Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/187

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1307 A.D.]

Adventures of the King of Scots.


out. On September 22d Dunaverty was closely invested, and King Edward was hurrying forward miners and provisions for the siege.[1]

It is exceedingly difficult to understand how King Robert, as Barbour affirms and as most people believe, managed to spend the whole of the winter of 1306-7 in Rachrin. That little island was part of the territory of Bysset of the Glens of Antrim, a trusted officer of England. That Bruce was known by the government to have gone to the islands, is clear from the orders sent by King Edward to Hugh Bysset in January, 1307, by which he was directed to join Sir John de Menteith and Sir Simon de Montacute with a fleet, "to put down Robert de Brus and destroy his retreat in the isles between Scotland and Ireland."[2] On the other hand, if, as Fabyan and other English writers report, the King of Scots took refuge during this winter in Norway, it is very unlikely that Barbour should not have heard of it, and even less likely that he should suppress such a romantic episode. Neither is it likely that Bruce, had he gone to Norway, would have chosen for his return to Scotland a moment when his cause seemed utterly broken; when his friends, the Earl of Menteith, Sir Patrick Graham, and others had surrendered to Edward,[3] and the coast was swarming with English and Highland galleys in search of him.

On the whole, it seems safer to accept the circum-

  1. Bain, ii., p. 491.
  2. Ibid., 502.
  3. Ibid., 495.