The faces of my dead

The book in hand is Traffics and Discoveries by Rudyard Kipling.  The story I have open is "They" in which the narrator has met a blind woman at her country estate, where "they" live -- magical (?) almost hallucinatory (surely not!) almost faerie (?!) children.  The narrator almost asks whether his host had ever had sight. He stops himself, but she understands.  An excerpt:
     "Not since I can remember. It happened when I was only a few months old, they told me.  And yet I must remember something, else how could I dream about colours.  I see light in my dreams, and colours, but I never see them.  I only hear them just as I do when I am awake."
     "It's difficult to see faces in dreams.  Some people can, but most of us haven't the gift," I went on, looking up at the window where the child stood all but hidden.
     "I've heard that too," she said.  "And they tell me that one never sees a dead person's face in a dream.  Is that true?"
     "I believe it is -- now I come to think of it."
     "But how is it with yourself -- yourself?"  The blind eyes turned towards me.
     "I have never seen the faces of my dead in any dream," I answered. 
     "Then it must be as bad as being blind." 
Well now!  I know it is methodological madness to mix the author up with the narrator. Nevertheless, here is a conjecture:  Mr. Kipling was someone who could see and remember any number of faces while awake.  Part of his creative gift was that he could emphatically see and pay attention to anyone he met. Yet here he has the narrator saying, "I have never seen the faces of my dead in any dream."

How different I must be than Mr. Kipling!  (And yet I love him like a friend I never had, or like one of the friends of mine who have passed beyond the veil of this life.)  Yes, how different he and I are.

In my waking life masquerading as a grown-up, I have a hard time remembering names and faces.  I'm afraid I have to know you quite a while before I can see you.  Sometimes I wonder whether I ever see the faces of those around me.  But in my dreams -- ah, unexpected mercy! -- the faces of my beloved dead are frequent and comforting visitors.

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