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Burns
Burns
430

payment. He made some tours in the summer, during which he inspected farms and collected songs. Their chronology has been matter of some dispute (see Chambers, ii. App. p. 315). His first tour was from 5 May to 9 June, with Robert Ainslie, a young writer who was very intimate with him at this time (for account of Ainslie, who died 11 April 1838, in his seventy-second year, see Land of Burns, p. 87). He travelled through Dunse to Coldstream, crossing the bridge to be in England, Kelso, Jedburgh, and after rambles about the Tweed to Alnwick, Warkworth, Newcastle, Carlisle, Dumfries, whence he visited Dalswinton to look at a farm already offered to him by Mr. Patrick Miller (letter to J. Ballantyne, 14 Jan. 1787), and finally to Mauchline. Here he was at first disgusted by the servility of the Armours, but soon renewed his old relations with Jean. During the latter part of June he visited the West Highlands, writing a bitter epigram upon the worship of the Duke of Argyll at Inverary, and returning by Paisley. After spending July at home he returned to Edinburgh, partly to see his publisher, on 7 Aug. Richmond having taken a new lodger, he now chummed with W. Nicol, a self-taught teacher at the high school, conspicuous for roughness and almost savage irascibility. With Nicol he started (25 Aug.) for a tour in the East Highlands, by Falkirk and Stirling, where he gave grievous offence by a Jacobite epigram on a window of the inn; thence to Crieff, Dunkeld, and Blair, where he was kindly received by the Duke of Athole, in whose family his friend Josiah Walker was then tutor. He went by Dalwhinnie, through Strathspey, to Aviemore and Dalsie; thence by Kilravock to Fort George and Inverness, and returned by Nairn, Forres, and Fochabers. At Gordon Castle Nicol took offence upon not being immediately invited with his friend, and forced Burns to drive off. They next visited Aberdeen, saw Burns's relations at Stonehaven, and went by Montrose and Perth to Edinburgh (16 Sept. 1786). A correspondence followed with John Skinner, author of ‘Tullochgorum’—which Burns extravagantly called the ‘best Scotch song Scotland ever saw’—whom he had accidentally missed seeing. A final tour with Dr. James Makittrick Adair [q. v.] took place, according to Chambers (Adair writing to Currie erroneously places this in August), to Stirling again, where he smashed the old inscription, and to Harveiston, Clackmannanshire, where he was detained by heavy floods, making excursion to Sir W. Murray's at Ochtertyne in Strathearn, and visiting Ramsay, afterwards a friend of Scott's, at Ochtertyne in Menteith. He returned by Kinross and Queensferry, reaching Edinburgh on 20 Oct., whence he immediately wrote to Miller expressing his desire for one of his farms, and sensibly saying that he desired a small farm—‘about a ploughgang’—at a fair rent. He now lodged with a Mr. William Cruikshank, a colleague of Nicol's, at 2 St. James's Square.

Burns lingered at Edinburgh, seeking to obtain payment from Creech, and trying to arrange for some permanent settlement. He wrote verses to his ‘rosebud,’ the twelve-year-old daughter of his host Cruikshank. He wrote admiring letters to Miss Margaret Chalmers, a connection of G. Hamilton's, whose acquaintance he had made at Blacklock's. He saw her and her cousin, Charlotte Hamilton, on his tour with Dr. Adair (afterwards married to Miss Hamilton) at Harveiston, Clackmannanshire, and greatly admired both ladies. He celebrated Miss Chalmers as ‘Peggy’ in a couple of songs. He tells her of another visit which he had paid to Dumfries in order to settle upon a farm. He had decided to leave Edinburgh in December, when he was detained by an injury to his knee from the upset of a coach. He had been invited to drink tea the next day (8 Dec.) with a Mrs. M'Lehose, and he had written to her a letter accepting the invitation, which became the first of a remarkable correspondence. Mrs. M'Lehose (b. April 1759) had been a Miss Agnes Craig, daughter of Andrew Craig; she was first cousin of Lord Craig, judge of the court of session, and her mother was niece of Colin M'Laurin, the mathematician. In 1776 she married James m'Lehose, who deserted her, and was now settled in the West Indies, while she was living in Edinburgh with three infants, supported chiefly by Lord Craig and a small pittance from her husband's relations. Burns was introduced by a common friend, Miss Nimmo. Burns was laid up six weeks by his accident, and was unable to see Mrs. M'Lehose in person until 4 Jan., when he got out in a chair. They afterwards met several times till he left Edinburgh on 16 Feb. Their letters are signed Clarinda and Sylvander. They write high-flown sentiment, exchange poetry, and indulge in religious discussions. Mrs. M'Lehose tries to convert him to Calvinism. She has to remind him at starting that she is a married woman; she warns him to keep strictly within the bounds of delicacy, begs him to be satisfied with the ‘warmest, tenderest friendship,’ and consults a spiritual adviser, Mr. Kemp, minister of the Tolbooth church, and afterwards offends two unnamed friends by