Rough Scan
April 190-
DEAR CHRISTINA, - If we're spared, we purpose to shift next week to a town they call Florence. Miss Jean was set to board with nuns in a convent there - seven francs a day, real cheap - but I'm thankfu' to say Miss Celandine put her off it: she said a monastery at the same price might do, but a housefu' of women she couldna abide, she's had enough of it here: so we have got rooms near the Dwamo. It will be the river, no doubt. "Florence seetiated at the mouth of the River Dwamo"; I think I mind something about it in the Jography-book we had at the school. I hope it will no' be damp.
Miss Celandine has lifted her love; she's not thinkin' of marryin' on a Cardinal now, it's to be a Bassaleery. That's what they call one of the regiments here; and a daft-like squad they are, their hats fleein' with cock's feathers, and wide blue cloaks hangin' round about them-pale blue, mind you, a colour that would spot easy-no' the thing at all for rushin' into battle, what with gettin' between their legs, and haudin' in their arms, and hangin' round their necks fit to choke them: the Hielanders would make short work of them I'm thinkin', if they were gettin' near-hand.
I'll be thankfu' when we get the parcel delivered that Mrs Scott gave us to take to her good-brother in Florence, for it's been a fair torment. There's woolly things in it, and the paper burstit before ever we got the length of London: and by the time we lighted down out of the carriage at Cavendish Square, a long knitted leg had cruppen through, and was hangin' down very near to the pavement. Mr Scott is a tall man. We've put a brown paper over the outside of the parcel now, and tied it up with twine, but I wouldna wonder if it burst again; wool's an explosive thing, mind you.
Miss Celandine's been at me with what they call "The Visitors' Book," and she told me I was to write down my name, age, address, occupation, and remarks. Allow them! they're no feared! if I was to put down all the remarks I've made to mysel', and whiles to the dog, James, I wouldna need to come back here in a hurry. Miss Celandine told me to take a look through the book, and I would see the way to do it. Her own name is the very last. She has put "Celandine Murray"; and, down below, like a text, "Purr when you're pleased"; it's no' in the Scripturs. The one above was just "Miss Murray," and the address in Edinburgh. There was a terrible grumblie lady here for a two-three days-they called her Miss Villars. She was aye findin' fau't with one thing or another. I looked up the book to see what she had putten down, and I was dumb-foundered to see "Miss Villars, London. 'I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.'" My certy! Philippians iv. 11, and a neat hand-of-write too. There was no age to any of the folk I read, so I didna put mine's. The American ladies put down a very nice prescription, viz.- "We have spent nearly three days in Rome, and have no hesitation in saying that it is the most elegant city we have seen yet." But they've no' been in Edinburgh. So at long and at last I tried the pen on an old envelope; then I put a piece of paper under my hand and wrote down, "Mistress Marget Pow, maid to the aboves, address do." So there's me, likely to be known far and wide through writin' my name in Visitors' Books! Little did I think when I got my first place at Mrs Murray's (10 a year, and find your own tea and sugar), that I would end by towering through the world as a kind of lady's maid: but it's a waesome job to be far from your ain country, and I'm fain to get away home again. This will be the last letter you'll get from Rome, so see and no' Loss it. - Yours sincerely,