Alfonso and Leo hastened to Scheveningen, three miles west of The Hague, on the breezy and sandy shores of the North Sea, a clean fishing village of neat brick houses sheltered from the sea by a lofty sand dune. Here bathing wagons are drawn by a strong horse into the ocean, where the bather can take his cool plunge. Scheveningen possesses a hundred fishing boats.
And, Simon, sometimes I think you're not, and it makes me wretched; and I'd do anything in the world to please you; anything, if if it wasn't too hard a task, you know." She had been so eager to make her sacrifice and get it over that she hurried inconsiderately to the brink, then, like a timid bather, stopped short, hesitating the water looked so cold and dark and deep.
The plunge may, if thought advantageous, be placed partly in the cool apartment and partly in the hot rooms, in which case, the bather dives under a glazed partition of some sort, which, furnished with an india-rubber flap dangling in the water, prevents the hot air of the sudatorium from entering the cooling rooms.
A cool breeze rose and rustled the fronds of cocoanut and bamboo, bringing from forest depths a clean, earthy odor. The last bather came from the brook, refreshed by the cooling waters and adorned with flowers. All were in a merry mood for food and fun. Half a dozen flaring torches illuminated their happy, tattooed faces and dusky bodies, and caught color from the vivid blossoms in their hair.
It is a large room with bare walls and a marble floor, on which is placed a cistern or jar of water, from which water is taken with a hand-bucket and poured over the bather, who stands upon a wooden framework. The water runs away from the edges of the room, but I never felt quite sure that it didn't come back again afterwards.
The wise man will bring his bath forward into the lightest possible position, where its clear, limpid waters will look enticing instead of repelling. For preference, it should be placed where the bather will take it naturally, en route to the frigidarium, as at the Charing Cross baths, previously illustrated.
It was a day of blazing sunshine, and, between the bright sky and the silver drabs of the sand stretched the low levels of a sea that had its customary green-grey touched for once with something of the sapphire glow of the Mediterranean. Here and there were gay little umbrella tents or canvas shelters, and a bather or so and pink and white wading children broke the dazzling edge of foam.
The force of suggestion brought to bear on him was too overwhelming, and he strove boldly to vie with the rest in foulness of tongue and thought. As soon as he was back in the city, this habit dropped off him as the soap lather is washed off a bather when he dives into the clear waters of a lake. But the game he had learned to play back of the big rock could not be unlearned in the same way.
It should be a cosy place where the bather may recline and cool, and smoke and read, or otherwise divert himself to his heart's content. If so preferred, it might be arranged like an Eastern divan; or it might be a simple, homely room, fitted with one or two comfortable couches. A fireplace may here be a desirable feature, for appearance sake, during the winter months.
"Right-oh!" came a quiet reply. Bather abashed by the startling echoes he had evoked, Roger climbed over fallen rocks to the back of the cave. There the floor rose sharply, affording a level apparently beyond reach of the tide, for some tiny land plants had found a lodging, ferns waved from the crannied vault and there was no sign of any marine growth.