I've been clearing out loads of old crap at work this week, stuff left over from the departmental move last summer (yes, things do move slowly here sometimes...). One of the few good things about sorting out really old boxes is that occasionally you find something interesting, making up for getting covered in black grime and poking your finger through a so-filthy-it-rotted-away mouse mat....
I've just found 2 post-war handbooks for tobacconists, priced at one shilling - 'All About Cigars' and 'All about Snuff and Snuff Taking'. Very educational, as well as having nice covers and adverts inside.
The gracious and sociable custom of snuff-taking, one of the oldest associated with the use of tobacco, was apparently enjoying a welcome revival in the early 1960s, according to the Society of Snuff Grinders, Blenders and Purveyors of Great Britain. The pleasures of indulgence are emphasised to draw in new customers... In the old days, snuff-taking had its own special ritual - 'a true artistic method' involving 'twelve separate operations' described by 'an eminent addict' of the 18th century.
As I don't really want to encourage unforeseen problems of the nose, I won't list the 12 steps to sniffing snuff, in case it inspires a snuff-snorting frenzy in modern readers. But watch and learn from the illustration if you must, in a return to those glorious days, as 'young women of the 18th century learn the art -some with immediate enjoyment, others with apparent trepidation'.