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Title: In The Steps of Mary, Queen Of Scots
Author: Marjorie Bowen
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Language: English
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In The Steps of Mary, Queen Of Scots

by

Marjorie Bowen

First published by Rich & Cowan, London, 1952



Grateful acknowledgements for books sent and information given are due to the Town Clerk of Stafford, the City Librarian of Sheffield, the Publicity Manager of the Borough of Buxton, and Eileen Bigland. The extent of the author's debt is shown by the notes at the end of this book; they contain matter that it was thought would impede the narrative.




Illustration

Mary, Queen of Scots.
An eighteenth-century version after an original by Zucchero



TABLE OF CONTENTS



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



FOREWORD

No one in the history of the British Isles has aroused more interest and controversy than Mary, Queen of Scots; a good-sized library would be needed to house all the volumes, pamphlets and letters that have been written on the subject of the famous woman who reigned in Scotland for six years and who ended a captivity of nineteen years by the violent death then the penalty for political failure. Moreover, the original sources on which all these histories and studies are based are extremely large in number; it is a well-documented story. State records, private and public correspondence, the reports of ambassadors and spies, contemporary accounts, compiled by men who lived through the events they described, and satires, pasquinades and ballads afford such abundant data for the life of Queen Mary Stewart that it might well seem astonishing that there should be any doubt as to either her character or her career.

She was, however, what she has always remained, 'the daughter of debate'. This name, given her by Elizabeth Tudor, aptly describes the mystery and confusion obscuring her story. The more closely the vast amount of material available for a biography of Queen Mary Stewart is studied the more insoluble appear the problems that for more than three hundred and fifty years have provoked disputes often bitter and ferocious. Yet this unfortunate woman lived in the public eye, surrounded by crowds of courtiers, informers, enemies, jailors and foolish friends. She could not eat, drink, amuse herself or change her gown without a dozen reports of her behaviour being circulated in all the Courts of Europe, and numberless conclusions drawn from her least action. Few lives could be subjected to this keen and constant appraisal without revealing some fault or folly, and much that seems of sinister import in Mary's story would pass unnoticed in that of a woman of less importance.

How then did she, so surrounded and spied upon, contrive to leave behind her any doubt as to the merits of her doleful career? The answer appears to be, first, that no espionage, however skilful, no reports, however minute, can surprise the secrets of love and crime, always so closely kept and always hidden behind locked doors or in secret places; second, we have to treat with fallible human nature. Adept as these enemies of Mary were, experienced as were the foreign envoys at her Court, devious as were their means of obtaining information, they were often deceived and misled. As they were baffled by perpetual intrigues and false rumours, so those who search their findings are baffled, for they do not agree. Again, the contemporary histories of Mary's actions are far from impartial; they are extremely vulnerable to charges of malice, deliberate distortion of the facts, and, in some cases, the writers hardly pretended to write more than polemics or political propaganda. Moreover, with all the paper covered and all the ink spilled in reports and comments on Mary and her Court, we search in vain for the work of a trained reporter. Dramatic scenes, effective touches abound, but no one thought to provide some simple facts that would have helped in probing these exasperating mysteries. We do not know the age or appearance, for example, of David Rizzio; accounts vary strongly as to the personality of this man who was the cause of Mary's first troubles. He may have been an unlettered hunchback of fifty years or a handsome and accomplished young courtier. It is the same with Lord Bothwell; if there can be little question as to his character, there is much question as to what manner of man he was—a decadent youth or a hardy ruffian; a coarse moss trooper or a cynical noble trained at the vicious French Court. These are but two of the smaller puzzles that hamper the understanding of Mary, Queen of Scots, and make a straightforward narrative of her life impossible to write.

The larger puzzles are those that concern the very heart of the matter; they are those of Mary's alleged complicity in the murder of her second husband, with which is bound the mystery of the 'casket letters' and the suffered abduction of the Queen by Lord Bothwell.

No more need be written here as to the mystery of Mary Stewart. The following pages deal with such facts as are either proved or generally accepted, and, when there is conflicting evidence, or gaps in the records, with the probabilities suggested by common-sense reading. The tracing of the Queen's travels is not compatible with a minute discussion on the thorny points of her career; nor was it advisable to halt the narrative with 'perhaps', 'it maybe', 'it is said', etc., that are proper to the precise historian. To put forward the evidence this side and that on every disputed incident would take several volumes the size of this. Any reader who mistrusts the account offered here can easily check it from the voluminous labours of experts. We have also to deal with two interwoven disputes; the first, that rent Europe, was between the Old Faith and the New Faith, recently established at what is known as the Reformation. No one, great or small, then living could escape entirely the effects of this gigantic struggle that included wars, persecutions, massacres, private murders, judicial murders, that carried famine, endemic diseases, the sacking of cities, the laying waste of countries, the most virulent feuds between families and every kind of crime. Against this lurid background was fought out the second dispute, that of Mary of Scotland and Elizabeth of England, for the sovereignty of the British Isles.

This is about all the history we need have in mind when tracing the journeyings of this Queen who moved in a manner at once abrupt and restless, up and down her Northern Kingdom during her brief, distracted reign, and who then remained, confined in one prison after another for the rest of her life, thus giving herself and the follower in her steps much pause for meditation and reflection.

The illustrations have been chosen to show, as near as possible, the aspect of the places Mary stayed at when she knew them. Most are taken before the industrial age and the immense changes that followed the expansion of trade and the increase in the population. The Edinburgh so carefully depicted by Thomas Shepherd in 1830 was not very different from the Edinburgh of Mary Stewart; but it has also disappeared. These charming engravings have therefore a considerable interest of their own. Some of the other reproductions are earlier in date and crude in style; some show Mary's castles in ruins, a hundred and fifty years ago; but ruins in far better preservation than the pitiful remains we see today. In centuries that had but few antiquarians and no public money to spend on public monuments, these splendid castles and palaces were either destroyed for their materials, razed by fire, or left to fall into decay, while any treasures they may have contained are scattered, either sold or looted. A very large number of these treasures have, however, been piously preserved and may be yet seen, either in national collections or at those exhibitions, held from time to time, where private owners generously show their priceless possessions. The relics of Mary, carefully guarded in this safe keeping, form an unusually large and rich legacy from the past to the present. Not many famous people have such a magnificent memorial as this dispersed, yet often brought together, collection of personal relics once belonging to Mary Stewart.

Finally the present writer would add one more explanation; if some familiar incidents in Mary's story are omitted, for example, the touching Farewell to France anecdote, it is because these stories have now been proved to be inventions of a later age than that in which Mary Stewart lived.

Marjorie Bowen,
London, 1952.



Part I.
SCOTLAND 1542-1548

There is no question as to the time and place of Mary Stewart's birth. Mary of Guise, wife of James V, was in residence at Linlithgow Castle in December 1542, and there, on the eighth day of that month, her daughter was born; and it is in this fine palace, praised by Sir Walter Scott as 'far excelling' all other royal residences in Scotland, that our journey begins.

Linlithgow is under eighteen miles from Edinburgh and the capital must be the starting point for most travellers. The size of the country means that all these famous places, so closely linked with the story of Queen Mary, are not far apart and it is more convenient to make excursions from Edinburgh, Stirling and other large centres than to endeavour to follow the complicated journeyings of Mary, especially as these cross and recross one another in a manner now extremely difficult to retrace without continually revisiting the same places. A diligent and erudite writer, Dr. Hay Fleming, composed an itinerary of Mary's travels across her small kingdom, from her arrival at Leith to her flight across the Solway, and this may be consulted for those who have a mind to follow literally in the footsteps of the restless and harassed Queen.

But most people would prefer to content themselves with making excursions from some headquarters to places where a few hours' stay will satisfy all but the most enthusiastic curiosity. Of the many ways in which Scotland may be reached, all of them of interest, air travel is, given the right weather, the most interesting, surpassing even the fascination of the North Road. Nothing could be more exciting than the view of the Border from the air, on a cloudy day, with the night coming on and the moon coming up. The hills and hollows glimpsed between the drifts of vapour give one the character of the country at a glance. On the other hand, there is a considerable charm in taking the road and proceeding slowly, with leisure to absorb every detail of the changing scene as England changes into the Marches, a no man's land in Mary's time, and then into her Northern Kingdom.

However the traveller gets there, we will suppose he is at Edinburgh and proceeding at once to Linlithgow. We shall, even in these few miles, pass places associated with Mary, the River Almond, scene of the fatal abduction of her person by Earl Bothwell, and Niddry Castle, her refuge after her escape from Loch Leven. But these must be left until later and no pause made until Linlithgow if we are to follow Mary's career in chronological order.

Linlithgow is in every way a pleasant town. It consists of the one irregular street, stately church and the Palace or Castle that is a familiar design both in reality and legend. It is the setting of a fairy tale if we can trace, behind the palimpsest, the scene as it was in the year that Mary was born. It satisfies many dreams and visions and evokes that nostalgia for the past roused by ancient, silent dwellings and ancient, quiet churches.

We know that had we lived in those mid years of the sixteenth century we should have found them as we find our own, sometimes terrible and squalid, sometimes glorious and lovely. It is not easy, even in Linlithgow, to forget the pressure of our own times, and to feel the immensity of the story of Mary Stewart. It requires a strong effort of the imagination to forget, today, the Scotland of Burns and Scott, the Scotland of the Jacobite risings, the Scotland of the age of industry. But if we can retreat into the past anywhere we can do so in this stately palace. It is in excellent repair and part of the west wing has escaped both the restoration by James I and VI and the destruction by the troops of the English in the '45.

Here Mary was born and her mother's rooms are still intact. The Palace looks on to a courtyard where there is a rich drinking fountain, erected by Mary's father, James V, and this courtyard is cut across by the simple but noble bulk of the church dedicated to St Michael. The situation is beautiful; the Palace is on the site of an ancient peel tower for long used as a royal hunting lodge, for the surrounding park was famous for deer. It was that energetic hunter King David I, founder of Holyrood, who built St. Michael's church. A fair loch is close to the Palace, and when this noble residence was handsomely furnished and royally equipped it could have lacked nothing in comfort and luxury.

But if Mary Stewart was born in splendid surroundings she was also born heiress to a ruined family. Her father, worthy descendant of a race unrivalled for brilliant qualities, died when she was a few days old, so that she became, in her first swaddling-clothes, Queen of Scotland. Her mother had been married less than five years and had already given birth to two sons who had died. James V had greatly hoped that this last child would be a Prince who could uphold the power of the House of Stewart. He was ill at Falkland when the news of Mary's birth reached him and this disappointment increased his melancholy. A gifted and sensitive man, he was overwhelmed by the disorders of his kingdom and struck to the heart by the defeat at Solway Moss inflicted on him by the English. Sighing and smiling together, he referred to the marriage of Margery Bruce with Walter Stewart that had brought the Scots throne to his ancestors and remarked that this splendid prize had 'come with a lass (alas) and will go with a lass', the pun glancing at the disasters of his House that had, the dying man believed, now been brought to ruin. His courtiers thought he was 'strangulated' with melancholy; some whispered 'poison', but this accusation was a commonplace at the death of all important personages.

James V had added to the confusion he left behind by his own reckless love affairs. Though Mary was his sole legitimate child, he had several acknowledged sons, of noble birth on the mothers' side, some of whom were likely to make trouble enough. One of them, James Stewart, though a child of seven years, was already Prior of St. Andrews; his mother was the proud Margaret, daughter of Lord Erskine, who made little concealment of her claim to have been secretly married to James V.

Mary of Guise had, then, to confront a situation full of danger. The English were on the Border and the temper of Henry VIII was known to be violent and reckless; intrigues for the Regency had begun before the death of the Scots king and the arrogant Cardinal Beaton had a forged will in readiness that left him and his followers in charge of the realm. He was, however, violently opposed by the Earl of Arran, head of the great House of Hamilton, of royal descent through the marriage of his grandfather with the Princess Mary, daughter of James II and connected with Cardinal Beaton by marriage.

There was a lull, however, in these tumults. The Warden of the Marches stayed his progress into Scotland on learning of the death of the Scots king; even had he not been inclined to chivalry, he could have done nothing in view of the weather, one word severe even for a Scots winter. Linlithgow was cut off by the snow-drifts that blocked the rough roads to Edinburgh and Stirling, and Mary of Guise had a brief leisure in which to gather her resources, which were considerable, for she was a woman of courage and wit, stately, prudent and well informed. She was then twenty-seven years of age and had already been married to the Duc de Longueville before she came to Scotland as a widow to espouse James V. She was tall, graceful, accomplished and pleasant. If she could feel no enthusiasm for her husband's kingdom, disturbed by invasions and heretics, and little for her weak and faithless husband himself, there was no fault to be found with her conduct. The insolent pasquinades hurled against her were not based on a spark of truth. The grossest of these, that alleged Mary Stewart to be the child of Cardinal Beaton, merely repeated a routine slander usually flung by the disaffected at the issue of great families.

The frost was intense. It was not easy to keep mother and child warm in Linlithgow; frozen snow lay deep in the deer park and ice coated the loch, while such news as came through to the widowed Queen beleaguered by winter told of weather so harsh that the ships were icebound in Newcastle harbour.

She had much serious matter on her hands. Already the Warden of the Marches, after his decorous pause, was suggesting to Henry VIII that the incessant war between the two kingdoms might be ended by a union between the infant Queen and the English Prince, a proposal far too wise to be acceptable in times so turbulent. Mary of Guise detested both the religion and the policy of the Tudor king. Naturally she turned to her own country, long sympathetic to Scotland; the 'auld alliance' had always been popular and the Lorraine Princess resolved to use all her strength to save her daughter from the English heretic.

Her first objective was the coronation of Mary, but the 'suckling child' could not be moved from Linlithgow and her mother had to intrigue as best she might between Cardinal Beaton and the Earl of Arran, a crowd of minor but powerful nobles, the spying envoys from foreign Courts, and the might of England.

Arran, weak, inconstant and simple, was a poor match for the Tudor king, whose aim was to obtain not only the person of the infant Queen, but the principal strongholds of her country. He intended to annex Scotland and was reckless as to the means he employed: both the Governor Arran and Beaton were in his way; the Earl hoped for Mary's hand for his son, and the Cardinal represented Rome, hateful to Henry VIII. It was not, however, easy to dislodge these men, or to deal with the bold and warlike chieftains who surrounded them. One of these, Lennox, had himself a strong claim to the Northern throne, he had married Lady Margaret Douglas and thus was descended directly from Margaret Tudor. How to use, and then how to break, these ambitious and turbulent men was Henry VIII's main concern. He largely overlooked one of his most formidable obstacles, the intense and haughty patriotism of the Scots.

Lennox was one of those who hoped to gain power by marrying the Queen Dowager and was supported by the French. Indeed so intricate was the double-crossing that even Henry was baffled. Arran imprisoned Beaton, who was, however, soon set at liberty. He declared he was perfectly satisfied with the proposed marriage treaties between England and Scotland, but had entered into a secret plot, termed 'a Bond' or 'Band' by the Scots, to thwart Henry VIII by preventing Mary from being delivered into his hands. The Scots Parliament wasted time considering the terms offered, and his envoy, Sir Ralph Sadleyr, waited on Mary of Guise at Linlithgow. He was already suspicious of a plot against England. His opinion, duly put before his master, was that the Scots were false and crafty and easily inflamed against one another and against the English.

Mary of Guise used craftiness herself when she received Sadleyr; she declared she was very content with the proposals of his master and showed him Mary in her nurse's arms. The clothes of the little child were removed that the Englishman might see that she was perfectly made. Sadleyr reported that she was 'goodly' and 'like to live'.

It was March when Sadleyr saw the babe and the bickerings over the marriage debates were still violent, but on July 1st the double treaty of marriage and peace was signed at Greenwich Palace and sent to be ratified in the name of the infant Queen at Holyrood House. Roused by this, Cardinal Beaton increased his secret activities against Henry VIII, whose spies reported much anti-English feeling among the Scots. Mary was teething in July and still could not be moved from Linlithgow. Moreover, she had smallpox, to the dismay of her governor, Arran, who was permanently agitated about the health of his precious ward. This setback was considered, however, of little importance, dirt diseases being endemic. By the end of July Mary travelled to Stirling, a mighty stronghold, more ancient than Edinburgh and the former capital of Scotland.

The situation of Stirling, an easy journey from Linlithgow, is splendid and carefully chosen for defence. Its warlike importance is shown by the sites of battles in the neighbourhood. Mary passed, with her nurses and servants, her guards and gentlemen, close to the scenes of Falkirk, Bannockburn and Stirling Bridge. The formidable Castle on a rock rising from this plain enriched by the bones of her defenders and assailants, close to the Forth, haunted by memories of the Bruce and Wallace, was an imposing citadel and a magnificent royal dwelling when Mary was brought there for safety. There had been rumours of a possible kidnapping from Linlithgow, a place not easy to defend, but Mary of Guise, always prudent, declared that the air of Stirling was excellent for the infant, and graciously received Sadleyr on his second visit. Again he was allowed to see the royal child. He found she was much grown, and likely to be as tall as her tall mother, and his report was that she was still 'right fair and goodlye'.

Stirling is extremely attractive. A considerable time might be very pleasantly spent exploring the streets, still laid out on the ancient plan, with many old houses and round towers with spiral staircases, but there are but few relics of the early reign of Mary. Even the ruin known as 'Mares Work' is that of a house built in 1570, though the stones were taken from Camberskenneth Abbey. Much else of interest in Stirling was not there when the procession from Linlithgow ascended from one terrace to another to the Castle on the heights.

This fortress on the rocks overlooking the river occupies a position crowned by a defensive building from earliest recorded time. Altered, enlarged, taken by the English and retaken by the Scots, it was the scene of many of the tragedies that had darkened the annals of the House of Stewart and therefore hardly a place of good omen for the infant Queen. The newly built palace was, however, not only well guarded, but commodious and splendidly decorated. Four of the Jameses had been born here and James V had come here when two years of age. It was he who had erected the modern residence in the French taste, where his widow and daughter were lodged in the summer of 1543.

Much of this Palace still remains. The nobly situated fort now houses a garrison, and conveys a sense of implacable power, but from any vantage point a view is obtained, on a fine day, of a pleasant, peaceful country and the grandeur of the distant hills. Dating from Mary's time is the royal garden, the 'treading' hill, or place of punishment by death, the churchyard and many apartments in the much defaced and much restored Castle. Among the hideous deeds that took place here were the murder of the Douglas, his guest, by James II; the revenge of the murder of James I, on the persons of Sir Robert Graham and his band; and the putting to death of Murdoch of Albany and his sons for supposed complicity in another Stewart tragedy, the murder of the gay Duke of Rothesay by starvation.

The double churches, East and West, still stand, and are considered among the finest ancient churches in a country where the Reformers diligently destroyed all the buildings consecrated to the old faith they could lay their hands on. In the days when Mary of Guise brought her daughter to Stirling these churches were magnificent with all the rich pomp and glorious ritual of the Roman Catholics. The West church was then several centuries old and the East church had been erected two generations before Mary's birth, by an uncle of Cardinal Beaton, The present state of these famous churches reveals the dignified beauty of the simple yet massive architecture, the transition to the Pointed style of Beaton's church, and the ante-chamber making two buildings out of what was intended for one, gives an air of fantasy to this impressive edifice.

Stirling can show a bridge, old when Mary Stewart lodged in the Castle, where, in 1297, Wallace defeated the English, and close by is the ravine of the Bannock where this same hero secured the hotly disputed independence of Scotland.

For this same independence Mary of Guise, a Frenchwoman, cared nothing. Her design to send her daughter to the protection of her own country, or, at least, to secure the French alliance, remained steadfast; she had little intention of taking seriously the treaty of peace with England proclaimed in Edinburgh soon after her safe arrival within the defences of Stirling. Vexed by Mary's retreat into a strong fortress, the English king at once set on foot various plans for her capture and the seizure of her kingdom. These included schemes to bribe her guardians, which, however, failed. A few days after the ratification of the treaty and the ceremonies at the Abbey Church at Holyrood to celebrate it, Henry was gathering together an army in order to invade Scotland. He quickly raised nearly twenty thousand men, who, under the Earl of Suffolk, set out in the traditional manner for the Border. The punishment of some lawless lords was the reason given for this display of force, but Suffolk had instructions to surprise Edinburgh, to capture the Cardinal and Arran, and, failing this, to lay waste the town.

Henry VIII had already inflamed the Scots by seizing some of their merchant shipping at Newcastle, and, reports of his invasion soon leaking out, the citizens of Edinburgh became so excited that Sadleyr feared to have his lodgings burnt about him. Mary of Guise, however, was not without resources; a French fleet arrived at Dumbarton, bringing not only a Papal Legate and two Envoys from Francis I but the more material assistance of a number of soldiers well supplied with ammunition.

At this juncture Mary was crowned in Stirling by Cardinal Beaton. The ceremony was simple, as befitted the poverty of the country and the perils of the moment. There were still those in Scotland willing to act as agents of England and kidnap the little Queen, and there were still others who were ready to take her to the Highlands for safety.

During the next four years the situation remained unchanged. Lennox, heavily bribed, went over to Henry VIII, but most of the Scots remained loyal, and the English king sent two invading forces against them.

Lord Hertford, the English general, brother-in-law to Henry VIII, advanced across the Border in May 1544. His instructions were—'put all to fire and sword, burn Edinburgh, after it has been looted, without tarrying over the Castle, sack Holyrood House, and as many towns and villages about Edinburgh as you may conveniently; sack Leith and put man, woman, and child to the sword'. This accomplished, Hertford was to lay waste Fife, and advance on St. Andrews—'the Cardinal's town'—and to raze it to the ground, leaving 'no creature alive'. The Scots, Henry VIII stated, might consider this as 'God's hands lighting on them' for their falsehoods. Hertford carried out his orders promptly. He reported that the country was 'laid waste' to within a few miles of Stirling, but he did not press far beyond the Borders where the Scots Parliament had set a thousand horsemen as guard. Henry VIII's envoys to Scotland still protested that his invasions were but earnest of his love for Mary Stewart and his desire to secure her as his son's wife, an argument that failed to impress the Scots, whose proud patriotism was exasperated into fury. They declared that 'the wives with their distaffs' would march on 'the old enemy' rather than surrender.

In September 1545 Hertford again raided Scotland, burning, slaying and creating with ruthless efficiency the 'devastation' his master had ordered.

Mary of Guise continued to intrigue with France. She belonged to a family rapidly becoming as powerful as the royal House of Valois and she centred all her hopes for the future on her daughter's marriage to the Dauphin, heir to the French throne, but while thus engaged her immediate care was the little Queen, who was brought up in quiet elegance, surrounded by gentlewomen, children of her own age and the delicate refinements her mother had brought from her own country. Mary Stewart was a charming child, good natured, bold and already showing an 'alluring grace'. Her oval face, her sleepy eyes, her clear complexion and her light and fine auburn hair combined the stately beauty of Mary of Guise with the traditional fascination of the Stewarts. She was precocious and readily learned the easy arts her mother put within her reach. While Hertford was burning her realm and slaughtering her subjects, Mary was learning her letters, how to thread a needle, how to pluck a lute string, how to throw a ball and how to hold herself in a dance measure.

Henry VIII died without having conquered Scotland, but Hertford, now Somerset and Lord Protector of England, still urged the match with Edward VI. Not satisfied with the response to his overtures, Somerset again invaded Scotland, September 1547. The result was the sending out of the Fiery Cross, and the gathering of twenty thousand Scots to meet him at Pinkie Cleugh, six miles outside Edinburgh, the battle taking place on the thirty-fourth anniversary of Flodden.

The defeat of the Scots was overwhelming. Arran, their commander, was no more effective in the field than he had been in the Cabinet. He left a safe position in order to attack the enemy led by Somerset, who might be termed a second 'Hammer of the Scots', and the battle soon became a rout. The road to Edinburgh was marked by the corpses of her defenders, flung back to the very suburbs. The victors, stripping the slain, remarked with surprise the stature and beauty of the Northerners, their white skins, their bright hair, their girth. As in other battles with the Scots, the English had been confused by the plainness of the noblemen's attire; they wore 'white' (undressed or partly dressed) leather, with no mark of rank, whereas in other countries men wore the price of their lives about their necks when going into battle, their gold chains and glittering insignia proving that they were worth saving for their ransom money. But at Pinkie, as at Flodden, many noblemen were slain by the English in mistake for their followers. Somerset's forces included savage Irish.

The Scots had rallied together, setting aside their internecine quarrels, for the protection of their country. After the defeat at Pinkie, they rallied again to put their Queen in a place even safer than the great fortress on the Forth. Shortly after the battle Mary was sent to the island of Inchmahome (or holm), 'the isle of peace', in the quiet water of the lake of Menteith. There stood a Priory and to this lovely retreat Mary was moved in September 1547, she being then nearly five years of age.

One way from Stirling to Inchmahome leads to Aberfelds, hence to the lake of Menteith with the two islands. At the port of Menteith a boat may be hired and Inchmahome approached, as Mary approached it on that distant day of early autumn The trees on the island were planted a century ago to replace those destroyed by the zeal of Mary Stewart's partisans, who stripped them for 'keepsakes'. Inchmahome Priory had the legendary aspect of the two places where Mary had already resided; it seemed out of the world. The majority of refined, sensitive and intelligent men and women took the vows required by the Church of Rome and escaped from an age of violence to such refuges as this isle in the lake; among these vows was that of celibacy, with the result that those who loved learning, art, science and meditation were barren, while the gross materialists, the stupid, the vicious, flourished in unchecked offspring.

Mary was happy at Inchmahome. She had with her companions of her own age, especially chosen as her most intimate attendants, all bearing her name, and all of noble families, Mary Beaton, Mary Seton, Mary Fleming and Mary Livingstone. With them she played at gentle games, continued her first lessons and began to speak both French and Scots. Her time was passed in the agreeable and well-furnished guest rooms of the Priory, in the precisely kept gardens, under the tall trees in the uncultivated parts of the island, or beneath the sweet box hedges.

Mary of Guise was left to face a political situation that daily worsened for her. Somerset, short of supplies, had withdrawn to England after the battle of Pinkie Cleugh; he was unable to attempt the capture of Edinburgh with the winter coming on and contented himself with leaving, as it was reckoned, fourteen thousand Scots dead on the field, or drowned in the River Esk. Against this deliverance Mary of Guise had to set the defection of Mathew Lennox, who had gone over to the English, and the continued threats of the Lord Protector. She appealed, in her desperation, to the Pope, as well as to the King of France.

The persecution of the Reformers had roused a fury of revenge among their friends; in particular the martyrdom of George Wishart, as notable in its results as that of Patrick Hamilton, had inflamed the Protestants, who loathed Cardinal Beaton as bitterly as did the English king. At the hands of some of these the Cardinal was violently put to death in his Castle of St. Andrews. Thus Mary of Guise lost a close and powerful friend and felt at the same time the encroachment of the heretics, already being encouraged by the ferocious eloquence of a dissenting priest, one John Knox. The tragedy at St. Andrews was the first of the political murders to mark the reign of Mary Stewart; others beside the soothsayers declared that it was of ill omen.

Scotland was, for the time, exhausted. Arran's rule was feeble, and his defeat in battle made him despised by a warlike people. The assassins of the Cardinal, encouraged by the English, held out in St. Andrews Castle; no mass could be held in Scotland while this act of sacrilege was unavenged. Even the coming of a French fleet to oust the heretics from their stronghold did not help Mary of Guise, though the French success meant that John Knox, that enthusiastic preacher so dangerous to the Old Faith, was sent to the French galleys. The Queen Dowager, indeed, between the English, the claims of Lennox, Hamilton, the illegitimate sons of James V, and the rise of the Protestants in Scotland, saw little hope for her daughter as queen of her father's realm. She made the bold decision to send her out of the kingdom she was supposed to rule and to marry her to the French prince, though such a step was likely enough to end in Scotland's becoming an apanage of France.

On June 24th, 1548, the Estates sanctioned the French alliance. Mary of Guise agreed, willingly, to the request of Henry II, the successor to Francis I, that her daughter should be educated in his country under the care of her own mother, Antoinette of Bourbon, Duchess of Guise. In France was Mary of Guise's own son by her first marriage, the Duke of Longueville. All family ties, affectionate memory and native inclination bound the dowager Queen of Scotland to her native land; besides the danger from England, where the arch enemy of Scotland, the victor of Pinkie Cleugh, Lord Somerset, still ruled in the name of his nephew, the feeble son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour.

Mary of Guise feared that the English, or the pirates, who often had letters of marque from England, allowing them to attack Scots vessels, might intercept the French ships sent to fetch her daughter to France. Before she had hidden Mary Stewart in Inchmahome English spies had thought the little Queen was at Dumbarton or Duneld; it was to the former place that she was now taken, with a princely train of Scots nobility, attendants and servants. Among these were Lord Erskine and Lord Livingstone and the four Marys. These little girls were, like the mistress whose lessons they had shared at Inchmahome, already for their years accomplished in the refined arts suitable for gentlefolk. They knew the rudiments of the polite languages, of music, embroidery and dancing; their deportment was already grave yet amiable. The first likeness of Mary Stewart is that of a small Scots coin of base metal struck the previous year; it shows a child with arched brows and a bare neck.

Henry II's force now arrived in the four French galleys under the command of Admiral Villegaignon that had anchored at Leith. This army consisted of six thousand men, seasoned troops, French and mercenaries. Their leader was Lieutenant-General d'Essé; it was he who put his master's proposals before the Scots Parliament assembled at the Abbey of Haddington, close to the town of that name, held by the English.

Arran, the nominal regent, was in favour of France, and the Queen Dowager had gained over to her daring plan many of the Scots lords and bishops, by bribery and flattery as the Reformers declared. Although the Scots Parliament showed an anxious and zealous regard for their ancient liberties, it accepted, despite the discouraging experience with Henry VIII, the French king's assurance that he was animated solely by horror at the outrages committed by the English in Scotland. Not only did the Parliament allow itself to be persuaded of these friendly intentions—they were willing to offer fortresses as guarantee of their good faith. The French had never infused Scotland; the fragile daughter of the late King, Francis I, had been the first wife of James V and had left a sweet memory, while many Scots had resided at the French Court.

Leaving the French army to its task of driving the English out of Haddington, Admiral Villegaignon sailed his four galleys with martial splendour down the Firth of Forth, then, to avoid the English, turned north, rounded Scotland by the Pentland Firth, then, sailing west, made Dumbarton, where the two Queens were awaiting him. The Frenchman, however, gave himself these pains for nothing; the Protector Somerset, whose intelligence service was extremely efficient, knew all the French plans and did not choose to risk a battle. Mary of Guise received the French envoys in stately audience at Dumbarton and gave her daughter and train into the charge of M. de Brézé. It was one of the few agreeable incidents in her sad and troubled life and marred only by the illness of her little daughter, again struck by a feverish infection that the physicians disputed over. It was another attack of smallpox or measles.

Dumbarton (or Dunbarton) on the Clyde is marked by an impressive rock, jutting into two peaks named after the national hero, William Wallace, at one time a prisoner in the fortress. On this rock there grows the wild and rare variety of thistle that is the emblem of Scotland. Like Stirling, Dumbarton was very ancient even in Queen Mary's time; there had long been fortifications on this fine site and its history goes beyond records. It is credited with being a stronghold of the primitive tribes who seized the valley of the Clyde after the Roman legions had abandoned the North. From the reign of William the Lion the great castle had been in the possession of the Lennox family whose power was dominant in this part of Scotland.

Mary Stewart's journey from Inchmahome was short, but troublesome, owing to rough roads, or tracks, and the heat of summer increased the discomforts of the rude litters and coaches. Now the journey is easy; Linlithgow, Stirling, Inchmahome, Dumbarton, the four places associated with Mary's childhood, lie within close distance of one another, by modern conceptions of distance. No relics of Mary Stewart are to be discovered at Dumbarton, but the castle, now much altered, rests on mighty foundations on the rocks that are earlier than her time and the sympathetic eye can visualize the appearance of the splendid fortress, flying the beautiful banner of the Stewarts, as it rose along the waters of the Clyde where the French ships, with chained galley slaves, furled sails, and martial pomp lay at anchor.

The weather was fair at the end of July, yet before the ships had left the river Lady Fleming, the little Queen's aunt, was so seasick that she begged to be set ashore; but the captain, mindful of the English fleet possibly giving chase, refused harshly, remarking that she must proceed to France or drown on the way. The little fleet made for the coast of Brittany, making for Brest or Roscoff, as the winds might allow, for the calm day was soon broken by storms. Most members of the little Queen's retinue were ill in the handsome, small and dark cabins, but this distress was softened by the knowledge that their precious charge was safely out of the rapacious hands of the English and the mounting power of the zealous Reformers.

Mary Stewart's lodging was to be at the royal palace of St. Germain-en-Laye, outside Paris but the nearest port the captain of her vessel could make was Roscoff in Brittany. There Mary Stewart landed, at this small haven on a dangerous coast, on the 13th of August, the troublesome voyage, despite the skill of the French seamen, having taken a fortnight. In the name of the sick and exhausted child, a chapel, dedicated to St. Ninian, was ordered by the Scots in thanksgiving for their safety. One of them drew an imprint of her tiny foot on the rock.



Part II.
FRANCE 1548-1561

The little Queen, who had made a jest of the illnesses of those in her train for whom the tossing of the galleys had been intolerable, was lodged in the Dominican convent at Morlaix. She was received by M. de Rohan, chief of the Breton nobility, whose presence of mind quelled trouble among the suspicious Scots when the town drawbridge broke under the pressure of the jostling horsemen and sent them in the river.

Morlaix still shows the ancient houses, the fishing fleet that Mary saw, and there is yet the memory of the defeat of the English in 1522 when the native lion facing the English leopard was added to the arms of the town with the motto: If they bite you, you bite them.

Henry II was occupied in touring the Eastern defences of France, with an eye to the possible activities of the Emperor, Charles V, but he had given precise instructions as to the royal honours that must be shown to the Queen of Scots. After a few days' rest at Morlaix the train broke up; some of Mary's retinue proceeded in small parties overland to Paris. This horseback journey took about a fortnight with good 'nags' and weather. Mary, who continued in high spirits, was carefully conducted in easy stages to Nantes, ancient capital of Brittany, a pleasant town, once the scene of furious combats between the Bretons and the 'Sea-Dragons' or Norman pirates finally dispersed by a local hero, Alain Barbe-Porte, who created himself Duke of Brittany. In the splendid royal residence, the usual fortress palace, then something over a century old, Mary lodged with her train while her mother in Scotland and her grandmother in France exchanged nervous letters about her safety, her health and her progress towards the guardianship of her maternal kin.

Antoinette de Bourbon, Duchess of Guise, travelled from Tours to Illiers, then to Chartres, and Mary went to meet her by taking barge at Nantes and proceeding to Orléans, where again the party took horses, litters, waggons and moved slowly, ponderously through the autumn days towards their destination. The Scots had recovered their health. The only loss was that of 'Young Seton', who died 'of a flux'; but the complex and anxious arrangements of Henry II included the dismissal of most of the Scots servants. Only the nobles and more important attendants were allowed to remain about Mary's person; the French men and women were to surround the child as if she had been a Queen consort only. The first description of Mary, whose praises had preceded her, was given by the Duchess of Guise, who received the grand-daughter with a kingdom (it was hoped) for her dowry, with real tenderness.

Antoinette de Bourbon was extremely pleased with 'Reinette', as the French named the child, but she was not beguiled into flattery. The 'grace and assurance' of the well-trained child, not yet six years of age, delighted her grandmother's fastidious taste; for the rest, the Duchess of Guise noted brown hair, a pale complexion, a face too long, small, deep-set brown eyes: all the materials for the beauty most admired at the French Court. It was November before the party arrived at St. Germain-en-Laye; the journey from Scotland had, owing to leisurely progress, taken nearly five months. The traveller of today who cares to take as long can make an exhaustive study of Brittany, the Loire and such famous towns and cities as Morlaix, Nantes and Chartres.

Henry II had been at considerable cost and pains in order to make his Palace of St. Germain-en-Laye fit for the reception of Mary of Scotland. His wife, Catherine de Medici, was alarmed by reports of infectious diseases in Paris; these were endemic, but this summer had increased in severity. The King, sharing his wife's anxiety, gave orders that the Palace was to be carefully cleaned, and all workmen and servitors inspected for traces of some possible contagious or infectious malady. He was fond of children, though a sombre and taciturn prince, and showed a constant watchfulness over the safety and comfort of Mary that was shared by the House of Guise. To Henry II she was not only a charming little Princess, worthy of love and respect, she was the pledge that one day his family would rule in Scotland, while to her maternal relations she was the culmination of their immense ambition. Through her they might attain the longed-for glory of complete control of the affairs of France, for already the House of Guise was in a remarkable position. Regarded by the ancient nobility as parvenu, their power was yearly increasing, and so were the perils that surrounded them.

Claude, Duke of Guise, was a cadet of the House of Lorraine, being fifth son of René II. His military successes against the peasants' revolt in 1527 had been rewarded by a dukedom, the name being taken from the town of Guise. Claude had married Antoinette de Bourbon, their daughter Mary had married into the House of Orléans before becoming the wife of James V of Scotland and the granddaughter, the little Mary, now arrived in their domain, was not only Queen of Scotland but was soon to be Queen of France. In the letters that Antoinette de Bourbon wrote to her elder son, Francis of Aumale, about her meeting with her grand-daughter she touched warmly on the prospect of his marriage with the daughter of the Duke of Ferrara, who was descended from Louis XII of France. In the same letter she begged for clemency towards the defeated peasants of the South.

This Princess was an example of the dilemma in which a nervous, sensitive and virtuous woman was placed in these surroundings of violence, corruption and unabashed vice. While not abating an iota of worldly pride and constantly occupied with schemes for the advancement of her family, she was secretly terrified into religious mania and strove to win divine forgiveness and even favour by the most rigid conduct. She wore a serge robe, forswore all petty vanities and kept her coffin constantly in her sight; she was a lay member of the Dominicans, the Carmelites and the Cistercians; she had, together with her husband, founded a Benedictine Monastery on their princely estates at Joinville and three of her daughters were abbesses at Rheims, at Fontremault and at Formentier. Moreover, her second son Charles was a Cardinal of the Church of Rome and had thus increased both the worldly and the heavenly power and prestige of the House of Guise—or so his mother hoped.

Her Court resembled a religious establishment and her time was spent between intrigues to assist the dazzling fortunes of her family and labours in the cause of charity. These fortunes were further secured by the almost continuous presence in Rome of the elder Guise Cardinal, John of Lorraine, brother of Claude, Duke of Guise, and great-uncle to Queen Mary. This unscrupulous worldling shared the one virtue of the male members of his House, loyalty to his relations. This tenacity of affection was one of the causes of their success; he had hopes of the Papal tiara.

Antoinette de Bourbon's younger sons, youths of spirit and talent, by no means kept in the background of the family's triumphs. They were added support to the family ambition and if Claude, Duke of Guise, 'the Butcher of Alsace' to the Protestants, was suspected of designs on the crown of France, these sons might be counted on for valuable help in the design.

The House of Valois, then holding this same crown, was not so well buttressed. Henry II, much ruled by the Constable of France, often misled and not popular in manner, had then one son, Francis the Dauphin, Mary's affianced husband, and three daughters by his wife, Catherine de Medici. This Italian, of the Florentine bankers' family, was plain, effaced, and meekly shared the King's favours and the government of his household with his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, Duchess of Valentinois. Her hold on her royal lover was absolute. She had brains, taste, wit and a ruthless strength of character to add to her famous beauty that remained unchanged so long that she was supposed to employ magic arts. This accusation did not sound strange in an age when every Court in Europe added the terrors of Hell to the terrors of Heaven. In France Nostradamus, the Wizard astrologer, held a position as high as that of any priest, and those who countenanced the darkest crimes while murmuring prayers also listened to soothsayers and witches while indulging in pagan pleasures and cynical philosophies.

Diane de Poitiers concerned herself at once in the upbringing of Mary, who was placed with the royal children under the care of M. d'Humières.

Henry II informed the Estates of Scotland of the safety of their sovereign and instructed his Ambassador in London to announce to the Lord Protector Somerset that he—'held the place of King of Scotland'. To a neutral power, Turkey, he boasted of his triumph over the English 'who wished to usurp Scotland' under pretence of a marriage; the English, however, were still intriguing for this same marriage.

Mary's life was happy in the newly cleaned château with her little companions, her future husband, the King's son, his three sisters and her half brother, the Duc de Longueville. On the surface all was comfortable, gay and very magnificent for these royal children; nor did they lack discipline and religious training. The long and gracious traditions of the French Courts surrounded them; they early were accustomed to excellent music, dancing and to a magnificent taste that decorated every detail of life.

The men of the House of Guise were scholars and patrons of the arts; Diane de Poitiers was the goddess of a school of painting, poetry and sculpture, of the most exquisite minor arts, a genius in making life gracious, elegant and enjoyable. With superb egotism she ignored everything but the gratification of her own faultless taste, and, with the royal fortune at her disposal, she never lacked the means to indulge her least caprice. As she was a widow she affected black and white in her apparel: as her name was Diane, she affected the garb and crescent of the goddess of chastity; these cunning devices placed her beyond competition and perfectly suited her elegant yet robust beauty. Completely amoral, she yet exacted all the fascinating rituals of the chivalry of the Middle Ages.

It was on the model of this accomplished woman that the little Mary was formed. She, too, was elegant, tall, with classic features and faultless manners and was easily trained in the school of the reigning favourite. It did not then appear that she was far more passionate and much less able than the Frenchwoman, and not suited, by temperament, to be a Diane de Poitiers. There was another influence, that of the pious Antoinette of Guise, with her driving ambition and her relentless bigotry. From the first there was a scarcely perceptible struggle between the House of Valois, dominated by Diane de Poitiers, and the House of Guise, dominated by the Cardinal Charles, for the rulership of Mary of Scotland. The Cardinal, from a distance as yet, supervised Mary's education and saw to it that she was thoroughly instructed in her duty to the Church and to the House of Guise; his brother, Francis, Duke of Aumale, was equally interested.

A short stay in St. Germain-en-Laye will suffice to discover what remains of the period when Mary of Scotland walked the terraces, played in the gardens and learned her lessons in the handsome apartments. Much has changed, much disappeared, but the curious will still find some relics of the reign of Henry II.

Paris then becomes the centre of Mary's life and to stay there is the easiest way of following her movements in France, as to stay in Edinburgh is the easiest way of following her movements in Scotland. She travelled from one royal palace to another, from one Guise possession to another, so frequently that it would be tedious to attempt to follow her exactly as to time and place. One visit to each town, city or castle will suffice to see what is left of the scenes she once knew. As the manner of her education has been so often disputed and as it has such a vital bearing on her story, it is needful to consider what this education exactly was; nor is it difficult to discover what Mary learned and who taught her learning and the arts.

Her first lesson was her own royalty and the glories of her Stewart and Lorraine descent; this was one she never forgot. Her second lesson was complete obedience to the Church of Rome, then sadly perplexed and menaced by the spread of a heresy of the most malicious kind. After these lessons came personal accomplishments: a little fashionable learning, all the feminine graces, the refinements and delicacies of a decadent Court. There was nothing of statecraft, nothing of patriotism, nothing of the history, the needs, the wishes of her native country, nothing of the condition of Europe beyond the religious position, nothing of morals. As to discretion or tact, she was considered above the need for diplomacy, but she was taught to employ the natural cunning, the natural charm of youth, to conceal her feelings and gain her ends. It was the upbringing of a Court lady, not that of a sovereign.

Mary was not gifted; she could copy her master's commonplace maxims, their routine exercises, she could follow their instructions and turn a few sentences in Latin, play a little, sing a little and ride a horse reasonably well for a woman. Where her liking lay she was quick and clever; her dancing was accurate and stately; her taste in all the decorative arts was well in tune with the fashions of her day; she could compose a set of mechanical verses at need, and she enjoyed needlework, her patterns being provided by professional draughtsmen. She soon spoke French, which her mother had first taught her, with ease, and her Scots became halting through infrequent use. It was not possible for her to recall Scotland very distinctly. The Scots were not regarded with much favour by the French. Antoinette of Guise found them all plain, save Lady Fleming; this fair and witty daughter of James V had some of the fatal beauty of the Stewarts and soon 'tarnished' her good name.

With all their exertions and all their power, neither the Guises nor the Valois could give the royal children good health. No 'cleansing' of St. Germain-en-Laye, the village and the park could rid the place of infection; foul air, lack of even elementary sanitation, unhealthful clothes, bad food, overheated, or over-chilly, draughty rooms, the constant association with people who were, despite all precautions, dirty and diseased, caused frequent and serious illnesses. Faintings, toothache, fevers, skin eruptions, pains, aches and nervous depressions afflicted young and old alike; a dread of sudden death (completely justified) lent terror to every enjoyment; the span of life was short and might end any moment. Poison was much feared and often experienced, but it came from the cesspool or the tainted food as often as from the hand of an enemy. Not that murder was not employed as means to any end of self-aggrandizement by these princes and nobles who considered themselves above any law of man, and who trusted they could buy off God's vengeance by conforming to the rules of the Church of Rome. Everyone of any note went armed and protected by guards; greed or fanaticism could inspire many a man to attempt secret slaying, terrible as the penalties were for such crimes, nor were there ever wanting ruffians who could be hired to commit a deed of violence.

The two men who influenced Mary more than any others during these years of girlhood were her uncles the Cardinal Charles, the great Churchman, and Francis of Aumale, the great soldier. They were then approaching the height of that power which all the aristocracy grudged them and their pretensions were immense; had their ambitions been realized they would have ruled Europe between them by means of members of their House. Though descended from a fifth son they assumed the rank of foreign sovereign princes, although they were French when that suited their purpose. On the strength of the marriages of their ancestors they quartered the royal arms of Anjou, Hungary, Sicily and Naples; the Cardinal Charles coveted this latter crown for his brother. If the Cardinal John could have been elected Pope, and Mary of Scotland could have secured the English throne, as well as keeping the French throne, the House of Guise, already with a foothold in Italy through the marriage of Duke Francis, would have become the most powerful factor in Europe. As ferocious opponents of the heretical movement—afterwards known as the Reformation—they could count on the ultimate support of the Vatican, the Emperor and Spain, by reason of marriages, treaty or common aims.

These schemes were so vast, and so nearly successful, that these two able men might have paused to consider the possible approach of Nemesis; but ambition blinded them if not to the perils of their position at least to the chance of any failure. Francis of Aumale was far more popular among the people than his father had ever been. He was genial, the friend of the common soldier, a famous captain, a superb personality held to reflect glory on France. If the Cardinal Charles was not liked, he was respected. He spent much of his revenues in helping the Roman Catholic refugees from the Protestant countries, in building seminaries, libraries and monasteries; he was a notable scholar, orator and philosopher, quick and subtle. He also made a splendid appearance in his person and his household. His faults, however, were not those most easily overlooked by ordinary people. Son and brother of soldiers of genius, he was cowardly; a Prince of the Church and nephew of the Cardinal of Lorraine who aspired to the Papacy, he was suspected of heresy, atheism and known to be a hypocrite. Worst of all, he was so false and faithless that no one could trust a word he said.

But all the Guises had fascinating manners and towards the Queen of Scots their intentions were chivalrous and tender. They regarded her with a deep affection and she responded warmly, with a child's candour, as she did to the boundless love and care of her grandmother, Antoinette de Bourbon. Mary was also passionately attached to her mother—her father she had never known—so she was, and always remained, a daughter of the House of Guise. She resembled them physically; only her long, oval face was a Stewart characteristic. Because she was their kin, she inclined towards them and their tastes were similar.

At St.-Germain-en-Laye there were pet dogs, horses, birds, exotic animals and live boars taken in the net on show; there were singers, jesters and clowns, poets, musicians and puppets, and there was an immense variety of gorgeous clothes in which the little Queen took a considerable pride. Her closest companions were her future husband, Francis, and his sister, Elizabeth of Valois, a child of a sweet and gay disposition, whose hand in marriage was already being bargained for by England and Spain. In thus amusing, protecting and training their charge, the Guises combined with the King and his two favourites, Anne Montmorency, the Constable of France, a stern, ignorant, cruel, narrow soldier but a loving father, delighting in children, and the ever-powerful Diane de Poitiers. Henry II, dull, sombre, a fine athlete, fond of an outdoor life, gave all his trust and affection to these two people, a generation older than he was himself.

