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Under Two Kings. 17
could the merciful sovereign of Scotland rejoice over a
carnage which left the clan Quete (or Chattan) supreme —
the Perth tradesman and ten other stout men-at-arms sur-
viving, while one solitary individual remained to carry-
tidings of defeat to the men and women who fought under
the Kay tartan.* This strange event occurred on October
23, 1396. About this time the chronicles are full of com-
plaints on the part of the poorer people who needed pro-
tection from the marauding parties of disbanded soldiery
which infested the country. Such protection could alone be
received from a strong Government, and not therefore from
that of King Eobert ; for, in addition to his ordinary causes
of embarrassment, a rivalry was fast rising up between the
heir to the throne, the young Earl of Carrick, who became
the Steward of Scotland, and the Earl of Fife, on whom the
King relied for the direction of the royal policy. Great as
were the difficulties of the Stuart dynasty at that period, an
early mitigation might have been expected from the increase
of intercourse between England and Scotland, which was
sure to result from peace between these countries.
Not only was there coming and going of the nobility,
merchants, and students, and Churchmen, which for a
century had been impossible, by reason of the perpetual
state of warlike confusion on the Border, but the spread
of chivalry rendered Scotland the chosen arena for magnifi-
cent tournaments and mock trials of arms, such as were
calculated to bring money into the country, and temporarily
provided a healthy substitute for the perpetual feudal con-
flicts which had plagued the land.
Prominent amongst these chivalric displays appeared the
person of the youthful heir to the throne, whose manly
bearing, gentle manners, and knightly accomplishments
combined with great personal beauty to enlist the sympathies
of his father's subjects.
A fondness for poetry and a certain acquaintance with
literature, on the other hand, alienated this youth of high
birth, but woful destiny, from the fierce barons who made up
the court of Eobert III. ; and hence it was that Fife, the
Governor, always had a party amongst the nobility favourable
to the continuance of his sway. Nor did the spoilt and petted
son of the recluse king, Eobert III., fail to give ample
* Burton's ' History of Scotland,' new edition, vol. ii. p. 369 ; also Tytler's
' History of Scotland,' edition 1841, vol. ii. p. 67. This incident is employed
to great advantage by Sir Walter Scott in ' The Fair Maid of Perth.'

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