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At 4 P. M. I entered the telegraph coach for Ayr, with feelings impressed with the many and unremitting attentions which I had received since the evening of my arrival in Glasgow. The coach drove from the city in a cloud of dust, an unusual annoyance in my own country at this season of the year. My route to this place was by Kingswell, Fenwick, Kilmarnock, and Monkton. Five miles after leaving Glasgow, I looked back for a glimpse of Ben Lomond. A gentleman had mentioned with great exactness, the spot where, if the air should prove clear, it might be seen; and had apprised me of several circumstances by which to determine its appearance. Beyond the Campsie Fells, I descried a towering conical height, streaked with snow, and partially veiled in mist, which I was willing to distinguish as the mountain described. For the first few miles, the country was fertile and productive; beyond that, a dreary extensive tract succeeded, clothed with scanty verdure, and scarcely enlivened by the smoke of a single cabin; after which, the country again improved, and continued to do so as the road approached Ayr. Kilmarnock is a town famous for its weavers.
There is an iron railway, the most extensive of the kind in North Britain, which has been constructed from that place to the harbour of Troon, solely at the expense of the duke of Portland. The town has had a more than common notoriety of late, from having given birth to several seditious meetings, which occasioned the arrest of two or three of the more suspected agents; whose trial, within a few days, has excited a strong sensation in the metropolis, and resulted in their acquittal. On the way, I saw three or four half ruinous, castellated piles of building, but none of them worthy of remark. It was twilight when I entered Ayr,—a pretty, though irregular town. I recognized the two bridges, familiarly called the Brigs of Ayr,' spanning the limpid waters of its interesting stream. My feelings and recollections, on approaching the town, were filled with Burns.-I found my friend impatiently awaiting my arrival. We were soon seated at a supper, which he had ordered to be in readiness; and the remainder of the evening passed in various and enlivening conversation.
Port Patrick, April 17.-We left Ayr at 7 this morning, in the public coach, drawn by two horses,-a proof that we were no longer in a great travelling track. The vehicle had taken the name of Diligence; a word, which every day's use along the road, has contracted into the more convenient term Dilly. A second view of Ayr, in the broader light of day, confirmed, in some degree, the impression which I had received of its prettiness: but, owing to its partial irregularity, and a few ill constructed houses, on the whole I think it strikes best when seen at a distance, and forming a part of the landscape. It makes then a very good appearance. The town of Ayr contains 5,000 inhabitants, and has improved much within a few years. Lately a theatre has been opened in it, which allows forty pounds for the full regular receipts of a night.
It is probably the smallest town north of the Ouse, which is provided with such a luxurious appendage; and this does not speak so favourably of the sober, staid habits of the people, as might be wished.
The morning proved uncommonly serene; the air was mild, and the rays of the sun, which shone with great splendor, were finely reflected from the peaceful bosom of the Ayr, and the still bonnier waters of the river Doon. The aspect of the country for many miles, was exceedingly lovely. There was more of woodland than I anticipated; and, besides frequent and detached groups of trees, there were several extensive tracts which were beautifully covered. The peasantry, on our leaving Ayr, were seen actively at work; the birds were carolling their matin hymns, and the breeze, as it brushed over the landscape, was barely sufficient to curl the smoke which ascended from the few cabins that peeped from their shelters of coppice, emulous to form a part in the delightful scene. Two miles from the town, we came to the hut were Burns was born. It is a low thatched building of a single story, forming the corner, and connected by the same roof with two or three others of a similar size. A trifling bribe easily prevailed on the driver of the Dilly to stop, while my companion and myself examined the interior of this humble dwelling. A sign is affixed to the walls without, which bears the inscription which follows:- Burn's cottage, Robert Burns, the Ayrshire poet, was born under this roof, on the 29th January, 1759. Two small rooms occupy the whole floor of the house; in one of which, now used as the kitchen, is a recess where stood the bed in which the poet was born. The other apartment is furnished with some neatness, and boasts an engraved view of the dwelling, and a large painting of Burns, which, from its size and style of execution, seems to have been intended for a tavern sign-board. The present occupier of the cabin, an elderly sawney-looking man, who seemed to have been never particularly abstemious in the use of whiskey, said that it was in that room that he last saw Burns, and then took a dram with him; adding,
poor fellow.' He seemed nowise averse to repeating the draught, even at this early hour; and, accordingly leaving him enough for a double and tripple portion, we mounted our seats and pursued our journey. Alloway Kirk, distant half a mile further, on the right, is pleasantly situated on the margin of the Doon, a few yards from the road. It is now unroofed. The walls, however, and belfrey remain, though in a ruinous state. A small cemetery surrounds it.
