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were bought by a John Gordon, W. S., but for whom I know not; Mauchlands, Haugh Miln, &c. by a Frederick Fotheringham, supposed to be for Ballochmyle laird, and Adamhill and Shawood were bought for Oswald's folks.- This is so imperfect an account, and will be so late ere it reach you, that, were it not to discharge my conscience, I would not trouble you with it; but after all my diligence I could make it no sooner nor better,
For my own affairs, I am in a fair way of becoming as eminent as Thomas a Kempis or John Bunyan; and you may expect henceforth to see my birth-day inserted among the wonderful events, in the poor Robin's and Aberdeen Almanacks, along with the Black Monday, and the battle of Bothwel bridge.-My lord Glencairn, and the dean of faeulty, Mr. H. Erskine, have taken me under their wing ; and by all probability I shall soon be the tenth worthy, and the eighth wise man of the world. Through my lord's influence it is inserted in the records of the Caledonian hunt, that they universally, one and all, subscribe for the second edition.-My subscription bills come out to-morrow, and you shall have some of them next post. I have met in Mr. Dalrymple, of Orangefield, what Solomon emphatically calls, " a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."The warmth with which he interests himself in my affairs, is of the same enthusiastic kind which you, Mr. Aiken, and the few patrons that took notice of my earlier poetic days, showed for the poor unlucky devil of a poet.
I always remember Mrs. Hamilton and Miss Kennedy in my poetic prayers, but you both in prose and verse.
May cauld ne'er catch you but* a hap,
*“ But” is frequently used for “ without;" i, e. without clothing.
To Dr. M-KENZIE, Mauchline.
Inclosing him the extempore verses
with lord Daer.
Wednesday morning. Dear sir,
I never spent an afternoon among great folks with half that pleasure as when, in company with you, I had the honour of paying my devoirs to that plain, honest, worthy man, the professor*. I would be delighted to see him perform acts of kindness and friendship, though I were not the object; he does it with such a grace. I think his character, divided into ten parts, stands thusfour parts Socrates-four parts Nathaniel-and two parts Shakspeare's Brutus.
The foregoing verses were really extempore, but a little corrected since. They may entertain you a little with the help of that partiality with which you are so good as to favour the performances of
Your very humble servant.
To JOHN BALLANTINE, esq. banker, Ayr.
Edinburgh, 13th Dec. 1786. My honoured friend,
I would not write you till I could have it in my power to give you some account of myself and my matters, which, by the bye, is often no easy
* Professor Dugald Stewart.
task.- I arrived here on Tuesday was se'nnight, and have suffered ever since I came to town with a miserable head-ache and stomach complaint, but am now a good deal better. I have found a worthy warm friend in Mr. Dalrymple, of Orangefield, who introduced me to lord Glencairn, a man whose worth and brotherly kindness to me, I shall remember when time shall be no more. By his interest it is passed in the Caledonian hunt, and entered in their books, that they are to take each a copy of the second edition, for which they are to pay one guinea. I have been introduced to a good many of the noblesse, but my avowed patrons and patronesses are, the duchess of Gordon ; the countess of Glencairn, with my lord, and lady Betty* ; the dean of faculty, sir John Whitefoord. I have likewise warm friends among the literati : professors Stewart, Blair, and Mr. M'Kenzie-the man of feeling. An unknown hand left ten guineas for the Ayrshire bard with Mr. Silbald, which I got. I since have discovered my generous unknown friend to be Patrick Miller, esq., brother to the justice clerk; and drank a glass of claret with him by invitation at his own house yesternight. I am nearly agreed with Creech to print my book, and I suppose I will be
I gin on Monday. I will send a subscription bill or Lwo, next post; when I intend writing my first kind patron, Mr. Aiken. I saw his son to-day, and he is very well.
Dugald Stewart, and some of my learned friends, put me in the periodical paper called the Loungert, a copy of which I here enclose you.I was, sir, when I was first honoured with your notice, too obscure; now I tremble lest I should be ruined by being dragged too suddenly into the glare of polite and learned observation.
* Lady Betty Cunningham.
+ The paper here alluded to, was written by Mr. MʻKenzie, the celebrated author of the Man of Feeling
I shall certainly, my ever honoured patron, write you an account of my every step ; and better health and more spirits may enable me to make it something better than this stupid matter of fact epistle.
I have the honour to be,
Your ever grateful humble servant.
If any of my friends write me, my direction is, care of Mr. Creech, bookseller.
To Mr. WILLIAM CHALMERS, writer, Ayr.
Edinburgh, Dec. 27, 1786. My dear friend,
I confess I have sinned the sin for which there is hardly any forgiveness-ingratitude to friendship-in not writing you sooner; but of all men living, I had intended to send you an entertaining letter; and by all the plodding, stupid powers, that in nodding, conceited niajesty, preside over the dull routine of business-a heavily-solemn oath this !-I am, and have been, ever since I came to Edinburgh, as unfit to write a letter of humour, as to write a commentary on the Revelation of St. John the divine, who was banished to the Isle of Patmos, by the cruel and bloody Domitian, son to Vespasian and brother to Titus, both emperors of Rome, and who was himself an emperor, and raised the second or third persecution, I forget which, against the Christians, and after throwing the said apostle John, brother to the apostle James, commonly called James the greater, to distinguish him from nother James, who was, on some account or other, known by the name of James the less, after
* This letter is now presented entire.
throwing him into a caldron of boiling oil, from which he was miraculously preserved, he banished the poor son of Zebedee, to a desart island in the Archipelago, where he was gifted with the second sight, and saw as many wild beasts as I have seen since I came to Edinburgh ; which, a circumstance not very uncommon in story-telling, brings me back to where I set out.
To make you some amends for what, before you reach this paragraph, you will have suffered ; I enclose you two poems I have carded and spun since I past Glenbuck.
One blank in the address to Edinburgh-“ Fair B-" is heavenly Miss Burnet, daughter to lord Monboddo, at whose house I have had the honour to be more than once.
There has not been any thing nearly like her, in all the combinations of beauty, grace, and goodness, the Great Creator has formed, since Milton's Eve on the first day of her existence.
My direction is-care of Andrew Bruce, merchant, Bridge-street.
T. JOHN BALLANTINE, esq.
Edinburgh, Jan. 14, 1787. My honoured friend,
It gives me a secret comfort to observe in myself that I am not so far gone as Willie Gaw's
past redemption* ;" for I have still this favourable symptom of grace, that when my con
* This is one of a great number of old saws that Burns, when a lad, had picked up from his mother, of which the good old woman had a vast collection. This venerable and most respectable person is still living, under the sheltering roof of her son Gilbert, on his farm, near Dumfries. E.