Tobacco Leaves

edited by John Bain Jr.,
copyright 1903, H. M. Caldwell Company, Boston, MA

Here are a couple of excerpts from this book, which is a compilation of various writings, including quite a bit of rhyming (!) poetry. Since I work on a computer all day long and generally have tired fingers, I won't be putting the entire book up on this page... As I read the entries in this book, I find myself constantly observing the similarities and differences between social attitudes of today and of the time the book was written. A special thanks goes to the folks at Blatter and Blatter, Montreal, for lending me this book.

After Hood

I remember, I remember,
The pipe that first I drew;
With red waxed end and snowy bowl,
It perfect was, and new.
It measured just three inches long,
'Twas made of porous clay;
I found when I began to smoke,
It took my breath away.

I remember, I remember,
In fear I struck a light;
And when I smoked a little time,
I felt my cheeks grow white;
My nervous system mutinied,
My diaphragm uprose,
And I was very, very ill ––
In a way you may suppose.

I remember, I remember,
The very rod he got,
When father, who discovered me,
Made me exceeding hot.
He scattered all my feathers then,
While, face down, I reclined;
I sat upon a cold hearthstone,
I was so warm behind.

I remember, I remember,
I viewed the rod with dread,
And silent, sad and supperless,
I bundled off to bed.
It was a childish punishment,
nd now 'tis little joy
To know that, for the selfsame crime,
I wallop my own boy.


pp. 33-34

Odd Epigrams for Tobacco Jars

I am, and am not,
A family jar.

Fill the bowl, you jolly soul,
And burn all sorrow to a coal.

A weed you call me, but you'll own
No rose was e'er more fully blown.

Behold! This vessel hath a moral got:
Tobacco smokers all must go to pot.

Your pipe's your friend!
A greater friend am I;
For in itself that friend will lack
What I supply.

"Man's life is but a vapour!"

Believe me or not –– I most truly contain
A soother of woe and an easer of pain!

Great Jove Pandora's box with jars did fill ––
This jar alone has power those jars to still.

A jar, behold me! taste my store,
Take all you want, but take no more.
I'm "Solitaire," and Social's pal,
I'm Baccyful, not Bacchinal;
I'm Friendship's bond, I'm Freedom's type,
I'm Welcome's emblem –– take a pipe!
Still, should you choose my worth evoke,
You'll own my faults all end in smoke.

Although no artist, I can draw
My pipe to ease my care;
No architect, yet oft I build
Grand "castles in the air;"
No author, yet I can compose
My nerves, if aught should mar
My happiness, by virtue of
The plant within this jar.

There are jars of jelly, jars of jam,
Jars of potted beef and ham;
But welcome most to me by far
Is my dear old tobacco jar.

There are pipes producing sounds divine,
Pipes containing luscious wine;
But when I consolation need,
I take the pipe that burns the weed.

All ye who fell oppress'd amidst the strife,
The ceaseless wear and strain of busy life;
All ye whose spirits sink beneath the weight
Of dire misfortune, or of advers fate,
Search well within the jar, and you will find
The certain solace for a troubled mind.
Use with discretion what is offer'd there,
Inhale its fragrance, and forget its care.


Cope's Tobacco Plant

pp. 119-122

Dad tells me my pipe will take all the fire of youth out of me. Nonsense; it puts fire in, for the old maxim says, "Where there is smoke there is fire."

p. 137

There are two things a man seldom forgets –– his first love and his first smoke.

p. 137

What the Man with the Briarwood Says

When we see womankind taking tobacco in the privacy of its own chamber, with its feet on the fender, and "none to supervise;" more particularly when we see it solacing itself with a pipe, then but not till then, shall we be forced to admit"the sex" to the privilege of full equality with us –– a state of things which masculine prejudice still considers must be the highest circumstance of earthly bliss.

