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First Book, like a First Bairn, p.68.

[Anecdotes of Burns Contents]

WHEN Burns was just on the point of starting for Berrywell, near Duns, along with Ainslie, and had actually mounted his horse, a letter was shot into his hand from Dr. Blair. It recommended Burns to take time and leisure to improve his talents, “for on any second production you give to the world your fate, as a poet, will very much depend.” 

Burns laughed, thrust the letter into his pocket, and exclaimed:- 

“Thank you, doctor; but whiles a man’s first book, like his first bairn, is the best.” 

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