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9/15/2008 9:24 PM
Nice post and thank you for using the forums!
9/12/2008 5:21 PM
Greeting fellow club members,
Pipes in books, they have always stood out for me - when I came across references to pipes in books and art. Of course, there's Sherlock Holmes but do you have any favorite instances that come to mind?
Here is one for your enjoyment:
(A quest of mine this summer was to re-read Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad. It had been many years and I just wanted to sink into that great book again.
There in Chapter 20, during a conversation with Marrlow, Stein "...began to charge a long-stemmed pipe busily and in silence...")
Here is an excerpt of the Dutch traveller and entomologist Stein's talk about his early life in Indonesia - starting a little before he took up his pipe:
There was a great enemy of mine, a great noble—and
a great rascal too—roaming with a band in the neighbourhood. I cantered for four or five
miles; there had been rain in the night, but the mists had gone up, up—and the face of the
earth was clean; it lay smiling to me, so fresh and innocent—like a little child. Suddenly
somebody fires a volley—twenty shots at least it seemed to me. I hear bullets sing in my
ear, and my hat jumps to the back of my head. It was a little intrigue, you understand. They
got my poor Mohammed to send for me and then laid that ambush. I see it all in a minute,
and I think—This wants a little management. My pony snort, jump, and stand, and I fall
slowly forward with my head on his mane. He begins to walk, and with one eye I could see
over his neck a faint cloud of smoke hanging in front of a clump of bamboos to my left. I
think—Aha! my friends, why you not wait long enough before you shoot? This is not yet
gelungen. Oh no! I get hold of my revolver with my right hand—quiet—quiet. After all,
there were only seven of these rascals. They get up from the grass and start running with
their sarongs tucked up, waving spears above their heads, and yelling to each other to look
out and catch the horse, because I was dead. I let them come as close as the door here, and
then bang, bang, bang—take aim each time too. One more shot I fire at a man's back, but I
miss. Too far already. And then I sit alone on my horse with the clean earth smiling at me,
and there are the bodies of three men lying on the ground. One was curled up like a dog, another
on his back had an arm over his eyes as if to keep off the sun, and the third man he
draws up his leg very slowly and makes it with one kick straight again. I watch him very
carefully from my horse, but there is no more—bleibt ganz ruhig—keep still, so. And as I
looked at his face for some sign of life I observed something like a faint shadow pass over his
forehead. It was the shadow of this butterfly. Look at the form of the wing. This species fly
high with a strong flight. I raised my eyes and I saw him fluttering away. I think—Can it be
possible? And then I lost him. I dismounted and went on very slow, leading my horse and
holding my revolver with one hand and my eyes darting up and down and right and left,
everywhere! At last I saw him sitting on a small heap of dirt ten feet away. At once my
heart began to beat quick. I let go my horse, keep my revolver in one hand, and with the
other snatch my soft felt hat off my head. One step. Steady. Another step. Flop! I got him!
When I got up I shook like a leaf with excitement, and when I opened these beautiful wings
and made sure what a rare and so extraordinary perfect specimen I had, my head went
round and my legs became so weak with emotion that I had to sit on the ground. I had
greatly desired to possess myself of a specimen of that species when collecting for the professor.
I took long journeys and underwent great privations; I had dreamed of him in my
sleep, and here suddenly I had him in my fingers—for myself! In the words of the poet" (he
pronounced it "boet")—
"'So halt' ich's endlich denn in meinen Handen,
Und nenn' es in gewissem Sinne mein.'"
He gave to the last word the emphasis of a suddenly lowered voice, and withdrew his eyes
slowly from my face. He began to charge a long-stemmed pipe busily and in silence, then,
pausing with his thumb on the orifice of the bowl, looked again at me significantly.
'"Yes, my good friend. On that day I had nothing to desire; I had greatly annoyed my principal
enemy; I was young, strong; I had friendship; I had the love" (he said "lof") "of woman,
a child I had, to make my heart very full—and even what I had once dreamed in my sleep
had come into my hand too!"
'He struck a match, which flared violently. His thoughtful placid face twitched once.
'"Friend, wife, child," he said slowly, gazing at the small flame—"phoo!" The match was
blown out. He sighed and turned again to the glass case. The frail and beautiful wings
quivered faintly, as if his breath had for an instant called back to life that gorgeous object of
'"The work," he began suddenly, pointing to the scattered slips, and in his usual gentle
and cheery tone, "is making great progress. I have been this rare specimen describing . . . .
Na! And what is your good news?"
'"To tell you the truth, Stein," I said with an effort that surprised me, "I came here to describe
a specimen . . . ."
'"Butterfly?" he asked, with an unbelieving and humorous eagerness.
'"Nothing so perfect," I answered, feeling suddenly dispirited with all sorts of doubts. "A
'"Ach so!" he murmured, and his smiling countenance, turned to me, became grave.
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