Jenny: The Stream

Poor girl. The Guttersnipe nodded vigorously. "You've done finely. Now it's time for a quick scrub. We have about a half an hour before we have to see the Master. We'll fetch a clean gown for you on the way out." She gestured over her shoulder. So with Domitia behind her, she went down the sharply-turning passageways, dodging the other servants. She kept an eye out for the boy just her height with an unkempt shock of black hair.

She ducked into the laundry room and swept a white gown off a rack, slipping back out again and shoving the article into Domitia's hands. She took a lengthy red ribbon off a counter in passing, murmuring to Domitia that Monica owed her, and together they tumbled out into the sunshine. "Come on!" she cried, and with the ribbon in one hand and Domitia's hand in her other, she shoved off and ran down the ragged dirt slope across the hen-pecked turf toward the stream. A dog joined them partway, barking anxiously, and turned off to follow a flight of doves they had routed out running by.

The bathing pool lay upstream, surrounded by willows and overhung with a shroud of white sheets. The Guttersnipe let go of Domitia's hand and plunged breathless into the water, hitching up her gown to her knees. "There," she pointed at the little billowy tent. "You can bathe in there. I'll keep watch." She plunged back up the bank and threw the ribbon over Domitia's shoulder, perching on a rock to wait.

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