"One hundred and seventy-six dollars," responded Jack.
"Oh, Jack," said Mary, "that is a terrible price. I saw one six feet long for $40 yesterday in a shop on Sixth Avenue."
"There are bath tubs and bath tubs," explained Jack. "The one you saw was iron enameled white. I got one of the cheap ones for the servants' bathroom."
"I thought they were all made of iron underneath," admitted Mary, with a mock show of humility.
"No, indeed," said Jack, "all the better tubs are made of porcelain that has been baked in a kiln for a week or ten days under a temperature of from 2,500 to 3,000 degrees."
"Why don't they do the same to the iron tubs?" asked Mary.
"Because it would melt the iron," answered Jack. "The enamel on the iron tubs has to be baked at a lower temperature, so that the glaze is comparatively soft and easily injured by stains and bruises."
"That's why so many of the tubs in apartment houses look dingy and dirty, isn't it?" asked Mary.
"It certainly is," answered Jack. "In some of the cheaper ones they put in tubs costing only $15 or $18 apiece, and have the work hurriedly done by some plumber who is more anxious to get the job than to deliver the goods. It doesn't pay in the long run, but when the builder has sold the building, he no longer has to bother about the looks or durability of anything in it."
"I think the bathrooms in the average apartment are disgraceful," remarked Mary. "They are so small and cluttered up."
"That's because the renting of an apartment is based on the number of rooms in it," said Jack. "The more rooms, the more rent the landlord reasons, and the easiest way to get more rooms is to stint the size of the less prominent ones. Personally I think they're on the wrong track. I believe that people generally have sense enough to appreciate apartments intelligently planned. This is shown by the success of the studio and duplex apartments. Almost all of them have not only one comparatively huge room, but also a splendid big bathroom."
"I wish our bathrooms were larger," sighed Mary, who in fancy had transported herself back to the magnificent marble halls of ancient Rome.
"So do I," agreed Jack. "But yours is not so bad, 8 feet 6 inches by 11 feet 6 inches. The guest's bathroom is only 8 feet by 10."
"But that has less in it and a smaller tub," remarked Mary.
"And a much cheaper one," added Jack. "It is in enameled iron and cost $37.50. The lavatory in the guest's bathroom cost $45, and the toilet $40.50. Both the latter are in porcelain, as enameled iron isn't durable enough. They get more hard knocks than the tub. The folding mirror over the guest's lavatory cost $26," continued Jack, reading from his note book, "and the enameled shelf with towel rod $9.50. The other towel rod was $4.25 and - "
"Oh, Jack, I'm tired of the guest's bathroom," interrupted Mary. "What did you have to pay for this comfy stool," sitting down on it as she spoke. "The long rubber tips make it as springy as rubber heels on shoes."
"Six dollars and thirty cents," answered Jack.
"The first inexpensive thing about the bathroom," remarked Mary. "But one of the best in it," she added, noticing that Jack wanted to continue his lecture on bathrooms still further. "Where can I shampoo my hair?" she asked, with apparently deep interest in the question.
"Here," said Jack, pointing out the attachment over the side of the tub. "The whole shower with white duck curtain, tubular spray 8 1/2 inches, curtain ring 25 inches, and shampoo, cost only $44."
"Quite enough," said Mary. "Especially as I want to use the shampoo over the lavatory and not over the tub."
"I know you've been accustomed to do that," said Jack, "but you'll find it much more convenient over the tub. The shower in the guestroom was only $17, but it hasn't any shampoo attachment."
"I do like this bath seat," said Mary, stepping into the tub and sitting down on the object spoken of. "It makes the interior of a bathtub really manageable. You can sit and boil your feet at your leisure, without any danger of slipping. Those German things on the steamers that they call Fussbad I abominate."
"Yes," assented Jack. "A German bathroom, with its separate tub for each separate operation, reminds me of my grandfather's barndoor, in which when a boy I cut three holes, one for our big dog, one for the middle-sized dog, and one for the small dog."
Mary laughed. She had heard the story several times before, but she felt increased respect at each new application of it. "I'm so glad you have a closet of your own," she said, opening the door and looking into the doorless opening on the left, "and especially one with a window in it."
"All my life I've wanted one like it," said Jack, "a closet equipped with drawers and hangers to carry all my hats and ties and coats and trousers without messing."
Just then the loud puffing of a car climbing the hill became heard, and Mary opening the door to the balcony, stepped out and waved her hand at Tom and Harriet. "They've come over to see how we are getting on," she said to Jack.
