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of arms of ages, and was rewarded and commemorated by the grant of the Royal Double Tressure of Fleurs de lis, as an honourable augmentation to the original Arms of Scott, while the alacrity of the Baron of Thirlestane, who was King James the Fifth's contemporary, to hasten to the Royal Standard, was marked by the new crest assigned to him, of a sheaf of spears, with the appropriate motto “Ready, aye Ready." The last of these stalwart border chieftains, in the direct male line, was Sir Robert Scott, of Thirlestane, who flourished in the time of King James the Sixth. His first wife, a beautiful and amiable woman, whom he tenderly loved, was a daughter of the House of Harden, now represented by Lord Polwarth. She died young, leaving an only son, the catastrophe of whose untimely fate, involving as it did, the ruin of his family, we have here to record. Sir Robert's second wife was an unprincipled woman, of vindictive temper, and fierce passions; and by her he had several children. This woman had all the qualities calculated to make an oppressive and cruel step-dame; and accordingly her jealousy was excited by the fond affection which Sir Robert displayed towards his eldest son. She knew that his rich inheri. tance would descend to him, while her own sons would receive a very slender provision ; besides, her husband's excessive attachment to his eldest son gave her no hope of his being persuaded to alienate from him any portion of the family property. Her jealousy accordingly grew into a disease, and her mind was distracted with rage and mortification, These feelings were still further aggravated, when Sir Robert built the Tower of Gamescleugh, and adorned that property with all manner of embellishments, as the future residence of his eldest son, who was now about to come of age, and for whom he had arranged a suitable and advantageous matrimonial alliance with a beautiful young lady of high birth. The step-mother now lost all patience, and was firmly resolved to compass the destruction of her hated step-son. The mason-work of the new Castle of Gamescleugh was completed on the young Laird's twentieth birth-day, which was held as a high festival at Thirlestane, The Lady resolved that his hours should now be numbered

; and she accordingly prepared, on the intended festival, to execute her horrid purpose. She had already secured in her interest the family piper, whose name was John Lally. This man procured three adders, from which he selected the parts replete with the most deadly poison, and having ground them to a fine powder, Lady Thirlestane mixed them in a bottle of wine. Previous to the commencement of the feast at Thirlestane, the young Laird went over the Etterick River to Gamescleugh, to inspect the finished work, and to regale the masons and other workpeople, who had exerted themselves to have the Castle walls completed by his birth-day. He was attended by John Lally. In the midst of the entertainment of the workmen, the young Laird called for wine to drink their healths; and John filled his silver cup from the poisoned bottle, which the ill-fated youth hastily drank off. The piper immediately left the castle, as if to return home. But he was never more seen. The most diligent search failed in discovering him; and it is supposed that he escaped across the English border. Young Thirlestane was instantaneously taken violently ill, and such was the force of the poison that he swelled and burst within an hour. The news was immediately carried to Thirlestane, where a large party of the kith and kin of Scott had assembled to do honour to the festival. But it may easily be conceived what a woeful gathering it turned out to be. With one accord, the guests felt and said that the young laird was poisoned, but were unable to conceive who could have done so foul a deed to one so universally beloved. The old baron immediately caused a bugle to be blown, as a signal to all the family to assemble in the castle court. He then enquired "Are we all here?". A voice from the crowd answered, “ All but the piper, John Lally!” This sounded like a knell: in the ears of Sir Robert. He knew the confidence which his lady placed in this servant. His eyes were at once opened to the foul deed, and the conviction that his most dear and beloved son: had been slain by the machinations of his wife, shocked his feelings so terribly that he was almost: deprived of reason. He stood very long in a state of utter stupefaction, and then began to repeat the answer which he had received. And this he continued to do for several days. “We are all here but John Lally, the piper !" Sir Robert lived in a lawless time, justice was not rightly administered, and it was difficult to punish the crimes of the powerful and noble. Moreover, Sir Robert could not be induced to seek to make a public example of his own wife. However, he adopted a singular and complete, though most unjust method of vengeance. He said that the estate belonged of right to his son, and that since he could not bestow it upon him while living, he would, at least, spend it upon him when dead. And he moreover expressed great satisfaction at the idea of depriving his lady and her offspring of that which she had played so foul a part to secure to them. The body of the young laird was accord

ingly embalmed with the most costly drugs and spices, and lay in state at Thirlestane for a year and a day; during the whole of which time Sir Robert kept open house, welcoming and royally feasting all who chose to come. And in this way of reckless and wanton profusion he actually spent or mortgaged his entire estate. While the whole country, high and low, were thus feasting at Thirlestane, the lady was kept shut up in a vault of the castle, fed upon bread and water. During the last three days of this extraordinary feast, the crowds were immense. It was as if the whole of the south of Scotland was assembled at Thirlestane. Butts of the richest and rarest wine were carried into the fields; their ends were knocked out with hatchets, and the liquor was carried about in stoups. The burn of Thirlestane literally ran red with wine. The vault where the young laird was interred, in a leaden coffin, is under the roof the church of Etterick, which is distant from Thirlestane upwards of a mile; and so numerous was the funeral procession, that when the leaders had reached the church, those in the rear had not nearly left the castle gates. Sir Robert died soon after this, and left his family in utter destitution. It is said that his wicked lady died in absolute beggary. The extensive possessions of the old Baron of Thirlestane were sold, and the name

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