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Smoking In The Restoration Period
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My Last Pipe
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Smoking By Women
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Vanity All Is Vanity


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

Primus To His Uncle
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My Tobacco-pouch
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Tobacco From A Moral Stand-point |

Later Victorian Days

When life was all a summer day,
And I was under twenty,
Three loves were scattered in my way--
And three at once are plenty.
Three hearts, if offered with a grace,
One thinks not of refusing.
The task in this especial case
Was only that of choosing.
I knew not which to make my pet--
My pipe, cigar, or cigarette.


The social history of smoking in later Victorian days is marked by the
triumph of the cigarette. The introduction of the cigar, as we have
seen, brought about the revival of smoking, from the point of view of
fashion, in the early decades of the nineteenth century; and the
coming of the cigarette completed what the cigar had begun.

The earliest references for the word cigarette in the Oxford
Dictionary are dated 1842 and 1843, but both refer to the smoking of
cigarettes abroad--in France and Italy. The 1843 quotation is from a
book by Mrs. Romer, in which she says--The beggars in the streets
have paper cigars (called cigarettes) in their mouths. The wording
here would seem to show that cigarettes were not then familiar to
English people.

Laurence Oliphant, who was both a man of letters and a man of fashion,
is generally credited with the introduction into English society of
the cigarette; but it is difficult to suggest even an approximate
date. Writing from Boulogne to W.H. Wills in September 1854, Dickens
says, I have nearly exhausted the cigarettes I brought here, and
proceeds to give directions for some to be sent to him from London.
This is the earliest reference I have found to cigarette-smoking in
England; but it is possible that by cigarettes Dickens meant not
what we now know as such, but simply small cigars. Mr. H.M. Hyndman,
in his Record of an Adventurous Life, says that when he was living
as a pupil, about the year 1860, with the Rector of Oxburgh, his
fellow-pupils included Edward Abbott of Salonica, who, poor fellow,
was battered to pieces by the Turks with iron staves torn from palings
at the beginning of the Turco-Servian War. Cigarette-smoking, now so
popular, was then almost unknown, and Abbott, who always smoked the
finest Turkish tobacco which he rolled up into cigarettes for himself,
was the first devotee of this habit I encountered.

Fairholt, in his book on Tobacco, which was published in 1859,
mentions cigarettes as being smoked in Spain and South and Central
America, but makes no reference to their use in this country.

The late Lady Dorothy Nevill said that although cigarettes are a
modern invention, she believed that they already existed in a slightly
different form at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when old
Peninsular officers used to smoke tobacco rolled up tight in a piece
of paper. They called this a _papelito_, and I fancy it was much the
same thing as a cigarette. But if this were so, the habit must have
died out long before the cigarette, as we now know it, came into

It may fairly be concluded, I think, that although about 1860 there
may have been an occasional cigarette-smoker in England, like the
Edward Abbott of Mr. Hyndman's reminiscences, yet it was not until a
little later date that the small paper-enclosed rolls of tobacco
became at all common among Englishmen; and it is quite likely that the
credit (or discredit, as the reader pleases) of bringing them into
general, and especially into fashionable, use, has been rightly given
to Laurence Oliphant.

Cigarettes were perhaps in fashion in 1870. In Puck, which was
published in that year, Ouida--who is hardly an unimpeachable
authority on the ways and customs of fashionable folk, though she
loved to paint fancy pictures of their sayings and doings--pictures
the Row: the most fashionable lounge you have, but it is a Republic
for all that. There, she says, could Bill Jacobs lean against a
rail, with a clay-pipe in his mouth, and a terrier under his arm,
close beside the Earl of Guilliadene, with his cigarette and his
eye-glass, and his Poole-cut habiliments.

Thirty years or more ago the late Andrew Lang wrote an article
entitled Enchanted Cigarettes, which began--To dream our literary
projects, Balzac says, is like 'smoking enchanted cigarettes,' but
when we try to tackle our projects, to make them real, the enchantment
disappears--we have to till the soil, to sow the weed, to gather the
leaves, and then the cigarettes must be manufactured, while there may
be no market for them after all. Probably most people have enjoyed
the fragrance of these cigarettes and have brooded over much which
they will never put on paper. Here are some of 'the ashes of the weeds
of my delight'--memories of romances whereof no single line is
written, or is likely to be written. What Balzac said in his La
Cousine Bette was--Penser, rever, concevoir de belles oeuvres est
une occupation delicieuse. C'est fumer des cigares enchantes, c'est
mener la vie de la courtisane occupee a sa fantaisie. Balzac's cigars
became cigarettes in Lang's fantasy. The French novelist seems to have
been one of those who praised tobacco without using it much himself.
In his Illusions Perdues Carlos Herrera, who was Vautrin, says to
Lucien, whom he meets on the point of suicide: Dieu nous a donne le
tabac pour endormir nos passions et nos douleurs. M.A. Le Breton,
however, in his book on Balzac--L'Homme et L'OEuvre--says: Il ne
se soutient qu'a force de cafe, though he would sit working at his
desk for twenty-five hours running.

