Vice And Virtue
Smokers refer to the stub of an almost finished cigarette as a “dog end”. This derives from Victorian sail – a rope (well technically a “sheet”) was tied of at a stay. Standing rigging (almost permanent) was made neat by cutting of the loose rope to leave a smart short curly tail – a “dog end”. The rope was made from plant fibres and oiled with plant oil. Modern text books are coy and call all of the ropes (not a sheet until used), sails, wadding, packing and oil hemp – a.k.a. Marijuana. Not selected for “use” but still pretty potent. Every cannon shot vapourised a pound dry weight of weathered hemp.
Smoking or the use of infusions of hemp was common – smoking hemp was very “common”.
Alcohol – Everywhere except the Middle Classes were a rising puritan trend. Small Beer – weak but safe to drink, beer, ale – all cheap and common. It was the safe drink if you could not boil water to make tea. Claret and other continental wines were modestly expensive (and all bottles had value). Fine wines and Champagne were known and prized. Spirits were cheap, ubiquitous and generally consumed by the lower classes, sporting people, party people – emm well all except those pesky Middle classes.
Tobacco – everywhere, often adulterated. Pipes for for the poor (clay pipes led to cancer of the mouth) and snuff for all (filthy habit) and cigars for the elite.
Opium – smoking it was “chinese” and disgusting according to the middle classes – but perfectly legal. The British Empire is the global manufacturer and distributor of raw and processed opium. Extracts were normal in many medicines and opium pills were socially acceptable.
Laudanum – Alcohol abstract of opium – 10% by weight is pure opium, often with hemp oil extract added. Bitter, emetic unless buffered, narcotic as HELL, pain killer, calming, knock out in the hands of a doctor. Queen Victoria liked it.
Mars Weed – ahhh well, we did say steampunk Venusian hellmoss – depends on the first meeting – liftwood, steam, flappy propulsion.