Robust and gay continuation of the author's previous The Wind That Shakes The Barley (1947), an excellent fictionalized biography of the poet, Robert Burns. Imagination plus scholarly, conscientious reconstruction of the 18th century life of young Burns in his '20's, defines the years when, with his mother and brother, he moved to a rented farm near Machlin in Ayrshire. Ploughman and poet now, this is the period of Burns' light o' love, Betsy Paton, by whom he had an illegitimate daughter; of his great passion for, and Scottish marriage with, Jean Armour which his family so opposed; and of his sad consolatory affair with Highland Mary Campbell. These romantic episodes form the scarlet thread of a closely woven narrative in which other strands are Burns' love of liberty, his war with the dour Puritanism of the Machlin Kirk Session, of his struggle with debt and poverty, and his ever gay relations with friends and neighbors, whose esteem he won in the face of all, as his poetic fame mounted. Second in a series of four volumes that will memorialize Burns' life, this ends on the note of reconciliation with Jean, who bore him twins, and with his decision to try his literary fortune in Edinburgh. Good popular reading as well as a gold mine for honest romantics, for lovers of Burns.