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I SHALL never forget the first time I ever drank rum-punch after having been smoking cigars. Dates, says De Quincy, may be forgotten_epochs never. That formed an epoch in my existence; And the last trace of feeling with life shall depart, Ere the smack of that moment shall pass from the
heart. Let me recal it to my memory, with all its attendant circumstances, and while my soul broods over the delicious recollection, forget the present day, with its temporary miseries, and shut out from its view the follies, the frivolities, the wickedness, the baseness, the ingratitude of the world.
It happened, that although, like most men who, in my day, were reared in Trinity College, juxta Dublin, I had been tolerably well initiated into the theory and practice of com- . potation, I had never much taken to its greatest adjunct smoking. I do not think that the Trinity men (Dublin) smoke-it certainly, as long as I remember that seminary, of which I cannot think but with affection, never was a fashion there. Particular pipemen, and solitary cigarers, no doubt, always existed, but just as you now and then see a pig-tail ( I do
not allude to tobacco) dangling behind an elderly gentleman, or hear a shoe creak under: the foot of a decent man. Smoking, in short, was the exception-non-smoking the rule. But the men of my time drank hard, though, as youths always do, unscientifically. I therefore, as the rest, drank, and did not smoke.
I was about twenty when I left the university, and went down to live with my father in a pretty seaport town. Here I mixed a good deal in boating-parties, and other such excursions with seafaring men, and from them, after much persuasion on their parts, I learned to smoke. My first preceptors preferred the pipe. I shall not here enter into the controversy which has so long agitated the world. concerning the superiority of pipe or cigar. I am tired of controversies;
I am weary of hunting, and fain would lie down. For the same reason, I pass all mention of the too celebrated, though in reality minor dispute, concerning the length of the pipe, which cost my friend, Captain O'Shaughnessy, his life. Though he died as became a man of honour and a gentleman, it may be permitted to a friend to avert his eyes from the melancholy cause which deprived the world of a true philosopher and a brave soldier.
I think I must have persevered in the pipe system for nine months, when an accident (it is needless to encumber my narrative by de
tailing what it was) threw me in the way of Cornet Roger Silverthorne, of the 13th light dragoons, and Silverthorne Hall, in the palatinate of Durham. This eminent and estimable young man was perhaps the most persevering cigar smoker that ever existed. If peerages were distributing, he should be Count Segar, instead of the gentleman who now holds that honourable title. He generally smoked five dozen a-day. You never saw him without one in his mouth; and as the voluminous smoke curled in picturesque wreaths from under his manly mustachio, while he luminously descanted on the various natures, uses, and properties of the several preparations of tobacco, he was one of the few men of whom you would decidedly say, that he was born ex fumo dare lucem. I never shall hear the like again: those eloquent lips are mute, and the brain that dictated the thought, and the tongue that clothed it in utterance, have mouldered into clay. His fate was singular. He died of indigestion, from having eaten four pounds and a half of tripe for a wager. Others, however, maintain that he was choked in the operation. I never could penetrate through the veil which thus hangs over his mysterious death. I, however, incline to the latter hypothesis; for my respected and lamented friend, I am sure, could have digested any thing. The question, after all, is of little moment, He is dead and I remain!