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was peace, they again bent their heads and began to crop the pasture.
At the termination of the carpet-like path, I found myself in the highway between Mauchline and Stair, and close at the old bridge of Barskimming, a spacious structure of one arch which spans the Ayr a little below the confluence of the Lugar. Its situation is peculiarly romantic and pleasing. Immediately above it, on the south side of the stream, Barskimming Mill nestles beneath the shade of an immense wall of sandstone, which appears to have been hewn by the hand of man to make room for the diminutive structure. Below, a curve conceals the river from sight, but beyond it, it flows through a perfect chasm of towering rocks which are decked and crowned by the most luxuriant vegetation. Over this wildly romantic gulf, a bridge connects the lands of Barskimming and gives access to the princely mansion which nestles in the beautifully laid off grounds of the estate.
While leaning on the parapet of the bridge enjoying the scenery, I accosted a passing wayfarer, and asked to be shown the holm where Burns composed, “ Man was made to Mourn."
Man, it's no here,” said he, “its on the Doon.” “Na, na, John,” said a middle-sized, pleasant-featured old woman who was standing near with a bundle of faggots in her apron, "you are wrong, far wrong, it was no such thing, but it was owre in that holm there, where my kye are, that the poet made - Man was made to Mourn.' Often have I heard my old father speak about it; he knew Burns and them all, but they are all yone.” “And what were the circumstances ?” said I, for I must confess that I was somewhat fascinated with her tragic manner and fluent language. Well, young man,” she continued, “I will tell you, for I love to speak about Burns. That is my house at the end of the brig there. Well, in Burns' time, a man lived in it o' the name o'Kemp, wha had a daughter ca'd Kate—Kate Kemp. Well, you know, Burns had an e'e to Kate, and came from Mauchline ae afternoon to see ber, but it so happened that the coo was lost and she had gone to look for't. Well, you see, the poet made up his mind
and look for them baith, but he had gotten no farther than the other side of the brig there when he met the miller.
Well, Miller, what are you doing here ?' said he. Deed,' said the miller, ‘I was gaun to speer that question at you.'
• Well, then,' said Burns, 'I was doon to see Kate Kemp, but she and the coo's lost.' Weel, ye ken, they cracket awa', but Burns began to get fidgety an' left the miller like a knotless thread, an' gaed awa doon the holm there. But the next time they met he said, 'Miller, I owe you an apology for leaving you so suddenly when we last met.' Oh, there's nae need o' that !' said the miller, ‘ for I suppose something was rinnin' in
your head.' “You are right,' said Burns,' and here it is ;' an' sae wi' that he read “ Man was made to mourn.'
Yes, John, that is the Holm where Burns made · Man was made to mourn,' I can assure you.” John heard her staternent, intimated his surprise, and moved off, and left the old lady and I to ourselves. She informed me that she had spent the whole of her life in the locality, and entertained me with many reminiscences of her early years. “In the days of Burns," she said, “ aye, and in my day to,” she added with a sigh, “all round by the holm there was covered with beautiful trees in which the craws biggit their nests, but they are all down ; and a beautiful oak that stood 'yont the road a bit, which was admired by everybody, and was drawn by many an artist, is down too. My heart bled to see the noble monarch lying low-but it was not so in the days of Lord Glenlee. No, he would not allow a tree on the estate to be touched, and when one at the big house was blown down, he said “if a ten pound note will put it up I will gladly pay down the money.'” After enjoying a hearty draught of milk in this intelligent lady's dairy—which, by the by, is cut out of the solid rock-I reluctantly bade her good-bye and pushed on to Mauchline, for train time was nigh, and my step was not so elastic as it was in the morning. The scenery on the road between Barskimming bridge and Mauchline is romantic enough, but it is tame, tame, when compared with the wooded slopes of Ballochmyle. When I reached Mauchline station the train was due. It is needless to add that Kilmarnock was speedily and safely reached.
FROM KILMARNOCK TO
NEWMILNS—THE AYRSHIRE HERMITLOUDOUN KIRKYARD AND RUINED CHURCH-THE QUEIR-LADY FLORA HASTINGS-THE SCOTTISH MILKMAID-GALSTONLOUDOUN CASTLE-THE OLD CASTLE-LOUDOUN MANSE-DR. LAWRIE AND BURNS-LOUDOUN HILL-NEWMILNS-THE OLD
TOWER-THE PARISH CHURCH AND CHURCHYARD.
“I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.” It is delightful to stroll along a hedge-bordered country road on a radiant summer day, listening to the hum of the treasure-ladened bee and the song of the lark.