About the time that Lang's article was written, Sir F.C. Burnand's
burlesque, Bluebeard was produced at the Gaiety Theatre. In those
days a certain type of young man, since known by many names, including
the present day nut, was called a masher; and Burnand's burlesque
included a duet with the refrain:

_We are mashers, we are,
As we smoke our cigar
And crawl along, never too quick;
We are mashers, you bet,
With the light cigarette
And the quite irreproachable stick._

Nowadays the cigarette is in such universal use, that it would be
impossible thus to associate it with any particular type of man, sane
or inane.

The late Bishop Mandell Creighton, of London, was an incessant smoker
of cigarettes. Mr. Herbert Paul, in his paper on the Bishop, says that
those who went to see him at Fulham on a Sunday afternoon always found
him, if they found him at all, leisurely, chatty, hospitable, and
apparently without a care in the world. There was the family
tea-table, and there were the eternal cigarettes. The Bishop must have
paid a fortune in tobacco-duty. There is a side view of another
tobacco-lover in the Note-Books of Samuel Butler, the author of
Erewhon. Creighton, after reading Butler's Alps and Sanctuaries
had asked the author to come and see him. Butler was in doubt whether
or not to go, and consulted his clerk, Alfred, on the matter. That
wise counsellor asked to look at the Bishop's letter, and then said:
I see, sir, there is a crumb of tobacco in it; I think you can go.

Apart from cigarette-smoking, however, the use of tobacco grew
steadily during the later Victorian period. In Mr. Punch's
Pocket-Book for 1878 there was a burlesque dialogue between uncle and
nephew entitled Cupid and 'Baccy. The uncle thinks the younger men
smoke too much, and declares that tobacco has destroyed the
susceptibility, which in my time made youngsters fall in love, as they
often did, with a girl without a penny. No fellow can fall in love
when he has continually a pipe in his mouth; and if he ever feels
inclined to when it would be imprudent, why he lights his pipe, and
very soon smokes the idea of such folly out of his head. Not so when I
was of your age. Besides a few old farmers, churchwardens, and
overseers, and such, nobody then ever smoked but labourers and the
lower orders--cads as you now say. Smoking was thought vulgar. Young
men never smoked at all. To smoke in the presence of a lady was an
inconceivable outrage; yet now I see you and your friends walking
alongside of one another's sisters, smoking a short pipe down the
street. The girls like it, says Nepos. In my time, replies
Avunculus, young ladies would have fainted at the bare suggestion of
such an enormity. The dialogue ends as follows:

NEPOS (_producing short clay_). See here, Uncle. This pipe is
almost coloured. How long do you think I have had it?

AVUNCULUS. Can't imagine.

NEPOS. Only three weeks.

AVUNCULUS. Good boy!

In the same Pocket-Book one of the ideals of a wife by a bachelor
is--To approve of smoking all over the house; while one of the
ideals of a husband by a spinster is--Not to smoke, or use a
latch-key. Mr. Punch's prelections, of course, are not to be taken
too seriously. They all necessarily have the exaggeration of
caricature; but at the same time they are all significant, and for the
social historian are invaluable.

Tobacco-smoking was advancing victoriously all along the line. Absurd
old conventions and ridiculous restrictions had to give way or were
broken through in every direction. The compartments for smokers on
railway trains, at first provided sparsely and grudgingly, became more
and more numerous. The practice of smoking out of doors, which the
early Victorians held in particular abhorrence, became common--at
least so far as cigars and cigarettes were concerned. Lady Dorothy
Nevill, whose memory covered so large a part of the nineteenth
century, said, in the Leaves from her note-book which was published
in 1907, that to smoke in Hyde Park, even up to comparatively recent
years, was looked upon as absolutely unpardonable; while smoking
anywhere with a lady would, in the earlier days, have been classed as
an almost disgraceful social crime. The first gentleman of whom Lady
Dorothy heard as having been seen smoking a cigar in the Park was the
Duke of Sutherland, and the lady who told her spoke of it as if she
had been present at an earthquake! Pipes were (and are) still looked
at askance in many places where the smoking of cigars and cigarettes
is freely allowed, and fashion frowned on the pipe in street or Park.

