Later Victorian Days





When life was all a summer day,

And I was under twenty,

Three loves were scattered in my way--

And three at once are plenty.

Three hearts, if offered with a grace,

One thinks not of refusing.

The task in this especial case

Was only that of choosing.

I knew not which to make my pet--

My pipe, cigar, or cigarette.



HENRY S. LEIGH.





The social history of smoking in later Victorian days is marked by the

triumph of the cigarette. The introduction of the cigar, as we have

seen, brought about the revival of smoking, from the point of view of

fashion, in the early decades of the nineteenth century; and the

coming of the cigarette completed what the cigar had begun.



The earliest references for the word cigarette in the Oxford

Dictionary are dated 1842 and 1843, but both refer to the smoking of

cigarettes abroad--in France and Italy. The 1843 quotation is from a

book by Mrs. Romer, in which she says--The beggars in the streets

have paper cigars (called cigarettes) in their mouths. The wording

here would seem to show that cigarettes were not then familiar to

English people.



Laurence Oliphant, who was both a man of letters and a man of fashion,

is generally credited with the introduction into English society of

the cigarette; but it is difficult to suggest even an approximate

date. Writing from Boulogne to W.H. Wills in September 1854, Dickens

says, I have nearly exhausted the cigarettes I brought here, and

proceeds to give directions for some to be sent to him from London.

This is the earliest reference I have found to cigarette-smoking in

England; but it is possible that by cigarettes Dickens meant not

what we now know as such, but simply small cigars. Mr. H.M. Hyndman,

in his Record of an Adventurous Life, says that when he was living

as a pupil, about the year 1860, with the Rector of Oxburgh, his

fellow-pupils included Edward Abbott of Salonica, who, poor fellow,

was battered to pieces by the Turks with iron staves torn from palings

at the beginning of the Turco-Servian War. Cigarette-smoking, now so

popular, was then almost unknown, and Abbott, who always smoked the

finest Turkish tobacco which he rolled up into cigarettes for himself,

was the first devotee of this habit I encountered.



Fairholt, in his book on Tobacco, which was published in 1859,

mentions cigarettes as being smoked in Spain and South and Central

America, but makes no reference to their use in this country.



The late Lady Dorothy Nevill said that although cigarettes are a

modern invention, she believed that they already existed in a slightly

different form at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when old

Peninsular officers used to smoke tobacco rolled up tight in a piece

of paper. They called this a _papelito_, and I fancy it was much the

same thing as a cigarette. But if this were so, the habit must have

died out long before the cigarette, as we now know it, came into

vogue.



It may fairly be concluded, I think, that although about 1860 there

may have been an occasional cigarette-smoker in England, like the

Edward Abbott of Mr. Hyndman's reminiscences, yet it was not until a

little later date that the small paper-enclosed rolls of tobacco

became at all common among Englishmen; and it is quite likely that the

credit (or discredit, as the reader pleases) of bringing them into

general, and especially into fashionable, use, has been rightly given

to Laurence Oliphant.



Cigarettes were perhaps in fashion in 1870. In Puck, which was

published in that year, Ouida--who is hardly an unimpeachable

authority on the ways and customs of fashionable folk, though she

loved to paint fancy pictures of their sayings and doings--pictures

the Row: the most fashionable lounge you have, but it is a Republic

for all that. There, she says, could Bill Jacobs lean against a

rail, with a clay-pipe in his mouth, and a terrier under his arm,

close beside the Earl of Guilliadene, with his cigarette and his

eye-glass, and his Poole-cut habiliments.



Thirty years or more ago the late Andrew Lang wrote an article

entitled Enchanted Cigarettes, which began--To dream our literary

projects, Balzac says, is like 'smoking enchanted cigarettes,' but

when we try to tackle our projects, to make them real, the enchantment

disappears--we have to till the soil, to sow the weed, to gather the

leaves, and then the cigarettes must be manufactured, while there may

be no market for them after all. Probably most people have enjoyed

the fragrance of these cigarettes and have brooded over much which

they will never put on paper. Here are some of 'the ashes of the weeds

of my delight'--memories of romances whereof no single line is

written, or is likely to be written. What Balzac said in his La

Cousine Bette was--Penser, rever, concevoir de belles oeuvres est

une occupation delicieuse. C'est fumer des cigares enchantes, c'est

mener la vie de la courtisane occupee a sa fantaisie. Balzac's cigars

became cigarettes in Lang's fantasy. The French novelist seems to have

been one of those who praised tobacco without using it much himself.

