Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/60

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[844 A.D.
Robert the Bruce.

than on Robert de Brus, the friend of David's youth, who, it is said, made himself the mouthpiece of his peers, and sought audience with the King in his camp on the Tees, in order to remonstrate with him. Ailred gives a speech at length which he was supposed to have delivered to David, of which one sentence is worth quoting, as illustrating the precarious nature of Scottish nationality in those early days.

"Against whom," says Bruce, "dost thou this day take up arms and lead this countless host ? Is it not against the English and Normans ? O King, are they not those from whom thou hast always obtained profitable counsel and prompt assistance ? When, I ask thee, hast thou ever found such fidelity in the Scots, that thou canst confidently dispense with the advice of the English and the assistance of the Normans, as if the Scots sufficed thee even against the Scots ? "

It is said that the King's love for de Brus inclined him to yield to his persuasion, but that William, David's nephew, overruled him, and he remained inflexible, whereupon de Brus and Bernard de Balliol renounced their allegiance to the King of Scots. De Brus resigned his lordship of Annandale in favour of his second son, a boy of fourteen, and went over to Stephen's camp, leaving the lad in command of the men of Annandale. Tradition, a dubious guide, goes on to say that in the battle of the Standard which followed, de Brus took his own son prisoner, and that when he brought the stripling before the victorious Stephen and asked how he wished him