Of course, what one might do in the country and what one might do in
town were two quite different things. The following story was told
nearly twenty years ago of the late Duke of Devonshire. An American
tourist began talking one day to a quiet-looking man who was smoking
outside an inn on the Chatsworth estate, and, taking the man for the
inn-keeper, expressed his admiration of the Duke of Devonshire's
domain. Quite a place, isn't it? said the American. Yes, a pleasant
place enough, returned the Englishman. The fellow who owns it must
be worth a mint of money, said the American, through his cigar-smoke.
Yes, he's comfortably off, agreed the other. I wonder if I could
get a look at the old chap, said the stranger, after a short silence;
I should like to see what sort of a bird he is. Puff, puff, went
the English cigar, and then said the English voice, trying hard to
control itself: If you--puff--look hard--puff, puff--in this
direction, you--puff, puff--can tell in a minute. You, you!
faltered the American, getting up, why, I thought you were the
landlord! Well, so I am, said the Duke, though I don't perform the
duties. I stay here, he added, with a twinkle in his eye, to be
looked at.

Among the chief strongholds of the old ideas and prejudices were some
of the clubs. At the Athenaeum the only smoking-room used to be a
combined billiard-and smoking-room in the basement. It was but a few
years ago that an attic story was added to the building, and smokers
can now reach more comfortable quarters by means of a lift put in when
the alterations were made in 1900. This new smoking-room is a very
handsome, largely book-lined apartment. At the end of the room is a
beautiful marble mantelpiece of late eighteenth century Italian work.
At White's even cigars had not been allowed at all until 1845; and
when, in 1866, some of the younger members wished to be allowed to
smoke in the drawing-room, there was much perturbation, the older
members bitterly opposing the proposal. A general meeting was held to
decide the question, says Mr. Ralph Nevill, in his London Clubs,
when a number of old gentlemen who had not been seen in the club for
years made their appearance, stoutly determined to resist the proposed
desecration. 'Where do all these old fossils come from?' inquired a
member. 'From Kensal Green,' was Mr. Alfred Montgomery's reply. 'Their
hearses, I understand, are waiting to take them back there.' The
motion for the extension of the facilities for smoking was defeated
by a majority of twenty-three votes, and as an indirect result the
Marlborough Club was founded. The late King Edward, at that time
Prince of Wales, is said to have sympathized strongly with the
defeated minority at White's, and to have interested himself in the
foundation of the Marlborough; where, for the first time in the
history of West End Clubland, smoking, except in the dining-room, was
everywhere allowed. By smoking is no doubt here meant everything
but pipes, which were not considered gentlemanly even at the Garrick
Club at the beginning of the present century. The late Duc d'Aumale
was a social pioneer in pipe-smoking. His caricature in Vanity Fair
represents him with a pipe in his mouth, although he is wearing an
opera-hat, black frock-coat buttoned up, and a cloak.

By the end of the nineteenth century the snuff-box which once upon a
time stood upon the mantelpiece of every club, had disappeared. The
habit of snuffing had long been falling into desuetude. The cigar
dealt the snuff-box its death-blow and the cigarette was chief mourner
at its funeral.

As in other periods, men of letters and artists ignored the social
prejudices and conventions about tobacco, and laughed at the
artificial distinctions drawn between cigars and pipes. It is said
that the late Sir John Millais smoked a clay pipe in his carriage when
he was part of the first Jubilee procession of Queen Victoria--a
performance, if it took place, which would certainly have horrified
her tobacco-hating Majesty. Tennyson and his friends smoked their
pipes as they had always done--and old-fashioned clay pipes too. Sir
Norman Lockyer, referring to a period about 1867, mentions Monday
evenings in his house which were given up to friends who came in,
_sans ceremonie_, to talk and smoke. Clays from Broseley, including
'churchwardens' and some of larger size (Frank Buckland's held an
ounce of tobacco) were provided, and the confirmed smokers (Tennyson,
an occasional visitor, being one of them) kept their pipes, on which
the name was written, in a rack for future symposia.

Of the other great Victorian poets Morris was a pipe-smoker, and so
was Rossetti. Browning also smoked, but not, I think, a pipe.
Swinburne, on the other hand, detested tobacco, and expressed himself
on the subject with characteristic extravagance and vehemence--James
I was a knave, a tyrant, a fool, a liar, a coward. But I love him, I
worship him, because he slit the throat of that blackguard Raleigh who
invented this filthy smoking! Professor Blackie, in a letter to his
wife, remarked: The first thing I said on entering the public room
was--'What a delightful thing the smell of tobacco is, in a warm room
on a wet night!' ... I gave my opinion with great decision that
tobacco, whisky and all such stimulants or sedatives, had their
foundation in nature, could not be abolished, or rather should not,
and must be content with the check of a wise regulation. Even pious
ladies were fond of tea, which, taken in excess, was worse for the
nerves than a glass of sherry.

