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or the victim of their pride?'” The "if" in "that if a man," &c., is an interpolation of Currie's, which does not make the sense clearer. Instead of "it has one great fault," the MS. reads "it has one damning fault," and "Scottish Poetry" should be "Scots Poetry." The words omitted by Currie after "a few lines done by a friend of mine," can now be filled in; they are,-" which for beauty, I shall put against any as many lines in our language."
In the letter to Dr. John Moore, 23rd March, 1789 (v. 221), Currie omitted the following words at the end of the first paragraph: "That I am persuaded in soliciting your goodness in this business I am gratifying your feelings with a degree of enjoyment"; and he left out "late" before "Mrs. Oswald." In the next sentence there should be no stop at "tenants" Burns says that she was detested among her servants and
The letter to Mrs. Dunlop, of the 4th May, 1789, (v. 229), has already been corrected by Dr. Waddell; but Burns wrote "Esquire" after "the Rt. Honble. Ch. J. Fox."
In the famous letter to Mrs. Dunlop of the 13th December, 1789, (v. 274), which contains the first mention of Highland Mary, Burns, speaking of his nervous system, wrote," a system of all others the most essential to our happiness," &c. Currie omits "Lord!" before "What is man!" and the end of the paragraph should read-" yet the awful dark termination of that life is a something-perhaps Nothing—at which he recoils with still more horror." The words "and as close," at the end of the verses, are an interpolation. Lower down we find,"is there probability in your many conjectures, any truth in your many stories"; and "it must be only for the first" has been altered to "it must only be," &c. Before the last paragraph but one comes the following interesting passage:-"I am glad you have put me on transcribing my departed friend's epitaph. Transcribing saves me the very great trouble of thinking.
EPITAPH ON R. MUIR.
What man could esteem, or what woman could love,
Was he who lies under this sod;
If such Thou refusest admission above
Then whom wilt Thou favour, Good God?"
Turning to a letter to Gilbert Burns, of the 11th January, 1790, (v. 283), we find that Currie has substituted "cursed.
state " for "damnable state." In the second paragraph the MS. has, "David Campbell, in Ayr, wrote [to] me, by the manager of the company, a Mr. Sutherland, who is indeed a man of genius and apparent worth." The letter ends, "If once I were1 clear of this accursed farm, I shall respire more at ease.—I am, yours, ROBT. BURNS."
The alterations in the letter of the 25th January, 1790, to Mrs. Dunlop, (v. 285), are slight. "To" has been inserted in "written to you"; "but" substituted for "only," in "only why will you make me," &c.; "that glorious poem" omitted after "the Shipwreck""; "country" substituted for "nation" in "Scotland beyond any other nation"; "Scots" changed to "Scottish songs; and "would," to "should," in "And O, sae sound as I would sleep!" The letter ends, "Dear madam, your obliged humble servt."
Currie omitted the following postscript to the letter of the 11th April, 1791, to Mrs. Dunlop, (v. 362):-"In a letter I had lately from Dr. Moore he bids me to remember him to you, and to beg of you not to think that his friendship flags when pen lies still. He says, except on business, he now seldom lifts a pen at all. But this is from myself, the devil take such apathy of Friendship!!!-R. B."
A fragment of a letter to Mrs. Riddell, with the hypothetical date "November, 1793," (vi. 93), appears to be a concoction of two separate letters, for an autograph note was sold at Messrs Sotheby's rooms in May last, which began with the first four lines as printed ("Dear Madam, Hesperian fruit") and then proceeded,—“ On Sunday I shall have the pleasure and honor of assuring you, in propria persona, how sincerely I am yours, R. B."
In the sad letter to Mrs. Walter Riddell, of the 4th June, 1796, (vi. 193), Burns spoke of his miserable health :-"would you have me in such circumstances copy you out a love-song?" Currie was perhaps justified, at least at the time when he wrote, in omitting the words that followed :-"No! if I must write, let it be Sedition, or Blasphemy, or something else that begins with a B, so that I may grin with the grin of iniquity, and rejoice with the rejoicing of an apostate angel.
1 "Was" (Currie). 2" Cursed" (Currie).
3 "Should" (Currie).
-All good to me is lost,
Evil, be thou my good!'"
Cromek, whose "Reliques" appeared in 1808, wrote to Creech :-"Though I think most highly of Dr. Currie's performance, yet I must say that the fear of giving offence has led him to disfigure the work most strangely;" and he hoped that it would never be said of him that he performed similar mutilations, (vi. 162). At the same time he told Creech that he had cut away much that related to him :-"I do assure you, you are the only person to whom I have acted so delicately, with the exception of a few letters of a very private nature addressed by the Poet to Mrs. Burns." But Cromek was hardly so punctilious as he represented himself to be. A comparison of the "Address of the Scottish Distillers to the Right Hon. William Pitt," (v. 205), as he printed it, with a MS. copy, shows many verbal differences; but it is possible that some, at least, of these were made by Burns himself in copying out the piece afresh. The same cannot be said of a letter to Gavin Hamilton, which he printed, without date (v. 235):-" Most fervently do I beseech the Power that directs the world," should be, "most fervently do I beseech the Holy Trinity, or the holy somebody that directs this world." And in the next paragraph the sense is spoilt by misprinting. It should read thus:-"Above all things, as I understand you are now in habits1 of intimacy with that Boanerges of Gospel power,2 Father Auld, be earnest with him that he will wrestle in prayer for you, that you may see the vanity of vanities in trusting to, or even practising, the carnal moral works of charity, humanity, generosity and forgiveness, things which you practised so flagrantly, that it was evident you delighted in them, neglecting, or perhaps profanely despising the wholesome doctrine of faith without works, the only anchor of salvation."
