Faces -- carved, stuffed or cast, wooden, earthenware, piaster or straw -- are the sentient guardians of the large old house by the park, explored one day, when its aged mistress is absent, by young Tom Morgan, uprooted from a farm in Wales and lonely in the brand new factory town that has grown up around the ancient house. The faces speak and one announces to Tom that ""They are waiting for you upstairs"" -- upstairs where ""The silence had its origin,"" where ""at first Tom seemed to feel it pressing into him, and then suddenly he thought of it as an expanding emptiness, flying outwards as the stars are said to be doing."" There three object/faces transport Tom in time and space to their own places of origin: first, a steamy jungle where a tiger kills a ferret-eyed white intruder come to steal the stone head from a ruined temple; next, an underwater garden where a ""horrid"" diver and then Tom himself try to steal the head of an impish Roman triton; and last, through a black curtain at the back of the fireplace, a cave where a motionless gaunt figure intones ""all is Illusion. . . . Desire is Illusion. . . . You are Illusion and your name is Lost"". . .and Tom uneasily opts out because ""the secret is too hard for (him),"" leaving the wooden cupids' earlier question, ""Is he a good one or a bad one,"" still unanswered. Most readers Tom's age will, we suspect, find the message of this stereotyped hermit just as inaccessible, unacceptable and remote from the gist of the two previous flashbacks as Tom does; still, those of us who share Mrs. Boston's sense of possession by her own reverberating ancient house will also share Tom's ambivalent fascination with its secrets.