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spoonsful less would make tea of a better
flavour and of equal strength. Now, there
are three hundred and sixty-five times and a
quarter tea-times in the year—"

"And how many spoonfuls, brother, to the
quarter of a tea-time?"

"Maria, you've no head for figures. I say
nothing of the tea consumed at breakfast

"My dear boy, you have left school; no one
asks you to multiply. Hand me the muffin."

Nephelo, released, was unable to look about
him, owing to the high walls of the slop-basin
which surrounded him on every side. The
room was filled with pleasant sunset light,
but Nephelo soon saw the coming shadow of
the muffin-plate, and  all was dark directly

"Take cooking, mother. M. Soyer* says
you can't boil many vegetables properly in
London water. Greens won't be green; French
beans are tinged with yellow, and peas shrivel.
It don't open the pores of meat, and make it
succulent, as softer water does. M. Soyer
believes that the true flavour of meat cannot
be extracted with hard water. Bread does not
rise so well when made with it. Horses—"

* Evidence before the Board of Health.

"My dear boy, M. Soyer don't cook horses."

"Horses, Dr. Playfair tells us, sheep, and
pigeons will refuse hard water if they can get
it soft, though from the muddiest pool. Race-
horses, when carried to a place where the water
is notoriously hard, have a supply of softer water
carried with them to preserve their good
condition. Not to speak of gripes, hard water
will assuredly produce what people call a
staring coat."

"Ah, no doubt, then, it was London water
that created Mr. Blossomley's blue swallow-

"Maria, you make nonsense out of everything.
When you are Mrs. Blossomley—"

"Now pass my cup."

There was a pause and a clatter. Presently
the muffin-plate was lifted, and four times
in succession there were black dregs thrown
into the face of Nephelo. After the perpetration
of these insults he was once again
condemned to darkness.

"When you are Mrs. Blossomley, Maria,"
so the voice went on, "when you are Mrs.
Blossomley, you will appreciate what I am
now going to tell you about washerwomen."

"Couldn't you postpone it, dear, until I am
able to appreciate it. You promised to take
us to Rachel to-night."

"Ah!" said another girlish voice, "you'll
not escape. We dress at seven. Until then
for the next twelve minutes you may speak.
Bore on, we will endure."

"As for you, Catherine, Maria teaches you,
I see, to chatter. But if Mrs. B. would object
to the reception of a patent mangle as a
wedding present from her brother, she had
better hear him now. Washerwoman's work
is not a thing to overlook, I tell you. Before
a shirt is worn out, there will have been spent
upon it five times its intrinsic value in the
washing-tub. The washing of clothes costs
more, by a great deal, than the clothes
themselves. The yearly cost of washing to a
household of the middle class amounts, on
the average, to about a third part of the
rental, or a twelfth part of the total income.
Among the poor, the average expense of
washing will more probably be half the rental
if they wash at home, but not more than a
fourth of it if they employ the Model Wash-
houses. The weekly cost of washing to a poor
man averages certainly not less than four-
pence halfpenny. Small tradesmen, driven to
economise in linen, spend perhaps not more
than ninepence; in the middle and the upper
classes, the cost weekly varies from a shilling
to five shillings for each person, and amounts
very often to a larger sum. On these grounds
Mr. Bullar, Honorary Secretary to the
Association for Promoting Baths and Wash-
houses, estimates the washing expenditure of
London at a shilling a week for each
inhabitant, or, for the whole, five millions of
pounds yearly. Professor Clark—"

"My dear Professor Tom, you have
consumed four of your twelve minutes."

"Professor Clark judges from such estimates
as can be furnished by the trade, that the
consumption of soap in London is fifteen
pounds to each person per annumtwice as
much as is employed in other parts of England.
That quantity of soap costs six-and-eight-
pence; water, per head, costs half as much,
or three-and-fourpence; or each man's soap
and water costs, throughout London, on an
average, ten shillings for twelve months. If
the hardness of the water be diminished, there
is a diminution in the want of soap. For
every grain of carbonate of lime dissolved in
each gallon of any water, Mr. Donaldson
declares, two ounces of soap more for a
hundred gallons of that water are required.
Every such grain is called a degree of hardness.
Water of five degrees of hardness
requires, for example, two ounces of soap;
water of eight degrees of hardness then will
need fifteen; and water of sixteen degrees
will demand thirty-two. Sixteen degrees,
Maria, is the hardness of Thames Waterof
the water, mother, which has poached upon
your tea-caddy. You see, then, that when we
pay for the soap we use at the rate of six-and-
eightpence each, since the unusual hardness
of our water causes us to use a double quantity,
every man in London pays at an average
rate of three-and-fourpence a year his tax for
a hard water, through the cost of soap alone."

"Now you must finish in five minutes,
brother Tom."

"But soap is not the only matter that
concerns the washerwoman and her customers.
There is labour also, and the wear and tear;
there is a double amount of destruction to
our linen, involved in the double time of

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