Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/420

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[1329 A.D.
Robert the Bruce.

the 17th century the value of Scottish currency was as one to twelve, compared with English. There is an idea current that this originated in the reign of Robert I., but this is so far from being the case that, until the year 1355, Scots money was of equal value with English.

It is true that in the long strain on the national resources which began with the War of Independence and continued until the Union in 1707, may be traced the necessity which drove the Scottish kings, following the example of their allies, the kings of France, to lower the standard of the currency until one shilling Scots was worth no more than one penny English or sterling. But in this vicious policy King Robert and his ministers had no hand.

Art has lent no aid to the imagination in its attempt to realise the outward appearance of Robert de Brus, his companions in arms or his enemies, for the rude profiles on his coins can hardly be regarded as serious portraits. Neither statues nor pictures have preserved their lineaments. John Mair may have been repeating authentic tradition in the following brief passage in his Historia Majoris Britanniæ:

"His figure was graceful and athletic, with broad shoulders; his features were handsome; he had the yellow hair of the northern race, with blue and sparkling eyes. His intellect was quick, and he had the gift of fluent speech in the vernacular, delightful to listen to."

Supposing the remains exhumed at Dunfermline to have been King Robert's, which is very far from improbable, he must have stood about six feet high. In days when deeds of arms formed as much of the everyday life of gentlemen as politics do of their