So far neither the King, his favourites, nor the Bourbons, first Princes of the Blood, had challenged the House of Guise. The superb Diane, the meek Queen Catherine, detested by her husband and the mother of many sickly children, and the pious Antoinette, met in anxious council and tender care over the affairs of Mary of Scotland.

Henry II wrote to Mary of Guise in Scotland, informing her of the triumph of her House, the jealousy of the English Ambassador and that Henry fomented with tactless praise of Mary and the Dauphin. This child, always sickly, had lately shown some spirit; he wished to discard his 'girl's' or 'baby's' clothes and to dress as a man. He was keen, too, to imitate his elders, to have a horse, arms and armour. A severe attack of smallpox in his infancy had left him weakly and his illnesses were even more frequent than were those of the other royal children. He attached himself to Mary, who treated him with considerate kindness.

The following summer (1549) Catherine de Medici was crowned and Mary made a public appearance. A month of gay and costly festivities in Paris did not mean a cessation of the ruthless persecution of the Protestants. During the sumptuous rejoicings the death by torture of those whose sole offence was their religious opinions took place, without respite, in the capital, and in view of those going to and from the Palace of the Tournelles. The next year, while Mary was growing in graces in her sheltered, guarded Palace of St. Germain-en-Laye, her grandfather, Claude, Duke of Guise, died at his castle in Joinville, aged fifty-four years, already supplanted by his sons. He suffered from an apoplexy or of poison, as he himself believed, and as was stated on his coffin. His sons being absent his widow postponed his funeral until they could gather at Joinville, where the Duke Claude was buried in June 1550. This ceremony lasted for eight days and was an affirmation of the power and pretences of the House of Guise. Foreign envoys were received and Henry II permitted this display of royal rites, the Duke Claude being 'the son of a king'.

It was Francis of Aumale, now second Duke of Guise, who organized this elaborate funeral; the Cardinal Charles was in Rome. Cardinal John of Lorraine died soon after his brother, and the Princes, their successors, divided the inheritance of the last generation. They were more able, more vigorous, more popular than their predecessors. Charles took John's title of Cardinal of Lorraine and inherited his valuable property, including his costly personal possessions of furniture, books and jewels. Francis, 'the glorious soldier' surnamed the 'Balafré' from a wound in the face, became head of the family. The younger brothers, worthy to sustain the credit of the House of Guise, were the Grand Prior of France, General of the Galleys, the Duke of Aumale, son-in-law of Diane de Poitiers, and the Marquis d'Elbceuf. The Duke Claude, so austere, pious and devoted to his wife, had acknowledged twelve natural children, one of whom at least, a scoundrel who had entered the Church, survived him.

Henry II, in order to strengthen the French influence in Scotland, schemed to bribe Arran to resign the Regency and hand over his office to Mary of Guise. The price offered was the French dukedom of Châtelherault. The French soldiers had been too long in a country where the Protestants were in the ascendancy for the 'auld alliance' to flourish; their excesses had disgusted the Scots, who were uneasy at the new power conferred on the French Princess. She was the only person in Scotland on whose loyalty the Guises and their little Queen could confidently count. John Knox, the formidable preacher whose career was watched by the Roman Catholics with hate and dread, declared that the Regency fitted the Queen Dowager 'as a saddle might fit an old cow'.

Mary of Guise sailed from Scotland in the August of the year her father died (1550). Her brother, the new Duke of Guise, met her at Dieppe; her reception was splendid—even the galley slaves and sailors of her ship had been attired in white damask and she was escorted like a reigning Queen to Rouen. Here the Scots in her train fell to fighting and brawling in a highhanded manner that gave the French a taste of their spirit. Mary of Scotland was then dangerously ill of 'the flux'; she was eight years old and had seldom been in good health, despite constant doctoring. She rallied, however, to write a dutiful 'copy book' letter to her grandmother, and to travel with Henry II and his wife to Rouen, to greet her mother. With them was the charming little Duc de Longueville, Mary of Guise's son by her first marriage and Mary's amiable playmate. He also was ailing; all the royal children appeared pinched and wan, dim eyed and dull in the stiff, boned clothes of heavy material, the mighty ornaments, the masses of feathers (a passion with the House of Guise), chains and ruffs suitable to their rank but not to their age.

Mary greeted her mother with touching affection and the two were regarded with much sympathy by the crowds that gathered in the streets of the ancient capital of Normandy to see the costly pageantry of the royal entry. The citizens of Rouen provided the usual classic set pieces, one of which showed Hercules crushing the hydra. On the river was an artificial whale, while in the port a number of 'Brazilian savages' were encouraged to burn a ship. Diane de Poitiers, as always in black velvet, with the crown jewels, and ermine, 'dazzled' the beholders.

Henry II was very civil to the Scots lords, who responded by falling into 'a foul rout', to the disgust of the jealous English envoy, Sir John Mason.

Mary was not long in the noble city, where she heard mass at the Cathedral, and dined with the royal party at the Abbey of Saint Ouen. From Rouen the Court moved to Blois where the winter was spent in merrymaking. Henry II had, urged on by the Cardinal of Lorraine and his sister, Mary of Guise, decided to back the Scots in a war with England. Mary of Guise was to return to her post with sufficient French troops to hold the Protestants down and to attack the English on the Border, but Edward VI sent Lord Northampton with the Garter for Henry II, which somewhat delayed these designs and was the occasion of more junketings, tournaments, processions, feasts as well as all the games and sports in which the Valois King delighted.

The English were still after the marriage of Mary of Scotland and Edward VI; but on being refused 'in round, plain terms' by the Constable they put in an offer for Mary's friend, Elizabeth of Valois.

Mary of Guise held many consultations with the Cardinal of Lorraine as to the future of her daughter. She left with him a casket of her jewels and entreated that he would personally keep a close watch over the little Queen. The Court was now becoming weary of the supplicant's stately gravity, her troubles, her importunity for money. She was ill and ageing before her time and the twice widowed woman was by no means a joyous figure at the continuous entertainments at Blois.

The last weeks of her stay were troubled by an abortive plot to poison Mary of Scotland. The attempt, made by an archer of the Scots Guard, failed, and the man, one Robert Stewart, escaped to Scotland. No one knew much of this obscure affair which some supposed was engineered by the English. A worse tragedy befell Mary of Guise in the death of her eldest child, the Duc de Longueville, shortly before her departure for Scotland.

Mary of Guise parted sadly and tenderly from her daughter, for whose sake she was returning to her thankless task of holding the Scots throne and the Roman Catholic religion against England and the heretics, headed by John Knox and the Lords of the Congregation. She was escorted by ten ships of war and made so bold as to land at Portsmouth. She travelled to London, and at Hampton Court was received by the young King who had been so long and so persistently proposed as her daughter's husband. Edward VI was as sickly, as mentally feeble, as the Dauphin. Mary of Guise refused once more appeals to her to break off the French match and returned to Scotland, there to endure, in Stirling and Edinburgh, loneliness and a bitter sense of defeat.

The departure of this distressed woman was Mary of Scotland's first deep grief. Her warm heart, her childish loyalty, the fact that her mother was sacrificing everything for her interests held Mary's complete allegiance to her sole parent. There was, too, complete agreement between mother and child; they were, before everything, princesses of the House of Guise, and all Mary of Lorraine's instructions, warnings and advice were exactly in tune with everything that Mary had heard before from her uncles and her grandparents. She must never forget who she was, by right divine, twice a Queen, and by right divine also the champion of the old, true Faith. The sensitive child was eager to pledge eternal loyalty and complete obedience to the Church to which all those she loved belonged, and loyalty and obedience to the great Cardinal of Lorraine, her generous and loving protector and uncle.

Shortly after this date, Mary, who was never portrayed by a first-class painter, was sketched by Francis Clouet in red crayon. The little Queen in this slight drawing shows nothing of the brilliancy, vivacity and beauty on which all who met her remarked. The face might be that of a woman of twenty years; it is sad and pinched, the lips compressed, the eyes sunk (one smaller than the other), while all natural charms are concealed; the hair is dragged back under a lace cap edged with jewels, the narrow body compressed into a tight bodice, the chest flattened, with braids and gems, lace and more jewels hiding the throat; the ears are pierced and hung with heavy ornaments. Even at that age of nine years Mary had learned how to carry a Court dress heavy as a suit of armour and how to compose her face to an expressionless mask. She knew, from infancy, how to keep a secret; often her uncles had warned her that there were spies in her household. She knew that she was watched, criticized and reported upon, and though this concerned her very little, happy as she was with her loving relations, friends and flatterers, this knowledge gave her a stateliness beyond her years and a reserve that was not in her nature.

But she was still in the schoolroom, if no longer in the nursery, and, apart from such brilliant episodes as the visits to Rouen and Blois, she remained at St. Germain-en-Laye, now and then visiting her grandmother at Joinville, where she was very content. Mary knew little of Paris at this date, but her mother's country was early familiar to her and remembered with affection and longing all her life.

Joinville, in which Mary was so happy in this feminine establishment where discipline, quiet and leisure divided the pleasant hours, can be the next place for the present-day traveller to visit after St. Germain-en-Laye. It fits best into the story of her childhood, before, at twelve years of age, she was permitted her own household and her infancy, childhood and even youth, were already over.

Joinville remains one of those places that retain most of their one-time distinction. The town is finely placed on a little arm of the Marne and the site is charmingly set in a gentle valley. On one of the protecting hills stood the ruins of the Guises' feudal castles; the 'pleasure' house remains. Joinville was raised, in 1552, into a principality and became one of the honours of this family already replete with honours. This castle has long since been demolished, but a portion of the gracious park remains, as does the church, and the hospital of St. Croix, dating from the period of Mary of Scotland (1567). In her time Joinville was a walled town, with many spires; it is still surrounded by delightful woods and a countryside of a gentle pastoral nature. In the hospital are numerous relics of the House of Guise, including portraits of several of its famous members that, although not contemporary with the subjects, long adorned the vanished château.

In the adjoining graveyard lie what is left of the once sumptuous memorials of the House of Guise, in the form of a black marble slab that covers their bones, disinterred in revolutionary excesses, then piously gathered together. This spot once bore the soothing inscription—'It is here one finds repose,' altered to a grimmer statement—'It is here.'

A delicate prospect can be enjoyed from the summit where the castle stood. The site is now covered by vineyards, meadows and gardens, and only careful search will discover the supposed outline of the tennis court used by the Guises during their eighty years of power. In the old park, however, is the 'pleasure house' delightfully 'embosked' with elms and chestnuts. This lordly retreat is 'a talking house' like the Palace of the Huntlys in Edinburgh. It is lavishly adorned with those mottoes of a boasting or melancholy nature so fashionable in that epoch of bigotry, ambition and superstition. In the spring the gaiety of wild flowers that grow here in profusion helps to re-create that flourishing time when Mary of Scotland lived happily in the princely establishment of Antoinette de Bourbon, guarded as she was never to be guarded again, by love, respect and power. This Maison de l'amour repenti, as it was named after some legendary love story, had been built by the Duke Claude as a retreat from the troubles of the world and the splendours of his castle. It was carefully constructed after the style of the Italian architects then employed on the glories of the Diane de Poitiers château at Annet, and on the royal palaces of the Loire. There were fishponds, fountains, and parterres; indeed, these gardens were as faithful a representation of Paradise as the yearnings, the skill and the wealth of the sixteenth century could create.

Here Mary of Scotland learned her lessons. Few of them were from books; her academic achievements were mediocre, but she was quick to catch every tone and inflection of the instructions given her by her pious grandmother and her splendid uncles. So early and so deeply impressed by one point of view, it was not possible for Mary to be either tolerant or meek, nor could the praised and cherished child ever know of anything save a world in which one 'lived joyously'.

In her twelfth year Mary was given her own household. The Dauphin had already been separated from her lessons and games and given his own gentleman's establishment and Mary was eager to exert her regal authority. Her governesses had not lately been successful. One was always ill, another arrogant, a third pilfered her clothes, to the girl's sharp vexation. Always lavish, she wished to give away some garment and found it had gone—the governess was dismissed. It was noted that Mary hated 'nothing so much as meanness'. It was easy for her to be generous since she could dispose of goods and money that appeared to her limitless, but she was naturally openhearted and delighted in giving presents that were not only costly but thoughtful, for they were selected with a sensitive understanding of the recipient's tastes and enriched with mottoes of her own choosing.

At this time Mary possessed a famous collection of jewels including the contents of the casket left her by her mother, to be used 'for State affairs'. These were jealously kept, precisely noted in inventories and constantly overhauled by goldsmiths. Mary was much interested in these lists of gems, that filled three brass chests, and knew to the last detail what she owned. A gift from Diane de Poitiers was contemptuous in its simplicity as coming from a royal favourite to a Queen. This was a set of buttons shaped like Diane's device, the crescent moon, and enamelled in her colours, black and white.

Mary of Scotland's hundred and twenty gowns were made from the choicest products of the world; damask of gold and silver thread, French and Italian velvets, satins and brocades, taffetas, or interchangeable silk, sables, ermine and ostrich feathers enriched her wardrobe; holland, cambric and lace were used in the underclothes and every item of gloves, pins, combs, caps, shoes, and stockings was of the richest possible quality. Mary, when 'out of tutelage', naturally gave as much time to these vanities as she did to her Latin exercises, her prayers and her dull little essays.

The affairs of the House of Guise continued to flourish. The Duke Francis returned from saving the great barrier fortress of Metz to be the hero of the Court and the people. His youngest brother, Louis, was made a Cardinal; his sister was, at least nominally, Regent of Scotland. These successes balanced the unpleasant fact of the spread of a Protestantism that had become so formidable that Henry II, a ferocious persecutor of heretics in France, had been obliged to ally himself with Edward VI and the German Lutherans. Scotland, too, was 'over run' with the followers of John Knox, a man who so exactly suited the movement he led that it seemed as if he had formed it after his own character. The death of the English King (1553), however, and the accession of Mary Tudor brightened the political scene for the Roman Catholics and for Mary of Scotland. She could no longer be pestered by English demands for her hand. Somerset, the ruthless enemy of Scotland, had gone to the block; the new queen might prove barren and that would make Mary of Scotland—in the opinion of all save the heretics—heiress to the English throne.

At this bright period of her youth Mary frequently resided in Paris, and often visited the magnificent royal châteaux, built in the environs of the capital in the midst of beautiful parks and gardens, equally suitable for hunting, that passion of the nobility, and for games and all the pleasures of idleness.

The Paris of this time was increasing so rapidly in size that further expansion was forbidden. It was a mediaeval city, dark, beautiful, centred once upon the Court, once upon the Church, once upon the University, three cities in one superbly set on the Seine and crowned by the majestic cathedral on the river island. It was badly policed, crowded with those drawn to the Court, to learning, to religion, or to trade, and with ruffians and opportunists who exploited citizens and foreigners alike. Crimes and violent deeds were continuous and mostly unchecked; every kind of vice was freely practised, sorcery that embraced all the 'black arts' throve in the crooked, narrow streets; the taverns were the meeting places of every possible type of agitator, scoundrel and spy. But learning flourished also, as did the humanities, the arts and the crafts to a high degree of accomplishment and skill. The Palace of the Louvre on the site of a fort built by Philip Augustus was being rebuilt. The royal family mostly resided in the Tournelles that stood on the site of the modern Place Royale. This was an ancient building—once the headquarters of the Duke of Bedford when he was Regent for Henry VI of England. In this dark, straggling and inconvenient dwelling Mary passed many days of her first youth. The air of the capital was foul; the stenches in the royal hotel continual; the royal children were all struck with 'fluxes' and 'tertian agues' (malaria), shivering from one fit to another for weeks on end.

Mary of Scotland did not escape severe illnesses. Although the Guises indignantly denied that she was sickly, her own doctors frequently predicted that she would not live long and her health seemed as precarious as that of her future husband, who continued to be so mentally and physically feeble that it was doubted if he would ever come to the throne.

Mary's illnesses consisted of recurrent malaria, that scourge of Europe, dysentery, indigestion, toothache and blood poisoning. These ailments reduced her to a state of weakness revealed by vomiting, fainting fits and nervous prostration. She over-ate the heavy, spiced, rich food so abundantly supplied that was often, under the pungent flavouring, putrid or tainted. Her anxious physicians recommended 'change of air' and she was in better health when away from the Tournelles, foul with the filth of centuries, and Paris, hotbed of every known disease.

There is little left from Mary's time at Meudon, where she attended the triumphant ritual of the Church at Easter in 1554 when the second son of the Duke of Guise was baptized. The château the Cardinal of Lorraine was then building for himself has gone. Only the church of Lower Meudon remains. But at Fontainebleau there remains in the château much that is exactly as Mary saw it. Here are the massive rooms, overwhelming in their heavy ornament with the deep coffered ceilings bearing the famous interlaced H and D that stood for Henry and Diane; this audacity was too much even for the servility of the Court and the D was declared to be a C for Catherine. No one, however, was deceived by the insolent excuse.

In the spring of 1558 Mary and Francis were betrothed with every circumstance of pomp the Court of France could command The mighty favourite, Diane, whose daughter was married to a Guise, the Duke of Aumale, lent her support to the hastening on of the nuptials. The Estates of Scotland, reminded of their obligations by Henry II, sent a party of Commissioners to attend the marriage. There were the Archbishop of Glasgow, the Bishops of Ross and Orkney, the Lords Fleming and Seton, John Erskine, and most important of all to Mary, her half-brother, the son of James V, now known as the Lord James, Commendator of St. Andrews. The Scots had raised fifteen thousand English pounds to pay for this formal visit.

The ceremonies that united the frail girl and the sickly youth, both barely recovered from long illnesses, were routine in their tedious splendour. The betrothal took place in one of the newly completed galleries of the Louvre. The Cardinal of Lorraine, as the presiding genius, joined the hands of the bedizened couple on Friday, April 22nd, and on the following Sunday the marriage that Henry II wished to be 'the most famous ever held' took place in the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

Nothing was omitted that could add to the splendour and prestige of the House of Guise. Not only the members of the triumphant family and the Valois were present, but also those of the opposing royal group, the Bourbons, headed by the King of Navarre. Mary, the bride, was escorted by the King and the Duke of Guise. She was then in her sixteenth year and so decked out in fantastic clothes and jewels as to appear more like an idol than a human being; the blazing carbuncle on her diadem was particularly remarked as being of fabulous value. Her beauty and grace were much admired; the courage and self-control, the rigid training that enabled her to put through these exhausting rituals, feasts, processions and pageants, were unremarked. Such feats of endurance were expected of princes.

The bride showed her excellent training by her first political act which she made under the direct control of the Guises. This was a secret deed she signed on April 5th that gave her Scots crown and her prospects of the English crown, in the event of her dying childless, to Henry II. These prospects were then bright. The barren Mary Tudor was ill, and not expected to outlast the year; her husband Philip II of Spain was in his own country and not unlikely to be able to seize England; Elizabeth Tudor, Henry VIII's other daughter and only surviving child, was considered illegitimate by the Roman Catholics; Mary of Scotland was the next claimant.

The intelligent girl knew well what she was doing; she was obeying the Cardinal of Lorraine, on whose advice she had always relied, and whose interests were her own. The facts that the Commissioners had arrived in Paris provided with instructions to maintain the rights of Scotland, and that these had been readily granted, did not trouble Mary. She had never been taught candour and the plighting of her royal word, April 15th, to the Scots was no more to her than a convenient formula. These three secret deeds were signed at Fontainebleau shortly before the marriage. The first did not mention the Guises, the second truthfully acknowledged their influence, and referred to the hoodwinked Commissioners as traitors trying to deprive the Queen of her rights.

Henry II alleged that his reason for procuring these deeds was his desire to save Scotland from the English and to recoup himself for the money spent on Mary since her arrival in France. Legal experts had left no chance of a quibble. Scotland was, in the event of the Queen dying without issue, to transfer herself to the French king or pay him 'a million in gold'. Francis signed this deed as well as Mary. The Scots had no suspicion of this treachery; nor did the English spies get wind of it—there was no shrewd Englishman at the French Court, since diplomatic relations had been broken off a year before Mary's marriage.

The Guises were the more anxious to strengthen their hold on Mary and her kingdom, since, at last, beneath the outward cordiality, Henry II was beginning to become restive under the rule of the arrogant brothers. He had bestowed the royal dukedom of Anjou on one of his own sons to prevent this title being assumed by the Guises. The Duke, the hero of Calais, was Lieutenant-Governor of France, the Cardinal the Treasurer. They were popular with the people; the Duke in particular was admired and loved, the Cardinal respected, if feared.

Besides, the King was wearying for his only friend, the Constable, who had been taken prisoner by the Imperialists at the battle of St. Quentien, and the Guises, quick and well informed, sensed his mood. The three secret deeds that Mary signed were cleverly contrived to please and flatter Henry II and secure their own power. If it had been possible the Cardinal would have concealed his mounting arrogance, but this he could not do, and he, even in showing the King the clever documents that sold Scotland, could not forbear flourishing that he held the Queen of Scots in the hollow of his hand, thus further estranging Henry II.

On one point the Scots lords were successful; they had not obeyed the French demands for 'the honours of Scotland'. The regalia was not to leave the country and the French had to accept this refusal. On the other hand, the Commissioners willingly agreed to acknowledge Francis as King of Scotland during the lifetime of his wife, or the 'continuance of the marriage'.

The Scots remained in France for several months, without coming upon any hint of the secret deeds. Mary knew how to keep silent, how to deceive with smiles, witty sallies, caressing glances. Even her brother, the astute Lord James, never suspected her accomplished treachery. Only a few even of the French knew how they had been fooled and betrayed. Mary herself, soon after her marriage, wrote to her mother, warmly praising the Commissioners whom she had secretly denounced as traitors working to obtain the crown for the Duke of Châtelherault (Arran). In the autumn the Scots proceeded to Dieppe where they were struck down by one of the infections endemic at the ports. In a few days the Bishop of Orkney, Fleming, Rothes and Cassilis were dead; poison was instantly suspected though there was no one who had any interest in murdering men already defeated by secret treachery.

Mary's life was not greatly changed by her marriage, since it was not possible to enlarge much on the state and power that had always surrounded her. As Dauphiness she was head of a large household and foremost in all the Court pageantry; and she keenly followed politics then centering on a peace with the Emperor. The Guises wished to prolong the war, the King to end it, mainly that he might have the Constable again at his side. Mary wrote contemplatingly of 'a prisoners' peace'; negotiations were opened and in the midst of them Mary Tudor died (Nov. 1558).

The Guises and Henry II with the consent of Mary then made the second serious political error of her sojourn in France. She at once displayed the arms of England, even her engraved plate being altered, thus publishing her belief that she was Queen of England (as grand-daughter of Henry VII) after Mary Tudor, without dispute.

A year after Mary's marriage the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis was signed, to the disgust of that great soldier, Francis of Guise. Henry II surrendered all the Italian conquests of the last eighty years that had been so costly to France in lives, treasure and resources; but he kept Calais and gained Spain by the marriage of his daughter Elizabeth, the childhood friend of Mary, with Philip II, late husband to Mary Tudor. Moreover, the Constable returned to his master.

Now that peace was signed, an English ambassador was in Paris and Mary came under the skilled and relentless scrutiny of Sir Nicolas Throckmorton, who was for some years to observe and report on her actions, but to act, all the same, as a wise and friendly adviser. Throckmorton was a relative of Queen Catherine Parr. He had been actively engaged in Court politics since his youth, had narrowly escaped many perils, had enjoyed the confidence of many rulers and princes and was now, at the age of forty-five years, a convinced Protestant, an adroit diplomat, a self-assured courtier and a pleasant, amiable, well-liked English gentleman, who had decided to throw in his lot with that hope of the Reformation, Elizabeth Tudor, now firmly occupying the throne of England. His visit was of a special nature. Sir John Mason had returned to Paris as English envoy and Throckmorton was to assist him in watching the Queen of Scots and her husband and in protesting against her assumption of the royal arms, a direct challenge and insult to the English Queen.

Mason had already reported on the ill health of Queen Mary and Throckmorton's keen eye noted, when he presented his letters of credit, that the girl looked 'very ill' and 'pale, green and short breathed'. She was unfit for business and spoke to him for a short time only; the Dauphin was suffering from the effects of the campaign, in which, however, he had not taken an active part. The Constable warned the Englishmen that the Scots Queen was 'very weak'. Mason hoped 'God would take her as soon as maybe'. The envoys ratified the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis and pressed the question of the assumption of the English arms; the unsatisfactory answer was that Elizabeth quartered France ancient, a begging of the question that was foolishly flippant and insolent. Mary was in miserable health during the summer of 1559. Throckmorton reported she was 'evil at ease' in church and given wine from the altar.

Jean Clouet's second drawing of Mary now in existence shows her as Dauphiness, or 'Dolphiness', of France—this pretty title was used seriously by the English and Scots and Dolphins were the symbols (to them) of the royal couple. This sketch, also in red crayon, shows Mary of Scotland already mature. The long, smooth oval face resembles the melancholy countenances of the royal Stewarts; the features are well formed, classic in outline, the eyes heavy lidded, the hair drawn away from a very high forehead and plaited round a stiff jewelled cap; her neck is concealed by ruffled lawn, clasped by enormous pearls. So little is there of youth and gaiety that the drawing seems rather that of some sad, grave matron.

Instigated by the Guises and humiliated by the recent treaty, Henry II planned an even more ferocious persecution of the heretics. News from Scotland told of John Knox and his followers inciting the people to rebellion; at Perth churches had been sacked and the Queen Regent did not know which way to turn. Henry II wrote to the Pope, Paul IV, promising energetic reprisals on this 'wretched pest of ruffians' who was to be exterminated by French soldiers. Since, however, he was facing an empty treasury, yet still spending lavishly on pomp and show, he had not the means to fulfil these threats, yet his ferocious attitude fomented the long, uneasy strife into the wars of religion. It was no longer a question of extirpating 'infidels'; the Reformation had taken a strong hold on Germany, England, Scotland, Switzerland and Scandinavia. It was not lightly to be put down, nor the clock easily to be set back. Henry II might and did turn fire and sword, death and torture, on his own subjects but he could do little against the Protestants of Europe.

The Constable's son was sent to England, where there were more fruitless bickerings over Mary's assumption of the royal arms. She continued to blazon these at the costly pageantry that celebrated the wedding of the Valois Princess with Philip II's proxy, the Duke of Alva, and that of the Duke of Savoy with Margaret de Valois. The Constable, in opposition to the Guises, had been always flattering to Throckmorton and his son was smooth and obliging towards Elizabeth Tudor, but the cause of offence was not removed and the English Queen never forgave the Scots Queen. The Parisians, glutted with pageantry, were once more entertained sumptuously for the Spanish marriage. Reckless display hid the poverty, the disorder, the growing rebellion of France. Philip II, himself financially straitened, sent lavish presents to the Cardinal of Lorraine and the Constable, as well as magnificent gifts for the bride. Alva was a hostage for the fulfilment of the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis with him was a German noble, William of Nassau, and a Flemish grandee, Lamoral Egmont, also a subject of Philip II, and also to be held as hostage. While Alva and the Constable were discussing schemes for raising money and punishing the arrogance of the Reformers, especially John Knox and his fellow Scots, Nassau and Egmont conferred cautiously with Gaspard de Coligny as to the position in Europe and the chances of Jean Calvin and John Knox against the tyrants. Coligny's wife was a Protestant and in touch with the reformer at Geneva.

Mary of Scotland was again lodged in the gloomy old Palace of the Tournelles. She was ailing and no longer the centre of attention. Her slight figure, overloaded with finery, moved with stately grace among the incessant feasts and pageants. She was sad at losing her playfellow, Elizabeth of Valois, and the news her mother sent from Scotland was not good. She was, also, becoming faded with these long, exhausting and dazzling amusements where all the senses were violently assailed at once and her inscrutable face was wan and overshadowed. Some of the envoys thought she was consumptive and not likely to live longer than her infirm husband.

But the poets who were constantly at Court, Ronsard, Marot, and La Pléiade, found in her their Egeria, a rosebud, a pearl, a creature of fabulous fascination. In particular, the ease and elegance of her movements, skilfully adapted to her ponderous dresses, and her long white hand, excited admiration.

Among the Scots who came to and from Paris on business between the two Queens, Mary of Guise and Mary of Scotland, was an important personage whose loyalty to his sovereign was the more remarkable since he was a Protestant—'the worst thought of commented Throckmorton, observing him carefully.

James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, or 'Erie Bothweille', came of a famous Border family and was in possession of many dignities that had descended from his grandfather, Lord Patrick Hepburn; among these was the title of Lord High Admiral of Scotland. He ruled like a prince on Liddesdale and Lothian and was the owner of the most splendid castle in the South of Scotland, Castle Bothwell, rising above the Clyde—the famous 'Bothwell bank' of the ballads. Bothwell had been educated in France, which was one of the reasons why Mary of Guise had chosen him to represent to her kinsfolk her forlorn and almost desperate position. He was also magnificent in his bearing and retinue, of a resolute hardihood and attractive manners. In character he was amoral, making no pretence at any virtue and credited, even by his friends, with all the vices. He was in the prime of his youth, accomplished in the courtly graces of music, poetry, dance and elaborate compliment, elegant and suave; yet he was at heart essentially the ferocious, ruthless Border chieftain who knew neither fear nor pity. This combination of brutal qualities and courtly manners made him extremely attractive to women and his amorous successes were as numerous as they were discreditable. He had already been 'handfasted' to a niece of Cardinal Beaton, and had forsaken her, but these dubious matrimonial ventures were the confusion and plague of the nobility and even of royalty. No one knew precisely what was and what was not a binding contract. Some plightings were without witnesses yet might be marriages under Scots law; other vows, again, undertaken publicly before a crowd might be worthless if a remote relationship was discovered between groom and bride. The Church of Rome did not permit divorce, but the Vatican could annul marriages and the acceptance of Protestantism by many noble families made the confusion worse.

The result of this unsettled state of the law caused endless trouble and disputes from generation to generation since these unions afterward declared illicit frequently produced children who bitterly upheld their right to be considered legitimate. This was the case with the Lord James, son of James V; he was unable to prove any marriage between his parents, yet believed there had been some secret ceremony that saved his mother's honour and fired his own ambition.

Lord Bothwell had repudiated a second lady met in Denmark and solemnly bound to him by the laws of her country. She was a considerable heiress and it was believed in Scotland that Bothwell had abandoned the prize only in the audacious hope of some even more advantageous match. His father was supposed to have courted Mary of Guise, while other ambitious forbears had endeavoured to obtain the hands of other widowed Queens: Jane Beaufort married to James I and Mary of Guelders married to James II. Like most highly placed Scots, the Hepburns were for ever hankering after the crown.

James Hepburn, the fourth Earl of Bothwell, had more honours than any other Protestant subject possessed. He held the fortresses of Hales and Crichton, was Keeper of Hermitage Castle that defended the Southern Marches and in defence of his country had committed 'great damage' to the English on these wild and undefined Borders; Throckmorton, who had named him 'the worst', had also named him 'the stoutest'. Save for the Hamiltons and the Lennox Stewarts with their claims on the crown, Bothwell had no equal in Scotland and he far outshone Châtelherault (Arran), head of the Hamiltons, and Mathew Lennox, head of the Stewarts, in all strong qualities and in a most formidable boldness, arrogance and audacity. He was nearly ten years older than Mary of Scotland, well shaped, skilful in all knightly exercises, healthy, active and gay, with the comeliness of early athletic manhood.

The Queen saw him frequently and commended the abilities that had won him so high a place in her mother's counsels. Both these Princesses needed all the help they could get in Scotland, for Elizabeth was intriguing there with unscrupulous skill, using the weak, erratic Châtelherault (Arran) and his feeble son as her puppet pretenders against Mary. Another catspaw of the English Queen was Mathew Lennox, who had once deserted to Henry VIII. His young son, Henry Stewart, showed the good looks and manly bearing so highly prized among princes and with his claims on both the island thrones he was important. Elizabeth kept her eye on the Lennox family, who, though possessed of large estates on the Clyde at Glasgow, frequently resided in England.

On the surface the Spanish marriage and that of the King's sister, the famous Margaret of Valois, with the Duke of Savoy were celebrated by smoothly contrived and joyous amusements; underneath the feasting and jousts, the shows and the balls, intrigues wove a complicated pattern round the central passion, the struggle between the Church of Rome and the Reformation. The ageing Constable viewed with uneasy distrust the increasing power of the Guises; he even secretly lent an ear to the Protestant party in the person of their fickle leader in France, Antoine, King of Navarre, and set himself against persecution for its own sake. He desired a solid peace and was inclined to allow the Scots their own faith if they were obedient subjects to Mary and Francis. He advised a drastic reduction in expenditure on such idleness as the royal weddings, which one after the other had exhausted the treasury. In brief he was inclined to temperate measures in order to settle the country after long wars, fruitless save for the capture of Calais, and continual rebellions that could, he considered, be met by religious toleration and a sympathetic consideration of the peasants' case.

The marriage of the King's sister was fixed for July 18th (1559) and Paris was in a state of riotous excitement. All classes hoped for peace and prosperity from the Spanish alliance and the extravagant ceremonies: the gorgeous Mass for the Treaty, the Spanish marriage, the marriage of the Duke of Bouillon with Mademoiselle of Montpensier to be followed by the Savoy nuptials, the free sights, wine, food, the constant spectacles, the warm summer, all combined to lift the spirits of the Parisians. Few of them knew that after all the rejoicings were over, Henry II had resolved to march to Guyenne and Poictou, there to put down the heretics with 'extremest persecution, as Throckmorton on receiving his agents' reports noted, adding, 'and the like in Scotland'.

Nor could many of them have heard the news from the North. War had broken out against Mary of Guise and her Frenchmen. In temporary alliance with Châtelherault she faced with five thousand soldiers the army of Argyll and twenty thousand Scots roused in defence of their preachers.

The royal women of France were nervous from exhaustion; the perpetual blaze of sunshine, lamps, candles, fireworks, the perpetual noise of singing, shouting, bells, chanting, the sickly perfumes, the rancid smells and gutter stenches, the weight of their clothes, their jewels, and private anxieties made them dizzy, light headed and a prey to superstition. Crowded into the gloomy, ancient Tournelles (the Louvre not being yet ready for more than ceremonies) they listened to soothsayers, witches and necromancers. Catherine de Medici was especially perturbed; she had fearful dreams that foretold, she declared, some shocking disaster.

But the princesses rallied in full magnificence for the tournament to be held on June 30th. These so-called tournaments were anachronisms, based on the fictions that affected to describe the chivalry of the Middle Ages; they aped a state of society, of manners, ideals and fancies that were dead; they were mere feats of arms and displays of pageantry where both combatants and spectators were really maskers, playing an elaborate game, possible only to kings and princes.

Catherine, still overcast by her dream, sent twice to Henry II begging him not to enter the lists again; the tournament was nearly over and had been successful, but the King wished to break a lance with Montgomery, captain of the Scots Guard. In vain Catherine implored the Duke of Savoy to dissuade the King from this intention. Wearing the black and white favours of Diane de Poitiers he insisted on meeting Montgomery, who did not wish to accept the challenge. Henry II was then middle-aged, stately, heavy, in good condition, but subject to fits of giddiness. One of these overcame him as he rode his charger at his opponent; he swerved in the saddle and Montgomery's lance splintered on the royal cuirass. A fragment of wood flew into Henry II's right eye and he fell from his horse.

Amid fervent and alarmed lamentations the King was carried to the Tournelles. In a few days he was dead; he had never regained consciousness. The grief of the aristocrats was sincere, and in the opinion of many of his subjects he had been a good ruler and a likeable man; but Throckmorton cautiously noted that the poorer sort, in town and country, 'rejoiced'—adding openly that the King's 'dissolute life' and persecution of the Protestants had provoked 'God's fast vengeance'.

The Guises stepped at once into supreme power, for Mary and Francis were now Queen and King. The Cardinal took his royal charges and the widowed Queen, Catherine, to the hastily prepared, incomplete new apartments at the Louvre. Mary Stewart at once sent to Diane de Poitiers to demand the crown jewels—with an inventory. (The fallen favourite had behaved with the same promptitude towards Madame d'Estampes, mistress of Francis I.) Accepting her expected eclipse with dignity, Diane de Poitiers surrendered the jewels and the château of Chenonceaux in exchange for Chaumont and retired from the Court. She was well provided for. The Cardinal dismissed her friends from their offices and soon instructed Francis II to dismiss the Constable, his father's one friend. The Guises took no warning from the fact that a large number of nobles followed Montmorency into retirement rather than serve under them; they carried matters with a high hand and ruled the country between them. Mary, now Queen of France, went to St. Germain-en-Laye, Francis to Meudon, where he proved incapable of attending to affairs. Catherine, so long effaced, showed an unexpected interest in matters of State but flattered the Guises and offered no opposition to their ambitions.

Mary was again ill. Throckmorton, still hammering on the coat-of-arms affront, saw her when she was able to attend to business. She fainted at table and stimulants were needed to bring her to her senses and he reported that she 'looked very evil' and in 'a dangerous case'. Malcontent Bourbons were meeting at Vendome, but their head, the King of Navarre, joined the Guises; the Cardinal was 'Pope and King', indeed without question one of the greatest men in Europe. Francis II at the age of fifteen and a half years had attained his majority, but there was no pretence on anyone's part that he was anything but a puppet of his wife's uncle. The young couple, both in ill health, spent the autumn of 1559 at Villiers-Cotterets, in the Valois château of that name.

Villiers-Cotterets is near Soissons and Compiègne, in a country closely associated with the Valois Kings. It is not far from Paris and deserves a visit on its own account, though the castle where the fragile King and Queen revived in the fresh air after the stenchs of Paris has long since disappeared and new public buildings are on the site. This was a favourite seat of the Valois Kings and appointed with all the luxuries to which Mary was accustomed. Two magnificent staircases and a chapel in the present-day Maison de Retraite remain as relics of the one-time pomp that surrounded their Court. There yet stands, also, the forest encircling the town on all sides where Mary rode or walked, accompanied by her ladies, her retinue, and by her husband, when he was well enough to leave the château. She treated him with an invariable kindness and consideration, which he, naturally affectionate and docile, gratefully returned. Sometimes the royal party rode through the woods of Villiers-Cotterets to the ancient Cistercian Abbey of Longport and reposed themselves in the nearby château.

Languid and suffering as Mary was she had to rouse herself in order to accompany the King to Rheims for their coronation. Francis II had to travel in slow stages, resting at Longport, the abbey in the forest of Villiers-Cotterets, at La Fére and at Fismes, so the journey to Rheims took three days. Rheims was then a city of considerable pride and importance and some of the features of this period survive apart from the famous Cathedral. There is the Roman gate, the church of Saint Remi, ancient houses in the rue de Tambour and the place des Marches. The street behind the Cathedral and the Archbishops' Palace is named after the great Cardinal of Lorraine, who held the Archbishopric among his many benefices. Rheims possessed a singularly rich treasury; the offering of Francis II was a gold statue of his namesake, St. Francis.

Rheims had prepared for the coronation for two months and the city had lent the Chapter money to cover the costs of the ceremonies. Once again costly pageantry celebrated the might and glory of the House of Guise when the Cardinal met the King in the beautifully decorated street, where the wind and rain of the first autumn storms battered and soaked tapestries, the herald's plumes and mantles, the litters where Mary and Elizabeth Valois, the Queen of Spain, reposed. The Court was, however, still in mourning for Henry II and there was a check on display. Mary alone did not wear some sign of mourning; the others, though subdued in splendour were allowed some relaxation for one day, but afterwards full mourning was resumed. The French set Mary's arms, quartered with England, over the Gates of Rheims, and at the banquet Throckmorton had to eat off a plate with similar bearings engraved thereon.


Illustration

Medals struck at Paris in honour of the marriage of
Mary, Queen of Scots and Francis, Dauphin of France, 24th April, 1558.
Drawn and engraved by John West


Not only mourning, but the King's state of health, cast some gloom over the long, stately and exhausting ceremonies; yet the Guises abated nothing of their arrogance. The Cardinal was placed next to the King, and his brothers equated themselves with the royal Bourbons—thereby causing an undercurrent of hostile murmurings of which they were aware, but disdainful. If any men have ever committed the mistake of hubris they did, as intoxicated by success they freely indulged their pride and insolence.

After the coronation the wearied sovereigns retired to Bar-le-Duc, residence of the young Duke of Lorraine, head of the elder branch of the family, of which the Duke of Guise was a cadet, and his Danish wife. The weather had cleared and the last pale sunshine of autumn embellished the noble château of the Lorraine princes, the scene of much of their former grandeur and the repository of many treasures, including the famous collection of that brilliant patron of the arts, King René I of Sicily.


Illustration

Henry II's Gallery at Fontainebleau,
named after Mary's father-in-law,
with figures in costumes of that period.
Drawn by T. Allom, engraved by J. H. Le Keux


This ancient capital of the Duchy of Bar, situated on the River Ornain, is partly a delightful ville haute or 'old town'; for the rest, a centre of varied industry. The clock tower, the church of St. Etienne, containing the macabre tomb of René de Chalons, Prince of Orange, the house, No. 21 on the place de la Hanes, now a museum, the old houses in the rue des Ducs-de-Bar all date from before Mary's time. The avenue of limes leads to what is left of the château—some of the foundation stones and a Gothic doorway. It is still possible to ascend the terraces here and see the view over the valley of the shallow and sparkling river, bordered now as always with delicate trees. The height of these terraces, once 'hanging gardens', the houses, each of individual design, bearing famous Barrois names, giving a rock-like appearance to the town, have caused Bar-le-Duc to be compared to Edinburgh; but the resemblance is extremely superficial.

The news from Scotland became worse with every dispatch. Mary of Guise had been deposed from the Regency by the Scots and was in wretched health and a desperate situation; the Guises, while affecting a tolerant attitude, secretly retaliated by urging on renewed religious persecutions. Mary Stewart's illness returned; she again fainted on public occasions and had to be carried to her chamber.

From Bar-le-Duc the Court moved to Paris; here there were more ceremonies for the departure of Elizabeth Valois for Spain, and when she was preparing to go on her long, sumptuous journey, the King and Queen moved to Blois, since the harassed medical advisers could think of no better cure for their continual ill health than constant 'change of air'. By November the royal arms, still quartering England, was set up over the gates of the Château of Blois. Throckmorton, a deeply interested observer, once again remarked that Mary was extremely ill; her bloodless look was notable and she was often enclosed in her chamber.

Catherine was frightened by the growing lassitude of Francis II. Rumours as to the nature of his disease were spreading among the common folk and when he rode abroad in the country of the Loire he was avoided, even the wood cutters flying at his approach. Fearing a plot, the King ordered the arming of the Scots Guard. The common belief, however, was that he suffered from leprosy and as the cure of this was the blood of young children the peasants were hastening home to protect their families. The story arose because of the history of Queen Catherine. Her parents had died of the same malady within a year of their marriage, and this malady was thought to be leprosy that had been transmitted through Catherine to her sickly offspring. Both the Guises and the Bourbons were suspected of spreading these rumours, but the truth was that popular hatred of the mounting arrogance of the House of Guise extended to its puppet. The people grew bold, rescued heretics on their way to punishment, and if a child was missing an angry party would follow and stone the royal train so that the King gave up his sad amusement of the hunt.

Catherine was told by the physicians that he could not live long and he could not have an heir. In November the Court was near Poitiers, to take final leave of Elizabeth of Spain. Mary and Francis had meant to accompany her as far as Bayonne, but there was a delay in the arrival of some of the dresses from Paris. The winter closed in and the Court returned to Blois. The pale and beautiful town rises above the river, backed by the forest, with steep streets leading to the Cathedral, and the Castle remains one of the most unspoiled of Mary's royal residences, as well as one of the most celebrated for the grandeur and grace of the main buildings. The tower of the one-time mansion of the Guises still remains; now, as at Bar-le-Duc, there are terrace views over a river valley. The scenery of the Loire is some of the most refined, decorative and peaceful in Europe, a fitting background to this noble residence that bore the imprint of the taste of Diane de Poitiers, whose likeness is preserved in the slender, cold and entrancing statues of Jean Goujon.

Mary ascended the staircase, one of the most beautiful ever constructed, she walked along the exquisite open galleries, she slept, amused herself, mourned over Scotland, and consulted with the Cardinal of Lorraine in the light and airy rooms of the Italian pleasure house built by Francis I. She visited the nursery in the elaborate panelled and decorated chambers where Queen Catherine governed her younger children, she looked down on each of the four courts, and she went with her mother-in-law to hear sermons in the chapel. Francis II was nervously restless; he left Blois for Chambord after Christmas 1560, having written six letters in one day to Mary of Guise, anxiously inquiring after her health.

The Cardinal of Lorraine had bought the Château Gaillard at Amboise and planned for the Court to move to that town for Lent. Disregarding medical opinion as to the health of the King, and the seething discontent of France, he prepared for a long continuance of power. He intended to deal with State business as regent (or dictator) in Château Gaillard, while Mary and Catherine diverted themselves in the Castle and Francis spent his time in a succession of hunting parties and visits to the neighbouring seats of the nobility and gentry.

The Cardinal's main difficulty was money. The wars had to be paid for; he was obliged to outrage his brothers' veterans by refusing promised rewards. There were the Swiss, the Bankers, the Venetians pursuing him for the repayment of loans; there were still unpaid accounts for the reckless expenditure on the royal weddings. Disappointed soldiers and creditors joined the opposition to the Cardinal headed by the Bourbons and the Montmorencys, and the country was thrown into further discontent by the royal edicts against the Protestants. Coligny was writing to Calvin, and by February (1560) a group of conspirators against the Guises had met at Nantes. The ringleader was one La Renaerdie, believed by the plotters to be an agent of the Prince de Condé. The intention was to free France of the brothers and to put to death the Cardinal. A vague uneasiness, based on confused reports and the cautious gloom of soothsayers, troubled the Court at Amboise, but the Cardinal's vigilance could not discover any tangible danger; the country seemed quiet. The Court was as safe as they could be in any part of the country in the massive fortress of Amboise on the sharp rock above the town, with the great towers facing one way the wood and one way the forest, the long galleries overlooking the Loire between the sandy banks.

Throckmorton saw the two Queens here in March. Mary spoke in flattering terms of Elizabeth who would, she said, find her a better neighbour in Scotland than ever 'the rebels' could be. This month the Guises received repeated warnings that a conspiracy had been formed against them and the brothers became considerably alarmed. They were even frightened into proclaiming an amnesty for all malcontents, provided they lived 'as good Catholics'. A traitor in his party revealed the Nantes plot to the Cardinal; the Duke of Lorraine put the Castle of Amboise in a state of defence and rounded up some of La Renaerdie's men already advancing through the woods; Condé threw himself into Amboise, thus dissociating himself from the conspirators; the peasants and traders who had been encouraged to appear before the Castle to plead for religious toleration found themselves abandoned; the Duke, now Lieutenant-General of France, was in possession of the situation. Despite the edict that had promised pardon to all who went home quietly, another was issued excepting those who had taken part in the rebellion, and arrests instantly followed. The revenge taken by the Guises for their alarms and fears was ferocious; there were so many prisoners that the prison vaults of the Castle could not contain them and they were bound and flung into the Loire.

The tumult of Amboise cost four hundred and sixty lives. These victims of the Guises were put to death by torture, and Throckmorton reported that they 'died very constantly singing of psalms'. Another large number were sent to the galleys. The massacre of the prisoners took place in the courtyard of Amboise; the Court watched from the windows, the Cardinal gloating over the scenes of blood as if these had been part of a merrymaking. The ladies also watched; one was the daughter-in-law of the Constable and the details of the torture, unexpected by this young girl, struck her with such horror that she fell dead among her companions. One of the courtiers was taken ill and died shortly afterwards, muttering: 'Cardinal, Cardinal, thou has damned us all!'

Antoinette de Bourbon lamented when she heard of the excess of cruelty; she feared that it would react on the House of Guise. Mary could not escape knowing what was happening, but she made no attempt to interfere. She went frequently to Chenonceaux, the lovely Palace over the river, and there joined the dancing, the songs, the puppet shows and the gossip that amused the idleness of the Court. Wherever she went she displayed the arms of England. On her return visits to Amboise she saw traces of the recent martyrdoms and the rows of heads decaying on the Castle walls.

