Study Guide

To the Lighthouse Part 1, Chapter 12

By Virginia Woolf

Part 1, Chapter 12

  • Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay walk past the greenhouse, which is beginning to get repaired, but Mrs. Ramsay doesn’t have the heart to tell her husband the cost (50 pounds, incidentally, and Mrs. Ramsay often thinks randomly on this fact).
  • Instead, Mrs. Ramsay brings up Jasper’s fondness for shooting defenseless creatures.
  • Mr. Ramsay says that’s natural, and not to worry about it. Mrs. Ramsay thinks Mr. Ramsay is so sensible!
  • They chat some more about Charles Tansley, Prue Ramsay (Mr. Ramsay fails to see her beauty), and about the garden.
  • Mr. Ramsay brings up Andrew, and says that if the boy doesn’t work harder, he’ll lose a scholarship. Mr. Ramsay will be proud if Andrew gets a scholarship; Mrs. Ramsay will be proud either way. They seem to like this balance in each other.
  • Then there’s a tiny paragraph about what the two of them can’t say to each other.
  • Mrs. Ramsay expresses worry that some of the kids aren’t back yet, but Mr. Ramsay glosses over her fears.
  • The two of them reach a place where the Lighthouse can be seen again. Mrs. Ramsay doesn’t look.
  • Mr. Ramsay looks at everything and murmurs, "poor little universe." Just who does this guy think he is?!
  • Mrs. Ramsay thinks his little phrases are ridiculous, and that it’s a perfectly fine evening. Then she brings up the idea that Mr. Ramsay would have written better books had he not married her.
  • He says that he’s not complaining, and then kisses her hand passionately. Ooh… hot.
  • The two of them walk up the path and Mrs. Ramsay reflects that even though her husband is over 60, his arm feels just like a young man’s.
  • Mrs. Ramsay contemplates her husband’s inability to understand the simple and the ordinary in favor of dealing with the complex and the extraordinary.
  • Mr. Ramsay shouts at a woman named Mrs. Giddings. Mrs. Ramsay is not sympathetic to Mrs. Giddings, and instead bends down to examine her evening primroses.
  • Mr. Ramsay makes some comment about the flowers to please his wife.
  • Mrs. Ramsay looks at Lily Briscoe and William Bankes walking along, deciding in her head that the two of them must marry.