In an undated letter of 1792 to Miss Fontenelle, (vi. 38), Cromek altered "secure" to "insure," in "your talents would secure admiration"; changed "on to "in," in "on your approaching benefit night"; and "shall" to "should," in though they shall add." The letter ends—"I have the honour to be, madam, your very humble servt."
1 "In the habit" (Cromek.) 2 "Powers" (Cromek.)
3 Cromek reads "generosity, and forgiveness of things which," &c.
Finally, in a letter of November, 1794, to Mr. Patrick Miller Junr., (vi. 142), Burns wrote, before the concluding line (“With the most grateful esteem, I am ever, dear sir, your most obedient ROBT. BURNS"), the following, the whole of which Cromek omitted:- “How do you like the following clinch?
EXTEMPORE, PINNED TO A LADY'S COACH.
you rattle along, like your mistress's tongue,' &c. (vol. iii. 178)—Nith. If your friends think this worth insertion, they are welcome." "Almost every day I am manufacturing these little trifles, and, in a dearth of news, they may have a corner.
EPIGRAM ON A NOTED COXCOMB.
'Light lay the earth on Billy's breast,' &c. (vol. iii. 183.)—Clincher. This is also theirs, if they please."
More examples could be given of Cromek's methods, but these will suffice. We may close this paper by reference to some few points in which the editor of the Clarinda correspondence (1843) departed from the originals. In the letter assigned to Dec. 20, 1787, (v. 8), "I cannot positively say," has been misprinted, "I cannot possibly say"; "something of honor," has been altered to "something like honor"; and "a vague infant-idea," to "a faint idea"; while inverted commas have been inserted after, instead of before, "death," in "death without benefit of clergy."
In another letter (Feb. 22; v. 91), "concubinage" is represented by asterisks, and "hinted at" has been substituted. for "insisted on." Good things" should be in italics.
One other letter of the series, (v. 70), printed by Stewart in 1802, should be dated at the top, "Tuesday Morn," and "Love" should be substituted for "Clarinda" in the first line. The MS. is defective at the end, the last word being "hurry," as printed.
The conclusion to be drawn from these notes is that every student of Burns into whose hands originals of the poet's letters may fall, should, if possible, collate them carefully with the printed text. In this way we shall gradually obtain an accurate version of what he wrote to his friends. It is not enough, as we have seen, merely to ascertain that a letter is in print, without making further examination of its exact wording.
G. A. AITKEN.
MAUCHLINE AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD.
WAS first induced to visit Mauchline by statements Joseph Train made to Sir Walter Scott and Lockhart. These statements exist among the Laing Manuscripts, now lying in the Edinburgh University Library. Train, in his M.S. notes, describes a meeting held by Burns and John Richmond in "The Elbow Tavern," but the exact locality of the Elbow Ale-house he forgets to state. I wrote to Mauchline to enquire if any such hostelry existed there, and the Rev. Joseph Mitchell, Parish Minister of Mauchline, kindly replied as follows:
MAUCHLINE, 26th May, 1892.
I had never heard of the "Elbow Tavern" until I got your letter. Since then I have been making inquiries of a number of the old people in this place, and have learned from them that there existed a back lane in Mauchline, which bore the name of The Elbow. In it there stood a public house or tavern kept by an old sailor, whose name none of them remember, but who was commonly spoken of as The Old Tar.
I should think that there is every likelihood of this being the place of which you speak. None of my informants called the house The Elbow Tavern, but they all agreed in calling the lane The Elbow, and in saying that such a house stood there. One of my authorities is an old lady of 92, said to be the only person now living who has seen "Racer Jess," by whom she was frequently chased when a school girl. The lane called The Elbow no longer exists, but traces of one end of it are easily seen. If this information is of any use to you I shall be very glad. If you wish to prosecute any further enquiries it might be worth your while to pay Mauchline a visit, and I should be very glad to introduce you to my original authorities. JOSEPH MITCHELL.
I went to Mauchline, and the matter became clear to me at once, as the accompanying rough plan of Mauchline Village will demonstrate. A short street, generally called "The Knowe," led from the upper part of the town. The street or lane in question branched off from this "Knowe" at a somewhat sharp angle, and this in old days swept down to Gavin Hamilton's house and the adjoining Castle. The angle at which the lane meets the "Knowe" sufficiently explains the