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Hotspur's standard; and the town was filled with more than it could lodge. On the 14th August, the Scottish army encamped before Newcastle, and took up its position on that side of the town which looks towards Scotland.* It was the earl's intention to have attacked the place. But so strong were its defences, that with out the assistance of Archibald Douglas's division he saw but little prospect of success. For three days he lay waiting for reinforcements. During that time there were almost constant skirmishes between the besiegers and the besieged. Outside the moat which surrounded the town, the English had erected a species of wooden fortification after a fashion which was then common on the Continent, and which their recent wars with France had probably taught them. It consisted of upright grated palisades with openings about half a foot wide, and so low that a horse might without much difficulty leap over them. At these barriers the young knights on both sides fought daily. Many valiant deeds were done with lances hand to hand. The two gallant sons of the Earl of Northumberland were always the first to arrive, and generally the last to leave.
In one of these many encounters, the Earl of Douglas, after a long conflict with Harry Percy, won his spear with its silken pennon attached, adding insult to the injury by the assurance that he would carry it with him into Scotland.
• Nay, Earl of Douglas!" retorted Hotspur, "that shall you never do."
"You must come this night and seek it then," replied the earl.
But the night passed, and no effort was made to redeem the banner. When the morning broke, its pearl-embroidered folds emblazoned with the white lion of the Percys, was still floating above the pavilion of the Earl of Douglas. Long before the sun was up, the Scots were on their way home. About four they reached the castle of Pontelands, which they took and burned. Then turning off in a northwesterly direction, they made through Redesdale to Otterburn, and encamped on a little height, the site of an ancient Roman camp, above Greenchesters.§ On the north their position was somewhat exposed, but on the south and west it was protected by natural woods, some remains
of which, in the shape of a few straggling birch and rowan trees, are still to be seen at no great distance from the spot.*
It was now the height of summer, and all over the rich upland pastures the husbandmen were gathering in their hay. The heat, too, was very great, and the Scots, fatigued by their exertions, were not unwilling to rest for the remainder of the day. They had work, too, before them on the morrow. Not far from where they were camped, in the midst of a piece of marshy ground, stood the tower of Otterburn; and this they were determined to raze. By all the unwritten laws of chivalry the challenge to the Percy would have been incomplete had a single ground of provocation been left untried.
On the following day, Wednesday, the 19th August, 1388, the light had scarcely dawned when their trumpet sounded for the attack. But the peel withstood all their efforts. In the afternoon, weary and worn out, and to say the truth, not a little dispirited at their non-success, the troops returned to their quarters. A council of war was hurriedly called to consider their further movements. Many were of opinion that the attack should be abandoned, and that the army, leaving its present position, should turn off to join the other division of the Scottish forces. But Douglas took a different view. It was cowardly, he thought, to decamp without accomplish. ing the enterprise they had undertaken. Besides, he was still in hopes that Hotspur would make an endeavor to recover his pennon before the Scots finally left the country. His views prevailed. The troops proceeded to fortify their position. They entrenched themselves behind a double earthwork towards the north. They laid down felled trees wherever their rampart was weak. The baggage and servants, with their booty of sheep and cattle, they placed on the side of the camp at the entrance of the marsh on both sides of the road to Newcastle.†
The twilight came. The sun went down over the Cheviots. Many of the men, exhausted with the labors of the day, retired to rest. The lords were supping in their tents. They had laid aside their armor on account of the closeness of the weather, and were clad in their "side-gowns only." All of a sudden, a watchman on an untrapped horse was seen spurring towards the camp. The enemy was upon them,
Ibid., p. 31.
↑ Scotichronicon xiv., c. 53.
+ Battle of Otterburn, Percy's Reliques i. 25.
he cried.* His abrupt call to arms threw | having obtained an almost bloodless victhe whole encampment into confusion. tory. The knights flew to their armor. The Meanwhile the Scottish leaders, observEarl of Douglas hurried to marshal his ing his error, hastily ordered a body of In the disorder which everywhere infantry to join the servants and keep up prevailed cuissarts and greaves and bra- the skirmish. They themselves having siers were forgotten. The Earl of Moray completed their arming and separated had not time to don his helmet. The their men into three divisions, under the Earl of Douglas had no leisure to give his respective pennons of the Earl of Douglas own arming a thought. Above the din and the two gallant brothers the Earls of and bustle, the clang of armorers closing March and Moray, his kinsmen, left the rivets up, the bugle calls summoning the camp in silence, and crossing round its troops to their respective standards, the rear, marched along a mountain ridge covneighing of horses and the tramp of hurry. ered with holt and scrub, till they had ing feet, cries of "A Percy! a Percy!" reached the higher ground. Then falling were now distinctly heard; and soon on upon the English flank, with wild shouts the crest of a hill, disposed in two divi- and banners displayed, they charged into sions, with banners flying, and the dying the midst of their enemies. Their opposunset glinting on the bright armor of the nents, taken aback, speedily turned and knights, the forces of Hotspur might be faced their foes. seen pricking forward to meet their foes. The Percy had at last come to retrieve his pennon.
