‘Tis the mind that shines

When Georgiana packed in 1829 for the sea voyage to her new home in Australia, she included some reading choices that wouldn’t usually be on the list of a person described as strictly pious, including this copy of the songs of Robert Burns. This beautiful little book was given to ‘GM’ as a wedding gift and includes Burns’ reworking of old verses that leave no doubt at all about the bawdy subject matter – even when written in Scots dialect! It told me right away that there was much more to the story of Georgiana Molloy than had been told before. It was also the place where I found the subtitle I’d been looking for, in a poem called ‘On Cessnock Banks’ in this edition of the collection.