Passion Week was held at Marmontiers, near Tours, and the Cardinal preached while revolt gathered in Dauphiné. A war of pamphlets began; the Paris rioters tried to burn the Guise hotels; the Cardinal went armed; all members of the royal family feared assassination. Mary and Francis hunted, day after day, round Chartres and Chateaudun, but bad news from Scotland pursued them. The Lords had entered Edinburgh, their leaders being Argyll, Glencairn and the Lord James. The followers of John Knox were, as a whirlwind, pulling down abbeys and churches. John Knox had come much to the front and his influence was used violently against the Queen Regent. To Mary he was the symbol of all she feared and hated.

In the June of 1560 Mary nearly lost her Scots crown, and her best friend, her mother. Elizabeth Tudor, with a fierce challenge to the House of Guise, persecutors of the Reformation that held her on the English throne, attacked Scotland by land and sea. The Regent withdrew to Edinburgh Castle but the Scots drove the invaders back at Leith and on the Borders. One of the Guise brothers, René, Marquis d'Elbceuf, made ready to set sail to fetch the dying woman back to France; storms delayed his departure. Mary of Guise died, worn out by the toils and miseries of her thankless tasks, and the Protestant Lords, though moved by her sad and pious end, hastened to conclude with Elizabeth Tudor the Treaty of Edinburgh, July 6th (1560). This bitter 'bone of contention', as it proved to be, was signed by the Lords, without reference to Mary and her husband.

The terms were a triumph for the Reformation. Mary Stewart was to resign her claims on the English crown, all Scots offices were to be in Scots hands, the French were to withdraw from Scotland. The harder terms that Elizabeth Tudor demanded, the return of Calais, they refused, but the French Commissioners signed the Treaty at this time. To add to the slights she put on Mary Stewart, Elizabeth had sheltered Arran, son of the Duke of Châtelherault, who had escaped from France in female disguise and who even hoped to marry the Queen of England and thus unite their claims to the two thrones. Lady Catherine Grey was the heiress presumptive, in Protestant eyes, to Elizabeth who, however, ignored her claims and kept her in disgrace because of a secret marriage.

Mary Stewart's distress on hearing of the death of her mother was so acute as to bring on another severe illness; the intrigues of Elizabeth disturbed her as well as her grief. This encouragement of Arran was a special cause of furious vexation to the Guises, and to Mary Stewart. The young Queen's prostration alarmed her uncles; so frequent were her fainting fits that some observers thought she suffered from petit mal or epilepsy; her tears and passions were often followed by long spells of unconsciousness; forecasts that she 'would not live long' were constantly made; she 'passed from one agony to another'.

In August (1560) a funeral service was held for Mary of Guise in Notre Dame, Paris, and arrangements were made for bringing her body to France. In August also Throckmorton saw Mary at Fontainebleau. She appeared anxious for the friendship of Elizabeth, for a peaceful settlement of all political and religious questions; her conventional remarks were made 'in Scottish'.

The English envoy pressed for the ratification of the Treaty of Edinburgh. The apt pupil of the Guises evaded this sore point; she had, she said, to defer to her husband. On his second interview Throckmorton listened to Mary praising Elizabeth as 'a fair, sweet lady' and suggesting that they exchange portraits. Mary wondered why Throckmorton should have admired a portrait of her in mourning, adding that she liked herself better when she looked merry. The Englishman's reply was gracious; he had wanted the miniature showing Mary in mourning (for Henry II) as she had spoken to him so kindly when wearing that attire. That same month Mary and her husband were present at an assembly named a meeting of The Notables in the great hall at Fontainebleau. The affairs of France were so desperate that the Guises had been forced to agree to this gathering of the great ones of France, but they had an unexpected enemy in a woman they had overlooked, even despised. Catherine de Medici had a growing influence over Francis II, and her natural cleverness, prudence and skill in intrigue had quickly made her a formidable opponent to the Guises.

Mary had no influence over the feeble Francis; with his mother he was still a sick child and relied on her for all his comfort. Mary, impelled by her pride of birth, had murmured that the Queen Dowager was 'the daughter of traders', thereby only repeating the common gibe flung at the Medici princess. Both the women were lonely, far from their native countries and held themselves warily against enemies; both were driven on by a restless ambition that neither the despondency caused by perpetual illnesses nor the perils of their situations could deter. Neither Catherine, the matron of early middle age, nor Mary, the young girl, was willing to abate one jot of her pretensions to absolute power, even though these cost her all her ease and the sacrifice of her natural affections. In her chair of state, seated in the regal apartments of Catherine in the château of Fontainebleau, Mary watched and listened in silence while the struggle that was to convulse her reign and torment her private life was opened.

The Guises, whose arrogance had lost them all aristocratic support and whose cruelties had estranged the nation, were obliged to attend this assembly in order to give an account of their actions. They wished to avoid a meeting of the States General and they were embittered at being forced to defend themselves before a hostile gathering. This affront they attributed to the influence of Catherine de Medici. After a routine opening speech by Francis, the Queen Mother spoke; she asked the assembly for advice as to means of pacifying her son's realm.

The Guises had nothing but bad news to give. The Cardinal admitted the ruinous state of the country's finances. On the second sitting Mary witnessed a dramatic scene: Coligny presented the petitions to the King from the Protestants of France in which they asked for religious tolerance. Coligny stood in danger of arrest, perhaps of instant death, in thus defying the butchers of Amboise; but their wrath was restrained by the knowledge that Coligny's uncle, the Constable, had eight hundred soldiers outside the château. Coligny had also the secret encouragement of Catherine, who was using him as a counterpoise to the Guises. A second petition was addressed to her 'to take pity on the Lord's people'.

The learned, adroit and dissolute lay Bishop of Valence replied with moderation and with wise counsels to the appeals of Coligny. Under the glare of the Guises he dared to blame the Roman Church for the success of the Reformation, not even sparing the Popes. He also glanced at the reckless frivolity and foolish licence of the Court and begged the two Queens to set an example of religious observances and austere lives. He loathed the recent persecutions; he had recently returned from Scotland and knew that the country had been nearly (if not quite) lost to Rome through the cruel excesses of bishops and priests; he warned the Pope (glancing the while at the Cardinal) that France, if His Holiness refused to call a General Council, would summon a National Council. Another lay Churchman, the sick and anxious Archbishop of Vienne, a man of a noble personal character, wise and liberal, added his warning to that of Valence: 'France could not persecute in order to please the Pope'. He, too, urged the holding of a National Council, at which in this state of crisis all parties might be represented.

The Guises felt these words of enlightened advice to be personal affronts. Coligny's assertion that fifty thousand signatures lay behind his petitions the Duke accepted as a challenge—the King (the Guises) could retort with 'a million' names. The Cardinal spoke with artful composure; he was, in order to gain time, for half measures. He agreed to the National Council, but not to the convocation of the States General. He regretted the rigours of the persecutions, he desired the 'poor erring ones' to be argued into a return to the fold, but he resisted religious toleration; he fell back on his poor puppet, Francis; 'the King could not give it without fear of damnation'.

The meetings marked the beginning of the political defeat of the Guises. The Cardinal had bent, but no one believed a man so essentially false; the Duke had not bent, but had revealed the temperament of a born persecutor; both had refused to listen to the noble common sense of their fellow Catholics, Valence and Vienne; both had refused to heed the warnings of the petitions, to take heed of the attitude of Coligny, once their friend, of that of the Bourbons. They had one reaction to the temper of the Assembly of Notables, that of revenge.

Mary listened with interest and intelligence; she was unmoved by anything save the speeches of the brothers. The bigotry in which she had been so carefully bred was unshaken, but she had already learned to conceal both anger and boredom under an impassive courtesy. She smiled on Catherine, while fully understanding her malicious treachery.

While the Court was yet at Fontainebleau the Guises had a chance to strike at their enemies, the Princes of the Blood who had cautiously kept away from the Assembly of Notables. A courier in the service of the King of Navarre was arrested, and letters of doubtful meaning found in his dispatch bag. Under torture he confessed to the existence of another plot against the Guises. Condé was again 'the hidden leader' as he had been, the Guises and the Protestants believed, in the tumult at Amboise. Duke and Cardinal resolved to make an end of Condé, and summoned the Bourbon Princes to join the Court at Orléans, where it moved after a short residence at St. Germain-en-Laye.

The King was to visit Orléans because it was full of discontent. He went with a show of force and made a State entry, celebrated by the reluctant citizens with lavish pageantry. Queen Mary, riding a white horse, made the usual impression of charm and dignity. No one knew anything of her character. The praises of the courtier poets were mechanical; they sang of improbable beauties and impossible virtues. This was the strain they were used to employ about all the royal ladies.

Mary exactly filled the part of idol of a luxurious and dissolute Court, elegant, decadent and bigoted. She had learned to bear herself like Diane de Poitiers and to think like the Guises. She was now a tall girl, lithe and graceful, refined and subtle. All the arts of the toilet emphasized her fashionable beauty; cosmetics as well as illness kept her complexion pearl pale, her brown hair was touched into gold, curled and plaited, elaborate gowns and the crown jewels of France concealed all of her person save her long hands, her calm face. Much of her fascination lay in her apparent candour. She was so intensely proud that she did not trouble to be haughty. Too great to be easily offended, she, once her royal state was allowed, smiled on all with a pleasing boldness, free from any condescension, and her smile, only slightly moving the fine lips and slightly narrowing the heavy eyes, was entrancing. Her frivolity had no trace of silliness. If her accomplishments were slight, her taste was perfect, and, despite constant illness and, lately, anxiety, the excessive formality of her attire and movements, her glance, her whisper, her delicate laughter hinted at vitality and zest for life. None of those who openly or secretly spied on her reported any scandal attached to her name; only the corrupt Bothwell, often at the Court, often in her train, made a brutal reference as to her relations with her uncle the Cardinal that told his measure, not hers; he served, for his own ends, the exquisite Queen he neither respected nor admired.

Orléans was not only a refuge for Calvinists but was also the residence of a powerful body of University students, German and Dutch, who enjoyed ancient privileges as members of the old Frankish nation.

The church of St. Croix, the new hôtel de Ville (modern in Mary's time) yet remain, the old hôtel de Ville is now a museum; the long rue royale leading to the Loire and la rue du Tabour contain some houses that existed at the time of the death of Mary's husband. The once rich church of St. Aignan is now a ruin, though it remains imposing. The Loire, even more familiar to Mary than the Seine, runs pleasantly through Orléans, but here is often no more than a trickle along the centre of the bed, though when full agreeable for boating. The country here, with much wood, is pleasant if without the unique beauties of the other reaches of the river by the other royal châteaux that Mary knew so well, Amboise and Chenonceaux.

The royal pair were welcomed by the Bishop of Orléans in the Cathedral, and were afterwards lodged in the house of the provost, then in eclipse as a Protestant. The King, apt pupil of the Guises, could hardly be civil to him. Though well protected by thousands of their armed soldiery, the Guises were fearful of assassination, and did not join the royal processions. Arms were forbidden to the citizens; all suspected of Protestant sympathies were cast into the strengthened jails. By the end of the month (October) the Bourbon Princes, incredibly, arrived at Orléans. Condé was at once arrested; his brothers in vain humbled themselves in order to obtain his release.

With affairs at this high, pitch of bitterness, Throckmorton again approached Mary to ratify the Treaty of Edinburgh. Her answer was that of the Cardinal; she knew how to evade an issue, also how to show her hand Her words were full of menace; the Scots 'must be taught to know their duties—I am their Queen and must so be used'.

A hunt was fixed for November. The King was no longer needed to over-awe Orléans; he could go to Chambord and Chenonceaux. He was, however, too ill to move and the perpetually repeated forecasts of the astrologers seemed likely to be justified.

Francis, rapidly sinking into the final lethargy, showed symptoms beyond any cure known to any physician of the Court. His rigors and fevers, his 'flux' and 'catarrh' were held to be inherited miseries from his Medici grandfather but not dangerous. The sudden cold of November was blamed for the severity of the attack. A running sore in the right ear was cured, only to cause the dammed-up poison to afflict jaw and teeth with agony and to the breaking out of abscesses. Catherine sent hex son to bed; the sick chamber was guarded from all but the nearest relatives. Mary, kind and self-effacing, stayed by the tormented boy and supervised the nursing; she was already accustomed to the most revolting illnesses and disorders, having almost daily experienced them herself or in the persons of Catherine and the royal children.

The alarmed Guises hurried on the date for the execution of the death sentence on Condé; this was fixed for December loth, which was also that of the opening of the States General. The people believed that the Guises intended to force allegiance to the Catholic Faith from every member of this assembly; a darker rumour was that all the Protestants in Orleans were to be massacred in a desperate bid by the brothers for power before the death of Francis. The diplomats canvassed the prospects for Mary's second marriage; Catherine, in between visits of intercession to the churches, plotted for the future; the gloom in Orleans was intense; no one felt secure.

Neither the brothers nor their niece could expect much from France after the death of the catspaw King. Mary's choice would lie between the heretic Scotland and a second marriage to Austria or Spain. The private tears so pitifully in contrast to her public serenity were not all for the dying boy.

Even as he lay half unconscious the King was urged by the Cardinal to make a vow to all the Saints that if he recovered he would persecute the Protestants with renewed zeal. In the evening, December 5th (1560), Francis died. While the courtiers pressed to acknowledge his brother Charles, a weakling child of ten years, his mother was receiving the Constable, cunningly summoned by her secretly when she was certain Francis could not long survive. Pressing on from his exile, Montmorcency arrived in Orléans in time to forestall the Guises in seizing the town. He disarmed their soldiers and assumed military command of France. Condé was released. His brother, the King of Navarre, was Governor of the Realm under Catherine, now Regent for Charles IX. The Cardinal gave up the royal seal, and Mary the crown jewels.

The young widow arrayed herself again in mourning and closed herself in a darkened chamber, lit only by tapers for the forty days of her official grief. She was treated with respect; the demand for the crown jewels was routine; the inventories were carefully checked and receipts given. Mary, against the advice of the Cardinal, retained some jewels as part of her dowry, and all those once belonging to Mary of Guise. In the same business-like manner the question of her future revenues was settled; she was to have a yearly income of 60,000 livres tournois drawn from the revenues of Touraine and Poitou.

Throckmorton, himself ill, partly from home sickness, and smarting under the scandals caused by the highlong passion of Elizabeth Tudor for a married man, Robert Dudley, praised with strained hyperbole the 'high minded' conduct of Mary, so faithful, sorrowful, dignified and noble, buried with her grief 'as if in a sepulchre'.

Here, in this black-hung chamber, Mary received her uncles and the new power, in the person of the King of Navarre. The Guises had now fallen from all influence and credit; the Cardinal was not even chosen as spokesman of the Three Estates; his life was in danger from the fury of the people, so hated was he. Catherine was definitely Mary's enemy; she only wanted her out of the way, in Scotland, if possible, for the Regent did not want her married in Spain or Austria.

When Mary left her seclusion, her wan beauty, her heavy weeds, her touching dignity moved all to pity and admiration.

Throckmorton, in his dispatches home, cunningly dwelt on the decorum of Mary's behaviour and the gravity of her demeanour. He hoped that contrasts would continue to be drawn between this queenly dignity and the reckless folly of Elizabeth, still compromising herself with Robert Dudley, for whose sake, she hinted, she had refused one of Mary's potential suitors, the Austrian Archduke. The strange end of Sir Robert's wife, found dead at the bottom of the staircase in her home, Cummor. Hall, Oxfordshire, had cast even a worse slur on the character of the Tudor Queen; it was commonly believed that she had, at least, 'winked' at murder in order to marry the undesirable Dudley. Throckmorton was much troubled by this scandal and continually praised Mary for moving in a corrupt Court without incurring any blame. Even the spies in her establishment, those who listened to the gossip of chamber women and servants, heard nothing against her. She showed great courage also, for she was already tormented by the question of her second marriage. That which was most in her own interest was with Carlos, heir to Philip II, but Catherine and Elizabeth Tudor were resolutely against a union that would have so considerably strengthened the power of Spain. A proposal even more revolting to Catherine was that Mary should wait until Charles IX was a little older and marry him. As the Regent intended to rule her feeble-minded, diseased son herself all his life, she vehemently opposed putting him under the influence of the seductive widow of his brother and she eagerly pursued all means of driving Mary from France.

Thus surrounded by heartless intrigues and treated harshly Mary went to Rheims for her Easter (1561). She was there joined by the Cardinal, who affected to find 'sweetness and rest' in his forced retirement from public affairs and to be wholly occupied in 'edifying his little flock'.

Throckmorton, well informed by skilful secret agents, thought that Mary had retired to her family (her only friends) in order to arrange her second marriage. One of the Emperor's sons was supposed to be hoped for by the Cardinal; other suggestions were the King of Sweden, who was equally willing to marry Elizabeth Tudor, and William of Nassau, now Prince of Orange. Mary had other interests. She looked to her beauty, her clothes and her jewels, with careful inspection. Her grandmother and four of her brothers met Mary at Rheims; this party lodged in the Abbey of St. Pierre des Dames that was under the rule of one of Mary's aunts. The Cardinal's sermons to the 'little flock' were delivered in the church of the Abbey.

The Abbey has gone, but a portion of the guest house remains and there we can see the first of those rooms still shown as 'said' to have been occupied by Mary, Queen of Scots. This is reached by a gloomy staircase. The only other relics of her time are some fine panels in some other rooms of the guest houses and—no doubt as to authenticity here—Mary's Book of Hours in the Library of Rheims; this, in a binding in the style made famous by the celebrated Jean Grolier, the magnificent bibliophile, then alive, shows the arms of Mary as Queen of France and Scotland. She gave it as a present to her aunt, Renée of Lorraine, the Abbess of St. Pierre des Dames.

Mary, surrounded by friends and supporters, listened earnestly to the loving advice, to her so wise and agreeable, offered in these family councils, held in the Abbey or the Cardinal's hotel—the Archbishop's Palace. The Lord James, her half-brother, was coming to France, and the Lorrainers recognized an important force in this able, ambitious man who might so easily have been born heir to Mary's throne and who would obviously have made an excellent King. They thought he might yet be detached from the Protestant party and they were prepared to offer him a Cardinal's hat if he would return to the fold. The Lord James was already a favourite with Elizabeth Tudor who encouraged him, as she encouraged Arran and the Lennox Stewarts, with the object of fomenting trouble in Scotland for Mary.

The Cardinal advised Mary to secure this formidable relative by any means in her power.

Sentiment inclined Mary to accept this proposal. The Cardinal advised her also that she must rule over the whole of Scotland; the heretics were to be defeated ('expirated' if possible) by delayed and subtle means. At first they must, being so powerful, be spoken fairly and softly; besides, Huntly 'Cock o' the North' and head of Clan Gordon, in the opinion of the Lorrainers was, like most of the Scots, of doubtful loyalty to his Queen. The Scots Lords were, indeed, much entangled in their views and their relationships. The Lord James had dispensed with the priestly vows that had entitled him to handsome revenues, but kept the latter. Mary's half-sister, her father's daughter, Jane Stewart, had married Argyll, head of Clan Campbell and most powerful of the Protestant lords. It was probable that many of them besides the Lord James trafficked with Elizabeth, and the Lorrainers urged Mary to go very warily. Huntly's spokesman, Lesley, was to be refused; Mary would not head a rising in the Highlands, though the Northern nobles offered twenty thousand men.

Sir James Melville, who had urged Mary's return to Scotland, had strongly advised her to trust most those counsellors who were of the Reformed Faith. He suggested the Lord James and Argyll as fitting friends and recommended Lethington and Grange as trustworthy advisers. The Cardinal agreed with Melville; it was wise 'to serve the time' even if this meant the highly distasteful expedient of seeming to tolerate the heretics.

After carefully absorbing all this good advice Mary proceeded to Joinville, by way of Châlons and Saint-Dizier. She saw Lesley the Scots Catholic at Vitry-le-Francois in Champagne and gave him the answer that the Cardinal had told her to give. On the same advice she replied in friendly terms to the Lord James at Saint-Dizier and afterwards at Joinville, where the Guises entertained and measured wits with the brilliant Scot, who was as shrewd as they were and as ambitious, though neither so cruel nor so unscrupulous.

The first loyalty of the Lord James was to the Reformation; he was prepared to serve Mary—and no man could serve her better—as long as she was true to her promises of religious toleration. He wished to keep the Guises out of Scotland; for that reason he fostered a diplomatic friendship with Elizabeth Tudor. He wanted England as a balance to France in Scotland affairs. His pride was affronted, and his suspicions aroused, by the behaviour of the Guises at Joinville. Mary tried to persuade the Lord James to accept a Cardinal's hat; the bribe disgusted the arrogance of a man who felt he should be a king. He sternly told the Queen (and so wrote to her after he had left Joinville): For the love of God, Madame, do not press matters of religion'—not 'glancing at the Cardinal on the advice of any man on earth.' He also warned Mary that her French relations knew nothing of Scotland and could net understand the strength of the feeling of the Scots for Protestantism.

But Mary was too deeply imbued with the doctrines of the Guises to take any need of the moderate words of her half-brother as opposed to the bigotry of the Cardinal, and resorted to the dissimulation by then habitual to her. The Lord James was outspoken in his condemnation of the Scottish adventurers who, travelling to and from France and their own country, had continually made mischief. He boldly denounced the 'idle vagabonds who were never able to live quietly in a settled commonwealth', and this was taken as a hint at the restless Bothwell and others of his like. Mary outwardly accepted the distasteful advice. 'not to mell with religion'; and the Lord James, after long conferences with the Cardinal of Lorraine and the Cardinal Louis at Joinville, departed for Scotland.

After he had left, Mary went to Nancy to stay with the Duke of Lorraine and his Duchess. Here she was received with the usual costly entertainments, hunts, games, plays, dances and concerts. But Mary was not long at Nancy; her health failed again. Over-exercise in the hunting field was blamed for the attack of tertian fever that laid her prostrate and made it impossible for her to attend the coronation of Charles IX on May 15th (1561).

Nancy, the capital of Lorraine, has little to show that is associated with Mary's brief sojourn there, but it is a city so important and so rich in charm and varied interest that any excuse may serve for a visit. As it was from the twelfth century the chief residence of the Dukes of Lorraine it was a flourishing city when Mary went there, troubled, ill and despondent, after seeing Lesley and the Lord James, in the spring of 1561. Between the gates Porte de la Graffe and Porte Royale are the remains of the old town and the first residence of the Dukes of Lorraine, known as the Ducal Palace. In this building is an exhaustive collection of objects once belonging to, or celebrating the exploits of members of the House of Lorraine. But there is nothing that has any connection with the Queen of Scotland, who once raised the ambitious hopes of the cadet branch of the Lorrainers to the highest pitch. The magnificent monuments in the church of the Cordeliers were there at the time of Mary's visit and there are various ancient buildings that help the imagination to reconstruct this town of many memories as she knew it.

Mary's health failing desperately, she soon returned to Joinville and the care of her beloved grandmother, Antoinette de Bourbon. At Nancy she had been vexed by the importunities of one Somers, sent by Throckmorton to insist on Elizabeth Tudor's two famous points: ratification of the Treaty of Edinburgh and assurance that Ma would not accept the Spanish marriage. Mary had promised answers at Rheims but remained, sick and melancholy, in the charming seclusion of Joinville.

By June (1561) she had recovered and was obliged to return to Paris. She had to face again Throckmorton's importunities. These were as tiresome to him as to her, but he was not allowed home until he had obtained the ratification of the Treaty and the promise about the Spanish marriage. He was also ill and most impatient to have these tedious matters settled. Mary, composed and courteous, was still evasive. Now she fell back on the Estates of Scotland—she was 'soon returning home and must ask their advice'. She changed the subject by asking Throckmorton for a passport from Elizabeth; she might have to sail near the English fleet; she might have to put into an English port, by reason of the weather, and proceed overland.

Throckmorton eagerly offered the passport in return for acceptance of his mistress's demands; he also made a suggestion that if listened to would have spared much bitter trouble, not only for Mary but for the world in general and the British islands in particular; he urged Mary to adopt the Reformed Faith. She at once rejected this politely wise advice. Throckmorton repeated the rumours that her uncle was secretly a heretic, but Mary, unmoved, answered that she ought to know his views and that she had always clearly understood his meaning. She promised toleration but declared that sooner than forsake her faith she would be 'the sole Catholic in Scotland'.

Here spoke, not only the bigot, but the inexperienced girl she declared herself to be; she knew nothing of what it would be like to rule a Protestant country according to the views of the Cardinal of Lorraine; and she knew very little of the Scots.

As Throckmorton had proved useless in the matter of the passport, the Guises sent Mary's uncle, M. d'Oysel, and Catherine sent a letter in the name of Charles IX to Elizabeth Tudor formally demanding this safe conduct. Both the opposing parties were now eager for Mary to leave France, the Guises that she might stake her claim to Scotland, Catherine in order to be rid of her as soon as possible. The passport was a routine business; it was never refused save in states of war. Humanity as well as courtesy demanded that the perils of long voyages should not be added to by danger from foreign shipping and the closing of foreign ports.

M. d'Oysel was not successful with Elizabeth who at once, haggling, set the passport against the Treaty ratification. She herself wrote to Catherine, Mary and Charles IX, covering her harsh terms with flowery expressions of goodwill that deceived no one. Afraid that even her friends in France would find her conduct surprising, she sent the hard-driven Throckmorton to explain matters (that were already clear enough) to the King of Navarre and the Constable. No one supposed that Elizabeth would hold out about the passport, and arrangements were begun for Mary's departure from France.

Throckmorton hurried to and fro; among those whom he anxiously interviewed was Bothwell, then paying one of his flying visits to France. The Englishman picked up rumours and gossip and reported Mary's wrath against John Knox. For all her protested toleration she showed her hand by imprudently talking of schemes to banish the dangerous Reformer, since she could not live in the same realm with him, and to make matters more difficult sent Elizabeth a copy of Knox's book written against 'the monstrous regiment (rule) of Women'. Throckmorton tried to explain away this unfortunate diatribe against Queens by writing to Elizabeth that Knox greatly admired her, and excepted her from his charges. He was most useful to England while in Scotland and must not be driven out.

The passport did not arrive and when M. D'Oysel returned without it Mary was ill with anxiety and chagrin. She knew, however, that dignity and restraint would turn this defeat to her advantage. It was plain to Throckmorton that she was angry when he next waited on her but she was calm and drew him aside in order to speak with him privately, in contrast, she said, to Elizabeth, who had refused M. d'Oysel before a number of people.

But, though Mary was stately and spirited, her defiance of the powerful Elizabeth showed none of that shrewd diplomacy she was credited with displaying. Pride of birth lay behind her sharp regret that she had ever asked Elizabeth for what she did not require; she could go to her own realm without the licence of Elizabeth. Mary then brought up old grievances. King Henry had tried to capture her when she went to France, but she had escaped; she was not without friends, though doubtless Elizabeth thought so, and, personally, considered herself in every way the equal of Elizabeth. As to the oft-demanded ratification, there was a disingenuous excuse; she, Mary, could not ratify the Treaty unless she was allowed to go to Scotland to consult the Estates.

The interview ended in arguments, courteous on both sides, leading nowhere. Throckmorton spoke to Catherine, but the Regent, who wanted nothing but the departure of Mary, upheld her in her refusal to comply with Elizabeth's demands. Seeing that he could not move these women, both as obstinate as his own mistress, he took his leave. Mary's tone was now one of reproachful melancholy; she felt herself obliged to risk the voyage and if Elizabeth captured her and 'made a sacrifice' of her, it might be 'better than for me to live—God's will be done'. She knew, however, that Elizabeth had not the least excuse for violence, and that the Scots were far more dangerous to her safety than the English Queen. She was also very much in love with life, as those usually are who offer so cheerfully to surrender it, provided they will never be taken at their word.

In all her indignation against Elizabeth Mary forgot the deadly offence she had given in assuming the royal arms. Faithful to her plan of always blaming someone else for her actions, she now lightly declared that this step had been taken on the advice of others; as an inexperienced girl she knew nothing about it. She frequently got behind her youth and ignorance, yet when Elizabeth referred to these two drawbacks in a Queen, Mary was hotly indignant and contrived to hold her own with Throckmorton, who was still impressed by her skill in debate and her quick mind.

She was again residing at 'St. Germains', as the English termed St. Germain-en-Laye, and the French Court took the opportunity of holding jousts in the tilt-yard of the Abbey and festivals on the Seine. Mary's constant amusements, the gay and heedless air of her Court, had already been adversely commented upon by the Roman Catholic Bishops of Valence and Vienne and reports of her ill-timed gaiety were coldly received by the Reformed party in Scotland.

In July she moved towards Calais, with a sumptuous train of personal attendants, the Guises and an escort of several notables. At St.-Germain-en-Laye she had said farewell to many who had been her constant companions for the thirteen years she had been in France. Vows of everlasting friendship had been exchanged, even with the Regent who was willing to swear confirmation of 'the ancient land and league' between France and Scotland as long as Mary was moving from the path of her ruthless ambition.

Mary stayed at the Constable's house at Manly. There both the Cardinal and the Duke of Guise were overcome by an endemic infection; the King of Navarre also succumbed. A warning given by Nostradamus as to the danger of poison for the House of Guise was instantly recalled. But the Cardinal and the King quickly recovered, and though the Duke was still unwell he accompanied Mary to Beauvais and Abbeville, where she received Throckmorton for the last time on French soil. Mary used her familiar arguments regarding ratification of the Treaty of Edinburgh. Her uncles, she declared, were not advising her in this matter, but, being so 'young and inexperienced' she was obliged to consult her Scots subjects. With this obvious untruth, and concealing under her pleasant manner her knowledge of the secret treaty she had signed upon the advice of the Guises, the treaty that sold Scotland to France, Mary dismissed Throckmorton.

Had he known this, his hand would have been greatly strengthened in denying the pathetic 'unarmed widow' her passport. There was talk of Mary 'stealing away from Calais' (so lately captured by the Duke of Guise from England), of her sailing to a Flemish port and so avoiding the English coast; but on August 14th she embarked at Calais for Leith. She was herself in 'a great ship' and escorted by another of equal size, while accompanying these vessels were two galleys. Despite her protests that the House of Guise was not meddling in her affairs, she took with her three of her maternal uncles, Claude, Duke of Aumale, the Grand Prior, and René, the Marquis d'Elboeuf; those she said her sorrowful farewells to on the beach were the Duke of Guise, the Cardinal of Lorraine and the Cardinal Louis.

The four Manes who had left Scotland with their mistress returned with her, all unwed. Among her train of French singing boys, musicians, pages, dressmakers, milliners, dwarfs, jesters, puppet masters, apothecaries and perfumers were Pierre de Boscohel de Chastelard, a verse-writing page in the household of one of Mary's gentlemen, the Marshal Damville, and Pierre de Bourdeilles, Sieur de Brantôme, a secular abbé and an accomplished courtier. These two men were in their twenty-first years, both were already finished productions of the Court of France. Chastelard wrote flattering verses in the style of Ronsard, Du Bellay and Maisonfleur, Marot and the Pleiades, those poets who had made a deity of Mary of Scotland. Brantôme was collecting gossip and scandal for memoirs in which famous names would be attached to old, idle and licentious tales. Some grains of truth, and a lively study of his own times, are to be found in these cynical and cold studies of 'Illustrious Dames' 'Gallant Dames' and 'Great Captains', but accuracy was not much regarded by Brantôme when he, his own adventures over, described the scandalous lives of the beautiful ladies and the grave men who had been Mary's companions at the French Court.

Mary also brought home with her (if Scotland could be termed her home) a magnificent collection of costly jewels, set with the utmost skill of the goldsmiths' art, a treasury of vessels for sacred and secular use in gold and silver, adorned with enamels and precious stones, a sumptuous array of personal and toilet articles of exquisite workmanship and costly materials, sets of priceless church embroideries and a wardrobe of hundreds of dresses, each a work of art in cut, style and adornment. Furs, hats, gloves, shoes, stockings were of rare material and beautifully made. Each garment had sets of veils, collars, ruffs and chemisettes in fine hand-made lace, together with the needful crimping pins, brooches and tags; these were carefully listed and in the charge of competent women. In close alliance with them were the laundresses with their knowledge of ironing, pleating, clear starching and perfuming linen, silk, muslin and gauze.

French cooks and scullions attended to the royal table and brought with them to Scotland recipes for many elaborate dishes and sweetmeats, among them a famous conserve of oranges, known as marmalade; in fact, no article of use or luxury that could contribute to the comfort and enjoyment of life was omitted from Mary's baggage. The lords and ladies who accompanied her were also richly fitted out with appointments far finer than those ever seen in Scotland.

These displays came naturally to Mary and her train. She had never seen anything but the superb luxury of a refined and decadent Court, where the resources of a nation at the disposal of the perfect taste of Diane de Poitiers had been lavished on extravagance that had produced the flower of the French renaissance, translated from Italy. Mary's own taste was sure, but she indulged in no novelties. Her appearance was that of any Court lady carefully following fashions that had changed little for the past century. What made her notable among her train was the ease and grace with which she wore her heavy clothes, for she had now left her mourning and was arrayed with royal splendour. The witty animation of her speech and the zest with which she threw herself into all the amusements her Court provided were much admired. Her character was scarcely revealed. She had, because of affection and conviction, been a willing accomplice in the ambitions of the Guises. She had shown herself ambitious, jealous of her rank and firmly attached to the Church of Rome. She was frivolous yet chaste; her accomplishments were slight but she had the art of making the most of them; save in her outburst to Throckmorton on the refusal of the passport she had shown herself discreet. The evasions, the cunning she had learned from the Guises, passed for a precocious knowledge of diplomacy. She had lived in an atmosphere of continual adulation, been likened to a goddess, her beauty, her gifts extolled to hyperbole, her wishes, her whims, her inclinations had all been studied and gratified. During her childhood she had been surrounded by love; the suddenly revealed hostility of Catherine de Medici and Elizabeth's refusal of the passport had been the first rebuffs she had received and she had responded to them with, first, the petulance of a pampered child, 'wishing she were dead', and then by a prudence strictly enjoined on her by the Guises.

In public Mary had always shown composure, gaiety and, when the need was, courage. She had picked herself up cheerfully after a fall from her horse in the hunting field; she had borne with dignity the shocks of the deaths of Henry II and Francis I, but she had been overcome by the death of her mother. In private her emotional displays were so violent as to suggest epilepsy; she suffered from convulsive fits and long spells of unconsciousness that often alarmed her attendants into thinking she was dead or could not live long.

One reason for her wretched health was that, moving in a corrupt society where sensuous love was the only theme of poets, where Court scandals and gossip all turned round the same theme, where the King was ruled by his mistress, and her own aunt and 'governante' bore a child to the King, where her uncle, the Cardinal, had at least one illegitimate daughter, and her grandfather twelve natural children, Mary herself had had no experience of either romantic or sensual love. Her marriage was null; she had felt nothing but compassion for her sickly boy husband who never lived to manhood. She had to listen to highflown compliments from numberless 'adorers' and her regal place did not permit her to reply by more than a gracious word. The frustrating of her natural instincts had helped to produce the bouts of tears, the swoons, the trances, the hysterical outbursts accentuated by constant physical illnesses.

She was kind to the extent that she liked all about her to be cheerful, she was generous in her gifts, her praise, to those who served her. She detested 'meanness'; everything had to be lavish. She was impatient of control; at the age of twelve years she had commanded her own household with easy assurance. For the rest, she did not trouble herself with what went on beyond her ken. Her admiration and love for the Cardinal was not shaken by the atrocities of Amboise that took place practically in her presence. When the two moderate men of her own faith pleaded for religious toleration before her at the Assembly of Fontainebleau she did not support them. She was not moved by pity for the persecuted people whose cause Coligny put forward. As she told Throckmorton afterwards, she remained 'convinced' by the bigotry of the Cardinal loathed in France for his fanatic cruelty.

But some had found her tender hearted because she did not put herself forward to watch the tortures of heretics and because she had been heard to express concern at the condition of the overdriven galley slaves. How cruel, callous and heartless she might be no one knew. Her youth, her pretty ways, her royal dignity concealed possible faults; her melancholy alternating with her gaiety concealed her intense egotism; her well-trained, well-bred dignity concealed her immaturity; she confounded Throckmorton by falling back on her 'inexperience' without meaning what she said, for she considered herself perfectly able to rule a kingdom of which she knew nothing. In truth, she was inexperienced in everything save the intrigues of the Court of France and the duplicity taught her by the Guises.

The traveller who has followed Mary's career during her stay in France will find himself full circle on her departure for Calais; it was to St.-Germain-en-Laye she came as a child, travelling from Roscoff, and it was from the same Abbey Palace that she departed, a widow, thirteen years later.

The journey from Roscoff to Nantes and then by water to Paris is very agreeable. St.-Germain-en-Laye makes a pleasant place from which to visit Paris. Here is still the Louvre (since so greatly altered) that was new when Mary was betrothed there and afterwards taken to the unfinished apartments upon the horrible accident to Henry II that made her Queen of France. The Tournelles has gone, but Notre Dame remains, with very different surroundings. Pleasure boats are still on the Seine and the capital never lacks pageantry.

The royal châteaux round Paris, which Mary visited for the 'fresh air' rather desperately ordered by her physicians, for the most part remain. The first for fame and splendour is Fontainebleau, the scene of many dramatic incidents in Mary's girlhood. Further field, but not far by any mode of travel, are the Valois châteaux; Villiers-Cotterets is, in particular, associated with Mary. A journey to Lorraine brings us to Joinville, which saw her most peaceful hours in the care of her grandmother, the woman who loved her better than any other ever did. At Nancy there are memories of more festivals at which the young Queen shone. At Rheims the coronation, clouded by mourning, can be invoked. At Orleans, the gloomy threats of insurrection, as the Court came to overawe the suspected rebellion of the Huguenots. The Loire châteaux and Blois are in themselves some of the most highly prized glories of France. Mary amused herself at Chenonceaux, Diane de Poitiers' château built over the Loire; at Amboise she lived amid the excitement and horror of 'the tumult'; in the gloomy massiveness of Chambord she spent listless days of illness and over the lovely fields and through the graceful forests that spread either side of the Loire she hunted, day after day, week after week, following the Court routine, sometimes resting at villages or country houses that have long since disappeared, sometimes avoided even by the woodcutters because of the rumour of her husband's leprosy, always on guard for possible ambuscades.

Other places that Mary briefly visited, such as Manly, Meudon, Bordeaux, Abbeville, may be included in this romantic pilgrimage, but if the principal cities and castles as given here be studied an excellent idea of Mary's sojourn in France will be obtained, nor will it be difficult to forget the centuries between our time and hers, and to see her with her numerous and rich retinue, riding her white horse, or in her luxurious litter, passing along the rough roads of France, a Queen with no power, daughter of a Scot with a French education, a child with a brief childhood, a girl widowed at nineteen years after a marriage that was a form only, an alien in France for whom there was no welcome waiting in her own country, a sovereign bred a bigoted Roman Catholic who had to rule a country that had accepted the Reformation, a woman whose second marriage must be for policy to secure another crown; and, after all, only a tall girl, now sad, now gay, riding a white horse from one castle to another, envied, praised, spied upon, feared, the focus of intrigues, of jealousies, of desires, by name a Stewart, by nature a Guise.

Mary 'stole' past the English coasts in a heavy fog that her astrologers instantly decided had been sent by supernatural powers for her protection. Under this cover she arrived at Leith, where the familiar 'haar' lay over Edinburgh and her port. John Knox, waiting with impatient bitterness for the Queen he intended to ruin, found another interpretation of this thick mist; it was too usual to provoke comment, but the Reformer, also credited with wizardry, declared that the rain and the darkness had been sent as a warning of the misfortunes that Mary would bring on Scotland.



Part III.
SCOTLAND 1561-1568

Neither Queen Mary nor her French entourage arrived in Scotland with any friendly feeling towards the Scots. France had been defeated in her struggles with England in Scotland; the Roman Catholics had been defeated by the Reformers; the Guise policy advised caution, but not submission. Mary had ceased to quarter the arms of England, but she still hoped to succeed to the English crown. She had promised religious toleration but she still hoped to re-establish the ancient Faith in her ancient realm; nor did these tasks seem especially arduous to her because she relied on her own gifts and charms, her power of intriguing, the support of the Guises; and because she knew so little of the difficulties that lay before her and because she had never faced the temper of the Scots Reformers.

On one point she had no intention of giving way. Her manner of life was to continue exactly as it had always been as far as the amenities of Scotland allowed. She had her own dowry, her own friends and servants, her own private splendour; she was, and always would be, apart from the Scots.

On their side the Scots were divided. The Lords, as upholders of the Reformation, regarded the Queen's arrival with suspicion; the Calvinist preachers, with John Knox at their head, regarded her with loathing; she represented all they detested. On the other hand, the Roman Catholic minority saw in her a bright hope for the future, while the common people, as usual, felt the relief of the ignored, the helpless and the downtrodden at a change of scene in the Government. Mary's arrival meant to them a chance of peace, of better conditions, of possible gain and prosperity. In all classes there was a revived tenderness for the once brilliant glories of the House of Stewart now displayed in the person of a young and charming woman. But, to counterbalance this popular goodwill, there were active in Scotland a number of self-seeking adventurers who thought of nothing but how they might serve their own advantage by stirring up trouble both for Mary and her subjects.

After stepping ashore in Leith, Mary reposed herself in the house of one Andrew Lambis, and then proceeded to Holyrood Palace with her train. She had surprised the citizens of Edinburgh in the midst of their preparations for her reception but cannons were hastily fired. Crowds pressed about her cavalcade, shouting and cheering and, at night, a large band of indifferent musicians with violins and rebecks played beneath the windows of her Palace. Mary graciously praised the serenade that consisted of psalm singing; Brantôme found the concert wretched and woefully out of tune; this cat-calling of sacred music by Protestants had a hint of charivari. If the French found an insult to themselves and to Mary in this grotesque howling and scraping they were not, possibly, wrong; they also considered the welcoming Scots ill-clad, plain and boisterous. By the second of September the elaborate pageantry was ready, and the Queen of Scots for the first time rode in state from Holyrood to the Castle, where she held a stately banquet, then returned down Castle Hill to the Tolbooth, her progress being interrupted by pageantry, set pieces and groups of masks that compared fairly with the displays of this kind to which she was accustomed in France.

But the offering of the keys of the city given at the Tolbooth was accompanied by a Protestant Bible and Psalm Book; hymn singing of the kind that had vexed Brantôme mingled with the sound of the artillery from the Castle and, at last, when she had reached Holyrood again, a group of children 'made some speech about the putting away of the mass'.

Edinburgh was the scene of the most important episodes of Mary's life and remains the city in which there are more relics of her period than any other place where she lived can show; as the famous views by Shepherd engraved in 1830 reveal, Edinburgh was mostly unchanged from the city Mary knew until well into the eighteenth century. The buildings of the fine new town, the coming of the railway, the spreading of the suburbs then altered the city considerably, the character being, also, much changed, by the erection of classic buildings and monuments. But it is still possible to ignore all these and, by concentrating on the royal mile, Holyrood and the Castle, to revive memories of Mary's day and to recover the mediaeval city she knew.

Leith had no pleasant associations for Mary. It was from there that her mother, as Regent, with the French Army, had issued her angry proclamations while John Knox's followers were burning the churches and convents of Edinburgh, and at the Tolbooth Knox himself was preaching furiously to the Lords of the Congregation. When Mary arrived John Knox was still preaching, triumphantly installed in St. Giles, formerly the Roman Catholic so-called cathedral and now the headquarters of the Reformers. This splendid church, now so mutilated, with the Tolbooth, then the Parliament House, was the centre of the life of the city, and the beautiful crown spire rose then as now, over the jutting, towering 'lands' of old Edinburgh. The situation of the capital was determined by the fortress Castle on the rock; beneath this is a valley through which ran a stream broadening into a lake, the Nor'Loch adorned with swans. On the banks was a chapel built by a former Stewart Queen. The Castle rose steeply above. It was taken by the English, retaken by the Scots, demolished and rebuilt many times.

Edinburgh was once a Border town, when Lothian belonged to England, and ceded to Scotland only after the victory of Carham (1018). Since 1436 it had been the capital of Scotland, though at least four other towns, Stirling, so similar in situation, Aberdeen, Perth and Inverness were richer and more important. At the foot of the rock and the citadel the town was crowded into terraces, rising along the base of the rock that represented the whole of Edinburgh until 1770.

In Mary's day beyond the valley and the Nor'Loch was open ground avoided because of the dangers of the time. The citizens pressed together under the shelter of the Castle and as they could not expand outwards they built upwards adding storey on storey to their crooked houses, thus erecting the curious 'wynds', the tall fantastic-looking houses being packed together over narrow alleys or flights of steps. These were broken by market square, churches, palaces and religious establishments. Many nobles lived in the Castle itself. On leaving it for the city (the old town that was walled after Flodden) they would descend by way of the Lawnmarket, High Street and Canongate to the Abbey Palace of Holyrood, set in a deer park, the old hunting ground of the early kings, with another curious rock, Arthur's seat, overlooking two sheets of water.

A number of the houses and closes, flats or wynds in the old town are, if not of the actual date of Mary's reign, built shortly after that period, or in that style. Many have fallen into decay, but several have been restored; the finest single specimen is that in which John Knox is supposed to have lodged. St. Giles, only by courtesy 'a cathedral', was a collegiate church; it stands on the site of the ancient edifice burnt by the English in 1385. Shops and booths were once built against the exterior walls. The Reformers had defaced the interior but Mary saw a noble building. More of the old 'lands' led to the Netherbow Gate, at the junction of the High Street and the Canongate. The once handsome houses in this district are of considerable interest but are later than the sixteenth century. Mary saw red-tiled houses with jutting gables, outside staircases and balconies. From the Canongate (residence of the Canons of the abbey) 'the Palace of Holyrood house' can be seen in flat parkland, backed by Salisbury crags.


Illustration

Leith Harbour, where Mary landed on her return from France.
Drawn by T. H. Shepherd. Engraved by T. Higham.


This was, like so many other royal residences, a religious foundation with a palace attached. The abbey belonged to the Canons of St. Augustine, who there treasured a piece of the Holy Rood or Cross. The establishment was founded by King David, son of Queen Margaret, who left him the relic, and the monks had jurisdiction as far as the Netherbow. A flat facade, or screen, French-Italian in style, connects two towers. This was largely the original design. One of the towers and the ruins of the abbey chapel are the oldest parts of Holyrood. The miniature Palace was built on part of the abbey grounds by Mary's father. Only her rooms remain of this residence. When she first came there in 1561 the building had been restored from the burning of the English nearly twenty years before. These rooms, with those beneath them, are undoubtedly of her time, but description of them belongs to a later episode in her story. All that is left of the monastic buildings is the Royal Chapel, a delicate and impressive ruin. The Kings of Scotland stayed in the abbey before the building of the Palace by James IV under French influence, and here he and his son attended the gorgeous rituals of the Church of Rome. Two Stewart Kings, James II and James III, were married here and here were buried David II, James II and Mary's father, James V.


Illustration

John Knox, the great Reformer and the most implacable enemy of Mary Stewart.
After an engraving in Beza's Icones


St. Margaret's well and St. Margaret's loch perpetuate the memory of Queen Margaret who gave the holy relic to the Abbey. A chapel (now in ruins) is dedicated to St. Anthony. On the east is Dunsappie loch, on the south Duddingston loch, bordered by flags and the resorts of swans. Beyond in the sixteenth century was open country, broken here and there by castles, country houses, churches and convents, these last in ruins from the zeal of the preachers (as the Reformed clergy were then named) that had been served as St. Giles was served, stripped of ornament, burnt and 'clanged down'. St. Giles had been left for the service of the Reformers, but the other churches had been abandoned to the bat, the owl and the weed.

Holyrood had a pleasant history. The rude hunting box of the early kings had been, with increasing culture, enlarged to this gracious place for prayers and meditation; for a pause in the warlike days and disturbed nights of the harassed rulers of Scotland. Very different was the story of Holyrood, where Kings of Scotland lay buried, from that of the Castle, also a royal residence, scene of many a fearful crime, desperate escape, dastardly treachery or pitiful death. But never at any time, even when occupied by a busy crowd, could Holyrood have been cheerful. Even in sunshine the park, the rocks, the lochs give no impression of gaiety, and when half concealed by sea mist, or under lowering clouds of rain or snow, they are gloomy indeed.

