A GRUESOME DANCE II 7
each other? Surely they saw their companions as T saw them ! Or was each only dreaming itself and the rest ? Did they know each how they appeared to the others—a death with living eyes ? Had they used their faces, not for communication, not to utter thought and feeling, not to share existence with their neighbours, but to appear what they wished to appear, and conceal what they were ? and, having made their faces masks, were they therefore deprived of those masks, and condemned to go without faces until they repented ?
' How long must they flaunt their facelessness in faceless eyes ?' I wondered. ' How long will the frightful punition endure ? Have they at length begun to love and be wise? Have they yet yielded to the shame that has found them ?'
I heard not a word, saw not a movement of one naked mouth. Were they because of lying bereft of speech ? With their eyes they spoke as if longing to be understood: was it truth or was it falsehood that spoke in their eyes ? They seemed to know one another: did they see one skull beautiful, and another plain? Difference must be there, and they had had long study of skulls !
My body was to theirs no obstacle : was I a body, and were they but forms ? or was I but a form, and were they bodies ? The moment one of the dancers came close against me, that moment he or she was on the other side of me, and I could tell, without seeing, which, whether man or woman, had passed through my house.
On many of the skulls the hair held its place, and however dressed, or in itself however beautiful, to my eyes looked frightful on the bones of the forehead and temples. In such case, the outer ear often