Study Guide

To the Lighthouse Part 1, Chapter 19

By Virginia Woolf

Part 1, Chapter 19

  • Mrs. Ramsay continues to knit the stocking as she watches her husband read.
  • She’s troubled because she knows her husband is stressed about the legacy his books will leave behind.
  • As she knits, Mrs. Ramsay murmurs snippets of the poem they had been reciting at dinner. Finally, she opens a book and begins to read it without really absorbing the words.
  • Mr. Ramsay is pleased. He feels like he’s triumphed over an unseen adversary.
  • Mrs. Ramsay continues to read until she becomes aware that her husband is watching her. To him, she is more beautiful than ever. But he’s also thinking about how she’s ignorant and less educated than he is, though he likes that too.
  • Mrs. Ramsay continues knitting as she searches for something to say, and finally she tells her husband that Paul and Minta are engaged.
  • The two of them make awkward conversation.
  • Mr. Ramsay continues to look at Mrs. Ramsay, but Mrs. Ramsay feels the look change. He wants her to tell him "I love you."
  • Mrs. Ramsay can’t do it – she says she has a hard time saying what she feels. She tries to figure out if there’s something else she can do for him, like brush his coat, but there’s nothing. She gets up and looks at the sea.
  • Finally she turns around and just smiles at him, and when she smiles she is certain that he knows that she loves him. She tells him that he was right, they won’t be able to go to the Lighthouse tomorrow. She wins!