VIEW THE MOBILE VERSION of Informational Site Network Informational
   Home - Smoking Articles - History of Smoking - Poems about Smoking - Giving up Alcohol

About Smoking

My Brother Henry
Strictly speaking I never had a brother Henry, and yet I...

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

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


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

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

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

Signs Of Revival
Some sigh for this and that My wishes don't go far; ...

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

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

When My Wife Is Asleep And All The House Is Still
Perhaps the heading of this paper will deceive some read...

With the exception of myself, Jimmy Moggridge was no doubt ...

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

What Could He Do?
This was another of Marriot's perplexities of the heart. He...

Vanity All Is Vanity

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

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

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

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

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

The Arcadia Mixture

Darkness comes, and with it the porter to light our stair gas. He
vanishes into his box. Already the inn is so quiet that the tap of a
pipe on a window-sill startles all the sparrows in the quadrangle. The
men on my stair emerged from their holes. Scrymgeour, in a
dressing-gown, pushes open the door of the boudoir on the first floor,
and climbs lazily. The sentimental face and the clay with a crack in it
are Marriot's. Gilray, who has been rehearsing his part in the new
original comedy from the Icelandic, ceases muttering and feels his way
along his dark lobby. Jimmy pins a notice on his door, Called away on
business, and crosses to me. Soon we are all in the old room again,
Jimmy on the hearth-rug, Marriot in the cane chair; the curtains are
pinned together with a pen-nib, and the five of us are smoking the
Arcadia Mixture.

Pettigrew will be welcomed if he comes, but he is a married man, and we
seldom see him nowadays. Others will be regarded as intruders. If they
are smoking common tobaccoes, they must either be allowed to try ours
or requested to withdraw. One need only put his head in at my door to
realize that tobaccoes are of two kinds, the Arcadia and others. No
one who smokes the Arcadia would ever attempt to describe its delights,
for his pipe would be certain to go out. When he was at school, Jimmy
Moggridge smoked a cane chair, and he has since said that from cane to
ordinary mixtures was not so noticeable as the change from ordinary
mixtures to the Arcadia. I ask no one to believe this, for the confirmed
smoker in Arcadia detests arguing with anybody about anything. Were I
anxious to prove Jimmy's statement, I would merely give you the only
address at which the Arcadia is to be had. But that I will not do. It
would be as rash as proposing a man with whom I am unacquainted for
my club. You may not be worthy to smoke the Arcadia Mixture.

Even though I became attached to you, I might not like to take the
responsibility of introducing you to the Arcadia. This mixture has an
extraordinary effect upon character, and probably you want to remain as
you are. Before I discovered the Arcadia, and communicated it to the
other five--including Pettigrew--we had all distinct individualities,
but now, except in appearance--and the Arcadia even tells on that--we
are as like as holly leaves. We have the same habits, the same ways of
looking at things, the same satisfaction in each other. No doubt we are
not yet absolutely alike, indeed I intend to prove this, but in given
circumstances we would probably do the same thing, and, furthermore, it
would be what other people would not do. Thus when we are together we
are only to be distinguished by our pipes; but any one of us in the
company of persons who smoke other tobaccoes would be considered highly
original. He would be a pigtail in Europe.

If you meet in company a man who has ideas and is not shy, yet refuses
absolutely to be drawn into talk, you may set him down as one of us.
Among the first effects of the Arcadia is to put an end to jabber.
Gilray had at one time the reputation of being such a brilliant talker
that Arcadians locked their doors on him, but now he is a man that can
be invited anywhere. The Arcadia is entirely responsible for the change.
Perhaps I myself am the most silent of our company, and hostesses
usually think me shy. They ask ladies to draw me out, and when the
ladies find me as hopeless as a sulky drawer, they call me stupid. The
charge may be true, but I do not resent it, for I smoke the Arcadia
Mixture, and am consequently indifferent to abuse.

