The Awfu’est Body, pp.33-34.

[Anecdotes of Burns Contents]

WADDELL, in his edition of Burns, says the Bard was a frequent visitor at the house of the paternal grandfather of William Reid, whose mother was one of the Misses Ronald of Bennal. “The old gentleman, who enjoyed Burns’s storytelling and drollery immensely, encouraged his visits – much to the scandal of his own wife, a serious and quiet person; who rebuked the whole household, old and young, for being led away by such an idle, gossiping foolish lad, who had neither sense nor seriousness in her estimation. This unpleasant impression having reached Burns’s ears, the next time he visited Boghead a most edifying incidental discussion arose, into which Mrs. Reid was quietly and unconsciously betrayed. By imperceptible degrees it changed its character, and the good woman very soon found herself involved in the general interest excited to such an extent, that she not only laughed outright, but clapped her hands in ecstasy before the whole circle. When Burns retired, universal recriminations from the gudeman and family followed, at her sinful acquiescence, who had so often rebuked others.” 

   “That’s the awfu’est body” – was her contrite defence – “that’s the awfu’st body, that Burns, I ever heard. I’m sure I set  mysel’ wi’ a’ my micht to gainstan’ him, but it’s perfect impossible!” 

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