One of the most distinguished of Victorian men of letters, John
Ruskin, was a great hater of tobacco. Notwithstanding this, he sent
Carlyle--an inveterate smoker--a box of cigars in February 1865. In
his letter of acknowledgment Carlyle wrote--Dear Ruskin, you have
sent me a magnificent Box of Cigars; for which what can I say in
answer? It makes me both sad and glad. _Ay de mi_

_'We are such stuff,
Gone with a puff--
Then think, and smoke Tobacco!'_

In the later years of his life, spent at Brantwood, Ruskin's guests
found that smoking was not allowed even after dinner.

Another and greater Victorian, Gladstone, was also a non-smoker. He is
said, however, on one occasion, when King Edward as Prince of Wales
dined with him in Downing Street, to have toyed with a cigarette out
of courtesy to his illustrious guest.

It was in the latter years of his life that Tennyson told Sir William
Harcourt one day that his morning pipe after breakfast was the best in
the day--an opinion, by the way, to which many less distinguished
smokers would subscribe--when Sir William laughingly replied, The
earliest pipe of half-awakened _bards_.

The companion burlesque line, The earliest pipe of half-awakened
_birdseye_ appears, with one from Homer and one from Virgil, at the
head of Arthur Sidgwick's poem in Greek Iambics, +TO BAKCHO+, in
Echoes from the Oxford Magazine, 1890.

Sidgwick's praise of tobacco, classically draped in Greek verse,
occasionally of the macaronic order, is delightful. He hails the pipe
as the work of Pan, and the divine smoke as the best and most fragrant
of gifts--healer of sorrow, companion in joy, rest for the toilers,
drink for the thirsty, warmth for the cold, coolness in the heat, and
a cheap feast for those who waste away through hunger. How is it, he
says, that through so many ages men, who have need of thee, have not
seen thy nature? Often, he continues--the verses may be roughly
translated--often, when I am in Alpine solitudes, tied in a chain to a
few companions, clinging to the rope, while barbarians lead the way,
carrying in my hands an ice-axe (+krustalloplega chersin axinen
pheron+), and breathless crawling up the snow-covered plain--then,
when groaning I reach the summit (either pulled up or on foot), how
have I rested, on my back on the rocks, charming my soul with thy
divine clouds! He goes on in burlesque strain to speak of the joys of
tobacco when he lies in idleness by the streams in breathless summer,
comforted by a bath just taken, or when in the middle of the night he
is worn out by revising endless exercises, underlining the mistakes in
red and allotting marks, or weighed down by the wise men of
old--Thucydides, Sophocles, Euripides, the ideas of Plato, wiles of
Pindar, fearfully corrupt strophe of chorus, wondrous guesses of
Teutons and fancies of philologists, when men swoon in the
inexplicable wanderings of the endless examination of Homer, when the
brain reels among such toil--then he hails the pipe, help of mortals,
and hastens to kindle sacrifices at its altars and rejoices as he
tastes its smoke. Let some one, he exclaims, bring Bryant and May's
fire, which strikes a light only if rubbed on the box--

+enenkato tis pur bruantomaikon+
(+kausai d' adunaton me ouchi pros kiste tribeu+)

and taking the best and blackest bowl, and putting on Persian
slippers, sitting on the softest couch, I will light my pipe, with my
feet on the hearth, and I will cast aside all mortal care!

Nor must the delightful verses by J.K.S. be forgotten, in which the
author of Lapsus Calami sings of the Grand Old Pipe--

_And I'm smoking a pipe which is fashioned
Like the face of the Grand Old Man;_

and the quaint similarity or comparison between the pipe and
Gladstone, the Grand Old Man when Lapsus Calami appeared in 1888,
is maintained throughout--

_Grows he black in his face with his labours?
Well, so does my Grand Old Pipe._

_For the sake of its excellent savour,
For the many sweet smokes of the past
My pipe keeps its hold on my favour,
Tho' now it is blackening fast._

But although many pipes were smoked at the Universities, there were
occasionally to be found odd survivals of old prejudices. Dr. Shipley,
in his recent memoir of John Willis Clark, the Cambridge Registrary,
says that even in the 'seventies of the last century there was an
elderly Don at Cambridge who once rebuked a Junior Fellow, who was
smoking a pipe in the Wilderness, with the remark, No Christian
gentleman smokes a pipe, or if he does he smokes a cigar. The
perpetrator of this bull was the same parson who married late in life,
and returning to his church after a honeymoon of six weeks, publicly
thanked God for _three_ weeks of unalloyed connubial bliss.

Next: Smoking In The Twentieth Century

Previous: Early Victorian Days

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