Mrs Dalloway

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 Dalloway, what a morning—fresh as if issued to children on a
What a lark! What a plunge! For so it had always seemed to her, when,
with a little squeak of the hinges, which she could hear now, she had
burst open the French windows and plunged at Bourton into the open
air. How fresh, how calm, stiller than this of course, the air was in the
early morning; like the flap of a wave; the kiss of a wave; chill and sharp
and yet (for a girl of eighteen as she then was) solemn, feeling as she did,
standing there at the open window, that something awful was about to
happen; looking at the flowers, at the trees with the smoke winding off
them and the rooks rising, falling; standing and looking until Peter
Walsh said, "Musing among the vegetables?"—was that it?—"I prefer
men to cauliflowers"—was that it? He must have said it at breakfast one
morning when she had gone out on to the terrace—Peter Walsh. He
would be back from India one of these days, June or July, she forgot
which, for his letters were awfully dull; it was his sayings one re-
membered; his eyes, his pocket-knife, his smile, his grumpiness and,
when millions of things had utterly vanished—how strange it was!—a
few sayings like this about cabbages.
She stiffened a little on the kerb, waiting for Durtnall'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, waiting 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 particular hush, or solemnity; an indescribable
pause; a suspense (but that might be her heart, affected, they said, by in-
fluenza) 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, build-
ing it round one, tumbling it, creating it every moment afresh; but the
veriest frumps, the most dejected of miseries sitting on doorsteps (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