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rubbing and the double soaping, which hard
water compels washerwomen to employ. So
that, when all things have been duly reckoned
up in our account, we find that the outlay
caused by the necessities for washing linen in
a town supplied like London with exceedingly
hard water, is four times greater than it would
be if soft water were employed. The cost of
washing, as I told you, has been estimated at
five millions a-year. So that, if these calculations
be correct, more than three millions of
money, nearly four millions, is the amount
filched yearly from the Londoners by their
hard water through the wash-tub only. To
that sum, Mrs. Blossomley, being of a
respectable family and very partial to clean
linen, will contribute of course much more
than her average proportion."

"Well, Mr. Orator, I was not listening to
all you said, but what I heard I do think
much exaggerated."

"I take it, sister, from the Government
Report; oblige me by believing half of it, and
still the case is strong. It is quite time for
people to be stirring."

"So it is, I declare. Your twelve minutes
are spent, and we will always be ready for the
play. If you talk there of water, I will shriek."

Here there arose a chatter which Nephelo
found to be about matters that, unlike the
water topic, did not at all interest himself.
There was a rustle and a movement; and a
creaking noise approached the drawing-room,
which Nephelo discovered presently to be
caused by Papa's boots as he marched up-
stairs after his post-prandial slumberings.
There was more talk uninteresting to the
fairy; Nephelo, therefore, became drowsy;
his drowsiness might at the same time have
been aggravated by the close confinement he
experienced in an unwholesome atmosphere
beneath the muffin-plate. He was aroused
by a great clattering; this the maid caused
who was carrying him down stairs upon a
tray with all the other tea-things.

From a sweet dream of nuptials with
Cirrha, Nephelo was awakened to the painful
consciousness that he had not yet succeeded
in effecting any great good for the human
race; he had but rinsed a tea-pot. With
a faint impulse of hope the desponding
fairy noticed that the slop-basin in which
he sate was lifted from the tray, in a few
minutes after the tray had been deposited
upon the kitchen-dresser. Pity poor Nephelo!
By a remorseless scullery-maid he was dashed
rudely from the basin into a trough of stone,
from which he tumbled through a hole placed
there on purpose to engulf him,—tumbled
through into a horrible abyss.

This abyss was a long dungeon running
from back to front beneath the house, built
of bricksrotten now, and saturated with
moisture. Some of the bricks had fallen in,
or crumbled into nothingness; and Nephelo
saw that the soil without the dungeon was
quite wet. The dungeon-floor was coated

with pollutions, travelled over by a sluggish
shallow stream, with which the fairy floated.
The whole dungeon's atmosphere was foul
and poisonous. Nephelo found now what
those exhalations were which rose through
every opening in the house, through vent-
holes and the burrowings of rats; for rats
and other vermin tenanted this noisome den.
This was the pestilential gallery called by
the good people of the house, their drain. A
trap-door at one end confined the fairy in this
place with other Water-Drops, until there
should be collected a sufficient body of them
to negotiate successfully for egress.

The object of this door was to prevent the
ingress of much more foul matter from with-
out; and its misfortune was, that in so doing
it necessarily pent up a concentrated putrid
gas within. At length Nephelo escaped; but
alas! it was from a Newgate to a Bastille
from the drain into the sewer. This was a
long vaulted prison running near the surface
underneath the street. Shaken by the passage
overhead of carriages, not a few bricks had
fallen in; and Nephelo hurrying forward,
wholly possessed by the one thoughtcould
he escape?—fell presently into a trap. An
oyster-shell had fixed itself upright between
two bricks unevenly jointed together; much
solid filth had grown around it; and in this
Nephelo was caught. Here he remained for
a whole month, during which time he saw
many floods of water pass him, leaving
himself with a vast quantity of obstinate
encrusted filth unmoved. At the month's end
there came some men to scrape, and sweep,
and cleanse; then with a sudden flow of
water, Nephelo was forced along, and presently,
with a large number of emancipated
foulnesses, received his discharge from prison,
and was let loose upon the River Thames.

Nephelo struck against a very dirty Drop.

"Keep off", will you?" the Drop exclaimed.
"You are not fit to touch a person, sewer-

"Why, where are you from, my sweet

"Oh! I? I've had a turn through some
Model Drains. Tubular drains they call 'em.
Look at me; isn't that clear?"

"There's nothing clear about you," replied
Nephelo. "What do you mean by Model

"I mean I've come from Upper George
Street through a twelve-inch pipe four or five
times faster than one travels over an old
sewer-bed; travelled express, no stoppage."


"Yes. Impermeable, earthenware, tubular
pipes, accurately dove-tailed. I come from
an experimental district. When it's all
settled, there's to be water on at high
pressure everywhere, and an earthenware drain
pipe under every tap, a tube of no more than
the necessary size. Then these little pipes
are to run down the earth; and there's not
to be a great brick drain running underneath

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