending, his future.
He was not old, or set, or dried in the least. As for caring what they
said of him—the Dalloways, the Whitbreads, and their set, he cared not a
straw—not a straw (though it was true he would have, some time or oth-
er, to see whether Richard couldn't help him to some job). Striding, star-
ing, he glared at the statue of the Duke of Cambridge. He had been sent
down from Oxford—true. He had been a Socialist, in some sense a fail-
ure—true. Still the future of civilisation lies, he thought, in the hands of
young men like that; of young men such as he was, thirty years ago; with
their love of abstract principles; getting books sent out to them all the
way from London to a peak in the Himalayas; reading science; reading
philosophy. The future lies in the hands of young men like that, he
thought.
A patter like the patter of leaves in a wood came from behind, and
with it a rustling, regular thudding sound, which as it overtook him
drummed his thoughts, strict in step, up Whitehall, without his doing.
Boys in uniform, carrying guns, marched with their eyes ahead of them,
marched, their arms stiff, and on their faces an expression like the letters of a legend written round the base of a statue praising duty, gratitude, fi-
delity, love of England.
It is, thought Peter Walsh, beginning to keep step with them, a very
fine training. But they did not look robust. They were weedy for the
most part, boys of sixteen, who might, to-morrow, stand behind bowls of
rice, cakes of soap on counters. Now they wore on them unmixed with
sensual pleasure or daily preoccupations the solemnity of the wreath
which they had fetched from Finsbury Pavement to the empty tomb.
They had taken their vow. The traffic respected it; vans were stopped.
I can't keep up with them, Peter Walsh thought, as they marched up
Whitehall, and sure enough, on they marched, past him, past every one,
in their steady way, as if one will worked legs and arms uniformly, and
life, with its varieties, its irreticences, had been laid under a pavement of
monuments and wreaths and drugged into a stiff yet staring corpse by
discipline. One had to respect it; one might laugh; but one had to respect
it, he thought. There they go, thought Peter Walsh, pausing at the edge
of the pavement; and all the exalted statues, Nelson, Gordon, Havelock,
the black, the spectacular images of great soldiers stood looking ahead of
them, as if they too had made the same renunciation (Peter Walsh felt he
too had made it, the great renunciation), trampled under the same
temptations, and achieved at length a marble stare. But the stare Peter
Walsh did not want for himself in the least; though he could respect it in
others. He could respect it in boys. They don't know the troubles of the
flesh yet, he thought, as the marching boys disappeared in the direction
of the Strand—all that I've been through, he thought, crossing the road,
and standing under Gordon's statue, Gordon whom as a boy he had
worshipped; Gordon standing lonely with one leg raised and his arms
crossed,—poor Gordon, he thought.
And just because nobody yet knew he was in London, except Clarissa,
and the earth, after the voyage, still seemed an island to him, the strange-
ness of standing alone, alive, unknown, at half-past eleven in Trafalgar
Square overcame him. What is it? Where am I? And why, after all, does
one do it? he thought, the divorce seeming all moonshine. And down his
mind went flat as a marsh, and three great emotions bowled over him;
understanding; a vast philanthropy; and finally, as if the result of the
others, an irrepressible, exquisite delight; as if inside his brain by another
hand strings were pulled, shutters moved, and he, having nothing to do
with it, yet stood at the opening of endless avenues, down which if he
chose he might wander. He had not felt so young for years. He had escaped! was utterly free—as happens in the downfall of habit
when the mind, like an unguarded flame, bows and bends and seems
about to blow from its holding. I haven't felt so young for years! thought
Peter, escaping (only of course for an hour or so) from being precisely
what he was, and feeling like a child who runs out of doors, and sees, as
he runs, his old nurse waving at the wrong window. But she's ex-
traordinarily attractive, he thought, as, walking across Trafalgar Square
in the direction of the Haymarket, came a young woman who, as she
passed Gordon's statue, seemed, Peter Walsh thought (susceptible as he
was), to shed veil after veil, until she became the very woman he had al-
ways had in mind; young, but stately; merry, but discreet; black, but
enchanting.
Straightening himself and stealthily fingering his pocket-knife he star-
ted after her to follow this woman, this excitement, which seemed even
with its back turned to shed on him a light which connected them, which
singled him out, as if the random uproar of the traffic had whispered
through hollowed hands his name, not Peter, but his private name which
he called himself in his own thoughts. "You," she said, only "you," saying
it with her white gloves and her shoulders. Then the thin long cloak
which the wind stirred as she walked past Dent's shop in Cockspur
Street blew out with an enveloping kindness, a mournful tenderness, as
of arms that would open and take the tired—
But she's not married; she's young; quite young, thought Peter, the red
carnation he had seen her wear as she came across Trafalgar Square
burning again in his eyes and making her lips red. But she waited at the
kerbstone. There was a dignity about her. She was not worldly, like
Clarissa; not rich, like Clarissa. Was she, he wondered as she moved, re-
spectable? Witty, with a lizard's flickering tongue, he thought (for one
must invent, must allow oneself a little diversion), a cool waiting wit, a
darting wit; not noisy.
She moved; she crossed; he followed her. To embarrass her was the
last thing he wished. Still if she stopped he would say "Come and have
an ice," he would say, and she would answer, perfectly simply, "Oh yes."
But other people got between them in the street, obstructing him, blot-
ting her out. He pursued; she changed. There was colour in her cheeks;
mockery in her eyes; he was an adventurer, reckless, he thought, swift,
daring, indeed (landed as he was last night from India) a romantic buc-
caneer, careless of all these damned proprieties, yellow dressing-gowns,
pipes, fishing-rods, in the shop windows; and respectability and evening
parties and spruce old men wearing white slips beneath their waistcoats.He was a buccaneer. On and on she went, across Piccadilly, and up Re-
gent Street, ahead of him, her cloak, her gloves, her shoulders combining
with the fringes and the laces and the feather boas in the windows to
make the spirit of finery and whimsy which dwindled out of the shops
on to the pavement, as the light of a lamp goes wavering at night over
hedges in the darkness.
Laughing and delightful, she had crossed Oxford Street and Great
Portland Street and turned down one of the little streets, and now, and
now, the great moment was approaching, for now she slackened, opened
her bag, and with one look in his direction, but not at him, one look that
bade farewell, summed up the whole situation and dismissed it tri-
umphantly, for ever, had fitted her key, opened the door, and gone!
Clarissa's voice saying, Remember my party, Remember my party, sang
