he children were now able to assist their parents in farm labour. "These seven years," says Gilbert Burns, "brought small literary improvement to Robert," but I can hardly believe this when we remember that Lochlea saw the composition of The Death and Dying Words of Poor Mailie, and of My Nannie, O, and one or two more of his most popular songs. It was during those days that Robert, (p. 010) then growing into manhood, first ventured to step beyond the range of his father's control, and to trust the promptings of his own social instincts and headlong passions. The first step in this direction was to go to a dancing school, in a neighbouring village, that he might there meet companions of either sex, and give his rustic manners "a brush," as he phrases it. The next step was taken when Burns resolved to spend his nineteenth summer in Kirkoswald, to learn mensuration and surveying from the schoolmaster there, who was famous as a teacher of these things. Griswold, on the Carrick coast, was a
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