An intense fog—a 'haar' such as citizens of Edinburgh had never seen before—and the hoarse serenade from six hundred uncouth heretics beneath her windows on the first night of her arrival was depressing to Mary. The contrast with the exquisite galleries of Amboise and Chenonceaux, the sumptuous chambers of Fontainebleau, the lovely open country of the Loire, the pleasure gardens of Joinville and Nancy, the comfort of St. Germain-en-Laye, also a palace and an abbey, was sharp.

Nineteen years of age, and still suffering from her last attack of tertian ague and the long sea voyage, she saw her new capital with dismay. Her childish memories of Scotland were mainly those of her mother's care and lovely presence. This city of dark rocks, narrow streets, and noisy independent people who, though loyal and enthusiastic, had already thrust their religion on her, was a Scotland she did not know, and nostalgia for France, for her youth already gone, deepened her melancholy fit. She resolved, however, to challenge her destiny, and gave orders to prepare the chapel in Holyrood for the celebrating of the mass on the first Sunday after her arrival in Edinburgh. This was not the abbey church—then used by the parish of the Canongate—but the small private chapel attached to the royal apartments in Holyrood.

Mary knew what she was about in thus directly affronting the newly established Kirk of Scotland. She had given the Bible presented to her during her progress to a 'Papist' and she had taken the meaning of the pageant that showed the burning of 'idolators'. Only a last-minute discretion and the protests of Huntly had prevented these puppet victims from wearing the canonicals of Roman Catholic priests. Mary knew, too, that she was being watched by the Lords of the Congregation, Protectors of the preachers and the Kirk. These were about her, ostensibly to do her honour but also to be on the spot to judge her behaviour and that of her Guise uncles, who were most unwelcome in Edinburgh. Argyll, her brother-in-law, was there, with the Lord James, newly come from England, Lord Eskine, and the Northern Chieftain, Huntly, the Roman Catholic whose suggestion of a rising in the North she had refused. There, too, were Athol, Crawford and the Earl Marischal, with many other nobles.

These lords 'looked grittumlie annoyit' when they saw the trappings going up in the little chapel and some gentlemen from 'the Kingdom of Fife' in the courtyard began to shout that they 'would not see the idoll [the mass] again in the realm'.

The crowd, quickly gathering as the news spread, maltreated a man going in with candles. Some altar furnishings were 'trodden in the mire', but mass was celebrated, with the Lord James holding the chapel door, and the priest frightened into nervous trembling. Only Mary, the Guise uncles and her household were in the chapel, and by the afternoon the crowds in the abbey grounds were so threatening that any further celebrations had to be forgone.

Mary acted promptly. Next day she issued a proclamation declaring religious toleration—not to be broken under pain of death. This applied only to the Roman Catholics as no one was likely to molest the dominant Protestants on account of their faith. Her own household was expressly mentioned; 'the pain of death' was threatened anyone interfering with the religion of the Queen or her followers, thus reviving the ancient sanctuary of Holyrood, for anyone residing there was immune from the law.

Arran, with his father, then in Edinburgh, protested in vain. Mary coaxed the angry Lords and kept her mass. People all noticed her charm; to some it was 'an enchantment', to others 'cunning'. John Knox took the worst possible view of her and declared she was not to be trusted in anything, but was a mere agent of the Pope and the Guises sent to destroy the Kirk in Scotland A number of her subjects sent Mary a petition, ingenuously imploring her to join the Kirk or leave Scotland. The joy shown on her arrival was over with the pageantry.

Mary was in no doubt of the importance of Knox. She sent for him, meaning to overcome him with her wit and guile. The position she took was simple. God had taught subjects to obey their princes; Knox in setting up a religion princes did not like had behaved as a traitor to his sovereign—'Rome was the true Kirk'. Knox was ready for the struggle; whatever she had been he would have loathed her, and what he saw of her and her train increased his wrath. He left her presence convinced (and for ever) that she had a crafty wit, a proud mind and a heart hardened against God's truth.

Mary was vexed, but hardly knew how dangerous he was. The revived sanctuary of Holyrood drew into the precincts many of the doubtful characters of Edinburgh, who knew themselves protected by the immunity given to the Queen's household. Knox marked this and held forth against the harlots, adulterers, pimps and murderers who got 'shelter under the Queen's wing', adding forcibly that 'now the Devil began to see daylight again, who formerly had not dared to venture on the common streets'.

It was the first time that Mary, hitherto so sheltered and flattered, had come upon such stern opposition. Knox had not spoken to her with any particular harshness, but he had spoken boldly and it was the first time Mary had been addressed in any language save that of Courts, but her training enabled her to conceal her deep offence. She believed she had beguiled the Lords, who became more moderate; she won over the Lord James to protect her and her priests, but in all she did the three Guise uncles secretly advised her. She took no heed of the intense resentment of the Scots, who grumbled that, though the French had been thrown out of Scotland and Mary of Guise defeated, now the French and the Guises had crept back again and were close about the throne.

Mary remained three weeks in Holyrood, then went to her birthplace for two days, and from there to Stirling, where she intended to hear mass in the chapel royal. But the Lords were no longer under her 'enchantment'. Argyll and the Lord James tried to stay a riot in the choir, but were themselves drawn into a melée of broken heads and bloody bones, while Mary went on to Perth.

This noble city, just over forty miles from Edinburgh and near some of the finest scenery in Scotland, was for a long time the capital of Scotland and is near Scone, the place where the ancient Kings of Scotland were crowned. No place that the traveller may see when following Mary is more beautiful than Perth on the River Tay. It had already withstood eight sieges when Mary visited it and was rightly known as 'the fair city'. The citizens presented the Queen with a golden heart full of gold pieces, but she was angered and distressed by some of the pageantry that glanced maliciously at idolatry and she became so faint that the progress had to be stopped while she was borne into a neighbouring house. There she fell into one of those fits or convulsions to which she had always been subject; they were termed by some 'passions' caused by grief, and were indeed hysterical fits relieving anxiety, frustration and the furies of injured pride.

She hastened on to Dundee but here, too, her reception went awry. Complaining of the stenches of the city, she fled to St. Andrews, seat of the old Scottish Archbishopric, where Cardinal Beaton had been slain. Here there were more religious riots and Mary, angry, disheartened and sick, went as far north as Inverness. As she rode she saw on every hand ruined churches, convents, monasteries and chapels. The experience was as new as it was terrible. The contrast with France was bitter to Mary and the Guises—they recalled the slaughter at Amboise where the victims had gone to torture and death singing psalms. There was psalm singing in Scotland, but it was triumphant. Despite herself, Mary remembered the plea of Coligny at Fontainebleau, the moderate counsels of Vienne and Valence, but this did not alter the intentions of her Guise relations. The mass was to be forced on the Scots.

On her return to Holyrood there was no Scot on whom Mary felt she could rely. Even the most liberal minded, like the Lord James or Sir William Maitland, were sternly in favour of the Kirk and the preachers. Huntly and the other Roman Catholics she still regarded with suspicion. Her brother-in-law, Argyll, was a hot follower of John Knox.

Knox was the greatest power in the land. Reputed a wizard, a sorcerer, a saint, a prophet, he was undoubtedly a man of great force of character, impressive personality and intense belief in himself. He had all the driving power that an obsession gives and possessed a mighty voice, commanding a stream of eloquence and invective, largely taken from the Old Testament, unequalled even in that time of furious polemics. All in all, this crude, unlettered man of no remarkable birth or education, self-appointed founder of the Kirk of Scotland, was, as the Cardinal of Lorraine had long since foreseen, the greatest enemy Mary had in Scotland.

In several ways he suited the national character. His vitality, his sense of drama, his boldness, his scorn of kings' and princes, his virtues of the common man, his professed austerity and large manner of dealing with God, appealed to the Scots. But there was a dark side to the mighty preacher that made him many enemies. Like all who consider themselves the mouthpiece of God, his haughty egotism was excessive, his manners as harsh as his aspect, his outlook narrow, his heart cold and cruel. He dwelt in a twilight of gloom and foreboding; he was truly a prophet of evil; he knew neither toleration nor mercy, his sense of sin so acute that he could smell it everywhere. On his visit to Geneva he had quarrelled with John Calvin, his mental superior, but he held largely to the Frenchman's sombre doctrines. He was very ready to think everyone damned; he proclaimed incessantly and loudly that all Roman Catholics were of the Devil. Effectively using his trenchant Scots speech, he declared that when Mary heard mass on her progress 'she defiled everywhere she went with her idolatry'. His private life was cumbered with hysterical women whom he permitted to follow him about, pestering him as to the salvation of their souls. His reputation as a wizard was dark; he was a Nostradamus in reverse, a soothsayer of the people instead of a soothsayer of the Court. In truth the magnetism of his personality might easily seem magical, and he had a deep influence over his congregations. Sir Thomas Randolph, the English envoy, wrote home that the voice of John Knox was worth more than 'five hundred trumpets' to rouse the people.

There was one side of the Scots character of which John Knox knew nothing. The essential poetry and spiritual emotions that expressed themselves in the most moving ballads, prose tales, folklore and mythology in the world were mere rubbish to the grim prophet. He and his followers even took some of the most poignant of the native songs and their haunting melodies and used them for religious verse and squibs. He was quite as unscrupulous as the Guises in paper warfare and never hesitated to slander and libel his enemies. This formidable man had resolved to ruin Mary long before she came to Scotland; even in the first weeks of her residence in her kingdom she had played into his hands, and he had the majority of the Scots behind him, a fact which lent a fine bravado to his insulting challenges. His courage was not that of the martyrs; a personal spite was added to his hatred of the Queen and her French relatives because of his sufferings in the French galleys. In 1561 John Knox was aged fifty-seven years. Mary was nineteen years of age but they were not, as far as personal qualities went, ill matched. She had been trained to deal with men like the Reformer since she had been told by the Cardinal of Lorraine how Knox's party were foremost in rebellion against the mother she loved so well.

When Mary returned to Holyrood at the beginning of the northern autumn the small royal apartments had been arranged with all the taste and luxury her French attendants could muster. These rooms can still be seen; they are on the north side of the Palace and must always have been gloomy. There is the private dining room, an audience chamber where Knox was received, a bedroom and a dressing room, while a small spiral staircase leads to the apartments below, known as the Hamilton or Darnley rooms. In Queen Mary's day there was a long gallery or set of rooms enfilade running from her suite to the entrance to the royal chapel or chapel of the Augustines with the Stewart vaults at the far end. There was also a council chamber, now the picture gallery, and on the opposite side of the courtyard the State apartments where Mary held her banquets, balls and other entertainments. Save, however, on these public occasions she resided in the modest apartments that have acquired as melancholy an air as any spot in Scot-. land.

Wonder and compassion have often been expressed at the size of the rooms that Mary occupied, not only in Holyrood but in several other palaces and castles. It seems to be supposed that these were given her in neglect or insult; this is obviously untrue since she was able, while Queen, to choose her own apartments. The chambers and the exits were designed for protection against surprise. A small room or closet was easily guarded by one person at the door; a dark back staircase, taking only one person at a time on each step, was easily defended and also admirable for escape and intrigue; a low door meant that anyone entering the room would have to bend, and would be at a disadvantage.

The entire Palace was very richly furnished. To the appointments left by her predecessors Mary added all the costly and beautiful objects, tapestries, carpets, furniture, pictures, mirrors, she had brought with her from France, and these were not only far more luxurious than anything the untravelled Scots had seen before, but of a different style. There was little of native art or craft save the gifts, pride of the Scots gold- and silver-smiths, Mary had received on her formal welcome to her realm. Her wardrobe and her jewels astonished those Scots who had not been to France; they were as impressive as 'the stately beauty' that all who saw her remarked upon. Mary's official attire changed little during the whole of her life and she was never seen in any but robe de parade save by her intimates. This very heavy, stiff and unbecoming dress, so closely associated with her name, consisted of foundation garments that never varied. These were a tight bodice, whaleboned or stiffened with steel and much compressed so that the figure to the waist resembled a kite, then a wide inner skirt supported on steel hoops and worn over a number of petticoats, and over that an outer skirt, open in front. The sleeves were full and completely covered the arms; the bodice was cut low, the breast being either bare or concealed by a light gauze. The hair was hidden save for a cluster of curls either side the forehead and a close-peaked cap clasped the head; the front hair, brushed back, made the forehead appear very high. Ruffs of different styles, usually held out like a plate on which the head seemed to rest, encircled the neck and were often held out by steel rods in the pleats; cuffs to match were often worn. The dress was high at the back and from it was hung a long mantle, usually forming a train on the gown. From the head-dress depended a long gauze veil, or, most fantastic detail of all this fantastic attire and very popular with Mary, a gauze mantle with two large wired wings standing up high above the head.

No dress could have been more uncomfortable, more sumptuous, more calculated for display. Only an idle woman could wear it, only a rich woman afford it. Unhealthful, difficult to manipulate and really ugly, this bizarre attire lent itself to an endless variety of adornment; it could be made in a number of costly materials, in many colours and it could be ornamented from head to foot with gems, embroidery, and all the quirks of fashion. One outfit could easily carry a treasury of jewels. Mary's dress when she went abroad differed little from the rich indoor attire. There were no hoops, the bodice was closed to the neck and the cap was changed for a steeple crown hat with feathers.

All the details of her toilet were very extravagant and beautiful. She possessed hundreds of costly trifles and often wore them. Fans, mirrors, etui, perfume bottles, scented gloves and little toys, watches and pomanders. She had Italian silk stockings and her shoes were square-toed and of soft leather made after the pattern introduced by her mother and known as Guise shoes.

This highly artificial dress required an artificial beauty; there was little that was natural in Mary's charms, even at this age. Her cosmetics were costly and skilfully applied; the pearl-like complexion was whitened and carefully tinted in lips and cheeks; the brown hair either bleached and dyed gold, or hidden under various perukes so that she appeared now dark, now chestnut, now ash blonde. Her regular features, the delicate oval of her face, her graceful bearing alone owed nothing to art. The long, sleepy brown eyes were delicately darkened on the lids, her eyebrows were shaven into fine lines. Fastidious in all her senses, she used a quantity of perfumes, herbal waters and toilet essences in an attempt to disguise the foul odours that constantly surrounded her exquisite elegance. Such a woman as this those Scots who had not left Scotland had never seen. At first she seemed entrancing, but on consideration she might well seem one of her own decked 'idols' or John Knox's Jezebel—who 'painted her face and tired her head'. The Queen's ladies, foremost among whom were the four Marys, dressed after the pattern of their mistress. Her Guise uncles set the Paris fashions in fantastic extravagant male clothes; the only Scots who could vie with them were those familiar with France, like Bothwell and Arran, who, for no purpose save their own advancement, were now in Mary's train.

As soon as the Queen had returned to Holyrood she met with new vexations. The authorities of Edinburgh had countered her proclamation about the sanctuary at Holyrood by re-issuing one they had made in her name six months before. This banished all rogues, vagabonds, criminals, 'filthy persons' and monks, priests, friars and nuns out of the town within twenty-five days. The punishment for disobedience would be carting, branding in the cheek and banishment. There was some colour given to this by the fact that so many of the riff-raff of the town had taken shelter in the Palace.

Mary was very 'commovit' and struck back immediately at the bold burgesses. They were deprived of their offices and on All Hallows Eve she held her first High Mass. It might as well have been the black mass for the fury it roused in Edinburgh, a fury inflamed and guided by John Knox preaching in St. Giles. He considered that the Lords had been far too lenient with Mary and they were convened to a meeting at the Clerk Register's House to debate this matter of the mass. Lords and Preachers agreed that it was rank idolatry, but they could not agree as to their right to oblige Mary to give up her religion.

The feeling of the people, more virile, bold and headstrong than any Mary had ever known, found vent in riots and pasquinades, coarse, forcible and witty, reflecting pungently on those 'mumbling the mes'.

This was the first time that Mary's name had been remotely tarnished; it was now openly associated with the pack of rascals, loose women and 'nuisances' who were harbouring in Holyrood through no fault of hers. Mary would have been well advised to have got rid of them; but they professed to be Roman Catholics and they claimed the ancient sanctuary, so she felt herself obliged to protect them to her own great harm and the advantage of her enemies, who cried up the foul company she kept. So the 'unblemished' reputation of Mary that had so impressed Sir Nicolas Throckmorton and been so cherished in France began to be blown upon when she had been but a few weeks in Scotland. It was John Knox who seized this weapon with the greatest zeal. He was willing to use any pretext to ruin the Queen, who, as the prophet noted, not only was giving herself over to gaiety among the Papist French, but was encouraging such known dissolute scoundrels as Earl Bothwell. The ferocious intolerance of John Knox wrought on the superstition of the people to such an extent that they were in a mood to believe that the black fog in which she had arrived at Leith did indeed presage evil for Scotland.

The Lord James persisted in the part of the liberal man. He admitted that public mass was an abomination but advised that the Queen should be allowed it in her private chapel. But John Knox reminded him sternly that before Mary's coming a 'pestilent Papist' or 'Mass Monger' dare not show his face in the Lowlands of Scotland, whereas now there was an insolent swarm of them. Nor could the implacable preacher agree that there was a chance that Mary might be converted to the Kirk. He declared that she had learned the lessons of the Cardinal of Lorraine so well that they would remain with her to her death. The Lord James privately thought so too, but he kept his counsel and went to Jedburgh, where he assisted at the Courts of Justice then trying rebellious Borderers who were duly hanged. Tumults increased in Edinburgh. The lively and impatient apprentices brawled in the streets; they were soon out of hand, and fighting on the causeways and up and down the steep, crowded passages round the Castle rock took place on the slightest provocation; but there was little serious damage done to the Roman Catholics. Mary's influence, stretched to the utmost, saved her co-religionists from violence, much to the disgust of John Knox who continued to thunder at the Lords for their laxity towards the Queen.

Mary, at this time, benefited from the support and advice of the most liberal-minded man who was ever to influence her; this was the learned, intelligent and attractive Sir William Maitland of Lethington, termed in rude Scot wit—'Mr. Michael Wylie' for Machiavelli in reference to his reputation for skilful diplomacy. This serene, austere and cultured gentleman was then thirty-five years of age and had changed his politics and his religion since he had been secretary to Mary of Guise. He understood Mary; without being deceived by her charming ways he liked them. Mary found him fascinating; they were similar in a superficial manner, particularly in worldly sophistication. Maitland turned Mary to some seriousness, such as reading Latin with the famous scholar George Buchanan, listening to political discussions and studying the conditions of the times. Maitland, like the Lord James, his rival in Mary's counsels, who detested him, was a double-dealer and had 'looked through his fingers' at many dubious actions, but he was a statesman, not a politician, and as wise and honest a man as there was in Scotland. He treated Mary with respect and consideration but not with gross flattery. She responded by giving him all the confidence she could give to one who was not a Roman Catholic. He was always of importance to her, and as his second wife he married Mary Fleming, one of the four Marys, which union brought him into the Queen's most intimate circle.

The persistent fight in Edinburgh—the citizens against 'that wicked rabble of Anti-Christ the Pope' urged on by John Knox's calumniations against the boldness of Satan and the 'levity and dulciness' of the Court—was increased by a brawl that involved one of the Queen's uncles. The young Marquis d'Elbceuf had already been rebuked by the Church Assembly for disorder in the streets. He did not mend his indiscreet behaviour, but, together with Bothwell, made a determined attempt to enter the house of one Cuthbert Ramsey by night. In the resultant struggle ten men were hardly able to hold the excited French Prince.

This and similar episodes spread alarm through the city. There were rumours of attacks on Holyrood; the watch was doubled, extra guards set; the great nobles, Argyll, Huntly and the Lord James, in vain tried to keep order; the trains of chieftains mingled with the apprentices and the French from Holyrood in scuffles and fights on the causeways.

So passed that winter, with considerable uneasiness and no progress towards any settlement. The most notable episode was the visit of the wild yet young Bothwell to John Knox. The Earl declared he was weary of his sinful life and wished to begin better things by reconciling himself with his enemy, Arran. The flattered preacher effected this, and brought the two young men together in his house and they departed in seeming amity. Mary was suspicious of this move. Bothwell had been brawling in front of a house in which he swore Arran kept a woman Bothwell had favoured. The Marquis d'Elbceuf had been his companion, and this had been to the Queen's 'miscontent'. Mary did not think that he would be a good influence on the weak and excitable Arran, who had been rejected both by herself and Elizabeth Tudor as a husband. She had the pair watched.

Arran suddenly appeared at Holyrood in a frenzy, babbling a wild tale. Bothwell, he declared, whose pride of birth had been puffed up by his sister's recent marriage to the Lord John, half-brother of the Lord James, had suggested to him, Arran, that Maitland and the Lord James should be murdered and the Queen kidnapped and taken to the Hamilton's Castle at Dumbarton. This plot had been hatched in the new mansion of the Hamilton outside Edinburgh in a piece of ground named Kirk O'Field because of a ruined church that stood there. Arran and Bothwell were then—the Queen abducted and her guardians slain—to rule Scotland between them. Acting on the wise counsel of her advisers, her brother and Maitland, Mary 'put to ward' both Arran and Bothwell and seized Dumbarton Castle from the former's father, Châtelherault. Arran soon after this obscure episode gave signs of unmistakable mental disorder and was confined. There were no enquiries into the affair that was passed over as a prankish invention of the crazy Arran, and this though Bothwell had confessed to some manner of plot.

Mary was at Falkland when Bothwell was brought before her to answer the charge made by Arran. She had gone there with hawk and hound to hunt on the plains and in the woods of Fife, the ancient preserves of the Kings of Scotland. She was taking her old remedy for her old complaint, the 'fresh air' advised by the French physicians for her hysterical melancholy and various maladies. Bothwell, adroit and charming, met Mary's fascination with his own. This time it was the beguiling Queen who was beguiled; affecting to believe the whole affair a fantasy she allowed the dangerous Bothwell to remain loosely guarded in Edinburgh Castle.

Sir Thomas Randolph, the English envoy, was obliged to follow Mary to Falkirk. He complained of the roughness of the roads and the poverty of the country town's accommodation; it was, he declared, 'hardship for man and beast'. The Queen, however, lived luxuriously according to her whim. Sometimes she lay in her silks and down pillows for days together in an idle languor; sometimes she showed feverish activity, spending hours in the saddle. She was much easier when away from Edinburgh and the dark little Palace in the King's Park. The Lord James, Maitland and her three Guise uncles were agreed as to her main policy; this was to be conciliation of Elizabeth Tudor and the Protestants as a means to the throne of England and the re-establishment of Roman Catholicism in the British Isles. The deadly insult of the quartering of the English arms and the refusal (even now this question was pressed by Cecil) to ratify the Treaty of Edinburgh were wisely forgotten by Mary and the Guises. She exchanged compliments and costly presents with the English Queen and overlooked the vexation of the refused passport.

Mary's hopes seemed well founded; she was considerably younger than Elizabeth, who had made and was making such an open scandal with Robert Dudley that a valuable marriage for her seemed unlikely; moreover, her health was precarious and Court spies affirmed that it was impossible for her to have children. Indeed, so good were Mary's prospects in England that for them she was prepared to give up a marriage with France or Spain that would ruin her chances in England. This was the advice of the Lord James, who assured Mary that she would never re-convert Scotland. All the Reformed Lords were firm on this point. Not only were some of them at least convinced Protestants but most of them were gorged with Church lands and by no means inclined to give them up. Maitland, the most far-sighted of them all, was working for an honourable object, the union of England and Scotland on equal terms; the Guise brothers saw the hopelessness of fighting Protestantism and John Knox, and joined Mary's Scottish counsellors in advising this long slow policy of patiently waiting for her rights to the English crown to be acknowledged.

She was prepared to do everything to this end—save to sacrifice her Faith—and that was the one thing needful. The Lord James and Maitland, however, thought that even this considerable stumbling-block might be got over by caution and discretion, and a limited toleration be obtained for Mary's household. They both disliked John Knox, and they both saw the dangers of men like Bothwell and Arran, Huntly and his followers. Mary listened dutifully. It was easy for her to flatter Elizabeth and cajole Sir Thomas Randolph. The language of courtly compliment was her natural speech; nothing could have been more insincere than her protestations of friendship, admiration and affection for the rival Queen. She did not know Elizabeth and could not have liked the heretic who occupied the throne she thought she ought to hold. There was nothing in the reports of Elizabeth's character to evoke affection in anyone and there were the old unsettled grievances between her and Mary. Elizabeth returned the gifts and flatteries and pursued her own policies with the advice of her own counsellors, as wary and as wise as the Scots. Randolph was deceived in nothing; he continued to send home honest and shrewd reports on Mary and her Court.

Falkland, where, during her first spring after her return to Scotland, Mary recovered some health and spirits, is one of the most enchanting places in Scotland, not so well known as some other towns and on that account not to be missed. Although Mary possessed a carriage (or waggon) and litters she usually rode, and Randolph complained of the rude ways from Edinburgh to Falkland. Now it is an easy and interesting journey and may be visited on the route from the capital to St. Andrews. Near by are places made famous by legend and ballad and by some later episodes in Mary's stay: Aberdour, once a castle belonging to Earl Morton; Doneybristle, scene of the murder of the 'bonny Earl of Moray' (1592); Rossend, belonging to the gallant Kirkcaldy of Grange; Kinghorn, where Alexander III was killed by a fall from his horse (1286), and Wemyss Castle.

Falkland (the former Kilgour) is supposed to derive the name from the royal falconry; it was from ancient times a hunting seat and the town is small and without pretence, partly industrialized but still retaining considerable fascination. From its highest point is a wide view over the pastoral scenery of the Home of Fife; the Palace overwhelms all other buildings by the unexpected splendour and romantic aspect both of the restored portion and the grey ruins.

Falkland Palace was, as usual, built on the site of a castle—a stronghold of the Earls of Fife, dating back to the thirteenth century. It became a royal possession in the reign of Robert III and a horrible, but uncertain, legend relates that here his brother bearing the title of Albany, fatal to the Kings of Scotland, imprisoned and starved to death the King's son, the gay and popular Duke of Rothesay. A grim revenge was taken in Stirling Castle for this supposed crime, though Albany had been acquitted of guilt and Falkland became crown property. The immense deer forests attracted James I and James II to build a residence close to the Castle and James IV lived there with considerable pomp. Afterwards it was neglected, but James V had repaired and refurnished it for a residence for his bride, Mary of Guise, who had often stayed there. It was at Falkland that James V had heard of the rout at Solway and the birth of Mary, and there he had died.

The royal apartments are in ruin but the gorgeous facade of the south side remains. A corridor and the chapel together with an odd priest's room have been restored to something of their former design. Fires, due not to the English but to domestic carelessness, have destroyed the rooms where once the Stewarts lived, but the melancholy charm of the broken masonry, set with wild flowers, is a fitting memorial to their vanished sorrows and glories.

In pursuance of her policy Mary took two steps in direct contradiction to each other. To please the Protestants she issued a proclamation punishing with death anyone attending mass, reserving to herself the right to hold this ceremony in Holyrood private chapel only; and she received secretly the Papal Nuncio, who was smuggled in disguise into Mary's presence while Maitland kept guard at the door.

Randolph, however, who had excellent spies, was soon reporting the episode to Elizabeth, who was fomenting trouble in France by underhand help to the Huguenots under Condé. Maitland tried to bring about a meeting between the two Queens in the hope that feminine tact might find some way of settling the vexed question of the English succession. Mary, confident of her own charms, much wished for this interview; she believed that she could enchant Elizabeth as she had enchanted so many others. But Elizabeth held off. Her implacable policy was that of 'yea' and 'nay'; she was exasperating everyone by her dallyings with Robert Dudley and her endless hesitations, self contradictions, delays and caprices, and her heartless skill was more than a match for Mary's charming duplicity. But extravagant flatteries continued to pass between the two women. Mary offered a gold-set diamond, with a copy of verses from her Latin reader, George Buchanan. Elizabeth returned a famous rock crystal, shaped like a heart. Randolph thought that Mary was a mere catspaw of the Guises who hoped to induce Elizabeth to withdraw her help from the Huguenots.


Illustration

The Castle from the Vennel.
Drawn by T. H. Shepherd. Engraved by J. Redaway.
Mary proceeded to the Castle on her entry into Edinburgh


The Lord James married Agnes Keith, daughter of the Earl of Marischal, and Mary created him Earl of Mar. The Queen was at Holyrood for the marriage festival and toasted Elizabeth in a golden goblet she afterwards gave to Randolph. On the rise to power of their enemy, Mar, Huntly and his clan, the Gordons, sullenly withdrew to the North; his third son, however, Sir John Gordon of Findlater, returned to the capital and brawled with his Highlanders in the rocky streets and steep causeways.

The season (1562) was wretched, and the foul weather, the crops ruined by floods, the desperate uncertainty of public affairs, gave the wise men abundant material for the most dismal prophecies. A 'contagion' was over the earth and from this came a number of 'monstrous births' horrible enough to inspire the most exacting of wizards; some women gave birth to skeletons 'entirely without flesh'; others came into the world with limbs missing or with 'heads belonging to other creatures'. Nor were domestic animals behind in producing similar deformities.


Illustration

Inverness Castle—scene of the Rising in the North.
From an old print


Amid these 'sad presages' Mary continued to lead the life that to her was normal. She had her public banquets, her private suppers, her puppet shows, her cards and billiards, her readings with Buchanan, her perpetual change of costume for one gaiety or another. She played golf on the sands at Leith, watched jousts and ridings at the ring, and set off the nobles (as she thought) one against the other. Among these was the sinister, outlawed Douglas, who was of royal descent through Archibald, Earl of Angus, second husband to Margaret Tudor, by marriage Earl of Morton. When Mary swore him a member of her Privy Council he was of vast influence in the Reformed party, but a dissolute, rude, surly and wholly unattractive man whose sombre, puritanical attire, fox-coloured hair and pale face gave a fair indication of his false, gloomy and sour character. He was, however, an able politician, outwardly at Mary's service but leaning secretly to England: Constantly in his company was his kinsman and jackal, the adroit and unscrupulous Archibald Douglas. Of the same kidney was John Wood, secretary to Mar (the Lord James); and these two underlings made themselves the mouthpieces of the Protestant outcries against Mary's pastimes, frivolities and extravagances. They spied and eavesdropped and busily recounted gossip and scandal where it was eagerly received—by John Knox and his followers.

Everything that Mary did was sharply criticized by these spies and those whom they 'crammed with intelligence'. Mary's zest for life was condemned as a sin. It was wrong for her to celebrate Twelfth Day; it was wrong for her to shoot at the butts, to listen to music or poetry, to bring needlework to the council chamber, to play chess, to dance, to have 'mirth upon the sands of Leith'.

Mary gave some cause for these malicious strictures. She was now out of tutelage and lacked the prudent counsels of the Cardinal of Lorraine and the restraining influence of her pious grandmother. She showed herself headstrong and wilful and recklessly outraged public opinion, holding herself above reproof or even suspicion. She broke the Scots Sunday with her games and merry-making; she was very familiar with those she liked, and ardently encouraged the fantastic frivolity against which her well-wishers had often warned her. She took no interest whatever in the miseries of Scotland caused by the weather and the bad harvest. The splendour of the royal establishment and Mary's headlong pursuit of pleasure were in painful contrast to the sufferings of a poor and stricken country. Worst charge of all in Puritan eyes, she smiled too often and on too many, and the smile, in eyes and on lips, was sidelong and promised far too much. Among those she was said to lure with her fascinating grace was the Frenchman, Chastelard, the poet who was often her partner in the dance, and Huntly's son, Sir John Gordon, who was believed to have returned from the safety of the North to look on his Queen again.

Mary knew of these rumours and despised them. So far she showed a gallant disdain for advice and reproof alike, but some of her actions would have been foolish in any time or place. The most imprudent of these was the wild frolic of dressing herself in male attire and venturing in the Edinburgh streets at night, with no more protection than the company of one of her women. The escapade, though she believed it was kept private, was instantly known, and the remote, almost heraldic figure of the stately Queen in her sumptuous gown and jewels was at once slightly tarnished. The dignified, chaste, almost austere Princess that Throckmorton had held up as an example to Elizabeth was not to be recognized in the slight cavalier who was only a tall girl in disguise, mischievously savouring the coarse sights, smells and sounds of the noisy High Street, Vennel, Lawnmarket and Cow Gate.

The Edinburgh that Mary investigated with curious eyes peering through her mask was even more filthy than most Scots cities. Her continual moving from place to place was partly caused by the need of some cleaning of her houses, the emptying of cesspools, the fumigating of rooms, enclosed for months, the removal of accumulated garbage and refuse. Mary had noticed the stench at Perth, but 'the fair city' gave place to Edinburgh in this respect. Even the hardened noses and stomachs of the Scots remarked on the filth of the capital. Apart from the ordinary 'nuisances' of a crowded town, with close-packed houses, narrow alleys and no drainage, various trades were carried on in Edinburgh without the least regard to health or decency. Tanners, butchers, tailors, fishmongers, cobblers and sundry others contributed to the midden heaps and the con tents of the choked gutters. In the time of Mary's grandfather, Dunbar, the poet, had roundly rebuked the burgesses of Edinburgh for the disgraceful state of their town:

One cannot enter your gates
But there is stink—of haddocks and of skates—

And worse, no doubt. John Knox made his way to St. Giles to preach the wrath of God through offal and decaying filth up to the very walls of the church. Sundry efforts had been made to effect some clearance in the filthy streets, but these availed nothing. Mary was justified in her dislike of a city not only disloyal but indescribably revolting and in her desire to escape whenever she could to the sands of Leith or to Falkland, or even to a Castle, such as Craigmillar, not far from Edinburgh but in purer air.

In August (1562) Mary decided, reluctantly, to make a second and more extensive progress to the North. She had lingered four months for the long-deferred interview with Elizabeth and was now informed that she must wait a year before indulging in even a hope of seeing the English Queen. Huntly was in the North. His quarrel with Mar had come to a climax and he was supposed to be prepared to undertake on his own the Roman Catholic rebellion he had urged on Mary before she left France. On the other hand, there were those who suspected that Mar wanted to get rid of Huntly in order to secure his lands.

Sir Thomas Randolph, who had to accompany Mary on this 'terrible journey', dreaded this expedition into what to him was a savage country—'poor and victuals so scarce' he lamented. He was not alone in considering the Highlands of Scotland uncivilized. One of Mary's many masquerades at the French Court had been that of a Highland savage; she had worn a tartan or Scots cloth woven in many camouflage heather tints, a green jacket and a blue bonnet and the whole costume, fanciful as it was, had been as outlandish to the French as the garb of the Moorish or Eastern maskers so popular at their pageants. Randolph was also afraid of 'garboils'; he thought that Mar had resolved on a punitive expedition against the turbulent North and that the Queen, resolved as she was on her compromise with Elizabeth, was obliged to accompany him and his train even against the Roman Catholic minority. Nor was the English envoy satisfied about his own work. Mary, despite tedious negotiations, would not ratify the Treaty of Edinburgh, Elizabeth would not see her unless she did, and all the fine-spun flatteries between the two women could not disguise from Randolph their inevitable rivalries resulting in unmistakable hatred, the deeper for being so carefully concealed behind fulsome compliments.

Mary's route to the North is known. She went first to Stirling, where a Privy Council was held, then to Coupar Angus, Perth, Edzell, Glamis, and by the end of the month was at Aberdeen. Randolph noted the unripe, rotting corn, the dear food, 'the extreme cold and foul weather', and found the whole journey 'cumbersome, painful and marvellously long'.

Aberdeen was then a small town. Part of it had been burnt in 1305, but it was the seat of the famous colleges, Kings and Marischals, founded by Mary's grandfather, James IV, and Bishop Elphinstone, and now joining the University, and of an ancient bishopric. The massive and venerable Cathedral dates from 1430 and is built on the site of a church, now lost, founded by St. Machar, a disciple of St. Columba, who had received divine commands to raise a church where the river formed a pastoral crook, here traced by a curve of the Dee. King's College was there when Mary came to break the power of the Gordons, and the tomb of Bishop Elphinstone in the chapel is unchanged save for the loss of the brass.

It was at Aberdeen that the Earl and Countess of Huntly came to humble themselves before the Queen, begging a pardon for their son, Sir John, who had escaped from prison in Edinburgh, where he had been sentenced for brawling in the streets. Mary promised this if the young man would surrender himself, which he did, but finding himself in the ward of Mar's uncle, Lord Erskine, he escaped again. Mary thereupon refused to rest in Huntly's mansion though it was the finest in the neighbourhood and he had made elaborate preparations for her entertainment. She proceeded to Rothiemay, Elgin and Darnaway where she lodged at the Castle that was Mar's strong hold. There she held a council and completed the formalities for her half-brother's investiture with the title of Moray. This council also accused John Gordon of assaulting Ogilvy and twice escaping from justice. He was ordered to give up his Castle and houses of Findlater and Auchendeene.

The weather continued cold, gloomy and wet. The High lands possessed no roads; the Queen and her train had to proceed along tracks, paths or across the moors, but her spirits were high. Her health had improved in the keen air and action was relief to her anxieties. Her brilliant charm won the High landers whom she flattered by declaring that she wished she were a man that she might sleep on the heather and wear a sword and buckler.

It was now clear that Moray meant to break the Gordons, and the Highlanders divided their loyalties, some for the Queen, some for Huntly. John Gordon's brothers refused Mary admission to Inverness Castle and she had to take lodgings in the town. This, the capital of the Highlands, on the River Ness, that divides the town, at the head of the Moray Firth, was then, as now, small in size and built of grey stone. The Castle had been first built by Macbeth, who was Marmaor of Moray, and rebuilt by Malcolm Canmore, subduer of the Highlands.

Moray (the Lord James and Mar) instantly attacked the Castle, which had a garrison of twelve men, captured it, hanged Alexander Gordon (the governor) and set his head on the ramparts. The Queen, refused admission to Castle Findlater, rode to Spynie, where the Bishop of Moray, Bothwell's dissolute uncle, sheltered her. The Gordons were 'put to the horn', i.e. proclaimed as traitors and outlaws, and Moray attacked Findlater and Strathbogie. Huntly gathered together five hundred of the Gordons and offered to surrender himself if promised an impartial trial, which Mary refused, and Lady Huntly in vain tried to obtain an audience of the Queen, who showed a gay light-heartedness in the whole affair and left it in the hands of the implacable Moray.

Randolph reported that few took Huntly's part and that the Queen was well attended, both with horse and foot. John Gordon's attempt to intercept her army at the passage of the Spey failed and he retired to the woods.

Mary returned to Aberdeen where the autumn days were enlivened by plays, games and pageantry. She received gifts of wine, wax, coals and a cup of double gilt silver containing five hundred merks. Huntly sent a humble message, imploring pardon for the offences of his sons, and his wife openly put the blame of the trouble on the Protestants about the Queen who could not move Huntly from the old Faith. Mary and her friends found in these appeals 'much pastime', and she refused to see Lady Huntly again.

In October Huntly, with seven hundred men, was brought to bay at Corrichie, the action being short and decisive. He fell dead from his horse, either in an apopletic seizure or from a dagger blow in the back. Sir John Gordon was dragged through the streets of Aberdeen, like a criminal, and, with six other Gordons, beheaded. Mary watched this spectacle and turned faint when it came to the quartering of the victims. That was, for the time, the end of Clan Gordon, though Huntly's youngest son, Adam, was spared. His eldest, Lord Gordon, was married to Arran's sister and had nothing to do with the revolt. He was, however, tried and sentenced to death. He was pardoned and, now the ruined, landless Earl of Huntly, became Moray's secret enemy and joined forces with another reckless man, Bothwell, who had escaped so easily from Edinburgh Castle that it was commonly believed that the Queen wished him to be set at liberty.

Knox busily spread this report and Bothwell retired to Castle Hermitage in Liddesdale, where he gathered together his 'Minions of the Moon', Hepburns, Hayes and Armistons. Randolph wrote of him contemptuously as 'a very stark-naked naughty beggar'. Bothwell, the English envoy gossiped, had no money 'saving a Portugal piece sent out of the north by a gentlewoman, who, if ever she be a widow, should never be my wife'. Bothwell was not pursued as he was believed to be on parole but he did not feel safe and made a dash for France. A storm threw him into the power of Elizabeth, who was greatly pleased with 'this rash, glorious and hazardous young man'. Mary, however, begged that he might be allowed to proceed to France, and on arrival in Paris he was given the honourable post of Captain of the Scots Guard.

Mary's position at this time, the end of the year 1562, seemed good. The uncertain Gordons had been finally crushed, the mischievous Bothwell was out of the country, the dangerous Arran locked up as a lunatic and her affairs in the hands of two of the wisest men in her Kingdom, Moray and Maitland. If Elizabeth was still 'driving time', Mary's affairs abroad were promising. Spain and France were still offering alliances that seemed to goad Elizabeth, even if Mary did not accept them, but preferred to concentrate on schemes for the English throne. But Maitland favoured the Spanish alliance with Don Carlos, now as insane as Arran, and Mary, too, had moods when she was 'thinking highly' of her second marriage.

The first anniversary of the death of Francis I was celebrated by Mary with dutiful masses, but she pretended no grief; the frivolity of her Court was remarked upon even by the French ambassador, M. de Foix, and she 'greatly offended the puritans'. One of their most bitter complaints was voiced against her habit of constantly appearing, in mask and play, in masculine attire, a costume well suited to her height and slenderness and comfortable after her heavy robes, yet one judged by the Scots as quite incompatible with queenly and womanly dignity. Her dancing was also detested, John Knox inveighing against it with fierce invective. As he knew nothing of Courts it has been assumed that he imagined Mary twirling in noisy merriment in the jigs and reels familiar to him, but as he darkly glanced at her 'dancing alone' in Holyrood it seems more likely that what he had in mind was some sinister ritual, akin to that of the black mass, a dancing about an idol, a dancing of witches about the cauldron, the prancing and leap ing round the devil on St. John's Eve. The stately French measures trodden in the halls of Holyrood where Mary bore herself with such admired grace and dignity gave no colour to these black surmises, but the puritans found evil even in these. The Queen leaned on the breast of her partner, touched his hair, clasped his hand, caressed his neck; but as yet there was little scandal attached to her name, and George Buchanan continued to write her panegyrics.

This year (1562) an inventory was made of Mary's ward robe and of her jewels, considered to be of fabulous value and the most famous in Europe.

Among the entries are sixty State gowns; cloth of gold, of silver, of velvet, silk and satin; there were fourteen cloaks, five in the Spanish fashion, and two royal mantles. Altogether there are one hundred and thirty one entries, small articles, simpler gowns and masking or fanciful costumes not being included, nor is there any mention of masculine garments. The list of jewels contains one hundred and eighty entries. Chief of these was one of the crown jewels of France that Mary, saying it was a gift, had contrived to bring out of that country. This was the Great Harry and bore the cypher of Henri II. It consisted of a remarkably fine diamond, set in gold, to which was attached a ruby. Among the other jewels were two of special note, the Papal Golden Rose, sent to James IV, and a miniature of James V in a gold case. There was, too, the cross of gold, diamonds and rubies that Mary of Guise had pawned and that Mary had redeemed for a thousand pounds.

Among other articles listed is a litter covered with velvet and fringed with gold and silk; this was drawn by mules. There were also a coach, hunting gear, hunting costumes, the famous 'Spanish furs' of Mary of Guise, a head-dress of silver and a velvet glove for shooting at the butts.

Not only did Mary's policy of conciliating the Protestants stop short of forgoing any of the amusements that so scandalized them; she was imprudent enough to allow too many gracious kindnesses to one of the poets of her Court, an idler of the very type most loathed by the puritans. This was Ronsard's pupil, Pierre de Boscohel de Chastelard; a Huguenot, a descendant of Bayard, an elegant, comely and charming courtier, who was Mary's partner in the dance, at cards, and in her games. She indulged him in a courtly coquetry and he wrote her courtly verses.

During one of the periodical cleanings of Holyrood the Court went to Bruntislaw (Bruntisland) and Mary with her train stayed in the Castle of Rossend belonging to Kirkcaldy of Grange. This edifice is on the fine coast of the Forth, not far from Falkland; and from here, Maitland was sent on an embassy to Elizabeth. Shortly before the Court had left Holyrood the grooms had discovered Chastelard asleep under the Queen's bed. This incident was not told to the Queen until the morning, when she banished the daring poet from her presence, but he had contrived to hide among the crowd in Rossend, and Mary, entering her bedchamber, saw him standing before her. She called Moray from her antechamber and told him to put his dagger through the intruder, but Moray considered the scandal such an action would cause and Chastelard was arrested, tried for his offence and beheaded near Holyrood House while Mary watched at the window. He refused any religious rites and held a copy of Ronsard's verses in his hand as he mounted the scaffold.

The affair passed for the tragedy of a love-crazed poet, but Maitland told Quadra, the Spanish envoy, a strange story that related how Chastelard had first tried to pass off his escapades as a joke and then confessed that he was a spy sent by the French Huguenots to discredit Mary. His intention had been to escape to France where he would have been handsomely recompensed for smirching the honour of the Queen.

John Knox had a third version. Chastelard was the Queen's lover. They had been discovered and she had sacrificed him that her 'secret might not be betrayed'. It was natural for Mary, gay and longing for love, to smile in sheer light-hearted courtesy on many men, and the malice of John Knox was capable of putting his own meaning into the most innocent actions. Mary was much smirched by the Chastelard incident and this greatly troubled the prudent Moray.

All was, however, splendid on the surface as Mary rode to the Parliament House in the Tolbooth (once part of St. Giles) soon after the death of Chastelard. The first Prince of the Blood, Châtelherault, carried the Crown, Moray the sword and Argyll the sceptre. The Queen, robed and crowned, was followed by the four Marys and a gorgeous train. She spoke in Scots with a French accent. Randolph thought it as fair a sight as ever was seen, and found her speech very pretty, but the puritans considered it but 'a painted oration'. They were grimly deter mined to find no good in anything that Mary did; her grace, her charm, her enchantment had no effect on John Knox or his followers.

Knox, indeed, soon broke out again, thundering from his pulpit that the Queen must not marry a Papist. Mary sent for the stern preacher; there was another fruitless interview. Knox refused to be moved by what he termed 'the pleasing face of a gentlewoman', and when Mary, keeping her temper admirably, rebuked him for his freedom of speech he told her roundly he was God's mouthpiece, as she would know if fret from the bondage of her errors, and no flatterer.

Mary replied that she did not want flattery but to know by what right he interfered in her affairs. The rude answer of Knox was that if the nobles did not realize their duty a plain citizen must teach them. Still cool, Mary ordered him from her presence.

When Parliament rose Mary went to Inverary Castle and stayed there with her half-sister, Jane Stewart, Countess of Argyll, the closest woman friend she had in Scotland after the four Marys. Inverary Castle, on the banks of the Loch Fyne, is in one of the most agreeable situations in the West Highlands. As the chief town in Argyllshire it was the head quarters of Clan Campbell. The old castle has gone; a nineteenth-century mansion has taken its place, but the strange and attractive appearance of the little town, with the broad quays, arched bridges and view over the lake, remains.

Mary stayed several weeks in these peaceful solitudes, proceeded to Glasgow, a small red-roofed town of many spires, the seat of the Lennox Stewarts, then to Kirkcudbright, a town unique in its pleasant and rather odd atmosphere. The Castle where Mary rested stood on the long spit of land known as St. Mary's Isle and was that belonging to the Earl of Selkirk. From there Mary travelled, always on horseback and with a cumbrous train, to Drummond Castle and Glenfinlas The first of these is on the road between Crieff and Edinburgh and part of it is still in repair and inhabited. For strength and majesty it has few equals and the ruins of the superb ancient building, the beauty of the leafy park, the two rich gates leading to the remains of the great fortress, built out of the living rock, and the situation, far from noise and crowds, impress the traveller with a deep sense of grandeur and elegant melancholy.

When Mary stayed there the Castle belonged to the famous family of Drummond and was associated with a gloomy tragedy of which her grandfather, James IV, was the hero.

