In Freedom's Cause : a Story of Wallace and Bruce eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 418 pages of information about In Freedom's Cause .
back another.  Rapidly the process of filling up the moat opposite to the breach continued.  The besiegers kept up a rain of arrows and darts, and many of the English were killed.  But the work was continued without intermission until well nigh across the moat a broad crossway was formed level with the outer bank, but a narrow gap remained to be filled, and the English leaders advanced to the front to prevent the Scots on the breach rushing down to assault those placing the faggots.

Somewhat to the surprise of the English the defenders remained stationary, contenting themselves with hurling great stones at their busy enemy.  Suddenly there was a movement.  Archie and a party of his best men dashed down the breach, and, climbing on the causeway, for a moment drove the workers and their guards back.  They were followed by twenty men carrying great trusses of straw.  These were piled against the faggots forming the end of the causeway.  Archie and his band leapt back as a torch was applied to the straw.  In a moment the hot flames leapt up, causing the knights who had pressed after the retreating Scots to fall back hastily.  A shout of triumph rose from the garrison and one of dismay from the besiegers.  Saturated with oil, the trusses burnt with fury, and the faggots were soon alight.  A fresh wind was blowing, and the flames crept rapidly along the causeway.  In a few minutes this was in a blaze from end to end, and in half an hour nothing remained of the great pile save charred ashes and the saturated faggots which had been below the water in the moat, and which now floated upon it.

The besiegers had drawn off when they saw that the flames had gained a fair hold of the causeway.  The smoke had scarcely ceased to rise when a great outcry arose from the English camp, and the lookout from the top of the keep perceived a strong force marching toward it.  By the bustle and confusion which reigned in the camp Archie doubted not that the newcomers were Scots.  The garrison were instantly called to arms.  The gates were thrown open, and leaving a small body only to hold the gates, he sallied out at the head of his men and marched toward the English camp.  At the approach of the Scottish force the English leaders had marched out with their men to oppose them.  Bruce had been able to collect but three hundred and fifty men, and the English, seeing how small was the number advancing against them, prepared to receive them boldly.  Scarcely had the combat begun when Archie with his band entered the English camp, which was almost deserted.  They at once fired the tents, and then advanced in a solid mass with level spears against the rear of the English.  These, dismayed at the destruction of their camp, and at finding themselves attacked both front and rear, lost heart and fell into confusion.  Their leaders strove to rally them, and dashed with their men-at-arms against the spearmen, but their efforts to break through were in vain, and their defeat increased the panic of the footmen.  Archie’s party broke a way through their disordered line and joined the body commanded by the king, and the whole rushed so fiercely upon the English that these broke and fled in all directions, pursued by the triumphant Scots.

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In Freedom's Cause : a Story of Wallace and Bruce from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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