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Cramis, Patron Of Art Post by :windermere Category :Essays Author :Robert Cortes Holliday Date :November 2011 Read :2797

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Cramis, Patron Of Art

"Have you got any tobacco?" I inquired of Cramis.

"Sure," he replied, "I'm never without it."

He is a slave to the weed, a hopeless smoker. He hands me his pouch; the tobacco is a little old and mildewed. When Cramis comes to visit me he always brings a most disreputable looking pipe along in his mouth, charred and cold. This he calls attention to, musingly, as it were, by remarking that "that looks natural."

"I shouldn't have known you without it," I answer. Then we are the best of friends. An old Swede, an engineer of some rare sort, a whimsical fellow, quite a character--Cramis is greatly interested in characters--was much addicted to his pipe (so runs Cramis's story). It was a limb of his body. He was one of those inveterate smokers that you find here and there about the world. One day placards announcing that smoking was prohibited among employees in the building were posted at conspicuous places in the mill where Olie was employed. Olie went on smoking. The manager came through; he paused at Olie.

"Look-a-here," he said, "don't you see that sign? No smoking among employees in this building." Olie slowly took the pipe from his mouth, regarding it thoughtfully in his out-stretched hand as he blew a great cloud of blue smoke.

"Where my pipe goes," he said, replacing it between his teeth, "I goes." You may notice it: there is something of the same idiosyncrasy between that picturesque character and Cramis.

For all the idler and the dilettante that he is, no man ever more conscientiously attended to business than Cramis. He is at it early and late. He is very successful. Yet he knows himself to be an impractical cuss, a dreamer, an æsthetic visionary. No man so thoroughly reliable was ever before so irresponsible.

On his visits at my place, Cramis writes a great quantity of letters. All globe trotters do this, I suppose, whether it is necessary or not. It is only natural. If Cramis did not, many of his friends would not, no doubt, be aware that he was in Connecticut, or, indeed, that he ever got off the island of Manhattan.

Though Cramis is by nature shrewd, saving, and methodically economical, he is very careless about money. He has no more idea of the value of it than Oliver Goldsmith. It is pitiful--yet lovable.

Among Cramis's curious circle of acquaintances--his collection of acquaintances is a regular menagerie, as he so often says--was a painter, a fellow twenty-four years old and with nobody to support him. Cramis believed, after carefully inquiring, that the fellow had talent and might amount to something. He loaned him money. The scoundrel squandered it, probably; at any rate, he bought no fame with it. That was a year ago, and Cramis is eight dollars out of pocket. Still, his heart is a brother to genius. He consulted me on the question of the very least amount upon which a man could live, the length of time at the smallest estimate wherein he could reasonably be expected to attain greatness, and was for setting the fellow up in a studio elsewhere. I pointed out to Cramis that it might possibly be years before the hungry man became famous, and he abandoned the idea. It was too great a risk.

(The end)
Robert Cortes Holliday's essay: Cramis, Patron Of Art

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