Full text: Mrs. Dalloway

MRS. DALLOWAY 
She stiffened a little on the kerb, waiting for Durt- 
nall’s van to pass. A charming woman, Scrope Purvis 
thought her (knowing her as one does know people who 
live next door to one in Westminster); a touch of the 
bird about her, of the jay, blue-green, light, vivacious, 
though she was over fifty, and grown very white since 
her illness. There she perched, never seeing him, wait- 
ing to cross, very upright. 
For having lived in Westminster—how many years 
now? over twenty,—one feels even in the midst of the 
traffic, or waking at night, Clarissa was positive, a par- 
ticular hush, or solemnity; an indescribable pause; a 
suspense (but that might be her heart, affected, they 
said, by influenza) before Big Ben strikes. There! Out 
it boomed. First a warning, musical; then the hour, 
irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air. 
Such fools we are, she thought, crossing Victoria Street. 
For Heaven only knows why one loves it so, how one 
sees it so, making it up, building it round one, tumbling 
it, creating it every moment afresh; but the veriest 
frumps, the most dejected of miseries sitting on door- 
steps (drink their downfall) do the same; can’t be dealt 
with, she felt positive, by Acts of Parliament for that 
very reason: they love life. In people’s eyes, in the 
swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and the up- 
roar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, 
sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; 
barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and 
the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead _ 
was what she loved; life; London; this moment of 
June. 
For it was the middle of June. The War was over, 
except for some one like Mrs. Foxcroft at the Embassy 
last night eating her heart out because that nice boy 
b
	        

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