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July 24 , 2007

Tapestried Chamber, and Death of the Laird's Jock


"The Tapestried Chamber"

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"Death of the Laird's Jock"

Armstrong had been known during his father's lifetime as the Laird's Jock, or son; and being possessed of great strength and courage, had distinguished himself in the use of a two-handed sword, bequeathed to him by a Saxon outlaw, in many of the single combats which took place between the English and Scottish borderers during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

He had, however, grown old, and was bed-ridden, when his only son accepted the challenge of an English champion. But his heart swelled with joy at the news, and having entrusted the lad with his celebrated weapon, he insisted on being wrapped in plaids and carried to the spot selected for the encounter, attended by his daughter. His followers gazed sadly on their chieftain's withered features and shrunken form; but when the combatants met, and the Englishman brandished the sword over his fallen antagonist, the old laird, reanimated for an instant with his former vigour, sprang from the rock on which he was seated, and, having uttered a cry like that of a dying lion rather than a human being, sank into the arms of his clansmen broken-hearted, not at the death of his boy, but at their wounded honour, and the irreparable loss of his weapon.

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