T.A.G. was an Englishman, strong and hearty and considerably taller than either of us. That alone would have sufficed to secure him the friendship of du Maurier, who ever worshipped at the shrine of physical greatness. He loved to look up to the man of six-foot-something, or to sit in the shadow of the woman of commanding presence, his appreciation of size culminating in the love of “Chang,” that dog of dogs, whom we have all learnt to admire, as we followed his career through the volumes of the immortal Weekly, presided over by Toby and his master.
I somehow associate Tag with whisky and water; not that he took it much or often, but he gave one the impression that whatever others might do when amongst the benighted foreigner, he, for one, would not let a good old English custom drop into disuse. Looking at Tag one intuitively felt that his father before him had taken his moderate glass of W. and W., and that, if he married and had sons, they would do likewise. I do not think that he was particularly fond of art or artists, unless inasmuch as they were brother Bohemians. He was engaged, or, at least, he was generally just about to be engaged, in some business, and whilst waiting for the opportune moment to commence operations, he would settle down to an expectant present. The golden opportunity he was looking for was plainly visible on his horizon, but it had a way of remaining stationary, and as it was contrary to Tag’s nature to move unless under great pressure, the two never met.
In the meanwhile Tag was one of our trio of chums; he was a good deal with us when we were out and about, bent on storming the world, or climbing Parnassus; we did the climbing, he the looking on, the parts thus being distributed to our mutual satisfaction. He was always pleasantly acquiescent, and had the rare gift of making himself useless agreeably; a common bond of interest we had in the Colorado claro and oscuro, whether the fair or dark, applied to the friendly weed or the still more friendly fair sex.
He describes himself pretty correctly in a letter he wrote to us from Paris, when he says:—
“Since my arrival here my notes of what I have to do represent what I have not done, and if it be true that the infernal regions are paved with good intentions, I shall be received on my arrival by a deputation of souls to thank me for my contribution to the pavement.”
There are sketches in which Tag’s eloquence is confined to one exclamation, “Matilda!” But whether that name was coupled with present felicity or future hopes I do not recollect. But du Maurier’s lines describe him and our chumship much better than any words of mine could do. He says:—
Oh, fortunatos nimium, sua si bona norint
All lazy beggars like me—”
“In the sunshine of April, the April
You and I and our Tag make three;
And few will deny that for such close chums
A queer set of fellows are we.