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About Smoking

I have hinted that Marriot was our sentimental member. H...

My Last Pipe
The night of my last smoke drew near without any demonst...

Smoking In The Restoration Period
The Indian weed withered quite Green at noon, cut do...

Smoking Unfashionable: Early Georgian Days
Lord Fopling smokes not--for his teeth afraid; Sir T...

Tobacco Triumphant: Smoking Fashionable And Universal
Tobacco engages Both sexes, all ages, The poo...

Scrymgeour was an artist and a man of means, so proud of hi...

Gilray is an actor, whose life I may be said to have str...

Pettigrew's Dream
My dream (said Pettigrew) contrasts sadly with those of my ...

A Covnter-blaste To Tobacco
That the manifolde abuses of this vile custome of _Tobacco_...

Smoking In The Twentieth Century
Sweet when the morn is grey; Sweet, when they've cle...

The Ghost Of Christmas Eve
A few years ago, as some may remember, a startling ghost...

The Romance Of A Pipe-cleaner
We continued to visit the _Arcadia_, though only one at ...

Smoking Under King William Iii And Queen Anne
Hail! social pipe--thou foe of care, Companion of my...

Primus is my brother's eldest son, and he once spent his Ea...

Primus To His Uncle
Though we all pretended to be glad when Primus went, we ...

The Perils Of Not Smoking
When the Arcadians heard that I had signed an agreement ...

Smoking In Church
For thy sake, TOBACCO, I Would do anything but die. ...

Gilray's Flower-pot
I charge Gilray's unreasonableness to his ignoble passion f...

Tobacconists' Signs
I would enjoin every shop to make use of a sign which ...

The Arcadia Mixture Again
One day, some weeks after we left Scrymgeour's house-boa...

Early Victorian Days

Scent to match thy rich perfume
Chemic art did ne'er presume
Through her quaint alembic strain,
None so sovereign to the brain.

LAMB, _A Farewell to Tobacco._

The social attitude towards smoking in early Victorian days, and for
some time later, was curious. The development of cigar-smoking among
those classes from which tobacco had long been practically banished,
and the natural consequent spread downwards of the use of cigars--in
accordance with the invariable law of fashion--together with the
continued devotion to the pipe among those whose love of tobacco had
never slackened, made smoking a much more general practice than it had
been for some generations.

It is somewhat significant that Dickens, in the Old Curiosity Shop,
1840, makes that repulsive dwarf, Quilp, smoke cigars. When the little
monster comes home unexpectedly in the fourth chapter of the book, and
breaks up his wife's tea-party, he settles himself in an
arm-chair--with his large head and face squeezed up against the back,
and his little legs planted on the table--with a case-bottle of rum,
cold water, and a box of cigars before him. Now, Mrs. Quilp, he
says, I feel in a smoking humour, and shall probably blaze away all
night. But sit where you are, if you please, in case I want you.
Quilp smokes cigars one after the other, his wretched wife sitting
patiently by, from sunset till some time after daybreak. The dwarf's
tastes, however, were catholic. A little later in the book the reader
finds him, when encamped in the back parlour of the old man's shop,
smoking pipe after pipe, and compelling that knavish attorney, Sampson
Brass, to do the same. Tobacco-smoke always caused Brass great
internal discomposure and annoyance; but this made no difference to
Quilp, who insisted on his friend continuing to smoke, while he
inquired: Is it good, Brass, is it nice, is it fragrant, do you feel
like the Grand Turk? But Quilp and Brass were not in society.

Notwithstanding that the number of smokers had so largely increased,
and was continually increasing, smoking was regarded socially as
something of a vice--to be practised in inconvenient places and not
too publicly.

There were still plenty of active opponents and denouncers of tobacco.
One of the most distinguished was the great Duke of Wellington, who
abominated smoking, and was annoyed by the increase of cigar-smoking
among officers of the army. In the early 'forties he issued a General
Order (No. 577) which contained a paragraph that would have delighted
the heart of King James I. It ran thus: The Commander-in-Chief has
been informed, that the practice of smoking, by the use of pipes,
cigars, or cheroots, has become prevalent among the Officers of the
Army, which is not only in itself a species of intoxication
occasioned by the fumes of tobacco, but, undoubtedly, occasions
drinking and tippling by those who acquire the habit; and he intreats
the Officers commanding Regiments to prevent smoking in the Mess Rooms
of their several Regiments, and in the adjoining apartments, and to
discourage the practice among the Officers of Junior Rank in their

The Duke's prejudices were stronger than his facts. The statement, not
very grammatically expressed, that the practice of smoking was
itself a species of intoxication was absurd enough; but the
allegation, introduced by a question-begging undoubtedly, that
smoking occasioned drinking was directly contrary to fact. It was the
introduction of after-dinner smoking that largely helped to kill the
bad old practice of continued after-dinner drinking.

