Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/341

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1322 A.D.]
285
Invasion and Counter-Invasion.

King of Scots departed from his habitual courtesy towards his prisoners. The Earl, it seems, had incurred Robert's special displeasure by making insulting remarks on some former occasion.

"Wert thou not such a caitiff," said the King, "thou shouldest pay dearly for what thou hast said."

The French knights, on the other hand, were most graciously received. The King told them that he perfectly understood their position; he did not interpret it as inconsistent with the friendship between Scotland and France that they should be in arms against him, because, finding themselves in England when fighting was going on, it was clear that their chivalry would not suffer them to keep aloof. Three of them, Robert and William Bertram and Elias Anilage, had surrendered with their squires to Douglas, who therefore was entitled to the ransom, estimated at 4400 marks. But King Robert, anxious, no doubt from motives of policy, to gratify a powerful ally, announced that he would send the French knights, free of ransom, in a present to his royal brother of France.[1]

  1. This was not vicarious generosity on the part of Robert. By a subsequent grant of lands he made good to Douglas what he had lost in the ransom of the Frenchmen. The deed conveying these lands is known in the Douglas archives as the Emerald Charter. After setting forth that the grant was made in partial redemption of the King's debt to Douglas for the liberation of his prisoners, it continues "and in order that this charter may have perpetual effect, we, in our own person and with our own hand, have placed on the hand of the said James de Douglas a ring, with a stone called an emeraude, in token of sasine and perpetual endurance to the said James and his heirs for ever" (The Douglas Book, i., 155; iii., ii).