He'd be here soon, demanding his conjugal rights. A quick toss, then off to his club, while she fretted over bursting with another baby. She'd sneak a drink of wormwood or pennyroyal, hopefully to discourage any breeding.
She peeled off her mouseskin eyebrows; removed her bodice, then her skirt, the underskirt, and oh, the petticoats, dropped them in a pile on the floor. Garters untied, stockings rolled down. No drawers in freezing England; rumor has it they may wear them in France and Spain. Stays unlaced, easier with a maid. The silly girl never attended to her duties. Panniers untied, discarded. Shift slipped off--so stiff with perspiration, the garment could stand on its own. She scratched at her skin, bedbugs from the bed last night.
The wig! She tugged at the fake hair entwined with her own. A wooden ship fell on the floor with a few silk flowers. Where was that maid? She grabbed the hook and stuck it through the wig to scratch her itchy scalp. To preserve the style, she slept upright too many nights...she yawned.
Should she bathe? Soap was expensive. Water had to be lugged up two flights of stairs. She soaked in her shift, so how clean could she get? One rarely bathed. She should at least sprinkle rosemary over her body.
He'd swagger up the stairs any moment, sweaty from riding, clothes filthy, breath foul. She'd avoid kissing him.
**Researching my novel, The False Light, I found many interesting details about the eighteenth century. I like to write the gritty truth about life in another era, not the cleaned-up, idealized version.**
Diane Scott Lewis