MRS. DUNLOP of Dunlop, Burns’s early patroness, had an old housekeeper, a privileged person, who had aristocratical notions of the family dignity, that made her astonished at the attentions that were paid by her mistress to a man of such low, worldly estate as the rustic poet. In order to overcome her prejudice, her mistress persuaded her to peruse a manuscript copy of “The Cottar’s Saturday Night,” which the poet had then written. When Mrs. Dunlop inquired her opinion of the poem, she replied, indifferently –
“A weel, madam, it’s vera weel.”
“Is that all you have to say in its favour?” asked the lady.
“Deed, madam,” replied the housekeeper, “the like o’ all that he has written about in my ain father’s house, and, aweel I dinna ken how he could have described it ony ither gait.”
Burns declared the old woman’s criticism one of the finest compliments he had ever received.