A Sermon to Smokers.
FRENCH MEN OF LETTERS, ON THE PERNICIOUS WEED.
The French Soci&& centre TAbua da Tabac has awarded a medal to the author of an essay on the use and abuse of the weed. The writer, in collecting his material, has applied to the most eminent among conHmpwary French authors for their opinion on the subject, and has thus collected a large number of very interesting letters from men of letters of the most diverse schools. The following are the verdicts of a few of the best known among them;— X SMOKE, BUT IT IS A BAD HABIT, M. Taine, who is best known in this country for his * History of English Literature,* writes as follows“ I regret to say that 1 have neither notes nor personal reflections to communicate to you on the subject you are treating, having never occupied myself with lb To tell the truth, I smoke(cigarettes); it is an amusement in idio moments and during intellectual laziness, but It is a bad habit, and often a danger, as has been shown in many cases. Since yon have noticed on your own person the effect of tobacco, you are competent to give a methodical monograph, which would bevery valuable, especially if you added theexperience of Germans, Dutch, Belgians, Englishmen, and Americans, all of whom axpoked before us, to your account of the, experience of Frenchmen.” TOBACCO AN ANTIDOTE AGAINST DULL. PERFECTION. M. Zola has no time for long letters, but his remarks are to the point. He says: “I have no final opinion on the question you put to me. Personally I left off smoking some ten or twelve years ago, on the advice of a physician, at a time when L thought 1 was suffering from heart disease. Bat to think that tobacco has no influence on French literature is so absurd that indeed scientific proofs ought to be given in order to prove it, I have seen great writers smoke a great deal, and their intelligence did non suffer in consequence. If genius is a nervous affection, why cure it ? Perfection is so dull a thing that I often regret having cured myself of smoking.” STIMULATING TO WORK AND TO DREAMS. Next comes M. Francois Copp6e, the Parisian poet, who is of opinion that tobacco is precious to the artist’s taste. “ You have come to a wrong quarter, sir,” he says. “I have been a great, smoker ever since I was eighteen or nineteen years old. I am fortyseven at present. I turn cigarette* all day long. Never a pipe or a cigar, only a cigarette, and I throw it away after the first puff or two. It is true my health is rather bad, but I have no reason at all for attributing my weak health to the use of tobacco, which, on the contrary, I shall consider, till I have proofs of the contrary, as a. stimulant to work and to dreams, and for the poet these two words are synonyms.** The latter phrase the poet has probably borrowed from Victor Hugo, whom Coppte holds to have been “the greatest lyricgenius which France has produced. ” VictorHugo says ;—“ Tobacco changes thought: into dream. Thought is the labor of tb« intellect: dream is its pleasure. Woe to him who falls from thoughts into dreams ! To replace thought by dreams is to mingle a. poison with nourishment.” A COMWJjMENT TO SMOKERS. M, Dumas /&’ letter is characteristic r “ I have already replied to-day to one letter on the subject. I forget the name of my correspondent, I receive so many letters t i have advised him togo to Augieraad who are great smokers before the Lord, and who have almost died of it. I, who had fortunately begun very late to smoke, have given it up, notwithstanding its having become a great habit, qnickly acquired aa are all hftd habits, when I found that, tobacco, made me giddy, the giddiness disappearing six months after I ceased "smoking. . . . Tobacco, in my opinion, together with alcohol, is the most formidable enemy of intelligence, but nothing will do away with, the abuse, the majority being imbeciles in whom tobacco finds nothing to destroy, but since it is not imbeciles with, whom you are occupied, try to convince the. intelligent,” A WARNING. M. Ootaye Feuillet is equally eloquent fn his denunciation, the terms of which remind on© of the speeches made at Salvationist meetings by converts relating their “experience I have hee» a great smoker, and it cost me a great deal of tronble to give up tobacco. Bat I have been absolutely compelled to do so, some years ago, by the aggravation of fits of nervousness which fox a long time I refused to attribute to nicotine, but which in reality had noother cause. I was obliged to surrender to the truth when the nervous fits became more frequentand more intolerable. On the whole, I think tobacco is very injurious, especially to nervous persons. It producesat first a slight excitement and intoxication, wbioh ends in somnolence. It blunts, the faculties of the mind. One is compelled to fight against its action in a reaction which fatigues and wears the will,”
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A Sermon to Smokers., Evening Star, Issue 8024, 28 September 1889, Supplement
A Sermon to Smokers. Evening Star, Issue 8024, 28 September 1889, Supplement
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