Impatient to wipe out the insult to his chivalry, without waiting for the Bishop of Durham, who, eager to avenge the devastation of his bishopric, had collected his vassals and was hastening to his as sistance, he had left Newcastle in the forenoon after dinner, and, with six hundred spears of knights and squires and upwards of eight thousand infantry, had travelled the eight short leagues which separated him from the Scots. With this force, which stood in the proportion of three to one to that of his enemies, victory, he thought, was certain.
The battle now raged. Cries of "A Percy!” “A Douglas!" "St. George! "St. Andrew!" and many another warlike slogan resounded over the field. Lances were shattered, saddles emptied, battleaxes broken. Under the bright light of the harvest moon, the shimmer of flashing swords gleamed on every side. So close was the impact of the contending forces, that the English archers had not room to draw their bows. As the Scots, discomfited in the first onset, were in the act of retiring, Douglas, burning to win renown, ordered his banner to advance. Hotspur and his brother Sir Ralph immediately hastened forward to oppose him. The banners met, and a deadly struggle ensued It had been arranged that the first "bat- between the knights and squires on either tle," consisting of the greater part of the side. "There was no ho between them," troops, under the command of Hotspur says Froissart, "so long as spears, swords, himself and his brother Ralph, should axes, or daggers endured." † 'Cowards meet the Earl of Douglas if he was dis- there had no place, but hardiness reigned posed to fight. While they were thus with goodly feats of arms." The banner engaged, the other, under Sir Matthew of Douglas with its crowned heart, surRedman and Sir Robert Ogle, would at- mounted by the three stars, was at one tack the tents and destroy and slay all time in imminent danger, and would have they found. Percy accordingly pressed been captured but for the valiant defence on towards the camp; but mistaking the of Sir Patrick Hepburn and his son. At huts of the servants, which were partially length the Scots, unable to resist the suconcealed by trees, for the pavilions of the perior number of the English, began to lords, his first attack was directed against give way. At this juncture the Earl of the cooking galleys and camp kitchens. Douglas, seizing a double-handed battleFor a time those who were in charge were axe, closely followed by his warlike chap able to withstand the onset of the En-lain, Richard Lundie, afterwards Archdeaglish, but overpowered at length they were con of Aberdeen, and a devoted handful forced to flee. Seeing this Sir Matthew of his personal friends, dashed, like anRedman with his followers immediately started in pursuit, whilst Hotspur, rejoicing in the sight, congratulated himself on
• Scotichron. xiv., c. 53.
↑ Wyntoun ix. 8.
Ibid. ix. 8.
Ho, hoo, an interjection of stopping or desisting: hence stoppage. (Glossary, Percy's Reliques, i. 357) "So in Langham's letter concerning Queen Elizabeth's entertainment at Kellingworth Castle, 1575, Heer was no ho in devout drynking.'" (Percy's Reliques i., note to p. 20.)
other Hector, into the midst of his ene- knight. The pursuit lasted for the re
mies, dealing such blows around him that all rushed from him on every side. Few in the darkness recognized in the central figure of that little band, round which the tide of battle now eddied with renewed and ever-rising vehemence, the gallant leader of the Scottish forces. At last he fell, pierced by three spears which had been pointed at him at once. He was thrown to the ground fighting desperately. No sooner was he down than his head was cleft with a battle-axe. A fourth spear was thrust through his thigh. Then the main body of the English, pressing over his prostrate form, carried the surging wave of combat to another part of the field.
When all were gone he strove to raise himself, but fell back powerless. He was alone and unattended save by his lionhearted chaplain, now wounded himself, who, battle-axe in hand, had never left him the whole night through. By his side, covered with fifteen wounds from lances and other weapons, lay the dead body of his squire, Robert Hart. He too had fought by his master so long as the power to fight remained. As he lay there in mortal agony, there came up to him his cousins, Sir John Lindsay and Sir John and Sir Walter Sinclair, and one or two others of his knights and squires.
"Cousin!" said Sir John Sinclair, kneeling by the side of the dying man, "how fares it with you?"
"But indifferently," he replied. "I have little hope of living. My heart becomes every moment more faint. But, thanks to God! I die like most of my ancestors, on the field of battle! Raise up my banner," he continued, "it is lying on the ground, and shout Douglas!' as if I were with you. They say a dead Douglas will win a field. To-night it shall be accomplished. Farewell!"
He was dead.
