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Indiscriminate Courtship, pp.32-33.

[Anecdotes of Burns Contents]

MR. ANDREW HARVEY, of Park Mill, relates the following anecdote regarding Burns: 

Mr. Harvey’s father, when a youth, was a teacher of elementary mathematics, and also in those days a professor of music. Burns attended his music class held at Lochlea, and was on intimate terms with Harvey. He was much addicted to discussions with his friend on all topics of interest, most frequently on that of love. In some light-hearted talk of this kind one afternoon, on their way to Mauchline, the question turned on the privileges of love-making in general; whether it were better to have a number of sweethearts “in hand.” or only one at a time? 

“Mr. Burns, what thocht nae man could kepp him in an argument,” maintained the propriety or advantage of indiscriminate courtship. 

“But my faither keppit him wi’ this – If a flock o’ bonnie doos gaed by ye wii’ a fluff, and ye played skelp amang them a’ at ance, ye might wing and hurt half a dizzen o’ them, and no kill ane.” 

Burns was thoughfully, affectionately silent on this. 

“He was keppit there.” 

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