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About Smoking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matrimony And Smoking Compared
The circumstances in which I gave up smoking were these: ...

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

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


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

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

Later Victorian Days
When life was all a summer day, And I was under tw...

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

My Pipes
In a select company of scoffers my brier was known as the M...

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

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

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

My Tobacco-pouch

I once knew a lady who said of her husband that he looked nice when
sitting with a rug over him. My female relatives seemed to have the
same opinion of my tobacco-pouch; for they never saw it, even in my own
room, without putting a book or pamphlet over it. They called it that
thing, and made tongs of their knitting-needles to lift it; and when I
indignantly returned it to my pocket, they raised their hands to signify
that I would not listen to reason. It seemed to come natural to other
persons to present me with new tobacco-pouches, until I had nearly a
score lying neglected in drawers. But I am not the man to desert an old
friend that has been with me everywhere and thoroughly knows my ways.
Once, indeed, I came near to being unfaithful to my tobacco-pouch, and
I mean to tell how--partly as a punishment to myself.

The incident took place several years ago. Gilray and I had set out on a
walking tour of the Shakespeare country; but we separated at Stratford,
which was to be our starting-point, because he would not wait for me. I
am more of a Shakespearian student than Gilray, and Stratford affected
me so much that I passed day after day smoking reverently at the hotel
door; while he, being of the pure tourist type (not that I would say
a word against Gilray), wanted to rush from one place of interest to
another. He did not understand what thoughts came to me as I strolled
down the Stratford streets; and in the hotel, when I lay down on the
sofa, he said I was sleeping, though I was really picturing to myself
Shakespeare's boyhood. Gilray even went the length of arguing that it
would not be a walking tour at all if we never made a start; so, upon
the whole, I was glad when he departed alone. The next day was a
memorable one to me. In the morning I wrote to my London tobacconist for
more Arcadia. I had quarrelled with both of the Stratford tobacconists.
The one of them, as soon as he saw my tobacco-pouch, almost compelled
me to buy a new one. The second was even more annoying. I paid with a
half-sovereign for the tobacco I had got from him; but after gazing at
the pouch he became suspicious of the coin, and asked if I could not pay
him in silver. An insult to my pouch I considered an insult to myself;
so I returned to those shops no more. The evening of the day on which
I wrote to London for tobacco brought me a letter from home saying that
my sister was seriously ill. I had left her in good health, so that the
news was the more distressing. Of course I returned home by the first
train. Sitting alone in a dull railway compartment, my heart was filled
with tenderness, and I recalled the occasions on which I had carelessly
given her pain. Suddenly I remembered that more than once she had
besought me with tears in her eyes to fling away my old tobacco-pouch.
She had always said that it was not respectable. In the bitterness of
self-reproach I pulled the pouch from my pocket, asking myself whether,
after all, the love of a good woman was not a far more precious
possession. Without giving myself time to hesitate, I stood up and
firmly cast my old pouch out at the window. I saw it fall at the foot
of a fence. The train shot on.

By the time I reached home my sister had been pronounced out of danger.
Of course I was much relieved to hear it, but at the same time this was
a lesson to me not to act rashly. The retention of my tobacco-pouch
would not have retarded her recovery, and I could not help picturing my
pouch, my oldest friend in the world, lying at the foot of that fence.
I saw that I had done wrong in casting it from me. I had not even the
consolation of feeling that if any one found it he would cherish it, for
it was so much damaged that I knew it could never appeal to a new owner
as it appealed to me. I had intended telling my sister of the sacrifice
made for her sake; but after seeing her so much better, I left the room
without doing so. There was Arcadia Mixture in the house, but I had not
the heart to smoke. I went early to bed, and fell into a troubled sleep,
from which I awoke with a shiver. The rain was driving against my
window, tapping noisily on it as if calling on me to awake and go back
for my tobacco-pouch. It rained far on into the morning, and I lay
miserably, seeing nothing before me but a wet fence, and a tobacco-pouch
among the grass at the foot of it.

On the following afternoon I was again at Stratford. So far as I could
remember, I had flung away the pouch within a few miles of the station;
but I did not look for it until dusk. I felt that the porters had their
eyes on me. By crouching along hedges I at last reached the railway a
mile or two from the station, and began my search. It may be thought
that the chances were against my finding the pouch; but I recovered it
without much difficulty. The scene as I flung my old friend out at the
window had burned itself into my brain, and I could go to the spot
to-day as readily as I went on that occasion. There it was, lying among
the grass, but not quite in the place where it had fallen. Apparently
some navvy had found it, looked at it, and then dropped it. It was
half-full of water, and here and there it was sticking together; but
I took it up tenderly, and several times on the way back to the station
I felt in my pocket to make sure that it was really there.

I have not described the appearance of my pouch, feeling that to be
unnecessary. It never, I fear, quite recovered from its night in the
rain, and as my female relatives refused to touch it, I had to sew it
together now and then myself. Gilray used to boast of a way of mending
a hole in a tobacco-pouch that was better than sewing. You put the two
pieces of gutta-percha close together and then cut them sharply with
scissors. This makes them run together, he says, and I believed him
until he experimented upon my pouch. However, I did not object to a hole
here and there. Wherever I laid that pouch it left a small deposit of
tobacco, and thus I could generally get together a pipeful at times
when other persons would be destitute. I never told my sister that my
pouch was once all but lost, but ever after that, when she complained
that I had never even tried to do without it, I smiled tenderly.

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