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ments they would have done well to have imitated, a very unworthy representative of the hero of Bannockburn.
Sir Walter Scott says of Robert 1II.: 'He had many virtues, and was not without talent; but it was his great misfortune, that, like others of his devoted line, his merits were not of a kind suited to the part he was called upon to perform in life. The king of so fierce a people as the Scots then were ought to have been warlike, prompt, and active, liberal in rewarding services, strict in punishing crimes ; one whose conduct should make him feared as well as beloved. The qualities of Robert III. were the reverse of all these. . . .' * To his brother, the Duke of Albany,2 he committed the government; and though for several years there was peace with England, lawlessness and strife at home flourished under the rule of this selfish and unprincipled man. Nevertheless we find earnest endeavours made by the Parliament for the amendment of the legislation, and for the suppression of vast abuses to which the feudal system was liable; and though it is improbable that any troublesome laws were ever obeyed by those lords who thought themselves above all laws, their mere existence is a wonderful fact in this feeble reign. One of the King's own brothers, the Earl of Buchan, the ferocious Wolf of Badenoch, 'a person of most uncommon impiety,' set an example of defiant behaviour. Having quarrelled with the Bishop of Moray, he burned the cathedral of Elgin, 'the pride of the land, the glory of the realm, the delight of wayfarers and strangers, a praise and boast among foreign nations, lofty in its towers without, splendid
1 Fair Maid of Perth, vol. i. p. 179.
* In 1398 Robert III. created his eldest son, David, Earl of Carrick, Duke of Rothesay, and his brother, the Earl of Fife, the Duke of Albany. These creations were the first instances of ducal rank in Scotland.
in its appointments within, its countless jewels and rich vestments, and the multitude of its priests.'l
On the 23d of October 1396, the wild Highlanders had a bloody battle on the North Inch of Perth, in presence of the King and of the Court of Scotland. There were thirty of the Clan Chattan to the same number of the Clan Kay, and the day was decided by Clan Chattan slaughtering twenty-nine of Clan Kay. The affair is only notable as evidencing the ferocity of the Caterans, and the degraded state of the general government of the country.2
In 1398, the King and Queen began to look about for a suitable bride for their eldest son, the Duke of Rothesay, and an engagement was formed with Elizabeth, the daughter of the Earl of March. Having, however, sought the advice of Albany, he took the matter into his own hands, and because Marjory, the daughter of the Earl of Douglas, promised a better dowry, broke off the engagement with Elizabeth, and Rothesay married the richer bride hurriedly at Bothwell. Outraged by this mean transaction, the Earl of March renounced his allegiance to Robert, and allying himself to the English cause, he became a troublesome enemy to his native land. He defeated a party of Scots marauders at Nisbet Moor, in 1402, and at Homildon Hill, on Holy-Rood Day of the same year, he assisted Hotspur in the total defeat of an army which the Earl of Douglas had led into England. And now a very dark page in Scottish history is unfolded. Albany had long been jealous of the Duke of Rothesay, who was not only a barrier between himself and the throne, but who, having been appointed by Parliament to act as King's Lieutenant, with full sovereign powers, was an immediate interference in all his selfish plots and plans.
