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"Thrice hail thee, famous Mungo's Well."
This noted well in " Tam o' Shanter" is situated on the banks of Doon, near Auld Kirk Alloway, and about a stonecast from the new bridge across the river. The thorn mentioned by Burns as growing above it is gone. The well is of a circular form, composed of mason-work, with a fine gravel bottom, constructed and kept up by Mr Fraser, the landlord of the inn near by. A jug stands at it also for the accommodation of visitors. Its water is exceedingly fine and refreshing, at least I know it was so to us, the day being so warm.
"The ivied bridge which ' Tammy' crossed."
This is the old Bridge of Doon, but a very short distance from the new one. It is a very antiquatedlike structure, consisting of but one arch, very narrow and high in the centre. A great part of it is richly mantled with ivy, especially the famous "key-stane," as before Tarn, on that awful, that ill-starred night, had reached which, poor Maggie, alas !" the fient a tail she had to shake." When I lay and leaned over it, ruminating over "Tam o' Shanter," what strange sensations did I not experience? Heaven knows and myself. Did I not feel as if in the immediate presence of a celestial nature, and that the very ground on which I stood was not only immortalized by departed genius, but hallowed and doubly enchanted 1
This pile, erected to the memory of the immortal Bard, is both an elegant and beautiful structure of a circular form, resembling much the one on the Calton Hill, Edinburgh. It is situated on a delightful eminence on the banks of Doon, and commands a very extensive range of scenery, the most lovely and interesting I ever had the pleasure to behold. There the eye travels over landscape after landscape, associated with many lively and engrossing reminiscences of Scotia's sweetest minstrel, and all consecrated in the years that are gone by the daily wanderings of him whose memory Fame has justly crowned with her imperishable laurels, and whose very name has hence become a household word enshrined in the fond recollection of all, but more especially hallowed by every favoured son of the Muse.
"Behold the all but breathing butt."
The bust was of white marble, and excellently executed. In reference to the Bibles, a slip of Mary's hair, and the autographs of Burns, they were all religiously preserved in a glass-case standing in the centre of the Monument. As for the elegant and expressive statues of Tam o' Shanter and Souter Johnnie, they are beyond all praise.
"First, Old Mortality, to thee."
That is William Kennedy, a mason of Ayr, who humorously styles himself "Old Mortality." He is in very truth a jovial, social, obliging blade. I recollect we first fell into company and correspondence in Burns' Cottage, where he and another were discussing a bottle of porter, after the fatigue of lifting a tombstone in Alloway's "auld kirkyard." I saw in a moment that he was a very frank and open-minded character, and of course we quickly got into conversation. He seemed pretty intelligent, at least as respected all inquiries in regard to the different localities of the Land of Burns, with whose writings he also appeared familiar, and could tell many incidents and stories connected with the Bard. A few glasses of his porter cordially exchanging with us for mountain dew, our new companion had penetration enough soon to guess the grand object of our mission to the fairy scenes about Ayr, and with as much disinterested kindness as if we had been heart-sworn comrades from our school-days, he proffered at once his services to become both our guide and exponent. So away we went, happy, indeed, with our loquacious conductor, who immediately on our arrival got permission from the landlord of the inn to view the celebrated grounds. After visiting the "auld kirkyard" of Alloway with its auld "haunted kirk," which has been sufficiently described in the text, and cutting a switch from an old plane-tree which hung over its grey and mouldering walls, we had a delightful ramble along the " Banks and braes o' bonnie Doon," noticed in a previous Note. Afterwards we visited the Old and New Bridges; thence through, as it were, a Paradise Regained, we came to the Monument; and lastly, on leaving which, we arrived at the inn, where, after the Hawick gill had described a few cycles and had begun to inspire, I fondly recollect we had the "Banks and braes o' bonnie Doon" sung in splendour and on the very spot. Bidding adieu to these enchanting localities, we reached Ayr about ten at night, where subsequently we spent a few very harmonious hours with our worthy guide Kennedy, the most kind, obliging, and honourable of men, to