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since, his spirit has haunted that loch, and continues to do so to this day.
He was, when alive, very fond of the game of curling on the ice, at which no mortal man could beat him; nor has his passion for it ceased with death; for he and his hellish consederates continue to amuse themselves with this game during the long winter nights, to the great terror and annoyance of the neighbourhood, not much regarding whether the loch be frozen or not.
SIR ROBERT SCOTT, knight of Thirlestane, was first married to a lady of high birth and qualifications, whom he most tenderly loved; but she, soon dying, left him an only son. He was afterwards married to a lady of a different temper, by whom he had several children; whose jealousy of the heir made Sir Robert doat still more on this darling son. She, knowing that the right of inheritance belonged to him, and that, of course, a very small share would fall to her sons, seeing he loved the heir so tenderly, grew every year more uneasy. But the building, and other preparations which were going on at Gamescleuch, on the other side of the Ettrick, for his accommodation on reaching his majority, when he was also to be married to a fair kinswoman, drove her past all patience, and made her resolve on his destruction. The masonry of his new castle of Gamescleuch was finished on his birth-day, when he reached his twentieth year, but it never went farther. This being always a feast-day at Thirlestane, the lady prepared, on that day, to put her hellish plot in execution; for which purpose, she had previously secured to her interest John Lally, the family piper. This man, tradition says, procured her three adders, of which they chose the parts replete with most deadly
poison; these they ground to a fine powder, and mixed with a bottle of wine. On the forenoon before the festival commenced, he went over to Gamescleuch to regale his workmen, who had exerted themselves to get their work finished on that day, and Lally the piper went with him as server. When his young
lord called for wine to drink a health to the masons, John gave him a cup of the poisoned bottle, which he drank off. Lally went out of the castle, as if about to return home; but that was the last sight of him. He could never be found, nor heard of, though the most diligent and extended search was made for him. The heir swelled and burst almost instantaneously. A large company of the then potent name of Scott, with others, were now assembled at Thirlestane to grace the festival; but what a woeful meeting it turned out to be! They with one voice pronounced him poisoned; but where to attach the blame remained a mystery, as he was so universally loved and esteemed. The first thing the knight caused to be done, was blowing the blast on the trumpet or great bugle, which was the warning for all the family instantly to assemble, which they did in the court of the castle He then put the foilowing question: “Now, are we all here? A voice answered from the crowd, “We are all here but Lally the piper." Simple and natural as the answer may seem, it served as an electrical shock to old Sir Robert. It is supposed that, knowing the confidence which his lady placed in this menial, the whole scene of cruelty opened to his eyes at once; and the trying conviction, that his peace was destroyed by her most dear to him, struck so forcibly upon his feelings, that it totally deprived him of reason. He stood a
long time speechless, and then fell to repeating the answer which he received, like one half awakened out of a sleep; nor was he ever heard, for many a day, to speak another word than these, “We are all here but Lally the piper:" and when any one accosted him, whatever was the subject, that was sure to be the answer he received.
The method which he took to revenge his son's death was singular and unwarrantable: He said, that the estate of right belonged to his son, and since he could not bestow it upon him living, he would spend it all upon him now he was dead : and that neither the lady nor her children should ever enjoy a farthing of that which she had played so foully for. The body was accordingly embalmed, and lay in great splendour at Thirlestane for a year and a day; during all which time Sir Robert kept open house, welcoming and feasting all who chose to come, and actually spent or mortgaged his whole estate, saving a very small patrimony in Eskdale-muir, which belonged to his wife. Some say, that while all the country whó chose to come were thus feasting at Thirlestane, she remained shut up in a vault of the castle, and lived on bread ind water.
During the last three days of this wonderful feast, the crowds which gathered were immense ; it seemed as if the whole country were assembled at Thirlestane. The butts of wine were carried to the open fields, the ends knocked out of them with hatchets, stones, or whatever came readiest to hand, and the liquor care ried about “in stoups and in caups." On these days the burn of Thirlestane ran constantly red with wine, and even communicated its tincture to the river Ett
rick. The family vault, where his corpse was interred in a leaden chest, is under the same roof with the present parish church of Ettrick, and distant froin Thirlestane about a Scots mile, To give some idea of the magnitude of the burial, the old people tell us, that though the whole way was crowded with attendants, yet, when the leaders of the procession reached the church, the rearmost were not nearly got from Thirlestane.
Sir Robert, shortly after dying, left his family in a state little short of downright beggary, which, they say, the lady herself came to before she died. As Sir Robert's first lady was of the family of Ilarden, some suspected him of having a share in forwarding the knight's desperate procedure. Certain it is, however, he did not, in this instance, depart from the old family maxim, “Keep what you have, and catch what you can,” but made a nudie hand of the mania of grief which so overpowered the faculties of the old baron; for when accounts came to be cleared up, a large proportion of the lands turned out to be Harden's. And it is added, on what authority I know not, that when the extravagance of Sir William Scott obliged the Harden family to part with these lands, the purchaserg were bound, by the bargain, to refund these lands, should the Scoits of Thirlestane ever make good their right to them, either by law or redemption.
The nearest lineal descendant from this second marriage is one Robert Scott, a poor man who lives at the Binks on Teviot, whom the generous Buccleuch has taken notice of and provided for. He is commonly distinguished by the appellation of Rab the Laird, from the conviction of what he would have been had he