The Prince was early betrothed to Margaret Tudor but had to wait until she attained the age of sixteen years. Meanwhile he had fallen in love with another Margaret, daughter of the house of Drummond which had already given a Queen to Scot land in the person of Annabella, wife to Robert III. James formed with this lady one of those dubious unions that caused so much bitterness and confusion. She was supposed to be secretly married to him, but he never recognized her as Queen; they lived happily together for fifteen years and then when the Tudor Princess was ready for marriage James was warned he must give up Margaret Drummond. On his refusal, his nobles, who wanted the English union, saw to it that Margaret and her two sisters, her equals in beauty, were poisoned at a meal they took together at Castle Drummond. Two years later

James VI (sic)* married Margaret Tudor, from whom Mary derived her claim to the English throne. When Mary returned to Edinburgh to celebrate her twenty-first birthday she found that in her absence John Knox had incited the citizens to violate the sanctuary of Holyrood. They had broken into the Palace during the celebration of mass, driven the priests from the altar in the private chapel and scattered the members of the Queen's household gathered there. The preacher was summoned to answer for himself in the presence of the Queen and a gathering of notables. Not only had he encouraged the lawless Protestants—he was raising riots against the Judges who were trying the ringleaders of the outrages. The Queen sat at the head of the Council Chamber, Knox at the foot. Maitland, newly returned from England, prosecuted. Mary at once demanded that the charge should be one of high treason, but Patrick, Lord Ruthven, put in rudely 'We think it no treason.' which caused Mary to retort—'Hold your peace and let him answer for himself.'

[* In fact, James IV. ebook editor.]

There was a sharp exchange between the Queen and Knox in which she held her ground and kept her temper admirably. In the end the preacher was pardoned in accordance with the wishes of the Lords. The Queen maintained her silent dignity as Knox, on leaving the chamber, said he would pray for her heart to be purged of Papistry and her councils of flatterers.

Mary assured the anxious Randolph that she was not thinking of a second marriage, but in fact her suitors were many. Among the names mentioned were one of Catherine de Medici's sons, Charles IX and the Duke of Orleans, the Duke of Ferrara, the Prince of Condé, the young Duke of Guise, the Cardinal of Bourbon and the Duke of Norfolk. Maitland continued to favour the ambitious Spanish marriage. He wrote to the King of Spain reciting the beauty, chastity and prudence of Mary, of her property in France, large revenue from her dowry and her mother's property, and of her treasure and jewels 800,000 crowns more. Maitland told Philip II that by such a marriage he could 'with no trouble whatever' make himself master of Scotland, England and Ireland.

The Cardinal of Lorraine had sent an envoy, M. du Croc, to Scotland, to negotiate a marriage with the Archduke Charles, son of the Emperor, but Mary preferred the Spanish match. She was weary of Elizabeth's shifts and evasions and her repeated refusal of an interview, and leaned impatiently towards the project of asserting her rights in England by means of Philip's army. These Spanish negotiations were conducted very secretly. With the most careful precautions the Scots and English Roman Catholics were sounded as to the part they might play in placing Mary on Elizabeth's throne. Maitland received large promises of help, but De Quadra, Bishop of Aguila, the Spanish envoy, died at this delicate point, and despite all his prudence the English agents had already discovered that the Pope and the Cardinal of Lorraine were wishful of giving England as a dowry to Mary and Carlos or the Archduke and, despite the emphatic denials of Maitland, the rumour reached Scotland and gave John Knox a text for one of his violent trumpetings against the Pope, the Cardinal and the Queen. Mary instantly summoned him to Holyrood. He went in his most thunderous mood and found her in a 'vehement fume'.

She told Knox that she had taken much from him and patiently borne his tirades against herself and her uncles, that she had reasoned with him and tried to gain his favour—'And yet I cannot be quit of you. I vow to God I shall be avenged.'

Mary sobbed and wept with exasperation, but John Knox was not moved. He had his usual excuse ready—he was the mouthpiece of God. Mary demanded, interrupting:

'What have you to do with my marriage?' Knox answered that as all her nobles were flatterers he had to point out their duty, and on Mary again angrily asking—'What have you to do with my marriage?' adding—'And what are you in this commonwealth?' the preacher made the answer so popular among the common folk—'A subject born within the same, Madam.'

Erskine of Dunn then tried to coax and flatter Mary, who could not restrain her tears or compose herself, but Knox refused to unbend. He increased the Queen's wrath by likening her weeping to the tears of his own sons when he chastized them and she ordered him from the room. But Knox did not depart without reproving the Queen's ladies who, arrayed in Paris fashions, were in the ante-chamber. He took a grave view of their frivolity, remarked on their trains ('targeted tails') and reminded them of the certain appearance, one day, of 'the knave death'.

In February 1563 the Duke of Guise was assassinated at Orléans, a severe political and personal loss for Mary. The same year saw the death of the Grand Prior, from fatigues and chills taken at the battle of Dreux. The Marquis d'Elboeuf also died young, and in a short time Mary was deprived of all her Guise uncles save the two Cardinals; she still relied entirely on the advice of the first of these, the Cardinal of Lorraine.

Mary's angry interview with Knox was in May. The rest of that summer she spent hunting in Argyllshire and Atholl, filling in the intervals between the chase and the hawking with the amusements and games that so disgusted the Puritans. By September she had returned to Edinburgh. Randolph had arrived from London and she received him not in Holyrood but in Craigmillar Castle, a splendid residence on the outskirts of the capital.

Craigmillar is now a ruin in a built-over area. In Mary's time it was in the open country, far from the foul smells of Edinburgh and the stenches in the small rooms at Holyrood. Craigmillar was once a fortress and had been the scene of the death in captivity of that splendid young athlete John, Earl of Mar, youngest brother of James III—it was difficult for Mary to find a residence in Scotland not associated with some tragedy of the Stewarts. The ruin still has an unusual feature, part of the outer defence standing and one of Mary's rooms is still shown. The ramparts, rising from the rock on which the ruin stands, afford interesting walks; near by is a group of cottages known as Little France and supposed to be named from accommodation once built here for the members of Mary's numerous household who could not find room in the Castle.

Randolph and Mary continued their courteous fencing. Randolph said that the goodwill of Elizabeth depended on Mary making a marriage that would not cause trouble to England. She referred him to Moray and Maitland. He had a secret mission to these advisers of the Queen and that was to propose as Mary's husband Lord Robert Dudley, the man with whom Elizabeth had created so lively a scandal. Elizabeth had already made this proposal to Maitland when he was in England, adding great praise of Dudley 'so dearly prized by herself' and whom if 'she wished to marry she would prefer to all the princes in the world'. Maitland had answered that his Queen would not take away from Elizabeth one whose companionship she so valued, but here was the suggestion again. Maitland thought it a bait to keep Mary off the Spanish marriage. Elizabeth was so set against this that the new Spanish ambassador, De Guzman, thought that Elizabeth would marry Carlos herself rather than see him married to Mary.

Mary became extremely depressed. Fits of melancholy weeping were alternated with long collapses. At Christmas-time (1563) she was very ill with a pain in her side, and once more not expected to live. The problem of her marriage was tearing at her nerves: it seemed impossible either to conciliate Elizabeth and win England that way or to find the means of ousting her by force. Not only were the majority of the Scots against a foreign marriage, Catherine de Medici had become her open enemy and determined to thwart any schemes for a marriage either with one of her own sons or any other French prince—her impossible candidate for Mary's hand was the lunatic Arran.

Finally, after several months in Scotland, Randolph offered Mary Elizabeth's choice—Dudley. Mary was startled, but compromised; she suggested a meeting of Scots and English at Berwick for the summer (1564). Randolph tried once more to arrange an interview between the two Queens, but in vain. Elizabeth wrote to Mary asking that the exiled Lord Lennox and his sons might return to Scotland and Mary gave permission. She went on another (her second) progress to the North, and by September (1564) had returned to Holyrood in better health and spirits. She then sent an accomplished courtier, Sir James Melville, to sound Elizabeth, who wasted his time with crooked courtesies, inquisitive questions and idle conversations about feminine fashions, together with a good deal of coquetry relating to Dudley's picture and the question of her looks and charms compared with those of Mary. As regards the return of Lennox to Scotland she had changed her mind and told Mary so but, despite all the flatteries, Mary wrote a stiff reply stating that Lennox should come home. Melville saw this nobleman and his son, Darnley or Darley, at the investiture of Dudley as the Earl of Leicester where the young man, as nearest Prince of the Blood, bore the sword of honour. Elizabeth pointed him out, asking if Melville did not like him better than Dudley.

Melville spoke slightingly of Darnley, remarking that no woman of spirit would choose one so lusty, beardless and baby-faced who was 'liker a woman than a man'.

There had been several rumours to the effect that Darnley might marry Mary. In his favour he had his royal blood, his descent, his strong claim to the two thrones. A union between him and the Scots Queen would save many dynastic disputes; then, as he was poor and helpless, he could not cause the trouble a foreign prince with foreign armies might. Besides, for all Melville's scorn, Darnley's beauty, grace, height and athletic accomplishments were considered to be much in his favour. He was eighteen years of age and nothing was known. of his character. Elizabeth outdid herself in compliments to Mary, and Leicester, on hearing Mary's rejection of his suit, excused himself very humbly, and put the blame of the impudent proposal on to Cecil, his secret enemy who had made it only to shame him. Melville returned with all this news to Mary who was half persuaded that she had a friend in Elizabeth; but Melville was of the opinion that the English Queen was showing great dissimulation, and acting under fear of losing her kingdom to Mary.

In the autumn (1564) Randolph was ready to arrange the meeting of politicians at Berwick to discuss Mary's marriage. Lennox had reached the Scots Court and was well received; his wife and Darnley were to follow. Moray and Maitland tried to come to some terms with Elizabeth but she, with the help of Cecil, continued to evade them. The King of Spain had withdrawn the offer of the hand of Carlos and Catherine de Medici was still thwarting the Cardinal of Lorraine's effort to marry Mary in France. There seemed, both to the Queen and her advisers, no hope but in the old policy of conciliating Elizabeth and waiting patiently for her death. Mary blandly declared she was entirely in the hands of the English Queen—she might even be willing to take Leicester, if that match would please Elizabeth.

The winter (1564-65) was extremely severe. The sufferings of the poverty-scourged people were terrible; many deadly illnesses became endemic; even Scotland, used to such evils, had never within living memory been so stricken, and never had Mary's Court been merrier.


Illustration

Craigmillar as it appeared in 1782.
Here the pact for the murder of Darnley was drawn up.
Drawn by T. Hearne. Engraved by W. Byrne.


After the Christmas celebrations in Edinburgh the Court went to Fife and Mary lodged in a house built by one Hugh Scrymgeour in St. Andrews. This building is still shown under the name of Queen Mary's House and in it she had several rooms and an oratory looking on to the chapel of St. Leonards. From St. Andrews Mary moved to Wemyss Castle. There Lord Darnley, on his way to see his father at Dunkeld, presented himself. The Queen thought well of him and made civil remarks about his appearance; he had been carefully trained as befitted a prince. He returned from a short visit to his father and travelled south. His first days in Edinburgh were spent in hearing Knox preach, in dining with Moray and Randolph and in dancing a 'galiarde' with the Queen. Everyone liked him for his youth, beauty and fine manners.


Illustration

Henry, Lord Darnley, second husband of Mary Stewart,
with his brother, Charles, father of Arabella Stewart
and married to the daughter of Mary's jailor, Shrewsbury by Eworth.
Reproduced by gracious permission of Her Majesty the Queen


When Mary had given way, in the hopes of pleasing Elizabeth, on the question of the Dudley match she had expected to receive in return the long-coveted acknowledgement of her right as heiress to the English throne; but now (March 1565) Elizabeth, through Randolph, told Mary that if she married Leicester (Dudley) or not, she, Elizabeth, could not even examine Mary's right to the succession until either she, Elizabeth, had decided to marry or to remain single. At this news Mary was bitterly moved and 'wept her fill'. She felt fooled and frustrated, and had difficulty in constraining her disappointment and anger. Maitland gave up trying to come to terms with Elizabeth; he and others thought that Leicester had been offered only to keep other suitors off, and suspicions began to be roused as to Elizabeth's reasons in sending the brilliant Darnley to Mary's Court. Compared with those of her suitors she had seen or heard described, the lunatic Arran, the quasi-imbecile Valois Princes, the crazy Don Carlos, the young Lennox Stewart, English by training, was comely, lively and splendid indeed. He entered with ease and zest into all her sports and pleasures and when, during a stay of the Court at Stirling Castle, he fell ill with measles Mary carefully supervised his nursing.

Elizabeth now recalled Lennox and his son, a move calculated to make Mary retain them, since they were her subjects. Mary's headlong resolve to marry Darnley was now formed; she would not listen to Moray, Maitland or Randolph, all of whom were against the match. Mary's reasons were the hopelessness of waiting either for the Spanish marriage or any decision from Elizabeth, and the advantages Darnley offered as being a Stewart and the next after herself in succession to the crown. She moved rapidly. Charles IX readily agreed, the Cardinal of Lorraine was willing to give way, Philip II promised his protection and added that he would, if occasion rose, help the royal pair to assert their claims to the English throne. But the marriage speedily became unpopular with the Protestant Scots. The Lennox Stewarts, exiles and traitors, had always been disliked and Darnley, once assured of his high fortunes, began to show the immaturity of his character in an arrogance the other Scots Lords found intolerable.

Moray stood out boldly against the marriage. He had several interviews with Mary, stormy on her part, steadfast on his. She accused him of wanting to set the crown on his own head and gave him 'many sore words'. Moray based his objections on Darnley's religion; he had others he was not so plain about. He dreaded seeing Mary and Scotland in the power of this unknown but obviously inexperienced and haughty stripling; this feeling was shared by the Lords.

Randolph reported the intense dislike of the match and of the Queen's behaviour in forcing it—'They think their nation dishonoured, the Queen shamed, their country undone...she is now held in open contempt of her people'.

Mary, on Darnley's behalf, quarrelled with Châtelherault and Argyll. Her behaviour was so reckless that those about her thought she was bewitched. Elizabeth sent an official warning against the marriage and Mary flippantly replied that Elizabeth had objected to all her foreign suitors and Darnley was of the blood royal. However, she promised to stay her hand in granting Darnley further honours (she had already created him Earl of Ross) and to consider 'the man and the matter'.

But she was unable to consider anything. Throckmorton, who had joined Randolph in Scotland, wrote with pain and pity of the Queen, hitherto so wise, so worthy, so honourable, now so lost in transports of love, and predicted that the marriage would bring disaster on both England and Scotland.

Mary, who had had so much, had never had love. She had been tormented about the question of her marriage, thwarted and pestered about her religion, confounded in her politics, and it was inevitable that she should, sooner or later, indulge her longing for tenderness, sympathy, passion, and endeavour to assuage her essential loneliness with a dear companion. Darnley, by coming into her life at this moment, with his beauty, grace and his easy falling into her courtly ways, became the embodiment of her dreams. In her ecstasy she threw aside all restraint, all decorum, all pride, and moved to compassion all who surrounded her. They were embarrassed by this display of naked passion, the more so as Darnley was no ardent lover.

The wilful and wayward boy thought only of ambition and quickly lost his head, outraging all who came near him by his pride and insolence. Once he drew a dagger on a messenger from the Queen, and he took no heed of her entreaties to abate his temper and suspicion. His closest ally in the Court was another hated and despised by the Lords, one David Rizzio, then Mary's French secretary and employed on her correspondence with Spain and France. Melville had already warned Mary that she was showing too much favour to this foreigner but she had put him off lightly and Rizzio continued in his office, one that kept him about the Queen. He was a singer in the chapel of the envoy of the Duke of Savoy, of no particular qualifications, wit, charm or looks, nor did he bear his high office with meekness, but flaunted himself before the high born Lords. Eager to please Mary and to curry favour from the rising star, he now helped on the Darnley marriage by all the means in his power, i.e. backstairs intrigues; but this employment of the low-born Italian dangerously exasperated Moray and Maitland, now out of favour and put aside from Court and counsels.

Excited by her love, Mary defied Elizabeth. She quite well understood that Darnley had been sent to Scotland to degrade her, but that mattered not at all. She had done with all of them, their caution, their advice, their delays, and now she would please herself. Her main excuse for this recklessness was in the person of Darnley; even Randolph noted his 'fair face', others found his presence 'worthy of an emperor', 'a comely prince of a large and fair stature'. For athletic prowess he was considered the first prince of the age; as an expert horseman, tennis player, lutanist and dancer he had all the accomplishments that could take the eye. Despite his arrogance and rages he could assume a soft and insinuating address and all his appointments were magnificent. Elizabeth, with a keen eye for masculine attractions, had judged well when she sent Darnley to Scotland.

So familiar did Darnley become with the Queen that it was rumoured they were married secretly, in April or in July. The banns were proclaimed on the 22nd of July (1565), Darnley, already Earl of Ross, being created Duke of Albany, a royal title that never had fortunate associations for the House of Stewart. Darnley, however, was never known by these two titles, but always referred to as Darnley, or, as he was, on his marriage, proclaimed King (not with the crown matrimonial), the King or King Henry. Mary wished that 'Prince Henry' should be named King during the continuance of the marriage.

There were none of the splendid ceremonies held when she was united to the Dauphin repeated at her second marriage in the chapel of Holyrood House. Mary wore a widow's mourn ing and the spectators were gloomy; it was commonly believed that the bride had been the groom's mistress since some invalid ceremony at Stirling and everyone disapproved of the recent development of her character. Under the influence of her suddenly aroused passion she had shown herself wilful, head strong, ambitious to an extent no one expected in the prudent pupil of the Guises—'All things now grow libertine and the Queen taketh upon her to do as she pleases' noted Randolph, who thought that Moray was a loyal friend to the Queen and would have served her faithfully had she not thrown him over in her infatuation for Darnley. Mary was observed to bear a personal spite against the counsellor to whose advice she had hitherto so gravely listened. It was believed, not only among the Court observers but among the people, that the Protestant Moray had spoken severely to Mary on the subject of Rizzio, giving her that good advice that is always resented. Randolph thought that Moray had 'surprised her secret', which was that she was the mistress of the eager, vivacious and cunning Italian. This suggestion made the Queen, hitherto 'unblemished' in reputation, dishonour herself with a base-born foreigner while indulging a headlong passion for a strange youth. Darnley had his own reasons for wishing to overthrow Moray. Looking at a map of Scotland and seeing all the Church lands Moray possessed, Darnley had said: 'It is too much.' So for this offence alone Moray must go, and with him and Maitland went all the stability, order and prestige of Mary's government.

The beautiful Darnley had come like Asmodeus, the angel of mischief, into Wemyss Castle. The Protestant Lords were already deeply affronted by the favouritism shown to 'Seigneur Davie' (Rizzio) and would not on any account tolerate this Lennox Stewart, despised as a boy, an Englishman (by education) and a haughty upstart. He had no sober adviser, no settled plan of conduct or of politics; his father, Mathew, Earl of Lennox, was a mere opportunist of no ability, his mother was hotly ambitious but prudent and discreet; it was supposed that had she been in Scotland she would have restrained Darnley, who, once he was secure of Mary, played for power and power only, using no judgment, tact, feeling or discretion. It did not need an acute observer to prophesy that if Mary had gone headlong to her marriage, he was going headlong to his doom. When he was proclaimed King at the Mercat Cross only his father cried: 'God save His Grace!'

Mary had begged Melville to show friendship for Rizzio—'hated without reason'. She might have asked the same for her husband, for he was soon as loathed in Scotland as the Italian, his jackal and toady. But Mary was unheeding; she cared nothing for the isolation of her position, the drawing away of the Lords, the offended aloofness of Elizabeth, the fact that even the Cardinal of Lorraine was dubious in his support. When the mourning robes had been unpinned after her marriage and she had stepped from crape veils revealing brilliant holiday attire, she had no longer been the wise, prudent pupil of the Guises whom Throckmorton had held up as an example to Elizabeth Tudor. She had asserted her own character, revealed her own personality. She showed herself as a vindictive, reckless, woman, cunning in small deceit, using duplicity as her only statecraft, and for pleasure, careless of her reputation, impulsive and capable of cruelty and violence. In Darnley she believed she had found her happiness; between them they would carry out the project which she had cherished when she had come home—the scheme of the Guises for a counter-Reformation in Scotland.

Obliged to temporize by proclamations in favour of the Reformers, and even going to the length of listening to an exposition of their doctrines, Mary was secretly dictating letters to Rizzio that assured the Pope of her unfaltering intention to reintroduce Catholicism in Scotland.

The behaviour of the Queen caused John Knox to be regarded with redoubled awe as a prophet, a wizard, a man of God. Mary and her crew were behaving as he had always grimly foretold they would behave and bringing on Scotland those disasters—including civil war—he had always foreseen. Her perilous position was observed with relish by the preacher; he had never ceased to fight against her with every weapon on which he could lay his hand She did not deceive him; without any knowledge of European politics he guessed her design to follow the lessons of the Guises. He had sensed the force of Philip II behind the Spanish marriage project, he guessed that 'Seigneur Davie' was secretly writing to the Pope, he noted the foolish marriage, the character of Darnley, the reaction of the Lords and the people; he continued to prophesy disaster.

Nor was he the only gloomy augur. Randolph, viewing the new King, remarked: 'It is greatly to be feared he can have no long life among this people.' The Englishman found Darnley 'proud, disdainful and suspicious', while the Queen continued to behave 'without princely majesty or fear of God'. Mary's luxury was even more unbounded than before. The 'merriment' was considered scandalous. Witchcraft was openly spoken of, the crystal ornaments exchanged between members of the Queen's household were known to be charms, the toys that Mary loved passed from hand to hand in extravagant profusion; and when she and her friends played at billiards, watches, rings and brooches were the stakes. Lennox gave Mary a jewel notable even among her collection. There were also curious gifts to the four Marys; the seven hundred pounds he had brought from England was spent in this way; and the returned exile thus tried to bribe his way back into favour.

Knox never ceased to keep a hard eye on these, to him, not only wasteful but unholy junketings. He pointed to such episodes as the public hanging of one of the Queen's French servants, who had murdered her love-born child, as evidence of the corruption of the Queen's Court, and hinted at worse horrors taking place in Holyrood than illicit intrigues. This episode was the basis of a very famous ballad, 'Mary Hamilton', that greatly smirched the Queen's Marys, all of them above reproach, by altering names and dates. There was no 'Mary Hamilton', 'Mary Carmichael', among these ladies, nor was there 'a King' when the servant was hanged (1563), but the beautiful verse was extremely popular and not easily detected as a libellous pasquinade. The Protestants constantly put about such attacks on the Queen and her following. As the ballads were sung they reached a public that could neither read nor write and who had no means of checking the names of those about the Court.

In the summer of her second marriage Mary glittered with a feverish brilliance; she had had her own way and the Protestant Lords had fled before her. In the midst of the rumours of plots and counter-plots she kept her head; her intention was to show a strong front. Hatred was between her and the Lords, a hatred not always there with Moray, not there with Maitland who regarded her diminished beauty, her uneasiness under bravado, her reckless gaiety, with compassion. The worst of her misfortunes was that Darnley did not love her; he regarded her with no more than a gust of liking soon ended. To Mary, used from early childhood to praise, to the hyperbole of Ronsard and Marot, to the flatteries of the Guises, to the chivalrous adoration of such men as Chastelard, Darnley had nothing to offer. To him she was not an object of either passion or tender regard. He had one strong trait—ambition; for the rest, he was interested in the athletics and games in which he excelled.

Soon after their marriage he was defiant to Mary, as violent, as reckless, as headstrong as she had become for his sake. He showed no gratitude for what his marriage had done for him. Not satisfied with the law title of King, he wanted the crown matrimonial; it was the most poignant aspect of Mary's dilemma that her impetuous passion had been roused by this shallow, immature youth. Bothwell resigned his position as Captain of the Scots Guard in Paris, returned to Scotland and waited in his Border castle; he had received an invitation from the Queen. Mary asked Darnley to wait until he was twenty-one years of age before he was made legally King but 'he, in no case, would have it deferred one day and either then or never'. Mary had few men to rely upon in the approaching crisis; to the husband, to the Italian, she had added 'the lewd minded Bothwell, crazy with ambition'.

On hearing of an alleged plot to kidnap herself and Darnley, and that Moray was implicated, Mary asked him to return to Edinburgh with eighty friends, to clear himself. On his refusal he was 'put to the horn'—this meant a state of civil war. Mary decided to make a throw for complete power. She put Bothwell in command of her armies, she called up her lieges to fight for her, she proceeded with determination and force, she thwarted Darnley by giving the Border command to Bothwell instead of to Lennox. By September (1565) she had driven the discontented Lords from pillar to post in 'the chase about raid'. In vain they had appealed to Elizabeth who disliked Mary's behaviour but did not approve of rebellion. Rizzio increased in favour with Mary, to the scandal even of her well-wishers. She showed herself vindictive; she wanted revenge for all her mother and herself had endured at the hands of the Lords. In particular she wanted revenge on Moray for daring to meddle in her love affairs. She pardoned the Earl of Huntly and promised him his estates again; he marched with her from Edinburgh to meet the rebels at Dumfries. Mary wore scarlet and gold over mail, a steel helmet and carried pistols. Darnley also wore armour. The rest of the army were without mail, in 'jacks'. Mary had but one woman with her and had pawned some of her jewels to pay the troops, but she had written a haughty letter to Elizabeth on the subject of the English Border raids and the harbouring of 'the traitors'.

Everyone remarked on her gallant bearing, her courage, her boldness, her personal hatred of Moray; 'here is the mischief, here is the grief' wrote Randolph, who noted sadly that 'a more wilful woman and none more wedded to her own opinion without reason, order or discretion, I never did know or hear of. He observed also that Mary had all the most despised of the Scots with her, men 'so ill spoken of that worst cannot be thought than is common in men's mouths'.

Cornered at Dumfries the rebels escaped into England where Moray was publicly rebuked by Elizabeth, who sent the usual false protestations of friendship to Mary. Philip II sent money to help Mary but the ship was wrecked off the English coast and the bullion seized by the Earl of Northumberland, who kept it, despite claims by England and Scotland.

In this energetic, spirited and successful assault on the rebel Lords Mary visited several places that, although they contain nothing of her time, have still something of the aspect they wore in the sixteenth century. As they are easily reached they may well be included in the itinerary of the traveller following Mary of Scotland across, up and down, about and along her native country. Such a journey will show how frequently, how rapidly, she moved and how short a time she stayed in each place.

Although it was August (1564) when the Queen left Edinburgh, the weather was wild and the ways foul. The march over the rough tracks was difficult and often dangerous; even Knox admired 'the man-like courage of the Queen', who rode foremost. The first stop was at Callendar in the lovely valley of the Treith, still unspoiled and a convenient gateway to the Trossachs. Here, at Callendar House, Mary issued her proclamation stating her movements and, after one night, moved into Kilsyth, many of her soldiers deserting by reason of the roughness of the ways. But the main body pushed on to Glasgow, stronghold of Darnley's father, next to St. Andrews, then to Stirling, which she reached on the 30th September (1564). Dundee and Perth stood out for the Lords; if Mary had had the means she would have sacked the former city, but she was in want of money and Dundee was let off with a fine. St. Andrews and Perth also paid levies. But the Lords had no money at all, nor any arms; when Mary was at Dumfries they were already at Newcastle.

Mary left a strong body of men under Bothwell at Dumfries and returned by Lochmaben to Edinburgh in the middle of October with a hundred and forty horse. Her progress had been most disorderly, the men unwilling and untrained. They pillaged as they went, and a small body of disciplined troops could have easily dispersed them. They were triumphant because they had never been opposed.

Dumfries is a most attractive place—Queen of the South—and not looking now like a setting for the bold, vindictive Mary at the head of her ragged army. A ruin then marked the site of the Grayfriars Monastery where Robert the Bruce had murdered Red Comyn; now there is a church, but the atmosphere of cobbled streets, narrow and twisting, of grey houses, is the same, especially on a day of tempest and rain. The country about is sombre and melancholy, little changed from the days when the Lords fled from Mary's floundering troops.

When the Queen returned to Edinburgh her affairs seemed in good trim. Her direct action, her example of personal stead fastness, the wavering policies of Elizabeth, had made her mistress of Scotland. She had no open opposition to face, no tutelage to fear. The wise counsellors, the prudent supporters were defeated. Moray, the object of her hatred, was a ruined man, a supplicant at the English Court; Châtelherault, first Prince of the Blood, submitted and went into exile. Moray, Argyll, Glencairn, Rothes, Ochiltree, Boyd, Kirkcaldy of Grange and other of the Lords were summoned from the Market Cross to appear before Parliament and answer for their faults, and in March (1566) only Morton, the false Puritan, with a foot in either camp, remained in Mary's Council. For the rest, she had at last her own choice, Darnley, Bothwell, Rizzio, all men hated by the people, condemned by the mighty Knox, all men of whom no good had ever been said. Mary's habits changed. There were no more Latin readings with Buchanan; the famous scholar left the Court in disdain. There were no more studies of history or serious books; the Queen's handsome and well-furnished library was neglected. All she did of business lay in the French and Italian letters Seigneur Davie wrote when they were closeted together in her little apartments at Holyrood; letters written to the Pope, to Philip II, to the Cardinal of Lorraine, to any who might help her to gain the English throne and re-establish Catholicism in the British Isles.

That winter (1565-66) was the climax of Mary's political career and of her personal life. Outwardly she seemed secure, victorious, mistress at last of her own fortunes, married to a man of about her own age and choice, with claims next to hers to the English throne, a man as beautiful, strong and brilliant as her first husband had been plain, feeble and dull, and that winter it was known that she would have a child the following summer, the long-awaited heir who might unite the two kingdoms.

This, then, may be a proper moment for pausing to regard with some philosophical detachment Mary's stay and in particular her position in this winter when she was 'merry making' in Holyrood, twenty-four years of age and in the ascendant. A visit to the miniature Palace in the winter, a clear twilight with snow fallen but not flying, will afford a fitting scene for the background of these thoughts. If it is possible to enter the Park a fine view of the Palace and ruined chapel, dark against the whitened hills, will give a clear idea of what Mary's most famous dwelling looked like when her story was played out there. By this light the alterations the centuries have brought are not noticeable. The deer park seems to stretch indefinitely. Arthur's seat, with the suggestion of the couchant lion, rises majestically into a sombre sky. Fences, low bushes, a mass of small houses, cottages and hovels form the sanctuary where the rabble of Edinburgh took shelter. Further on, the Canon's quarters are round the entrance to the grounds and through them is the main street of Edinburgh, 'the royal mile' that leads to Knox's house in the High Street, past St. Giles, through the Lawnmarket to the Castle on the rock. Holyrood Road, also branching from the Park, leads to the Cowgate, the Grassmarket to the West Port. This roughly accounts for the whole of Mary's capital. When she went to Leith, to play golf or shoot at the butts on the sands, she would take a country track (now Calton Road) and reach Leith Street, riding over the open fields.

Now this would be a melancholy visit, for the Palace is (save rarely) closed and remains a black outline, set, defenceless, in the ancient Augustine territory. But in this famous winter of 1565-66 all the windows would be lit, smoke would be rising from the clustered chimney pots and a glow of colour would come from the monks' chapel where the Stewart Kings lay buried. There would be the continual sound of music; not only did Mary have a band of trained musicians of rare quality, she played herself, delicately, on the virginals. Darnley was an expert lutanist and Rizzio a professional singer with a rich bass voice.

If we could—a time-honoured game—when musing here, this winter night, enter Holyrood and find it as it was four hundred years ago we should come upon a scene of crowded luxury impossible to exaggerate in the description.

The greater part of Mary's treasure was housed here; all the small rooms and galleries were hung with tapestries, mostly of silk, gold and silver thread, cloth of the same material covered the floors, the heavy furniture was golden oak, not yet blackened, and the ornaments, vases, mirrors, candelabra and paintings were of costly materials and curious workmanship. Curtains of Venetian damask or cut velvet hung at the windows and round the beds; even the servants' quarters were finely furnished. As the Court was so often absent from Holyrood it was frequently cleaned and therefore fairly free of objectionable stenches, but everywhere were perfumes even to essences scattered on the logs of the wood fires. The Queen's immense wardrobe was hung in great presses, her jewels were kept in huge chests. She had a bath-house where she tended her beauty, lately so haggard, with lotions, unguents and creams, all carefully compounded by her private apothecary. In her tiring room her perukes were set on stands. In the laundry were piles of the lawn, cambric, lace and gauze garments she wore once only before the deft Frenchwomen re-starched, goffered and ironed them. There was a cabinet of sweetmeats and another for the Queen's embroideries, for she found a nervous release in sorting the colours of the knotted silks and in stitching the designs drawn by the Court draughtsman. Everything she touched was rare, costly and chosen by an exquisite and luxurious taste; everyone about her was gorgeously dressed. Even the low-born knave Davie went clad in the Queen's lavish gifts; on her marriage she had given him yards of satin, brocade and damask. She had presented him with jewels from her unrivalled store.

This Palace, so dark outside, set in the lovely, sombre park, backed by the remote, melancholy mountains, had an interior like a box of spice and gems; the contrast to the town, a crowded mass of houses, desecrated churches, convents and monasteries, the rough market places, the rude shops, the causeways packed with hawkers, the vast Castle on the rock, was poignant. More emphatic still was the contrast with the rest of Scotland, so wild, so remote from Europe, so sparsely populated, so sombre in landscape, so gloomy in weather. The desperate imitation of French Court life, the attempt to revive the glories of Fontainebleau, Joinville or Chenonceaux in Scotland was gallant and touching, but, against the character of the country and the temper of the people, it was doomed to a terrible failure.

Why were all these people, young, brilliant, fortunate, going headlong to their doom? They had had their lessons; the Tudor education was superb. They had heard of Nemesis; the priests had warned them 'vanity of vanities'—they had many fearful examples before them. Yet we are told they were all 'crazed with ambition'. It is not easy to understand this same ambition. Why did Mary, twice a queen, exhaust herself scheming for a third throne? Why did Darnley, extremely lucky to be so 'perked up' in his early youth, risk all to gain further honour? Why did Bothwell, already one of the great ones of his own country, long to be greater still? They all desired absolute power, yet they knew the history of kings and queens, regents and rulers. None of them had a settled policy like Elizabeth, whose ambition was guided by Cecil and other steadfast men and bound up with the very existence of England, a poor, struggling country, or like Maitland or Moray, whose aim was the union of North and South. Mary wanted her religion supreme but only in order that she might reign over three kingdoms. She never considered if the ancient Faith suited the Scots or the English; she took no warning from the murder of Cardinal Beaton, the murder of the Duke of Guise, the dangerous defiance of that dangerous man, Knox. And what was it to be King—to be Queen? To have the cringing of underlings, the finest palaces, retinues, houses, hunting parks, garments, jewels, to go on progresses and receive gifts, to have the power of life, death, banishment—these are childish wishes. They represent a very crude conception of the power of the Prince of the Air, but they were, in these mid years of the sixteenth century, irresistible lures for Mary and the men she had drawn into her circle.

The lives of the Stewart Kings had been 'nasty, brutish and short'; they had—most of them—died by horrid violence, yet here was this young woman, their descendant, who might, in retirement, have enjoyed all the delights of civilization, exerting every nerve to be a third time Queen. It was indeed like an enchantment; the ignus fatuus danced over perilous swamps where all, even life itself, might be lost. None of those in Holyrood that winter day heeded prudence or even common sense. They engaged in a struggle for a phantom power with a deep ferocity, at first concealed but soon to be most horribly revealed.

Mary continued to favour 'Davie', who came to be the chief influence at her Court. His whilom patron Darnley, who had found him so useful as a go-between, soon turned against him and his exactions. It was insolence meeting insolence; the Prince and titular King, himself intolerably haughty, found the airs of the upstart plebeian foreigner insufferable; he echoed Moray in asking Mary to get rid of the man. Mary refused. Her passion had speedily exhausted itself, and she preferred the company of the Italian, who was suave, flattering, adroit, useful, interested in her views, eager in her service, to the royal youth who, once he was sure of her, was hardly civil, spending his time away from her save when he was pestering for the crown matrimonial.

Throckmorton, seeing that Scotland was sinking under this frivolous and unstable government, advised the recall of the banished Lords. Elizabeth did not want anarchy in the North. Rizzio, the all-powerful favourite, began 'to mell' in the matter, considering that a friend like Moray might be useful. Moray wrote to him privately, sending a fine diamond, offering friendship. Darnley also turned to the man he had helped to drive into exile, saying he would assist Moray to return if Moray would assist him to the crown matrimonial, and at the same time he schemed with his father, Lennox. The watchful Randolph thought they wanted to seize the crown for themselves, 'to cut the throat' of Rizzio and 'dispose' of Mary. This was in February (1566). He wrote that the young husband believed she was 'false' with the Italian. She had been (publicly) married seven months and Darnley had been the object of a vehement passion that had scandalized Europe. The Queen who had been so 'unblemished' had very rapidly lost her reputation, both as Queen and woman. Darnley's ready suspicions were partly due to her own extreme easiness with himself and the fact that he had never loved her or even descried her; save for her possession of the crown she did not interest him in the least.

On the 12th of March the Lords were due in Edinburgh to purge themselves of the crime of Lèse Majesté. Darnley had new grievances against his wife; she had had an iron stamp made with his signature so that she need not show him State papers and she would not settle his revenues; the Lords were conferring with Cecil and agreeing that there must he a blow at 'the root of things'—David Rizzio; Lennox did his worst to inflame his son against the Italian who was rumoured to be going to receive the Chancellorship taken from Morton, Moray's friend.

Even the French envoy sent to her kin in France scandalous stories of her conduct, and Randolph committed himself to the statement that her coming child, if male, would be 'a son of David'. As it was obviously not to the interest of the Lennox faction that this child should be a son of David, Darnley must have believed this tale; the husband of a year's standing was prepared to repudiate his wife's infant. He entered into a 'Bond' or 'Band' in which he gave as reason for conspiring against Mary his conviction that Rizzio was her lover. Those with whom Darnley made this Band were the rebellious Lords, the men whom he had the most cause to fear and hate. As the price for murdering Rizzio the group were to be pardoned; they were also to assist Darnley to the crown matrimonial. The Band was signed on March 1st and a week later the English envoys (Bedford, Governor of Berwick, had joined Randolph) knew of it and reported it to England, together with the reports that Mary's affair with the Italian was common property and was not held as any ordinary lapse, since the circumstances were considered atrocious. The unrestrained passion for Darnley, indulged regardless of prudence, followed by such a swift revulsion and a liaison flaunted before Scotland was held to be behaviour beyond pardon. Nor was it to go unpunished. Rizzio was to be slain in Mary's presence in the hope that both she and her child might perish from the shock, or she, if she survived, be for ever shamed.

Meanwhile the festivities at Holyrood were enlivened by the marriage of Bothwell with Jane Gordon, sister to the Earl of Huntly newly taken into favour by Mary, and to John Gordon, hacked to death by Mary's orders and in her presence at Inverness. Huntly had turned Protestant but Jane Gordon remained a Catholic, and the marriage took place in the old church of Holyrood, in the Canongate, then used by the Protestants, for Bothwell would not stomach the mass in the royal chapel. The Queen had made the match and she gave the twenty-year-old bride, whose family she had ruined, a handsome wedding gown. Bothwell, who had had so many amorous entanglements, was a little, at least, in love with Jane Gordon; she cared nothing for display and wrote poetry.

Rizzio, while ignorant of the Band formed against him, was yet nervous. He stayed very late in the Queen's closet and sometimes passed the night, for safety's sake, in 'the outer closet' so that he did not have to go through the gardens after dark to his own wing. Sometimes he slept in his brother Guiseppe's cabinet, sometimes in his own. He had back doors, back windows and staircases always open ready for an escape. But he abated nothing of his insolence and Mary nothing of her favouritism. It was estimated that she had given him twenty thousand pounds' worth of jewels, clothes and gold. The Lords began to be suspicious of Darnley; he was too immature, violent and fickle for their liking They drew up another Band, in order to protect themselves against a youth they despised. With a keen insight into character they believed that Darnley might be, after the murder, won by Mary's blandishments to betray them, his fellow conspirators, and this second Band that they induced Darnley to sign was an undertaking on his part to protect and stand by them if the conspiracy was discovered, or, after the murder had been accomplished.


Illustration

View of Glasgow as it appeared in Mary's time.
Illustration from an old book. Draughtsman and engraver unknown.


Darnley wished to have Rizzio slain in his wife's presence and this was decided upon, though the Lords thought the proceeding brutal. Darnley drew up the plan of the murder and the second Band was signed March 1st (1565). Mary had for some time suspected that there was some mischief afoot and had tried to coax the truth out of Darnley, but her husband had resisted her 'subtle means' and daily urged on Lord Ruthven, always Mary's enemy and one of the chief conspirators, to take action. He added the threat that if Rizzio was not soon disposed of he, Darnley, would slay him himself, even in the Queen's chamber.


Illustration

The Regent Moray by Hans Eworth.
By gracious permission of the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Moray.


Randolph was not in Edinburgh at this crisis, having been banished to Berwick, where he had joined Bedford, Governor of that town, for his secret dealings with the banished Lords.

On March 9th (1565) Mary was seated at supper with a party of friends in the small closet next to her bedroom. This closet is in one of the tourelles of the north-west tower, that overlooking the park; the closet in the other tourelle served as a dressing room. The tower itself formed the bedroom; beyond was the audience chamber where the Queen had received John Knox, and beyond that the galley, or enfilade rooms, leading to the entrance to the chapel royal. Part of this chamber is in the main building and gives into a lobby that has an entrance into the inner courtyard. Immediately below these rooms were those occupied by Darnley; these communicated with the bedchamber of the Queen by means of a private well staircase. The supping closet is about twelve feet by twelve, or was then. The staircase could easily be defended by one person, as it was not possible for a full-grown, armed man to use it when in an upright position. The Queen and her friends therefore felt secure and the door to the bedroom and the little door to the staircase were not bolted. Supper was served on a flap table held to the wall. Candles were lit. The guests were Jane Stewart (who had recently divorced her husband, Archibald, Earl of Argyll), Robert Stewart, her brother and half-brother to the Queen, Arthur Erskine of Grange, considered by Knox 'the most pestilent Papist in the realm', who was Master of Mary's household, the Lord High Steward, Robert Beaton, Earl of Creich and David Rizzio. These six people almost filled the closet.

Darnley entered the bedroom by the private staircase, came into the closet and took a seat beside his wife. Immediately behind him came Lord Ruthven, a sick man, but in armour and carrying a drawn sword. On the Queen's demanding his errand, he replied that no harm was intended to her but only to 'that poltroon David'. Mary asked what was the Italian's fault and Ruthven referred her to her husband, but Darnley merely said: 'I know nothing of the matter.'

The three men at Mary's table rose and advanced on Ruthven, but he held them off with his sword, while Mary spread out her skirts and stood in front of David, who hid behind her. But Darnley, putting his arms round her waist, dragged her aside and the conspirators, who had pressed into the closet from the bedroom, seized the shrieking Italian and forced him through the audience room into the lobby. They had intended to hang him publicly, but once he was in their power they could not restrain their violence and stabbed him to death. After he had been dispatched with fifty-six wounds they threw him out of the lobby window into the courtyard. The porter took the body into his lodge, stripped it and laid it on a chest, remarking: 'This was his first bed when he came here and here he lies again, a very ingrate and misknowing knave.'

The Queen sent a chamber woman to inquire what had become of Rizzio, and on learning that he was dead, and that the messenger had seen him dead, she ceased sobbing and said: 'No more tears; I shall think upon revenge.' After this she became calm.

There were twenty conspirators, all of whom had helped in the murder. Morton, who had been in Mary's confidence, but who was Moray's man, and Lindsay held the gates of Holyrood with five hundred followers and the Queen was in considerable danger of arrest, or of her life. Some of her supporters, including Bothwell, Huntly, Atholl, Caithness and Sutherland, hearing the tumult, rushed out, and engaged in skirmishes with Morton's men in the courtyard. They were first beaten off, then spoken fair. At a meeting in Bothwell's rooms in the Palace Ruthven talked over these Queen's men, assuring them that the murder was by the King's (Darnley's) command and that the banished Lords would be in Edinburgh by daybreak. Bothwell and Huntly, however, did not feel secure, and as soon as Ruthven had left them escaped by a low window from the Palace and fled through the garden.

By now the city had been roused. The alarm bell was ringing, and a crowd of armed men, the Provost leading them, came to the Palace outer court by flambeau light. Without giving Mary a chance to appeal for help Darnley appeared at one of the windows and bid the crowd disperse, adding that he and the Queen were both safe. Ruthven returned to the Queen's chamber and found her still bitterly quarrelling with her husband. She was already exaggerating the atrocity of the deed, declaring that a pistol had been thrust into her side and that the daggers intended for Rizzio had passed over her shoulder and even been held at her throat. She added that if she or her child perished Ruthven should answer for it, and asked the ferocious noble why he conspired with Moray, who was his enemy, then reminded him that he, Ruthven, had once given her a diamond that was an antidote against poison, yet now he would have her life another way. Ruthven took this up, remarking that he did not believe in magic and the ring had been merely to quiet the Queen's fears. He noticed that Mary was 'weary' and drew away 'the King and all his company'.

Before her husband left her Mary asked him where his dagger was; he answered he did not know. It was sticking in David Rizzio's side. This dagger was that beautiful and costly weapon with the sapphire in the head, listed in Mary's inventory as once belonging to her father.

After a restless night Darnley again went to his wife's room and the fierce recriminations began again 'one grating on the other for two hours'. It was Sunday morning. Darnley sent his proclamations dispersing the Lords gathered for the Parliament, to be read at the Mercat Cross, and soon after Moray and 'the banished Lords' arrived at Holyrood, where he received them thankfully. Mary greeted Moray with affection; he was moved by her forlorn position and excused himself from any knowledge of the murder of Rizzio. The conspirators feared the Queen might try to escape from the Palace as many women were passing in and out. To satisfy them Darnley ordered that no one was to leave Holyrood muffled or masked.

During that Sunday the high words between Darnley and his wife ceased; they were shut in her chamber and the Lords feared a reconciliation between the royal pair. When Darnley appeared the Lords warned him to be careful as to 'what action' he took; and in order to keep a watch on him Ruthven slept in the King's closet. Mary was expecting her husband in her chamber but he fell heavily asleep until six o'clock on the Monday morning. He then went up to the Queen's room, where he found her on her bed, feigning sleep. When she roused he pleaded for the pardon of the banished Lords. As he had dissolved Parliament they could not appear to answer the charge of treason on March 12th. Mary seemed to be placated and even to have forgotten the murder of Rizzio. Darnley went out into the audience chamber and very merrily told his fellow conspirators this good news, but they reminded him that Mary had been bred in the French Court and was well versed in affairs of intrigue. Darnley then returned to his wife and argued with her for another two hours; when he left her he blithely assured Ruthven and Lindsay 'that all was well and the Queen would forgive them'. They were still unsatisfied and the bickerings continued until dinner-time, when Mary sent for her doctor and midwife. Both told Darnley that his wife would have a miscarriage unless moved to fresher air. The Lords dismissed this as a trick, but Darnley swore that Mary was 'a true princess' and that he would stake his life on her keeping her word.

In the afternoon Darnley took Moray, Morton and Ruthven into the Queen's audience room. She received them graciously and said she would give them all the security they asked for, adding that she was 'never blood thirsty or greedy'. She took Moray by an arm, and Darnley by an arm, and walked up and down the room while the articles pardoning the Lords were engrossed for her signature. Ruthven was disgusted. He repeatedly told Darnley that it was all a deceit and that Mary meant to escape, taking her husband with her. Darnley as repeatedly offered his word that he and his wife were to be trusted. The conspirators, Ruthven still protesting, left Holyrood for Earl Morton's house, where they had supper. When they had eaten they sent Archibald Douglas back to the Palace to ask if Mary had signed the articles. Darnley replied that she had gone to bed, feeling unwell, and would sign in the morning.

Mary then sent for Maitland and asked that the guards might be removed. Always courteous and considerate, he obeyed. Mary attired herself in a riding habit and met Darnley in her antechamber. She had already persuaded him that the conspirators were really his enemies and that his sole hope lay with her; she now reminded him again of the hatred and likely vengeance of Moray, and Darnley urged their instant flight. He had already arranged with Arthur Erskine, the Captain of the Guard, to have horses at the postern gate of the Palace. There husband and wife hastened through the darkened corridors and the wine cellar, passing through the vaults of the chapel royal and the graveyard where Rizzio had been hastily interred. It was a cold but calm night. Two horses were waiting. Captain Erskine rode one, with the Queen mounted behind him holding on to his leather belt, while Darnley mounted the other.

