Rough Scan
February 190-
DEAR CHRISTINA, - At long and at last we've crossed the English Channel. What a work folk make about nothing! You might just as well get into a pavee when you were takin' the boat to Burntisland - it is no' that much further - and when I keeked out half-roads the water looked the very same as the Firth of Forth; I must say I was disappointed. Then, when we set foot on a foreign shore, and went birlin' away to Paris, the very first station I read up was Creil, and 'deed the whole country was just as like Fife as need be. But there's an awfu odds on the language; that's a fack. There was a woman came to my room-door at a place they call Deeshong, and she rapped and cried, "Say lo shode, Madame." Thinks I to mysel', "I'll say naething of the sort - not without I ken what it means"; so I lay quiet. In a meenit she rapped again and cried louder, "Say lo shode." "Havers !" says I, and in she came with a jug of hot water, and stood smiling, appearingly waiting for me to say something. Then I minded that Miss Jean told me always to say "Mercy" when I didna ken what folk said: so "Mercy," says I, loud and plain, and away she went quite pleased. Daft, mebbe, but I'm no' sure.
Paris is a big town, and there's a great big church in it. Of course Miss Jean was set to go to it, and nothing would halt her, although it wasna the Sabbath-Day nor anything like it, and me in my every-day bonnet, and the skirt on that I got dyed black for efternoons. The minister was a stoutish gentleman, about fifty or thereaway, and the sermon was a good length; but I couldna make out what the subjeck of the discourse was, what with the language, and one thing and another.
Many a mile we've travelled syne. It's a long hurl from Paris to Pisa, and we stopped at three towns in the by-going. What hills for height we saw on the road here! all ice and snow on the top - no use whatever; and we went through an awfu length of a tunnel; they call it the Mong Snee tunnel.
It was at a place called Tureen that we saw the two Miss Duffs that worship in the East Church. You'll mind the old ladies that Mary Campbell's sister's niece was housemaid to ? It was them. They were sittin' at a nasty shoogly wee table takin' their breakfasts, or as much breakfast as they could get, anyway. I was sure at first that it was them, for I never saw them afore wantin' their bonnets; but one of them was readin' the Scotsman, and she lookit over the paper at the other one, and, says she, "Charlotte, guess who's dead?" The minute she spoke I knew her; there's something about the language that makes ye ken the Edinburgh folk fine.
I'm glad to hear you're both keepin' well. See and no' loss the cat the time we're away: Miss Jean is aye askin' about it. - Your affectionate friend,