Saturday, May 28, 2011

Featured Pipe Smoker: A. A. Milne

Alan Alexander Milne (1882-1956)

"One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries."

British author of plays, novels and poetry, he is best known for being the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh.

As for pipe smoking, here is an excerpt that I found some time ago which someone had posted on an online forum. It is from a newspaper article titled "Not That it Matters," from 1920.
However, it is the pipe rather than the tobacco which marks him as belonging to this particular school. He pins his faith, not so much to its labor saving devices as to the white spot outside, the white spot of an otherwise aimless life. This tells the world that it is one of the pipes. Never was an announcement more superfluous.

...Whereas men of an older school, like myself, smoke for the pleasure of smoking, men of this school smoke for the pleasure of pipe-owning--of selecting which of their many white-spotted pipes they will fill with their specially blended tobacco, of filling the one so chosen, of lighting it, of taking it from the mouth to gaze lovingly at the white spot and thus letting it go out, of lighting it again and letting it go out again, of polishing it up with their own special polisher and putting it to bed, and then the pleasure of beginning all over again with another white-spotted one. They are not so much pipe smokers as pipe keepers; and to have spoken as I did just now of their owning pipes was wrong, for it is they who are in bondage to the white spot.

...You may be excused for feeling after the first pipe that the joys of smoking have been rated too high, and for trying to extract your pleasure from the polish on the pipe's surface, the pride of possessing a special mixture of your own, and such-like matters, rather than from the actual inspiration and expiration of smoke. In the same way a man not fond of reading may find delight in a library of well-bound books. They are pleasant to handle, pleasant to talk about, pleasant to show to friends.But it is the man without the library of well-bound books who generally does most of the reading.

So I feel that it is we of the older school that do most of the smoking. We smoke unconsciously while we are doing other things; they try, but not very successfully, to do other things while they are consciously smoking. No doubt they despise us, and tell themselves that we are not real smokers, but I fancy they feel a little uneasy sometimes. For my young friends are always trying to persuade me to join their school, to become one of the white-spotted ones.

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