The following passage appears near the end of chapter 1 in H. G. Wells’s dystopian science-fiction novel When the Sleeper Wakes:*
A number of children going along the road stopped and regarded the artist curiously. A boatman exchanged civilities with him. He felt that possibly his circumspect attitude and position seemed peculiar and unaccountable. Smoking, perhaps, might seem more natural. He drew pipe and pouch from his pocket, filled the pipe slowly.
“I wonder,” . . . he said, with a scarcely perceptible loss of complacency. “At any rate we must give him a chance.” He struck a match in the virile way, and proceeded to light his pipe.
The phrase “struck a match in the virile way” struck me in a verbal way. Virile means manly, masculine, potent; marked by strength, vitality, or sexual energy. How would someone strike a match in the virile way? By flicking it off a thumbnail, a boot, a stubbly jaw, or the neck of a nearby stranger? Suggestions are welcome.