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he added, with a significant glance at my dusty boots, “come on foot, but the fact is, people never cease nor seem to weary of coming, for I have noticed the same individuals three or four times during a season. O yes, the monument is a favourite resort for all. Family parties, wedding parties, and excursion parties arrive almost daily from Maybole, Ayr, Troon, Irvine, and Kilmarnock, and there are often excursions from Glasgow and other places; but Americans are the most enthusiastic of all visitors. They never drink; no, it is all business with them, and I can assure you they delight in everything connected with Burns and his works—they wish to see everything that is to be seen, and when they see it they are off; yes, a fine class of people are the Americans. I have driven them all round here often. But have you been in the monument 1 No—well, in you go and see the show, for there is too much of that about it.” Following his advice, and a merry party of lads and lasses, I presented myself at the gate of the grounds which encircle the handsome tribute to the Poet's memory, and was admitted upon paying twopence, for such is the amount levied on each visitor for the purpose of defraying the necessary expense of keeping the Monument in proper order.
THE MONUMENT ON THE BANKS OF Doon—ITS EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL APPEARANCE—RELICS OF THE POET-HIGHLAND MARY's BIBLE–SCENERY-THE STATUES of TAM o' SHANTER AND SOUTER JOHNNY–THE SCHEME FOR ERECTING THE MONUMENT AND HOW IT ORIGINATED–LAYING THE FOUNDATION STONE–MR. BOSWELL's ADDRESS, ETC.
THE grounds surrounding the Monument on the banks of Doon, although barely an acre in extent, are quite paradisiacal in appearance, being beautifully laid off and well stocked with shrubs and choice flowers. " The tribute to the Poet's memory is situated in the centre, and towers far above its surroundings, being sixty feet high. The basement, which is triangular in form, contains a small chamber and supports a circle of nine fluted columns thirty feet in height which bear up a copula crowned by three inverted dolphins and a gilt tripod. Altogether, it is a handsome piece of masonry and worthy of the object to which it is devoted.
After conversing with the courteous superintendent, I entered the circular chamber in the basement of the pile which was literally crowded with visitors intently examining relics of the poet that are preserved in glass cases. On a table lay a ponderous ledger or “Visitors' book,” round which a knot were gathered anxiously waiting to add their names to the many thousands its pages contained ; but from it my eye wandered round the apartment, and rested on a well-executed portrait of Burns from the celebrated painting by Naismyth, and also upon several spirited sketches illustrating happy passages in his poems. These adorned the walls, but a masterpiece of art, in the form of a bust of Burns, arrested universal attention by its life-like appearance. It is a souvenir of the genius of the late Patrick Park, R.S.A.,
a Settich sektor of considerate perit, who died on the threebed of Fame's terre Tiese in the xiras are very interesting, but the - Barns relicts are more attractire by far, and in consort with ciber enthusiasts I looked upon tter with sings akin to veneration. The folowing is a list of the Lost notework:Tae Bible presented by Burns to “ Highland Mary;" “ Boprie Jean's" (Mrs. Burns) wedding ribe, presenied by Mr. Hutchison, a grand-daughter of the poet; two rings, containing portions of the hair of Burns and his devoted wife, presented by their son, James G. Burns; two drinking-glasses presented by Barns to Clarinda; a snuffbox made from the rafters of “Alloway's auld haunted kirk;" and a caup said to hare been used by the “randie, gangrel bodies" who frequented the establishment of Poosie Vancy. Beside these, there is a copy of the
original Kilmarnock edition of Burns' poems, and one of the Edinburgh edition ; but the greatest literary curiosities are those in the German and French languages. There are also to be seen a letter from Burns to Captain Millar of Dalswinton, and fac similes of the MSS. of “Scots wha hae," and “The Jolly Beggars." The Bible which the poet presented to his "Highland lassie" when they parted for ever on the banks of the Ayr, consists of two small volumes, and bears the following in his unmistakeable handwriting:— Vol. I.—“And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, I am the Lord. Levit. 19th chap. 12th verse. In the centre of the opposite fly-leaf there is a mystical Free Mason mark. Vol. II. — “Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oath. Matth. 5th ch. 33d verse.
” On the top of the opposite fly-leaf are “Robert," and two indistinct words, which possibly are Burns and Mossgiel.
