1050. A broom falling across the doorway, or chairs set crosswise, is the sign of a storm. Stratham, N.H. 1051. If a cloud and wind are coming, the wind will last. Trinity Bay, N.F. 1052. If a cloud looks as if it had ... Read more of Wind And Storm at Superstitions.caInformational Site Network Informational
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Smoking Unfashionable: Later Georgian Days
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The Arcadia Mixture
Darkness comes, and with it the porter to light our stai...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The First Pipes Of Tobacco Smoked In England
Before the wine of sunny Rhine, or even Madam Clicquot's,...

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

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

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



Primus








Primus is my brother's eldest son, and he once spent his Easter
holidays with me. I did not want him, nor was he anxious to come, but
circumstances were too strong for us, and, to be just to Primus, he did
his best to show me that I was not in his way. He was then at the age
when boys begin to address each other by their surnames.

I have said that I always took care not to know how much tobacco I
smoked in a week, and therefore I may be hinting a libel on Primus when
I say that while he was with me the Arcadia disappeared mysteriously.
Though he spoke respectfully of the Mixture--as became my nephew--he
tumbled it on to the table, so that he might make a telephone out of
the tins, and he had a passion for what he called snipping cigars.
Scrymgeour gave him a cigar-cutter which was pistol-shaped. You put the
cigar end in a hole, pull the trigger, and the cigar was snipped. The
simplicity of the thing fascinated Primus, and after his return to
school I found that he had broken into my Cabana boxes and snipped
nearly three hundred cigars.



As soon as he arrived Primus laid siege to the heart of William John,
captured it in six hours, and demoralized it in twenty-four. We, who had
known William John for years, considered him very practical, but Primus
fired him with tales of dark deeds at old Poppy's--which was Primus's
handy name for his preceptor--and in a short time William John was so
full of romance that we could not trust him to black our boots. He and
Primus had a scheme for seizing a lugger and becoming pirates, when
Primus was to be captain, William John first lieutenant, and old Poppy a
prisoner. To the crew was added a boy with a catapult, one Johnny Fox,
who was another victim of the tyrant Poppy, and they practised walking
the plank at Scrymgeour's window. The plank was pushed nearly half-way
out at the window, and you walked up it until it toppled and you were
flung into the quadrangle. Such was the romance of William John that he
walked the plank with his arms tied, shouting scornfully, by request,
Captain Kidd, I defy you! ha, ha! the buccaneer does not live who
will blanch the cheeks of Dick, the Doughty Tar! Then William John
disappeared, and had to be put in poultices.

While William John was in bed slowly recovering from his heroism, the
pirate captain and Johnny Fox got me into trouble by stretching a string
across the square, six feet from the ground, against which many tall
hats struck, to topple in the dust. An improved sling from the Lowther
Arcade kept the glazier constantly in the inn. Primus and Johnny Fox
strolled into Holborn, knocked a bootblack's cap off, and returned with
lumps on their foreheads. They were observed one day in Hyde Park--whither
it may be feared they had gone with cigarettes--running after sheep,
from which ladies were flying, while street-arabs chased the pirates,
and a policeman chased the street-arabs. The only book they read was the
Comic History of Rome, the property of Gilray. This they liked so much
that Primus papered the inside of his box with pictures from it. The
only authors they consulted me about were two big swells called
Descartes and James Payn, of whom Primus discovered that the one could
always work best in bed, while the other thought Latin and Greek a
mistake. It was the intention of the pirates to call old Poppy's
attention to these gentlemen's views.



