I shall never like washing-up. In the communal households of the future I shall heave coal, sift cinders, dig potatoes, dust furniture or scour floors—any task will be mine which, though it makes me dirty, does not make me greasily dirty. But if I must wash-up, if I must study the idiosyncrasies of cold fat, treacly plates, frying-pans which have sizzled dripping-toast on the gas-ring, frozen gravy, and pudding-basins with burnt milk-skins filmed to their sides, I shall be comparatively undismayed. For sandpaper is not yet (like the news posters) abolished; and soda—although I hear its price has risen several hundred per cent.—is still cheaper than, say, diamonds.
A “HUT” HOSPITAL
People have curious ideas of the kind of building which would make a good war hospital. “The So-and-So Club in Pall Mall,” I have been told, “should have been commandeered long ago. Ideal for hospital purposes. Of course some of the M.P. members brought influence to bear, and the War Office was choked off....” And so forth.
It would surprise me to hear of anything that the War Office was held back from doing if it wanted to do it. Perhaps the least likely obstructionist to be successful in this project would be a club-frequenting M.P. The War Office has taken exactly and precisely what it chose—even when it would have been better to choose otherwise. In this matter of commandeering buildings for hospitals it may or may not have acted with wisdom; but at least it has been safe in avoiding the advice of the individual who jumps to the conclusion that just any pleasingly-situated edifice will do, provided beds and nurses are shovelled into it in sufficient quantities.
The indignant patriot who was convinced that chicane alone saved the So-and-So Club from being dedicated to the service of the wounded was quite unable to tell me whether the lifts—assuming that lifts existed—were roomy enough to accommodate stretchers; whether, if so, no interval of stairs prevented trollies from being wheeled to every ward; whether the arrangement of the building would allow of the network of plumbing necessitated by the introduction of numerous bathrooms and lavatories (for each ward must possess both); whether the kitchens were so located that they could supply food to top-floor patients without waste of carrying labour on the part of the orderlies’ staff. These problems, the mere fringe of the subject, had never occurred to our patriot. His idea of a hospital was a place where soldiers lie in bed and get well. (What queer notions visitors absorb of the easiness of hospital life!) He had not glimpsed the organisation which made the cure possible. The man in bed, a Sister hovering in the background with, apparently, nothing to do but look pleasant—these constituted, for him, the final phenomena of a war hospital. These phenomena, instead of being housed