WILLIAM JOLLY, H.M. Inspector of Schools, in his “Burns at Mossgiel,” tells the following anecdote illustrative of the kindly geniality of the poet:-
George Patrick, a brother of old Willie Patrick, once a herd at Mossgiel, had become a soldier, and after the birth of his first-born, a girl, met his wife at Dumfries to have the child baptised. He knew no one in the town, however, and how was it to be done? Remembering that Burns was then settled in Dumfries, he called on him and was received with the utmost cordiality for “auld lang syne.” After hearing his difficulty, the poet replied that it would not be a hard job to get the child christened, as he knew a good fellow of a minister, as fond of a dram as himself, who would be ready to do it. Burns at once arranged the matter, and the ceremony was duly performed, the grateful parents naming the infant Jean, after the poet’s wife. The daughter, so baptised, died a few years ago, aged 82.