Rough Scan
~XIX~
 
HOTEL BARKEROLA, VENICE
May 190-
 
DEAR CHRI5TINA, - I had only been in Venice a jimp week when I felt a kind-of nesty smell in the house. I thought it was likely conneckit with cats-water-cats, mebbe-but they've been tellin' me that a queer smell is what Venice is celebrated for. I would think they might get something uncommoner to be proud of! but, mind you, I'll no' deny that it's strong. You will have heard of civic cats? It might be them. Or musk rats.
There's a good few canals, and hundreds of gongdolies fleein' up and down them, but I've never went in them but once. That was when we came out of the train at Venice station. The land ended there, so we had to go in a boat or drown. I can tell you I was in a fine fright. I aye hated boats - nesty dangerous things. The man that rowed us had a red sash round his middle, tied at the side, and whiskers. He never sat down the whole time, keepin' a look out for danger. Every now and then he gave a most awsome howl; it curdled my very blood to hear him. Miss Jean said it was to let folks know we were comin' round the corner; as if it was any business of theirs!
Thankfu' was I when we landed at the hotel-door, and no sooner did I set my feet on Terryfurmah, as they say, than I made up my mind to keep them on it as long as I bide in Venice. I've no objections to a Bus, lint gongdoliery boats I winna lippen to. When I go out I just take a bit daunder by the back Road to St Mark's Square; it's the biggest bit of dry ground in the place, appearingly. What for do they no' irrigate the canals, and make roads for folk to walk on?
I've seen the Dodge's Palace, and the Bridge of Sighs; it's poor after the Forth Bridge.
Don't ask me any more about the Churches. How can you have a right church with no pews, an' no foot-board, an' naething to lay down your Bible on, and your hanky, and your glasses? And there's no right ministers; just foreigners dressed up like play-actors, and wee laddies in red gowns and white muslin peenies carryin' candles, and lettin' fall the waux round about them on the floor-a perfeck caper. I'm no' sure if they have elders or no'; but, any way, there's a minister's man in St Mark's, and what do you think he did? He came round to take up a collection when we were standin' in the place: Miss Celandine and me gave him a copper each, and he put them in the box he was carryin' for the purpose. But, when he saw the bit silver Miss Jean gave him, he didna put it in the box-no' him! He said he was a gey auld man, and no' very weel; and it was raither much to put into the box; and he would just keep it to hissel': and with that he wrapped it in his hanky, and thank-ye kindly!
There is nothing more of importance to nottice, and so I draw to a close. - Your affeck. old friend,
 
MARGET POW