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About Smoking

Gilray is an actor, whose life I may be said to have str...

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

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

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

Vanity All Is Vanity

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

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

This is the first attempt to write the history of smoking i...

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

The Arcadia Mixture
Darkness comes, and with it the porter to light our stai...

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

My Smoking-table
Had it not been for a bootblack at Charing Cross I shoul...

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

My First Cigar

It was not in my chambers, but three hundred miles further north, that
I learned to smoke. I think I may say with confidence that a first cigar
was never smoked in such circumstances before.

At that time I was a school-boy, living with my brother, who was a man.
People mistook our relations, and thought I was his son. They would ask
me how my father was, and when he heard of this he scowled at me. Even
to this day I look so young that people who remember me as a boy now
think I must be that boy's younger brother. I shall tell presently of
a strange mistake of this kind, but at present I am thinking of the
evening when my brother's eldest daughter was born--perhaps the most
trying evening he and I ever passed together. So far as I knew, the
affair was very sudden, and I felt sorry for my brother as well as for

We sat together in the study, he on an arm-chair drawn near the fire and
I on the couch. I cannot say now at what time I began to have an inkling
that there was something wrong. It came upon me gradually and made
me very uncomfortable, though of course I did not show this. I heard
people going up and down stairs, but I was not at that time naturally
suspicious. Comparatively early in the evening I felt that my brother
had something on his mind. As a rule, when we were left together, he
yawned or drummed with his fingers on the arm of his chair to show that
he did not feel uncomfortable, or I made a pretence of being at ease by
playing with the dog or saying that the room was close. Then one of us
would rise, remark that he had left his book in the dining-room, and
go away to look for it, taking care not to come back till the other
had gone. In this crafty way we helped each other. On that occasion,
however, he did not adopt any of the usual methods, and though I went
up to my bedroom several times and listened through the wall, I heard
nothing. At last some one told me not to go upstairs, and I returned
to the study, feeling that I now knew the worst. He was still in the
arm-chair, and I again took to the couch. I could see by the way he
looked at me over his pipe that he was wondering whether I knew
anything. I don't think I ever liked my brother better than on that
night; and I wanted him to understand that, whatever happened, it would
make no difference between us. But the affair upstairs was too delicate
to talk of, and all I could do was to try to keep his mind from brooding
on it, by making him tell me things about politics. This is the kind of
man my brother is. He is an astonishing master of facts, and I suppose
he never read a book yet, from a Blue Book to a volume of verse,
without catching the author in error about something. He reads books
for that purpose. As a rule I avoided argument with him, because he was
disappointed if I was right and stormed if I was wrong. It was therefore
a dangerous thing to begin on politics, but I thought the circumstances
warranted it. To my surprise he answered me in a rambling manner,
occasionally breaking off in the middle of a sentence and seeming to
listen for something. I tried him on history, and mentioned 1822 as the
date of the battle of Waterloo, merely to give him his opportunity. But
he let it pass. After that there was silence. By and by he rose from
his chair, apparently to leave the room, and then sat down again, as if
he had thought better of it. He did this several times, always eying me
narrowly. Wondering how I could make it easier for him, I took up a book
and pretended to read with deep attention, meaning to show him that he
could go away if he liked without my noticing it. At last he jumped up,
and, looking at me boldly, as if to show that the house was his and
he could do what he liked in it, went heavily from the room. As soon
as he was gone I laid down my book. I was now in a state of nervous
excitement, though outwardly I was quite calm. I took a look at him as
he went up the stairs, and noticed that he had slipped off his shoes
on the bottom step. All haughtiness had left him now.

In a little while he came back. He found me reading. He lighted his pipe
and pretended to read too. I shall never forget that my book was Anne
Judge, Spinster, while his was a volume of Blackwood. Every five
minutes his pipe went out, and sometimes the book lay neglected on his
knee as he stared at the fire. Then he would go out for five minutes and
come back again. It was late now, and I felt that I should like to go to
my bedroom and lock myself in. That, however, would have been selfish;
so we sat on defiantly. At last he started from his chair as some one
knocked at the door. I heard several people talking, and then loud above
their voices a younger one.

When I came to myself, the first thing I thought was that they would ask
me to hold it. Then I remembered, with another sinking at the heart,
that they might want to call it after me. These, of course, were selfish
reflections; but my position was a trying one. The question was, what
was the proper thing for me to do? I told myself that my brother might
come back at any moment, and all I thought of after that was what I
should say to him. I had an idea that I ought to congratulate him, but
it seemed a brutal thing to do. I had not made up my mind when I heard
him coming down. He was laughing and joking in what seemed to me a
flippant kind of way, considering the circumstances. When his hand
touched the door I snatched at my book and read as hard as I could. He
was swaggering a little as he entered, but the swagger went out of him
as soon as his eye fell on me. I fancy he had come down to tell me,
and now he did not know how to begin. He walked up and down the room
restlessly, looking at me as he walked the one way, while I looked at
him as he walked the other way. At length he sat down again and took up
his book. He did not try to smoke. The silence was something terrible;
nothing was to be heard but an occasional cinder falling from the grate.
This lasted, I should say, for twenty minutes, and then he closed his
book and flung it on the table. I saw that the game was up, and closed
Anne Judge, Spinster. Then he said, with affected jocularity: Well,
young man, do you know that you are an uncle? There was silence again,
for I was still trying to think out some appropriate remark. After a
time I said, in a weak voice. Boy or girl? Girl, he answered. Then
I thought hard again, and all at once remembered something. Both doing
well? I whispered. Yes, he said sternly. I felt that something great
was expected of me, but I could not jump up and wring his hand. I was an
uncle. I stretched out my arm toward the cigar-box, and firmly lighted
my first cigar.

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