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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 139 pages of information about Bullets & Billets.
up the wide gravel drive to the grand portals of the building.  They do make nice asylums over there.  This was a sort of Chatsworth or Blenheim to look at.  Inside it was fitted up in very great style:  long carpeted corridors opening out into sort of domed winter gardens, something like the snake house at the Zoo.  We came at length to a particularly lofty, domed hall, from which opened several large bathrooms.  Splendid places.  A row of large white enamelled baths along one wall, cork mats on the floor, and one enormous central water supply, hot and cold, which you diverted to whichever bath you chose by means of a long flexible rubber pipe.  Soap, sponges, towels, ad lib.  You can imagine what this palatial water grotto meant to us, when, at other times, our best bath was of saucepan capacity, taken on the cold stone floor of a farm room.  We lay and boiled the trenches out of our systems in that palatial asylum.  Glorious! lying back in a long white enamel bath in a warm foggy atmosphere of steam, watching one’s toes floating in front.  When this was over, and we had been grimaced off the premises by “inmates” at the windows, we went back into Bailleul and made for the “Faucon d’Or,” an old hotel that stands in the square.  Here we had a civilized meal.  Tablecloth, knives, forks, spoons, waited on, all that sort of thing.  You could have quite a good dinner here if you liked.  A curious thought occurred to me then, and as it occurs again to me now I write it down.  Here it is:  If the authorities gave one permission, one could have rooms at the Faucon d’Or and go to the war daily.  It would be quite possible to, say, have an early dinner, table d’hote (with, say, a half-bottle of Salmon and Gluckstein), get into one’s car and go to the trenches, spend the night sitting in a small damp hole in the ground, or glaring over the parapet, and after “stand to” in the morning, go back in the car in time for breakfast.  Of course, if there was an attack, the car would have to wait—­that’s all; and of course you would come to an understanding with the hotel management that the terms were for meals taken in the hotel, and that if you had to remain in the trenches the terms must be reduced accordingly.

[Illustration:  I hear you callin’ me]

A curious war this; you can be at a table d’hote dinner, a music-hall entertainment afterwards, and within half an hour be enveloped in the most uncomfortable, soul-destroying trench ever known.  I said you can be; I wish I could say you always are.

The last time I was at Bailleul, not many months ago, I heard that we could no longer have baths at the asylum; I don’t know why.  I think some one told me why, but I can’t remember.  Whether it was the baths had been shelled, or whether the lunatics objected, it is impossible for me to say; but there’s the fact, anyway.  “Na Pu” baths at Bailleul.

CHAPTER XXV

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