Rough Scan
February 190-
DEAR CHRISTINA, - We flitted on Monday to a top flat in a place they call Veeabone Company Street - fine and open. It's a queer thing what a lot of the names of the streets here begins with a "V." It'll be owing to some peculiarity of the Italian language, I'm thinkin'.
We came here on account of a lift there is to save Miss Jean the long climb; and much need, for there's a hundred and forty-eight steps up-marble every one of them, as sure as I'm here, and it just a common stair? But they'll no' get me to go into yon thing; I'm no' the kind of a woman to go sweein' up like a canary-bird in a cage, thank ye! and the man that pulls the string is an awfu down-lookin' chiel, with both eyes gleyed, and a mouth like the de'il pu'in heather.
It's a big flat when you get up to it, and the three ladies it belongs to take in six paying guests and one terrier dog. They keep two servants forbye a stout young mairrit woman that comes in by the day; I don't know what her right name is; she aye gets "Linda." The cook is an auld body, and the table-maid is a widow-woman. Strange to say, none of them can speak a word of English: it's an awfu drawback to the conversation.
There's queer things goes on here, and the very dog has been away to the church to be blessed, and me with him. His name is James, and he's no' a bonny dog, but real respectable-lookin': I don't know exackly 'what kind of a dog he is; Miss Celandine is real fond of dogs, but she says she never saw one the same shape before. He belongs to an English lady - Miss Thomson. She's free and pleasant, and she says she likes fine to hear me speaking; I'm sure it's a cheap treat for her, decent body. So away I went with her and James, although, mind you, I was raither uneasy about encouraging such a carry-on.
It was one of the days they call a Feastable, and a feck of folks was on the same business as us. The big beasts, such as horses, cows, calves, cuddies, pownies, and other quadrupeds, were outside the Church, but the wee animals was admitted. Up came the priest in full dress, and an anchorite with him, carrying the holy water. They stopped in front of James, but the poor beastie turned his back, and when he felt the water squirtin' over him he lookit up at his mistress as much as to say, "I doubt we'll hae rain," and was in an unco hurry to be off. It was as much as we could do to get him to bide till the prayer was said, and by the time it was done, he had the string Miss Thomson was holdin' him by wound about her feet like to trip her; she had on elastic-sided boots with patent leather toes and white cotton stockings, so you and Merran needna laugh at me. I wished I had had Tatty with me; she's such a meek cat, she would have acted it fine.
Cover comfortably with water and rejuce to a pulp; but I can easy see that it will just need to be all done over again once I get back. - Yours sincerely,