Somewhat to my surprise, Mrs. Madison asked if I wouldn’t care to join her for a bit of a warm bath before our return to civilisation tomorrow.
Those who know me best will avow that I am a hedonist at heart, with a penchant for cleanliness that comes somewhat short of obsession, but only somewhat. I’ve been “making do” with cold wash-ups with river water and the occasional kettle of sun-warmed water in the evenings, when other events did not press. So, though a bit surprised at the offer, I didn’t have to think twice.
It was only then that she confided her husband was the only man she trusted to “guard” us while we bathed and assured me his devotion to duty would override any baser voyeuristic instincts he might have. I hadn’t previously considered her naïve in any sense but I must confess this assurance from her seemed disingenuous, at the least.
Still, it was hot water. And soap. And someone at hand to wash my back. I wasn’t about to refuse.
As for the denouement I will only say that even Madison’s devotion to duty can be suborned under the duress of two females rinsing each other off playfully in a mountain stream. The interlude reminded me somewhat of the conclusion of the Melancholy Curate and His Enigmatic Sister, only without the pseudo-religious undertones and with a great deal more soap bubbles.
Ah, dear, delectable, delicious Fallen London — ready or not, here I come!
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