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About Smoking

Not The Arcadia
Those who do not know the Arcadia may have a mixture tha...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Grandest Scene In History
Though Scrymgeour only painted in watercolors, I think--...

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

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

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

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

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

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



Matrimony And Smoking Compared








The circumstances in which I gave up smoking were these:

I was a mere bachelor, drifting toward what I now see to be a tragic
middle age. I had become so accustomed to smoke issuing from my mouth
that I felt incomplete without it; indeed, the time came when I could
refrain from smoking if doing nothing else, but hardly during the hours
of toil. To lay aside my pipe was to find myself soon afterward
wandering restlessly round my table. No blind beggar was ever more
abjectly led by his dog, or more loath to cut the string.

I am much better without tobacco, and already have a difficulty in
sympathizing with the man I used to be. Even to call him up, as it were,
and regard him without prejudice is a difficult task, for we forget the
old selves on whom we have turned our backs, as we forget a street that
has been reconstructed. Does the freed slave always shiver at the crack
of a whip? I fancy not, for I recall but dimly, and without acute
suffering, the horrors of my smoking days. There were nights when I
awoke with a pain at my heart that made me hold my breath. I did not
dare move. After perhaps ten minutes of dread, I would shift my position
an inch at a time. Less frequently I felt this sting in the daytime,
and believed I was dying while my friends were talking to me. I never
mentioned these experiences to a human being; indeed, though a medical
man was among my companions, I cunningly deceived him on the rare
occasions when he questioned me about the amount of tobacco I was
consuming weekly. Often in the dark I not only vowed to give up smoking,
but wondered why I cared for it. Next morning I went straight from
breakfast to my pipe, without the smallest struggle with myself.
Latterly I knew, while resolving to break myself of the habit, that
I would be better employed trying to sleep. I had elaborate ways of
cheating myself, but it became disagreeable to me to know how many
ounces of tobacco I was smoking weekly. Often I smoked cigarettes to
reduce the number of my cigars.

On the other hand, if these sharp pains be excepted, I felt quite well.
My appetite was as good as it is now, and I worked as cheerfully and
certainly harder. To some slight extent, I believe, I experienced the
same pains in my boyhood, before I smoked, and I am not an absolute
stranger to them yet. They were most frequent in my smoking days, but I
have no other reason for charging them to tobacco. Possibly a doctor who
was himself a smoker would have pooh-poohed them. Nevertheless, I have
lighted my pipe, and then, as I may say, hearkened for them. At the
first intimation that they were coming I laid the pipe down and ceased
to smoke--until they had passed.

I will not admit that, once sure it was doing me harm, I could not,
unaided, have given up tobacco. But I was reluctant to make sure. I
should like to say that I left off smoking because I considered it a
mean form of slavery, to be condemned for moral as well as physical
reasons; but though now I clearly see the folly of smoking, I was blind
to it for some months after I had smoked my last pipe. I gave up my
most delightful solace, as I regarded it, for no other reason than that
the lady who was willing to fling herself away on me said that I must
choose between it and her. This deferred our marriage for six months.

I have now come, as those who read will see, to look upon smoking with
my wife's eyes. My old bachelor friends complain because I do not allow
smoking in the house, but I am always ready to explain my position, and
I have not an atom of pity for them. If I cannot smoke here neither
shall they. When I visit them in the old inn they take a poor revenge by
blowing rings of smoke almost in my face. This ambition to blow rings
is the most ignoble known to man. Once I was a member of a club for
smokers, where we practised blowing rings. The most successful got a box
of cigars as a prize at the end of the year. Those were days! Often I
think wistfully of them. We met in a cozy room off the Strand. How well
I can picture it still. Time-tables lying everywhere, with which we
could light our pipes. Some smoked clays, but for the Arcadia Mixture
give me a brier. My brier was the sweetest ever known. It is strange
now to recall a time when a pipe seemed to be my best friend.

My present state is so happy that I can only look back with wonder at
my hesitation to enter upon it. Our house was taken while I was still
arguing that it would be dangerous to break myself of smoking all at
once. At that time my ideal of married life was not what it is now, and
I remember Jimmy's persuading me to fix on this house, because the large
room upstairs with the three windows was a smoker's dream. He pictured
himself and me there in the summer-time blowing rings, with our coats
off and our feet out at the windows; and he said that the closet at the
back looking on to a blank wall would make a charming drawing-room for
my wife. For the moment his enthusiasm carried me away, but I see now
how selfish it was, and I have before me the face of Jimmy when he paid
us his first visit and found that the closet was not the drawing-room.
Jimmy is a fair specimen of a man, not without parts, destroyed by
devotion to his pipe. To this day he thinks that mantelpiece vases are
meant for holding pipe-lights in. We are almost certain that when he
stays with us he smokes in his bedroom--a detestable practice that
I cannot permit.



