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‘A Fellow-Traveller’ is a personal essay written by A G Gardiner. In this text, he muses about life. His views on life while travelling constitute this thought-provoking essay.
About the Author:
Alfred George Gardiner (1865-1946) was an English essayist. He was also a notable author and journalist. He edited ‘The Daily News’ in London for seventeen long years. Famous works of him include ‘Priests and Kings’, ‘Leaves in Wind’ and ‘Pebbles on the Shore’.
The theme of this essay revolves around the magnanimity. The author compares his journey in the train with life in general where he reflects on the humane-nature or the lack thereof in humans. Solitude is also a major theme that can be found in the essay where the author derives pleasure and the sense of freedom from it.
The essay begins with the author travelling in a train compartment alone. He describes the train in detail, including the agreeable noise it makes. He also describes how freeing it is to travel in a train unnoticed. A description of the day and the beauty of the sky follows. The author paints a picture of leisure in these lines.
While the author had originally assumed himself to be alone, he found himself being proved wrong. A mosquito seemed to be his fellow traveller. The author finds this to be a great nuisance as he found himself constantly disturbed by its presence. Frustrated, the author tries to kill it, his attempts being vain. He takes it as a hit to his pride
Miracle of life:
Slowly, there is a shift in his thoughts as the author finds himself admiring the persistence of the mosquito. He decides that he would regain his prestige if he rather lets the mosquito live for magnanimity, he feels, is the greatest virtue of humanity. Despite the temptation to kill, he lets the mosquito to live, going about his own way.
These thoughts of A G Gardiner are a reflection of life. In the pursuit of petty pleasures such as revenge and regaining honour, humans lose their greatest virtue- magnanimity. The author, by letting the mosquito free, urges the readers to let go of vile thoughts in a similar way.