Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Risqué bathing at Bath in 1825

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Loretta reports:
Who would ever have thought, in these moralizing times, when the puritans are raising conventicles in every town and village, and the cant of vice societies has spread itself over the land, that in one of our most celebrated places of fashionable resort, there should be found baths where the young and the old, the beauteous female and the gay spark, are all indiscriminately permitted to enjoy the luxurious pleasure together. That such is the case in Bath no one who has recently participated in the pleasures of immersion will dispute, and in order to perpetuate that gratification, Bob Transit has here faithfully delineated the scene which occurred upon our entering the King's Bath, through the opening from the Queen's, where, to our great amusement and delight, we found ourselves surrounded by many a sportive nymph, whose beauteous form was partially hidden by the loose flannel gown, it is true; but now and then the action of the water, produced by the continued movements of a number of persons all bathing at the same time, discovered charms, the which to have caught a glimpse of in any other situation might have proved of dangerous consequences to the fair possessors. The baths, it must be admitted, are delightful, both from their great extent and their peculiar properties, as, on entering from the Queen's Bath you may enjoy the water at from 90 to 96 degrees, or requiring more heat have only to walk forward, through the archway, to obtain a temperature of 116.  . .  The notices to prevent gentlemen from swimming in the baths are, in my opinion, so many inducements or suggestions for every young visitor to attempt it. Among our mad wags, Horace Eglantine was more than once remonstrated with by the old bathing women for indulging in this pleasure, to the great alarm of the ladies, who, crowding together in one corner with their aged attendants, appeared to be in a high state of apprehension lest the loose flannel covering that guards frail mortality upon these occasions should be drawn aside, and discover nature in all her pristine purity—an accident that had very nearly happened to myself, when, in endeavouring to turn round quickly, I found the water had disencumbered my frame of the yellow bathing robe, which floated on the surface behind me.
The English Spy, by Bernard Blackmantle, illustr. by G. Cruikshank.  (To read the full piece, please scroll down to page 320.)


Sandra Brake said...

What a naughty man! But aren't they all!

Regency romance author, Donna Hatch said...

I didn't realize the men and women all bathed together. I'd always assumed they separated the sexes and had organized bathing times, or something.

Anonymous said...

hahaha! Love that his robe floated away.

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