In his Illusions Perdues Carlos Herrera, who was Vautrin, says to

Lucien, whom he meets on the point of suicide: Dieu nous a donne le

tabac pour endormir nos passions et nos douleurs. M.A. Le Breton,

however, in his book on Balzac--L'Homme et L'OEuvre--says: Il ne

se soutient qu'a force de cafe, though he would sit working at his

desk for twenty-five hours running.



About the time that Lang's article was written, Sir F.C. Burnand's

burlesque, Bluebeard was produced at the Gaiety Theatre. In those

days a certain type of young man, since known by many names, including

the present day nut, was called a masher; and Burnand's burlesque

included a duet with the refrain:



_We are mashers, we are,

As we smoke our cigar

And crawl along, never too quick;

We are mashers, you bet,

With the light cigarette

And the quite irreproachable stick._



Nowadays the cigarette is in such universal use, that it would be

impossible thus to associate it with any particular type of man, sane

or inane.



The late Bishop Mandell Creighton, of London, was an incessant smoker

of cigarettes. Mr. Herbert Paul, in his paper on the Bishop, says that

those who went to see him at Fulham on a Sunday afternoon always found

him, if they found him at all, leisurely, chatty, hospitable, and

apparently without a care in the world. There was the family

tea-table, and there were the eternal cigarettes. The Bishop must have

paid a fortune in tobacco-duty. There is a side view of another

tobacco-lover in the Note-Books of Samuel Butler, the author of

Erewhon. Creighton, after reading Butler's Alps and Sanctuaries

had asked the author to come and see him. Butler was in doubt whether

or not to go, and consulted his clerk, Alfred, on the matter. That

wise counsellor asked to look at the Bishop's letter, and then said:

I see, sir, there is a crumb of tobacco in it; I think you can go.



Apart from cigarette-smoking, however, the use of tobacco grew

steadily during the later Victorian period. In Mr. Punch's

Pocket-Book for 1878 there was a burlesque dialogue between uncle and

nephew entitled Cupid and 'Baccy. The uncle thinks the younger men

smoke too much, and declares that tobacco has destroyed the

susceptibility, which in my time made youngsters fall in love, as they

often did, with a girl without a penny. No fellow can fall in love

when he has continually a pipe in his mouth; and if he ever feels

inclined to when it would be imprudent, why he lights his pipe, and

very soon smokes the idea of such folly out of his head. Not so when I

was of your age. Besides a few old farmers, churchwardens, and

overseers, and such, nobody then ever smoked but labourers and the

lower orders--cads as you now say. Smoking was thought vulgar. Young

men never smoked at all. To smoke in the presence of a lady was an

inconceivable outrage; yet now I see you and your friends walking

alongside of one another's sisters, smoking a short pipe down the

street. The girls like it, says Nepos. In my time, replies

Avunculus, young ladies would have fainted at the bare suggestion of

such an enormity. The dialogue ends as follows:



NEPOS (_producing short clay_). See here, Uncle. This pipe is

almost coloured. How long do you think I have had it?



AVUNCULUS. Can't imagine.



NEPOS. Only three weeks.



AVUNCULUS. Good boy!



In the same Pocket-Book one of the ideals of a wife by a bachelor

is--To approve of smoking all over the house; while one of the

ideals of a husband by a spinster is--Not to smoke, or use a

latch-key. Mr. Punch's prelections, of course, are not to be taken

too seriously. They all necessarily have the exaggeration of

caricature; but at the same time they are all significant, and for the

social historian are invaluable.



Tobacco-smoking was advancing victoriously all along the line. Absurd

old conventions and ridiculous restrictions had to give way or were

broken through in every direction. The compartments for smokers on

railway trains, at first provided sparsely and grudgingly, became more

and more numerous. The practice of smoking out of doors, which the

early Victorians held in particular abhorrence, became common--at

least so far as cigars and cigarettes were concerned. Lady Dorothy

Nevill, whose memory covered so large a part of the nineteenth

century, said, in the Leaves from her note-book which was published

in 1907, that to smoke in Hyde Park, even up to comparatively recent

years, was looked upon as absolutely unpardonable; while smoking

anywhere with a lady would, in the earlier days, have been classed as

an almost disgraceful social crime. The first gentleman of whom Lady

Dorothy heard as having been seen smoking a cigar in the Park was the

Duke of Sutherland, and the lady who told her spoke of it as if she

had been present at an earthquake! Pipes were (and are) still looked

at askance in many places where the smoking of cigars and cigarettes

is freely allowed, and fashion frowned on the pipe in street or Park.



