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1296-98 A.D.]

The Campaign of Wallace.


valueless, except as showing what history had become in that time under the influence of popular tradition. His work can only be regarded as an attempt to recite the story as Scotsmen of the fifteenth century, reared in incessant warfare with England, would have liked it to be.

Fordun, writing only eighty years after Wallace had won immortal renown, says vaguely that "though among the earls and lords of the kingdom he was looked upon as low-born, yet his fathers rejoiced in the honours of knighthood. His elder brother, also, was girded with the knightly belt, and inherited a landed estate which was large enough for his station."

The name "le Waleys" means "the Welshman," but that would apply to a family belonging to Strathclyde, which was part of ancient Cumbria or Wales, as distinguished from Scotland proper. The accepted opinion is, that William was the younger son of Malcolm le Waleys of Ellerslie near Paisley, and that he got into trouble early from an irregular course of life. Blind Harry's story is that when William was at school at Dundee, the English governor, Selby, seeing the lad dressed in a fine suit of green, asked him how he dared to wear "so gay a weed," and tried to take his knife from him, upon which Wallace "stiket him to the dead, for all his men that 'ssembled round him."

After many wanderings and adventures, Wallace got back to his mother at Ellerslie. She induced her brother, Sir Rainald de Crauford, King Edward's sheriff of Ayr, to obtain from Sir Henry de Percy,