The Doon is a romantic little stream. Its banks and braes' are indeed bonnie;'-and we thought its various beauties abundantly entitled to the praises which have been lavished upon them by the Ayrshire bard. The view from Carrick Hill, a little further on, was uncommonly pretty and extensive-the scenery soft and beautifully varied. Shortly after, we passed the ruins of Battarsan
castle, and subsequently at no great distance, the nobler remains of Corseragwell abbey. This last, with its mouldering towers and cloisters, and arches, its moss-grown walls, and grass-grown courts, was a most venerable and imposing object. Its order is a florid Gothic. The road, the greater part of the day, followed closely the windings of the coast. The large rocky island of Arran, streaked with snow, the tall, stern cliff of Ailsea, and the abrupt iron-bound shore of Kantyre, continued in sight for many miles.
Leaving Kirk-Oswald, a pretty place on the seacoast, where we breakfasted, the country became much more hilly; and beyond Girvan, ten miles further, it assumed a very wild aspect. The soil was poor, and covered with slight verdure. A few sheep only were browsing among the heath and broom. For some miles, our path led us along a ledge which was cut from the precipice that shelved abruptly to the water's edge. We noticed many ravines, or fissures, at intervals, in the hilly ridge on our left, some of great depth. It was common also to see streams, or rather burns, as they are termed, gushing through these openings and producing a fine effect. Several sea views were very magnificent.
We dined at a miserable inn at Ballantrae, and had as miserable fare. My food consisted of barley-broth, oatmeal cakes and eggs. Leaving Ballantrae, the country became much more wild and bleak, than even it had appeared before. The hills were scantily covered with furze, and exhibited barely a few patches of heather. We entered a deep glen, where scarcely a single habitation was to be seen, which extended for three or four miles, till it terminated with a full view of the waters of Loch Ryan. The first sight of the lake, though it served to vary, could hardly be said to relieve the scene.
As we proceeded, however, the hills near the loch, began to be covered with birches and broom; and the road gradually became pleasanter, as it followed its margin-a firm, smooth beach, to Stranraer, a distance of nine miles. This town stands at the head of the lake, and is large and neat. Loch Ryan itself
, is an estuary, extending nine or ten miles into the main land, and occupying a breadth of three or four. It would be very pretty, if the country on each side of it were productive and well managed. A few boats, which we saw near Stranraer, skimming the surface of the lake, gave to the scene considerable expression.
From S. to Port Patrick, the road was good, and the country much improved. Two miles distant from Port P. we came in sight of St. George's channel, and saw distinctly beyond, in the horizon, the coast of Ireland; the first time that I had seen it since losing sight of the Wicklow mountains, while on my passage to Liverpool. Again I beheld it with pleasure. We find Port Patrick a neat and rather romantic village, built under an amphitheatre of hills, and extending round a small cove in a semicircular form. The harbour is well protected, and is almost enclosed by high ledges of rocks, which jut from the mainland, and exhibit some
singular and fantastic appearances. We alighted at a small, but comfortable inn, where the people are all civility. A cheerful fire of peat blazed in the grate, which indicated our vicinity to Ireland. We have learnt that the packet for Donaghadee, will not sail till 12 o'clock, to-morrow. An opportunity, however, was presented to cross the channel this evening, in a return carrier smack. The master of the vessel was very urgent that we should take passage with him, and offered to accommodate us for a sum much less than the regular packet fare. We had several reasons for declining the proposal. It is sufficient to say, that a journey of fifty-six miles over a rugged tract of country, added to the known comforts of an English inn, left us little inclination to pursue immediately our course, whether by sea or land-much less to relinquish the prospect of a luxurious bed, for a straitened birth in a miserable cabin.* The night is dark, and indicates hard weather. Determining accordingly, to make the best of our situation, we have ordered such comforts as the inn affords, and are now employing the evening in conversation or in writing.
