Rough Scan
~XV~
 
HOTEL, FLORENCE
April 190-
 
DEAR CHRISTINA, - It's just much about the same, thenk-ye. Miss Celandine brought in the news yesterday that she had seen written-up in a shop near-hand "Leather Conveniences for the Feet," so away I went to see if I could get a pair of fine wide elastic-sided boots. Preserve us all! It was footstools they were alludin' to! However, when I was out with Miss Jean to-day, we passed a bootmaker's with "Lasts for elegant shoes for the lame, and persons suffering with their Feet," in the right-hand window, so away we went in. After a parleyvoo with the man, I came away home with a pair of soft cloth boots, buttoning up the sides with six buttons each, and I'll no' deny but what they're kind-o' comfortable. They were marked fifteen franks, but I got them for 12s. 6d. of our money: it would likely be a Spring Sale, and they would be rejuced. Hand-sewn, too. Miss Celandine says she wouldna call them exackly "elegant"; but what with the weather turnin' warmish, and me aye on my feet lookin' at auld picturs, statutes, and edifices, I'm no' sae parteeclar about bein' elegant.
Our young ladies are greatly admired on account of their light hair and their red cheeks. I aye thought Miss Celandine's hair was red, but, says she, it's no'-it's the colour that artists love to paint. It's funny that none o' the artists she knows has pented it; but she says it's because they're no' old masters yet. Miss Celandine has aye an answer. And the way she wins in and out of places is fair rideeclous-nothing dauntens her. There's no' a shut door but what she'll get through, if she's that way inclined. But she was very near bein' obligated to spend the night in what they call the Spanish Chapel, with her nonsense. It's a place all over with coloured picturs, opening off a great big Church, through a sma' door, and down a stair; and she said that a person of the name of Ruskin had let on that it would take six or ten weeks to see it right :- just a haver; but she wouldna come away when the other folks had had their fill, and so Miss Jean and me went into the Church to wait for her. What we saw there put Miss Celandine fair out of our heads. The whole Church was pitch dark, but just the end where we came in. Near the door there was a Chapel, like, all lighted up with numerous gasoleeries, with hundreds of candles in them-a fearfu' expense. They were sweein' the last one up to the roof when we got in. Then the ministers appeared, arrayed like Solomon in all his glory, with wee laddies in white silks attendin' upon them, carryin' candles. Perfeck wastry, and it as light as day already: but I'll no' deny that it was a fine sight.
When the music began, I very soon found out that I had heard the same tune afore, and in a Scotch Church too! When once you introjuice Popish hymns, the same kind o' tunes will not be far to seek. Mind you, it's a strange thing-there's me singin' the same hymns as the Frees, and the same tunes as the Foreign Catholics, and all of us expeckin' to go to Heaven if we're spared. It appears from the Scripturs that there will be fine music there, and I hope the Psalm-tunes will no' be negleckit - it wouldna be like a Sabbath wantin' them. But you would think David would see to that, parteeclarly "Few are thy days and full of woe," that I aye hushed the bairnies to sleep with lang syne; Paraphrase No.8.
I was tryin' to mind what tune it was, when there came a rap at the wee door we came in by. "Miss Celandine," says I to mysel', for I ken her knock fine. She didna wait a meenit till she rapped again, loud. Miss Jean looked at me, but we sat quiet, no' likin' to disturb the pious congregation. At last when the noise was attrackin' folks' attention, a stout gentleman, dressed all in black and white (Miss Jean said he was what they call a Dominicum-the minister's man, no doubt), went forrit and opened the door, and real mad he looked, as well he might. But when Miss Celandine slippet through, lookin' as mim at a May puddock, he smiled at her, quite pleased-like. Miss Celandine got a fine fright, though, and I hope it will learn her to keep aside Miss Jean and me, and no' to be so positive. She says she aye bears in mind what Shakespeare said: i.e. "Still in thy right hand carry a sixpenny-piece to silence envious tongues."
I would give twopence for a plate of porridge, and a pennysworth of sweet milk. Folks speak about Mackarrony-nesty slippery stuff. You've a work to get it lifted off the plate, and when once it's into your mouth, it's down before you've eaten it.
Miss Jean is lookin' some better, thank-you.
My kind regairds. - Yours sincerely,
 
MARGET POW