1 See Art. on 'Scottish Abbeys and Cathedrals,' Quarterly Review, vol. Ixxxv. p. 129.
2 See Pref. to Fair Maid of Perth, p. iv.
The young man had fallen into many of the sins of youth, but still underneath his wild and reckless behaviour there lay the foundation of a brave and generous nature. When his mother and the good and able Bishop Trail died| he yielded to many temptations that they had helped him to fight with, and his uncle found it easier to lay his plans. Representing to the King that David's conduct had come to such a pass that it was high time that something should be done in earnest to restrain him, he procured from the deluded father an order under the regal signet for the imprisonment of his son. The horrid business was quickly done. As the Duke of Rothesay was riding near St. Andrews, he was arrested and confined immediately in the castle. Soon after, on a gloomy windy day in March, his uncle made his appearance, routed the servants, mounted his nephew on a deplorable horse, threw a peasant's cloak over him to protect him from the drizzling rain, and hurried him away to the castle of Falkland. Having arrived there, he was locked up in a dungeon; and the heart sickens when we know that the door was never opened again. Day and night the March wind howled overhead, and the rain trickled down, but still no one came; and the horrible fact, beyond realization at first, began to dawn upon the young man, that he was to be starved to death. Then came remorse for his wasted life, and the prospect of an awful departure to eternity; but the human heart shrinks at thought of these hours, and finds relief in remembering the infinite mercies of God. Then the agonies of hunger began, and we know that they lasted for fifteen days, being protracted by the kindness of two women, who, hearing his cries, as they passed, contrived to get to him, and the one brought him thin barley cakes, concealed in her veil, and the other fed him with milk from her own breast. When the wasted form of him who had been thrown in so full of health and vigour was taken out of the dungeon, the nation was informed that the heir to the throne had died of dysentery. But the nation was not 59 easily deceived; forgetting all his misdoings, it remembered only the brave and generous youth who was to have been its king, and openly accused his uncle of his death. Nor was it more assured when, in the parliamentary inquiry that took place, nothing was actually proved against Albany. One son still remained to the now old and worn-out Robert, and he resolved not to intrust his education to Albany. Accordingly he became anxious that his boy, now fourteen years old, should receive more learning than Scotland could afford, and naturally turned to France. It must have cost the widowed man heavily to give up his only child, but he knew that his only safety was in being far from home, and he sent him off with a small retinue. As he was passing Flamborough-head, the little Prince was captured by English merchants, taken to London, and immediately confined by Henry IV. in the Tower. The English King said the Prince would be as well educated at his court as at that of France, for he understood French well. In this he kept his word. This last bereavement smote the King of Scotland to the death, and after lingering about a year with a broken heart, he died on the 4th of April 1406. Concerning the Scotland of the fifteenth century, we gain a few interesting fragments from ./Eneas Sylvius Piccolomini, afterwards Pope Pius II., who was despatched to this remote corner of the earth in the winter of 1435, to procure the restoration of a certain prelate to the favour of the King of Scots. After a most disastrous voyage, ..Eneas arrived on the shores of the Firth of Forth, and immediately set off on a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Whitekirk in East Lothian. It was midwinter, there was ice upon the ground, the distance was ten miles, and when he rose to return after a rest of two hours. he was so weak, his feet were so benumbed with cold, that he could scarcely move, and had to be half carried, half led from the place. That walk, he believed, brought on aches in his joints from which he suffered to his dying day. On his way to Edinburgh he first saw coals; beholding with wonder what seemed stones joyfully received as alms by the halfnaked beggars who stood shivering at the church doors. Scotland yEneas describes as ' an island joined to England ... a cold country, fertile of few sorts of grain, and generally void of trees, but there is a sulphureous stone dug up, which is used for firing; the towns are unwalled ; the houses commonly built without lime, and in villages roofed with turf, while a cow's hide supplies the place of a door. The commonalty are poor and uneducated; have abundance of flesh and fish, but eat bread as a dainty. The men are small in stature, but bold; the women fair and comely. . . . The wine is all imported; the horses are mostly small ambling nags, . . . and neither curry-combs nor reins are used. The oysters are larger than in England. From Scotland are imported into Flanders hides, wool, salt-fish, and pearls. Nothing gives the Scots more pleasure than to hear the English dispraised. The country is divided into two parts : the cultivated lowlands, and the region where agriculture is not used. The wild Scots have a different language, and sometimes eat the bark of trees. There are no wolves.1 Crows are new inhabitants, and therefore the tree in which they build becomes royal property.'
Many were the extraordinary things that vEneas saw and heard of. Amongst them was a tree which grew on the banks of rivers, and yielded a fruit having the semblance of a goose; if the fruit fell on the land it rotted away, if it
1 This could only have applied to that part of the country ./Eneas travelled 1n.