in his ears. The house was one of those flat red houses with hanging
flower-baskets of vague impropriety. It was over.
Well, I've had my fun; I've had it, he thought, looking up at the
swinging baskets of pale geraniums. And it was smashed to atoms—his
fun, for it was half made up, as he knew very well; invented, this es-
capade with the girl; made up, as one makes up the better part of life, he
thought—making oneself up; making her up; creating an exquisite
amusement, and something more. But odd it was, and quite true; all this
one could never share—it smashed to atoms.
He turned; went up the street, thinking to find somewhere to sit, till it
was time for Lincoln's Inn—for Messrs. Hooper and Grateley. Where
should he go? No matter. Up the street, then, towards Regent's Park. His
boots on the pavement struck out "no matter"; for it was early, still very
early.
It was a splendid morning too. Like the pulse of a perfect heart, life
struck straight through the streets. There was no fumbling—no hesita-
tion. Sweeping and swerving, accurately, punctually, noiselessly, there,
precisely at the right instant, the motor-car stopped at the door. The girl,
silk-stockinged, feathered, evanescent, but not to him particularly at-
tractive (for he had had his fling), alighted. Admirable butlers, tawny
chow dogs, halls laid in black and white lozenges with white blinds
blowing, Peter saw through the opened door and approved of. A splen-
did achievement in its own way, after all, London; the season; civilisa-
tion. Coming as he did from a respectable Anglo-Indian family which for
at least three generations had administered the affairs of a continent (it's
strange, he thought, what a sentiment I have about that, disliking India,
and empire, and army as he did), there were moments when civilisation, even of this sort, seemed dear to him as a personal possession; moments
of pride in England; in butlers; chow dogs; girls in their security. Ridicu-
lous enough, still there it is, he thought. And the doctors and men of
business and capable women all going about their business, punctual,
alert, robust, seemed to him wholly admirable, good fellows, to whom
one would entrust one's life, companions in the art of living, who would
see one through. What with one thing and another, the show was really
very tolerable; and he would sit down in the shade and smoke.
There was Regent's Park. Yes. As a child he had walked in Regent's
Park—odd, he thought, how the thought of childhood keeps coming
back to me—the result of seeing Clarissa, perhaps; for women live much
more in the past than we do, he thought. They attach themselves to
places; and their fathers—a woman's always proud of her father. Bour-
ton was a nice place, a very nice place, but I could never get on with the
old man, he thought. There was quite a scene one night—an argument
about something or other, what, he could not remember. Politics
presumably.
Yes, he remembered Regent's Park; the long straight walk; the little
house where one bought air-balls to the left; an absurd statue with an in-
scription somewhere or other. He looked for an empty seat. He did not
want to be bothered (feeling a little drowsy as he did) by people asking
him the time. An elderly grey nurse, with a baby asleep in its perambu-
lator—that was the best he could do for himself; sit down at the far end
of the seat by that nurse.
She's a queer-looking girl, he thought, suddenly remembering Eliza-
beth as she came into the room and stood by her mother. Grown big;
quite grown-up, not exactly pretty; handsome rather; and she can't be
more than eighteen. Probably she doesn't get on with Clarissa. "There's
my Elizabeth"—that sort of thing—why not "Here's Elizabeth"
simply?—trying to make out, like most mothers, that things are what
they're not. She trusts to her charm too much, he thought. She overdoes
it.
The rich benignant cigar smoke eddied coolly down his throat; he
puffed it out again in rings which breasted the air bravely for a moment;
blue, circular—I shall try and get a word alone with Elizabeth to-night,
he thought—then began to wobble into hour-glass shapes and taper
away; odd shapes they take, he thought. Suddenly he closed his eyes,
raised his hand with an effort, and threw away the heavy end of his ci-
gar. A great brush swept smooth across his mind, sweeping across it
moving branches, children's voices, the shuffle of feet, and people passing, and humming traffic, rising and falling traffic. Down, down he
sank into the plumes and feathers of sleep, sank, and was muffled over.
The grey nurse resumed her knitting as Peter Walsh, on the hot seat
beside her, began snoring. In her grey dress, moving her hands in-
defatigably yet quietly, she seemed like the champion of the rights of
sleepers, like one of those spectral presences which rise in twilight in
woods made of sky and branches. The solitary traveller, haunter of lanes,
disturber of ferns, and devastator of great hemlock plants, looking up,
suddenly sees the giant figure at the end of the ride.
By conviction an atheist perhaps, he is taken by surprise with mo-
ments of extraordinary exaltation. Nothing exists outside us except a
state of mind, he thinks; a desire for solace, for relief, for something out-
side these miserable pigmies, these feeble, these ugly, these craven men
and women. But if he can conceive of her, then in some sort she exists, he
thinks, and advancing down the path with his eyes upon sky and
branches he rapidly endows them with womanhood; sees with
amazement how grave they become; how majestically, as the breeze stirs
them, they dispense with a dark flutter of the leaves charity, comprehen-
sion, absolution, and then, flinging themselves suddenly aloft, confound
the piety of their aspect with a wild carouse.
Such are the visions which proffer great cornucopias full of fruit to the
solitary traveller, or murmur in his ear like sirens lolloping away on the
green sea waves, or are dashed in his face like bunches of roses, or rise to
the surface like pale faces which fishermen flounder through floods to
embrace.
Such are the visions which ceaselessly float up, pace beside, put their
faces in front of, the actual thing; often overpowering the solitary travel-
ler and taking away from him the sense of the earth, the wish to return,
and giving him for substitute a general peace, as if (so he thinks as he ad-
vances down the forest ride) all this fever of living were simplicity itself;
and myriads of things merged in one thing; and this figure, made of sky
and branches as it is, had risen from the troubled sea (he is elderly, past
fifty now) as a shape might be sucked up out of the waves to shower
down from her magnificent hands compassion, comprehension, absolu-
tion. So, he thinks, may I never go back to the lamplight; to the sitting-
room; never finish my book; never knock out my pipe; never ring for
Mrs. Turner to clear away; rather let me walk straight on to this great fig-
ure, who will, with a toss of her head, mount me on her streamers and let
me blow to nothingness with the rest.
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Articles
Mrs. Dalloway
5.0
Mrs. Dalloway is a novel by Virginia Woolf published on 14 May 1925. It details a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a fictional upper-class woman in post-First World War England. It is one of Woolf's best-known novels.
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Part-1

