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House-boat Arcadia
Scrymgeour had a house-boat called, of course, the _Arcadia...

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

The Murder In The Inn
Sometimes I think it is all a dream, and that I did not rea...

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

How Heroes Smoke
On a tiger-skin from the ice-clad regions of the sunless no...

Page Six |
stimulus. Alcohol, ever true to its companion, steps in and su...

Matrimony And Smoking Compared
The circumstances in which I gave up smoking were these: ...

Abuse And Praise Of Tobacco
This is my friend Abel, an honest fellow; He lets me...

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

My First Cigar
It was not in my chambers, but three hundred miles furth...

What Could He Do?
This was another of Marriot's perplexities of the heart. He...

Early Victorian Days
Scent to match thy rich perfume Chemic art did ne'er...

Tobacco From A Moral Stand-point |
...

Later Victorian Days
When life was all a summer day, And I was under tw...

Smoking By Women
Ladies, when pipes are brought, affect to swoon; The...

His Wife's Cigars
Though Pettigrew, who is a much more successful journali...

My Tobacco-pouch
I once knew a lady who said of her husband that he looke...

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

When My Wife Is Asleep And All The House Is Still
Perhaps the heading of this paper will deceive some read...

Jimmy
With the exception of myself, Jimmy Moggridge was no doubt ...



His Wife's Cigars








Though Pettigrew, who is a much more successful journalist than Jimmy,
says pointedly of his wife that she encourages his smoking instead of
putting an end to it, I happen to know that he has cupboard skeletons.
Pettigrew has been married for years, and frequently boasted of his
wife's interest in smoking, until one night an accident revealed the
true state of matters to me. Late in the night, when traffic is hushed
and the river has at last a chance of making itself heard, Pettigrew's
window opens cautiously, and he casts something wrapped in newspaper
into the night. The window is then softly closed, and all is again
quiet. At other times Pettigrew steals along the curb-stone, dropping his
skeletons one by one. Nevertheless, his cupboard beneath the bookcase is
so crammed that he dreams the lock has given way. The key is always in
his pocket, yet when his children approach the cupboard he orders them
away, so fearful is he of something happening. When his wife has retired
he sometimes unlocks the cupboard with nervous hand, when the door
bursts gladly open, and the things roll on to the carpet. They are the
cigars his wife gives him as birthday presents, on the anniversary of
his marriage, and at other times, and such a model wife is she that he
would do anything for her except smoke them. They are Celebros, Regalia
Rothschilds, twelve and six the hundred. I discovered Pettigrew's secret
one night, when, as I was passing his house, a packet of Celebros
alighted on my head. I demanded an explanation, and I got it on the
promise that I would not mention the matter to the other Arcadians.



Several years having elapsed, said Pettigrew, since I pretended to
smoke and enjoy my first Celebro, I could not now undeceive my wife--it
would be such a blow to her. At the time it could have been done easily.
She began by making trial of a few. There were seven of them in an
envelope; and I knew at once that she had got them for a shilling. She
had heard me saying that eightpence is a sad price to pay for a cigar--I
prefer them at tenpence--and a few days afterward she produced her first
Celebros. Each of them had, and has, a gold ribbon round it, bearing the
legend, 'Non plus ultra.' She was shy and timid at that time, and I
thought it very brave of her to go into the shop herself and ask for
the Celebros, as advertised; so I thanked her warmly. When she saw me
slipping them into my pocket she looked disappointed, and said that she
would like to see me smoking one. My reply would have been that I never
cared to smoke in the open air, if she had not often seen me do so.
Besides, I wanted to please her very much; and if what I did was weak I
have been severely punished for it. The pocket into which I had thrust
the Celebros also contained my cigar-case; and with my hand in the
pocket I covertly felt for a Villar y Villar and squeezed it into the
envelope. This I then drew forth, took out the cigar, as distinguished
from the Celebros, and smoked it with unfeigned content. My wife watched
me eagerly, asking six or eight times how I liked it. From the way she
talked of fine rich bouquet and nutty flavor I gathered that she had
been in conversation with the tobacconist, and I told her the cigars
were excellent. Yes, they were as choice a brand as I had ever smoked.
She clapped her hands joyously at that, and said that if she had not
made up her mind never to do so she would tell me what they cost. Next
she asked me to guess the price; I answered eighty shillings a hundred;
and then she confessed that she got the seven for a shilling. On our way
home she made arch remarks about men who judged cigars simply by their
price. I laughed gayly in reply, begging her not to be too hard on me;
and I did not even feel uneasy when she remarked that of course I would
never buy those horridly expensive Villar y Villars again. When I left
her I gave the Celebros to an acquaintance against whom I had long had
a grudge--we have not spoken since--but I preserved the envelope as a
pretty keepsake. This, you see, happened shortly before our marriage.



I have had a consignment of Celebros every month or two since then,
and, dispose of them quietly as I may, they are accumulating in the
cupboard. I despise myself; but my guile was kindly meant at first,
and every thoughtful man will see the difficulties in the way of a
confession now. Who can say what might happen if I were to fling that
cupboard door open in presence of my wife? I smoke less than I used
to do; for if I were to buy my cigars by the box I could not get them
smuggled into the house. Besides, she would know--I don't say how, I
merely make the statement--that I had been buying cigars. So I get half
a dozen at a time. Perhaps you will sympathize with me when I say that
I have had to abandon my favorite brand. I cannot get Villar y Villars
that look like Celebros, and my wife is quicker in those matters than
she used to be. One day, for instance, she noticed that the cigars in
my case had not the gold ribbon round them, and I almost fancied she
became suspicious. I explained that the ribbon was perhaps a little
ostentatious; but she said it was an intimation of nutty flavor: and
now I take ribbons off the Celebros and put them on the other cigars.
The boxes in which the Celebros arrive have a picturesque design on the
lid and a good deal of lace frilling round the edge, and she likes to
have a box lying about. The top layer of that box is cigars in gold
ribbons, placed there by myself, and underneath are the Celebros. I
never get down to the Celebros.

For a long time my secret was locked in my breast as carefully as I
shall lock my next week's gift away in the cupboard, if I can find room
for it; but a few of my most intimate friends have an inkling of it now.
When my friends drop in I am compelled to push the Celebro box toward
them, and if they would simply take a cigar and ask no questions all
would be well; for, as I have said, there are cigars on the top. But
they spoil everything by remarking that they have not seen the brand
before. Should my wife not be present this is immaterial, for I have
long had a reputation of keeping good cigars. Then I merely remark that
it is a new brand; and they smoke, probably observing that it reminds
them of a Cabana, which is natural, seeing that it is a Cabana in
disguise. If my wife is present, however, she comes forward smiling, and
remarks, with a fond look in my direction, that they are her birthday
present to her Jack. Then they start back and say they always smoke
a pipe. These Celebros were making me a bad name among my friends, so
I have given a few of them to understand--I don't care to put it more
plainly--that if they will take a cigar from the top layer they will
find it all right. One of them, however, has a personal ill-will to me
because my wife told his wife that I preferred Celebro cigars at twelve
and six a hundred to any other. Now he is expected to smoke the same;
and he takes his revenge by ostentatiously offering me a Celebro when
I call on him.





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Previous: Scrymgeour



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