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

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 353 pages of information about In Freedom's Cause .

Archie then rode forward toward the castle.  Seeing a knight approaching alone the garrison judged that he was friendly, and it was not until it was seen that instead of approaching the drawbridge he turned aside and rode to the edge of the fosse, that they suspected that he was a foe.  Running to the walls they opened fire with arrows upon him, but by this time Archie had seen all that he required.  Across the promontory ran a sort of fissure, some ten yards wide and as many deep.  From the opposite edge of this the wall rose abruptly.  Here assault would be difficult, and it was upon the gateway that an attack must be made.  Several arrows had struck his armour and glanced off, and Archie now turned and quietly rode away, his horse being protected by mail like himself.  Scarce had he turned when he saw a sight which caused him for a moment to draw rein.  Coming at full gallop toward the promontory was a strong body of English horse, flying the banner of Sir Ingram de Umfraville.  They were already nearer to the end of the neck than he was.  There was no mode of escape, and drawing his sword he galloped at full speed to meet them.  As he neared them Sir Ingram himself, one of the doughtiest of Edward’s knights, rode out with levelled lance to meet him.  At full gallop the knights charged each other.  Sir Ingram’s spear was pointed at the bars of Archie’s helmet, but as the horses met each other Archie with a blow of his sword cut off the head of the lance and dealt a tremendous backhanded blow upon Sir Ingram’s helmet as the latter passed him, striking the knight forward on to his horse’s neck; then without pausing a moment he dashed into the midst of the English ranks.

The horsemen closed around him, and although he cut down several with his sweeping blows he was unable to break his way through them.  Such a conflict could not last long.  Archie received a blow from behind which struck him from his horse.  Regaining his feet he continued the fight, but the blows rained thick upon him, and he was soon struck senseless to the ground.

When he recovered he was in a room in the keep of the castle.  Two knights were sitting at a table near the couch on which he was lying.  “Ah!” exclaimed one, on seeing Archie open his eyes and move, “I am glad to see your senses coming back to you, sir prisoner.  Truly, sir, I regret that so brave a knight should have fallen into my hands, seeing that in this war we must needs send our prisoners to King Edward, whose treatment of them is not, I must e’en own, gentle; for indeed you fought like any paladin.  I deemed not that there was a knight in Scotland, save the Bruce himself, who could have so borne himself; and never did I, Ingram de Umfraville, come nearer to losing my seat than I did from that backhanded blow you dealt me.  My head rings with it still.  My helmet will never be fit to wear again, and as the leech said when plastering my head, `had not my skull been of the thickest, you had assuredly cut through it.’  May I crave the name of so brave an antagonist?”

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