The Threading of the Needle, pp.87-88.

[Anecdotes of Burns Contents]

MRS. MONTAGU, who dined with Burns at Arbigland, says of him that he was witty; drank as others drank; and was long in coming to the tea-table. It was then the fashion for young ladies to be busy about something; I was working a flower. The poet sat down beside me, talked of the beauty of what I was imitating, and put his hand so near the work, that I said “Well, take it, and do a bit yourself.” 

“O ho,” said he, “you think my hand is unsteady with wine. I cannot work a flower, madam, but -,” he pulled the thread out of the needle, and re-threaded it in a moment: “Can a tipsy man do that?” 

He talked to me of his children, more particularly of his eldest son, and called him a promising boy, “And yet, madam,” he said, with a sarcastic glance of his eye, “I hope he will turn out a glorious blockhead, and so make his fortune.” 

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