Perhaps the best reflection of and comment upon the attitude of
society towards smoking is to be found in the ironical, satirical
pages of Thackeray. Let the reader turn to the confessions of George
Fitz-Boodle Esq.--the Fitz-Boodle Papers first appeared in _Fraser's
Magazine_ for 1842--and he will find how smoking was regarded at that
date, and what Thackeray, speaking through the puppet Fitz-Boodle,
thought of it. George starts by saying: I am not, in the first place,
what is called a ladies' man, having contracted an irrepressible habit
of smoking after dinner, which has obliged me to give up a great deal
of the dear creatures' society; nor can I go much to country-houses
for the same reason. The ladies had a keen scent for the abominable
odour of tobacco, and distrusted the men who smoked. Here is
Fitz-Boodle's, or Thackeray's, comment on it--What is this smoking
that it should be considered a crime? I believe in my heart that women
are jealous of it, as of a rival. They speak of it as of some secret
awful vice that seizes upon a man, and makes him a pariah from genteel
society. I would lay a guinea that many a lady who has just been kind

enough to read the above lines lays down the book, after this
confession of mine that I am a smoker, and says, 'Oh, the vulgar
wretch!' and passes on to something else. He goes on to prophesy--and
for once the most gratuitous of follies has been justified by the
event--that tobacco will conquer. Look over the wide world, he says
to the ladies, and see that your adversary has overcome it. Germany
has been puffing for three score years; France smokes to a man. Do you
think you can keep the enemy out of England? Psha! look at his
progress. Ask the club-houses, Have they smoking-rooms, or not? Are
they not obliged to yield to the general want of the age, in spite of
the resistance of the old women on the committees? I, for my part, do
not despair to see a bishop lolling out of the 'Athenaeum' with a
cheroot in his mouth, or, at any rate, a pipe stuck in his

The flight of fancy in the last sentence has hardly yet been
fulfilled; but I saw, many years ago, a distinguished man of letters,
the late Mr. Francis Turner Palgrave, of Golden Treasury fame, who
was an inveterate smoker, sitting on one of the cane benches by the
door of the Athenaeum Club, smoking a short clay pipe.

Thackeray does not appear to have realized that tobacco was not
invading England for the first, but for the second time, nor did he
foresee that the ladies, to whom he addressed his impassioned defence
of smoking, would not only submit to the conqueror but would
themselves be found among his joyous devotees.

George Fitz-Boodle recounts how, as a boy, he was flogged for smoking,
and how, at Oxford, smoking among other villainies led to his
rustication. Later his tobacco, combined with insolence to his
tobacco-hating colonel, conducted him out of the army into the
retirement of civil life; and so on and so on. There is, of course, an
element of exaggeration in all this; but Mr. Fitz-Boodle's experiences
and reflections throw much light on the social history of smoking in
the early decades of the nineteenth century. Mr. Harry Furniss, in the
preface to his edition of Thackeray, has an admirably terse and
pertinent paragraph on this aspect of the Fitz-Boodle Papers. He
says--No gentleman in those days was seen smoking even a 'weed' in
the streets. Cigarettes were practically unheard of in England, and
outside one's private smoking-room pipes were tabooed. Men in Society
slunk into their smoking-rooms, or, when there was no smoking-room,
into the kitchen or servants' hall, after the domestics had retired. A
smoking-jacket was worn in the place of their ordinary evening coat,
and their well-oiled, massive head of hair was protected by a
gorgeously decorated smoking-cap. Thus the odour of tobacco was not
brought into the drawing-room.

The fear of the odour of tobacco-smoke was extraordinary. Mr. J.C.
Buckmaster in his reminiscences describes the famous debating society
at Cogers' Hall, and says that after one night at the Cogers' it took
three days on a common to purify your clothes from the smoke. The
journalists and Bohemians who met at the Cogers were above (or below)
the dictates of fashion, and smoking was always a feature of their
gatherings. The yard of clay is provided gratis for members, and it
is to its almost universal use, says Mr. Peter Rayleigh, in his book
on The Cogers and Fleet Street, that Cogers owe their existence in