Of course, what one might do in the country and what one might do in

town were two quite different things. The following story was told

nearly twenty years ago of the late Duke of Devonshire. An American

tourist began talking one day to a quiet-looking man who was smoking

outside an inn on the Chatsworth estate, and, taking the man for the

inn-keeper, expressed his admiration of the Duke of Devonshire's

domain. Quite a place, isn't it? said the American. Yes, a pleasant

place enough, returned the Englishman. The fellow who owns it must

be worth a mint of money, said the American, through his cigar-smoke.

Yes, he's comfortably off, agreed the other. I wonder if I could

get a look at the old chap, said the stranger, after a short silence;

I should like to see what sort of a bird he is. Puff, puff, went

the English cigar, and then said the English voice, trying hard to

control itself: If you--puff--look hard--puff, puff--in this

direction, you--puff, puff--can tell in a minute. You, you!

faltered the American, getting up, why, I thought you were the

landlord! Well, so I am, said the Duke, though I don't perform the

duties. I stay here, he added, with a twinkle in his eye, to be

looked at.



Among the chief strongholds of the old ideas and prejudices were some

of the clubs. At the Athenaeum the only smoking-room used to be a

combined billiard-and smoking-room in the basement. It was but a few

years ago that an attic story was added to the building, and smokers

can now reach more comfortable quarters by means of a lift put in when

the alterations were made in 1900. This new smoking-room is a very

handsome, largely book-lined apartment. At the end of the room is a

beautiful marble mantelpiece of late eighteenth century Italian work.

At White's even cigars had not been allowed at all until 1845; and

when, in 1866, some of the younger members wished to be allowed to

smoke in the drawing-room, there was much perturbation, the older

members bitterly opposing the proposal. A general meeting was held to

decide the question, says Mr. Ralph Nevill, in his London Clubs,

when a number of old gentlemen who had not been seen in the club for

years made their appearance, stoutly determined to resist the proposed

desecration. 'Where do all these old fossils come from?' inquired a

member. 'From Kensal Green,' was Mr. Alfred Montgomery's reply. 'Their

hearses, I understand, are waiting to take them back there.' The

motion for the extension of the facilities for smoking was defeated

by a majority of twenty-three votes, and as an indirect result the

Marlborough Club was founded. The late King Edward, at that time

Prince of Wales, is said to have sympathized strongly with the

defeated minority at White's, and to have interested himself in the

foundation of the Marlborough; where, for the first time in the

history of West End Clubland, smoking, except in the dining-room, was

everywhere allowed. By smoking is no doubt here meant everything

but pipes, which were not considered gentlemanly even at the Garrick

Club at the beginning of the present century. The late Duc d'Aumale

was a social pioneer in pipe-smoking. His caricature in Vanity Fair

represents him with a pipe in his mouth, although he is wearing an

opera-hat, black frock-coat buttoned up, and a cloak.



By the end of the nineteenth century the snuff-box which once upon a

time stood upon the mantelpiece of every club, had disappeared. The

habit of snuffing had long been falling into desuetude. The cigar

dealt the snuff-box its death-blow and the cigarette was chief mourner

at its funeral.



As in other periods, men of letters and artists ignored the social

prejudices and conventions about tobacco, and laughed at the

artificial distinctions drawn between cigars and pipes. It is said

that the late Sir John Millais smoked a clay pipe in his carriage when

he was part of the first Jubilee procession of Queen Victoria--a

performance, if it took place, which would certainly have horrified

her tobacco-hating Majesty. Tennyson and his friends smoked their

pipes as they had always done--and old-fashioned clay pipes too. Sir

Norman Lockyer, referring to a period about 1867, mentions Monday

evenings in his house which were given up to friends who came in,

_sans ceremonie_, to talk and smoke. Clays from Broseley, including

'churchwardens' and some of larger size (Frank Buckland's held an

ounce of tobacco) were provided, and the confirmed smokers (Tennyson,

an occasional visitor, being one of them) kept their pipes, on which

the name was written, in a rack for future symposia.



Of the other great Victorian poets Morris was a pipe-smoker, and so

was Rossetti. Browning also smoked, but not, I think, a pipe.

Swinburne, on the other hand, detested tobacco, and expressed himself

on the subject with characteristic extravagance and vehemence--James

I was a knave, a tyrant, a fool, a liar, a coward. But I love him, I

worship him, because he slit the throat of that blackguard Raleigh who

invented this filthy smoking! Professor Blackie, in a letter to his

wife, remarked: The first thing I said on entering the public room

was--'What a delightful thing the smell of tobacco is, in a warm room

on a wet night!' ... I gave my opinion with great decision that

tobacco, whisky and all such stimulants or sedatives, had their

foundation in nature, could not be abolished, or rather should not,

and must be content with the check of a wise regulation. Even pious

ladies were fond of tea, which, taken in excess, was worse for the

nerves than a glass of sherry.



