“I am not sure,” I said slowly, “but all persons have faces, and therefore I suppose you are right.
“There’s no real need to say anything further in this respect, since one is not aware of it; for we don’t know anything about the nature of the face, in the ordinary sense of the word, save that it is there. Indeed, if you want to show how you can do something quite different, consider the situation in which we live, and the way in which we are brought into it. The people we find at festivals and ball-dances, in public parks and out of doors, in the streets and on the sidewalks, are all the same. The face is not really there; a very strange face, with a certain colour of eye and nostril and mouth, and the rest; and a very strange, abnormal kindliness with the hand, and a certain amount of a kind of stoicism in the head, and an extremely strong and violent passion for some particular object, and a certain kind of humour about that object. This is what it looks like in the first place when you look at them. It is not the real face of the artist; it is the imaginary face of the spectator.
“Why is this? I don’t understand it; but I don’t want to ask anyone to explain it. I only want you to remember something about yourself.”
It was as I said that he rose and shook his head, and with it, on my part, a slight shudder at seeing him so much at his ease. But he had already finished speaking, and I looked at him closely for a few seconds, hoping, of course, that he would understand. It was the first time he appeared to be thinking of any thing but himself. For there were some things in life that I was conscious he was not able to understand. But when the thought came to be clear to me, and I was thinking of him again, he was very clear, and so I could not fail to speak again.
“You will, though,” I said, “remember something else, that’s most important.”
There was nothing more obvious and more important in the conversation than that. But when I asked him how he had come to believe what he believed—what was there in life which he had not himself lived?—he looked at me with his eyebrows furrowed at the corners, and said, with his eyes shut,
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