THE following is from an old book of newspaper cuttings:- Finding Allan Cunningham, in his “Works of Robert Burns,” makes no mention of the circumstance, I, “Cuttle”-like, make a note of it, in the hope that it may be verified by some of your contributors:- When Robert Burns was a very young lad he had happened, at an ale-house, to fall into company consisting of several Sectarians, and members of the Episcopal and Presbyterian Churches. When warm with potations, they entered upon a keen debate about their respective persuasions, and were upon the point of using arguments more forcible than words, when Burns said, “Gentlemen, it has now been twice my hap to see the doctrines of peace made a cause of contention; I must tell you how the matter was settled among half-a-dozen of honest women, over a cup of caudle after baptism. They were as different in opinion, and each as tough in disputation, as you are, till a wife that said not a word spoke up.
‘Kimmers, ye are a’ for letting folks hae but ae road to heaven. It’s a puir place that has but ae gait till’t. There’s mair than four gates to ilka bothy in Highlands and Lowlands, and it’s no canny to say there’s but ae gait to the mansion of the blessed.’ ”
The disputants of the alehouse were silenced, and Burns led the conversation, to the merriment of carlings over their cups of caudle.
C. H., in Notes and Queries.