The unnamed title character of Lord Byron’s The Giaour (1813) declares that his tale of lost love and murderous revenge is “written on my brow.” By severely diminishing the text’s legibility, the poem’s formal fragmentation and temporal discontinuity make this cliché worthy of particular attention. With this phrase, Byron suggests an instantaneous legibility of facial features that the poem structurally denies by delaying this very tale almost until the poem’s final lines. The expressiveness of the human countenance and the gradual revelation of “character,” which faces initially seem to betray but are ultimately discovered to mask, take a similar priority of position in the very distant world of Jane Austen’s courtship plots. The potential for double meaning that “character” always carries—it can refer to a living person’s moral nature or to a person in a literary text—informs the evidentiary and expressive work of the countenance. In scenes of facial scrutiny, Byron and Austen posit a conception of character that, by serving as a repository for past and potential temporalities, repositions character in relation to plot.