The party of three rode for five hours across country, past the sands of Leith, along the coast to Musselburgh, then inland to Haddington and then on to Dunbar on the coast. Mary and her husband went directly to the Castle, one of the most strongly fortified in Scotland. She was ill and exhausted, yet had already written a cool account of Rizzio's murder to Archbishop Beaton, her ambassador in Paris and her loyal friend, and to Charles IX and Catherine de Medici. This skilful account was for publication, intended to put her own case and to cast odium on the Lords. She enlivened it with personal touches—Lady Argyll snatched up a candle, the supper fell when the flap table was knocked down. She wrote without seeming emotion in a collected manner as she emphasized the danger that she and her child had been in. She did not even hint at any indiscretion of her own that might have hastened the doom of David Rizzio. Well she knew how to put a gloss on the behaviour that had provoked the murder. Ruthven, a dying man, wrote another account of the death of the Italian contradicting Mary in many details, while in Holyrood the servants were trying to rub the bloodstains out of the floor boards in the antechamber.

Once safely in Dunbar, Mary behaved as Ruthven had predicted: she threw off the disguise with which she had gained sufficient time to win over her husband and issued a ban of fire and sword against Morton, Lindsay, Ruthven and their accomplices. She called her subjects to arms and ordered them to gather at Haddington, and sent to the Captain of Edinburgh Castle to close the town unless the Lords departed. The conspirators fled into England. John Knox, heartily approving of the murder of Rizzio, departed into Ayrshire. Lord Semphill, who had hurried to Dunbar with the unsigned articles, was dismissed without the Queen's signature.

It was not Darnley alone who had contrived the difficult escape from Holyrood. Bothwell and his brother-in-law Huntly had had a hand in it. Mary was deeply grateful, particularly to Bothwell. She wrote to Archbishop Beaton of his boldness and resource; she would, she declared, never forget this service. Bothwell, excellent at escapes, had promised to get Mary out of Holyrood, if he had to lower her out of a window with ropes and a basket.

The Queen remained five days in the great fortress of Dunbar and increased her influence over her husband, using adroit cajoleries; 'he [Darnley] is known to be a fool', Randolph had written. She persuaded him to swear that he had known nothing of the Rizzio murder. This was to save her honour, which would have been tarnished had it been publicly believed that her husband had thought she had a lover; she wished the crime to have a political colour only. By this betrayal of the Lords, who possessed his two Bands, one for the murder, the other to hold them scatheless, Darnley inevitably decided his own fate.

On her return to Edinburgh Mary did not go back to the bloodstained rooms of Holyrood but lodged at the Earl of Home's house, lately owned by the Bishop of Dunkeld, in the High Street, near the Salt Tron. She had many thousand armed men with her, the result of her call to muster at Haddington. Her position was now triumphant; with skill and boldness she consolidated her success. The Lords had departed from Edinburgh, there being no one to hear them when they came to answer to the charge of treason on March 12th. Many detached themselves from the conspirators. She pardoned Morton and Argyll on condition they kept from the Court; she was gracious to Moray and asked his help against the murderers—which he refused to give; she was friendly towards Maitland, who had connived at the crime but also at her escape from Holyrood; she kept on good terms with as many of the neutral Lords as she could and she persuaded her husband to issue a proclamation in which he vowed 'on his honour, fidelity and word of a prince' that he knew nothing of 'any part of the late treasonable conspiracy, whereof he is slanderously accused'. Mary felt that her honour was saved by this championship; the conspirators retorted by sending her copies of the two Bands that Darnley had signed. She remained cool and pleasant; she was acting as Ruthven had advised: 'The more Your Grace shall show yourself offended, the world will judge the worst.' Mary did not appear offended.

The Queen was resolved to save the appearances of which hitherto she had been so reckless and to safeguard the birthright of her child. She affected to be on cordial terms with her husband and to regard the Rizzio murder as a purely political affair, but she had his body removed secretly to the interior, where it was reinterred between the tombs of her father and his first wife, Magdalene de Valois. This was speedily known in Edinburgh and increased the scandal that, despite Darnley's declaration, gathered round the Queen. Her one-time tutor, George Buchanan, joined the most vehement of her detractors. Captain Carew, the English secret agent, reported the affair to Randolph and Bedford in Berwick. Randolph, sending a dispatch to London based on Carew's report, mentioned the base and foolish treachery of Darnley, who had 'utterly forsaken' his fellow conspirators, even giving the Queen a list of their names, among them that of Maitland. Mary had ordered him to Inverness and given his lands to Bothwell, Randolph wrote; he added details, picked up in Edinburgh, that helped to tarnish Mary's credit. The chamber of the murdered man had been raided and found to be packed with the Queen's gifts; gossip said two thousand pounds in gold had been discovered, much armour, twenty-two swords and fourteen pairs of velvet hose; there were many jewels that he had worn 'hanging about his neck'. Carew had reported that when the Italian was murdered he was wearing a damask nightgown, furred (a chamber robe), a satin doublet and hose of russet velvet. Soon after Randolph wrote this letter from Berwick, Ruthven, having given his own long account of the murder, died (in the Border town) of the internal inflammation that had long afflicted him.

Persistently trying to save her honour, Mary had written from Dunbar a bold letter to Elizabeth, describing the murder of 'our most special servant' and her own dangers and fatigues. This letter was, in fact, a warning that Mary would not tolerate any further English support of her rebellious subjects. Elizabeth did not wish to do this; she thought the Scots were showing an evil example in their constant rebellions and she expressed disgust at the murder. If she had been in Mary's place, she declared, she would have snatched Darnley's dagger and 'used it on him'

Elizabeth was herself vexed by many troubles and in bad health; she was still debating the question of her marriage and much concerned at the rumour of a Catholic League to stamp out Protestantism which she feared Mary had joined. Guided by Cecil, her policy was still 'fast and loose'. Bedford reported that Mary, seeing a picture of Elizabeth in Edinburgh and being told it was the Queen of England, had answered 'No—I am the Queen of England.' The position between the two women was what it had been when Mary had quartered the English arms; jealousy, mistrust, dislike raged between them under cover of fair words and diplomatic courtesies.

Elizabeth's fears were not groundless. If there was no Catholic League, Pius V was anxious to form one. Mary sent the Bishop of Dunblane to Rome; the Cardinal of Lorraine sent an envoy to Scotland; one Italian Bishop suggested a massacre of all the Scottish Protestants; the Pope sent Mary twenty thousand crowns with words of praise. On Elizabeth's side were more sympathetic compliments and another courtier, Sir Robert Melville, to bring Mary assurances of the English Queen's countenance and friendship Ignoring ugly gossip, Elizabeth took a dignified tone and supported the woman she affected to regard as outraged by sending warnings both to Darnley and Moray to be circumspect in their dealings with their sovereign lady. Mary sent a grateful letter to Elizabeth April 4th (1565) and kept up appearances with Darnley. But Bothwell was 'all in all' at her Court, and on April 29th she made Rizzio's brother, Guiseppe, her private secretary. But she showed some prudence; she declined the Italian scheme for a massacre of the Protestants and she went through a form of reconciliation with Moray, the strong, cool, able counsellor. She wished to have him, as well as her husband, on her side at the birth of her child.

The places associated with the movements of Mary at this crisis are, after Holyrood, Dunbar, where the once massive Castle is a ruin; Seton, a small town and port not far from Preston Pans where Mary paused to change horses on her flight; and Haddington, where her lieges mustered after her call from Dunbar. Haddington, the native town of John Knox, was chiefly known for the ancient Franciscan monastery and church, once named 'the lamp of Lothian'. A comfortable market town, in the midst of pleasant country, Haddington is somewhat featureless. Near is Lennoxlove, once Maitland's early home; the background of the town is formed by the southern declines of the Lammermuirs and the northern range of the Garleton hills. Though the route is not, in itself, of any particular interest it is an unusual journey to follow Mary's flight from Edinburgh to Leith, then to Musselburgh, and on to Seton, to Haddington and thence to Dunbar.

As the birth of her child approached Mary retreated into the fastness of Edinburgh Castle. This was the traditional stronghold of whoever felt in danger in the town and had been, when Mary went there, for long the most famous of the many famous rock castles in Scotland. It had been in existence when Dunfermline was the chief royal residence, and, among many sieges, assaults, crimes, treacheries, murders, escapes, imprisonments, burnings and torturings, there was at least one pleasant memory attached to the fortress on the rock: that of Margaret, wife of Malcolm Canmore, Queen and Saint, who died here and whose chapel still remains, the most ancient portion of this medley of buildings.

Mary, in her mule litter, went up the winding road, across the drawbridge, under the raised portcullis, past the small yet massive chapel of the royal saint, past the terraces with the batteries and the guard rooms into the state apartments. She occupied two of these, an outer room or audience chamber, and a small bedchamber, for safety's sake no larger than a closet, There were other and more splendid rooms in the Castle, notably those that had been embellished for the use of Margaret Tudor Mary's grandmother, through whom her claim to the English crown rested. These are still intact; nor is it difficult to ignore later alterations, additions and restorations and to imagine the Castle as it was when Mary took refuge there in the summer of 1566. She could, when taking her exercise on rampart or terrace, look down as we can look down on the tall houses, then gabled and red tiled, on the squalid narrow alleys, the High Street where she had lately lodged herself, running from the Lawnmarket to the Canongate, to Holyrood, where Rizzio was slain and now lay buried, 'almost in the arms of Magdalene de Valois'. Mary could look upon the West Bow, by the Lawn-market, to the Netherbow, to the house where John Knox lodged, to the closes and Wynds, the mansions of the nobles, the Palace of Mary of Guise, St. Giles, with booths built round the walls, the Tolbooth, Parliament House and Prison, the Mercat Cross, where Darnley's proclamation, made at Mary's request, had stamped him as a liar and announced his doom; the huddle of shops, stalls, the causeways raised above the open gutters of the streets, and, here and there, ruins of monasteries, splendid but yesterday.

This view is little changed if the observer keeps his gaze on what was then the one street of Edinburgh.

Mary looked forward with foreboding to the birth of her child. She had not only survived the tragedy of March 9th; she had, by detaching Darnley from his fellows; turned the tables on her enemies and, by a belated prudence, had silenced, if she had not killed, scandal that might have been fatal to her position as Queen and woman. But she was melancholy and low in health. Seated in the little closet under a ceiling yet intact, she wrote out her will in careful detail.

Darnley was remembered—most poignantly—in the red ring with which he had married her; a gift from Rizzio to herself, a tortoise formed of rubies, was for his brother; there were legacies for the Cardinal of Lorraine and her French relatives; for the Marys, still her friends, two married and one betrothed to Maitland; to Darnley's parents; to Huntly and to Bothwell.

On June 9th (1566) Mary was delivered of a son. At two o'clock the next day Darnley visited her; she showed him the child before witnesses and swore that he was his son and 'no other man's'. This desperate declaration she repeated, referring to the near escape of herself and the boy at the murder of Rizzio. Darnley put this aside impatiently, and Mary said again that the boy was so much Darnley's son that she feared it would be the worse for him hereafter. Her husband did not publicly accept her vows but he afterwards wrote to the Cardinal of Lorraine announcing the birth without any hint of scandal—although there were few in Scotland who did not doubt the paternity of the child. Mary suffered greatly during childbirth, but never forgot her ambition—the infant was to her the Prince who would 'unite the two crowns'. She sent James Melville to Elizabeth with the news of the heir and an appeal for the recognition of his claims. After a jealous outburst the English Queen calmly stated that she would probably marry herself, the Archduke Charles she believed, once more dashing Mary's hopes. She would not acknowledge the child as second heir to her throne but she consented to be godmother, and wrote to congratulate Mary, adding, however, in the same letter complaints of the English and Irish rebels Mary was harbouring in Scotland.

Mary's position was not improved by the birth of her son. She still could not flatter Elizabeth into granting her desire; she still could not obtain the foreign aid with which to dethrone Elizabeth; Darnley, though won over, was unaccountable and unreliable; Moray and Maitland, though outwardly friendly, were no longer in her confidence or her service; many of the Lords were estranged; many were hostile; Knox continued to be her ferocious enemy; John Craig, his deputy in Edinburgh, was the same type of iron Protestant.

Elizabeth's envoy waited on Mary in the Castle and saw the five-day-old child, healthy and 'goodly'. Mary, however, was pale and weak with a hollow cough and spoke faintly soon after she returned to the newly cleansed rooms at Holyrood. Bedford reported that Bothwell, the most hated man in Scotland and so insolent that he was loathed more than Rizzio had ever been, then 'carried all the credit' at the Court.

The prudence that Mary had shown when she beguiled her husband into countenancing her soon vanished. Not only was there the reckless favour shown to Bothwell—she easily fell into a trap set by Cecil. A man she supposed an English rebel, one Christopher Rokesby, was in truth one of Cecil's spies. He gained Mary's confidence and in the headlong fashion that went oddly beside her cunning she confided to him her heart's dearest desire—her hopes of the English throne. To gain this end she would stir up mischief in Ireland and among the Roman Catholics in England. She ran over the names of her potential allies: Norfolk, Derby, Westmorland, Shrewsbury, Northumberland and Cumberland. She asked Rokesby for other likely names and disclosed to him her plans for an invasion of England and seizure of the throne. She added that her astrologers had told her that Elizabeth would not outlive the year. Rokesby sent an account of these rash confidences to Cecil and added that Bothwell was the man deepest in Mary's secrets. Elizabeth saw the report but made no outward change in her prudent behaviour and secret policy towards Mary.

Mary stayed only briefly at Holyrood. She had left Edinburgh Castle before 'her month was over' and her child also—he was placed with a wet-nurse in the care of the Earl of Mar, Governor of Edinburgh Castle—and Mary, as soon as she had settled her household in Holyrood, went on a visit to Alloa, the seat of this faithful and worthy nobleman. She was taken in a small sailing vessel manned by some of Bothwell's men, from Newhaven, up the Firth to Alloa. She went on this diversion with the better heart as she had drawn Moray into her circle again, offered to give him her confidence, and she believed that she could rely on the steady support of this once trusty counsellor. She was not concerned at Darnley's jealousy, now as fiercely directed against Moray as it had ever been directed against Rizzio. As soon as Mary left the Castle her little room was painted with the arms of Scotland and a verse appealing to the Almighty to allow the infant who had been born there to reign long in the land.

Alloa now has no trace of the agreeable seat in rich country that Mary visited; the house of the Earls of Mar where she stayed is a ruin, but the modern mansion of the present holder of the title is near. In this clean air Mary lost her cough and recovered her colour; her melancholy vanished with her pallor and her languor and she threw herself again into those merriments so loathed by the Puritans, for Mar's household provided masks, pageants and sports for his royal guest. Darnley followed her, riding by way of Stirling, but was so coldly received that he stayed for a few hours only. The combination now was Bothwell and Darnley against Moray. Mary having used her husband to help her escape from Holyrood and to acknowledge her child, troubled no longer to please him. Darnley and the small Lennox faction were rapidly becoming isolated; he had outraged or offended almost everyone. The conspirators were gradually slipping back into Edinburgh. Moray, who knew everything, had the Queen's ear; Darnley's fear and hatred of this man was fanned by Bothwell, always ready for mischief.

Early in August Mary returned to Holyrood. Darnley broke out against Moray and threatened to murder him as he had murdered Rizzio. Mary humiliated him by forcing him to ask Moray's pardon for the rash threat, then went on a hunting tour to Megotland, with Moray, Bothwell and Mar. Afterwards she joined Darnley at Traquair, where her cool and disdainful conduct towards him was noted, and by September she was again in Holyrood. In these journeys Mary visited some Scots places for the first time. Megotland, or Megget, was afterwards annexed to Lyne. Negath water falls into St. Mary's Loch. Some distance up the valley stood the Castle of Gramalt, where Mary stayed; it was a large hunting lodge with a tower, but the inhabitants of Peebleshire had been too free with their poaching and Mary found there was lack of game and poor sport. On August 19th she was still writing from Gramond, and arranging for her son to be brought to Stirling for his baptism.

One of her first acts after returning to the capital was to send for Maitland, with whom she was speedily reconciled. Both Bothwell and Moray were at once jealous of the renewed ascendancy of this cool and intelligent statesman. In spite of this able man's addition to her Councils Mary returned to her former indiscretions. She treated Darnley coolly and showed a daily increasing favour to Bothwell; she constantly repaired to her Exchequer House, close to the Cowgate, and even lodged there for the purpose of arranging her revenues and those her son would require for his newly appointed household. Darnley meanwhile had very little money or goods, nor could he induce Mary to settle his affairs. Her withdrawal into the 'checker house' caused a considerable increase in the scandal that had darkened her name since she first had taken Rizzio into favour. It was believed that Bothwell had access to the Exchequer House through the dwelling next door, put at his disposal by a former mistress, and that in this manner he was able to be with the Queen privately whenever he wished. This behaviour was held to be the more inexcusable since Mary had issued from Stirling (August 31st, 1566) a Proclamation ordering the magistrates of Edinburgh to search out and punish without exception all those guilty of 'adultery, fornication, open harlotry and other such lusts of the flesh'.

A further cause of offence was the use of David Chalmers, Bothwell's man, of evil repute, at whose house Bothwell was living with his wife. Mary created this jackal and go-between who 'served Bothwell in his naughty practices and pleasures' Common Clerk of Edinburgh and then a Lord of State.

By October Darnley had broken into open defiance of his wife. Mary's advisers drew up a skilful apologia for their mistress that they sent to Catherine de Medici. This was an attempt to hush up scandal and to lay all the blame for Mary's domestic troubles on the intolerable behaviour of her husband. But it was difficult, even for Moray and Maitland, to save the reputation of a woman so reckless and headstrong as the Queen. She, however, was alarmed at Darnley's suddenly expressed resolution to leave Scotland; if he did so it would mean a repudiation of the paternity of her child, and when she received a letter from Lennox, written at Glasgow, his son being at Stirling, telling her of this decision, and adding there was a ship ready to take Darnley beyond the seas, she took the letter in alarm to her Council.

All her advisers pretended to be much shocked and surprised at Darnley's threat. They knew perfectly well, however, that not only was Darnley in a wretched, almost penniless position, without support or credit, but that he was in grave peril from the vengeance of the conspirators he had betrayed. That same evening Darnley arrived in Edinburgh, but refused to enter Holyrood. Mary went to the courtyard to receive him graciously and conducted him to her apartments; where he remained all night. In the morning some of the Lords, and the French ambassador, waited on him and added their flatteries and blandishments to those of the Queen. Dwelling on the beauty, wisdom and virtue of Mary, they tried to persuade her husband that he was extremely ill-advised to abandon such a wife and so noble a realm. Darnley, however, was not persuaded. He left Holyrood for Stirling and from there sent Mary a letter of trivial complaints. Mary retorted by stating that it was not her fault if he was neither honoured nor advanced and by reminding him that she had been very generous in forgiving him for the murder of Rizzio.

Both Moray and the Lords took a serious view of the position. Mary, always adroit and bold when in danger, helped them to try to save her credit. The letter to Catherine de Medici was her case, as she wished it to be put before Europe; both she and her advisers thought that Darnley's withdrawal from Scotland was intended to shame her before the world. Darnley, the French Ambassador had observed, was in 'a sort Of desperation' and might do anything. He sulked at Stirling, and news arrived in Edinburgh daily that he 'held to his resolution' of leaving the country.

Mary's health, which had been so improved by the visits to Alloa and Peebleshire, now began to fail. Her old complaint, a pain in the side, troubled her, and she was pale and thin; the bloom and freshness had already gone from her beauty but the seductive charm remained. She prudently sent Bothwell to check affrays on the Border. He took up his residence in Hermitage Castle while Mary went to Jedburgh to preside at a Border session; between them they were 'to ride the Border'.

Jedburgh, then the chief town of the Border, is an ancient royal burgh, lying in a hollow of the hills on the banks of the Jed Water; it constantly changed hands, from the Scots to the English, and back again. The magnificent Augustinian Abbey of red sandstone was sacked by Henry VIII's troops and in Mary's time was a ruin; today it still can show some splendid doors and windows. It has royal memories. Here was married for the second time Alexander III, the wedding feast being spoilt by a spectre who drifted among the guests warning them of the approaching death of the bridegroom. Jedburgh once possessed a castle; that has disappeared. Mary did not reside there but in a house standing off the High Street, still known as Queen Mary's House.

It is a fine mansion with massive walls and towers, in the midst of one of the orchards for which the neighbourhood is famous. Mary was lodged in a small room, part of a suite occupied by her household.

Her enemies thought that the Border sessions was but an excuse for the Queen to be near Bothwell; but thirty miles separates Jedburgh from Hermitage Castle.

Jedburgh is celebrated not only for the pleasant orchards but for the forest that once surrounded it for miles. 'Jedburgh Justice' (to hang a man, then try him) and 'a Jedburgh axe' were sayings that bore testimony to the bold and aggressive character of the Jedburgh men.

When Mary had been a short while at Jedburgh news was brought her that Bothwell had been wounded in a skirmish with his old enemies, the Elliots, and was lying ill in Hermitage Castle. Under the excuse of wishing to consult him on Border affairs, Mary set out, eight days after receiving the news, with a small following that included Moray, across the wild moorland roads. She chose to go by Hawick, and then across country to Dod Burn. She then crossed Langside Burn, where her white horse nearly sank in a bog, rode over the wild Elliot country, Liddesdale, and arrived at Hermitage Castle, spattered with mud, exhausted but tenacious of her purpose.

Castle Hermitage is still one of the loneliest and most sinister-looking ruins in Scotland. It was built to withstand the sieges and assaults so frequent in the Border, and the imposing architecture is peculiar; the walls are cut by arches and the gloomy pile overhangs Hermitage Water, crossed by drawbridges. The Lords of Soulis had once owned this grim fortress and one of them was a wizard of extreme cruelty and formidable power who frequently entertained 'auld Clootie' at Hermitage. For long he successfully defied the King but at last his outraged tenants took the Castle by storm, wrapped Soulis in lead and boiled him and his magic books together. This ceremony did not entirely rid Liddesdale of the infernal Lord; his familiar, named Redcap, for long haunted the spot where Soulis had been burnt and a circle of prehistoric stones on 'Name Stone Rig' is shown as the favourite ground of this malicious spectre who, by frightening away chance travellers, added to the loneliness of the solitude. Hermitage afterwards came into the hands of the Douglases, who darkened its reputation still more by many crimes; these included the starving to death in the deep dungeons of Sir Alexander Ramsay, Sheriff of Teviotdale.

When Mary reached this mighty fortalice she learned that Bothwell had been thrice wounded: in the head, the side and the hand. Wasting no time with Lady Bothwell, she went into Bothwell's room. Though fatigued by the weather, which was stormy, the rough ride and her own agitation, Mary, after seeing for herself that Bothwell was out of danger, returned at once to Jedburgh. This was a ride of sixty miles in one day under considerable difficulties and stresses. As soon as she had regained her house Mary collapsed; the most severe of the many illnesses that had clouded her youth now threatened her life. It was a dangerous hysterical attack brought on by fatigue, vexation and an imperfect recovery from childbirth. An 'effusion of blood into the stomach' brought on alarming vomiting and subsequent exhaustion; she lay for so long in one of the death-like trances usual to her that she was believed to have no hope of life and the news of her probable decease was sent to Edinburgh.

Maitland and Moray began to impound her papers and her attendants to pack up her valuables; but Mary recovered to return at once to the cause of her chagrin—Darnley. She complained, with her first recovered feeble health, to Maitland about the base ingratitude of her husband, adding that it was a heartbreak for her to be tied to him, but 'how to be free of him, she saw no outgait'.

After this statement she passed into another crisis of her illness and on the 25th October (1566) she appeared to be dead; her eyes closed, her teeth clenched, her body was stiff and cold. Her recovery was credited to the devotion and ability of her French physician. Darnley, though told of her desperate condition, remained with his hawks and hounds hunting on the Lennox estates at Glasgow. On October 21st Bothwell arrived in a horse litter at Jedburgh; he was fast recovering from his wounds and soon moved into the Queen's House, occupying rooms beneath Mary's, and when, on the 29th October, Darnley arrived he was coldly received and soon departed. A fire in Mary's residence forced her into other lodgings and ten days later she left Jedburgh and the pleasant orchards and travelled rapidly to Kelso, Werk, Hume, Langdon and Wedderburn, thence to Harldon Hill, Coldingham, Dunbar and Tantallon to Craigmillar, the journey taking twenty days. During this time she was in low spirits, constant pain and weakness; her physicians were always about her and those who advised her thought that her disease was, in the words of the French Ambassador, 'a deep grief and sorrow'.

Darnley visited her at Craigmillar and was again coldly received. Mary, who had taken the Jedburgh illness meekly, now 'wished she were dead' in a mood of angry repining that nothing would solace. She was no longer absorbed in politics, no longer concerned even with her prospect of the English crown or the restoration of the Roman Catholic Faith. She was obsessed by the problem of Darnley. She wanted to get rid of him, but she did not want him to leave her; she was exasperated by his haughty manner; he would not humble himself. Whenever she saw him speak to anyone she imagined a plot; she could not forget the murder of Rizzio. Hearing rumours that Darnley had written abroad, putting his case before the Pope and France, she suggested a divorce to her advisers, but they told her that such a step might injure her son's heritage. A divorce would have been easy; it was only a question of obtaining a reversal of the Papal consent to a marriage that had been made within the prohibited degrees of kinship, but once Mary had understood that such an annulment would make her James illegitimate she refused even to consider the matter. At Jedburgh she had, during the convulsions of her illness, seen 'no way out'. Now, at Craigmillar, she had decided that a way must be found, cost what it might, save only her son's claim to the two crowns.

Five of her one-time counsellors were gathered round her in that autumn of 1566—Huntly, Argyll, Moray, Maitland and Bothwell; the Lords had to tolerate the last named as they could not separate him from the Queen's friendship. He had left Darnley and joined them because they were in the ascendancy; the Queen's husband, forsaken by all save his father's small party, had nothing to offer anyone.

These five men had excellent reasons for wishing to get rid of Darnley, besides their desire to please the Queen. He was a person impossible to work with, since he was weak, false and suspicious; he was a stumbling-block to anyone who wished to influence the Queen and obtain power through her favour; he was a danger to the peace of the realm, since he would, though without followers, always cause as much mischief as possible; he was a danger to Mary's reputation, since he might deny the paternity of her son, and that of any other child she might have. For this reason it was most important that he did not leave Scotland; besides, the Lords, all of whom had at least connived at the murder of Rizzio, were determined on revenge for their betrayal in this affair.

Maitland led the Queen on gently. He asked for a pardon for Morton, Lindsay and the other murderers and promised to find a means of divorcing Darnley without prejudice to her son. Mary still refusing this project, Maitland said that the Lords would find means to rid the Queen of her husband without damage to the child. He added that Moray, her political mainstay, would help him. Mary answered cautiously that the matter must abide God's good time, and that she desired them to do nothing by which any 'spot might be laid on her honour or conscience'. Maitland took this statement, coming from a woman who had so recklessly jeopardized her good name, for what it was worth, and assured his mistress that she might leave the disposal of Darnley to them, the Lords, that nothing but good would come out of their plans and that, in the end, they would be approved by Parliament.

At Craigmillar, in the convenient position in the clean air, three miles south of Edinburgh, Mary waited for the preparation at Stirling for the baptism of her child. She was still in the hands of her physicians and in a despondent mood. The gay high spirits she had shown that summer at Alloa and, gossip said, in dancing round the Mercat Cross in male attire, had left her after the Border journey and the wild ride to Castle Hermitage. Elizabeth was obdurate, though friendly, on the question of the succession. There was no favourable response to the long and involved plea Mary had sent, after her severe illness, from Dunbar, for the recognition of herself and her son as heirs of England.

The baptism, delayed in order that foreign envoys might be present, took place on December 12th at Stirling Castle and was part of the Christmas celebrations.

The pageantry was splendid, the guests numerous and important. Mary exerted herself to play the charming hostess; all her graces were exquisitely displayed. She provided sumptuously for the entertainment of the crowds that thronged the Castle and the town and everything for the ceremony was superb and carefully devised by herself. Elizabeth sent Bedford, the Governor of Berwick, with a font of gold and jewels, weighing three hundred and thirty three ounces; the Countess of Argyll was her proxy as godmother, the winter journey from England being impossible for a woman, and the Duke of Savoy and Charles IX were godfathers. A dark side to the gorgeous entertainment was provided by the presence of the forsaken Darnley. He wore the collar of the Order of St. Michael lately sent to him by the King of France, but was slighted by everyone and passed most of his time in his apartments. The French ambassador saw Mary when she was not smiling at the public pageantry; in his private moments he found her 'weeping sore' and ill in bed, with the pain in her side gnawing at her strength. There were discordances also over the religious question, for the baptism took place according to Roman Catholic rites. Bedford would not enter the chapel and bribed the Countess of Argyll to take his place, for which she afterwards had to do penance Mary, though so eager to avoid any 'spot on her honour', appointed Bothwell to receive the ambassadors, though he was a staunch Protestant. Darnley, a Roman Catholic, refused to countenance the ceremony. Bothwell was among those she distinguished by gifts of gold-edged stuff, the others being those who had been at the Craigmillar Conference—Huntly, Moray, Maitland and Argyll. The festivities were marred by a dangerous disturbance. The English in Bedford's train were offended by a masque of satyrs; the tails of these creatures were taken as a Scots insult, since the English were supposed to have 'short tails, like stags'. These riots were with difficulty quieted by the Queen and Bedford.

Shortly before the baptismal ceremony Mary had restored, illegally, the powers of the Archbishop of St. Andrews that had been for long in abeyance. He performed the rites that made the six-month-old infant, James Stewart, a member of the Roman Catholic Church.

During the formal rejoicings Moray had his way; Mary signed the pardons of his friends, Morton, Lindsay and their accomplices in the Rizzio murder. As soon as he heard of this action, Darnley swiftly left Stirling and proceeded to the one place in Scotland where he felt secure, his father's Glasgow stronghold, while Mary, leaving Moray to represent her among the lingering guests, went to Castle Drummond, where she spent Christmas Day (1566).

She employed her time in writing one of her skilful apologias to Archbishop Beaton in Paris, setting forth all her grievances against her husband. This letter crossed with one from Beaton warning her of rumours in France of some plot against her person, vague but alarming. Maitland's long courtship of Mary Fleming ended in his marriage to her this winter. Three of the Queen's Marys were now wed, Mary Livingstone to John, Master of Semphill, and Mary Beaton to Alexander Ogilvy of Boyne; the maiden Mary Seaton alone remained in attendance on Mary.

The Lords entered into a Band for the removal of Darnley; as they had to work with Bothwell, because he was the Queen's favourite, though they loathed him as bitterly as they loathed their proposed victim, they resolved to make use of him. He was to do the dangerous part of the business and to bear the blame afterwards. Even if he escaped punishment, by reason of the Queen's friendship, the astute Lords felt sure he would soon ruin himself and probably Mary as well. The way would then be clear for a rule of Protestants with the infant James under a Regency.

The Lords tried to obtain a sanction and safeguard from Mary as they had obtained one from Darnley in the case of the Rizzio murder, but she still held the attitude she had maintained at Craigmillar. She would have 'no spot upon her honour' and she refused to condone the proposed crime, but she received the news of the Band calmly and did not disclose its existence to anyone. She had known from the moment she had signed the pardon of the men Darnley had betrayed, and from whom he had fled to his father's fastness, that these deadly enemies meant to get rid of him—he was still the man of whom she passionately desired to be free.

Every possible slight was put on Darnley; even his silver plate was changed for pewter and his retinue was diminished. Chagrined and passionately angry, the young man fell ill when on his way to Glasgow. The sickness was imputed to poison taken from the Queen's table, but when he reached Glasgow, where an epidemic of measles raged, his physicians stated his disease to be that disease or smallpox. Darnley was strong and healthy but he had not escaped the endemic maladies of his age; he suffered from tertian ague and soon after his first meeting with Mary she nursed him through a severe attack that was believed to be measles. At first Mary took no notice of the news of her husband's illness; but an apothecary was presently sent from Holyrood and later Mary wrote to Darnley suggesting a visit from herself. Darnley replied that she must do as she wished, adding that if he had been Bothwell and Glasgow the Hermitage, she would soon have been with him. Mary persisted in attempting what she termed a reconciliation with her husband, and she set out, through the winter weather, for Glasgow, Huntly and Bothwell riding with her as far as Callendar, near Falkirk Lennox was alarmed at the approach of the Queen, but ordered one of his gentlemen, Thomas Crauford of Gordonhill, to meet her in lieu of himself, as he was ill. On receiving her father-in-law's excuses, Mary remarked: 'There is no receipt against fear; if he were not culpable he would not be afraid.'

The Glasgow that Mary entered was a small, pleasant town of many spires, red-tiled gabled houses and winding streets, surrounded by open fields. Not one trace of it remains. She went at once to the room where her husband lay sick—Darnley afterwards reported their conversation to Crauford in order that he might inform his father of the Queen's mood. Mary opened the quarrel by complaining of her husband's cruelty in threatening to leave the country; he retorted that she had provoked this threat and that her behaviour was the cause of his illness. He then showed much humility, pleaded his youth, asked pardon for past faults and begged for a reconciliation, concluding with the conventional flattery that all his errors had risen from love of herself. These were the arguments of a desperate, cornered man. Darnley was extremely ill; a thick eruption covered his body and a mask of silk (taffeta) concealed his disfigured face. Mary continued to bring up her grievances and they 'grated' on one another as they had after the murder of Rizzio, each accusing the other of plots. Darnley declared that he could not credit his wife had a part in the Craigmillar conspiracy and uttered the threat that if any tried violence against him they 'should buy it dear unless they took him sleeping'.

Mary put off these attempts at reconciliation; she escaped from the noisome sick room as often as possible and retired to her own lodging, though the moody and suspicious invalid was constantly asking for her company. She spoke to him, finally, in a friendly fashion, and on his telling her that he had heard she had brought a litter with her, she replied that this was to take him back to Holyrood. Darnley protested that the weather was too cold for him to travel; she then suggested that she should go with him to Craigmillar, where they would be near to their son at Holyrood, James being in the charge of Moray's uncle, Lord Mar.

Darnley pressed for the reconciliation before he left the safety of the Lennox stronghold but Mary, while promising everything for the future and declaring that if there had not been perfect peace between them she would not have come so far to fetch him, urged again his removal to Craigmillar where he might, by medicinal baths, be cleansed of his skin eruption. This done, she gave her hand and faith of her body that she would love him and use him as her husband'. She then probed him as to the cause of his jealousy but he evaded this, naming no man. Mary advised him to keep their reconciliation from the Lords; Darnley protested; she continued to upbraid him and to use blandishments, while not admitting any faults in herself.

In the intervals between these interviews, which always covered the same ground, Darnley asked his confidential friend, Crauford, what he thought of the proposed journey to Edinburgh. Crauford did not like the project; he thought the lodging in Craigmillar odd, but Darnley, partly resigned, partly beguiled, decided to rely on his wife's promise. The alternative was an open breach between them, with himself on the losing side and in an even more wretched position than he had been 'took him more as a prisoner than her husband'. Darnley agreed, but resolved to put himself in her hands; she might cut his throat—but God would judge between them.

On January 27th (1567) Mary and her train set out from the Lennox fastness, bearing Darnley in the litter she had brought from Holyrood. The weather was dark and cold. A halt was made at Callendar and then the party proceeded to the capital. Mary had changed her plan; Darnley was not taken to Craigmillar but to a house outside the walls of Edinburgh in the open ground known as Kirk O'Field, where the new mansion of the Hamiltons, scene of the meeting between Bothwell and Arran, stood. This mansion was then occupied by Archbishop Hamilton, who had been given illegal powers by Mary shortly before. The fields had once belonged to a Dominican monastery, whose buildings had been razed by the Reformers, and had formerly been an agreeable garden. The collegiate church of St. Mary, then ruined and deserted, gave the name to the field that abutted on the walls of a poor quarter of Edinburgh where stood some almshouses and wretched dwellings of such ill repute that this alley was named 'Thieves Row'.

The house where Darnley was lodged was the one-time Prebendary and had recently been used by Canon Robert Balfour, whose brother, James, had drawn up the Band against Darnley. It was on the west side of the Provost's lodging. One facade faced the ruined cloisters, the other opened on to the town wall in which there was an entrance into 'Thieves Row'. There was a door in the house facing this and another on the opposite side leading into the quadrangle, so that it was possible to enter through the wall, into the house, cross the ground floor and out the other side into the field beyond where there was the new Hamilton Palace and the monastic ruins. The Hamiltons were enemies of the Lennox clan and when Darnley arrived in Kirk O'Field the Bishop had this house full of armed men.

The old two-storeyed Prebendary was damp and in ill condition but had been splendidly furnished from Holyrood. Darnley had the first floor and a bed once belonging to Mary of Guise, of violet brown velvet lined with crimson. Tapestries were hung on the walls and many luxuries provided, but the key of one door was missing and another had to be taken from the hinges to serve as a cover for the royal bath. Darnley had a few English servants with him, but no retainers, friends or followers. His apartments, besides the bedroom, had a toilet closet and a garde robe. His bodyservant, named Taylor, slept in his room, three others in a closet on the same floor. Mary lodged in the ground-floor rooms, which could be entered from the city walls; the two entrances were kept locked. The house rested on arched vaults.

On her arrival Mary inspected the premises and ordered the costly bed to be taken down and returned to Holyrood. A plainer travelling bed in purple was set up, her excuse being that the fumes from the medicinal baths would destroy the rich materials of the hangings. Darnley was lulled into aquiescence with his wife's plans; he agreed with her that the air of Kirk O'Field was excellent and wrote to his father that his health was improving and that Mary bore herself towards him as 'a natural and loving wife'. He was still, however, unable to leave his bed and continued to wear the mask of taffeta (sticking plaster). He was not to see his son until the baths had freed him of contagion.

Mary spent two nights in the rooms beneath those of her husband. She had for company that Lady Reres detested by Darnley as a suspected go-between with Mary and Bothwell. The two women amused themselves with music, singing and playing. Their laughter and gay chatter enlivened the dismal old house.

On February 7th (1567) Mary slept for the last time at Kirk O'Field. On the ninth of that month one of her celebrated festivities was arranged for Holyrood; it was to be a ball and banquet in honour of the marriages of four of her servants: Sebastien Pagez, a French cook and Christina Hogg, John Stevart and Margaret Carwood. Pagez, a witty jester and deviser of masques, as well as a chef de cuisine, was an especial favourite with the Queen, who presided at the supper held during these merriments. Bothwell, Huntly, Argyll and other of the Lords were in attendance on the Queen, who had been with Darnley that day, and about ten o'clock she set out with Bothwell and a noble retinue on horseback to visit him again. The night was moonless and cold, a winter mist hung over Edinburgh, the riders in the cavalcade from Holyrood were wrapped in furs and lit by flambeaux. Mary dismounted, went up to the sick man's room, stayed a short while and returned to Holyrood, where she joined in the festivities for another hour or so.

By two o'clock the royal household was in bed; the Queen intended to ride to Seton early that morning and her ladies had whispered about the complete reconciliation between her and Darnley, to whom she had given a rich ring. He had almost recovered and had ordered that his horses should be sent to Kirk O'Field, so that he might accompany the Queen on her bizarre journey at five o'clock on a winter morning. Mary had agreed to the sick man's whim and at his complaints about the travelling bed in which he rested said that 'he should lie, with her, she promised, in a richer one the next night'.

Darnley's chamber was splendidly appointed. There were two state chairs, one in purple velvet, the other in the Scots colours, yellow and red, a table covered with green velvet, while the despised purple bed was equipped with a silk paillasse, down pillows and warm coverlets. After Mary had departed Darnley left his bed and engaged his servant in gloomy talk, after drinking with him. The solitude and silence of the place, the sense of his isolation, again roused the suspicions he had never entirely lost. He remarked that the Queen had said that it was nearly a year since the murder of Rizzio; he hoped that Mary had forgotten this outrage and her threat that she would have revenge within twelve months. To quiet his nerves he asked the English servant to read the psalms in his native tongue, familiar to Darnley, who had no acquaintance with Scots. The servant, using his own psalter, read some of the sombre words of the 55th Psalm, full of menace, a curse on the wrongdoer: 'The Lord will abhor both the bloodthirsty and the deceitful man' and 'there is no faithfulness in his mouth, their inner hearts are very wickedness, their throats are an open sepulchre, they flatter with their tongues'.

By midnight the young man was in bed. About an hour later fifty men surrounded the house, having entered through the door in the city wall from 'Thieves Row'. Sixteen others, led by Bothwell, followed them; the doors were locked but Bothwell was provided with keys. The Earl still wore his festival dress of black satin, silk and velvet, and over it a heavy German cavalry cloak.

At two o'clock in the morning the citizens of Edinburgh were awakened by a loud explosion (February loth, 1567). The streets were soon crowded with anxious people, running about by the light of torches. Bothwell, who, as Sheriff of Edinburgh, was responsible for law and order, was knocked up at his lodgings; the dwellers in 'Thieves Row' came running into the centre of the town with the tale that 'the King's house' had been blown into the air. This report was found to be true; barrels of gunpowder had been emptied in the vaults under the Prebendary and the powder ignited; only fallen masonry showed where Darnley had last lodged. A search by torchlight revealed the bodies of Darnley and his servant, Taylor, under a tree in the garden. They had been strangled and were not marked by the effect of the explosion. Some old women from the almshouses near related that they had heard cries for mercy coming through the dark, with appeals addressed to 'kinsmen'; the two professional bravi, Archibald and George Douglas, though completely in the interest of Morton and Bothwell, were kin to Darnley. The bodies were taken to Holyrood and that of Darnley delivered to the embalmers.

The Queen kept her head. She at once wrote one of her skilful letters to Beaton that served as her statements at times of crisis. In this she described the crime that had disposed of her husband and gave as her opinion that the murderers had intended to blow her into the air also and that she had been saved by God, who had put it into her head to attend the masque at Holyrood. No one could have shared this view; Mary had not lived with Darnley at Kirk O'Field and gone to Holyrood by 'very chance'; she had lived at the Palace and visited her husband and returned to the festival so publicly that no one could have supposed she was still in Darnley's lodging when he was murdered. Her Council supported her by sending an account of the tragedy to Catherine de Medici in which they agreed that the plot was against the Queen too, and promised vengeance for a crime that if not punished would make Scotland odious to the whole of Christendom. Bothwell, Huntly and the Archbishop of St. Andrews were among those who signed this letter, and the Council, anxious for the good opinion of the French Queen, sent a Frenchman, M. de Clarnault, to Paris with the mission to explain the Kirk O'Field affair in a manner to exculpate Mary and themselves from any share in the crime.

Mary retired to her black-hung, candle-lit room for a day; then she and two of her ladies spent Good Friday in prayer in the Royal Chapel of Holyrood. A Requiem was sung over Darnley's corpse and he was buried quietly among the Stewart Kings in the vaults of this same chapel, close to where David Rizzio lay. Mary appeared sad and in poor health. Bothwell put about the theory that 'thunder' must have struck the house in Kirk O'Field. Robert Melville was dispatched to Elizabeth to gloze over the murder as best he could; the English Queen, alarmed and astonished, sent Sir Henry Killigrew to spy out Mary's affairs. This envoy was received in the mourning chamber that was so dark he could not see the widow's face. Shortly after Mary went to Seton, a journey not much delayed by the murder of her husband. Bothwell and Huntly soon joined her and the royal party amused themselves by shooting at the butts, games of pell mell and golf.

Darnley (King Henry), despised and hated during his life, assumed a dreadful power after his violent death. Scotland was appalled by this murder that seemed, in the common opinion, to have a peculiar horror. Bothwell was at once suspected and it was considered outrageous that Mary should entertain him at Seton. There was a popular clamour that she should take steps to bring her husband's murderers to justice, but beyond a proclamation offering a reward and a free pardon to anyone who would disclose the authors of the crime the Queen did nothing. Placards appeared in Edinburgh, accusing Bothwell of 'bloody murder'; ballads and lampoons added their denunciations, to which the Earl responded by threats of 'washing his hands in the blood of the writers' if he could discover them. He had the air of overawing the capital when he descended on it in the intervals of his pastimes at Seton, for he was protected by five hundred Borderers from Liddesdale, 'pirates and cattle thieves', but he showed some nervousness. His 'strange' countenance, and his hand for ever on his dagger, were noted; it seemed as if he had soon found that his crime had been too recklessly undertaken, and even his bravado could not alter, or even silence, public opinion.

The murder of Darnley indeed made a terrible impression on the Scots, used as they were to deeds of violence, partly because it had not been a daylight slaying but an assassination in the house of darkness. The use of gunpowder, too, was new and horrible and the strong dramatic sense of the nation, prepared by the fulminations of John Knox and his warnings of disaster, dwelt gloomily on all the strange aspects of the story that had led to Kirk O'Field. Foremost in the popular imagination was the sinister and formidable figure of Earl Bothwell, who had been so long and so obviously the Queen's favourite that it became a mere quibble if he were her lover or no. She had flaunted her liking for him before her own people and the foreign envoys, and everyone, even in Europe, suspected him of being the ringleader in the murder of her husband; but she had not, even for a day, dismissed him from her company or shown him the slightest sign of displeasure.

The tale of the Craigmillar Band had got abroad. Everyone believed that Mary knew of it, and that she had gone to Glasgow and lured a sick, reluctant man from his father's stronghold into the hands of his enemies; with this knowledge, also, she had lodged him in a lonely house easily accessible from a street of bad repute, far from help, and overlooked by a mansion full of armed men belonging to a faction (the Hamiltons) hostile to him; with this knowledge she had visited him, leaving the feast of Holyrood to talk and laugh with him while the powder was emptied from the kegs in the vaults below his bedchamber, and with this knowledge she had ridden through the winter night to return to her masking, ordering one of her train to sound a sackbut as she left the meadows as a signal to the murderers. Stories of the manner of Darnley's death were rumoured everywhere; he had been choked in bed with a handkerchief soaked in vinegar; he had fought for his life: 'thirty men were about him' and he had been 'long in dying'; he had been dragged to the stables and there strangled with his garters; he had been heard begging for pity because of his descent from Henry VII—that fatal claim for him, his kin and for Mary herself, the source of that ambition for the English throne that had poisoned their lives.

These stories showed Mary in a light that appalled her subjects. It was adultery and treachery, probably black magic, as well as murder. Mary was seen as an embodiment of all the false women of legend; a ballad wrote of her as Delilah—'Double Dallilay'. Darnley's faults were forgiven; only his youth, his beauty, his brilliance were remembered. After a headlong marriage and an open display of passion Mary had tired of him and slighted him for Rizzio 'the low-born foreign knave'. Darnley's murder of the Italian now seemed justified; if Rizzio had been Mary's lover and the father of her child, the young husband had taken only the usual revenge for his dishonour after a few months of wedlock, and afterwards he had been slighted, ignored, insulted, humiliated in a manner outrageous enough to cause a wiser man to revolt. He had seen Rizzio preferred to himself and then he had seen Bothwell actually in his place at the christening of the Prince. All pitied him for his end and all condemned the treachery that had beguiled him to his miserable death. Mary was not condoned because she might have acted out of revenge for Rizzio; it was thought scandalous to shed royal blood to pay for base blood and there was disgust that Darnley had been buried hastily, with maimed rites, so near to Rizzio, with the Kings of Scotland. He had not received any last administrations and, as a Roman Catholic, must have passed unshriven to his judgement. All these details increased the compassion felt for the youth slain in his twenty-first year and swelled the hatred felt towards his widow.

There had been too many concerned in the murder for all to be for long silent. The English servants, save Taylor, had escaped from the doomed house on hearing footsteps coming from 'Thieves Row' and had hidden themselves in the dark; now they had their tales. Lennox, in Glasgow, beside himself with grief and fury, gathered up all these whispers and rumours. He had also Crauford's evidence as to the interviews between husband and wife when she was persuading him to return to Edinburgh. Lennox wrote firmly and respectfully to Mary, entreating her to bring the murderers to justice.

