Nature, who has played so many queer tricks upon us, making us so unequally of clay and diamonds, of rainbow and granite, and stuffed them into a case, often of the most incongruous, for the poet has a butcher's face and the butcher a poet's; nature, who has so much to answer for besides the perhaps unwieldy length of this sentence, has further complicated our task and added to our confusion by providing...a perfect rag-bag of odds and ends within us...[and] has contrived that the whole assortment shall be lightly stitched together by a single thread. Memory is the seamstress and a capricious one at that.
This quote is found in chapter two and is written in the voice of the narrator- biographer. It is the narrator's reflections on the strange acts of nature, which seems to craft people in odd and unusual ways. In real life, things do not fit so well together as they do in a perfect Victorian romance novel. It is not always the most beautiful who are destined for success; perhaps, the poet with his beautiful words, has an ugly and incongruous face. Nature is surprising and is accountable for much that seems out of place in the world.
In this passage, the narrator suggests that those of us who are confused about our identity should change the way we view life. Nature provides no easy order, and trying to make the world neat and orderly eventually leads only to annoyance and frustration. There is no realm of imagination separated from a realm of fact; "rainbow and granite" are stuffed into one case. Everything (internal and external, fact and imagination) is linked together by our memory, and we will grow to "understand" when we realize that neither memory nor history can be easily ordered and divided.