Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/377

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1328 A.D.]

Campaign of Weardale.


soldier, having purposely allowed himself to be taken prisoner, told the English that orders had been issued by Moray that all were to be under arms at a given hour after sunset. Determined not to be surprised again, the English remained on the alert all night, awaiting attack. In the morning, two Scottish trumpeters who had been left to blow deceptive calls during the darkness, were brought in prisoners. They reported that the Scots had decamped again, and were on the march towards the Border. At first this story was disbelieved, and the English, suspecting a ruse, remained in order of battle for several hours; but at length their scouts returned, and confirmed the exasperating truth that the enemy had given them the slip for the second time. Their escape—"sumdele wat," as Douglas had premised—had been made across a great morass lying in rear of their position. Over this a roadway of branches, strong enough to bear horses, had been laid, and was taken up by the rear-guard, in order to prevent pursuit.

The Scots had not marched many miles on their retreat before they fell in with the Earl of March and John the Steward, coming to their assistance with 5000 men; for there had been great anxiety in Scotland about the prolonged absence of Moray and Douglas.

As for the boy King of England, he shed tears of vexation at the issue of his mighty preparations.[1] His great armament was disbanded at York on August 15th. The German heavy cavalry under John of Hainault, on which so much store had been set

  1. Le roy, vn innocent, plora des oils.—Scalacronica, 155.