The advice of Elizabeth Tudor was on the same lines. Elizabeth was in a dilemma. She did not wish to encourage the Lords, insofar as they were rebels, but she was in full sympathy with their design of ridding Scotland of all Roman Catholics. She was horrified by the murder of Darnley, opening up, as it did, such terrible prospects of sudden death from gunpowder; yet while she affected a considerable disgust at Mary's reckless behaviour she did not wish to see her dethroned. The example would be an ill one for the English. Under Cecil's guidance she kept to her game of fast and loose; but all the counsel she sent to Mary was prudent and useful, and she released Lady Lennox from the Tower where she had been sent on her son's marriage. Darnley owed his superb accomplishments and noble bearing to the careful training of this proud woman; and many wise people thought that had she been allowed to accompany him to Scotland she would have saved him from folly and preserved his life. Public opinion in France, where Mary had been known and admired as a peerless, spotless Princess, was not favourable to her. The French Court was startled and shocked; Catherine de Medici took a hostile view and wrote severely to Mary stating that if she did not have the King (Darnley) speedily avenged 'to clear herself' the House of Valois would not only think her dishonoured but consider themselves her enemies. A bold and wise letter came from Archbishop Beaton, always Mary's loyal, upright friend. He wrote warmly of the horrible rumours current not only in Scotland but in England and Europe, as to Mary's part in the tragedy of Kirk O'Field. Deeply moved, he exhorted Mary, as so many others had exhorted her, to bring the criminals to 'a rigorous vengeance'; if she did not, he added, 'it appears to me better in this world that you had lost life and all'. Forcibly bringing before Mary's notice the evil things said of her all over Europe—'too odious for me to repeat'—and urging her to retrieve her honour by a bold move against the murderers of her husband, Beaton added, 'or I fear this is only the beginning and first act of the tragedy where all shall run from evil to worse'.

Mary was without her wisest counsellors when she had to face these reproaches and warnings Moray requested a licence to go abroad and went to Italy; Maitland stayed in the background; the Lords had accomplished part of their plot; they had got rid of Darnley; now they had only to remain effaced and wait while Mary and Bothwell ruined themselves. Then Protestantism would be triumphant and all their ends gained.

The Scots joined the Valois, Beaton and Elizabeth. They petitioned Mary for a redress of their grievances and 'vengeance on the murderers of the King'. Lennox named these in one of his letters to Mary—Bothwell, James Balfour, David Chalmers (in whose establishment Bothwell had lodged at the time of the 'checker house' scandal), Black John Spens and some underlings including Guiseppe Rizzio, Mary's foreign secretary. Lennox remarked that he would have thought the Queen would have been familiar with these names from the pasquinades pasted up in Edinburgh, but Mary was evasive. She continued her outwardly easy life and no one was brought to judgement for the crime of Kirk O'Field.


Illustration

View of Moray House with Mary's favourite tree, as standing in 1830.
Drawn by T. H. Shepherd. Engraved by James B. Allen


The wild tales increased in number. One report was that on the night of the murder a dark figure, spectre or human, had violently knocked on the door of the good Earl of Atholl's house, as if trying to rouse him to prevent the crime. A dying man, that same night, had glimpsed the horrid scene in a vision.. Voices were heard in the dark, crying 'Vengeance!'

Mary continued to favour Bothwell; though straitened as to means, she gave him money, lands and many of the rare and costly vestments, heavy with gold and silver, she had once brought as booty from the Gordon Castles in the North. Lennox accused her of giving Bothwell, also, all the horses, clothes and furniture once belonging to his son. One James Murray of Tullibardine drew caricatures of Mary and her favourite in so lively a fashion that he had to fly to England.

A mock trial, to blind public opinion, was arranged for Bothwell, to be held before the Council on April 12th (1567). He was himself a member of this Council and all the others were in awe of him. Lennox appealed to Elizabeth on the question of this trial and advanced towards the capital at the head of three thousand Lennox Stewarts. Mary also wrote to Elizabeth, complaining of the slanders being put about against herself; the English Queen replied in kind and dignified terms, repeating the advice of Beaton, and urging Mary to postpone Bothwell's trial until it could be held fairly. This letter was dated Westminster, April 8th (1567), and sent post haste to Holyrood, the messenger taking three days on the journey, but he was denied admission to the Queen and finally had to deliver the letter to Bothwell. No answer was sent. The messenger saw Bothwell, with a troop of four thousand retainers, march off to the Tolbooth, where the trial was held; such a number of armed men was sufficient to secure a judgement in his favour. Lennox, after he had learned that he would not be allowed more than six followers when he entered Edinburgh, feigned sickness and remained in Stirling.


Illustration

The Palace of Holyrood House as it was in 1830
with little change from Mary's time.
Drawn by T. H. Shepherd. Engraved by T. Barber


Bothwell was formally acquitted of any share in the murder of Darnley. Among his judges was his brother-in-law, and fellow criminal, Huntly. As a sop to public clamour the trial was a failure; the cynicism shown in the careless, farcical procedure only increased the scandal that Mary coolly ignored. Moray, pausing on his way to Italy, was giving, at this very moment, a first-hand account of the Kirk O'Field affair to Elizabeth. He confided to her that he had left Scotland because of fear of Bothwell, who held the forts of Edinburgh and Dunbar, lately given to him by Mary. He stated that forty people had been concerned in the murder and that Bothwell was the ringleader. Declaring that it was beneath him to remain in a country where such a deed remained unpunished, the stately Moray, biding his time, went on his travels 'to see Venice and Milan'. He had tried to put a decent face on his sister's actions, speaking of her wisdom and 'great virtue' and denying the report that she would marry Bothwell as soon as he could obtain a divorce from Jane Gordon; he admitted, however, that Huntly was to receive back his forfeited estates.

While Moray went in a leisurely fashion to Italy, Bothwell placarded Edinburgh with bills challenging to mortal combat anyone who suspected him of complicity in the King's murder. The Parliament, which met soon after the mock trial, confirmed the Queen's gift of the great fortress of Dunbar. Huntly duly received his estates, so did Morton, and the Reformed Church was officially recognized. This last concession did not prevent the fury of the people being lashed by the honours given to Bothwell, who was, however, now supreme in the Queen's favour. In the full tide of his success he held a supper party at Ainslie's Tavern. Most of the nobles were gathered there, and some forced to stay against their wills as Bothwell's men surrounded the house. Bothwell produced a Band and obliged all those present to sign it. By doing this they pledged themselves to assist him to marriage with the Queen and to help him against his enemies. Argyll, Cassilis, Huntly, Morton, Ross, Sutherland, Glencairn, Caithness and others were either cajoled or threatened into signing. The English Marshal of Berwick, Sir William Dury, wrote to Elizabeth that Mary (then at Stirling where Mar had the Prince in his keeping) had tried to poison her child with an apple and a sugar loaf. Grange, a Scot in English pay, reported to Cecil that Mary was 'so shamefully enamoured of Bothwell that she had been heard to say she cared not to lose France, England and her country for him, and will go with him to the world's end in a white petticoat. Whatever is dishonest reigns presently at court'.

Mary put off Lennox, point by point, when he urged, as he did continually, punishment of his son's murderers. He was collecting yet more tales of Kirk O'Field. Bothwell's body-servant, one Nicolas Herbert, known as French Paris, was seen on the night of the crime, powder blackened, and the Queen had said: Jesu, Paris, how begrimed you are!' One Captain Cullen was said to have confessed to a hand in the matter; he said: 'the King in his strength made debate for his life'. Bothwell, though at a wedding feast, had been all in black in order that he might not be seen in the dark. Mary, so fond of male attire, had been among the murderers dressed as a cavalier.

Huntly paid the agreed price for his returned estates; he persuaded his sister, the learned and fascinating Jane, to divorce Bothwell, with whom she had lived in amity for eighteen months. She received her freedom in Scots law on her petition of her husband's misconduct with a servant girl; the marriage was annulled under canon law by the Archbishop of St. Andrews, who found the usual prohibited degrees of kinship. There was no appeal to the Vatican. This priest owed his consistory powers entirely to Mary, who was not in her legal right in granting them, and he never used them again.

Jane Gordon was granted, in consideration of her compliancy, some valuable estates and Bothwell was now free to marry the Queen. Grange wrote to England that he had spied out the news that the Queen and her favourite had arranged a mock abduction to take place on her return from Stirling on April 24th (1567); and that Bothwell was gathering men in Liddesdale—'Judge ye if the Queen is aware of it or no'.

The spy's information proved correct. Mary, returning with a small escort from Linlithgow to Edinburgh, was met at Almond Bridge by Bothwell with a powerful retinue and taken to Dunbar Castle. Huntly, Maitland and Melville were with the Queen and taken with her; they were confined in other parts of the Castle from the apartments assigned to Mary, who declared she had submitted 'in order to save bloodshed'. She arrived at Dunbar at midnight and remained enclosed there eight days while the Bothwell divorce was being hurried through the Civil and Ecclesiastical courts. There was no attempt to rescue the Queen and no protest at her seizure save a gallant offer of help from Aberdeen, unanswered. It was commonly believed that the abduction was pre-arranged in order to give Mary an excuse for a hasty marriage with her captor. The canon law divorce was based on false premises, i.e., that no Papal dispensation had been sent for Bothwell's marriage with Jane Gordon; as it had, however, been received, the divorce was illegal from the Roman Catholic point of view. Jane Gordon always kept this dispensation that permitted her marriage. At the time of the mock divorce she was twenty years old, a writer of literary love letters and fashionable verse, who had made a strong impression on the fickle heart of Bothwell.

On the May 3rd. (1567) Mary re-entered Edinburgh, Bothwell leading her by the bridle of her horse. The Lords were gathering at Stirling round the Prince, symbol of royalty. Mary and Bothwell had played into their hands They had now the excuse for which they had been waiting, to get rid of their rash catspaw, Bothwell, and to disgrace the Queen to a point when it would not be possible for her to occupy the throne.

There is no trace of the scene of the Darnley tragedy, one of the most famous and far-reaching in its effects of any crime recorded. 'Thieves Row', the cloisters, the Hamilton House, the fields, St. Mary's Church, have all gone. What was then the city wall boundary is now well inside the town. Edinburgh University stands on the site of Kirk O'Field. It is impossible to trace exactly the route by which Bothwell and Mary came from Holyrood; the way now is by Holyrood road to the Cow-gate, then by Nicolson Street, the University buildings being at the corner of this and Chambers Street. It will be noticed how near the scene of the murder was to the then heart of the city, St. Giles, the Tolbooth and Parliament House; yet owing to ill roads, lack of lights, of police, and the bad vicinity, it appeared dangerously lonely and isolated.

Mary's ride from Linlithgow to Almond Bridge, where Bothwell met her, then to Dunbar, is also impossible to follow exactly. Her cavalcade were going on the short journey from the Palace at Linlithgow (where she had lately arrived from Stirling) to the capital. They reached the River Almond near Cramond where it runs into the sea. Bothwell then made a detour by Liberton, avoiding Edinburgh, and, passing Dalkeith and Haddington, came out at Dunbar. It was, allowing for bad roads and diversions from the direct route, a ride of nearly fifty miles for Mary and as much for Bothwell, since he had left Dunbar the same day as he met her at Almond Bridge.

Mary made no lamentation about, or protest at, her captivity. She returned quietly to Holyrood but her position was perilous. The Lords gathering at Stirling took the attitude that the Queen had been abducted and detained against her will by Bothwell and they were determined to set her at liberty; by this they meant separating her from the Earl. Events were shaping exactly as they had wished and intended them to shape—that they were all, more or less, implicated in the Darnley murder did not trouble them. They held all the winning cards. The Black Douglas, the feared and hated Morton, was at Stirling, so was Mar, guardian of the infant Prince. Moray watched from Italy. John Knox had left Edinburgh after the murder at Kirk O'Field; he did not trust Bothwell, though they had once been on friendly terms and Bothwell was the preacher's native chieftain. His deputy, John Craig, was as unbending as he was himself and when Bothwell, shortly after his return from Dunbar, asked Craig to publish his banns of marriage with the Queen the preacher refused with bold defiance. The large majority of his countrymen were behind him but the Queen sent him a letter declaring that she had been neither abducted nor detained in captivity and ordering him to publish the banns. Craig did so, but added that he acted under force and loathed the proposed union. Called before the Privy Council to answer for this insolence, Craig openly accused Bothwell of murdering the King, ravishing the Queen and illegally divorcing his innocent wife. Bothwell tried to excuse himself of these crimes, but said nothing to satisfy the stern Protestant.

The Lords sent a warning to the Queen to be careful in her conduct. On receiving an evasive reply they wrote again with plain terms. They refused obedience unless she disbanded her followers and dismissed her favourites. Most of these men had signed the Ainslie Tavern Band, whereby they were to assist Bothwell to the royal marriage they were now using as an excuse for revolt, but neither Bothwell nor Mary was clever enough for the Lords. Bothwell relied on violence; Mary soon reached the end of her political intelligence. She was not capable of more than cunning intrigue and desperate expedients and even these were often marred by her intense emotionalism.

Having manoeuvred Bothwell and the Queen into this dangerous position, the Lords formed another Band. The first article was directed against Bothwell; the Queen was to be 'given her liberty', i.e. Bothwell was to be disposed of; secondly, the Prince was to be preserved, i.e. from his mother and the Roman Catholics; thirdly, the King's murderers were to be pursued. This Band mentioned Bothwell as a 'cruel murderer' though he had been acquitted of the Kirk O'Field crime. Mary's gift of Dunbar particularly irked the Lords, for besides being a mighty fort it was an arsenal containing nearly all the national stock of gunpowder. They moved quickly, declaring that Bothwell intended to poison the Prince and seize the kingdom. Grange, the English agent, wrote to Bedford in Carlisle for English help. An appeal was made to Du Croc, who warned Mary that marriage with Bothwell would mean a break with France. As she took no heed he wished to leave her and, as representative of Charles IX, to attach himself to the Prince, thus showing that he no longer regarded her as Queen of Scotland.

The country was up; Scotland would have no more of Earl Bothwell. Argyll rode to rouse the West, Atholl to the North, Morton to Fife. Huntly, with his newly restored estates, the price of his sister's divorce, was a power in the Catholic Highlands. Bothwell, with considerable levies of horse and foot but little money, withdrew with Mary into Edinburgh Castle, where she ordered the melting down of Elizabeth's gift, the golden font. Five thousand crowns were obtained in this way. Other supplies were 'reft and borrowed from Edinburgh and the men of Lothian'.

On May 12th (1567) Mary created Bothwell Duke of Orkney and knighted four of his men. She was moody and in low spirits; once she was in Bothwell's power he showed himself furiously jealous and suspicious. This attitude did not arise from passionate love, but from fear. Bothwell lived in dread of the fate of Rizzio and Darnley; he knew well enough the capricious temper, the cunning treachery, of the Queen. As far as affection went, there was little; he kept Jane Gordon at Castle Crichton and often visited her, despite the Queen's protests. Gossip had it that he had said: 'Jane Gordon is my wife—the Queen my mistress', but despite these quarrels Mary and Bothwell were married in the royal chapel of the Palace of Holyrood House before the altar that had been the scene of her second marriage, and close to the vaults where Rizzio and Darnley lay. Mary was in deep mourning—gloom was ever associated with her relations with Bothwell. In her will she left him a black ring and one of her personal gifts to him had been an ornament in the form of a skull, with black tears.

A few days before her marriage she had convened a full Assembly of nobles and judges at the Tolbooth and had appeared before them, formally denying that Bothwell had ill-used her. It had been noted then, and was noted again at the wedding, that she was looking so much 'changed in her face' that she appeared extremely ill. Anguish of mind had effaced her beauty; bloom and radiance had vanished, but the seductive grace, the royal poise remained. Only one noble of repute attended the ceremony, which was performed by a Protestant Bishop, Adam Bothwell, Bishop of Orkney, but no relation to the groom. In his sermon he touched on Bothwell's (few used his new title) penitence for his past evil life, but Du Croc, Mary's friend, who visited her on three occasions at this period, sent accounts of her conduct, couched in terms of deep distress, to Catherine de Medici. Mary told the sympathetic Frenchman that she wished for nothing but death. He had already been told that during a quarrel with Bothwell on her wedding day she had shrieked for a knife with which to kill herself. Bothwell was drinking hard and using coarse language, and Mary's servants had reported that she might destroy herself. Du Croc warned Catherine to take no heed of the Bishop of Dunblane, then being sent to France with Mary's excuses for the marriage. He added that the state of Mary's affairs was precarious; she had asked the nobles to meet her and asked Du Croc to speak to them in the name of the King of France. The Frenchman considered this course hopeless and that it would be wiser for him to withdraw and 'leave them to play out their game'. He refused to recognize Bothwell as the husband of the Queen.

Maitland was still with the Queen, but without power or influence. As the husband of her friend, Mary Fleming, he had continual opportunities of observing Mary's pitiful state, her tears and lamentations. He reported to Du Croc: 'Bothwell would not allow her to look at, or be looked at, by anybody—yet he knew she loved her pleasure.'

Even Mary's confessor had advised her against this marriage, reduced to a farce by the constant absence of Bothwell in Castle Crichton with Jane Gordon. This priest was withdrawn by the Vatican.

As the Lords gathered strength Mary and Bothwell moved in sinister isolation, protected only by the Hepburn followers, Border ruffians, Moss troopers and 'minions of the moon'. Morton spoke of the rule of 'a murderer and a murderess' while the detested pair held, in bravado, a masque of triumph at the end of the month when Bothwell, now 'my lord duke', rode at the ring. At this time Mary wrote painful evasions to the faithful Beaton in Paris; she tried to justify her marriage but gave no excuses; she must 'make the best of it, and so for our respect, must all that love us'.

She instructed the Bishop of Dunblane to inform Catherine that her own nobles thought Bothwell the best husband for her, since they had signed the Ainslie's Tavern Band; also, he was to stress her troubles, perils, 'inconstant and doubtful fate', and so on. She never admitted to any error or fault in herself; all her misfortunes were due to the cruelty of others or a pitiless destiny. Dunblane was to add the obscure comment that her Protestant marriage was brought about by this same 'destiny' rather than her 'free choice'.

In the eyes of European diplomats Mary's marriage to Bothwell utterly discredited her both as a Queen and a woman. It was not a question as to whether she was innocent or guilty of adultery and murder, but a matter of her obvious incapacity to manage either her private or her public affairs. She had failed in the two great tasks set her by the policy of the Cardinal of Lorraine; she was no nearer than she had ever been to obtaining, either by intrigue or violence, a recognition of her claims to the English throne, and, far from re-establishing the ancient Faith in Scotland, she had so played into the hands of the Lords Protestants that they were the most formidable power in her Kingdom. She had come, a lovely girl, to her father's realm and been blessed by her subjects for her 'fair face'; now she was held up to execration from one end of the kingdom to another and cried out against not only as a criminal, but as a witch—'the curse of Scotland'.

The Bothwell marriage came as the culmination of reckless follies—if no harsher word was used—and her one-time allies, the Pope, France, Spain, moved coldly away; if no one troubled themselves about her morals, these potentates had to concern themselves about her intelligence. All her busy intrigues had ended in failure; she had estranged those, like Moray and Maitland, who might have saved her, as Cecil and Walsingham had saved Elizabeth; she had raised to power men incapable of holding it; she had flouted the wishes and opinions of her people by childish 'pleasures' and extravagances; she had never shown any interest in the people, poor and bitterly afflicted. In five years she had brought murder, disorder, civil war, into Scotland. With a handful of ruffians she now faced a country in revolt, a neighbour hostile and a Europe where there was no ally.

Her friends might argue, as she argued herself, that her misfortunes were entirely due to others and that all the evil told about her was merely slander. Catherine de Medici was not alone in refusing to be impressed by this point of view, nor did the ethics of the case matter much to foreign politicians. Mary, so brilliant, witty and discreet in France, once praised for her intelligent grasp of public affairs, had failed. She was no longer any use to anyone; the infant prince, with the Lords and the country behind him, was the focus for the envoys' spies and agents in Scotland.

The Scots, on the other hand, chiefly resented Mary's domestic life. She was to them a Frenchwoman who thought of nothing but her own amusement. They argued that she had never done anything for Scotland. She had not even seemed interested in the country; she was always surrounded by troops of French people. To the Reformers her behaviour had always seemed incredibly wanton. The John Gordon scandal, the Chastelard episode, the Rizzio affair, the headlong Darnley marriage, the more headlong Bothwell marriage, the gay unconcern with which she danced, masked, hunted, played her games, alternating with vindictive rages and bouts of hysteria, her lavishness to her favourites—all these traits outraged the Scots. Her alleged sexual offences were deeply resented by the stern Puritans, who saw nothing but sensual passion in Mary's attachments. The age of chivalry was past, the age of sentiment had not arrived. Platonic friendships were not understood among the Scots; they were downright speakers and the women had even harsher names for Mary's actions than the men. All recalled, with awe, how Knox had warned them, when she had landed in a thick fog at Leith, of the disasters she would bring upon Scotland.

The monarch most favourable to Mary was Elizabeth, who thought that her rank put her beyond criticism by her subjects. The English Queen haughtily rebuked Grange for some vile terms he used of his mistress, protesting that Mary could not be condemned like 'any common woman'. She was anxious, however, for the downfall of Bothwell, always the enemy of England, and was not moved by a flattering letter he sent her on June 5 (1567).

Maitland had followed Mary into Edinburgh Castle. Bothwell and Huntly had fallen foul of the subtle, adroit man so difficult for them to understand and put him under guard; but Maitland contrived to send letters to England and to escape to Stirling, where the Lords received him coldly as he was believed to be Mary's spy. Huntly also wished to leave the Castle but Mary refused him permission, saying he intended to do as his father had done, raise the North against her authority. The feeling in Edinburgh becoming daily more bitter against the Queen, and her followers falling away, Bothwell left the Castle on June 7th and took Mary to Borthwick fourteen miles from the capital where he was nearer his own glens and tenantry.

Mary ordered a muster at Muirhead Abbey for June 12th (1567). The levies of nobles, knights, esquires, gentlemen and yeomen were to come in full armour and weapons, each with six days' provisions.

Borthwick and Crichton are two fine Castles above a wooded ravine, both then strongholds of the Hepburns. Passing inland and following the Esk to Dalkeith, Mary's train would soon arrive, in the summer weather, at Borthwick, set against the Lammermuirs one side and the Moorfoot Hills the other. Some handsome ruins of this once formidable Castle, built for defence, yet remain; the walls are of an unusual thickness and there is a double tower, the whole giving, even now, an impression of great strength.

Mary, however, did not feel safe there. The muster was a failure. Few obeyed her summons and these few were half hearted and after she had been in Borthwick a week it was surrounded by the Lords with a thousand men. She appeared at a window and told them that her husband had gone to Dunbar; at this they withdrew and marched on Edinburgh, which they took, meeting no resistance. They had their case pat; this was not a revolt but an effort to achieve the three objects of their last Band; the freedom of the Queen, the safety of the Prince, the punishment of the King's murderers, and they offered these explanations to the anxious Du Croc whom they found still in Edinburgh. Mary escaped from Borthwick, dressed in male attire, and met Bothwell a mile from the Castle. They galloped to Dunbar, raised more Hepburns and other Borderers, marched to Haddington, then to Seton, places already familiar to both of them. Du Croc did not wish to countenance rebels, but when the Lords marched out to meet Bothwell he followed in the hopes of patching up a peace between them and Mary. After three hours' riding he found the two armies halted with about half a league between them and asked the Lords to offer terms to the Queen. They replied that she must abandon Bothwell, or Bothwell, in order to avoid a battle, must fight out the question of his guilt in mortal combat; twelve of the Lords' men would fight twelve of the Queen's men.

After some debate Du Croc was given an escort of fifty horse and allowed to go to the Queen's quarters the other side of the brook. Mary was on horseback; she wore the costume of a humble citizeness of Edinburgh—a short red petticoat or kilt, a bodice with sleeves tied with laces over a skirt, a velvet hat and a muffler (light shawl). She dismounted and sat on a boulder while she listened to Du Croc, but the conversation was useless. Mary would not accede to the Lords' terms. She repeated her charges that they had urged her marriage and acquitted Bothwell; she added that she would forgive them if they submitted. Bothwell rode up, carrying the royal banner of Scotland, and asked loudly and boldly, so that all might hear, if he was the one wanted. In the same loud tone Du Croc said that the Lords were the humble servants of the Queen, adding in a whisper: 'But your mortal enemies.'

Bothwell boasted and swaggered. He declared the Lords were jealous of his good fortune and accepted the challenge to mortal combat; he offered the usual tag about God protecting his just cause, then, on a more human note, referred to 'the extreme suffering' of the Queen.

Du Croc admired Bothwell on this occasion. He thought that he had a gallant bearing and an air of confidence admirable in the circumstances. Bothwell knew that there were very few of his followers on whose loyalty he could count, but he gave no sign of weakness and was even ready to jest. Mary also kept a courageous front and controlled her fatigue, her distress and her deep anxiety with admirable fortitude. Du Croc was shocked to see her seated on the boulder by the stream, in her humble attire. But he could do nothing for her and had to accept Bothwell's laughing suggestion, fortified with an inaccurate reference to Ovid, that having failed as a peacemaker he should console himself with a good view of the battle.

There were further fruitless arguments about the trial by combat proposal, during which many of Mary's soldiers slipped away to join the Lords and, thus encouraged, the forces of the Protestants began to ford the brook. Mary mounted and rode among her troops, persuading and encouraging them, but they remained half-hearted and she returned to the stone near to the spot where the Royal Standard of Scotland was set up.

The Lords had a banner of a new and sinister design. It showed the corpse of Darnley beneath a tree. Near him the infant James knelt and the legend was: 'Judge and avenge my cause, O Lord!' As this flag was borne ahead of the advancing army, Mary observed the device and remarked that she wished she had never seen 'Henry Darnley'. It was then eleven o'clock in the morning, the place known as Carberry Hill. The two armies manoeuvred round each other until five o'clock in the evening, when Mary's men asked for a parley. The question of the single combat was again raised. Bothwell was willing but Mary made difficulties and soon the men on both sides were out of hand. Du Croc noted that 'they intermingled in great disorder'. Mary, seeing the day was lost, asked for Grange, after being refused by Maitland and Lindsay, and on his arrival asked how she might secure the safety of her husband. Grange could make no promise: 'The Lords are resolved to take him or die'. Bothwell did not wish to flee but the Queen urged him to escape until Parliament cleared him; she promised fidelity and there was a sad farewell of kisses and embraces. Bothwell gave her the Band for the death of Darnley, signed by many of the Lords, and galloped off the field, followed by a few desperate men, among whom were four outlawed Swedes. There was no pursuit and Mary thought that his withdrawal would bring her 'humble servants' back to their allegiance.

This was not the case; she was surrounded and hurried to Edinburgh, the two armies, now both in the service of the Lords, following her in a confused triumph. Mary surrendered at six o'clock in the evening. It was eleven o'clock that same night before she reached her destination, the Provost House in Edinburgh. She was exhausted, dishevelled, faint with the horror and tedium of the day, during which she had had neither rest nor food. The banner showing Darnley's murder was carried in front of her, and fixed beneath her window; she had no attendants, no comfort, no privacy; armed guards were at the door of her one room. The cries of the people were full of fury against her; the shrillest denunciation was: 'Burn the harlot!' No one doubted her guilt and the punishment for adultery was the stake, for murder the gallows. She was not accused of a political offence for which the axe could have provided an honourable death, but of the most sordid of domestic crimes.

Few queens had ever been so degraded, so utterly forlorn; even sober people considered that she could never regain her throne or any measure of respect. Once again she had badly miscalculated not only the characters of the men with whom she had to deal but the strength of the popular feeling against her. Not one friend came forward to stand by her. The Carberry Hill encounter ( June 15th, 1567) took place a month after her wedding with Bothwell and three months after the murder of Darnley.

The Provost House was situate near the Nether Bow, close to the gabled building where John Knox lodged. The street, since much altered, was then cluttered and crowded with booths and stalls and packed tight with sternly excited people, shout ing denunciations of their queen. After two hours of this torture Mary appeared at her window. She was in a frenzy of rage and despair and paced, shrieking, from her guarded door to the window, her humble dress torn and open on the bosom, her hair hanging down. Her situation was desperate and she knew it. With hoarse cries she called on the people gathered below to rescue her, declaring that she had been betrayed. She made several of these frantic appearances by the light of the Northern summer night and the torches held by the infuriated crowd below, and so woeful was the spectacle, so bitter the contrast between the distracted, degraded captive and the proud Princess, decked in brilliancy, that Edinburgh was used to seeing that the people were mostly silenced, some even moved to pity. Retreating from the window, Mary wrote two letters on odd pieces of paper she found in the room and gave them, with many wild promises, to one of her guards. One was to the Governor of the Castle, ordering him not to surrender the citadel to the Lords; the other was for Bothwell—'calling him her dear heart, whom she would never abandon in his absence', telling him that she had sent him away only for his own safety and bidding him be on his guard. She did not know how this letter was to be delivered to the fugitive, nor did the guard concern himself about this point—he handed the letters over to the Lords.

Returning to the window she shrieked out against the banner with the device of the murdered man. The crowd were abashed by the sight of so much misery, but there was no attempt at a rescue and some still repeated the cries that had greeted her from Tullibardine's men when she had surrendered at Carberry Hill—'Burn the harlot!'

Du Croc was refused permission to visit Mary, but she saw Maitland passing in the street below and implored him to come up. He did so and spoke to her coldly, reminding her of Bothwell's fidelity to Jane Gordon and his treatment of Mary 'as his concubine'. Mary replied that this was not true, vehemently protested against her separation from Bothwell and 'wept bitterly'. Maitland's report of this interview, her attempt to smuggle letters out of prison and the dangerous state of the populace decided the Lords to move Mary from the capital. They had already taken from her the Band Bothwell had given her and all the power was in their hands. Moray's friends suggested Lochleven as a place of captivity; it belonged to his mother, who had married a Douglas and resided sometimes at Lochleven with her son, Sir William Douglas, and sometimes near by; Lochleven was a pleasant dwelling familiar to Mary; it was also considered impossible for this Castle in the middle of a lake ever to be taken; nor was it believed possible for anyone held prisoner there to escape.

Moray had left Italy and was in France, covertly directing the actions of the Lords. The choice of Lochleven was favour able to the Queen, since it removed her from danger and insult and promised her some dignified abode. After her torment had endured until midnight the day after her capture, the frantic woman was escorted through the streets of Edinburgh, Atholl one side, Morton the other, the murder banner borne before her in the midst of a group of arbusiquiers. Despite the hour the narrow streets were packed with people whose transient pity had passed; so ugly was their mood that the Lords took an unprecedented step. The Trades Guilds of Edinburgh enjoyed the unique privilege of a banner, given them by royal grant and ranking with knightly honours; this was jealously guarded and universally respected—Mary's son afterwards named it 'The Blue Blanket'. This revered emblem was now brought out and carried in front of Mary as she proceeded through her capital. She was unmolested but the furious cries demanding the stake and the gallows were not hushed, for while many had been implicated in the murder of Darnley, at that moment Mary alone was held answerable for the crime.

She was taken to Holyrood, then quickly removed to Lochleven which she reached on June 17th (1567). The Lords gave as their reason for detaining her in captivity her obstinate refusal to give up Bothwell and his accomplices in the Darnley murder; they considered that the realm would be ruined if she were allowed to follow her own inordinate passion'.

Mary, on arriving at Lochleven Castle, collapsed into a dangerous illness, comparable to that she had suffered at Jedburgh. The nine Lords who signed the warrant for captivity found her place of confinement agreeable and commodious and there was, indeed, nothing gloomy or sinister about Lochleven Castle, nor was Lady Douglas a formidable jailor. This woman was of a noble family and a high character. Her connection with James V had been more that of a left-handed wife than a mistress; he had acknowledged and advanced their children, and if she had been of royal birth he would have married her. After his death she espoused Sir Robert Douglas, to whom she bore two sons and seven daughters. She was respected and admired and many rumours were about that some form of marriage had united her to James V.

Moray had in mind the comfort and safety of his sister when he advised that she should be sent to Lochleven. Mary was decently housed in the third floor of the second tower of the Castle. Her apartments consisted of a bedroom, parlour, dining room, kitchen and an oratory in the recess of one of the windows. Some of her women, a cook, and an apothecary were sent from Holyrood. Mary remained in bed, hardly speaking or moving and refusing any but the lightest food. Her violence in the Provost House had been followed by one of the hysteric swoons to which she was liable and for nearly a fortnight she was extremely ill.


Illustration

Holyrood Abbey as it appeared in 1830.
Drawn by T. H. Shepherd. Engraved by W. Tombleson


A few days after the ruined Queen had been taken in disgrace to her prison, George Buchanan arrived in Edinburgh to attend the Assembly of the Church of Scotland, held in the Nether Tolbooth. He was then Principal of St. Andrew's University and was appointed Moderator 'for eschewing of confusion in reasoning'. The Assembly viewed with satisfaction the downfall of the foreign Roman Catholic Queen, which was considered as 'the beginning of Satan being trodden under foot'. George Buchanan thought so, too; he believed that Mary's true nature had been at last revealed and he, who once had been her ardent admirer and her Latin tutor, became her vehement enemy and set himself to denounce her with all the might of his learning and prestige.


Illustration

James I and VI, only child of Mary, born in Edinburgh Castle.
Painter and engraver unknown.


On the heels of Buchanan came Throckmorton, sent by Elizabeth and Cecil to find out the truth of Mary's horrible catastrophe. The English Queen still reserved judgement but she was persistent on an old demand: her shrewd and experienced envoy was to see if the ruined Mary would now ratify the Treaty of Edinburgh. Throckmorton could not obtain per mission to visit Mary in Lochleven; he was told that her passion for Bothwell made it needful to keep her in strict confinement. But he also carried a menacing letter from his mistress to the Lords; she did not at all relish these 'bold rebels' laying hands on their sovereign and wished her to be set at liberty, but she also pressed for the punishment of the murderers of the King. Throckmorton's instructions and précis of the case, drawn up by Cecil, were lucid and intelligent, while Sir Thomas Randolph summed up Mary's tragedy succinctly:

'She governed for four years quietly in Scotland, till a change was made through her disorderly behaviour; first with Chastelard...next with David...with other such filthy behaviour, whereof I am ashamed to speak. Then the murder of Darnley, the marriage with Bothwell, etc. This has driven Mary from the throne, not the intrigues or enmity of Elizabeth.'

The Lords, who did not know what to do with Mary, or how to placate Elizabeth, urged Moray to return. Bothwell had disappeared, rumour said into the Orkneys, where he was believed to be raising a band of pirates. Elizabeth was most severe against Bothwell and sternly condemned Mary for this reckless marriage, but she remained the only friendly power in Europe. France and England were secretly struggling for the custody of Prince James, and the prudent Moray, heavily bribed by both sides, was in London by July, telling the Spanish Ambassador that he knew Mary had been privy to the murder of Darnley. He had seen, he declared, a letter of hers to Bothwell that proved her guilt.

This reference was to a collection of letters in a silver casket found by a servant under Bothwell's bed in Holyrood six days after the Queen's surrender at Carberry Hill. Lord Morton received the casket, which was locked, opened it and offered it for inspection to the Lords—and not only to the confederate Lords who had brought the Queen down, but to such moderate men as Mar and Atholl. The contents included eight letters, some sonnets and the marriage contracts of Bothwell and the Queen. All these documents were in French, but the Lords had several copies made in a Scots translation and one of these had been sent to Moray.

This weapon against Mary was kept secret. She, recovering her spirits with her usual resilience, did not suspect the mischief brewing. She began to eat, to take exercise, to play cards, to flatter her jailors, one of whom, Ruthven, son of the man who had assisted at the murder of Rizzio, had to be removed as he was falling under her influence. Throckmorton had heard that she had made frantic declarations of love for Bothwell, vowing again that she would 'follow him to the end of the world in a white petticoat', but now she made no effort to write to him. She sent to Sir Robert Melville, once her Lord Chamberlain, and to Servais de Condé, the keeper of her wardrobe, for rich clothes, materials for embroidery, satin and silks, bed hangings, sheets, shoes and sweetmeats, dried damask plums and pears. She demanded these in sharp terms, adding that she needed dresses for her maids—'for they are naked'.

Near the date of this letter the Lords issued a Proclamation offering a thousand crowns for the man who had staked his all on the Queen and lost. There were rumours of Bothwell on the Border, with Huntly at Strathbogie, again in the Orkneys, and a summons was issued against him. Throckmorton smuggled a letter into Mary's prison, assuring her of Elizabeth's friendship and advising her to break with Bothwell. She answered saying she could not abandon Bothwell since she expected to bear his child and would not disgrace herself and her infant by casting any reflection on her marriage. This brought a new element into the case, but Throckmorton thought the Queen's position hopeless if she did not give up Bothwell; he advised her to do this, in order 'to save her own life and that of the child'. It was

exactly two months since her marriage; one month after that event Bedford had written to Elizabeth: 'The Queen is with child'. Elizabeth's letter had pointed at Mary's desperate desire to save her honour; if Mary's condition had been that of a woman not, as she said herself, 'seven weeks gone with child' but 'seven months' a clear light would have been thrown on the hasty murder, the hasty divorce, the hasty marriage, for seven months would take us back to the first of Mary's vehement demands to be rid of Darnley and the first reports that she was Bothwell's mistress.

The Castle in Lochleven was reached by road to what is now Queensferry Bridge, then by boat across the Firth of Forth, then to Inverkeithing, thence to Dunfermline, then by a choice of roads and tracks to Kinross that is near the large lake on which is an island bearing the Douglas Castle, now a ruin. Lochleven is still nearly nine miles in circumference and was once larger. The island was smaller, a bare two acres, when Mary was imprisoned there. Castle Island was half a mile from the shore, and, then as now, could be reached only by rowing boat.

While Mary was held in this prison, from which, it was generally believed, she could never escape, Europe watched her affairs from afar. Charles IX was, he declared, eager to see his sister-in-law at liberty, but his mother, Catherine, was still the enemy of the Queen of Scots. The French at large were indifferent; they 'took water with their wine' as Throckmorton observed, and, if the 'auld alliance' might be kept with Scotland, cared not if they dealt with Mary or the Lords, acting for the little Prince. Throckmorton found his mission impossible to execute; he could not induce the Lords to set the Queen free, nor even obtain permission to see her. Knox returned to Edinburgh and menaced Scotland with plagues if the murderess and adulteress were not punished. But the English envoy believed that his threat of Elizabeth's wrath against the rebels had prevented them from delivering Mary to the people, thereby saving her life. He found the public feeling against her running very high and his appeals to Knox and Craig to preach mercy were in vain. Indeed, he had soon fears for himself among the angry Scots, and noted that 'a stranger busy among them' had better be prudent. He heard that Mary still staunchly refused to give up Bothwell, who had now retreated to the Castle of Spynie. Yet the Lords had resolved on a royal divorce and Argyll planned to marry Mary to his brother.

Throckmorton thought Maitland, who had said that 'twelve English thousand crowns or so' of bribes might 'do much', the most capable and prudent of the Lords who, by July 22nd (1567), had answered Elizabeth's protests, glozing over the question of the Queen's guilt and putting all the blame on Bothwell. The Queen, they explained, 'was shut up' in a solitary place to keep her asunder from Bothwell, whom she loved immeasurably. Throckmorton reported that the people were resolved on her punishment and not to be controlled. Knox was largely responsible for keeping this public fury at fever heat; he pointed in triumph to 'the bloody end to which the stinking pride of woman had come'. Other preachers followed his lead; the Queen was abused from every pulpit in the country. The placards and ballads were without shame or decency.

Lindsay, Moray's brother-in-law, went to Lochleven with an Act of Abdication. Mary was ill; as no more was heard of her second child it was supposed that she had miscarried; but a wilder tale was that a live infant had been smuggled from Lochleven in a basket and taken to France. She signed the Act that formally declared that she resigned the crown to her son and gave the regency to Moray until James should be seventeen years of age. In case Moray refused this post, and until his return to Scotland, she appointed a Committee of the Lords, the head of the Hamiltons, Châtelherault, Lennox, Argyll, Mar, Atholl, Morton and Glencairn. The preamble of the document gave as her reasons for the abdication the 'long, irksome and tedious travail that had so vexed and worried her that body, spirit and senses were no longer able to endure'. Mary signed under duress and threats; the Lords had their indictments ready had she refused. They were to charge her with tyranny, adultery—with others besides Bothwell—and murder; they stated they had proofs of all these crimes in 'her own writing'.

Throckmorton was dismayed by this news that he was aware would be objectionable to Elizabeth. He wrote a long letter of excuses to his mistress, trying to console her with hopes of the capture of Bothwell. An English spy, one Rokeby, was with him in Spynie and had promised to hand him over to his enemies; not a good scheme, Throckmorton thought, since Bothwell was surrounded by the very ruffians who had helped him to murder Darnley. Moreover, it was not 'to Elizabeth's honour that he should be slain in a brawl; he must be brought to justice'.

James VI was crowned in Stirling by the Bishop of Orkney. Knox preached amid noisy rejoicing. A thousand bonfires lit Edinburgh—twice as many as had blazed for the birth of the new King. This exuberance was partly due to a penny fine levied on all who did not light a bonfire. Dancing and general joy celebrated the opening of the reign of the first Protestant sovereign.

Mary was extremely ill in her prison and could not leave her bed; Throckmorton wondered 'for what continuance' he had saved her life, for she had not one friend or champion to speak for her, 'whether it be from fear, fury or zeal, I know not' he noted, but it was clear that the Lords were still half inclined to yield to the public mood and put Mary on a 'trial' in which she would have had no chance. One reason why the count was so black against Mary was the suspicion of the bedevilment of black magic. Bothwell was believed to be a wizard; whispers of spells, potions, charms, ghosts, visions had assailed Mary from her first landing at Leith. Since the Papal Bull against sorcerers, in 1484, hundreds of witches, male and female, had perished in the flames for far lighter misdemeanours than those imputed to the Queen and Bothwell. Her last illness—'a flux from a mis carriage of twins, her issue by Bothwell', as it was plainly stated to be—did not help Mary; such a case fitted too well into the earlier details of her story. 'The women were more violent than the men,' wrote Throckmorton, 'yet they were mad enough.'

Elizabeth, however, continued to resent the treatment given to Mary and declared she would 'revenge it to the uttermost' on the rebels. Moray paused at Windsor on his way home and spoke soothingly to his hostess, speaking kindly of Mary and trying once more to offer Earl Bothwell as a general scapegoat.

By the middle of August (1567) Moray was at Lochleven. He brought with him Morton and Atholl, but Mary drew him apart and there followed a fruitless interview of tears and reproaches on her side and cold rebukes on his. On his giving her his promise of her life she seemed much eased, begged him to accept the Regency and pressed on him the keeping of her jewels, to be saved for her son. Moray told her to forget Bothwell and repent her disorderly life. This was the last time the Queen spoke of Bothwell; fear, anguish, illness had quenched that passion as quickly as her passion for Darnley had been quenched. She was out of love. Bothwell was living violently at Castle Spynie, a strong bishop's castle near Lossiemouth, where he quarrelled with Huntly, and his men killed and brawled among themselves.

The Lords then replied defiantly to Elizabeth in 'sharp, round terms'—'If you will burn our borders, we will do the like to yours, and, whensoever you invade us, we are sure France will aid us, for their deeds stand fast.' They sternly reminded her that she had done nothing to capture Bothwell and the other murderers or to safeguard the little King, and it was a strange interference for her to order those who were no subjects of hers to set the Queen at liberty—would she send a thousand men, or three ships, to seize Bothwell?

The reply of the outraged Elizabeth was to recall Throckmorton. Before he left the English envoy heard that Bothwell had taken to the sea and was being chased by Grange, whose vessel, however, grounded, while Bothwell fled the islands of the North, making for Norwegian waters. Mary recovered her spirits. She remained on amiable terms with her warders and kept on a fairly friendly basis with Moray. She was even gay and put on weight. Abandoned by all, she still had her charms, her pathos, her seductive guile; and George Douglas, youngest son of the Lady Margaret, was moved by the Queen's beauty and suffering. She encouraged him, with the result that Dury reported yet another scandal attached to the Queen's name. Stories of another child born in Lochleven went abroad—there was talk, too, that Douglas might marry the Queen, and other suitors were discussed; Argyll's brother, again, and Lord Methuen. Mary was much comforted by these plans, but the infatuated Douglas was removed from Lochleven and her light coquetry checked. It had not been in vain, however. Douglas remained near and had access to the Castle; through him Mary sent two wild yet tactful letters of self-justification and complaint to Catherine de Medici, begging for troops to set her on the throne again.

Bothwell was still an obstacle, both to Mary's fourth marriage and the peace of Scotland. His ship had been wrecked on the Danish coast. Frederick II refused, however, to deliver him at Moray's demand and held him prisoner at the Castle of Bergham. This was to the Regent's interest, as he had no wish for Mary to marry again or for a trial of Bothwell to take place in Scotland for the murder of Darnley. Too many had been implicated in that crime.


Illustration

Key found in Lochleven identified as that
dropped by the Queen's party after escape from the Castle


George Douglas stayed at Kinross, on the borders of Lochleven, and there repaired to him those nobles who were dissatisfied with Moray's rule; the restless Huntly, the Hamiltons, Argyll, Seton and Herries. Mary had complained to Catherine de Medici—'so closely am I watched that I have no leisure but while they dine, etc.', but a plan for her deliverance was easily carried through. She had tried once to get away dressed as a servant, but had been discovered by her 'fair, white hands'. Since then she had been confined in a tower, but nevertheless she contrived to escape, with the connivance of several in the Castle, including Willie Douglas, who stole the keys. Mary slipped out with Mary Seton, and Willie rowed them across the lake, where she was met by George Douglas and Alexander Hepburn, Bothwell's kinsman. Horses were ready and the party set out towards Niddry. After a few miles she was met by Lord Seton, always her faithful friend, and then by Claud Hamilton. At Niddry was another loyal ally, Lord Herries.

It was May, of the year 1568. Mary had been in prison nearly a year but the kindness of her treatment showed in her renewed health, beauty and high spirits. Castle Niddry, near Linlithgow, is now a mere ruin; in Mary's day it was a well-equipped Castle. She and her party went on at once to Castle Hamilton in the valley of the Clyde. The old building was demolished to make way for a grandiose eighteenth-century palace; that in turn went when coal was discovered beneath the foundations, so no trace remains of the Hamilton Of Mary's day. In this Castle she met the Roman Catholic Prelate, Arch bishop Hamilton, who had been in the Kirk O'Field mansion with armed men on the night of Darnley's murder, who had christened James VI and divorced Bothwell. He and the other nobles acknowledged Mary as Queen and it was tacitly under stood that the act of abdication was null through being obtained by force. The clans answered the call of their chieftains to Mary's standard and the country was divided into King's men and Queen's men, although Mary was only a pawn in the hands of the Hamiltons who were poor, greedy and incompetent. She had no policy save the one policy of power at any cost, but for the moment there was an illusion of triumph, of success. She thought that she would be Queen again, and even, as the Roman Catholic clansmen gathered, that she might yet re-establish the ancient Faith in Scotland.

Six thousand men had soon mustered at Hamilton. Mary, gracious, gay, gallant, rode among them, using all her royal arts to encourage them. She sent David Beaton to his brother, the envoy in Paris, to ask help from Charles IX—'a thousand arbusquiers' at once. She wrote also to the beloved mentor, the Cardinal of Lorraine, for once excusing herself for past errors and follies and promising amends and to live and die a true daughter of the Faith; but for the moment she wanted only help. As ever impulsive and imprudent, and feeling safe four miles from Castle Drummond and the coast, Mary glowed with the thought of those French galleons coming to her aid. Moray, then in Glasgow, had nothing like her number of men; he issued his call to arms, in the name of the King and 'for the establishment of quietness'.

Mary retorted by a proclamation, partly drawn up by the Hamilton Archbishop, partly by herself. It showed her revengeful, vindictive spirit and her total lack of prudence in the manner in which it branded her enemies. In particular her fury against Moray was expressed in coarse terms; he was 'beastly traitor', 'bastard gotten in shameful adultery'—a cruel reference to the lady of Lochleven—while his supporters were 'pestiferous factions', 'shameless butchers', and retorting on them their accusation of the Darnley murder, Mary proclaimed them 'hellhounds, bloody tyrants, cut-throats, not even a barbarous Turk could pardon them'. This burnt Mary's boats; she could never hope to come to terms with these men. She estranged half her kingdom by this bitter outburst that she afterwards repudiated.

The Hamiltons planned to marry the Queen to one of their family and hurried on an engagement with the forces of the Lords. On May 12th (1568), ten days after Mary's escape from Lochleven, the two armies met at Langside, a field near Dumbarton and Hamilton. Mary had no efficient general; her commander, Argyll, was disabled by a fit in the onset of the action. Grange, leading for Moray, was an excellent soldier and many Hamiltons were slain in the first onslaught. Mary, trying to ride among her troops, found them fighting one another, and she withdrew to a slope and watched the battle. The action was short and decisive. Scotland was saved from a puppet Queen in the hands of the Hamiltons, aided by foreign troops, and Mary lost everything save life.