It is truly exhilarating, and I never enjoyed Nature's beauties to greater advantage than I did when walking from Kilmarnock to Newmilns. The road I selected is not only secluded, but one of the old sort, winding over heights and through hollows in a manner very pleasing to the pedestrian who has an eye for the picturesque. Any little toil, therefore, which I encountered on the way was amply repaid by the extensive and beautiful prospects obtained from the heights, and especially of that district,
“ Where Loudoun Hill rears high its conic form,
And bares its rocky bosom to the storm.” After a walk of two miles or so I reached the river Irvine at a point where it sweeps round a curve and rushing along its channel through some beautiful scenery, again emerges and passes triumphantly on its way to the sea. For a short distance the road winds along its bank, but it soon diverges and rises over the brow of a steep hill on which stands a handsome villa. Behind it, in a beautiful holm on the bank of the stream, is an ivy-mantled, ruined cottage, which was
at one time the residence of Thomas Raeburn, the Ayrshire hermit—a personage whose eccentric habits and peculiar appearance will not readily be forgotten. His story is as curious as it is brief. It appears that he inherited the house and a few acres of land from his father, but, strange to say, the small property was surrounded by that of other people, and there was no road into it unless one which skirted a field belonging to a neighbour. In course of time the neighbour closed the road, but Raeburn, under the impression that
use and wont” constituted a right, sued him for a restitution of the privilege of passing through his ground, and, as might have been expected, lost the case. The result of the trial preyed upon his mind and made him morose and gloomy. He declared that he had been harshly dealt with, and vowed that he would neither shave his beard, cut his hair, nor renew his clothing until justice was done him, and this vow he solemnly kept until the day of his death. His hair grew long and matted, and his beard, likewise unkempt, hung in tangled masses down his breast. His clothing, too, soon lost its identity, and became so patched and darned that it was. ultimately a matter of difficulty to discover an original piece of any garment. His strange appearance naturally attracted many visitors, and in course of time a favourite rural walk with the young people of Kilmarnock was to his residence and back, for he was no recluse, but made all comers wel
To accommodate such he dealt in lemonade and ginger-beer, and occasionally in a more stimulating beverage, although his infringement of the excise law did not go unpunished. He was parsimonious in his habits, lived sparingly, and drank nothing but water when better cheer could not be procured at the expense of others. He made many attempts at wit in private conversation, of which the following are said to be fair samples :—Upon being asked if his clock was with the town, he replied—“No, it's twa mile and a half aff’t.”. If a visitor asked for a light to his pipe, he was generally told that “There's no as muckle fire i' the house as wad licht. a pipe, but ye may licht your tobacco.” Upon being asked if he was ever drunk, he replied—“There's naebody wi' a throat big enou' to swallow me.” He had a strange influence over animals, and more especially over the songsters of
Often would he go into his garden for the grati
fication of visitors and call the robins from the trees to perch on his beard and take crumbs from between his lips. He was never married. An old woman kept house for him and managed his dairy, for he had several cows, and was famed for making cheese of excellent quality. He died in June, 1843, in the seventy-fourth year of his age, and the money he so avariciously gathered was divided amongst relatives who speedily put it into circulation, and his plot of ground now belongs to a cattle dealer in Newmilns.
Above the ruined residence of the Ayrshire hermit are Milton Mill, and the miller's house and garden, beautifully situated on the bank of the stream, and beyond them Grougar Row, a collection of miners' dwellings. One obtains occasional glimpses of Galston and the moors beyond it as he plods onward, but there is little else on the landscape to attract attention, and the river is soon lost sight of by a sudden divergence of the road.
The first place of consequence reached is Loudoun Kirkyard, an ancient place of burial surrounded by a wall and a row of sombre-looking trees. It nestles in a picturesque nook by the wayside at a point where a burnie jinks beneath overhanging bushes and steals under a rude bridge with a gurgling sound which seems to say
“ Men may come, and men may go,
But I flow on for ever.” The iron gate being securely chained and padlocked, I sought and gained admittance by a wicket in a cottage garden hard by. The secluded spot is small, unkept, and the memorials of the departed few and scattered. In its centre stands a shattered gable and a portion of the old kirk called the “queir," which is kept in repair on account of it having been the sepulchre of the Loudoun family for nigh four hundred years.
It is a venerable square block with a sloping roof, and is embellished with the Loudoun arms and other curious devices, and also has a small barred window through which the coffins of the defunct barons are seen. Here lie the remains of the gifted but unfortunate Lady Flora Hastings, who is said to have died of a broken heart on account of a cruel and unmerited slander which was raised against her by one of the ladies of the bedchamber to H.R.H. the Duchess of Kent.