Making Your Own Marbled and Decorated Paper

The Rise of the City, 1878-1898


Ingleside, the Ely Homestead
Ingleside, the Ely Homestead.
        I have no intention of saying anything at this time about the habit of smoking, except to set it in light of this commonsense word, afford. Your average salaries are, say, five hundred dollars. If you smoke cigars, your smallest daily allowance will be two, costing, say twenty cents, move than seventy dollars a year. If it were fifty, it would be a tenth of your salary. The naked question for a rational being to consider is, Can I afford to spend a tenth or seventh of my income in a mere indulgence? What has common sense to say to the proportion? Would not this amount, lodged in some sound investment, contribute rather more to self-respect?

The City, From Springdale
The City, From Springdale.
Ten years of such expenditure represent probably a thousand dollars, for there is an inevitable ratio of increase in all self-indulgent habits; fifty years represent five thousand, —more than most men will have at sixty-five, who began life with so poor an understanding of the word afford. Double these estimates, and they will be all the truer. I do not propose in these pages to enter on a crusade against tobacco, but I may remind you that the eye of the world is fixed on the tobacco habit with a very close gaze. The educators in Europe and America are agreed that it impairs mental energy. Life insurance companies are shy of its peculiar pulse. Oculists say that it weakens the eyes. Physicians declare it to be a prolific cause of dyspepsia, and hence of other ills. The vital statistician finds it in an enemy of virility. It is asserted by the leading authorities in each department that it takes the spring out of the nerves, the firmness out of the muscles, the ring out of the voice; that it renders the memory less retentive, the judgement less accurate, the conscience less quick, the sensibilities less acute; that it relaxes the will and dulls every faculty of body and mind and moral nature, dropping the entire man down in the scale of his powers, and so is to be regarded as one of the wastes of society. I do not undertake to affirm all these propositions, but only to show how the social critics of the day are regarding the subject.
        The habit of drinking is so nearly parallel with smoking in its relations to thrift that it need not detain us. The same cogent word afford applies here with stronger emphasis, because the drinking habit involves a larger ratio of increase. Waiving any moral considerations involved in beer drinking, the fact of its cost should throw it out. The same startling figures we have used are more than true here. It is not a thrifty habit, and no young man who has his way to make in the world is entitled to an unthrifty habit. It is idle to repeat the truisms of the theme.

The Whiting Cabin
The Whiting "Cabin."

The Lowlands Near Springdale
The Lowlands Near Springdale.

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