Prominent amongst the principal clerks was David Cooper. When I left Glasgow he succeeded me as assistant to the general manager. Now he is general manager of the company himself. Recently he celebrated his 50th year of railway service. Like me, he entered railway life in 1867; but, unlike me, has not been a rolling stone. One company only he has served and served it well, and for nearly a quarter of a century has filled the highest office it has to bestow. He and I have been more fortunate than many of our old-time colleagues. In the list of officers of the Glasgow and South-Western to-day I see the names of two only, besides David Cooper, who were principal clerks in those days—F. H. Gillies, now secretary of the company, and George Russell, Telegraph Superintendent.
In railways, as in other departments of life, ability and industry usually have their reward; but alone they do not always command success. Other factors there are in the equation of life and not least luck and opportunity. In those distant days, in the pride of youth, I was too apt to think that they who succeeded owed their success to themselves alone; but the years have taught me that this is not always so, and I have learned to sympathise more and more with those to whom opportunity has never held out her hand and upon whom good luck has never smiled.
In the last few chapters I have made but little mention of Tom. The time was drawing nearer when I was to lose him for ever. Until early in 1876 we lived together in the closest intimacy. We pooled our resources, and when either ran short of money, which often happened, the common purse, if it were not empty, was always available. Similar in height and in figure, our clothes, except our hats, boots and gloves, in each of which I took a larger size than he, were, when occasion required, interchangeable. We standardised our wardrobe as far as we could. We rose together, ate together, retired together, and, except during business hours, were rarely apart. I being, he considered, the more prudent in money matters, kept our lodging accounts and paid the bills. He being more musical, and a greater lover of the drama than I, arranged our visits to the theatres and concert halls. I was the practical, he the aesthetical controller of our joint menage. Once I remember—this occurred before we left Derby—we both fancied ourselves in love with the same dear enchantress, a certain dark-eyed brunette. Each punctually paid his court, as opportunity offered, and each, when he could, most obligingly furthered the suit of the other; and this went on till the time arrived for Tom’s departure to Glasgow, when I was left in possession of the field. Then I discovered, to my surprise, that I was not so deeply enamoured as I had imagined; and, curiously enough, Tom on his part had no sooner settled in Scotland than he made a similar discovery.