A couple of gentlemen, whom we shall call John Smith and James Brown, were
seated in the ante-room of a bath-house, awaiting their "turns"
for a bath. After they got tired of twirling their thumbs, Smith asked Brown
whether he preferred a hot or cold bath. Brown who was remarkably fond
of running a rig on any one, said he was so partial to hot baths, and enjoyed
them so frequently, that he didn't think there was any other man in creation
that could remain in the water at the temperature he ordinarily used. Smith
was one of those kind of men who never permit themselves to be outdone in
anything, and one word led on to another until at length Smith proposed
the following wager, to which Brown agreed at once.
Two baths in rooms adjoining, were to be prepared. Cold water to the depth
of six inches to be let in. They were to enter at the same instant­p;the
hot water tap then to be turned, and the one that first cried "enough,"
was to pay for a supper and "fixins." Smith went honestly to work,
entered the bath, and turned on the hot water, taking special good care
to draw his legs up as far as possible. Brown turned the hot water tap,
but instead of permitting the water to run into the bath, he let it out
by means of a contrivance he managed to rig up. The tap was to be "turned"
but there was nothing said about where the water would go. Brown said to
himself, "If I don't boil Smith, it will not be my fault." Presently
Smith found the water too hot, for comfort, and said, "How is it with
"Hot enough," was the reply. "I shall have to give up right
off if you don't," he continued, as he lay cool enough at the bottom
of the bath.
Smith was thinking about giving in beat, but Brown's words encouraged him
to hold out a little longer.
"I'm perfectly cool yet," said Smith as he writhed and twisted
about, "and can stand out two minutes longer, so you'd better give
"The water is 'tarnal hot, you know; but I shall hold out a few seconds
longer," said Brown.
Smith could not. With a half-suppressed cry of pain he sprang from the hot
water literally parboiled. Hastily drawing on some of his clothing, he entered
Brown's room, and saw him lying very comfortably at the bottom of the empty
bath, smoking a cigar. He found he had been done brown as well as boiled,
when Brown insisted that his tap was turned fairly, but as not a word was
said where the water should go, he proffered passing it through the plug-hole.
Smith promised to pay for the supper as soon as he congealed, which would
take some little time.