The history of this Bible is somewhat singular. After Mary's death, her father forbade the name of her lover to be mentioned in the family. Her mother, however, was more relenting, and with fond memories of her child treasured the volumes, and shortly before her own demise, which occurred in Greenock in 1828, presented them to her daughter, a Mrs. Anderson ; but from her they passed from one sister to another, and ultimately came into the possession of her son, William Anderson, mason, Renton, Dumbartonshire. In 1834 he emigrated to Canada and took the volumes with him. For a long time thereafter all traces of them were lost; but
being accidentally heard of by a few patriotic Scots in Montreal,
" These records dear of transports past" were purchased for £25, and generously sent to the old country to be placed in the Monument with the memorials mentioned above.
From the chamber in which the relics are preserved a narrow stair leads to a platform within the prestile. When I emerged from it I found several visitors, leaning on the balustrade upon which the columns rest, intently gazing upon the extensive and highly-interesting landscape which comes within the range of vision from the elevated position. I also found myself leaning on the stone work and as deeply engrossed with the matchless views as any one, for in whatever direction the eye turned it rested on objects consecrated by the Poet's genius and upon scenery unsurpassed for richness and beauty. I could have "gazed myself away,” as Wordsworth has it, but the afternoon was well spent, and to guard against being “catch'd wi' warlocks in the mirk,” I descended with the intention of taking a turn through the grounds before leaving.
While admiring the flowers and neatly-bordered walks, I stumbled on a grotto containing “Tam o' Shanter and “Souter Johnny”—two life-sized stone figures from the chisel of the late James Thom, an amateur sculptor of some celebrity, who travelled and exhibited them in the principal towns of Great Britain and Ireland before being deposited where they
The figures, which are natural and life-like, are represented sitting in chairs with a can of “reaming swats” between them which appear to be of divine quality, for as Tammie holds his bumper, the very smile on his face would make one believe that he was about to pronounce the old toast, “Here's to ye." Johnnie looks quite pleased also, and in every way as jolly and happy as his prototype, “ Laird M'Pherson,” was when in the flesh.
The “ Laird” was a Symington cobbler whom Thom modelled so cleverly that an urchin from the village was nearly frightened out of his wits when he first peered in at the grotto door.
Before leaving the Monument, a word may be said about its inauguration. The honour of originating the scheme for its erection is wholly due to the late Sir Alexander Boswell
of Auchinleck—a gentleman who was not only an enthusiastic admirer of the bard, but a poet of decided merit, and a patriot who took a deep interest in everything connected with the weal of his native land. He knew how the Scottish heart beat towards Burns, and in the belief that an appeal for funds to erect a memorial for him on the banks of classic Doon would be heartily responded to, he ventured to call a public meeting in Ayr for the purpose of having his proposal taken into consideration. The day came, and the hour of meeting arrived, but not a single individual but Mr Boswell (his title was not then conferred upon him) and a friend put in an appearance, so utterly regardless seemed the community about the matter. This was disheartening enough, but it did not damp the enthusiasm of Boswell, for he believed with his friend that the matter only required to be known and Scotchmen in all parts of the globe would give it countenance. With due formality, the same friend voted him to the chair and proposed that a subscription should be commenced for the purpose of raising a monument to the poet Burns on the banks of Doon. It is needless to say that the resolution met with no opposition. A minute of the proceedings being signed by the chairman, the meeting broke up. The friends next advertised in the public journals that such a meeting had been duly called, and that said resolution had been unanimously carried at it. £1600 was soon collected, and with this sum it was resolved to commence building the memorial. On the anniversary of the poet's birthday, the following year (1820), a great demonstration—in which large deputations from all the Masonic lodges in Ayrshire took part—was held in honour of the laying of the foundation stone. The day was anything but favourable for the occasion, but despite the inclemency of the weather the procession with music playing and banners flying marched from Ayr to the site—and where could there have been a more appropriate one found ! An extensive circle being formed round it, the stone was laid with Masonic honours by Mr Alexander Boswell; and within a cavity were deposited the coins of the realm, the local newspapers, and a brass platebearing the following inscription :-‘‘By the favour of Almighty God, on the twenty-fifth day of January, A.D. MDCCCXX, of the era of Masonry 5820, and in the sixtieth year of thereign of our beloved Sovereign George the Third, His Royal