Throwing a cloak over the body, Sir John Sinclair lifted his standard; and once more the cry of "A Douglas! a Douglas!" rallied the disheartened Scots. The knights came spurring together from every part of the field. The Earls of Moray and March, with their banners and men trooped round the uplifted pennon. There was one desperate and collective charge, one crash of splintered lances, and then slowly and sullenly the English.commenced to retreat. The dead man had gained the day. Hotspur himself was captured, and like his brother Sir Ralph, had to yield himself prisoner to a Scottish
mainder of the night,f and was continued for a distance of five English miles.‡ When at length the Scots returnnd to their camp, the numbers of the captured exceeded that of the captors. It was reckoned that the English loss amounted to fifteen hundred men; § while the Scots computed theirs at only a hundred slain, and two hundred taken prisoners.||
"Never since the battle of Bannock. barn," says Froissart, "did the Scots gain a more complete or gainful victory." "It was told me," he continues, "and I be lieve it, that they gained two hundred thousand francs for their ransoms." Nor can he, although no friend to their race, abstain from adding a word of commendation to the Scots on their treatment of their prisoners. "When the Scots," he
says, saw the English were discomfited and surrendering on all sides, they be haved courteously to them, saying, Sit down and disarm yourselves for I am your master,' but never insulted them more than if they had been brothers." Many of the prisoners were ransomed before they left the field. "Eche of them is so contente with other, that at their departynge curtoysly they will saye, God thanke ye!
Yet, after all, when the debit and credit sides of the account are summed up, what had the nation gained by the victory? It is difficult, indeed, to say. That the engagement had been conducted in strict accordance with those artificial rules of honor which it was the fashion of the times to approve, or that in courage and courtesy both parties had satisfied the most exacting rules of chivalry, was scarcely adequate compensation for the lives of a hundred Scots lost in a battle fought in defence of no principles and undertaken in support of no claim. That it indeed diminished for a short season the severity of the border raids is perhaps the greatest commendation which can be bestowed upon it.
Before the dawn of day the field was
clear of combatants. But with the morning came another danger which it called forth all the manhood and the ingenuity of the Scots to meet. The sun had hardly risen when the Scottish scouts posted along the road to Newcastle announced the approach of another English host. It was Walter Skirlaw, Bishop of Durham, eager to avenge the defeat of the Percy the night before. Wearied, wounded, and worn out, and cumbered with a multitude of prisoners, resistance seemed out of the question. But what exhausted na ture refused to do, stratagem, it was thought, might accomplish. The bishop had advanced within a league of the camp, when a noise which seemed "as if all the devils in hell had come thither to join it," startled his horses and disconcerted his men. The bishop approached half a league nearer. Again the gruesome cacophony arose, more jarring and discordant than before. Once more the intrepid churchman urged forward his troops, and this time he was permitted to come within sight of the camp. A third time the sounds broke forth, louder, more dissonant, more terrific than ever. The bishop halted and took counsel with his knights. Concealed behind their intrenchments, the Scots could now distinctly see every movement of their enemy. It was plain the bishop was irresolute. Perhaps a fourth blast from their cow-horns would assist him to make up his mind. Wilder, deeper, shriller, lustier, more demoniac than they had heard them yet, the horrid strains echoed and bellowed, clanged and swelled, boomed and shrieked, thundered and reverberated in their ears. At last, after long deliberation, as it seemed, the English were seen to face about. One parting roar from the cow-horns, and the whole force was in retreat. With an infinite sense of relief, the Scots retired within their huts and tents to refresh themselves with meat and drink, and to enjoy that rest of which they stood so much in need.
Later in the day, with the dead bodies of the Earl Douglas, Robert Hart, and Sir Simon Glendinning, enclosed in coffins and placed on carts, they withdrew from that position to whose strength, rather than to their infernal minstrelsy, they probably owed their late deliverance. The following day they arrived at Melrose, and there, in the abbey of black monks in a tomb of stone, with his banner floating above it - they laid the body of their brave commander. Soon after they dispersed to their various homes.
With the almost immediately supervening return of the lord of Galloway and his division of the army, the great Scottish foray of 1388 came to an end.
From Chambers' Journal.
SOME INDIAN HERBS AND POISONS.
No country is better supplied with medicinal as well as poisonous herbs than India. Along waysides and ditches, harmless-looking plants flourish abundantly, yet possessing, some strange, and some the most deadly qualities. It is one of the mysteries of creation how side by side with plants and cereals the most valuable and necessary to life, nature has also scattered abundantly plants so deadly; as if along with an element of good, there must also be one of evil. But it is only during a long residence in the country that the or dinary Anglo-Indian grows into acquaintance with this feature of the vegetable world around him, which previously he has only recognized as rank, troublesome weeds, intruding where not wanted, and having to be cut down and cast away. Many if not all of these become convertible, however, according as they are used, into some medicinal purpose or other; as if, after all, even the most seemingly useless or noxious have their value, if properly treated.
