AN admirer of the poet being in Mauchline one day, was invited by a motherly old woman to see her goodman, who, in early life, had been a great acquaintance of the famous farmer of Mossgiel. When he reached the house the wife introduced the subject of the poet.
“Oor man was a wonderfu’ favourite wi’ Burns.”
“Ou, aye, man, him and me were wonderfu’ chief. He was wonderfu’ fond o’ my company. Mony a crack him an’ me had oorlanes, but thae days are a’ gane. Ou, aye, man, when we used to gang thegither to the lime in the mornin’s we haed real fun as we gaed alang the road; and, man, he was sae fond o’ my company that, altho’ he was at the kiln afore me, and had his cart filled ready for comin’ awa’, he would wait on an’ help me to fill my cart, just for the sake o’ my company along the road!”
Here the visitor expected that he was about to open up a new chapter in the history of the bard’s early days, so he eagerly put the question:
“And what sort of subjects did he incline to crack about?”
“Hoo, subject? nae subject ava; he just blather’d about his lasses, or maybe aboot a dram, mony a dram we had thegither. You could never ken what he wad be at, but him an’ me were unco great for a’ that.”
No doubt John was a fair type of many of the people who knew Burns, but who did not know what he meant.