Burns as a Carter, pp.31-32.

[Anecdotes of Burns Contents]

T. D., a newspaper correspondent, contributes some traditional particulars respecting Burns, which, though they do not throw any fresh light on his character, are sufficiently interesting to be included here. He says:

“It appears that my great-grandfather occupied a farm adjoining Lochlea, when Burns’s father lived there, and as it chanced that the march-dyke between the two farms required to be repaired or rebuilt, the owner od the soil, according to custom, I suppose, supplied the material, and the work was done in equal parts by the tenants of the farms. For this work two sons were drafted respectively from the two farms, one to do the carting and the other to do the building on either side. In this way my grandfather and his brother came to be co-workers with Gilbert and Robert Burns, the latter acting as carter for Lochlea, and the trustworthy tradition declares that he proved a very poor hand at the business. My grandfather has been heard to say that Robin never could be got to set his mind to his work, and while sitting on the front of the cart, would too often let the beast go where it pleased, he meantime confusing his head over “little bits o’ pamphlets,” until some kindly overthrow into the neighbouring dyke-sheugh brought him to his senses again. From the same source also it appears that the country lads, when they gathered at the ‘Smiddy,’ waiting their turn to get their farm implements sharpened or repaired, had an uncommonly merry time of it when ‘rantin’, rovin’ Robin’ was among them, and, when stern necessity parted them, none was more loth than he.”

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