The Death of Rob Roy

[Ed. This is from the Introduction to the Sir Walter Scott novel, Rob Roy, which gives information about the actual person of Rob Roy rather than the fictious version in the novel itself.]

The time of his death is not known with certainty, but he is generally said to have survived 1738, and to have died an aged man. When he found himself approaching his final change, he expressed some contrition for particular parts of his life. His wife laughed at these scruples of conscience, and exhorted him to die like a man, as he had lived. In reply, he rebuked her for her violent passions, and the counsels she had given him. "You have put strife," he said, "betwixt me and the best men of the country, and now you would place enmity between me and my God."

There is a tradition, no way inconsistent with the former, if the character of Rob Roy be justly considered, that while on his deathbed, he learned that a person with whom he was at enmity proposed to visit him. "Raise me from my bed," said the invalid; "throw my plaid around me, and bring me my claymore, dirk, and pistols—it shall never be said that a foeman saw Rob Roy MacGregor defenceless and unarmed." His foeman, conjectured to be one of the MacLarens before and after mentioned, entered and paid his compliments, inquiring after the health of his formidable neighbour. Rob Roy maintained a cold haughty civility during their short conference, and so soon as he had left the house. "Now," he said, "all is over—let the piper play, Ha til mi tulidh" (we return no more); and he is said to have expired before the dirge was finished.