Rough Scan
March 190-
DEAR CHRISTINA, - The weather is much the same as what it is in Edinburgh, Portobella and district at this time of year :- whiles it keeps fair; and whiles it pours with rain; but as long as the earthquakes keep off, I'm no' caring. There was a good shower this morning, but it faired up sudden-like, and out blinked the sun as hot as summer. I stuck my head out at the windy to smell the rain (the windy-sole is pure marble), and I got a fine view far and near. Not so bonny as what we see from the top-windy in the Terrace, away over the Firth to the green hills of Fife-I'm no' saying that-but bonny for a foreign land. The Principe Bon Compagni's Villa is exackly opposeet; a self-contained house, with eight statutory figures on the top with nothing on, but clean-I will say that-Rome is a clean place in the way of smoke-reek. The gairden round about the villa is just overgrown with trees, and you never saw the like of the flourish on them, parteeclarly the lily-oaks! and the camelias are full out under the trees; and the raindrops were prap-prappin' on them Like diamonds from the sky, as the poet says. Away west there's a hill they call Monte Cavo, a very neat shape, like North Berwick Law; but it is mebbe higher, because there's snow on the top yet.
Our ladies were away seein' the Pope on Monday afternoon, dressed all in pure blacks, with black lace veils over their heads, like nuns; it set them no' bad.
I went down to the chapel too, for the sake of the hurl, and there was a Popish lady with us carryin' dizens of wee images and a good few rosemaries to be blessed by the Pope. They're awfu folk for gettin' theirselves blessed. Miss Jean says you'll never can get any ill from the blessing of a good man, but the way that beast James has been carryin' on ever since he was blessed is no chancy-mind you, the cratur understan's French-he does that!
Last night at the back of eight, I heard Miss Thomson crying "Prommeny, James, prommeny!" which means "Away you go for a walk," and sure enough away he goes down the stair with Gemma, to get a bit run: she's the housemaid. It was nearly half an hour before they came back, and Gemma said she had had a job seekin' for James; and little wonder, for, when I went out to the post, the dog was sittin' waitin' at the door on the bass-mat, and Gemma was seekin' him in the arms of the lift-man-no' a very likely place, for the poor beast canna abide Joe Vanny-no him.
There was a terrible crowd getting in to see the Pope, and it was everybody for hisself, and de'il tak' the hindmost. The sojers were the queerest tickets you ever saw, with bunchy red and yellow breeks, cut in strips. I am told their uniforms were designed by a gentleman that was something in the pictur line: dear peety me ! could he no' have stuck to the pentin'! Mitchell-Angelo was his name: no' an Edinburgh gentleman: so no more at present, from - Yours truly,