He made his daughter burn her "lines," thus in his idea putting an end to the marriage.
While Goldsmith lay a-dying in London, in the breezy Scottish Lowlands a big rough lad of fifteen called Robert Burns was following his father's plow by day, poring over Shakespeare, the Spectator, and Pope's Homer, of nights, not knowing that in years to come he was to be remembered as our greatest song writer.
For some time William Burns went on working as a gardener, then when Robert was about seven he took a small farm called Mount Oliphant, and removed there with his wife and family.
When I returned to my seat, that lady was just delivering an order of which I did not catch the import; but Burns immediately left the class, and going into the small inner room where the books were kept, returned in half a minute, carrying in her hand a bundle of twigs tied together at one end.
On the evening of the day on which I had seen Miss Scatcherd flog her pupil, Burns, I wandered as usual among the forms and tables and laughing groups without a companion, yet not feeling lonely: when I passed the windows, I now and then lifted a blind, and looked out; it snowed fast, a drift was already forming against the lower panes; putting my ear close to the window, I could distinguish from the gleeful tumult within, the disconsolate moan of the wind outside.
Jumping over forms, and creeping under tables, I made my way to one of the fire-places; there, kneeling by the high wire fender, I found Burns, absorbed, silent, abstracted from all round her by the companionship of a book, which she read by the dim glare of the embers.
The straw, however, began to burn
, broke in two pieces, and fell into the stream.
Burns found another way, a way of his own which had, at all events, the merit of saving his breath, if no other.
Burns said that it was at the entrance to the gulf.
Burns motioned the crew to leave the cabin, but he detained the two eldest men to stay with the captain while he went on deck with his sextant to "take the sun.
John Anderson, My Jo'; reflective sentiment; feeling for nature; sympathy with animals; vigorous patriotism, as in 'Scots Wha Hae' (and Burns did much to revive the feeling of Scots for Scotland); deep tragedy and pathos; instinctive happiness; delightful humor; and the others.
It is an interesting question whether Burns wins distinctly greater success in one than in the other.