Adventure at the Bath
By Frank Kenneth Young
Marie de Courtade awoke in her blue and white bedchamber with the songs of birds in her ears. Rose-hued was the dawn creeping through the window; the sun was warm and bright. On such a morning, one’s thoughts turn naturally to love and romance, and one’s soul appreciates more fully the glory of the sunrise. Marie was glad to be alive, but she had overslept and was—oh!—so sleepy!
She yawned and stretched bare, white arms languorously ceilingward. She sat up in bed, and the white coverlet fell away from her body as if making obeisance to sacred beauty…Oh, how sleepy she was!…She flexed the muscles of somnolent legs and glanced lazily at a small ivory clock standing on the dresser, then threw back the covers and slid her feet to the floor.
How the rough nap of the rug tickled her bare, pink soles! She laughed amusedly, enjoying the titillating sensation; then stood boldly upright, a tall, slender, yet also curving young goddess, beautiful and unashamed. Again she yawned and stretched, twisting her supple torso in sensuous abandon, then slipped out of her sleeping pyjamas and into a diaphanous negligee.
She was about to step into the white enamelled bath that adjoined her sleeping chamber, when the door of the latter opened abruptly and a man entered!
“Mon Dieu, Mam’selle!” he exclaimed, feasting startled eyes. “A thousand pardons!”
Turning quickly to regard the unexpected visitor, Marie grew rather pink and giggled frightenedly, yet maintained a fair degree of composure. What?—a man in her room! Well, the stranger was rather good looking; he was young—and the season was Spring!
“Mais, how does it happen, Monsieur, that you enter my Chamber without being admitted?” she asked quite calmly.
Then Marie observed he was attired in rough work clothes, and was carrying several tools in his hand. She was not insensible to the effect her beauty was producing upon him—and she had always dreamed of experiencing exciting adventure.
“I comprehend, Monsieur,” she said, boldly advancing a step. “Mamman was not aware that I would be occupying my room. She was asleep—poor dear!—when I returned last night, and I did not wake her.”
“Mam’selle has been visiting?” inquired the man, merely for the sake of prolonging the conversation.
“Oui!” replied Marie. “At the home of a maiden aunt! But I wearied of her and came away without telling. Mamman would not have sent you here had she not thought me still away.”
“That is so,” said the man. “It is the grand blunder. But—what am I to do? The pipes—they must be repaired, no?”
“Doubtless,” she replied. “The pipes must be repaired before I can take my morning bath.”
The plumber scratched his head. “Shall I then go out and wait for Mam’selle to dress?”
“Do you want to go?” she asked daringly.
“Non, non!” he exclaimed passionately.
Marie smiled, observing the light of admiration in his eyes, and his warm confusion.
“Come here, Monsieur!” she said suddenly.
The man moved suspiciously forward.
“I shall direct you to the bath,” she said, taking his arm and leading him to the doorway.
“Is it here, Monsieur, that you wish to work?” she asked, observing that his face perspired freely, that his arm trembled in her grasp.
“Perhaps, Monsieur, I may be of service to you?” she suggested mischievously.
”Very well. Then I shall help, and you may teach me many things!”
And presently, she was seated cross-legged on the tiled floor, watching the plumber fit a new faucet to the water pipe.
“How strong you are!” she exclaimed, gazing admiringly at his sinewy forearms.
“But not stronger than Mam’selle is beautiful!” he laughed.
“But, see!” pointing to a dark smudge on one fair, white hand, “Monsieur is getting me very much soiled and dirty!”
“Mam’selle will be more ready for the bath, then!” he teased.
“Oui!” she laughed. Then, as a daring idea came to her: “But since I have helped you with the work, Monsieur, is it not only fair that you help me with the bath?”
“Mon Dieu!” gasped the plumber, turning suddenly red. “That I cannot do!”
“Why, Marie!” she exclaimed. “I did not know you were in the house!”
“Oh, yes, Mamman!” laughed Marie gayly. “I returned home last night, but did not make my presence known because I did not want to disturb you.”
“Mais, were you here when the man came to repair the pipes?” asked the good lady fearfully.
“I heard him ascending the stairs and hid me in the closet till he had gone,” replied Marie innocently.
Originally published in It’s a Wow!, Volume 1, Number 10, 1930