A Spurgeon Anecdote

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the renowned 19th Century English Baptist pastor is known for his love of fine cigars. A particularly nice evening with a friend this past Saturday helped remind me of this, and I was able to recall the following anecdote a couple of days later at work. Here it is in its original telling by William Williams. I do love this little story:

While Mr. Spurgeon was living at Nightingale Lane, Clapham, an excursion was one day organised by one of the young men’s classes at the Tabernacle. The brake with the excursionists was to call for the President on their way to mid-Surrey.It was a beautiful early morning, and the men arrived in high spirits, pipes and cigars alight, and looking forward to a day of unrestrained enjoyment. Mr. Spurgeon was ready waiting at the gate. He jumped up to the box-seat reserved for him, and looking round with an expression of astonishment, exclaimed: “What, gentlemen! Are you not ashamed to be smoking so early?”

Here was a damper! Dismay was on every face. Pipes and cigars one by one failed and dropped out of sight.

When all had disappeared, out came the President’s cigar-case. He lit up and smoked away serenely.

The men looked at him astonished. “I thought you said you objected to smoking, Mr. Spurgeon?” one ventured.

“Oh no, I did not say I objected. I asked if they were not ashamed, and it appears they were, for they have all put their pipes away.”

Amid laughter the pipes reappeared, and with puffs of smoke the party went on merrily.


Text: William Williams, Charles Haddon Spurgeon: Personal Reminiscences (London: The Religious Tract Society, n.d.), 30-32. Text and image courtesy of The Spurgeon Archive.