11 May 2023
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Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. For Lucy had her work cut out for her. The doors would be taken off their hinges; Rumpelmayer's men were coming. And then, thought Clarissa Dallow

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Part-2

16 May 2023
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Septimus Warren Smith, who found himself unable to pass, heard him. Septimus Warren Smith, aged about thirty, pale-faced, beak-nosed, wearing brown shoes and a shabby overcoat, with hazel eyes which h

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Part-3

16 May 2023
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"Fear no more," said Clarissa. Fear no more the heat o' the sun; for the shock of Lady Bruton asking Richard to lunch without her made the mo- ment in which she had stood shiver, as a plant on the riv

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Part-4

17 May 2023
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"Richard's very well. Richard's at a Committee," said Clarissa. And she opened her scissors, and said, did he mind her just finishing what she was doing to her dress, for they had a party that night?

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Part-5

17 May 2023
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Such are the visions. The solitary traveller is soon beyond the wood; and there, coming to the door with shaded eyes, possibly to look for his return, with hands raised, with white apron blowing, is a

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Part-6

17 May 2023
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He was talking, he was starting, this man must notice him. He was looking at them. "I will tell you the time," said Septimus, very slowly, very drowsily, smiling mysteriously. As he sat smiling at the

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Part-7

17 May 2023
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Septimus was one of the first to volunteer. He went to France to save an England which consisted almost entirely of Shakespeare's plays and Miss Isabel Pole in a green dress walking in a square. There

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Part-8

23 May 2023
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He could not remember it. "I—I—" Septimus stammered. "Try to think as little about yourself as possible," said Sir William kindly. Really, he was not fit to be about. Was there anything else they wish

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Part-9

23 May 2023
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"I should like to see Mr. Dubonnet," said Hugh in his curt worldly way. It appeared that this Dubonnet had the measurements of Mrs. Whitbread's neck, or, more strangely still, knew her views upon Span

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Part -10

23 May 2023
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Volubly, troublously, the late clock sounded, coming in on the wake of Big Ben, with its lap full of trifles. Beaten up, broken up by the assault of carriages, the brutality of vans, the eager advance

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Part-11- The Final Part.

23 May 2023
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Sitting at little tables round vases, dressed or not dressed, with their shawls and bags laid beside them, with their air of false composure, for they were not used to so many courses at dinner, and c

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