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Benedetto and Morello, in the heat of the afternoon, are at the river’s edge–Morello would love to see a little more of handsome Benedetto…
“Come in, the sun will roast you on that rock,” Morello pointed out. “It’s fun.”
Benedetto smiled but shook his head. “Your river smells better than the Arno, but no, I don’t swim.”
“You don’t have to swim—none of them know how but they’re in the water anyway.”
“You swim,” Benedetto said as if he envied Morello. “Very well.”
Morello grinned. “I’m a rare fish. Come on, you’ve caught me in a good humor.”
“Talgiaferro!” the apprentices and journeymen clamored, splashing and waving.
“Thank you, no,” Benedetto said politely, adjusting his hat.
Morello knew better than to use force—he didn’t want to embarrass the man. Maybe he had scars that caused him shame, or an ugly rash beneath his clothes. Morello suspected it was modesty. He lowered his voice. “If you don’t come in, they might take it upon themselves to help you in, if you get my meaning?”
Benedetto’s eyes grew round with horror. “Stop them!”
(Bathers at San Niccolo, Domenico Cersi, 16th century)