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VISIT OF BURNS'S DESCENDANTS TO
On Friday, 24th July, in company with Mr. J. Leiper Gemmill, president of the Glasgow Mauchline Society, whose guests they had been during the previous week, Miss Annie B.
Burns and Miss Margaret Constance Burns Hutchinson, granddaughter and great-grand-daughter of Robert Burns, and their relative, General Warren Walker, paid a visit to Kilmarnock, and spent some time in viewing the places of interest connected with the Poet. They were received by Provost Mackay, at whose invitation they were also met by Provost Breckenridge, Mrs. Breckenridge, and Mr. James Dickie, town-clerk, Irvine; Mr. William Middlemas, town-clerk, Kilmarnock; Mr. John Kerr, B.L., solicitor, vice-president of the Kilmarnock Burns Club; Captain David Sneddon, Mr. D. M‘Naught, J.P., Kilmaurs, editor of the Burns Chronicle ; Mr. James M. Mackay, artist, Edinburgh; and Mr. G. Dunlop, editor of the Kilmarnock Standard. The party drove from the George Hotel through the principal thoroughfares to the Burns Monument, pausing by the way to take a look at the Laigh Kirk and
its historic burying-ground, more especially the memorials of Dr. M'Kinlay, Tam Samson, and other contemporaries of Burns. Opportunity was taken by the visitors to inscribe their names in the book which has lately been provided for this purpose in the vestry. The premises where Burns's Poems were first printed were also inspected, and among the houses pointed out as identified with the Poet were Begbie's hostelry (the “ Angel ”), and the residence of Tam Samson in London Road. At the Monument the party were photographed by the Messrs. M'Gregor, the group being formed on the staircase, with the statue as a background, still bearing the wreaths placed upon it on the Centenary Day. They were afterwards entertained by the Provost to luncheon in the George Hotel, and in the afternoon the relatives of the Poet proceeded to Ayr and Alloway, returning to Glasgow in the evening. They expressed themselves as greatly delighted with their visit to Kilmarnock, and with the kind and graceful reception accorded them at the hands of the Provost.
ROBERT BURNS, 1796-1896.
To thee, the peasant Bard, sublime
Give forth a meed of praise.
Their adorations raise.
To thee, who roused in patriot strains,
And fanned it into flames;
Shower honours on his name.
A gem of priceless value made,
Tho' at thee darts were hurled,
THE CEREMONY AT THE MAUSOLEUM.
MONG the numberless demonstrations in commemoration
of the death of Burns none surpassed in importance
and significance that which took place, on 21st July, at Dumfries. From all parts of the United Kingdom, from America, the
America, the Colonies, indeed, from wherever the British tongue is spoken, memorial wreathes, votive offerings, tributes of reverence and affection were brought by specially-appointed deputations, and laid by the hands of the Earl of Rosebery on the grave of the Poet
the Mausoleum in St. Michael's Churchyard. For the occasion the most elaborate arrangements had been made, all classes of the community seeming to vie with each other in their desire that the demonstration should be in every way worthy of the event. The streets of the burgh were profusely decorated, and a procession had been organised which, in the magnitude of its proportions, excelled anything ever seen in the burgh. Labour was entirely suspended, the occurrence of the annual holiday setting the entire population at liberty to take part in or witness the demonstration. All over the southern counties the celebration excited intense interest, and there was a great influx of strangers.
By nine o'clock the principal streets were densely crowded, and shortly afterwards people began to take up positions to witness the progress of the procession. The weather, so important an element in all outdoor spectacles, was, unhappily, not wholly propitious. Heavy clouds overcast throughout the forenoon, and before the procession had traversed more than half the appointed route rain fell in torrents, continuing for more than an hour. Fortunately, before it began, the imposing ceremony at the Mausoleum had been brought to a close.
All along the route of procession, which extended for a distance of fully two miles, the streets were lined with Venetian niasts. At half their height trophies of flags resting on shields were placed, and between the masts were carried double festoons of evergreens, while at salient points along the route scrolls bearing appropriate inscriptions were thrown across the streets.
It is impossible to do more than indicate the character of the mottoes which chiefly found favour. With a few exceptions, they were all taken from the works of the Poet. One of the most striking was the remark made by the Poet to his wife, “I'll be more thought of, Jean, a hundred years after I am dead;" another by the side of St. Michael's Church ran “Such graves as his are pilgrims' shrines ;” and in more than one place was displayed, “We'll a' be proud o’ Robin ;” and again “We hail an honest man.” The house in which the Poet died in Burns Street was elaborately decorated. The whole front of the house was wreathed in evergreens and flowers, and on either side of the door were huge Scotch thistles, the inscription on the house being surrounded by evergreens, while above were a couple of laurel crowns. Along the front of the house was the scroll, “All hail! my own inspired Bard,” while on either side of the window of the room in which the Poet is said to have died was a banneret showing a harp. On the front of the Industrial School and immediately to the south there is a niche containing a bust of Burns, and this was crowned with laurel. On another house in Bank Street was to be seen a plate bearing the inscription, “Robert Burns, the National Poet, lived in this house with his family on coming to Dumfries from Ellisland in 1791," and this, too, was ornamented with evergreens and flowers.
As early as nine o'clock the people who were to take part in the procession began to find their way to the several rendezvous. All the arrangements made by the executive were admirably fitted to secure order and prevent confusion. At the Whitesands
for the different bodies were marked off, and as each arrived on the ground it was shown to its position by the marshal in charge of the section. The route along New Bridge Street and Buccleuch Street was kept by a detachment