BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


Theory of Colours

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky


The Story of Doctor Dolittle

Hugh Lofting


Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle


Golden rules for cigar-smokers

by William Clarke

Excerpt:

RULE I.

As to the Choice of Cigars.

In choosing your Cigars attend to the following precepts :—Try their flavour on the palate of your nasal feature— a box of good Havannahs is a most delicious nosegay : reject such as are ragged in their jackets; and, above all, beware of purchasing a Cigar that has lost his nose—the little twist at the taper end. Avoid the soft yielding ones—they have not a bellyfull—there is no substance in them—they will not outlive above a dozen hearty puffs. Meddle not with those which seem to have hard, stubby knots beneath their outer skins—there are stalks in them, which, if you be young in the craft, will impede your smoking. Choose a neat, sound article, that is neither so hard as a stick, nor soft as the pith of a rush, but moderately firm, tight, and elastic—yielding a little to moderate pressure from the thumb, but resisting in its heart, if you attempt to flatten it.

I

RULE II.
Size.

Small, well-made Cigars contain a greater portion of leaf, and smoke more pleasantly, than many of their big-bellied brethren. We have generally found the dwarf to contain " that within" which the giant usually lacksThe real foreign-made Cigars are frequently but little thicker than the stem of a large rush ; yet they are so well rolled that they live long in the lips, if properly treated.

RULE III.
Texture.

The finer the leaf is in texture, the milder it will be found, generally speaking, to the palate ; the dark, rough Cigar, that feels as though it had been buried in a sepulchre of sand, is usually of a stronger flavour. But you must not judge of a Cigar entirely by its coat: pearls of little price are sometimes locked in golden caskets ; the most beautiful broadcloth often covers a ragged shirt, made

up of most " filthy dowlas;" and we have frequently found trashy tobacco folded in a most dainty leaf. The respectable manufacturers, who have a credit to lose, of course, are not guilty of this trick ; but there are rascals, you know, in all trades. Veterans in the craft, unless sure of their man, always either smoke a sample, before they buy a lot, or anatomize one to ascertain if any perilous stuff should lurk about its heart. The alleged superiority of speckled Cigars is all fiddle-de-dee!

RULE IV.
Condition.

Do not be persuaded by any man to purchase wet Cigars; they will assuredly—or at least in nine cases out of ten—prove very offensive in smoking. The wrapping leaf should be just bedewed by your tongue, as you will read in the sequent dogma ; but the heart of a Cigar ought to be dry as well as sound :—age, its great improver, mellows and dries, without withering it.

RULE V.
Important Preliminaries.

Supposing you now to have "caught your fish," we will endeavour to give you a few plain and easy directions " how to cook it." In the first place, moisten the Cigar lightly and delicately with your tongue; pass your finger gently round it—a Cigar should be used tenderly as an infant dove: with soft, lady-like touch close up its seams ; and if, in case you have purchased a quantity, you meet with one now and then that has a hole in ^ts coat, first wet, and then remove a sufficient portion from another part, with which you may mend the rent by the aid of your tongue. But, beware, that in attempting to cover one gap you do not make two : with caution you may easily detach enough of the outer leaf at the thicker end to plaster up a hole which, if left open, would mar your smoking.

RULE VI.
Ignition.

The Cigar being thus prepared for the lips, let us say a word or two about its ignition. A flame ought never to be used for this purpose. We do not mean that you should poke your weed between the bars of the grate, and so scorch half the vitality out of its body ; but we strongly recommend you, if you would smoke luxuriously, to illumine the butt-end of your Cigar with camel's-dung, tobacco-tinder, charcoal, or any of the usual flameless steady-burning materials, which are sold at the shops, under a dozen different names, for this purpose. If you put a Cigar to the flame, it often lights raggedly; and, should you not be a proficient, is liable to become uneven or lopsided. This is unhandsome, and by no means pleasant. A good Cigar, in the lips of an adept in the art, dies away to ashes in beautiful regularity : the progress of the fire is equal, from its skin to its core, and the tip of pale blue ashes breaks out from the exterior leaf, at a like distance from the mouth all round, so that the bourne betwixt the living and the consumed parts is a well-defined circle. A bad smoker, on the contrary, often burns the heart, without consuming the skin, or draws the fire up one half of the Cigar, leaving the other side unsmoked and useless.—Allow us just to add that, in ordinary cases, a proficient cares but little about how he lights his Cigar. We are dogmatizing for those in their noviciate :—still the most accomplished of whiffers, when luxuriating, consider a stick of camel's dung a desideratum. Another trifling addition:—Be it remembered, that when we speak of the beautiful regularity with which an adept smokes his Cigar, we allude to smoking in a room; out of doors in a high wiud, or even in calm weather on a coach, the best of glowworms cannot make his fire work regularly—it will obey the wind and swerve.


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