Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/374

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[1327 A.D.-
Robert the Bruce.

received knighthood that very morning, used his new gilt spurs to such purpose that, charging far ahead of his men, he was taken prisoner. So many English, however, fell into the hands of the Scots, that his exchange was easily arranged.

On another occasion the English very nearly succeeded in tempting the Scots from their entrenchments. A large body having been sent round by night to occupy a wooded valley in rear of Moray's position, the English made a feint of attacking him in front. The Scots had already begun to move down to meet them on the slopes, when scouts brought word to Douglas that his rear was threatened. Instantly he ordered the troops back to their original ground, and fortunately he was able to enforce the order; for had the two armies once engaged, the concealed force would have occupied the camp in rear of the Scots, who could not have failed to be overpowered by sheer weight of numbers.

That same night the Scots tricked their powerful enemy to some purpose. Leaving their camp-fires burning brightly, they silently decamped. The English awoke to find the hill deserted, and the Scots still more strongly posted than before, on a thickly wooded height about two miles distant. Edward moved along the river and encamped at Stanhope, opposite their new position.

Barbour here either draws on his imagination, or has been misled by his informants. He says that the two armies lay opposite one another for eight days, and that sharp skirmishing went on daily. Sir