Óne of the most common plants by ditch-side or cactus hedge is the datoora, with its large white flower, and leaves resembling the hollyhock, and now well known as a valuable medicine for asthma, for which its leaves are used in the shape of cigars or "tobacco." The seeds, on the other hand, are a subtle and powerful poison, in small quantities causing temporary insanity, and in large, either permanent injury to the brain or death. By an accident, I became aware of the peculiar properties of the datoora. A robbery occurred in a neighboring village, and an alarm spread that this had been effected through the agency of datoora poisoning by an organized gang of robber poisoners. It seemed the gang had put up at the village the night before in the guise of travellers, and succeeded in getting on friendly terms with one of the wealthiest families there, whom they entertained to a feast of sweetmeats the only eatable in which different castes may join. As night advanced, the family allowed them to put up in their veranda; and when the village was sunk in sleep, the effects of the poi
soned sweetmeats gradually placed the house and all it contained at the mercy of the robbers. Next morning, when the hue and cry arose in the village, and native inspectors, thannahdars, and constables had arrived from far and near to investigate the case- and turn to what profit they could the opportunity they found the family of eight lying helpless and dangerously ill, semi-idiotic, and unconscious of what had occurred or was going on around them. The house had been ransacked, and money dug out of the ground (the natives' purse) amounting to about thirty thousand rupees; and the suspicion of datoora poisoning was confirmed. No trace of the gang could be found, in spite of the official raids made by the police, and the levy of blackmail on those who could afford to "pay to escape suspicion. The family gradually recovered to find themselves almost penniless, the time they had been under the poison being a blank to them.
A sad case of datoora poisoning occurred some time after this. My gardener's child, a fine little fellow of two years, whom I had often seen in the garden, had swallowed a few datoora seeds while playing with some children by the roadside. This was first suspected by his parents from some of the seeds being found in his hand; and after being taken home, the fatal result too soon confirmed their fears. From being in perfect health, in a few hours he was a memory of the past; and one of the saddest sights was the distracted grief of the parents for their only son. Sadder if anything was the fact of the body being kept for three days in the hot weather under the shade of a large sacrificial banyan-tree close by, covered only with a light cloth and some leaves, waiting till the thannahdar of the nearest station could find leisure to come and report on it before burial, while the mother was rushing off at all hours of the night and day to take another look at her dead child.
Though the plant is to be found every where, this is the only case I know of accidental poisoning from datoora. The native belief, however, is that it is commonly used by professional robbers instead of the terrible roomal (handkerchief strangling) of the old Thugs.
faintly tinged with pink towards the centre. The first time I discovered it to have a curative value was on getting a sprained thumb through an upset out of my dogcart, causing swelling of the whole hand with severe pain. While trying in vain the ordinary home resources, my bearer, Jhoti, who stood a stoical witness of the ejaculations and contortions which the pain and failure of remedies elicited, at length suggested the madār leaf. Glad of any chance, though placing little faith in his nostrum, I agreed readily enough; and he soon appeared with a madar leaf, which he applied hot to the hand and tied firmly round. The relief seemed almost to begin from the moment of application; and in a quar ter of an hour the pain had nearly subsided, while the hand felt more elastic with the rapid decrease of the swelling. In an hour or two there was no perception of pain left, and the hand felt much like the other, except for a little stiffness. Keeping on the leaf, by his advice, for twenty-four hours, with one or two fresh changes during that time, there appeared afterwards a minute crop of watery pustules, which itched for a day or two, and then disappeared. No trace of pain or swelling remained. After such an experience, my incredulity in native remedies was somewhat shaken, and the plant, which had hitherto seemed but a useless weed, now rose into new interest. The hurry of the native for his madār leaf, his neem-tree leaf or bark for poultices, his castor-leaf, etc., for sprains and swellings, now savored less to me of native simplicity, and inspired a desire to test their remedies before condemning them. On other occasions I have used the madar leaf with the same result, often wondering whether its efficacy were known to our medical faculty, or ever tested for employment in a wider and more scientific sense.
But it is the milk of the madar which, like the poppy, contains its strangest and most powerful property, and exudes abundantly on the slightest scratch of its succulent leaf or stem. When dried in the sun, the milk becomes hard and brittle. The natives profess to use it for any obstinate sore, especially in the nostril, and it was when used for this ostensible purpose that I witnessed its effects among Another plant called the madar, from my servants, caused either from absorptwo to four feet high, grows in isolated tion in the blood or accidental swallowing. groups along roadsides and in open sunny Finding the khansamah absent one evenplaces. It is soft and branching, with ing from duty at dinner, and the masalchie broad, thick, dark-green leaves covered arrayed in his pugri officiating for him, I with down, and large, white waxen flowers | learned that he was in a very bad way,