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wall of rude masonry, some seven feet in height. The gable fronting the entrance is surmounted by a belfry, which still retains its bell. In its centre is a small window divided by a thick mullion, which Burns refers to as the “winnock bunker in the east.” Around the walls are other windows which are built up, but on the south side one is pointed to as that through which Tam o' Shanter is supposed to have witnessed the witches' carnival and all the horrors of their orgies. One thing, however, struck me forcibly when looking into the interior, and that was the fact that his Satanic majesty must have had an insecure seat and his emissaries a very small place wherein to hold a revelry like that which the poet describes. Every scrap of wood about the building was carried off many years ago.
Some half-dozen arm chairs have been made out of its rafters, but when one thinks of the enormous quantity of snuff-boxes and similar articles said to be made out of the same materials, the wood seems to have strongly resembled that of “ the true Cross.” The interior is divided by a partition wall and used as a place of burial by the Cathcarts of Blairston, the Crawfords of Doonside, and others. The date of its erection (1516) is inscribed above a doorway, but its history is void of interest.
At one time a manse and glebe were attached to Alloway Kirk, but the stipend of the minister being only £32 a year, the parish was added to that of Ayr about the close of the seventeenth century and the sum divided between its ministers. After that the building became untenanted and ruinous, and on that account was considered to be the resort of witches and things uncanny-indeed, it is on record that people who passed it after dark saw "unco sichts” and heard sounds of a supernatural description. Burns was familiar with many of its legends, and on the following founded the tale of “Tam o' Shanter":
“On a market day in the town of Ayr, a farmer from Carrick, and consequently whose way lay by the very gate of Alloway Kirkyard, in order to cross the river Doon at the old bridge which is about two or three hundred yards further on than the said gate, had been detained by his business till, by the time he reached Alloway, it was the wizard hour, between night and morning. Though he was terrified with a blaze streaming from the kirk, yet, as it is a well-known fact that
to turn back on these occasions is running by far the greatest risk of mischief, he prudently advanced on his road. When he had reached the gate of the kirkyard he was surprised and entertained through the ribs and arches of an old Gothic window, which still faces the highway, to see a dance of witches merrily footing it round their old sooty blackguard master, who was keeping them all alive with the power of his bagpipe. The farmer, stopping his horse to observe them a little, could plainly descry the faces of many old women of his acquaintance and neighbourhood. How the gentleman was dressed tradition does not say, but that the ladies were all in their smocks ; and one of them happening unluckily to have a smock which was considerably too short to answer all the purpose
of that piece of dress, our farmer was so tickled that he involuntarily burst out, with a loud laugh, “Weel luppen, Maggie wi' the short sark!' and recollecting himself, instantly spurred his horse to the top of his speed. I need not mention the universally known fact that no diabolical power can pursue you beyond the middle of a running stream. Lucky it was for the poor farmer that the river Doon was so near, for, notwithstanding the speed of his horse, which was a good one, against he reached the middle of the arch of the bridge, and consequently the middle of the stream, the pursuing vengeful hags were so close at his heels that one of them actually sprang to seize him ; but it was too late. Nothing was on her side of the stream but the horse's tail, which immediately gave way at her infernal grip, as if blasted by a stroke of lightning, but the farmer was beyond her reach. However, the unsightly, tailless condition of the vigorous steed was, to the last hour of the noble creature's life, an awful warning to the Carrick farmers not to stay too late in Ayr markets."
After leisurely examining the scene of this legend, and listening to the prosy descriptions and nasal recitals of the curious specimen of humanity referred to, I began to stray through the unkept burying-ground, and note the humble gravestones of the unknown poor and the more pretentious tombs of the rich. Small as the place is, it is absolutely : crowded with memorial stones of one description and another. Many of these are modern, and several mark the resting-places
• See letter from Robert Burns to Francis Grose, Esq., F.S.A.
of individuals whose remains have been brought from con-
Draw near with pious rev'rence and attend !
The tender father, and the gen'rous friend.
The dauntless heart that feared no human pride ;
(Front). “ SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF WILLIAM BURNESS, FARMER IN LOCHLIE, WHO DIED ON THE 13TH FEB., 1784, IN 630 YEAR OF HIS AGE. AND OF AGNES BROWN, his SPOUSE, WHO DIED ON THE 14TH JANY., 1820, IN THE 88TH YEAR OF HER AGE.
