Barkerville, Williams Creek, Cariboo


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 you Brown?"
"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 up, Brown."

"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.

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