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David ii. died in 1370 a.d., and as he had no children he
was succeeded by Robert the High Steward. Robert
was the son of Lady Marjorie, the daughter of Robert the
Bruce. Thus Robert was, through his mother, the grand­
son of Robert the Bruce, and he was the first of a long
line of Kings called the Stewarts. You remember that
Walter, the first High Steward, was descended from
Fleance, the son of Banquo, who fled to Wales when
Macbeth tried to kill him. Now, as the Weird Sisters
had foretold, his children sat upon the throne for many

Robert II. had already proved himself to be a good
soldier and a wise Regent. But now he was fifty-five
years old. He was worn with wars and weary with
ruling. He was no longer able to fight as he had done,
no longer strong enough to curb the power of the great
barons, who through the long years of war, had grown
ever prouder and fiercer.

Nor was Robert allowed to take the throne without
opposition. Douglas, the head of one of the proudest
and greatest of the noble families claimed it too. But
Robert did not wish to quarrel with this great lord, so he
proposed that his daughter should marry the eldest son

of the Douglas. This satisfied the Douglas, and Robert


198                    SCOTLAND’S STORY

was then crowned at Scone with great pomp and

Although there was peace between England and
Scotland, Edward would not call Robert King, but spoke
of him as ‘ our enemy of Scotland ’ ; and Robert returned
the insult by calling Edward ‘ that reiver Edward, calling
himself King of England.’ In spite of the peace, there
was very often war on the Borders between the great
Scottish lords and the northern English chiefs. The
Scots and the French were fast friends, and leagued
themselves together against the common enemy. And
presently some French knights came to Scotland and
offered to fight against England.

The countries were at peace, but in spite of that the
Scottish lords told the French knights that they should
see some fighting, and without telling King Robert any­
thing about it, they marched across the Border and laid
waste Northumberland, returning with much spoil

Soon after, the French knights went home and told
their King of all that they had seen and done in Scotland.
Then the French King determined, that when the truce
between the two countries was over, he would send a
great army to Scotland to fight against the English. For
the French were always anxious that there should be war
between Scotland and England, as then the English King
had fewer soldiers to send to fight against the French.

So the following summer an army of Frenchmen
sailed from France and landed in Scotland. The Scottish
nobles, especially Earl Douglas and Earl Moray, received
them very kindly. But when it became known in
Scotland that so large a body of Frenchmen had arrived,
the people were not pleased

‘ What has brought them ? ’ they asked

‘Who sent for them ?’


‘Can we not carry on our own wars with England
without aid from France ?

‘We do not understand their language, and they
cannot speak ours.’

‘ Let them be told to go back again. We can fight
our own quarrels, and do not require their help.’

The Scottish people spoke like this because they were
afraid that the French, instead of helping them, might
in the end try to conquer them, as the English had

But if the Scots were not glad to see the French, the
French were just as sorry that they had come. They
were accustomed to handsome houses, splendid castles,
soft beds, and every luxury. Scotland had been made so
poor by constant wars with England, their houses had so
often been burned and destroyed, that they had none of
these things to offer their guests. So the French nobles
began to laugh, and to say to their leader, Sir John
de Vienne, ‘What could have brought us here? We
have never known before what poverty and hard living
were. Now we will find out the truth of what our fathers
and mothers used to tell us when they said, “ If you live
long enough you shall have in your time hard beds and
poor lodgings.” Let us be quick and get on to England,
for there is nothing to be gained here.’

But Sir John replied, ‘ My fair sirs, it becomes us to
wait patiently since we have got into such difficulties.
Take in good humour whatever you can get. You cannot
always live in Paris or in some great city. In this world,
those who wish to live with honour must endure good
and evil.’

King Robert had been in the Highlands when the
Frenchmen arrived. Now he came to Edinburgh, and
the Frenchmen were again disappointed when they saw

200                    SCOTLAND’S STORY

him. Instead of the gallant leader they had expected,
here was an old and worn man with red bleared eyes.

But Robert did not go with the army to England ; he
sent his sons in his place.

The French and the Scots had marched some way into
England, taking castles and doing much damage by the
way, before they met the English army. At last they
heard that the enemy were near.

At this the French were greatly delighted, and hoped
for a battle at once. But the Scots had learned to be
very careful how they attacked the English in open
country, so instead of advancing they went back.

This made the French leader very angry. ‘ Why will
you not fight ? ‘ he said. ‘ You told us before we came
that if you had a thousand good men of France you
would be strong enough to conquer the English. I will
warrant you have now a thousand if not more, and five
hundred crossbows to boot. And I must tell you, the
knights who are with me are valiant men who will
not fly.’

And Douglas answered, ‘ By my faith, my lord, we
are sure that you and your men are brave. But all
England is on the march to Scotland. We will take you
to a place where you may see all their host. If after
that you still advise a battle, we will not refuse it.’

By heaven, then,’ said Sir John, ‘ I will have a battle.’

Douglas and the Scottish leaders then took Sir John
to a high hill, from which he could see the whole of the
English host.

Thousands of foot soldiers, thousands of archers, horse­
men, knights, and nobles, were there. In silence the
Frenchman looked upon the mighty company as it lay
before him.

Then turning to Douglas, ‘ You were right,’ he said


in not wishing to fight But what is to be done ? The
English are in such numbers that they will overrun and
destroy your whole country.’

‘Let them,’ said the Scots. ‘They will find only
a deserted land. Meanwhile we will march into Eng­
land. It is a rich country, and we will gather great

And so it happened. The Scots allowed the English
army to pass them, and to march into Scotland. There
they did all the damage that they could, which was not
much, for as Douglas had said, they found only a deserted
land, all the people having fled away to safe places in
the hills and forests, taking their cattle and goods with
them. It was in this way that the Scots had learned to
fight the English. And as soon as they had gone, the
Scots came out of their hiding-places, rebuilt their wooden
houses which the English had burned, and were not much
worse off than they had been before.

In the meantime the Scots army overran all the north
of England, ravaging and plundering to their hearts’
content, and finding none to oppose them, for all the
English soldiers had marched into Scotland, leaving no
one to protect their homes.

Then when the two armies had each wasted the other’s
country as much as possible, they turned home again, the
Scots laden with spoil, the English poorer than when they

Soon after this the French knights went back to
France, many of them little pleased with their visit to

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