~VIII~ VIA BON COMPAGNI, ROMA March 190- DEAR CHRISTINA, - See and no' affront yourself with sending such a daft-like address again. Just you copy what I put at the head of my letter. "Via" means a street-anybody might have jaloused that-but no doubt it's easier to learn the language when you're in the place. We have been greatly blessed in the weather the time we've been in Rome-not a single earthquake! I'm thinkin' Italy is no' near so shoogly as what folks try to make out; and, speakin' about shoogly, would you believe that I've never seen more than one drunk man in Rome? and he was not exackly what you would call drunk, but just a wee thing tozy-mozy like, as Mansie would say. Mind you that's a queer thing, for the folk are aye drinkin' wine! I'll be glad when the young ladies have seen all the picturs and the churches in Rome, for I'm fair sick of them. I'll warrant there are twice as many picturs as what there is in the National Picture Gallery in Edinburgh, and mebbe more. There's hundreds of picturs of the Virgin, and no two of them alike; I canna understan' that. There's a good few saints and martyrs has had their picturs painted too, puir things; I daursay we've seen five oil paintins, in broad gold frames, of the same thin, old gentleman glowrin' at a scull (I dinna mind his name); he must have been set on gettin' hissel' taken. I never had my caird done but once, at Portobella on the Queen's Birthday; it was like, all except the face. It was a portrait of a young lady we were away seein' to-day, and Miss Celandine gave me her history. Chenchy was her last name-a high family in Rome. It seems that her poor Papaw was a very difficult gentleman to get on with, and a fair torment in the house. Mebbe her Mamaw was a bad manager, and changed her sairvants every six months like the folk next door: I wouldna wonder: but, any way, they were not a comfortable family. At long and at last, after an extry rippat, the old gentleman was found dead in his bed, and it was easy seen that it was by no wish of he's. Well, they sent for the pollis-officers, and if they didna take up the puir innocent lassie, and off with her head. Nasty, cruel fellies! I couldna bear to look at the pictur-such a bonny bit thing she was, with a waesome look on her face that very near garred me greet. I was thankfu' to get home again; I was that tired I went up the stair in the lift. Miss Jean gave the Konserge a bÍte-noir, as the French call it, to take extry care of me, and I took a good grip of the seat with both hands; but I was in a trem'le the whole way up, and glad to get a sit-down and my tea when I landed. The young ladies are keepin' well, but I dinna think Miss Jean's sight is just right, and I'm kind of uneasy about it. When we were lookin' at the picturs to-day she called one of them an "old Master," and, as sure as I'm here, it was a woman in a low-bodied gown, tight in the waist, with long sleeves and starched frills at the bands, sittin' at an open windy, and a shower comin' on! She canna be seeing right. Miss Celandine is fine. She says she would like to be married on a Cardinal, but she's doubting if she will get the chance; I hope no'; she would make a daft-like Minister's wife. My best respecks to Mr M'Duigald. - Your affectionate friend, MARGET POW P.S.-We were away seeing a celebrated church this morning, round-shaped, with a hole in the roof, I canna mind the name of it. The most remarkable featur about the edifice is the number of cats in the vicinity, viz, inside and out. We counted seven airing themselves round about the church, and there was other five inside. The most of them was young married ladies appearingly, so I doubt it will be a while before they'll can get them exterminated. There was a bonny black one asleep on one of the altars. Miss Jean says she thinks she has heard of cats being worshipped :- ==The heathen in his blindness ==Bows down to wood and stone. See and no forget to put a wee drop of hot water in Tatty's milk at night: it is lighter for the stomach. - M. P.