Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/183

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1307 A.D.]
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Adventures of the King of Scots.

guidance of Barbour; checking, from time to time, his details and exact chronology by reference to official records. Plenty of miraculous and impossible incidents wove themselves into the story of the restorer of Scottish monarchy under the hands of later writers, but none of these can be traced to Barbour's authority.

After parting with his Queen and the other ladies, Bruce turned westward again on foot, with Sir James Douglas and about two hundred followers, intending to seek shelter in one of the islands. Nigel Campbell was sent forward to the coast to try and secure shipping. The King, following a few days later, came to the shores of Loch Lomond, where boat there was none to be seen. To go round either end of the lake would have led them into the perilous neighbourhood of John of Lorn on the one hand, or Sir John de Menteith on the other. At last, Douglas, carefully examining the shore, found a little sunken boat, which they managed to make fairly seaworthy. It would, however, only carry three men at a time, and a whole night and day were spent in ferrying the party across. Some of the hardy hill men swam over with their arms and clothes tied on their heads. To pass away the time while the crossing was being effected we are told that King Robert read aloud to his companions the romance of Ferambras and Oliver.

Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, was made aware one day that there were poachers afoot in his forest after the deer. He went out in pursuit of them, but great was his delight to find that it was the King of Scots,