I willingly gibbet myself to show how reticent the Arcadia makes us.
It happens that I have a connection with Nottingham, and whenever a
man mentions Nottingham to me, with a certain gleam in his eye, I know
that he wants to discuss the lace trade. But it is a curious fact that
the aggressive talker constantly mixes up Nottingham and Northampton.
Oh, you know Nottingham, he says, interestedly; and how do you like
Labouchere for a member? Do you think I put him right? Do you imagine
me thirsting to tell that Mr. Labouchere is the Christian member for
Northampton? Do you suppose me swift to explain that Mr. Broadhurst
is one of the Nottingham members, and that the Nottingham lambs
are notorious in the history of political elections? Do you fancy me
explaining that he is quite right in saying that Nottingham has a large
market-place? Do you see me drawn into half an hour's talk about Robin
Hood? That is not my way. I merely reply that we like Mr. Labouchere
pretty well. It may be said that I gain nothing by this; that the talker
will be as curious about Northampton as he would have been about

Nottingham, and that Bradlaugh and Labouchere and boots will serve his
turn quite as well as Broadhurst and lace and Robin Hood. But that is
not so. Beginning on Northampton in the most confident manner, it
suddenly flashes across him that he has mistaken Northampton for
Nottingham. How foolish of me! he says. I maintain a severe silence.
He is annoyed. My experience of talkers tells me that nothing annoys
them so much as a blunder of this kind. From the coldly polite way in
which I have taken the talker's remarks, he discovers the value I put
upon them, and after that, if he has a neighbor on the other side, he
leaves me alone.

Enough has been said to show that the Arcadian's golden rule is to
be careful about what he says. This does not mean that he is to say
nothing. As society is at present constituted you are bound to make an
occasional remark. But you need not make it rashly. It has been said
somewhere that it would be well for talkative persons to count twenty,
or to go over the alphabet, before they let fall the observation that
trembles on their lips. The non-talker has no taste for such an
unintellectual exercise. At the same time he must not hesitate too
long, for, of course, it is to his advantage to introduce the subject.
He ought to think out a topic of which his neighbor will not be able
to make very much. To begin on the fall of snow, or the number of
tons of turkeys consumed on Christmas Day, as stated in the _Daily
Telegraph_, is to deserve your fate. If you are at a dinner-party
of men only, take your host aside, and in a few well-considered
sentences find out from him what kind of men you are to sit between
during dinner. Perhaps one of them is an African traveller. A knowledge
of this prevents your playing into his hands, by remarking that the
papers are full of the relief of Emin Pasha. These private inquiries
will also save you from talking about Mr. Chamberlain to a neighbor who
turns out to be the son of a Birmingham elector. Allow that man his
chance, and he will not only give you the Birmingham gossip, but what
individual electors said about Mr. Chamberlain to the banker or the
tailor, and what the grocer did the moment the poll was declared, with
particulars about the antiquity of Birmingham and the fishing to be had
in the neighborhood. What you ought to do is to talk about Emin Pasha
to this man, and to the traveller about Mr. Chamberlain, taking care, of
course, to speak in a low voice. In that way you may have comparative
peace. Everything, however, depends on the calibre of your neighbors. If
they agree to look upon you as an honorable antagonist, and so to fight
fair, the victory will be to him who deserves it; that is to say, to the
craftier man of the two. But talkers, as a rule, do not fight fair. They
consider silent men their prey. It will thus be seen that I distinguish
between talkers, admitting that some of them are worse than others. The
lowest in the social scale is he who stabs you in the back, as it were,
instead of crossing swords. If one of the gentlemen introduced to you is
of that type, he will not be ashamed to say, Speaking of Emin Pasha,
I wonder if Mr. Chamberlain is interested in the relief expedition.
I don't know if I told you that my father---- and there he is, fairly
on horseback. It is seldom of any use to tempt him into other channels.
Better turn to your traveller and let him describe the different routes
to Egyptian Equatorial Provinces, with his own views thereon. Allow him
even to draw a map of Africa with a fork on the table-cloth. A talker of
this kind is too full of his subject to insist upon answering questions,
so that he does not trouble you much. It is his own dinner that is
spoiled rather than yours. Treat in the same way as the Chamberlain
talker the man who sits down beside you and begins, Remarkable man,
Mr. Gladstone.

There was a ventilator in my room, which sometimes said Crik-crik!
reminding us that no one had spoken for an hour. Occasionally, however,
we had lapses of speech, when Gilray might tell over again--though not
quite as I mean to tell it--the story of his first pipeful of the
Arcadia, or Scrymgeour, the travelled man, would give us the list of
famous places in Europe where he had smoked. But, as a rule, none of us
paid much attention to what the others said, and after the last pipe the
room emptied--unless Marriot insisted on staying behind to bore me with
his scruples--by first one and then another putting his pipe into his
pocket and walking silently out of the room.

Next: My Pipes

Previous: My First Cigar

Add to Informational Site Network

Viewed 4155