One of the most distinguished of Victorian men of letters, John

Ruskin, was a great hater of tobacco. Notwithstanding this, he sent

Carlyle--an inveterate smoker--a box of cigars in February 1865. In

his letter of acknowledgment Carlyle wrote--Dear Ruskin, you have

sent me a magnificent Box of Cigars; for which what can I say in

answer? It makes me both sad and glad. _Ay de mi_



_'We are such stuff,

Gone with a puff--

Then think, and smoke Tobacco!'_



In the later years of his life, spent at Brantwood, Ruskin's guests

found that smoking was not allowed even after dinner.



Another and greater Victorian, Gladstone, was also a non-smoker. He is

said, however, on one occasion, when King Edward as Prince of Wales

dined with him in Downing Street, to have toyed with a cigarette out

of courtesy to his illustrious guest.



It was in the latter years of his life that Tennyson told Sir William

Harcourt one day that his morning pipe after breakfast was the best in

the day--an opinion, by the way, to which many less distinguished

smokers would subscribe--when Sir William laughingly replied, The

earliest pipe of half-awakened _bards_.



The companion burlesque line, The earliest pipe of half-awakened

_birdseye_ appears, with one from Homer and one from Virgil, at the

head of Arthur Sidgwick's poem in Greek Iambics, +TO BAKCHO+, in

Echoes from the Oxford Magazine, 1890.



Sidgwick's praise of tobacco, classically draped in Greek verse,

occasionally of the macaronic order, is delightful. He hails the pipe

as the work of Pan, and the divine smoke as the best and most fragrant

of gifts--healer of sorrow, companion in joy, rest for the toilers,

drink for the thirsty, warmth for the cold, coolness in the heat, and

a cheap feast for those who waste away through hunger. How is it, he

says, that through so many ages men, who have need of thee, have not

seen thy nature? Often, he continues--the verses may be roughly

translated--often, when I am in Alpine solitudes, tied in a chain to a

few companions, clinging to the rope, while barbarians lead the way,

carrying in my hands an ice-axe (+krustalloplega chersin axinen

pheron+), and breathless crawling up the snow-covered plain--then,

when groaning I reach the summit (either pulled up or on foot), how

have I rested, on my back on the rocks, charming my soul with thy

divine clouds! He goes on in burlesque strain to speak of the joys of

tobacco when he lies in idleness by the streams in breathless summer,

comforted by a bath just taken, or when in the middle of the night he

is worn out by revising endless exercises, underlining the mistakes in

red and allotting marks, or weighed down by the wise men of

old--Thucydides, Sophocles, Euripides, the ideas of Plato, wiles of

Pindar, fearfully corrupt strophe of chorus, wondrous guesses of

Teutons and fancies of philologists, when men swoon in the

inexplicable wanderings of the endless examination of Homer, when the

brain reels among such toil--then he hails the pipe, help of mortals,

and hastens to kindle sacrifices at its altars and rejoices as he

tastes its smoke. Let some one, he exclaims, bring Bryant and May's

fire, which strikes a light only if rubbed on the box--



+enenkato tis pur bruantomaikon+

(+kausai d' adunaton me ouchi pros kiste tribeu+)



and taking the best and blackest bowl, and putting on Persian

slippers, sitting on the softest couch, I will light my pipe, with my

feet on the hearth, and I will cast aside all mortal care!



Nor must the delightful verses by J.K.S. be forgotten, in which the

author of Lapsus Calami sings of the Grand Old Pipe--



_And I'm smoking a pipe which is fashioned

Like the face of the Grand Old Man;_



and the quaint similarity or comparison between the pipe and

Gladstone, the Grand Old Man when Lapsus Calami appeared in 1888,

is maintained throughout--



_Grows he black in his face with his labours?

Well, so does my Grand Old Pipe._



_For the sake of its excellent savour,

For the many sweet smokes of the past

My pipe keeps its hold on my favour,

Tho' now it is blackening fast._



But although many pipes were smoked at the Universities, there were

occasionally to be found odd survivals of old prejudices. Dr. Shipley,

in his recent memoir of John Willis Clark, the Cambridge Registrary,

says that even in the 'seventies of the last century there was an

elderly Don at Cambridge who once rebuked a Junior Fellow, who was

smoking a pipe in the Wilderness, with the remark, No Christian

gentleman smokes a pipe, or if he does he smokes a cigar. The

perpetrator of this bull was the same parson who married late in life,

and returning to his church after a honeymoon of six weeks, publicly

thanked God for _three_ weeks of unalloyed connubial bliss.





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