Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/192

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Robert the Bruce.

[1306 A.D.-

the English garrison, to join in a plot to seize the castle.

On Palm Sunday the whole garrison paraded for divine service in St. Bride's chapel of Douglas, distant about a mile from the castle. Douglas had caused his confederates to disguise themselves as simple peasants, himself carrying a flail, and they crowded into the chapel after the soldiers. The service was proceeding quietly, when suddenly the roof rang with the slogan, "A Douglas! a Douglas!"—the signal for attack. The English were speedily slaughtered or taken prisoners. The castle had been left in charge of a porter and cook who offered no resistance to the entry of the bloodstained band. Douglas and his men sat down to the dinner prepared for the luckless soldiers; after which, having stripped the building of everything worth taking, they piled the heavy stores and provisions together, staved in the wine casks, beheaded their prisoners, tossed in the corpses of men and horses in ghastly confusion, and set fire to the mass. The castle was burnt to the ground, and Douglas's men betook themselves to the hills to elude pursuit.

This affair took place on March 19, 1307, and, for the reason explained by Barbour, has ever since been remembered as the "Douglas Larder."

"For mele and malt and blud and wyn
Ran all togidder in a mellyn,
That was unsemly for to se:
Tharfor the men of that cuntre,
For sic thingis thar mellit[1] wer,
Callit it the Douglas lardener."

  1. Mingled.