Belated Burns-Day Post

As I didn’t manage to do a special post in honour of Robbie Burns yesterday, I’m going to make up for it with posting a romantic Burns-moment from the very first novel I ever wrote in English — Highland Love, which some of you might still remember. So follow me to the Highlands of Scotland and meet Kathy and Rory (I left the text just as I wrote it back in 2000, though I would do the scene a bit differently today :O) ):

Rory gave her a happy grin and drew her down to sit beside him on the stone. “That’s my very own Story Stone,” he told her. “My grandfather used to take me here and tell me stories.”

“Hmhm.” The stone was cold, and Kathy snuggled nearer against him and the warmth of his body. “What kind of stories?”

“All kinds of stories. About our clan, of course. How the MacDonalds came from the Summer Isles. How Flora MacDonald saved Bonnie Prince Charlie after Culloden.”

“Of course.” She wrinkled her nose. “She should have let him drown, if you ask me. For being such a sorry military leader.”

He clicked his tongue and whacked his finger at her. “Don’t you speak like that about Charles Edward Stuart,” he said with mock seriousness. “After all, my Granddad was quite fond of him.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry. It won’t happen again, I assure you.”

“I certainly hope so.” He gave her what was supposed to be a stern glance, but all he achieved by it was making Kathy giggle.

“What else did your grandfather tell you?” she asked.

“Fairy tales and folk tales. And he also taught me some of Robbie Burns’ poems.”

At that she seemed to be surprised. “Robert Burns? But he was a lowlander!”

“Certainly.” Rory laughed. “In Granddad’s opinion he was the best lowlander to have ever lived. Burns was quite in favour of the Stuart cause, you know: ‘Come weal, come woe, we’ll gather and go, / And live or die with Charlie.’ “

“I see.” Kathy looked around, and a sweet smile blossomed on her face. “This is a beautiful spot, Rory.” She looked up at him. “Thank you for bringing me here.”

“It was my pleasure, my lady,” he drawled and took her hand to plant a kiss on its back. But when he glanced at her over the rim of her knuckles, he suddenly felt something inside him tighten, and he was reminded of Robbie Burns once more. Only this time, it was a completely different Burns:

Fair tho’ she be, that was ne’er my undoing:
‘Twas the dear smile when naebody did mind us,
‘Twas the bewitching, sweet, stown glance o’ kindness.

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