Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/288

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Robert the Bruce.

[1314 A.D.-

which they attempted to throw across the ditches, fell into the water and sank; and attempts to fill the ditches with green corn cut in the neighbourhood failed also.

At last all mechanical siege appliances having broken down, King Robert resolved to carry the place by sheer force of muscle and cold iron. On the ninth and tenth days a general attack was delivered, chiefly against the eastern side of the citadel. On the tenth day, the attention of the garrison being, it was hoped, concentrated on this part, Douglas took an escalading party to the west side, opposite the house of the Minorite friars, where a sally port may still be seen. Here the Scots actually got over the walls, but encountered more resistance than they had reckoned on. The ladders, crowded with men, were flung down; many were killed, and Douglas had to beat a retreat, leaving some prisoners in the hands of the English.

The siege was suddenly raised on August 1st, when the Scots, alarmed, it would seem, by the approach of an English force, decamped, leaving all their rude siege appliances behind them. Brave Sir Andrew de Harcla then sallied from his fortress, hung on the flanks of the retreating Scots, and made two very important prisoners, to wit, John de Moray and Sir Robert Bardolf, "a man," observes the friar, "of the worst possible disposition to Englishmen." John de Moray was a valuable prize; he had distinguished himself at Bannockburn, and received as his share a number of the prisoners taken there, whom he held to ransom. For the capture of these two warriors,