ROUND PEGS AND SQUARE HOLES
head, straightened his back, and came toward me—a small, shrunken man now, prematurely old, his two burning eyes looking out from under his ledge of a forehead like coals beneath a half-burnt log, a shock of iron-gray hair sticking straight up from his scalp as would a brush. About his nose, up his cheeks, around his mouth, and especially across his throat, which was free of a cravat, ran pasty wrinkles, like those on a piece of uncooked tripe. Only half-starved men who have lived on greasy soups and scraps from the kitchens have these complexions.
“I describe him thus carefully to you because that first glance of his scarred face had told me his life’s story. It is the same with every man who suffers.
“He talked of his work, of the conspiracies that had followed him all his career, shutting him out of his just rewards, while less brilliant men snatched the prizes which should have been his; of his hopes for the future; of the great competition soon to come off at Rheims, in which he would compete—not that he had yet put his idea into clay—that was always a mere question of detail with him. Then, as if by the merest accident—something he had quite forgotten, but which he thought might