Soon after Primus came to me I learned that his schoolmaster had given
him a holiday task. All the fellows in his form had to write an essay
entitled My Holidays, and How I Turned Them to Account, and to send
it to their preceptor. Primus troubled his head little about the task
while the composition of it was yet afar off; but as his time drew
near he referred to it with indignation, and to his master's action
in prescribing it as a low trick. He frightened the housekeeper into
tears by saying that he would not write a line of the task, and, what
was more, he would cheek his master for imposing it; and I also
heard that he and Johnny had some thought of writing the essay in
a form suggested by their perusal of the Comic History of Rome.
One day I found a paper in my chambers which told me that the task was
nevertheless receiving serious consideration. It was the instructions
given by Primus's master with regard to the essay, which was to be in
the form of a letter, and not less than five hundred words in length.
The writer, it was suggested, should give a general sketch of how he was
passing his time, what books he was reading, and how he was making the
home brighter. I did not know that Primus had risen equal to the
occasion until one day after his departure, when I received his epistle
from the schoolmaster, who wanted me to say whether it was a true
statement. Here is Primus's essay on his holidays and how he made the
home brighter:



RESPECTED SIR:--I venture to address you on a subject of jeneral
interest to all engaged in education, and the subject I venture to
address you on is, 'My Hollidays and How I Turned Them to Account.'
Three weeks and two days has now elapsed since I quitted your scholastic
establishment, and I quitted your scholastic establishment with tears
in my eyes, it being the one of all the scholastic establishments I
have been at that I loved to reside in, and everybody was of an amiable
disposition. Hollidays is good for making us renew our studdies with
redoubled vigor, the mussels needing to be invigorated, and I have not
overworked mind and body in my hollidays. I found my uncle well, and
drove in a handsome to the door, and he thought I was much improved both
in appearance and manners; and I said it was jew to the loving care
of my teacher making improvement in appearance and manners a pleasure
to the youth of England. My uncle was partiklarly pleased with the
improvement I had made, not only in my appearance and manners, but also
in my studies; and I told him Casear was the Latin writer I liked best,
and quoted '_veni, vidi, vici_,' and some others which I regret I
cannot mind at present. With your kind permission I should like to write
you a line about how I spend my days during the hollidays; and my first
way of spending my days during the hollidays is whatsoever my hands find
to do doing it with all my might; also setting my face nobly against
hurting the fealings of others, and minding to say, before I go to
sleep, 'Something attempted, something done, to earn a night's repose,'
as advised by you, my esteemed communicant. I spend my days during the
hollidays getting up early, so as to be down in time for breakfast, and
not to give no trouble. At breakfast I behave like a model, so as to set
a good example; and then I go out for a walk with my esteemed young
friend, John Fox, whom I chose carefully for a friend, fearing to
corrupt my morals by holding communications with rude boys. The J. Fox
whom I mentioned is esteemed by all who knows him as of a unusually
gentle disposition; and you know him, respected sir, yourself, he being
in my form, and best known in regretble slang as 'Foxy.' We walks in
Hyde Park admiring the works of nature, and keeps up our classics
when we see a tree by calling it 'arbor' and then going through the
declensions; but we never climbs trees for fear of messing the clothes
bestowed upon us by our beloved parents in the sweat of their brow;
and we scorns to fling stones at the beautiful warblers which fill the
atmosfere with music. In the afternoons I spend my days during the
hollidays talking with the housekeeper about the things she understands,
like not taking off my flannels till June 15, and also praising the
matron at the school for seeing about the socks. In the evening I devote
myself to whatever good cause I can think of; and I always take off my
boots and put on my slippers, so as not to soil the carpet. I should
like, respected sir, to inform you of the books I read when my duties
does not call me elsewhere; and the books I read are the works of
William Shakespeare, John Milton, Albert Tennyson, and Francis Bacon.
Me and John Fox also reads the 'History of Rome,' so as to prime
ourselves with the greatness of the past; and we hopes the glorious
examples of Romulus and Remus, but especially Hannibal, will sink into
our minds to spur us along. I am desirous to acquaint you with the way
I make my uncle's home brighter; but the 500 words is up. So looking
forward eagerly to resume my studdies, I am, respected sir, your
dilligent pupil.





Next: Primus To His Uncle

Previous: What Could He Do?



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