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The Romance Of A Pipe-cleaner
We continued to visit the _Arcadia_, though only one at ...

His Wife's Cigars
Though Pettigrew, who is a much more successful journali...

Tobacco Triumphant: Smoking Fashionable And Universal
Tobacco engages Both sexes, all ages, The poo...

A Face That Haunted Marriot
This is not a love affair, Marriot shouted, apologetically....

Matrimony And Smoking Compared
The circumstances in which I gave up smoking were these: ...

Primus To His Uncle
Though we all pretended to be glad when Primus went, we ...

English-grown Tobacco
Pettigrew asked me to come to his house one evening and tes...

Tobacconists' Signs
I would enjoin every shop to make use of a sign which ...

Smoking Unfashionable: Early Georgian Days
Lord Fopling smokes not--for his teeth afraid; Sir T...

My Smoking-table
Had it not been for a bootblack at Charing Cross I shoul...

My First Cigar
It was not in my chambers, but three hundred miles furth...

House-boat Arcadia
Scrymgeour had a house-boat called, of course, the _Arcadia...

Later Victorian Days
When life was all a summer day, And I was under tw...

Marriot
I have hinted that Marriot was our sentimental member. H...

The Ghost Of Christmas Eve
A few years ago, as some may remember, a startling ghost...

The Perils Of Not Smoking
When the Arcadians heard that I had signed an agreement ...

How Heroes Smoke
On a tiger-skin from the ice-clad regions of the sunless no...

Arcadians At Bay
I have said that Jimmy spent much of his time in contributi...

The Murder In The Inn
Sometimes I think it is all a dream, and that I did not rea...

Smoking In Church
For thy sake, TOBACCO, I Would do anything but die. ...



Gilray








Gilray is an actor, whose life I may be said to have strangely
influenced, for it was I who brought him and the Arcadia Mixture
together. After that his coming to live on our stair was only a matter
of rooms being vacant.

We met first in the Merediths' house-boat, the _Tawny Owl_, which
was then lying at Molesey. Gilray, as I soon saw, was a man trying to be
miserable, and finding it the hardest task in life. It is strange that
the philosophers have never hit upon this profound truth. No man ever
tried harder to be unhappy than Gilray; but the luck was against him,
and he was always forgetting himself. Mark Tapley succeeded in being
jolly in adverse circumstances; Gilray failed, on the whole, in being
miserable in a delightful house-boat. It is, however, so much more
difficult to keep up misery than jollity that I like to think of his
attempt as what the dramatic critics call a _succès d'estime_.

The _Tawny Owl_ lay on the far side of the island. There were
ladies in it; and Gilray's misery was meant to date from the moment when
he asked one of them a question, and she said No. Gilray was strangely
unlucky during the whole of his time on board. His evil genius was
there, though there was very little room for him, and played sad pranks.
Up to the time of his asking the question referred to, Gilray meant to
create a pleasant impression by being jolly, and he only succeeded in
being as depressing as Jaques. Afterward he was to be unutterably
miserable; and it was all he could do to keep himself at times from
whirling about in waltz tune. But then the nearest boat had a piano on
board, and some one was constantly playing dance music. Gilray had an
idea that it would have been the proper thing to leave Molesey when
she said No; and he would have done so had not the barbel-fishing
been so good. The barbel-fishing was altogether unfortunate--at least
Gilray's passion for it was. I have thought--and so sometimes has
Gilray--that if it had not been for a barbel she might not have said
No. He was fishing from the house-boat when he asked the question. You
know how you fish from a house-boat. The line is flung into the water
and the rod laid down on deck. You keep an eye on it. Barbel-fishing, in
fact, reminds one of the independent sort of man who is quite willing to
play host to you, but wishes you clearly to understand at the same time
that he can do without you. Glad to see you with us if you have nothing
better to do; but please yourself, is what he says to his friends. This
is also the form of invitation to barbel. Now it happened that she and
Gilray were left alone in the house-boat. It was evening; some Chinese
lanterns had been lighted, and Gilray, though you would not think it
to look at him, is romantic. He cast his line, and, turning to his
companion, asked her the question. From what he has told me he asked it
very properly, and all seemed to be going well. She turned away her head
(which is said not to be a bad sign) and had begun to reply, when a
woful thing happened. The line stiffened, and there was a whirl of the
reel. Who can withstand that music? You can ask a question at any time,
but, even at Molesey, barbel are only to be got now and then. Gilray
rushed to his rod and began playing the fish. He called to his companion
to get the landing-net. She did so; and after playing his barbel for ten
minutes Gilray landed it. Then he turned to her again, and she said, No.

