Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/368

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Robert the Bruce.

[1327 A.D.-

for which he agreed to pay the enormous sum of £14,000.

And now once more the bale-fires flared along the Border heights; once more the Border farmers were summoned from peaceful toil, to reap a bloodier harvest than they had sown. Moray and Douglas entered England by the western march on June 15th. Froissart has given the following description of the light cavalry, of which the Scottish army was chiefly composed on this expedition:

"The Scots are bold, hardy, and much inured to war. When they make their invasions into England, they march from 20 to 24 miles without halting, as well by night as by day; for they are all on horseback, except the camp-followers, who are on foot. The knights and squires are well mounted on large bay horses, the common people on little nags. They bring no carriages with them on account of the mountains they have to pass in Northumberland: neither do they carry with them any provisions of bread or wine; for their habits of sobriety are such in time of war that they will live for a long time on flesh half-sodden, without bread, and drink the river water without wine. They have therefore no occasion for pots or pans, for they dress the flesh of their cattle in the skins, after they have taken them off; and being sure to find plenty of cattle in the country which they invade, they carry none with them. Under the flap of his saddle each man carries a broad plate of metal; behind the saddle, a little bag of oatmeal; when they have eaten too much of the sodden flesh, and their stomachs appear weak and empty, they place this plate over the fire, mix their oatmeal with water, and, when the plate is heated, they put a little of the paste upon it and make a thin cake, like a cracknel or biscuit, which they eat to warm their stomachs.[1] In this manner the Scots entered England, destroying and burning everything as they passed. Their army consisted of 4000 men at arms, knights, and esquires, well mounted; besides 20,000 men,[2]
  1. An exact description of oatcake as still made in Scotland.
  2. These figures must be taken with the usual reserve. Barbour is