Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/375

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1328 A.D.]

Campaign of Weardale.


Thomas Gray, also, says that six days were spent thus; but examination of the records proves, by the dates on various papers, that Froissart was right in his statement that it was on the first night in the new encampment, probably August 3d, that Douglas made his famous camisade.

Selecting 200 horsemen of the best, he crossed the river at some distance from the camps, and rode towards the English lines. On approaching an outpost he cried "Ha! St. George! no watch here!" and was mistaken for an officer going his rounds. Then he led his party into the camp at a gallop, cutting the tent ropes as they passed and killing every man who stood in their way. Douglas pressed on straight to the royal pavilion, where, had it not been for the devotion of the chaplain and other attendants, who sacrificed their own lives to save the King, Edward would assuredly have perished. As it was, he had a full narrow escape. But the alarm had been raised: the whole camp was astir, and Douglas, sounding a preconcerted note on his horn, drew off his men with the loss of very few.[1]

Returning to his own quarters, Douglas found the Scots all under arms. Moray asked him what he had been doing and how he had fared.

"Sir," answered Douglas, with Johnsonian brevity, "we have drawn blood."

"Had we all gone there," observed Moray, "we should have defeated them completely."

To which Douglas made answer that, in his opinion, the small party he had with him was quite enough

  1. Froissart.