Rough Scan
~XVIII~
 
HOTEL BARKEROLA, VENICE
May 190-
 
DEAR CHRISTINA, - We stopped at a small town on the road here. It was a place where they make sausages :- no' Cambridge, though; that's a town in England. It began with a B, but it wasna Beef: I canna mind the name of it the now. But I'll never forget the place, for I was very near bein' left behind in a foreign land, and all through takin' chairge of a bird in a cage for an Italian lady in a red and green strippit shawl.
We had to wait twenty meenits for the train, and the young ladies went out to take a daunder on the platform, leavin' me and the traivelling-bags in the waiting-room. In came a stout lady with a bird in a cage, wrapped up in paper and string. She sat a wee whilie, and then she rose and came forrit, and set down the cage on the table, and, says she, "Will you keep the bird for me till I go and get some coffee?" She spoke the Italian language, but I kenned fine what she wanted, for she pointed to me, and the bird, and her, and the Restorong a twa-three times. Says I, "I'll do that, mem," little thinkin' what was to befall, and away she went.
Scarcely was her back turned when in rushed one of thae fellies in blue peenies. He lifted the bags in one hand, and the cage in the other, clapped the shawls under his oxter, and "Come on," says he. "Set down that bird," says I. "Come on, wumman," says he. "The bird's no' mine," says I, "it's belongin' to a lady that's away gettin' a drink of coffee," and I gruppit the cage. He let go, and the paper screeded up the middle. "Ye're a thrawn old fool," roars he, in a temper. "Naething o' the sort," says I, stiff-like, and off he flew like the very mischief, leavin' me my lane wi' a strange bird in my hand. The poor wee cratur was frichted, and I was cheepin' to it, when in came the porter again in a terrible pavee, cryin' "Come on, wumman, or ye'll loss the train!" and with that he up with the cage and ran, and me after him.
When I got outside the waiting-room there I sees the train standin' on the ither side of the rails, and Miss Jean and Miss Celandine with their heads out at a windy, cryin' "Run, Margaret, run!" The gaird was clashin' the doors, and the engine was snortin' for breath (and me too): my certy! I can tell you I ran, and thankfu' was I when they hauled me into the carriage, and the blagyard in the blue peeny handed the bird in after me. I couldna speak, but Miss Jean said, "No birds to-day, thank-you," and gave the scoundrel a doosoor.
The last I saw of the sausage-place (I've minded it now-Bologna-I kenned it began with a B) was the man lauchin' on the platform, and the leddy with a crowd round her on the ither side. It was a wee bird, gey nervous-like, but it was very near lossin' me the train. It come over me after that mebbe the Italian lady was takin' the bird home for her dinner, and I wished I had hauden on to it. But Miss Jean won't traivel with fowls of no kind, she says, no' even parrots, so it was better to trust the wee cratur to a higher power. "Confide ye aye in Providence, for Providence is kind." Mebbe it's eaten by this time.
Bologna was a dull-like town: the pavements had stone arches all over them to keep them dry. There was a Cathedral, and a Pictur-gallery. I didna nottice a sausage-maker's shop; I never was outbye. Venice is a celebrated locality; I'll give you all parteeclars in my next.
My kind remembrances to all inquirin' friends from
 
MARGET POW