| When I was a youth I used to take all kinds
of pledges, and do my best to keep them, but I never could, because I
didn't strike at the root of the habit--the desire; I generally broke
down within the month. Once I tried limiting a habit. That worked tolerably
well for a while. I pledged myself to smoke but one cigar a day. I kept
the cigar waiting until bedtime, then I had a luxurious time with it.
But desire persecuted me every day and all day long; so, within the week
I found myself hunting for larger cigars than I had been used to smoke;
then larger ones still, and still larger ones. Within the fortnight I
was getting cigars made for me--on a yet larger pattern. They still grew
and grew in size. Within the month my cigar had grown to such proportions
that I could have used it as a crutch. It now seemed to me that a one-cigar
limit was no real protection to a person, so I knocked my pledge on the
head and resumed my liberty.
- Following the Equator
Beard's illustration from
Illustration from the
Dave Thomson collection.
From THE UNABRIDGED MARK TWAIN,
Running Press, 1976 with opening remarks by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
(c) 1976 Charles Santore
"I know a good cigar better than you do, for I have had sixty years' experience. No, that is not what I mean; I mean I know a bad cigar better than anybody else. I judge by the price only; if it costs above 5 cents, I know it to be either foreign or half foreign and unsmokable.
"By me I have many boxes of Havana cigars, of all prices, from
20 cents apiece up to $1.66 apiece; I bought none of them; they were
all presents; they are an accumulation of several years. I have never
smoked one of them, and never shall. I work them off on the visitor.
You shall have a chance when you come.