Robert Burns - The Letters.


ELLISLAND, 5 Aug. 1789.

My Dear Sir,—I was half in thoughts not to have written to you at all, by way of revenge for the two damn'd business letters you sent me. I wanted to know all about your publications—your news, your hopes, fears, etc., in commencing poet in print. In short, I wanted you to write to Robin like his old acquaintance Davie, and not in the style of Mr. Tare to Mr. Tret, as thus:—

"Mr. Tret.—Sir,—This comes to advise you that fifteen barrels of herrings were, by the blessing of God, shipped safe on board the Lovely Janet, Q.D.C., Duncan Mac-Leerie, master, etc."

I hear you have commenced married man—so much the better. I know not whether the nine gipsies are jealous of my lucky, but they are a good deal shyer since I could boast the important relation of husband.

I have got about eleven subscribers for your book.... My best compliments to Mrs. Sillar, and believe me to be, dear Davie, ever yours,

[102] This letter was first published in 1879. The original is probably lost, but a copy is to be found in the minute-book of the Irvine Burns Club. Sillar was "Davie, a brother poet."