Read INFLUENCE OF THE PIPE of Said the Observer, free online book, by Louis John Stellman, on

“I see, by a recent paper,” said the Observer, as he lit another cigar and resettled himself in his chair, “that a Chicago physician and a lot of fool women, who are evidently jealous of Carrie Nation, are about to start an active crusade against the ‘Smoke Nuisance.’ This is ambiguous enough to warrant the supposition that their object is the compulsory introduction of some patented device for clearing the atmosphere of Pittsburg and other manufacturing towns, but their real aim is to discourage the use of tobacco. Now, of all the human pests which afflict the long-suffering public, the anti-smoke agitator is about the worst. Why, man alive! what would become of the human race without tobacco? It is the grease which lubricates the Wheel of Evolution. Since the time of Sir Walter Raleigh civilization has advanced more rapidly by one hundred per cent. Nearly all great inventors, artists and writers owe their inspiration to the pipe.

“A very successful newspaper man whom I know has four different pipes and each serves a special purpose. When he wants to write a humorous article, he says to his wife, ‘Where is my funny pipe?’ and she hands him a long-handled affair with a weichsel-wood bowl and a cherry stem that has a kind of rakish, good-natured curve to it. Then he sits down and grinds out copy that will make an Englishman laugh at first sight. A big, dumpy brier, with a shorter stem and a celluloid end, is responsible for general descriptive work, sporting news, etc., while a trim little meerschaum with a carved bowl engenders excellent criticisms of music and drama. Occasionally, too, this bright fellow, who does considerable work on the editorial page, gets into a newspaper controversy. Then he pulls from his pocket a short ‘bull-dog’ with a horn tip, whose massive, square-jawed bowl and ferocious short-curved stem breathe forth aggressiveness, and, jamming it full of ‘plug cut,’ he writes one of those satirical, sledge-hammer roasts which make him feared by his opponents.

“One night he was detailed to write up a show at one of the leading theatres. The play was ‘East Lynne,’ which, as a tear-producer, ranks away up and was presented by a first-class company. When the critic reached home he was feeling pretty sad, so he looked around for his meerschaum. His wife had been cleaning house that day and he couldn’t find any pipe but the long one. What was the result? Why, he wrote such a humorous description of the play that everybody thought ’East Lynne’ was a farce comedy and, when the performance closed on the following night, two-thirds of the audience wanted their money back.

“His worst crack, though, was when a man of great local prominence, who stood high with the people, died and it fell to G.’s lot to describe the funeral ceremonies and eulogize the deceased. G.’s mother-in-law had just arrived and the poor fellow was so badly rattled that he got hold of the ‘bull-dog’ instead of the brier and made the Hon. G. out the grandest rascal who had ever preyed upon the vitals of a law-abiding community. The only thing that saved his neck this time was the fact that it all turned out to be true and his paper got the credit of a ‘scoop.’ After that he had a little case made to hold all four of his pipes, with a strap to go around his neck and I guess he sleeps with it now.

“They say that Guttenberg conceived the notion of the printing press while taking an after-dinner smoke; that Stephenson’s ideas of steam locomotion came to him through the curling wreaths of his favorite Virginia; and that Morse figured out the telegraph with a pipe in his mouth. I never could corroborate these statements, though I don’t doubt them a bit. But, be that as it may, the man, woman or child who tries to deprive us of the solace and inspiration of tobacco, is like the goat that tried to butt a train off the track. He is not only trifling with one of the greatest factors in civilization, but he is toying with a lost cause.”