her continued intimacy. Burns raves in rather stilted phrases, and declares that he ‘loves to madness and feels to torture.’ Burns apparently considered that his marriage to Jean Armour was dissolved, and intimates a vague hope that Mr. M'Lehose may cease to be an encumbrance to his wife; but the natural end of such a correspondence must have been obvious to both parties. Meanwhile Jean Armour was again expecting to become a mother. She had been turned out (or, as she says, Waddell, vol. ii. App. xxii., prevented from returning from a visit to Mr. Muir at Tarbolton Mill) by her father. Burns, still confined by his accident, wrote to a friend to help her. On 16 Feb. Burns went to Glasgow, and thence to Mauchline. He reconciled Jean to her mother. He again looked at Miller's farm at Ellisland, and returned to Edinburgh, where he announces (to Miss Chalmers, 14 March 1788) that he has finally taken the lease. He soon afterwards settled with Creech, receiving, it seems, about 500l.(Chambers, ii. 248). (He says only a little over 400l., letter to Moore, 4 Jan. 1789. Creech, according to Heron (p. 31), professed to have paid Burns 1,100l. The copyright was sold for 100l., and Burns had, therefore, no interest in later editions, to which he gratuitously contributed some new songs.) He at once advanced 180l. to help his brother Gilbert, who was still struggling on with Mossgiel. The debt was finally repaid by Gilbert from the profits of an edition of his brother's works more than thirty years afterwards. Just before this Burns had finally obtained a qualification for the excise. The advisability of obtaining such a place—the only piece of patronage easily accessible—had been discussed by his friends before he first came to Edinburgh (letter to R. Aiken, October 1786), and he applied for it to his patrons, Lord Glencairn and R. Graham of Fintry, apparently in this January. He hesitated for some time between farming and the excise, and finally decided to take the farm, keeping the appointment as something to fall back upon. The order to give him the necessary two weeks' training as an exciseman was issued to an officer at Tarbolton 31 March 1788. By the end of March Burns, who had continued his letters to Clarinda declaring that he would love her for ever, was back at Mossgiel, making arrangements for his new life. When at a distance from Edinburgh the influence of Mrs. m'Lehose apparently declined, and he was moved by the older claims of Jean. About this time (the date is uncertain) Jean gave birth to twin daughters, who died in a few days, and in the course of April Burns had privately acknowledged her as his wife (see a letter to James Smith, 28 April). A legal ceremony was performed in Gavin Hamilton's house 3 Aug. (Land of Burns, i. 23). On 5 Aug. the pair acknowledged their marriage in Mauchline church, when they were duly admonished, and Burns gave a guinea to the poor.
Clarinda was naturally indignant. Burns made such apology as he could a year later (letter of 9 March 1789), and wrote a few letters to her in 1791–2, in one of which (27 Dec. 1791) he encloses the fine poem, ‘Ae fond kiss, and then we sever.’ The first of these letters tells her that during their first intimacy he was ‘not under the smallest moral tie to Mrs. B.,’ and could not know ‘all the powerful circumstances that omnipotent necessity was busy laying in wait for him.’
Burns was now resolved to lead the life of a steady farmer at Ellisland. It consisted of one hundred acres in a beautiful situation on the south bank of the Nith, six miles from Dumfries. Allan Cunningham, whose father was factor to the estate, says that Burns made a poet's choice, not a farmer's. He took a lease for seventy-six years, at a rent of 50l. for the first three years, and afterwards 70l. Mr. Miller was to give him 300l. to build a farm-steading and enclose the fields. Burns came to reside on 13 June, and set about building his house, his wife meanwhile staying at Mauchline, forty-six miles off, where he visited her occasionally. He refers to her in ‘O a' the airts the wind can blaw,’ and ‘O were I on Parnassus' hill.’ He settled his wife in the new house in the first week of December. The songs, ‘I hae a wife o' my ain,’ ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ and ‘My Bonnie Mary’ (the last two sent to Mrs. Dunlop as old Scotch songs), belong to this time. On 18 Aug. 1789 a child was born to him, named Francis Wallace (in honour of Mrs. Dunlop, a descendant from William Wallace's brother). The farm was not doing well, while his family was increasing, and Burns thought, according to Allan Cunningham, that by working it chiefly for the dairy he could leave the superintendence to Mrs. Burns and her sisters, while he could take up his appointment in the excise. He accordingly obtained from Mr. Graham an appointment to his district. It brought in 50l. a year, from which 10l. or 12l. expenses were to be deducted, with a pension for widow and orphans. It involved the duty of riding two hundred miles a week over ten parishes. Burns seems to have discharged his duties vigorously, though judiciously shutting his eyes to occasional peccadilloes of poor neighbours (Chambers, iii. 83). The work left him little leisure for poetry, and exposed him to some temptations. Though