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to enjoy it more fully I climbed a verdant slope and began to stray over some grass-covered foundations near the shattered remnant of former greatness. Approaching the edge of the precipice on which the ruin stands, I passed through a low doorway and entered a vault-like chamber with an arched roof, but neither in it nor in another ruined apartment at the top of a wrecked staircase did I find anything to reward my intrepidity. In fact, my blood ran cold when I looked through an arrowslit in the back wall, and beheld the chasm over which the fabric hangs.
Very little is known regarding Greenan Castle. Over the door of the tower the letters“ J. K.," and the figures - 1603". are still discernable ; but that an older building occupied the site is evident from the stronghold being mentioned in a grant of the Doon Fisheries, which was drawn up during the reign of William the Lion. The following verses are selected from an address to the old pile which may be found in a meritorious volume of verse published in Ayr in 1841 :
“ It frowns upon the steep
Like a monarch grey and grim,
Bears a never failing hymn ;
Looks the tower the sunshine through,
Dreams of home and love so true.
O'er the bosom of the sca,
In their mischief-making glee ;
While the drift flies gloomy past,
Frowns the ruin on the blast.
In the city and the wood,
O'er the lovely and the good ;
And they fade within the heart,
Though the fair and young depart."
sharply towards Ayr-the tide being far out and the sand firm and pleasant to walk upon. At the confluence of the Doon I was brought to a standstill, for to cross dry-shod appeared impossible, and to go round by the Low Bridge was to take up too much time. However, I got over the difficulty and the river together by wading across with my boots and stockings suspended across my shoulder at the end of my stick, and after a lengthy but pleasant walk reached the Low Green—a large level park in which games of cricket and football were progressing with great spirit. Thence I passed the County Buildings and hurriedly sought the Railway Station, but not a moment too soon, for I had no sooner procured a ticket and taken a seat than the train moved off. The journey to Kilmarnock was as free from incident as such journeys generally are; so, courteous reader, we will start together in next chapter, and in fancy accompany each other in a ramble to the farm of Lochlea and other places in the vicinity of Tarbolton.
FROM KILMARNOCK TO COILSFIELD-RICCARTON GRAVEYARD-AN ECE
CENTRIC MISER-A BURNS WORTHY --CRAIGIE ROAD—SCARGIE-
AND CRANNOG —THE OLD DWELLING HOUSE AND NEW
AFTER visiting “ The banks and braes o' bonnie Doon,” I resolved upon a pilgrimage to the farm of Lochlea and the various places of interest in its immediate vicinity, for to it, as we have seen, the Burns' family removed after a protracted struggle with adverse circumstances in the locality which formed the goal of last ramble. The day set apart for the journey being favourable, I crossed the old bridge at Riccarton, and passed up the village street as the clock in the church spire announced the hour of ten. Finding the gate of the churchyard open, I entered and sought out the grave of the Rev. Alexander Moodie, a Burns hero, “who," as the weather worn stone states, “ died 15th Feb., 1799, in the 72nd year of his age, and the 40th of his ministry.” He was a zealous auld light preacher, and figures as one of the herds in the “Holy Tulzie -a satire on an unseemly quarrel between him and the Rev. John Russell of Kilmarnock :
“Oh, Moodie, man, and wordy Russell,
How could you raise so vile a bustle ?
An' think it fine;
Sin' I hae min'.
“O, sirs ! whae'er wad hae expeckit,
Your duty ye wad sae negleckit,
To wear the plaid ;
To be their guide.
“ What flock wi' Moodie's flock could rank,
Sae hale and hearty every shank !
He let them taste;
Oh, sic a feast !" In referring to the dispute, Robert Chambers makes mention of its origin. “It happened,” says he, "that a dryness arose between them. The country story is, that as they were riding home one evening from Ayr, Moodie, in a sportive frame of mind, amused himself by tickling the rear of his neighbour's (the Rev. John Russell's) horse. The animal performed several antics along the road, much to the amusement of the passing wayfarers, but greatly to the disconfiture of black Jock, who, afterwards learning the trick, could not forgive Moodie for it.
Afterwards a question of parochial boundaries arose between them. It came before the Presbytery for determination. There, in the open court,' says Mr. Lockhart, “to which the announcement of the discussion had drawn a multitude of the country people, and Burns among the rest, the reverend divines, hitherto sworn friends and associates, lost all command of temper, and abused each other coram populo, with a fiery virulence of personal invective such as has long been banished from all popular assemblies, wherein the laws of courtesy are enforced by those of a certain unwritten code. This was too much temptation for the profane wit of Burns. He lost no time in putting the affair in allegorical shape.”
The Rev. Mr. Moodie is also mentioned in “The Kirk's Alarm," and his style of oratory is hit off to a nicety in the following verses of “The Holy Fair" :
“ Now a' the congregation o'er
Is silent expectation,
Wi' tidings o' d- -tion.
'Mang sons o' God present him, The very sight o' Moodie's face To's ain het hame had sent him,
Wi' fright that day.
“ Hear how he clears the points o' faith
Wi' rattlin' and wi' thumpin'!
Now meekly calm, now wild in wrath,
He's stampin' and he's jumpin'!
His eildritch squeal and gestures,
On sic a day.”
In the vicinity of Moodie's grave are the burying-places of the Cuninghames of Caprington and the Campbells of Treesbank, and many curiously-carved headstones which will repay attention ; but, with the exception of an eccentric miser who died in East Shaw Street, Kilmarnock, on the 17th July, 1817, and who is interred in an out-of-the way corner near the gate, the unkept sward does not cover any other very celebrated individual. William Stevenson
-as this character was named—was a native of Dunlop, and at one time filled a respectable position in society ; but, owing to some unexplained cause, he became a professional beggar, and lived wholly upon charity. In the “ Book of Days” the following curious account of his death and burial may be found :
“ About the year 1787 he and his wife separated, making the strange agreement that whichever of them was the first to propose reunion should forfeit one hundred pounds to the other. It is supposed that they never met afterwards. In 1815, when about eighty-five years old, Stevenson was seized with an incurable disease, and was confined to his bed. A few days before his death, feeling his end to be near, he sent for a baker, and ordered twelve dozen burial cakes, a large quantity of sugar biscuits, and a good supply of wine and spirits. He next sent for a joiner, and instructed him to make a good, sound, dry, roomy coffin ; after which he sent for the Riccarton gravedigger, and requested him to select a favourable spot in a dry and comfortable corner of the village churchyard, and there dig for him a roomy grave, assuring him that he would be paid for his trouble. This done he ordered an old woman who attended him to go to a certain nook and there bring out nine pounds to pay all these preliminary expenses, telling her not to grieve for him for he had remembered her in his will. Shortly after this he died. A neighbour came in to search for his wealth, which had been shrouded in much mystery. In one bag was found large