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About Smoking

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Brother Henry
Strictly speaking I never had a brother Henry, and yet I...

Arcadians At Bay
I have said that Jimmy spent much of his time in contributi...

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


...

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

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

Man Know Thy-self
...

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

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

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

A Face That Haunted Marriot
This is not a love affair, Marriot shouted, apologetically....

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

Cavalier And Roundhead Smokers
A custom lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose, ...

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



How Heroes Smoke








On a tiger-skin from the ice-clad regions of the sunless north recline
the heroes of Ouida, rose-scented cigars in their mouths; themselves
gloriously indolent and disdainful, but perhaps huddled a little too
closely together on account of the limited accommodation. Strathmore is
here. But I never felt sure of Strathmore. Was there not less in him
than met the eye? His place, Whiteladies, was a home for kings and
queens; but he was not the luxurious, magnanimous creature he feigned
to be. A host may be known by the cigars he keeps; and, though it is
perhaps a startling thing to say, we have good reason for believing that
Strathmore did not buy good cigars. I question very much whether he had
many Havanas, even of the second quality, at Whiteladies; if he had, he
certainly kept them locked up. Only once does he so much as refer to
them when at his own place, and then in the most general and suspicious
way. Bah! he exclaims to a friend; there is Phil smoking these
wretched musk-scented cigarettes again! they are only fit for Lady
Georgie or Eulalie Papellori. What taste, when there are my Havanas and
cheroots! The remark, in whatever way considered, is suggestive. In the
first place, it is made late in the evening, after Strathmore and his
friend have left the smoking-room. Thus it is a safe observation. I
would not go so far as to say that he had no Havanas in the house; the
likelihood is that he had a few in his cigar-case, kept there for show
rather than use. These, if I understand the man, would be a good brand,
but of small size--perhaps Reinas--and they would hardly be of a
well-known crop. In color they would be dark--say maduro--and he would
explain that he bought them because he liked full-flavored weeds.
Possibly he had a Villar y Villar box with six or eight in the bottom of
it; but boxes are not cigars. What he did provide his friends with was
Manillas. He smoked them himself, and how careful he was of them is seen
on every other page. He is constantly stopping in the middle of his
conversation to curl a loose leaf round his Manilla; when one would
have expected a hero like Strathmore to fling away a cigar when its
leaves began to untwist, and light another. So thrifty is Strathmore
that he even laboriously curls the leaves round his cigarettes--he
does not so much as pretend that they are Egyptian; nay, even when
quarrelling with Errol, his beloved friend (whom he shoots through the
heart), he takes a cigarette from his mouth and winds a loosened leaf
round it.



If Strathmore's Manillas were Capitan Generals they would cost him about
24s. a hundred. The probability, however, is that they were of inferior
quality; say, 17s. 6d. It need hardly be said that a good Manilla does
not constantly require to have its leaves curled. When Errol goes into
the garden to smoke, he has every other minute to strike a fusee; from
which it may be inferred that his cigar frequently goes out. This is
in itself suspicious. Errol, too, is more than once seen by his host
wandering in the grounds at night, with a cigar between his teeth.
Strathmore thinks his susceptible friend has a love affair on hand; but
is it not at least as probable an explanation that Errol had a private
supply of cigars at Whiteladies, and from motives of delicacy did not
like to smoke them in his host's presence? Once, indeed, we do see
Strathmore smoking a good cigar, though we are not told how he came by
it. When talking of the Vavasour, he sticks his penknife through his
Cabana, with the object, obviously, of smoking it to the bitter end.
Another lady novelist, who is also an authority on tobacco, Miss Rhoda
Broughton, contemptuously dismisses a claimant for the heroship of one
of her stories, as the kind of man who turns up his trousers at the
foot. It would have been just as withering to say that he stuck a
penknife through his cigars.



There is another true hero with me, whose creator has unintentionally
misrepresented him. It is he of Comin' thro' the Rye, a gentleman whom
the maidens of the nineteenth century will not willingly let die. He is
grand, no doubt; and yet, the more one thinks about him, the plainer it
becomes that had the heroine married him she would have been bitterly
disenchanted. In her company he was magnanimous; god-like, prodigal;
but in his smoking-room he showed himself in his true colors. Every
lady will remember the scene where he rushes to the heroine's home and
implores her to return with him to the bedside of his dying wife. The
sudden announcement that his wife--whom he had thought in a good state
of health--is dying, is surely enough to startle even a miser out of his
niggardliness, much less a hero; and yet what do we find Vasher doing?
The heroine, in frantic excitement, has to pass through his smoking
room, and on the table she sees--what? A half-smoked cigar. He was in
the middle of it when a servant came to tell him of his wife's dying
request; and, before hastening to execute her wishes, he carefully
laid what was left of his cigar upon the table--meaning, of course, to
relight it when he came back. Though she did not think so, our heroine's
father was a much more remarkable man than Vasher. He blew out long,
comfortable clouds that made the whole of his large family cough and
wink again. No ordinary father could do that.

Among my smoking-room favorites is the hero of Miss Adeline Sergeant's
story, Touch and Go. He is a war correspondent; and when he sees a
body of the enemy bearing down upon him and the wounded officer whom he
has sought to save, he imperturbably offers his companion a cigar. They
calmly smoke on while the foe gallop up. There is something grand in
this, even though the kind of cigar is not mentioned.



I see a bearded hero, with slouch hat and shepherd's crook, a clay pipe
in his mouth. He is a Bohemian--ever a popular type of hero; and the
Bohemian is to be known all the world over by the pipe, which he prefers
to a cigar. The tall, scornful gentleman who leans lazily against the
door, blowing great clouds of smoke into the air, is the hero of a
hundred novels. That is how he is always standing when the heroine,
having need of something she has left in the drawing-room, glides down
the stairs at night in her dressing-gown (her beautiful hair, released
from its ribbons, streaming down her neck and shoulders), and comes most
unexpectedly upon him. He is young. The senior, over whose face a smile
flickers for a moment when the heroine says something na´ve, and whom
she (entirely misunderstanding her feelings) thinks she hates, smokes
unostentatiously; but though a little inclined to quiet chaff, he is a
man of deep feeling. By and by he will open out and gather her up in his
arms. The scorner's chair is filled. I see him, shadow-like, a sad-eyed,
_blasÚ_ gentleman, who has been adored by all the beauties of
fifteen seasons, and yet speaks of woman with a contemptuous sneer.
Great, however, is love; and the vulgar little girl who talks slang will
prove to him in our next volume that there is still one peerless beyond
all others of her sex. Ah, a wondrous thing is love! On every side of
me there are dark, handsome men, with something sinister in their smile,
casting away their cigars with a muffled curse. No novel would be
complete without them. When they are foiled by the brave girl of the
narrative, it is the recognized course with them to fling away their
cigars with a muffled curse. Any kind of curse would do, but muffled
ones are preferred.





Next: The Ghost Of Christmas Eve

Previous: English-grown Tobacco



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