Thinking no harm, for the family would not come, never again, some said, and the house would be sold at Michaelmas, perhaps, Mrs. McNab stooped and picked a bunch of flowers to take home with her. She laid them on the table while she dusted. She was fond of flowers. It was a pity to let them waste. Suppose the house were sold (she stood arms akimbo in front of the looking glass) it would want seeing to -- it would. There it had stood all these years with a soul in it. The books and things were mouldy, for, what with the war and help being hard to get, the house had not been cleaned as she could have wished. It was beyond one person's strength to get it straight now. She was too old. Her legs pained here. All those books needed to be laid out on the grass in the sun; there was plaster fallen in the hall; the rain-pipe had blocked over the study window and let the water in; the carpet was ruined quite; they should have sent someone down to see. For there were clothes in the cupboards; they had left clothes in all the bedrooms. What was she to do with them? They had the moth in them -- Mrs. Ramsay's things! ... There was the old gray cloak she wore gardening (Mrs. McNab fingered it). She could see her, as she came up the drive with the washing, stooping over her flowers (the garden was a pitiful sight now, all run to riot, and rabbits scuttling at you out of the beds) -- she could see her with one of the children by her in that gray cloak. There were boots and shoes; and a brush and comb left on the dressing-table, for all the world as if she expected to come back tomorrow.
So loveliness reigned and stillness, and together made the shape of loveliness itself, a form from which life had parted... Loveliness and stillness clasped hands in the bedroom, and among the shrouded jugs and sheeted chairs, the prying of the wind, and the soft nose of the clammy sea airs, rubbing, snuffling, iterating, and reiterating their questions -- 'Will you fade?' 'Will you perish?' -- scarcely disturbed the peace, the indifference..., as if the question they asked scarcely needed that they should answer: we remain.