Rough Scan
June 190-
DEAR CHRISTINA, - We had a treat last Sabbath. We went to the English Church - me and the young ladies - at eleven o'clock, and heard a powerfu' discourse in the English language. The text was in Joel, chapter i. verse 4, viz.: "That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten." No an easy subjeck to handle, but the minister brought it out fine. He laid down that, firstly, the palmerworm signifeed original sin; secondly, the locust was the sins of youth eatin' up the flowers of virtue; thirdly, the cankerworm was the sins of middle age, eatin' up the locusts' leavins; and fourthly, the caterpillar signifeed the sins of old age, devourin' the wee bit good fruits the cankerworm hadna notticed. "Finally," was a fearsome pictur of the total galravishment of the sinner; and "To Conclude," reminded us that we were all worms of one kind or another. It was a maist solemn warning, and the collection was to buy new windy-blinds.
Miss Celandine's on the nonsense the day. She says she dreamt the whole night that there was palmerworms in her bed (just a wee bit horsehair stickin' through the mattress); and she aye calls the Miss Farquharsons "the caterpillars" now, for she says they get nothing but the leavins, decent ladies. But the sermon made an impression on her, mind you. Miss Jean told me that when they were sittin' at the dinner on Sabbath night, Miss Celandine looked round about her, and hove a deep sigh. When her sister asked her what ailed her, she said, "The cankerworms have started on the ice." Miss Celandine was aye fond of ice, but even in the midst of feastin' and revelry, the minister's words was soundin' in her ears: well might she cry with David, the Psalmist,
My heart unto thy testimonies
And not to greed incline.
Psalm 119, verse 36.
The furniture here has been bought at an unction; there's 43 written in white chalk on the back of my lookin'-glass.
The house is cram-full of folk now. The fame of the Miss Farquharson's estaiblishment has flown far and wide, and many a beautiful testimony to their Cleanliness, Comfort, and Cooking is written clear in the Visitors' Book, and no' a single complaint from beginnin' to end! Miss Celandine says there will be one after she leaves, for she's perfeckly determined to tell on the cat. She aye calls him "Sir Having Greedy," but he gets "Catsy" in the kitchen, and Miss Farquharson says his real name is "Munch," for he's all black and white like a Dominicum monk. He gets into our sittin'-room by the windy, and yowls for the cream when the young ladies are at their teas. Miss Celandine brought in three cream-cakes one day, at twopence each, and I put them on a plate for the tea. Losh! when Miss Jean came downstairs they were licked empy, and Munch was Sittin' on the sofy in the sun, smgin' with joy and fulness.
Miss Jean fair spoils him, and so does Mrs Balcarres and her faimly. She got a fright on Monday night, though. They were all sittin' quite calm-like at the table, when, all of a sudden, Mrs Balcarres put her hand in her pocket, and rummeled in it a wee while. Then her face flew up scarlet, and says she in horror, "Oh, William, I've lost my purse! and all my money is in it-and my ticket, and the little gold chain you gave me!" "It may be upstairs,~~ says her husband. "Feel again," says the young lady. "Please don't disturb yourselves," says the young gentleman, no' the least putten about, "My Mother loses her purse regularly twice a week." Well, she felt again in her pocket, and she looked under the table; syne she tried the front of her gown, but it wasna there. She was very near desperate, when finally she gave a sigh of relief and rose up. "I remember now," says she; "I always turn my under pocket round to the back when I put on my evening dress"; and sure enough it was there all the time. "Not lost but gone behind," says the young gentleman, and they all went on with their denners the same as if nothing had happened. But Mrs Balcarres got a fright, mind you. I like her fine; she's just the same as me about nesty smells-she canna abide them-and many a pleasant conversation we've had on the subjeck, although Swisserland is far behind Venice that way; there's no the same variety, by no means.
We're "gathering as we gang." Miss Celandine was for buying a wee dog, but Miss Jean and me put her off it owing to the bark, and she's got a musical chair instead. They're one of the producks of Swisserland, the same as cuckoo-clocks, musical-boxes, etc. etc. It's a neat wee chair, and she'll no tell what she paid for it. The back is carved to represent a cubit with wings, sittin' cross-legged, playin' on a mandarin. The seat is just plain wood, gey an' hard, but the meenit you sit down there's a click and a gurr, and away goes the tune. It's an easy instrument to play, and a bonny tune, but I doubt Miss Celandine will soon tire of it; she never could sit long. She says she likes the tickly feeling the music makes inside her, and she's always going to carry the chair about with her for Miss Jean to get a sit-down at the stations: I doubt we'll soon have a crowd round about us.
I'm real glad to think that we are kind-of on the road home at last; folks dinna ken what home is till once they traivel from it. - Your affeckate old friend,
P.S. - I add these few lines to let you know that we have just got a letter from Lady Lindesay to say that Sir Ian has been ordered to go to a place they call Grenoble, on some kind of business. She is going with him, and the three bairns, and the two nurses, and she wishes the young ladies and me to join them there for a whilie to learn them to speak the French better. Michty me! if they could learn Miss Celandine to hold her tongue it would be far wiser-like; there's no' a language that'll halt her. I thought Miss Jean would have been vexed, for she doesna do with hot weather, but she seems glad; mebbe she is wearying to see her wee Namesake. Miss Celandine is mad; she says she can speak the French fine, and she wants home for the gooseberries. I canna deny that I'm sorely disappointed; we'll no' be home or Nevermas at this rate; but "things mun aye be some way, even if they're crookit."- M. P.