Relative Situation of Bruce and ComynIn this situation matters stood at the important period when we concluded the last chapter. Bruce, whose conduct had been consistent only upon selfish principles, found himself, when compared with other Scottish barons, in an enviable situation. He had preserved his great estates, his rivals were overpowered, and, on any new emergency occurring, the way was partly cleared for his own claim to the crown.
The effect of all this upon the mind of Comyn may be easily imagined. He felt that one, whose conduct, in consistency and honour, had been inferior to his own, was rewarded with the confidence and favour of the king; whilst he who had struggled to the last for the liberty of his country, became an object of suspicion and neglect. This seems to have rankled in his heart, and he endeavoured to instil suspicions of the fidelity of Bruce into the mind of Edward ; but at the same time he kept up to that proud rival the appearance of friendship and familiarity. Bruce, in the meantime, although he had matured no certain design for the recovery of the crown, never lost sight of his pretensions, and neglected no opportunity of strengthening himself and his cause, by those bands and alliances with powerful barons and prelates, which were common in that age. He had entered into a secret league of this kind with William de Lamberton bishop of St Andrews, in which they engaged faithfully to consult together, and to give mutual assistance to each other, by themselves and their people, at all times, and against all persons, to the utmost of their power; without guile to warn each other against all dangers, and to use their utmost endeavour to prevent them.