“Are you quite sure of this, Dr. Duchagne?” asked Lavender Hutchins, gazing around uncomfortably in the safari tent. She was not used to the climate, and the heat and humidity was making her quite uncomfortable.
Amelia Duchagne responded from behind a screen, that she had brought with her on the expedition. She was getting changed.
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do, Dr. Hutchins! The Amazon tribes are much more likely to be friendly to one, who adopts their customs.”
“Yes, but... to dress in leopard skins! How uncivilized.”
“Quite so, Dr. Hutchins. Yet, if we want their aid to find the islands' rich supply of magnetonium, we must make sure we are on friendly terms with the natives... uncivilized as they may be.”
“And you are sure they dress in leopard skins? Have you ever seen an Amazon?”
“Of course not, Doctor Hutchins! But one can easily deduce it, based on the customs of neighbouring tribes.”
There was a noise from without, and Lavender Hutchins spun around. Peering through the tent-cloth, she swallowed. “I think we are about to find out, Dr. Duchagne. I see shadows without – it must be the natives!”
Dr. Duchagne stepped out from behind the screen. She was dressed in the manner of an exotic tribeswoman: A simple dress of leopard skin was wrapped around her body, leaving her arms and most of her long legs – including her feet – quite bare! Her blond hair was not neatly arranged, but instead fell freely over her shoulders. Dr. Hutchins blushed at the indecency, but this was no time for politeness. “Quickly, Dr. Duchagne! Step outside, and greet them!”
“I shall!” declared the other, and adjusting her glasses, strode to the opening of the tent, and exited. Her colleague stayed just inside, peering outside warily.
A great group of amazons stood before the tent. They were tall, dark-skinned women, each dressed in animal hides and armed with great spears. One who seemed to be their leader stepped forth, and spoke in a strange tongue. She raised her hand in a greeting, undid the bone clasp on her clothes, and cast the animal hide before Dr. Duchagne's feet. Underneath it, the amazon wore a woven-grass blouse and a skirt.
“What is she saying, Dr. Duchagne?” wondered Lavender Hutchins, looking at her colleague who had gone quite pale.
“She gives us this hide as a gift. I think it is expected I do the same.”
“Well then, hurry up!” shouted Lavender, seeing the impatient faces of the Amazons. Dr. Duchagne, however, just stood as if frozen.
“What are you waiting for?” Dr. Hutchins shouted, and in panic, tore the leopard skin off her colleague and threw it towards the Amazons.
There was a moment of silence. Then, the Amazons broke into loud, raucous laughter.
“I assure you, Dr. Hutchins... if I had known this was their custom, I would have worn something underneath! Oh dear...”