Full text: Mrs. Dalloway

MRS. DALLOWAY 
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 scis- 
sors; 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 silver, 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 playing 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, 
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