Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/194

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[1306 A.D.-
Robert the Bruce.

guarded the fords of Cree. A special force of 300 Tynedale bowmen, under Sir Geoffrey de Moubray and three captains, was sent to search the recesses of Glentrool;[1] while, most formidable of all, John of Lorn was hastening through Ayrshire with 22 men-at-arms and 800 active Highlanders.[2] The sketch-map of the district, indicating the positions occupied by the forces of Edward, will show how little likely it was that the Bruce could escape their toils.

But it was not only his open foes that the King of Scots had to dread. It was essential that he should collect some troops for his defence, and few besides ruffians and broken men would be attracted to take service with him.[3] Among his recruits there would be sure to be some ready to earn a handsome reward by his assassination or betrayal. Such an one, it seems, Sir Ingelram de Umfraville scrupled not to hire, a one-eyed rogue from Carrick, who wormed his way into Bruce's confidence.

It was the King's practice to rise early, and with-

  1. Bain, ii., 508.
  2. Barbour's singular accuracy is shown here:

    "Johne of Lorne and all his micht
    That had of worthy men and wicht
    With him aucht hundreth men and ma."

    The Brus, lii.

    De Valence's warrant is extant to pay John of Lorn for 22 men-at-arms and 800 foot.—Bain, ii., 520.

  3. Barbour's estimate of the numbers with the King in Glentrool is from 150 to 300—much nearer the truth than that of Hemingburgh, who says that Bruce was lurking in the moors with 10,000 foot! The good monk never saw the Galloway hill country, or he might have been puzzled to explain how such a force could be fed there.