Fr Ian Boyd wrote in the Tablet about Belloc's frown:
His face, as Ronald Knox noticed, was in repose always sad. Like the central character in his friend Max Beerbohm's parable The Happy Hypocrite, Belloc always wore a mask; when the mask is removed, "Lo! The face was even as the mask had been." The appearance had become the reality.
The death in 1914 of his beloved American wife Elodie was a blow from which Belloc never entirely recovered. Bitter family disputes and almost continuous anxieties about money were additional crosses. He may not have been interested in reading John of the Cross on interior purification, but he lived the mystery which he claimed to know nothing about.