Bay of Port Patrick, April 18—noon. I have just come on board the Westmoreland' packet, for Donaghadee, and am attempting, with a miserable pen which I found in the cabin, to fill up my jour. nal. This morning I walked round the village of Port P. and climbed one of the hills which environ it. The bold, rocky shore which forms its harbour, struck my fancy very much. Ireland appeared in full view to the west. At 12, we took tickets for a passage in the packet for Donaghadee. The price of them was an half guinea each, exclusive of two or three minor charges. We are now standing over slowly to the Irish coast. The wind is ahead and light, and we shall not probably arrive there under several hours. The British coast is gradually receding, and the Irish slowly enlarging on the view. I left the former with some emotion-impatient to step foot upon the land of sweet Erin'; a country where I expect to find much that is new to amuse and instruct
Previously to taking a short farewell of Scotland, I will retrace one or two recollections of recent date.— I had occasion yesterday, to remark a singular resemblance between a real and an imagined scene. Every reader of novels, as well as of graver descriptive works, insensibly pictures to his fancy the various scenes which the author attempts to represent. No matter whether the views which he forms, accord with those of the writer, or not. To himself, they are consistent, intelligible, and unconfused. His fancy spreads a map where each object has its known and determined place, and should years intervene, between the delineation and its remembrance, the whole would rise, at the powerful bidding of some association, fresh, and as mechanically upon the view, as the drop and sliding scenes of theatric representation obey the shifting cords of the attendant. I need not say after this, that I have heretofore been conversant with tales of fancy, but proceed to add, that Loch Ryan, whose dreary expanse of waters I yesterday first descried, a few miles distant from Stranraer, strongly reminded me of the idea which I had long ago formed of a lake mentioned in a certain popular romance, to a castle near which, the heroine is related to have been carried. There was the same cheerless, sterile aspect in the country around, which I conceived to enclose the supposed water in the romance to which I allude. The rocks seemed to project in the same rude and bold shapes from the main land; and I almost expected to see the appalling figure of some Father Schedoni' stalking amidst the gloom of the impending crags.
* As the event proved, however, if we had accepted the offer, we should bave gained thirty hours on our route.
But another and a more interesting recollection was this morning suggested to my mind, while treading the hills of Port Patrick. I remembered that it was there the celebrated colonel Gardiner, in the intervals of his engagements with the duties of a garrison, had often walked and enjoyed those ravishing, pious meditations, which his letters more than once intimate, and which the glowing pen of Doddridge has feelingly depicted. One passage, in a letter of that eminent believer, I well remembered. - I took a walk,' said he, upon one occasion, upon the mountains which are over against Ireland; and I persuade myself, that were I capable of giving you a description of what passed there, you would say that I had much better reason to remember my God, from the hills of Port Patrick, than David from the land of Jordan and of the Hermonites.' This passage, which forcibly expressed the ardours of his piety, induced a train of reflections, which it would be foreign to my purpose here to introduce; reflections, however, which touched upon most of the facts of his singular and unearthly history, and which terminated, as every former review has done, in the conviction, that in more than one event of that extraordinary man's life, we may trace the indisputable interposition of the finger of God.'
Seven P. M.-I change a bad pen, and still more miserable ink, for a pencil, but little better. For the last several hours we have been becalmed, and have barely moved six miles from Port P.At present there is scarcely a breath of air stirring, and what is worse, there is no immediate prospect of an increase. To add to the uneasiness of our situation, no stores were provided by us this morning, and it was an early hour when we breakfasted. The half guinea which we paid on coming on board, merely secures a passage; every thing else being expected to be provided by the passenger. It did not occur to us to ascertain this before our departure; and even if it had, it is doubtful whether we should have made any provision, as the prospect was, that we should be in Ireland