It is but a poor, shallow devotion to tobacco that is content with anything but a pipe. The cigarette is well enough in its way; it may suffice "between the acts," or during similar brief escapes from a smokeless world, or for offering to our friends and neighbours as the best modern substitute for the elaborate civility of the snuff-box, but it rises not to the dignity of serious smoking. The cigar, too, with all its charms, leaves something to be desired. It is too ostentatious, too obviously a "luxury" to be really delightful. It satisfies not; for somehow, far away, is the Ideal cigar, not to be purchased by ordinary mortals, and yet, according to the connoisseur, the only cigar worth smoking. It has, too, an overwhelming suggestion of respectability, of sparing no expense and always travelling first-class, of faring sumptuously every day, of wearing a very good hat the week through, and a still better one on Sunday. It should be reserved for special occasions; for ordinary, every- day consumption there is nothing that can approach the familiar pipe.

There are pipes and pipes. Archaic persons are still to be found who declare for the churchwarden. There is, it is true, something fascinating in its ––

"Lip of wax and eye of fire, And its snowy taper waist With my fingers gently braced!"

something also marvellously impressive in its proper manipulation by one who is a master of the art, but his is within reach of few. It needs its proper surroundings –– a blazing fire, a sanded floor, a group of comfortable and, if possible, capacious gentleman with a strong tendency to silence and punch; none of which are prominent characteristics of modern society. The present- day smoker of the churchwarden is something of a poseur, as a rule; he is very young; eccentricities in pipes are the privilege of the young, being designed to impress those who are still younger. And then, when it has been successfully coloured, the labour of months is apt to be destroyed by the implacable housemaid. The old-fashioned smoker was less susceptible to the sorrow of such a calamity as this; he was content to call, like Sir Roger de Coverley, for a "clean pipe," and apparently cared not for the vanities of colouring. His pipe was but the fortuitous companion of an evening, wedded to him by no embedded ties, "called for" at his coffee-house as though it was merely a toothpick, to be used but once and then cast away. But now we desire a more permanent alliance, and so the day of the churchwarden is past, and even its humbler relation, the short clay, having the family failing of brittleness, is disappearing.

There are devotees of the meerschaum; but it is not everyone who will undertake such a responsibility. Its humours and its delicacy become oppressive; it is not to be touched with the hand or smoked out of doors, nor too near the fire; nor to be knocked out, or otherwise roughly treated; nor smoked too fast nor too slow. And then, with all our care, we find some happy- go-lucky individual, apparently the especial favourite of the Goddess of the Weed, who does all these forbidden things, and still gets his pipe to a state of perfection which the more painstaking person attains but in his dreams. There is something distinctly irrational in a meerschaum pipe; we may wax it, plug it, humour it in every possible way, and yet it will not go right; and then, when we set at defiance all the canons that the collected wisdom of meerschaum smokers has formed, it will assume such colour and brilliancy as to be the marvel of all beholders. One is tempted to doubt whether the law of casualty applies to meerschaum. They have their charms; they may gratify the aesthetic sense with eagles' claws and negroes' heads and skulls and other delightful and fantastic figures; and when brought to perfection may inspire legitimate pride; but they demand too much of sacrifice and tender treatment. Doubtless they are good masters, but they are bad servants; it is not every one who will submit to their exactions.

In the modest briar there is less potentiality of splendour; but still it has graces enough to win for itself the adherence of the great bulk of those who profess the cult of the pipe. There are some, indeed, who have no eyes for its idiosyncracies, and, being severely utilitarian, think all pipes alike. But the connoisseur in briars is a nice and subtle critic. The selection of a new pipe he considers a serious matter. He will tolerate nothing but his favourite grain; he can foresee the possibilities of colour and potash; is not deceived by meretricious pluggings and varnishing; and his pipes gleam and glitter in the firelight like newly shelled horse-chestnuts. It is a thankless thing to present him with a pipe; indeed, the presentation of smoking implements geneerally is a perilousss practice for the unwary, and one which only feminine ignorance will, as a rule, attempt. The pipe of that class described as "suitable for presents" is a frightful trap for the well-intentioned; in silver fittings and plush-lined cases it is indeed resplendent, but it will move the initiate of the cult almost to tears. It is disfigured by all sorts of horrible improvements; has, as a rule, patent sanitary arrangements of the most complex and unnecessary nature; things which the seasoned smoker cannot tolerate. The choice of a pipe is a thing to be left to the expert; and for him to delegate the office is the highest mark of confidence he can bestow. —London Globe.

pp. 177-184.

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