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The Order Of The Bath
by [?]

“We must really do something about the bath,” said Celia.

“We must,” I agreed.

At present what we do is this. Punctually at six-thirty or nine, or whenever it is, Celia goes in to make herself clean and beautiful for the new day, while I amuse myself with a razor. After a quarter of an hour or so she gives a whistle to imply that the bathroom is now vacant, and I give another one to indicate that I have only cut myself once. I then go hopefully in and find that the bath is half full of water; whereupon I go back to my room and engage in Dr. Hugh de Selincourt’s physical exercises for the middle-aged. After these are over I take another look at the bath, discover that it is now three-eighths full, and return to my room and busy myself with Dr. Archibald Marshall’s mental drill for busy men. By the time I have committed three Odes of Horace to memory, it may be low tide or it may not; if not, I sit on the edge of the bath with the daily paper and read about the latest strike–my mind occupied equally with wondering when the water is going out and when the bricklayers are. And the thought that Celia is now in the dining-room eating more than her share of the toast does not console me in the least.

“Yes,” I said, “it’s absurd to go on like this. You had better see about it to-day, Celia.”

“I don’t think–I mean, I think–you know, it’s really your turn to do something for the bathroom.”

“What do you mean, my turn? Didn’t I buy the glass shelves for it? You’d never even heard of glass shelves.”

“Well, who put them up after they’d been lying about for a month?” said Celia. “I did.”

“And who bumped his head against them the next day? I did.”

“Yes, but that wasn’t really a useful thing to do. It’s your turn to be useful.”

“Celia, this is mutiny. All household matters are supposed to be looked after by you. I do the brain work; I earn the money; I cannot be bothered with these little domestic worries. I have said so before.”

“I sort of thought you had.”

You know, I am afraid that is true.

“After all,” she went on, “the drinks are in your department.”

“Hock, perhaps,” I said; “soapy water, no. There is a difference.”

“Not very much,” said Celia.

By the end of another week I was getting seriously alarmed. I began to fear that unless I watched it very carefully I should be improving myself too much.

“While the water was running out this morning,” I said to Celia, as I started my breakfast just about lunch-time, “I got Paradise Lost off by heart, and made five hundred and ninety-six revolutions with the back paws. And then it was time to shave myself again. What a life for a busy man!”

“I don’t know if you know that it’s no—-“

“Begin again,” I said.

“–that it’s no good waiting for the last inch or two to go out by itself. Because it won’t. You have to–to hoosh it out.”

“I do. And I sit on the taps looking like a full moon and try to draw it out. But it’s no good. We had a neap tide to-day and I had to hoosh four inches. Jolly.”

Celia gave a sigh of resignation.

“All right,” she said, “I’ll go to the plumber to-day.”

“Not the plumber,” I begged. “On the contrary. The plumber is the man who stops the leaks. What we really want is an unplumber.”

We fell into silence again.

“But how silly we are!” cried Celia suddenly. “Of course!”

“What’s the matter now?”

“The bath is the landlord’s business! Write and tell him.”

“But–but what shall I say?” Somehow I knew Celia would put it on to me.

“Why, just–say. When you’re paying the rent, you know.”

“I–I see.”