Gilray sees now that he made a mistake in not departing that night by
the last train. He overestimated his strength. However, we had something
to do with his staying on, and he persuaded himself that he remained
just to show her that she had ruined his life. Once, I believe, he
repeated his question; but in reply she only asked him if he had caught
any more barbel. Considering the surprisingly fine weather, the
barbel-fishing, and the piano on the other boat, Gilray was perhaps
as miserable as could reasonably have been expected. Where he ought to
have scored best, however, he was most unlucky. She had a hammock swung
between two trees, close to the boat, and there she lay, holding a novel
in her hand. From the hammock she had a fine view of the deck, and this
was Gilray's chance. As soon as he saw her comfortably settled, he
pulled a long face and climbed on deck. There he walked up and down,
trying to look the image of despair. When she made some remark to
him, his plan was to show that, though he answered cordially, his
cheerfulness was the result of a terrible inward struggle. He did
contrive to accomplish this if he was waiting for her observation; but
she sometimes took him unawares, starting a subject in which he was
interested. Then, forgetting his character, he would talk eagerly
or jest with her across the strip of water, until with a start he
remembered what he had become. He would seek to recover himself after
that; but of course it was too late to create a really lasting
impression. Even when she left him alone, watching him, I fear, over
the top of her novel, he disappointed himself. For five minutes or so
everything would go well; he looked as dejected as possible; but as he
fell he was succeeding he became so self-satisfied that he began to
strut. A pleased expression crossed his face, and instead of allowing
his head to hang dismally, he put it well back. Sometimes, when we
wanted to please him, we said he looked as glum as a mute at a funeral.
Even that, however, defeated his object, for it flattered him so much
that he smiled with gratification.



Gilray made one great sacrifice by giving up smoking, though not indeed
such a sacrifice as mine, for up to this time he did not know the
Arcadia Mixture. Perhaps the only time he really did look as miserable
as he wished was late at night when we men sat up for a second last pipe
before turning in. He looked wistfully at us from a corner. Yet as She
had gone to rest, cruel fate made this of little account. His gloomy
face saddened us too, and we tried to entice him to shame by promising
not to mention it to the ladies. He almost yielded, and showed us that
while we smoked he had been holding his empty brier in his right hand.
For a moment he hesitated, then said fiercely that he did not care for
smoking. Next night he was shown a novel, the hero of which had been
refused. Though the lady's hard-heartedness had a terrible effect on
this fine fellow, he strode away blowing great clouds into the air.
Standing there smoking in the moonlight, the authoress says in her
next chapter, De Courcy was a strangely romantic figure. He looked like
a man who had done everything, who had been through the furnace and had
not come out of it unscathed. This was precisely what Gilray wanted to
look like. Again he hesitated, and then put his pipe in his pocket.

It was now that I approached him with the Arcadia Mixture. I seldom
recommend the Arcadia to men whom I do not know intimately, lest in
the after-years I should find them unworthy of it. But just as Aladdin
doubtless rubbed his lamp at times for show, there were occasions when
I was ostentatiously liberal. If, after trying the Arcadia, the lucky
smoker to whom I presented it did not start or seize my hand, or
otherwise show that something exquisite had come into his life, I at
once forgot his name and his existence. I approached Gilray, then,
and without a word handed him my pouch, while the others drew nearer.
Nothing was to be heard but the water oozing out and in beneath the
house-boat. Gilray pushed the tobacco from him, as he might have pushed
a bag of diamonds that he mistook for pebbles. I placed it against his
arm, and motioned to the others not to look. Then I sat down beside
Gilray, and almost smoked into his eyes. Soon the aroma reached him,
and rapture struggled into his face. Slowly his fingers fastened on the
pouch. He filled his pipe without knowing what he was doing, and I
handed him a lighted spill. He took perhaps three puffs, and then gave
me a look of reverence that I know well. It only comes to a man once in
all its glory--the first time he tries the Arcadia Mixture--but it never
altogether leaves him.

Where do you get it? Gilray whispered, in hoarse delight.

The Arcadia had him for its own.





Next: Marriot

Previous: My Smoking-table



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