Burns’s Tenderness of Heart, pp.18-19.

[Anecdotes of Burns Contents]

THIS is well illustrated in his own poems, but his brother Gilbert also supplies us with an instance of it. He says – “Murdoch came to spend a night with us, and to take his leave when he was about to go into Carrick. He brought us, as a present and memorial of him, a small compendium of English Grammar, and the tragedy of Titus Andronicus, and, by the way of passing the evening, began to read the play aloud. We were all attention for some time, till presently the whole party was dissolved in tears. A female in the play (I have but a confused remembrance of it) had her hands chopped off, and her tongue cut out, and then was insultingly desired to call for water to wash her hands. At this, in an agony of distress, we, with one voice, desired he would read no more. My father observed, that if we would not hear it out, it would be needless to leave the play with us.

Robert replied that if it were left he would burnit. My father was going to chide him for this ungrateful return to his tutor’s kindness, but Murdoch interfered, declaring that he liked to see so much sensibility; and he left the “School for Love,” a comedy translated, I think, from the French, in its place.”

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