An excellent thing it is, when you get it genuine—none of your coarse Whitechapel abominations, but a veritable satin-skinned, brown Indian beauty; smooth and firm to the touch, and full-flavoured to the taste; such a one as would be worth a Jewess’ eye, with a glass of tawny Port. But the gratification that we have been wont to derive from our real Manilla has been sadly disturbed of late by a circumstance which has caused a dreadful schism in the smoking world, and has agitated every divan in the metropolis to its very centre. The question is, “Whether should a cheroot be smoked by the great or the small end?” On this apparently trivial subject the great body of cheroot smokers have taken different sides, and divided themselves, as the Lilliputians did in the famous egg controversy, into the Big-endians and Little-endians. The dispute has been carried on with great vigour on both sides, and several ingenious volumes have been already written, proving satisfactorily the superiority of each system, without however convincing a single individual of the opposite party. The Tories, we have observed, have as usual seized on the big end of the argument, while the Whigs have grappled as resolutely by the little end, and are puffing away furiously in each other’s eyes. Heaven knows where the contest will end! For ourselves, we are content to watch the struggle from our quiet corner, convinced, whichever end gains the victory, that John Bull will be made to smoke for it; and when curious people ask us if we be big-endians or little-endians, we answer, that, to oblige all our friends, we smoke our Manillas at both ends.
* * * * *
BALLADS OF THE BRIEFLESS.
No. 1.—THE RULE TO COMPUTE.
Oh, tell me not of empires grand,
Of proud dominion wide and far,
Of those who sway the fertile land
Where melons three for twopence are.
To rule like this I ne’er aspire,
In fact my book it would not suit!
The only rule that I desire,
Is a rule nisi to compute.
Oh speak not of the calm delights,
That in the fields or lanes we win;
The field and lane that me invites
Is Chancery or Lincoln’s Inn.
Yes, there in some remote recess,
At eve, I practise on my flute,
Till some attorney comes to bless
With a rule nisi to compute.
No. 2.—SIGNING A PLEA.
Oh, how oft when alone at the close
of the day
I’ve sat in that Court where the fig-tree don’t grow
And wonder’d how I, without money, should pay
The little account to my laundress below!
And when I have heard a quick step on the stair,
I’ve thought which of twenty rich duns it could be,
I have rush’d to the door in a fit of despair,
And—received ten and sixpence for signing a plea.