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A City Note-Book (New York)
by [?]

* * * * *

One of our colleagues, a lusty genial in respect of tobacco, has told us of a magnificent way to remove an evil and noisome taste from an old pipe that hath been smoked overlong. He says, clean the bowl carefully (not removing the cake) and wash tenderly in fair, warm water. Then, he says, take a teaspoonful of the finest vatted Scotch whiskey (or, if the pipe be of exceeding size, a tablespoonful of the same) and pour it delicately into the bowl. Apply a lighted match, and let the liquor burn itself out. It will do so, he avouches, with a gentle blue flame of great beauty and serenity. The action of this burning elixir, he maintains, operates to sizzle and purge away all impurity from the antique incrustation in the bowl. After letting the pipe cool, and then filling it with a favourite blend of mingled Virginia, Perique, and Latakia, our friend asserts that he is blessed with a cool, saporous, and enchanting fumigation which is so fragrant that even his wife has remarked upon it in terms complimentary. Our friend says (but we fear he draws the longbow nigh unto fracture) that the success of this method may be tested so: if one lives, as he does, in the upward stories of a tall apartment house, one should take the pipe so cleansed to the window-sill, and, smoking it heartily, lean outward over the sill. On a clear, still, blue evening, the air being not too gusty, the vapours will disperse and eddy over the street; and he maintains with great zeal that passersby ten tiers below will very soon look upward from the pavement, sniffingly, to discern the source of such admirable fumes. He has even known them, he announces, to hail him from the street, in tones of eager inquiry, to learn what kind of tobacco he is smoking.

All this we have duly meditated and find ourselves considerably stirred. Now there is only one thing that stands between ourself and such an experiment.

* * * * *

There are some who hold by the theory that on visiting a restaurant it is well to pick out a table that is already cleared rather than one still bearing the debris of a previous patron’s meal. We offer convincing proof to the contrary.

Rambling, vacant of mind and guileless of intent, in a certain quiet portion of the city–and it is no use for you, O client, to ask where, for our secrecy is firm as granite–we came upon an eating house and turned inward. There were tables spread with snowy cloths, immaculate; there were also tables littered with dishes. We chose one of the latter, for a waiter was removing the plates, and we thought that by sitting there we would get prompter service. We sat down and our eye fell upon a large china cup that had been used by the preceding luncher. In the bottom of that cup was a little pool of dark dregs, a rich purple colour, most agreeable to gaze upon. Happy possibilities were opened to our mind. Like the fabled Captain X, we had a Big Idea. We made no outcry, nor did we show our emotion, but when the waiter asked for our order we said, calmly: “Sausages and some of the red wine.” He was equally calm and uttered no comment.

Soon he came back (having conferred, as we could see out of the wing of our eye) with his boss. “What was it you ordered?” he said.

“Sausages,” we replied, urbanely, “and some of the red wine.”

“I don’t remember having served you before,” he said. “I can’t give you anything like that.”