"I'll bring them up here," said Jack hastening downstairs to the front door. "The living-room isn't very comfortable for entertaining yet."
"Such a trip!" said Harriet, as she entered Jack and Mary's bed-room and greeted Mary with a sisterly kiss. "The mud was six inches deep in some places, and the car is a sight. Tom had to drive slowly, and that's why we are so late."
"Never mind," said Mary, "we've nothing but a cold luncheon to offer you, and that in an unfurnished dining-room."
"First I want to see your bathroom," said Harriet. "Tom has told me so much about it. Say's it's the most perfect ever."
"Tom hasn't seen it either," said Jack, leading the way to the room in question. "But he knows a lot about it, for he helped me select the tub and other fixtures."
"How light and bright it is," said Harriet. "And what a heavenly dressing-table," she added, sitting down at it and surveying herself from many points of view.
"The most convenient and useful bathroom I ever saw," said Tom, noting the variety of towel racks and sponge holders and soap holders and mirrored medicine cabinets. "And even a bath thermometer," he added.
Guests' Bathrooms in the Houses of Tom and Jack.
"That cost only 60 cents," said Jack.
"But where do you weigh yourself?" asked Harriet, who being inclined to embonpoint, watched her avoirdupois closely. "Haven't you a bathroom scale?"
"No," responded Mary, "but we have the loveliest rubber mat covering the whole bottom of the tub, and making it perfectly safe to sit down on the bath seat even if you have your shoes on." She flashed a roguish glance at Jack who a few minutes before had started to prevent her from stepping into the tub for fear she might scratch the glaze.
"Even without the mat your shoes couldn't hurt the glaze of a bathtub like that," said Tom. "It is one of the most perfect specimens I have ever seen. When they come out of the kiln, they are graded into three classes, A, B and C, and priced accordingly, class A being perfect or nearly so, class B with occasional imperfections in the glaze but equally good for all practical purposes, class C bringing up the rear. This is a rara avis among class A pieces."
"I wonder what Tom would think of Mr. Alexander's bathtub?" asked Mary, turning to Jack. "He got it in Italy and it's three hundred years old."
"A very beautiful tub," answered Tom, "the most beautiful I have ever seen. I don't wonder that Mr. Alexander is proud of it. But it must be awkward to get in and out of, it's so deep. No wonder he never uses it, but prefers the shower."
"His is the only bathroom I ever saw with a fireplace in it," commented Jack. "To me it is a sort of cross between a bathroom and a breakfast-room. And it's large enough for both."
"I think the curved outside wall and unusual shape add a great deal," said Tom, "but the snippy little mirror and cabinet over the lavatory are certainly a mistake."
"The trouble with many elaborate bathrooms," said Jack, "is that they look too much like bathrooms, and they are so crowded with all sorts of patent contrivances that no matter how large they are there is no open space left."
"I think the time will come," said Tom, "when tubs will be entirely banished from bathrooms, and the shower will be relegated to a closet, with floor below that of the bathroom. Then with the other conveniences in a closet or built into the wall, the bathroom can be converted into a regular dressing-room."
"That only works well when every member of the family has his own bathroom," remarked Jack.
"That's a fling at me," said Mary, "because I like our bathroom for dressing in. My dressing-room is so inconvenient." (See Chapter IV (The Owner'S Bedroom) (The Owner'S Bedroom).)
"Jack and I really had a very interesting afternoon when we started out to study up on bathroom equipment," said Tom. "The salesman was especially well informed."
"I shouldn't call him a salesman," said Jack. "He wouldn't sell us anything, but referred us to our plumbers."
"Nevertheless, we afterward bought just about what he recommended. And if we hadn't seen him, I know we'd have both spent a great deal less," said Tom.
"After all that is salesmanship of the higher type," agreed Jack, "to take shoppers into a territory with which they are unfamiliar, and show them the superiority of fine goods over cheap goods. Every man stands for quality in the lines with which he is most familiar. The tailor measures a man by the clothes he wears.
The architect by the house he lives in. The automobile manufacturer by the number of cars he keeps. But each one of these is inclined to suggest economy and bargains when he gets to buying instead of selling."
"Luncheon is ready," interrupted Mary, "and I'm terribly hungry. Come Tom," she added, seizing his hand, "let's fly from sanitary philosophy to culinary appreciation."
"Well done, Mary," said Jack, but not till Mary and Tom were halfway down the stairway and out of hearing. Harriet and Jack followed sedately.