Two cigars a day at ninepence apiece come to _27 7s. 6d._ yearly,
and four ounces of tobacco a week at nine shillings a pound come to
_5 17s._ yearly. That makes _33 4s. 6d._ When we calculate
the yearly expense of tobacco in this way, we are naturally taken aback,
and our extravagance shocks us more after we have considered how much
more satisfactorily the money might have been spent. With _33 4s.
6d._ you can buy new Oriental rugs for the drawing-room, as well as
a spring bonnet and a nice dress. These are things that give permanent
pleasure, whereas you have no interest in a cigar after flinging away
the stump. Judging by myself, I should say that it was want of thought
rather than selfishness that makes heavy smokers of so many bachelors.
Once a man marries, his eyes are opened to many things that he was quite
unaware of previously, among them being the delight of adding an article
of furniture to the drawing-room every month, and having a bedroom in
pink and gold, the door of which is always kept locked. If men would
only consider that every cigar they smoke would buy part of a new
piano-stool in terra-cotta plush, and that for every pound tin of tobacco
purchased away goes a vase for growing dead geraniums in, they would
surely hesitate. They do not consider, however, until they marry, and
then they are forced to it. For my own part, I fail to see why bachelors
should be allowed to smoke as much as they like, when we are debarred
from it.



The very smell of tobacco is abominable, for one cannot get it out of
the curtains, and there is little pleasure in existence unless the
curtains are all right. As for a cigar after dinner, it only makes
you dull and sleepy and disinclined for ladies' society. A far more
delightful way of spending the evening is to go straight from dinner to
the drawing-room and have a little music. It calms the mind to listen to
your wife's niece singing, Oh, that we two were Maying! Even if you
are not musical, as is the case with me, there is a great deal in the
drawing-room to refresh you. There are the Japanese fans on the wall,
which are things of beauty, though your artistic taste may not be
sufficiently educated to let you know it except by hearsay; and it is
pleasant to feel that they were bought with money which, in the foolish
old days, would have been squandered on a box of cigars. In like manner
every pretty trifle in the room reminds you how much wiser you are now
than you used to be. It is even gratifying to stand in summer at the
drawing-room window and watch the very cabbies passing with cigars in
their mouths. At the same time, if I had the making of the laws I would
prohibit people's smoking in the street. If they are married men, they
are smoking drawing-room fire-screens and mantelpiece borders for the
pink-and-gold room. If they are bachelors, it is a scandal that
bachelors should get the best of everything.

Nothing is more pitiable than the way some men of my acquaintance
enslave themselves to tobacco.

Nay, worse, they make an idol of some one particular tobacco. I know a
man who considers a certain mixture so superior to all others that he
will walk three miles for it. Surely every one will admit that this
is lamentable. It is not even a good mixture, for I used to try it
occasionally; and if there is one man in London who knows tobaccoes it
is myself. There is only one mixture in London deserving the adjective
superb. I will not say where it is to be got, for the result would
certainly be that many foolish men would smoke more than ever; but I
never knew anything to compare to it. It is deliciously mild yet full of
fragrance, and it never burns the tongue. If you try it once you smoke
it ever afterward. It clears the brain and soothes the temper. When
I went away for a holiday anywhere I took as much of that exquisite
health-giving mixture as I thought would last me the whole time, but
I always ran out of it. Then I telegraphed to London for more, and was
miserable until it arrived. How I tore the lid off the canister! That
is a tobacco to live for. But I am better without it.


Occasionally I feel a little depressed after dinner still, without being
able to say why, and if my wife has left me, I wander about the room
restlessly, like one who misses something. Usually, however, she takes
me with her to the drawing-room, and reads aloud her delightfully long
home-letters or plays soft music to me. If the music be sweet and sad it
takes me away to a stair in an inn, which I climb gayly, and shake open
a heavy door on the top floor, and turn up the gas. It is a little room
I am in once again, and very dusty. A pile of papers and magazines
stands as high as a table in the corner furthest from the door. The cane
chair shows the exact shape of Marriot's back. What is left (after
lighting the fire) of a frame picture lies on the hearth-rug. Gilray
walks in uninvited. He has left word that his visitors are to be sent on
to me. The room fills. My hand feels along the mantelpiece for a brown
jar. The jar is between my knees; I fill my pipe....

After a time the music ceases, and my wife puts her hand on my shoulder.
Perhaps I start a little, and then she says I have been asleep. This is
the book of my dreams.





Next: My First Cigar




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