BURNS did not confine his love for man to words, but many were the deeds of kindness he did. An eye-witness had said, “That returning home to his house in the Wee Vennel, Dumfries, one stormy wet night after dark, he discovered a poor, half-witted, street-strolling beggar woman, well known about the town, half-naked, drenched and shivering, huddled together, almost insensible, on his own door-step.
In those days there was no shelter of a police-office to which such a helpless vagrant could be removed, now was there any house open at the moment to which she could be carried but his own. Mrs. Burns might, perhaps, be excused for hesitating to receive such an inmate, even for the night; but remonstrance was in vain. The insensible outcast, motionless, presumably unconscious, was carefully lifted in, and housed and sheltered under the Poet’s hospitable roof till morning, when, not without breakfast, we may be sure, she was enabled to pursue her way.