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About Smoking

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

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

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

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

English-grown Tobacco
Pettigrew asked me to come to his house one evening and tes...

Vanity All Is Vanity
...

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

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

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

Smoking Unfashionable: Later Georgian Days
Says the Pipe to the Snuff-box, I can't understand ...

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

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

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

Jimmy's Dream
I see before me (said Jimmy, savagely) a court, where I, Ja...


...

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

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

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

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

Gilray's Dream
Conceive me (said Gilray, with glowing face) invited to wri...



Jimmy








With the exception of myself, Jimmy Moggridge was no doubt the most
silent of the company that met so frequently in my rooms. Just as
Marriot's eyebrows rose if the cane chair was not empty when he strode
in, Jimmy held that he had a right to the hearth-rug, on which he loved
to lie prone, his back turned to the company and his eyes on his pipe.
The stem was a long cherry-wood, but the bowl was meerschaum, and Jimmy,
as he smoked, lay on the alert, as it were, to see the meerschaum
coloring. So one may strain his eyes with intent eagerness until he can
catch the hour-hand of a watch in action. With tobacco in his pocket
Jimmy could refill his pipe without moving, but sometimes he crawled
along the hearth-rug to let the fire-light play more exquisitely on his
meerschaum bowl. In time, of course, the Arcadia Mixture made him more
and more like the rest of us, but he retained his individuality until he
let his bowl fall off. Otherwise he only differed from us in one way.
When he saw a match-box he always extracted a few matches and put them
dreamily into his pocket. There were times when, with a sharp blow on
Jimmy's person, we could doubtless have had him blazing like a
chandelier.



Jimmy was a barrister--though this is scarcely worth mentioning--and
it had been known to us for years that he made a living by contributing
to the _Saturday Review_. How the secret leaked out I cannot say with
certainty. Jimmy never forced it upon us, and I cannot remember any
paragraphs in the London correspondence of the provincial papers
coupling his name with _Saturday_ articles. On the other hand, I
distinctly recall having to wait one day in his chambers while Jimmy was
shaving, and noticing accidentally a long, bulky envelope on his table,
with the _Saturday Review's_ mystic crest on it. It was addressed
to Jimmy, and contained, I concluded, a bundle of proofs. That was
so long ago as 1885. If further evidence is required, there is the
undoubted fact, to which several of us could take oath, that, at Oxford,
Jimmy was notorious for his sarcastic pen--nearly being sent down,
indeed, for the same. Again, there was the certainty that for years
Jimmy had been engaged upon literary work of some kind. We had been
with him buying the largest-sized scribbling paper in the market; we
had heard him muttering to himself as if in pain: and we had seen him
correcting proof-sheets. When we caught him at them he always thrust the
proofs into a drawer which he locked by putting his leg on it--for the
ordinary lock was broken--and remaining in that position till we had
retired. Though he rather shunned the subject as a rule, he admitted
to us that the work was journalism and not a sarcastic history of the
nineteenth century, on which we felt he would come out strong. Lastly,
Jimmy had lost the brightness of his youth, and was become silent and
moody, which is well known to be the result of writing satire.



Were it not so notorious that the thousands who write regularly for the
_Saturday_ have reasons of their own for keeping it dark and merely
admitting the impeachment with a nod or smile, we might have marvelled
at Jimmy's reticence. There were, however, moments when he thawed so
far as practically to allow, and every one knows what that means, that
the _Saturday_ was his chief source of income. Only, he would
add, should you be acquainted with the editor, don't mention my
contributions to him. From this we saw that Jimmy and the editor had an
understanding on the subject, though we were never agreed which of them
it was who had sworn the other to secrecy. We were proud of Jimmy's
connection with the press, and every week we discussed his latest
article. Jimmy never told us, except in a roundabout way, which were his
articles; but we knew his style, and it was quite exhilarating to pick
out his contributions week by week. We were never baffled, for Jimmy's
touches were unmistakable; and Have you seen Jimmy this week in
the _Saturday_ on Lewis Morris? or, I say, do you think Buchanan
knows it was Jimmy who wrote that? was what we said when we had lighted
our pipes.

Now I come to the incident that drew from Jimmy his extraordinary
statement. I was smoking with him in his rooms one evening, when a
clatter at his door was followed by a thud on the floor. I knew as
well as Jimmy what had happened. In his pre-_Saturday_ days he had
no letter-box, only a slit in the door; and through this we used to
denounce him on certain occasions when we called and he would not let us
in. Lately, however, he had fitted up a letter-box himself, which kept
together if you opened the door gently, but came clattering to the floor
under the weight of heavy letters. The letter to which it had succumbed
this evening was quite a package, and could even have been used as a
missile. Jimmy snatched it up quickly, evidently knowing the contents
by their bulk; and I was just saying to myself, More proofs from the
_Saturday_, when the letter burst at the bottom, and in a moment a
score of smaller letters were tumbling about my feet. In vain did
Jimmy entreat me to let him gather them up. I helped, and saw, to my
bewilderment, that all the letters were addressed in childish hands
to Uncle Jim, care of Editor of _Mothers Pets_. It was impossible
that Jimmy could have so many nephews and nieces.

Seeing that I had him, Jimmy advanced to the hearth-rug as if about to
make his statement; then changed his mind and, thrusting a dozen of the
letters into my hands, invited me to read. The first letter ran:
Dearest Uncle Jim,--I must tell you about my canary. I love my canary
very much. It is a yellow canary, and it sings so sweetly. I keep it in
a cage, and it is so tame. Mamma and me wishes you would come and see us
and our canary. Dear Uncle Jim, I love you.--Your little friend, Milly
(aged four years). Here is the second: Dear Uncle Jim,--You will want
to know about my blackbird. It sits in a tree and picks up the crumbs
on the window, and Thomas wants to shoot it for eating the cherries;
but I won't let Thomas shoot it, for it is a nice blackbird, and I have
wrote all this myself.--Your loving little Bobby (aged five years).
In another, Jacky (aged four and a half) described his parrot, and I
have also vague recollections of Harry (aged six) on his chaffinch, and
Archie (five) on his linnet. What does it mean? I demanded of Jimmy,
who, while I read, had been smoking savagely. Don't you see that they
are in for the prize? he growled. Then he made his statement.

I have never, Jimmy said, contributed to the _Saturday_, nor,
indeed, to any well-known paper. That, however, was only because the
editors would not meet me half-way. After many disappointments,
fortune--whether good or bad I cannot say--introduced me to the
editor of _Mothers Pets_, a weekly journal whose title sufficiently
suggests its character. Though you may never have heard of it,
_Mothers Pets_ has a wide circulation and is a great property. I
was asked to join the staff under the name of 'Uncle Jim,' and did not
see my way to refuse. I inaugurated a new feature. Mothers' pets were
cordially invited to correspond with me on topics to be suggested week
by week, and prizes were to be given for the best letters. This feature
has been an enormous success, and I get the most affectionate letters
from mothers, consulting me about teething and the like, every week.
They say that I am dearer to their children than most real uncles, and
they often urge me to go and stay with them. There are lots of kisses
awaiting me. I also get similar invitations from the little beasts
themselves. Pass the Arcadia.





Next: Scrymgeour

Previous: Marriot



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