Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Pipes and Proposal Etiquette



The pipe, considered as a matrimonial embassador, has at least this to recommend it— that it may be relied upon to commit no breach of confidence if its mission proves successful.
                 

               Tobacco as a Matchmaker


All the nervousness, embarrassment and febrile excitement attendant upon "popping the question" in highly civilized countries are avoided by the young men of the Tchultau Tatar variety desirous to marry, whose simple and discreet custom it is to ascertain their chances of successor failure in matrimonial enterprise by the following proceeding: The Tchulian Calebs in search of a wife, having filled a brand new pipe with fragrant tobacco, stealthily enters the dwelling of the fair one upon whom he has bestowed his affections, deposits the pipe upon a conspicuous article of furniture, and retires on tiptoe to some convenient hiding place in the neighborhood. 

Local etiquette requires that he should execute this strategic movement apparently undetected by the damsel of his choice or any member of her family. Presently he returns without further affectation of secrecy, and looks into the apartment in a casual sort of way. A single glance at the pipe he left behind him enables him to learn the fate of his proposal. If it has been smoked, he goes forth, an accepted and exulted bridegroom; if not, the offer of his hand and heart has been irrevocably rejected as not even worth a puff of tobacco. 

By this ingenious expedient, the pain and humiliation of verbal refusal and fruitless pleadings are spared to luckless wooers, and Tatar maidens are saved from importunities justly regarded as peculiarly trying to female sensibility. The pipe, considered as a matrimonial embassador, has at least this to recommend it— that it may be relied upon to commit no breach of confidence if its mission proves successful. – 1881

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