SHE WAS INTERRED IN BOLTON CHURCUYARN, East LOTHIAN." This insciption is continued on the slab over the grave,
and reads thus :
Also, OF ISABELLA, RELICT OF JOHN BEGG, THEIR YOUNGEST DAUGHTER. BORN AT MOUNT OLIPHANT, 27TH JUNE, 1771. DIED 4TH DECEMBER, 1858. MUCH RESPECTED AND ESTEEMED BY A WIDE CIRCLE OF FRIENDS TO WHOM SHE ENDEARED HERSELF BY HER LIFE OF PIETY, HER MILD URBANITY OF MANNER, AND
DEVOTION GIFTED BROTHER.
Burns often expressed a wish that his bones should rest with those of his father; and so anxious were two of his Ayr.
THE MEMORY OF HER
friends that it should be complied with that they went to Dumfries and offered to bear the expense of transmitting his remains, but they were too late in arriving, arrangements having been made for his interment in St. Michael's church, yard. As it is, a path worn by many feet encircles the grave, and the rank grass which covers the uneven sward in its vicinity is trampled and interspersed with bare patches-a sure sign that it is the peculiar prerogative of genius that it attracts the attention of the world not only towards itself but towards everything that is connected with it.
The above is the only grave of interest in Alloway Kirkyard but several weather-worn memorials are to be met with which may be briefly referred to. One marks the burial place of Haire of Rankinstone, and bears date 1621 ; while another, decked with heraldic devices and dated 1665, that of the Hunters of Broomberry. Near to the grave of the Poet's father there are several bearing curious sculptured devices. One has a representation of Justice holding a balance which a figure is bearing down; another the motto Post mortem spero vitam, and the figure of a horse in the act of being shod, and also the instruments of farriery ; while a very curious but much defaced slab, without name or date, has the following all but obliterated verse :
“ Passenger, we here who lye
Own it is just that man should die,
Shall then rise with him from the tomb." A stone to the memory of “the last person baptised in Alloway Kirk” attracts considerable attention, as also one which the exhibitor represents as marking the grave of Souter Johnnie. That an individual who aspired to the dubious honour of being Burns's ideal of that character is buried in the grave he indicates is correct, but he was not the prototype of the Souter; and it is astonishing to see how many
visitors are deceived by the statement. Evidently the majority hear and believe, and visit places associated with literary and other celebrities more from the impulse of fashion than admiration for what they have achieved.
Passing through the kirkyard stile I entered the roadway and crossed to the new Kirk of Alloway- a neat little building, to which a cosy manse is attached. It was built in 1857, but not before the admirers of Burns had done
everything in their power to induce the late Mr Baird of Cambusdoon to change the site, for they considered that the erection would materially interfere with the view of the Monument. He proved inexorable, however, and in spite of public meetings and memorials the building was gone on with.
A few yards further on I reached the entrance to the grounds of the Monument, and paused to look upon the busy scene in its vicinity. Vehicles arrived and departed in quick succession, and visitors hurried hither and thither or sauntered about in little groups in the most enjoyable manner, as if gratified at being surrounded by scenes of which the Scottish heart might well be proud. The promiscuous throng seemed to be composed of all classes of society, and in waiting were all manner of conveyances. Here might be seen the smart equipage, there the hired carriage or cab, and close to them the commodious “brake” and common cart fitted up with temporary seats for the accommodation of the more humble class of visitors from a distance.
On the right hand side of the highway is Doonside cottage, within the enclosed grounds of which
“The thorn aboon the well,
Where Mungo's mither hang'd hersel',” is still to be seen. It was the residence of the late David Auld, an enthusiastic admirer of Burns, who, after acquiring a competency in Ayr, purchased land at Doonbrae, and on it erected the commodious and well-built hotel opposite. Along the road is the new Brig o' Doon, and a splendid panorama of hills, and to the left, the road down which Tam o' Shanter is supposed to have dashed when pursued by the witches.
The busy scene in the vicinity of the Monument somewhat surprised me, but I learned from a cabbie with whom I entered into conversation that it was nothing unusual. “ Visitors come,” said he, "from all parts and at all seasons, but more especially during the summer months. Then they arrive in little parties of ten or a dozen, and come in carriages and carts of every description, and many like yourself, sir,"