Recovering from Burns
I have to admit that I enjoyed our Burn's Supper last night, Not the traditional Hooley. No Scotch, No Piper and No Vomit.And a very good Haggis
In preparation I had researched the rather tenous connections between the Bard and Duns. But, yes, he had visited. Twice. In the same week and as recently as May 1786 as part of his 'Tour of the Borders'This was to stay with his friend Robert Ainslie. It was also en route to a very brief visit to England via Coldstream. His visit was described like this : (You can read more here
)The duo (the Bard and Ainslie) set out on the 5th May via Haddington to Ainslie's home, Berrywell near Duns.
Burns was impressed by the character of Ainslie’s parents and charmed by his sister, Rachel.
The next day was Sunday. Burns went to church with the family and sat next to Rachel.
During the service she became quite upset at the sermon on sinners and could not find the referred text in her Bible. Burns took it from her and on the flyleaf wrote the following.
Fair maid, you needna take the hint
Nor idle texts pursue;
'Twas guilty sinners that he meant
Not angels such as you!
The following day the duo made a day trip to Coldstream and crossed the bridge into England.
This was the first time Rabbie had set foot on English soil. To Ainslie’s surprise Rab threw away his hat and, then knelt down with uplifted hands and seemingly in a fit of enthusiasm & with great drama, prayed for and blessed Scotland most solemnly, by reciting in loud, tones with deep devotion, the two concluding stanzas of `Cottar's Saturday Night'."
They then returned to Berrywells not far off the Duns Chirnside road.
Away from Scotland for a few minutes and the Bard starts behaving like a typical expatriate Scot Another 5 minutes on English soil, doubtless, he would have founded a Caledonian Society in Cornhill and booked himself in for an Immortal Memory or two for the following January.
There is no other record of him visiting Duns that I and Mr Google can find.
And it would be nice to know:
What happened to Rachel? Did the chat up line in Church bring the Rabbie positive returns?
We should be told
(And if you are not sick and tired of the Bard go to the Scottish Review here
for an alternative view
Labels: . Duns, Burns in England, Rabbi Burns