Rough Scan
February 190-
DEAR CHRISTINA, - Figure me in Rome! "The Infernal City," as they call it; doomed to destruction on account of being seetiated on seven hills, and filled cram-full (as I understan') of idolators and other Bedevilments. I've been expeckin' an earthquake very near every day, and I aye keep my flannen petticoat on a chair next my bed at night, ready to flee in. I've let down one of the tucks, no' being wishfu to look like a ballet-dancer at my latter end; I'll need to put a false hem, though (if I'm spared), and I'll no' soon forget the Lady's Lily-white Laundry-set them up!
What do you think was the first name I saw over a door in the town? No less than Colonna Ciceri! You'll mind Andrea Ciceri, who keepit the High-class ice-cream Saloon in Dunbar High Street, with "Fried Potatoes" above the left-hand window? He'll be a friend of he's - mebbe a first cousin: it's a queer thing, but go where you like, you'll aye fall in with somebody that you ken something about.
Miss Jean says we're livin' in a palace. It is the first time I ever heard tell of a palace up a common stair. No doubt the steps are marble, and there's a good few of them; but I've been up a stair in the High Street with seventeen mair.
We landed in the middle of the night, and the folk that keep the pension were all in their beds except a laddie no' above sixteen year old, in a black dress-coat rideeclously long in the waist, and a white tie. He gave us our suppers, and, for all there was to eat, he might just as well have been in his bed too, instead of standin' glowerin' at us like a wull-cat :-
cold roast mutton, bread and cheese, and soddy-water in a sighfone-nesty things; naething but a whiffle of wind, or else squirkin' all over the cloth and making a mess.
Yes: we saw the leaning tower the day we were at Pisa; it's no' straight, I must say that. The folk at the hotel were real set to know if the man that built it meant it to lean. I would think no'! if it had been meant to lean, it wouldna have leant-no' it. I was tellin' Miss Celandine that, and she says the Tower is a notable instance of the innate cussedness of matter; she'll have got that out of the Guidebook, I'm thinking.
We were shown the gasoliery that made a man called Gallyleeo invent a clock. It is in the church that Mr and Mrs Gallyleeo attended, and it seems that the gasoliery used to swee like a pendulum; there must have been an awfu draught; but a knock's a useful thing too, so it is.
Miss Celandine's real ill about the way the folk in the hotels cleans her boots. She says I am to send you the directions, and you are to mind and never follow them. This is what she has written down :- "To clean ladies' boots. Remove carefully all traces of polish with a damp cloth, smearing the leather as completely as possible. Then, with a piece of clean flannel, apply the blacking freely to the boot-laces only, and deliver at the bedroom door."
They're tellin' me the Pope's no' a married gentleman; he's just what they call a celebrate, like. I heard a deal about him yon time the Rev. Mr MacTavish was preachin' about graven images in the Established Church. I dinna mind of seeing any mysel'; but they are unchancy things, and I hope they'll no' get creepin' into the Auld Kirk.
See you and Merran take your Sundays out reglar; a Continental Sabbath is no much better nor a Setterday.
With kind regairds. - Your old friend,