Full text: Mrs. Dalloway

MRS. DALLOWAY 
“Mr. Dalloway, ma’am—" 
Clarissa read on the telephone pad, “Lady Bruton 
wishes to know if Mr. Dalloway will lunch with her 
to-day.” 
“Mr. Dalloway, ma’am, told me to tell you he would 
be lunching out.” 
“Dear!” said Clarissa, and Lucy shared as she meant 
her to her disappointment (but not the pang); felt the 
concord between them; took the hint; thought how the 
gentrylove; gilded her own future with calm; and taking 
Mrs. Dalloway’s parasol, handled it like a sacred 
weapon which a goddess, having acquitted herself 
honourably in the field of battle, sheds, and placed it in 
the umbrella stand. 
“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 moment in 
which she had stood shiver, as a plant on the river-bed 
feels the shock of a passing oar and shivers: so she 
rocked: so she shivered. 
Millicent Bruton, whose lunch parties were said to 
be extraordinarily amusing, had not asked her. No 
vulgar jealousy could separate her from Richard. But 
she feared time itself, and read on Lady Bruton’s face, 
as if it had been a dial cut in impassive stone, the 
dwindling of life; how year by year her share was 
sliced ; how little the margin that remained was capable 
any longer of stretching, of absorbing, as in the youth- 
ful years, the colours, salts, tones of existence, so that 
she filled the room she entered, and felt often, as she 
stood hesitating one moment on the threshold of her 
drawing-room, an exquisite suspense, such as might 
stay a diver before plunging while the sea darkens and 
brightens beneath him, and the waves which threaten 
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