I would really appreciate some help here because I am absolutely clueless regarding the meaining of the phrase in bold (a ghost story by A. Blackwood http://algernonblackwood.org/Z-files/Deferred_Appointment.pdf):

At length everything was ready, only the flashlight waiting to be turned on, when, stooping, he covered his head with the velvet cloth and peered through the lens— at no one! When he says “at no one,” however, he qualifies it thus: “There was a quick flash of brilliant white light and a face in the middle of it—my gracious Heaven! But such a face— ’im, yet not ’im—like a sudden rushing glory of a face!


I read that as 'im being an abbreviated form of him and referring to someone known to the photographer. When the photographer looked through the lens, there was no one there but when he took the picture using a flash light he saw a face that he recognised as very similar to, but not quite like, someone he knows (`im).

For example, you might briefly see a picture of a friend's brother's face and recognise enough features that you think of your friend and yet know it is not actually them: "him, but not him".

  • Thank you, and what exactly is meant by "rushing glory of a face!" Especially this "glory of a face", how that can be rephrased, please?
    – John V
    Mar 9 at 12:09
  • It's not possible to say exactly what the author intended the character to mean. Perhaps 'a brief glimpse of a glorious face'? Mar 9 at 13:02

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