It was to preserve her mere existence that she turned and fled, escorted by Lord Herries and sixteen men. They rode without pause to Dumfries, then, changing horses, sixty miles to Dundrennan near Kirkcudbright, an agreeable little place now termed Queen's Hill, from this incident. It was at a few miles from the Dundrennan, at Burnsfoot, a small village, that the exhausted fugitives drew rein. They had neither paused nor eaten since they had seen the Queen's forces scattered or surrendered at Langside.

At Dundrennan Mary took a desperate decision, one that the direction of her flight showed had been in her mind during her ride. She intended to escape into England. There was nowhere else she could go. At Lochleven she had openly yearned for a French convent or asylum with her grandmother at Joinville. But Catherine de Medici was hostile, France was in a state of civil war, the Guises were no longer in power; there was not even any means of getting to France. The faithful Seton had been lost to her at Langside, but Herries was still with the Queen and suggested that she should 'remain in Scotland and trust to a better fortune'. Mary replied that she could not trust anyone; her courage had broken; her second defeat in the field reminded her of her first and the night in the Provost House. She wrote an appealing letter to Elizabeth, who had championed her against the Lords, and enclosed the diamond Elizabeth had once sent her in token of friendship, for some of her jewels had been restored to her by the Hamiltons. The little party then set out towards Terrgeles, Lord Herries' house, his knowledge of the wild country enabling him to act as guide along obscure tracks. Here another hasty consultation was held; but a flight to England was the only possible course for Mary.

Moray's troops would be in pursuit and this time, after her proclamation, she could not hope even for the leniency shown her by the Lochleven imprisonment. The fugitive was in great fear; she refused to go to bed and spent the night on a stool in the thickness of wall built as a place of concealment. In the morning the Queen and a few followers went to the shores of the Solway, where Lord Herries hired a fishing boat, and after a four hours' crossing they reached Workington, in England, at six o'clock in the evening on May 16th, 1568. Mary herself described the flight from Langside to Dumfries, from Dumfries to Dundrennan, in a letter to the Cardinal of Lorraine—'I have endured injuries, calumnies, imprisonment, famine, cold, heat, flight, sixty-two miles across country without supping or alighting. And then I have had to sleep upon the ground and drink sour milk and eat oatmeal without bread and have been three nights, like the owls, without a female in this country.'

There is no clear account of Mary's last journey in Scotland. Langside took place on May 12th—by May 16th (evening) she was across the Solway; how she got there and how those four days were spent she herself did not know. One account gives Sandquhar as the first halt, after a night ride from Langside; from thence to Terrgeles where she 'rested a few days' and then embarked at Dundrennan. Others make Dundrennan the first stop after Langside. In either case it is difficult to fit in 'the sleep on the ground' and the rough food, with the sixty miles (accord ing to some, ninety miles) without alighting or supping, and the three nights 'like the owls', i.e. in the open, with 'a few days' rest at Terrgeles. There was time to pause at Dundrennan Abbey to send on the letter, by one of the party going ahead, to Elizabeth. Mary was herself in a confusion as to this wild ride and those who try to follow her will find it difficult to do so. Sixty miles was a feat for any horse without a pause on rough cross-country ways; the tracks Mary took have long since vanished and modern roads are no guides to sixteenth-century travel. Moreover, the cavalcade turned and twisted through the dark (as far as it is dark in a Scots May) to avoid pursuit. But thirty miles should have seen them at Sandquhar and another

twenty, with fresh horses, at Dumfries; ten miles more to Burnsfoot on the banks of the Solway; sixty miles, but not without 'pause or sup'. This might take a night and a day. Then a rest at Dundrennan, the letter to England written and another night ride to the Herries' house, Terrgeles; then a sojourn there (May 14th) of one day only and a return to the banks of the Solway for the crossing in the afternoon of May 16th. Still we do not account for the three nights in the open, the coarse meals of 'sour milk', etc., or the sixty-, or ninety-, mile ride. The modern traveller can find his way by various routes from Hamilton, the site of Langside, to Sandquhar, Dumfries and Dundrennan. It is now an easy and agreeable journey and includes two places' not hitherto visited in this tracing of Mary's journeys.

Sandquhar, with the ruins of a castle, is on the route from Glasgow to Carlisle. Dumfries is already described. Dundrennan is famous for the ruins of the abbey that housed Mary during her last night in Scotland; the son of her host, Lord Herries, was the last abbot of this twelfth-century Cistercian foundation. Much of magnificence remains in ruined transepts, windows, doorways and tombs, and an impressive view of the noble, mutilated buildings can be seen from the low hills above the valley. The spire that rose at the intersection of the cruciform church has gone with much else, but enough remains for an impression of grandeur. Mary rested here for a short while—and prayed here, the last time she was to worship in a church of her own Faith. For the sake of this association as well as its own Dundrennan (The Hill of Thorns) should be visited. Several days could be pleasantly spent in following up and down the various ways by which Mary is reported to have reached the shores of the Solway; but it was an infernal ride for the ruined Queen. If the sixty-ninety miles ride, the sleeping on the ground, and so on, were created in her mind from merely trivial incidents, that does not lessen the terror that inspired her frantic description. The same question—that of distance from one point to another—arises when considering any of the other famous rides of Mary, Queen of Scots. The roads and tracks she travelled have, in almost every case, disappeared. What is now an easy afternoon excursion was, in the sixteenth century, a horseback ride of many hours. In many instances the going would be rough, over heathery moorland, with possibly unreliable guides and without adequate accommodation for obtaining relays of horses. Allowance must also be made for tired beasts, foul weather and the short northern days. Modern travelling on foot or horseback in Scotland is usually undertaken in the brief summer, but some of Mary's journeys were made in winter and storm, as was her wild dash to Bothwell from Jedburgh to Hermitage. To ride at such a pace over rough, unknown country treacherous with obstacles such as swamps and boulders would seem incredible if it were not well attested. Mary's sole recorded accident is the slipping of her horse in the mud or morass.

The escape from Lochleven, the muster at Langside and the final confused flight to the borders of the Solway were under taken when Mary had recently been in a low state of health and barely recovered from the illness, miscarriage or abortion, that had afflicted her in prison. Though in good spirits, and whether she was twenty, thirty, or forty hours in the saddle, and no matter how many nights she spent sleeping on the heather, and how many sitting awake in Terrgeles, the journey remains a considerable feat.

With Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Inverness as head quarters, the places that Queen Mary visited, with such toil and pain and in circumstances always disturbed and often tragic, may be seen at ease and leisure by any mode of travel the curious investigator prefers. A short time would suffice to have at least a glance at the scenery, the towns, the castles, the palaces that formed the background for Mary's personal life during her reign of six years; a long time would allow a close inspection of all that remains connected with Mary Stewart, including visits to such museums of relics as that housed in the Queen's House, Jedburgh, and some inspection of the rich national collections in Edinburgh and other large cities.

From time to time exhibitions of objects once belonging to Queen Mary, now privately owned, are held. Scotland possesses many such treasures; love and zeal, loyalty and patriotism gathered together and hoarded a large number of the rare and beautiful things in which Mary delighted. Some of them are worked by her own hand, and some, such as the toddling reins she made for her son, his cradle, a death-head watch, given by her to John Knox, and a prayer book held by her on the scaffold, have an extremely poignant interest. The portraits also, both of Mary herself and her contemporaries, though few of them have any artistic value, are of importance in at least giving us an impression of what these personages might have looked like when in full dress array. Unfortunately the painter's lack of skill and his concentration on costume and ornament instead of character usually defeats curiosity. The extreme formality of these portraits, where the humanity of the subject is reduced to a symbol of royalty, pomp, power or beauty, is misleading and Mary in particular is falsely represented by these stiff, stately portrayals. We see nothing of the fascination of the woman with the 'alluring grace' who wept, laughed, talked and gesticulated so eagerly and so graciously, with that attractive bold freedom that, however, allowed no one to forget her obsession with her descent from Henry VII and her position as Queen Regnant of Scotland and Queen Dowager of France, as well as self-regarded heiress of England.

But undoubtedly the most impressive way of regaining the atmosphere of Mary's reign is by visiting the magnificent rock castles and lake-side palaces that were the scenes of her brief dramas, and by travelling at leisure over the country, itself still unchanged in atmosphere, and largely in appearance, after nearly four centuries. Some cities, such as Glasgow, have entirely lost their ancient character; industrialization has altered most of the towns and villages Mary knew. Some have gone, but the landscape, the climate, remains. Much of Edinburgh and other cities can be reconstructed, if sufficient sympathy and patience is employed. The vast deer forests, the remote lakes, the hills and the moors look to us as they looked to her when she escaped to them for 'clean air'.

Her superb palaces and mighty fortalices are mostly ruins, but as such they have a pathos and majesty they did not possess in the days of their glory that were also days of squalor, dirt, crime and ignorance. Linlithgow, four-square beside the lake, midway between Edinburgh and Stirling, cannot fail to please. Apart from the fact that it was the birthplace of Queen Mary, it was the scene of many events in Scots history that have been graced by ballad and legend. This was the setting for some of the most brilliant and gay of the episodes in the lives of the Stewart Kings, and still, in mutilation, shows their splendour and their taste in device of Royal Arms and Thistle battlement and chapel. When Mary of Guise was married at Linlithgow she declared it was 'the most princely place' she had ever beheld. The modern aspect of the room in which she bore her daughter is a sad commentary on this remark; this large apartment is now open to the sky.

A piquant tradition attaches to the black greyhound tied to a tree that is the badge of the town of Linlithgow. It is supposed to represent a witch who in this disguise haunted the neighbour hood; the common sense of the matter is that it is a symbol of the immense royal hunting grounds near by. Stirling, much resembling Edinburgh, has not either such a tranquil aspect or such a peaceful history as Linlithgow. It is thirty-five miles from the capital (Mary's birthplace being but fifteen miles); the name was formerly 'Stryreling' and as such is often written in the records of Mary's time. Its bitter history gained it the name of Mons Dolorum. At one time a 'Round Table' was kept in this imposing fortress; here Mary of Guise held her courts and councils and here her daughter was crowned; here Mary ruined Darnley and intrigued for her second marriage, which took place in the chapel; here her son was baptized. Stirling looks most impressive viewed from the spot known as the Back Walk; from there rock, bastions and Palace rise sombrely into the air with a powerful effect of that melancholy inseparable from deserted dwellings. More pleasing are the modest ruins of Inchmahome, 'the island of rest', where witches once flew about on bulrushes and fairies planted trees, where the little Queen and her four Marys spent two years of happiness.

Much has been written of Holyrood in the text of this volume; it is obvious that even a brief account of the Palace of Holyrood House would require and has received the close attention of historians and antiquaries. The Abbey Church is one of the most interesting ruins in Europe and the collections of portraits, furniture and other articles in Holyrood are best examined under the guidance of an expert. Many have more a legendary than a historical value.

Craigmillar, in Mary's time three miles out of the capital, is another place of legends. One of these is attached to the memory of a farm on the estate that was burned in revenge, the spot being till recently named Burnt Dool. It was to Craigmillar that Mary came with Bothwell, as High Sheriff of the Border, after her progress from Berwick-on-Tweed to Dunbar, and there that the crooked councils were held that led to the murder of Darnley. Mary's room, as shown, is in one of the upper turrets. This is a small closet such as she usually occupied, but many other rooms in the castle now destroyed may have also been hers. The view from this room is still fine, but Mary looked over dense woods with hills and Edinburgh Castle in the back ground. Craigmillar was always noted for what the nineteenth-century writers term 'a truly romantic effect'. Edinburgh Castle is a subject in itself, and, although her son was born there, has no great connection with Mary. It was a most familiar sight to her and her refuge in times of peril but it is more associated with the politics of her reign than her personal history. The 'Honours of Scotland' kept in the Castle include the crown held over the infant Mary.

Nine miles from the city and a mile from the sea are the ruins of Seton (Seaton) on the Firth of Forth and easily visited from Tranent and Long Niddry. The foundations are ancient; it was burnt by the English while Mary was in France and rebuilt by Lord Seton in the most elegant style of the moment, which was that of George Heriot's Hospital in Edinburgh. This house was superbly decorated and had galleries filled with paintings and curios in the French fashion. There were ramparts, defence towers and a collegiate church. On Mary's return to Scotland she went frequently to this splendid mansion that much resembled the elegant dwellings of the Valois Kings and she allowed it to be named the Palace of Seton. The Queen used Seton much as she had used Joinville, for pleasure, sport and a restful retreat. Lord Seton helped Mary to escape from Lochleven, fled abroad after Langside and, brought to penury for a time, became a waggoner in Flanders.

Niddry Castle, West Niddry or Seton Niddry, was built by the same noble family and only a tower is left. Mary paused here between Lochleven and Langside. The ruin is ten miles from Edinburgh and not to be confused with Long Niddry in Haddingtonshire.

Falkland Castle and Palace in Fife, at the foot of East Lomond, was the scene of the death of James V at the age of thirty years. Here Mary had a hunting park three miles in extent. The ruins have a majestic air of courtly magnificence; the audience chamber is well preserved but the forest has gone and the gardens are now ploughed land.

Burntiesland—Breuntsland, etc.—was originally a peel tower or keep, and belonged in Mary's day to Grange—Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange who took his patronym from the village of Grange. Here she often stayed when making a progress in Fife; here also was long shown the State bedchamber that was the scene of the Chastelard episode.

Dumbarton—reputed birthplace of Saint Patrick—is one of the most dramatic castles even in Scotland; the rocky situation rising above the sea is grimly impressive. Mary was first there before she embarked for France; afterwards on many occasions. The scenery round Dumbarton is as majestic as the mighty building.

Mary visited Hermitage once only and for a few hours, but the ruin is so extraordinary and the association with her story so poignantly personal that it is worth the effort needed to reach this secluded place. James Hepburn, Earl Bothwell, inherited Hermitage, together with his titles that made him, save for Châtelherault (Hamilton), the most powerful chieftain in the South of Scotland; and the Castle became his main residence as Lieutenant of the Border.

Mary's house in Jedburgh is the most charming and domestic of her Scots residences; it was once thatched and is vaulted like the fatal Provost House in Kirk O'Field. An ancient account of the famous ride from Jedburgh to Hermit age gives this itinerary, adding 'it is utterly incredible how she contrived it in one day'. The route is not by the Slithercrick road but between that and the Teviot, up Priesthaugh swire, between Pencryst and Skelfhill, through a long boggy track called Haecklass, along a mountain stream to a ridge where Liddesdale begins, then a descent down Braidlieswire to a low piece of marshy ground where her horse nearly sank, up and down other steep hills and across burns until Hermitage water was reached. Following this the Queen arrived at Hermitage after 'one of the most impractical and hazardous journeys that ever were achieved' and back the same way after a few hours' pause.

Borthwick is, in contrast, a beautiful Castle of just pro portions, well built and pleasantly situate by a small stream. Among the ruined chambers is one pointed out as that used by Queen Mary. From Borthwick she escaped, dressed as a cavalier, took a path through the glen east of Affeck Hill and met Bothwell at Black Castle. This route is nearly that of the first railway. Black Castle itself is a lovely tower by a stream not far from the great London road and fourteen miles from Edinburgh. When Mary, 'booted and spurred' ('butet and spurret'), arrived here the surrounding country was a barren waste and she, alone, had had to pass through trackless glens. Black Castle shows a room she occupied with a closet in the wall.

On leaving this retreat Mary proceeded by Fala and the north side of the Lammermuirs until she reached Dunbar, then the most important fortalice and arsenal in Scotland, situated on a reef, the sea in some places running into caverns beneath the Castle. Mary's gift of Dunbar to Bothwell was one of her most detested actions; to Dunbar Bothwell took her after her capture at Cramond (Almond River) and there Bothwell stayed after Langside until he fled to Spynie. Dunbar is now little more than a heap of stones, reddish in colour. Traces of an apartment are shown as marking the outlines of Mary's room, and the fallen masonry stands on basaltic columns resembling the Giants' Causeway in Northern Ireland.

The peaceful ruins of Lochleven Castle are all that is left of the agreeable residence of Sir William Douglas, where Mary spent many days of holiday repose and where she had her one amiable interview with John Knox. There also she was a prisoner, and signed under duress her act of abdication; from there she made her futile attempt to escape, disguised as a laundress, and from there she did finally escape only to see all lost, without a blow being struck in her cause, at Langside.

Until drained over a century ago, Lochleven water was twelve miles in circumference. There are three islands besides that on which the Castle stands, a fortress, placed in the lake for purpose of defence, and, owing to its isolated position, frequently used as a prison. The scene is lonely but there is nothing desolate about this solitude; the barbicans, keeps, gates and ancient trees give an air of gentle melancholy to a spot gracefully set off by the Lomonds on one side and the tranquil fields of Kinross on the other. The ruins of Mary's chamber and chapel can still be seen. Here she wrote her piteous letters of complaint, excusing her poor writing because her eyes were inflamed from weeping, and here she won over her jailors, including the mother of Moray, so that she was able to slip away without much trouble. A small enclosure, now weed-grown, represents Mary's garden, and some of the keys that Willie Douglas threw into the lake after locking all the doors behind him were recovered in 1805, others in 1831. Though much damaged, these keys showed exquisite workman ship. A cane with an ivory and silver mount was also found in the lake and is believed to be Mary's sceptre.

Crookston (or Cruxton) Castle, about three miles from Paisley, was one of the seats of the Lordship of Darnley, and there Mary went with her second husband soon after her marriage. A ballad and a tradition celebrated a yew tree under which the lovers met; one of the early medals of Mary and Darnley (Maria et Henricus) bears on the reverse a crowned yew tree that symbolizes the advancement of the family of Lennox by Darnley's marriage. This Crookston yew was of fabulous size and celebrity; it decayed with the fall of the House of Stewart and the wood was used to make numerous highly prized relics.

Dundrennan Abbey is the last place where Mary rested in Scotland. It is in a bleak position, but the country round is varied and splendid. Short walks will disclose different views of the Solway and the Cumberland hills. In the extreme distance the Isle of Man and the Mourne Mountains can be seen on a clear day. The nearby shore is strange and beautiful. A pleasing and highly romantic account of Mary's last ride in Scotland states that on her flight of sixty miles from Langside to Dundrennan she passed through the wild country of Glenkesis and paused at a cottage at the head of the Vale of Tarff. While her followers were cutting down and throwing into the Dee the ancient wooden bridge by which she had crossed the Queen accepted bread and milk from the cottager, thanking her with gracious humility and asking Lord Herries to give the poor woman the cottage as a token of royal gratitude. The Herries family long cherished the rose silk reins embroidered with Scots emblems, intended for her son, that Mary was said to have left behind at Terrgeles.

From the Abbey she went along a quiet valley for about a mile and a half to a creek set about with rocks. This was long celebrated, in verse and prose, as the fatal spot where the misguided Queen, disregarding the advice of her friends, decided to throw herself on the chivalry of Elizabeth. The truth is more commonplace: Mary was fleeing for her life. She had nowhere to go save across the Solway, and she went with mischief as her intention. She was quite aware that she had an enemy in the most powerful person in France, Catherine de Medici, and that such a dangerous and important person as herself could never be allowed to retire into a French convent as she had said she wished to do. Nor had she, brilliant, beautiful, passionate, royal and twenty-six years of age, the least intention of leaving the world. Her journey to England was not only a desperate means of saving her life, it was another move in the long game she played with Elizabeth Tudor.



Part IV.
ENGLAND 1568-1587

Mary arrived at Workington on the coast of Cumberland on May 16th (1568). Workington, situate a mile from the sea, on the Derwent, was then a small fishing village and is now an important centre for coal and iron. Lord Herries had sent messengers ahead, announcing her arrival, and she was honour ably received by the Curwens whose mansion, Workington Hall, was outside the village. Mary, who was without money or a change of clothes, at once wrote to Elizabeth, once more stating her case with dignity and pathos, requesting an immediate interview: 'I have nothing in the world but what I had on my person when I made my escape.'

Mary did not long remain in this sad condition. The Earl of Northumberland announced her arrival in England to the Council of York. That body had already received instructions from London: Mary and her Scots were to be used honourably but not one of them was to escape. Mary moved to Cockermouth Hall, where her host, Henry Fletcher, gave her thirteen yards of crimson velvet and treated her with great courtesy. She was still so alarmed that she could not sleep but sat up all night, alert, in a closet. She was soon moved, by order of the High Sheriff acting on instructions from London, to Carlisle Castle; the Governor, the seventh Earl of Northumberland, was believed to be over-well disposed towards Mary and she was put in charge of the Deputy Governor, Sir Richard Lowther. She was treated with regal honours and Lady Scrope, sister of the Duke of Norfolk, sent to wait on her. Several Scots supporters soon found her, among them members of the loyal families of Livingstone and Fleming, Bishop Lesley and the faithful Mary Seton, the only unmarried 'Queen's Mary'; she brought some clothes and feminine appointments with her and soon amused the notables who came to wait on the Queen with her cleverness in dressing Mary's hair and in devising her perukes, Mary praising her as 'the cleverest busker I know'.

Mary held a Court at Carlisle and freely received those who came to see her. Among them was the premier peer of England, Thomas Howard, fourth Duke of Norfolk, but the ruined Queen suffered from many handicaps, the most severe being that of language. She was fluent in French only; she had learned a little Scots, which she spoke haltingly with a marked accent. English she hardly knew at all; to those who did not speak French she had to help herself out with gestures, broken phrases and the smiles of her expressive face. Everyone who saw her was impressed by her courage, her charms and the gaiety that could rise above the terrors of her situation. She set herself to please and was successful; the Duke of Norfolk in particular was fascinated by this woman so lovely, so lively, so fallen and, as he believed, so wronged.

Mary's arrival in Cumberland put Elizabeth and her advisers in a cruel dilemma, nor were their feelings of exasperation eased by learning that she was already so popular in the North. In order to gain time Lord Scrope, Warden of the West Marches, and Sir Francis Knollys, his vice-chamberlain, were sent to watch Mary. Lord Herries met them on their way and loyally stressed the misfortunes of his mistress, asserted her innocence of all the charges made against her and appealed to them for sympathy and help. But the two Englishmen had not come with precise instructions; they were merely to observe and report.

Carlisle Castle was, even in Mary's time, old and famous; it was, like most of the royal residences to which Mary was used; a fort, a palace and a prison. Her apartments were no more gloomy than those to which she was accustomed and they were fitted up with all the luxury available. Mary's spirits rose. Within two weeks of her escape from Lochleven and her defeat at Langside her ambitions—never lost sight of—were again aroused; she could play her double game very comfortably from English soil. Her life-long plans of coaxing Elizabeth into declaring her heiress of England on the one hand, and on the other intriguing with Catholic Europe and Catholic Englishmen and Scots to dethrone Elizabeth by force, could very well be worked from the south of the Border. Despite her tragic failures she had great confidence in her charm, energy, wit and skill. She believed that if she could see Elizabeth she could persuade that monarch—her only friend in Europe—into becoming her champion and then, when Elizabeth had put her back on the Scots throne and Mary had wiped out the Protestant Lords, there would, on the strength of that success, be a fine opportunity of ousting Elizabeth and restoring, with the help of France and Spain, the ancient Faith in England as well as Scotland.

Elizabeth perfectly understood Mary's mind. She relied on wise counsellors, Cecil, Walsingham, as Mary had once relied on Moray and Maitland. Elizabeth had contrived to keep her favourites and her statesmen separate; she had survived the Dudley-Robsart scandal because she had not married Leicester; she had kept Cecil (as Mary might have kept Moray) by not marrying at all; and she had the enormous strength of patriotism. She and her counsellors did consider the interests of England—save for the small Roman Catholic minority—as Mary had never considered Scotland or the interests of her people, and they did have the country behind them. Elizabeth followed her usual policy of 'fast and loose'; it was the only policy that prudence permitted. She knew Mary was her most dangerous enemy, who had never abated the pretensions that went with the assumption of the English royal arms, who had never ratified the Treaty of Edinburgh and who had never gone beyond fulsome flatteries in the way of friendship. Elizabeth had given Mary wise advice that Mary had rejected. Elizabeth had menaced the rebellious Lords and expressed anger at their treatment of their Queen, but she had never offered Mary an asylum or an army to restore her to her throne. Mary had now taken the first and expected the second, or at least a safe conduct into France.

It was out of the question for Elizabeth to attempt to restore a Roman Catholic sovereign by force in Scotland. The feeling against Mary and against her religion was as strong in England as it was in Scotland, and even if it had been possible it was not Elizabeth's policy to have a strong Roman Catholic power the other side of the Border. The Protestant Regent and Protestant infant James VI suited Elizabeth very well; the first was her pensioner, the second might one day be her heir.

To send Mary to France was to place a weapon in the hands of her enemies.. The Bothwell marriage (with Bothwell a prisoner in Norway) might easily be annulled and Mary married to a French or Spanish prince who would invade Scotland to restore her; to keep her in England was not at all to Elizabeth's liking. Mary was an obvious danger spot, a focus for plots, rebellions and intrigues; particularly so since she was known to be without personal or political scruples and to be possessed of an extraordinary fascination. But to keep Mary in England and delay action, under one excuse or another, seemed the only course, and in order to detain her as a prisoner it was necessary to support the charges against her. She must be held to be guilty of the murder of Darnley. The first hint that Elizabeth intended to take this view was given to Lord Herries by Scrope and Knollys; Elizabeth could not receive Mary until she was proved innocent of this crime. This obviously Mary could not be unless she was put on trial, and as a sovereign princess 'by the grace of God' owing no allegiance to any earthly power she could not be put on trial or subjected to any law.

Scrope and Knollys brought condolences and friendly wishes from Elizabeth, and Mary, receiving them in the audience chamber of her apartments in Carlisle Castle, put her case with passion, ardour and skill. Knollys, an acute observer, reported that Mary had 'an eloquent tongue and a discreet head, a stout courage and a liberal heart'.

Mary, with tears, exclaimed against the cruelty of refusing her an interview with Elizabeth; and she added that if Elizabeth would not help her against the Lords she would demand a safe conduct to the Continent so that she could rouse the King of France or the King of Spain in her cause. On sending this report to Elizabeth Knollys added some wise advice. It would not look well if Mary was detained against her will. Yet if she stayed she would become a centre of sedition; she had charmed too many of Elizabeth's subjects already. She did not want to return to Scotland, unless it was to escape again to France. Would it not be wise, Knollys hinted, to allow this dangerous, unbidden guest to be so loosely kept that by means of some ladders or knotted towels she could return to Scotland (en route for France), where Moray would, surely, this time make an end of the business?

A few days later Knollys, writing to Cecil, summed up Mary as 'a notable woman'. He reported her boldness, her familiar manners, her constant chatter, her love of courage and hardihood, her readiness to affront any peril in the hope of victory, her vindictiveness—she cared for little else, Knollys observed, save revenge on her enemies and for that object would spare nothing. Knollys repeated his opinion that she should be got rid of, 'not nourished in one's own bosom', or else she should be 'halted and disembled with', i.e. with such an opponent the only course was to play for time, a course on which Cecil had already decided.

Later Knollys, again to Cecil, emphasized his point. No truce, compromise or half-and-half measures would satisfy Mary. She was not to be 'talked over' or 'managed', she scorned flattering or glozing speeches, she would not be 'staid by courtesy or bridled by straw', she had 'a bloody appetite' and 'a fiery stomach' for the blood of her enemies.

Mary was already irking at her detention in Carlisle; she would not go further into England. She would raise men with her French dowry; her heir apparent, Châtelherault, would be told to use all her treasure in her cause. Knollys felt like 'a blind buzzard' in the presence of this royal rage. He pointed out, however, to Cecil that Mary was still nominally wealthy and powerful and might yet bring the French into Scotland; it would be prudent to make her pay her own expenses while in England, thus lessening her reserves. Her dowry, Knollys thought, was £12,000 a year.

Mary, while putting on such a haughty front towards the English commissioners, was writing to Charles IX in her usual strain of pitiful lamentation at the injustice with which she was being treated. On June 21st (1568) an envoy from Charles IX arrived at Carlisle and was received by Mary. He went on to London to see Elizabeth; and that same day Knollys wrote again to Cecil describing Mary's threatening attitude: have made great wars in Scotland and I pray to God that I make no troubles in other realms'—'I shall seek aid at the hands of other Princes, hands that will help me'—'I would have not fair words but deeds'—'If you keep me a prisoner you shall have much ado of me'—'I can sell my right and there be those that will buy it.'

Mary had other, no less bitter, causes of complaint. Moray had sent three chests of her goods from Lochleven to Carlisle, but the only gown was a despised taffeta garment; the rest of the stuff was: 'belts, cloaks and coverings for saddles and sleeves and partlets and coifs and such trinkets'. Knollys sent in haste to Moray for Mary's other clothes; he complained that she neither paid the charges of these journeys nor fee'd the messengers. Everything had to go to Elizabeth's account while Mary saved her money to raise war in Scotland.

While Mary was thus behaving with bold defiance in Carlisle, Moray's man, John Wood, was in London showing Elizabeth the letters and documents found in the silver-gilt casket discovered under Bothwell's bed in Edinburgh Castle. Moray intended these letters as a counter-blast to Mary's appeals and threats. These documents, known as the 'casket letters', are the subject of one of the most lively historical controversies existing.

The 'casket letters', however, are a puzzle and a mystery only if we accept them as forgeries. If we allow that Mary wrote them the only strange details in the episode are the facts that Bothwell kept such dangerous documents and left them behind when he departed from Edinburgh Castle. Such apparent carelessness may be accounted for, however, by his wish to keep written evidence of Mary's complicity in the murder of Darnley and that he forgot the famous 'casket' in the hurry and anxiety of his affairs.

There had been, from the date of Mary's signing of the Act of abdication, rumours that the Lords had 'written evidence' or 'evidence in her own handwriting' against her, and that their threat of the exposure of this evidence had obliged her to sign away her crown. Mary, on the other hand, had declared that Lord Lindsay, supported by his companions, had threatened to cut her throat and throw her into the lake and that she had signed on this compulsion. Moray had told the Spanish Ambassador in London of this written evidence proving Mary to have been a party to the murder of her husband; he gave a rough summary of a letter from Mary to Bothwell that agrees with what was afterwards known as the Glasgow Letter No. 2. On June 10th, six days after the Queen surrendered at Carberry Hill, the casket was brought to Morton, who opened and inspected its contents in the presence of the Lords. These men included not only those themselves suspected of conniving at the murder, but such respectable nobles as Mar and Atholl, (the latter a Roman Catholic and both inclined to favour the Queen), who had no reason whatever for wishing to blast Mary's reputation. As it is certain that these two nobles could not have helped forge or tamper with the letters, any such work must have been done in the six days between the departure of Bothwell from Edinburgh and the inspection by the Lords. Neither Atholl nor Mar made any protest about the letters and they were accepted as genuine and left in the custody of Morton. The matter was kept secret as Mary was the King's mother and her open disgrace was not desired; the Protestant Lords wished to be rid of her with as little scandal as possible.

When, however, Moray learned that Mary was stirring up all the mischief she could in England and trying to rouse Elizabeth to restore her to her throne by force, he sent this John Wood to London with Scots copies of the French originals. Moray had had bitter experience of the uncertainty of Elizabeth's temper and he knew how angry she had been at the treatment a 'sister queen' had received from her subjects. He therefore wished to sound her mind about the 'casket letters' before he made them public. They were his sole justification for forcing Mary to abdicate and the only means he had of persuading Elizabeth that he was not a rebel, but a statesman who had done all that was possible to hush up an intolerable scandal. He could not admit that Elizabeth was overlord of Scotland; but he was, on and off, her pensioner and on her neutrality, if not on her help, depended his ability to keep the infant James on the throne and the Protestant religion dominant in Scotland.

The 'casket letters' were also extremely convenient to Moray and the other Lords in that they fastened the guilt of the Darnley murder on Mary and Bothwell. Once these documents were accepted as genuine there would be no need for awkward inquiries as to who else was implicated in this notorious crime. Moray strengthened his position by arresting some underlings who had had a hand in the Kirk O'Field tragedy. These men were Hay of Tala, Bowton, Powrie and Dalgliesh, Bothwell's servant, who, under threat of torture, had told Morton where to find the 'casket letters'. All confessed, but not to the actual murder. Powrie had helped carry the powder to the Provost's House, Tala had seen it placed in the room (that occupied by Mary) under Darnley's chamber. On the scaffold they incriminated not only Mary and Bothwell, but Huntly, Argyll and Maitland. Lennox, the vigorous and implacable enemy of Mary, supplied a mass of material that George Buchanan, afterwards tutor to the little King, put together into a diatribe against the Queen he had once so admired, finally entitled Detectio Mariae Reginae, that was a powerful weapon in the hands of her enemies, though modern research has proved that this great scholar, reformer and humanist not only stated the case for the Lords with unbecoming vehemence but that he was inaccurate in many of his details. This has much discredited the entire work and so has proved of service to Mary's memory.

It was exactly a year after the Lords had inspected the letters that John Wood put copies of them before Elizabeth; they had been viewed in a secret session of the Scots Parliament, as is proved by the statement made by the Lords at Dumbarton on September 12th (1568). The contents of the casket consisted of: a promise (in French) by Mary of marriage to Bothwell (no date); a marriage contract in Scots, alleged to have been drawn up by Huntly and subscribed by Mary and Bothwell, dated from Seton, seven days before Bothwell's mock trial and nineteen days before Mary was abducted; nine letters, in French, from Mary to Bothwell and some French verses of a commonplace kind such as Court poetasters supplied on demand. The two letters that prove Mary to have lured Darnley to his, death, Nos. 1 and 2, were written from Glasgow; Nos. 6, 7, and 8 were written from Stirling and prove that Mary planned the false abduction and captivity in Dunbar. The others are compromising but not to the same extent.

Elizabeth, on receiving copies of these letters, acted with her usual caution and with the advice of Cecil. She suggested to Moray that the next meeting of the Scots Parliament (where 'the great matter' of the Queen of Scots would be debated) should be suspended and that a commission of Scots and English Lords should be appointed to examine the 'casket letters'. Moray instructed Wood to show his copies privately to the commissioners and to learn from them the mind of Elizabeth. The Conference was arranged to be held at York in the last week of October, and on September 16th Moray himself with other Lords came to England with the casket, the original French letters and other documents.

Mary had been told of this proceeding and had agreed to the Conference, but she had at once declared that if the Lords produced any alleged letters of hers that incriminated her—they were forgeries, adding that there were a number of people in Scotland who knew her handwriting and who would be quite capable of forging a copy of it if needful. She had passed the summer with increasing uneasiness; her greatest hope lay in Norfolk who was becoming more infatuated with her every week that passed. She, also, with expectant cunning, hoped that there might be a rising in the Roman Catholic North in her favour, but she was deeply vexed by the undisguised captivity in which she was now held and by Elizabeth's refusal to see her. She wished she 'had broken her arm' before she had come into England, and her letters to Elizabeth were couched in angry, bold and dignified strains. Her main complaints were that Elizabeth had received Moray, 'my bastard brother', and would not receive her, and that she had trusted to Elizabeth's professed friendship, even sending her diamond as a token, when she had not needed to do so, seeing what powerful allies she had elsewhere.

Elizabeth could not write such forcible, clever and effective letters but she was quite as adroit. She took her stand on the suspicion of murder under which Mary lay and repeated that she could not see her until that was removed. Mary's own character, clearly displayed at Carlisle and carefully noted by Elizabeth's agents, was against her. She was reported to be a brilliant woman, dangerous to her enemies and one very likely to win friends by her dramatic appeals and her charm, at once brave and touching. She knew how to make the most of her youth and loveliness, how to enlarge on the pathos of her situation and the splendour of her birth. At the same time Elizabeth's men observed that the Queen of Scots was so strong willed, so vindictive, so resolute, so eager for action and adventure, that it did not seem in the least likely that she had been a passive, or unwilling, tool in the hands of Bothwell. She was not the kind of woman to be abducted or married against her will without a protest, and her quick wit, her ability in plotting and intriguing, her intense and openly expressed fury against her enemies fitted only too well into the part she was accused of playing in the murder of her second husband. Skilful as Mary was, she was not skilful enough to hide her disposition from these acute reporters. Never for one moment did she play the gentle, timid, bewildered, overwhelmed creature, the simple girl who was the prey and victim of cruel men; in all she said and did she was intelligent, bold, accomplished, full of energy and spirit. What she revealed of herself and what was revealed in the 'casket letters' went very well together; her very brilliancy damaged her own cause. When Cecil learned what manner of woman she was, he decided that she should be kept very close and given no chance to exercise her arts. She would rather, she told Knollys, that she and all her party were 'hanged' than submit to Moray...she would go to Turkey rather than not be avenged on him. Knollys, impressed, despite himself, by her passionate eloquence, hinted to Cecil that it would be only honest to deal openly with the captive instead of deluding her with 'colours and cloaks' that deceived no one. Cecil, however, had England to think of; he dare not allow Mary to return to Scotland or go to France, he dare not allow her at large in England. Elizabeth, obedient to his policy, played for time. French ships swarmed at sea and there were bands of Queen's men on the Border; foreign troops might land in England in answer to Mary's desperate appeals. Lord Herries, in London to put his mistress's case, had a cold reception.

Mary, a most unwilling prisoner, was moved from Carlisle Castle to Bolton Castle, near Richmond, Yorkshire, thus being taken, as she had vowed she never would be taken, further into England. Soon after her arrival at her new abode she received from Moray the clothes and jewels she had had at Lochleven.

In one of her remarkable letters Mary, writing to Elizabeth, had protested that she was not 'dangerous and curst', not 'a chameleon' or 'a basilisk', but it was precisely because Cecil was afraid of her that Mary was removed to Lord Scrope's Castle at Bolton, now definitely a prisoner.

Much of the ancient grandeur of Carlisle yet remains and it is still possible to view from the ramparts the imposing scene that Mary gazed on—the water meadows by the Eden, the level campagne of Penrith, the mountains of Bew Castle and those above which Crossfell and Skiddaw rise majestically. On the east the agreeable scene is bounded by the Northumberland mountains and to the west is the prospect towards which Mary most often turned—that of Scotland.

The Queen was removed to Bolton Castle on July 28th (1568) and Knollys reported that she was 'very quiet, very tractable' and kept a pleasant countenance. She was also biding her time, hoping that Norfolk would do something for her before long. Knollys found Bolton 'stately, fair', and, what was more important, 'very strong'; it was surrounded by a high wall and was easily guarded, since there was but one entrance. Mary had by now a considerable retinue and Knollys was vexed at the expense of hiring carriages, horses and baggage waggons. All Mary's charges were at Elizabeth's expense; the journey from Carlisle to Bolton cost fifty-four pounds.

A few days after she arrived at Bolton, Mary sent yet another dignified, graceful and moving appeal to Elizabeth. In a postscript that has, like so many of her writings, an air of nobility, Mary entreated that Elizabeth would prevent the Scots Parliament from selling her jewels; she was willing, however, to give them to Elizabeth; 'between you and me I make no difference'.

The Conference was opened in solemn state at York. Elizabeth was represented by the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Sussex and Sir Ralph Sadlyer, Mary by Bishop Lesley, Lord Herries, Lord Livingstone and Lord Boyd; the Regent, Moray, appeared in person, with Morton, Maitland, Lindsay and the Bishop of Orkney for the Lords. A truce was called in the Scots civil war while the Conference was held. Mary was not allowed to be present but neither was Elizabeth; a graver complaint was that Mary was not sent copies of the 'casket letters' and had difficulty in communicating with her representatives on account of bad weather and bad roads. Since, however, she had nothing to say save a blank denial of all charges against her, this was not of much moment. Her spokesman, Lord Herries, was lukewarm and made the impression of not greatly believing in his own cause. None of his men spoke warmly for Mary and none of them had anything to say of the 'casket letters' save that they were forgeries.

Norfolk, who presided, was in an impossible position. Not only was he biased in Mary's favour, he hoped to marry her and to share with her the throne of Scotland; at the same time, as an honourable man, he was much disturbed by the 'casket letters'. Mary, who shortly before had been willing to 'go to sea with Bothwell in a boat and drift with the wind's will', was now eager to accept this new champion, with whom she was in constant communication through his sister, Lady Scrope. Norfolk was very different from Bothwell and by no means the dashing, resourceful, valiant kind of man Mary liked; but Bothwell was in a Norwegian prison and Norfolk was powerful. Mary did not find it hard to accept him as a prospective husband and when Moray suggested a compromise, suppression of the 'casket letters', confirmation of his own title of Regent and an honourable status for Mary as Norfolk's wife and mother of the King of Scots, with suitable revenues, she was willing to agree. But Norfolk was not satisfied. He could not bring himself to let the 'casket letters' go by default and he did not wish Mary to lose her right to the throne of Scotland. His honour was not so nice, however, that he could not act at once as Mary's judge and as her protector. He advised her to defy her half-brother, which she did, declaring that she had evidence as to the Darnley murder against the Lords 'in black and white'. This threat was mere bravado; Mary had no evidence against her enemies; for the Band that Bothwell had given her after Carberry Hill had been taken from her and any other dangerous papers the Lords had naturally destroyed. Moray did not much want the Norfolk marriage, though he was willing to accept it sooner than civil war. Maitland, on the other hand, worked for it. Always inscrutable, this able man appeared to be Mary's friend, yet he said nothing about the 'casket letters'. The Queen and her representatives always used those blank denials employed by children and criminals that are so unimpressive.

The Conference moved from York to Westminster. Copies of the letters in English were now put in by the Lords, together with Morton's account of how the originals came into his possession. The Commissioners carefully examined the letters that were laid before Cecil and his Council. Cecil, a patient man, compared the letters with those Mary sent to Elizabeth and had further copies taken. A Latin translation of these letters was given at the end of Buchanan's Detectio that was afterwards translated into English.

At Westminster Lord Herries spoke again for Mary but again half-heartedly, as did Bishop Lesley. No one made an effective protest, or offered any proof of the letters being forgeries. Moray had several interviews with Elizabeth, and against his closely argued case backed by documentary evidence Mary had nothing to put forward save generalizations and mere denials. The evidence against her was black enough without the 'casket letters'. Her actions had spoken for themselves and only the very simple or the very generous could believe her wholly innocent of the Darnley murder. The best her defenders could ever do for her was to suggest that she had known vaguely of the plot and had done nothing to warn the victim. To put forward the argument that she had been really reconciled with Darnley at Glasgow, and had brought him from the safety of his father's care to a place where he was delivered helpless into the hands of his enemies, with the intention of either taking up married life with him again or arranging amiably an honourable divorce, was to allow that she was simple to imbecility, and that no one who knew Mary could allow.

All of the confederate Lords were capable of forging the letters as far as lack of scruples went, and Mary was correct when she said that there were a number of penmen in Scotland able to imitate her hand, but to imitate her mind and heart was not so easy. Besides, the forger would have had to have possessed an intimate knowledge of her affairs and her movements; moreover, the work, requiring so much skill, must have been done in a very short time. Maitland has been suggested as the forger, but he was the Queen's friend, and though possessed, possibly, of the insight into human nature and the literary skill needful, he had no reason thus to ruin Mary, nor, ambiguous as his actions often were, is there any evidence that he was base enough to do work like this.

Buchanan has also been suggested; this is far-fetched. Not only had the Latin scholar no gift for this kind of fiction, he obviously believed the letters to be genuine when he published them. Though he was too partial in his treatment of Mary, and often careless in his charges, he was not the man to commit a gross fraud. Yet a third surmise is that the letters were written by Mary but not to Bothwell; perhaps to Darnley (who did not know French), or that they were put together from scraps of her diaries and other writings found at Holyrood.

If we want to believe any of this the matter becomes most complicated and can be argued about indefinitely. An explanation, for instance, must be found, as to how it is that the most important letter No. 2 (really No. 1) agrees with Crauford's deposition i.e. with the account Crauford gave to his master, Lennox, of his meeting with Mary outside Glasgow and his report of what Darnley told him as to his (Darnley's) conversations with his wife. The explanations given by Mary's defenders is that the forgers wrote the letter to fit in with Crauford's statement and/or altered this statement; but this would involve Lennox in the forgery and he certainly believed in the genuineness of the letters and in the truth of the dying confession of Hay of Tala and his accomplices. This is proved by a private letter Lennox wrote to his wife, his close friend and adviser.

The Conference at Westminster was closed by order of Elizabeth. No verdict was given publicly, but the facts that the English Government supported the Regent and continued to recognize James VI while keeping his mother in prison proved that the 'casket letters' were considered genuine and that the Lords had proved their case, i.e. that they were justified in depriving Mary of her throne. Elizabeth was no more ready than she had ever been to agree to rebellion and the forcible deposition of sovereigns, but more unpleasant than backing the Lords, whose policy suited her, would have been an open trial of the Queen of Scots. She did not wish to create a precedent whereby monarchs could be tried by their subjects, neither did she or the Lords wish for the scandal of a public examination into the Darnley murder. Certainly Elizabeth was guiltless but she found that some of her pensioners, such as Moray, might not have been; then, if Mary had been judged innocent, she would have had to be freed and all the resultant mischief faced, or, if guilty, put to death and all that resultant mischief faced. Nor was it likely that Mary, who had fled from the prospect of a trial in Scotland, would submit to one in England, or that her complicity in the murder could be proved more clearly than it had already been. It would have been impossible for her to establish her innocence; she had already shown that her sole defence was a blank denial of all the charges. In these complicated and delicate circumstances, Elizabeth's advisers acted wisely in their tacit verdict of 'not proven' and in keeping Mary under restraint.

They had no legal right to do this, but their action was covered by the plea that they were acting in the best interests of a woman so discredited that she could not hope to find an asylum anywhere save in England. There is not the least reason to suppose that Elizabeth and Cecil, who had taken great care in the business of the 'casket letters', believed that Moray had put in forged evidence or that everyone who implicated Mary in the murder was a liar; and if they believed that they had a murderess and adultress on their hands they were acting not only prudently, but humanely, in refusing to investigate the case further and in treating Mary with the respect due to her birth. Although suspicious they did not know that she was engaged in rousing the North in rebellion or that she was plotting to marry Norfolk; and if she was prepared to live quietly they were prepared to grant her every possible indulgence.

Few have recounted the story of Mary of Scotland without casting odium on Elizabeth, who is usually represented as acting out of personal spite and malice towards a lovely woman, younger and more fascinating than herself. There is no evidence of this. Save for her coquetry with Melville, in the artificial tone of the period, she showed no personal jealousy of Mary. She was glutted with flattery; she had her life-long friendship with Robert Dudley (Leicester) and as many personable gallants as she wished. She was far more fortunate than Mary; she had kept not only her throne but her reputation, and Mary's lovers had not been so attractive that any woman need have envied her. Neither would Elizabeth feel jealous at the reports of Mary's charms since she (Elizabeth) lived in a cloud of adulation that persuaded her she was the most fascinating woman in the world, as well as the most brilliant and powerful.

Moreover, Elizabeth's policy was never entirely her own. In her behaviour to Mary she followed the advice of Cecil, Walsingham and other statesmen to whom Mary was but a pawn in the very difficult game they played, that of preserving the existence of a small, poor country, as England was, in face of the hostility of Europe, the enmity of Ireland and the divisions in Scotland. Elizabeth Tudor is not an endearing character, but her behaviour to Mary Stewart need not be numbered among her sins. The two women were natural enemies from the first and both knew it. Mary was fulsome in her attitude towards Elizabeth, but she never ratified the Treaty of Edinburgh; she had, in her need, fawned on Moray, only to blast him by her furious proclamation when she rashly thought she was safe from his power; and, as this proclamation had rendered it hopeless for Moray and his sister ever to be reconciled, so, with every appeal refused, with every day spent in captivity, it became more hopeless to expect any friendship between Mary and her English jailors. It was obvious that she would never forgive her detention in England; for that reason alone it was impossible to set her free.

The 'casket letters' are of a nature so startling and dramatic that it is not surprising that all who read them were deeply impressed. If they are forgeries they are so skilfully done as to dupe the most cautious investigator; No. 2 (really No. 1), or the Glasgow letter, has been described as worthy only of a rustic wench incoherently setting down her feelings and equal to a fiction by Shakespeare; it is nearer the last than the first and must be considered as one of the most famous love letters ever written. The form is strange as it (the original French) is written on an odd piece of paper on which a memorandum had been scribbled and written over with the charge to the messenger and Bothwell's name. Assuming that Mary wrote it, she dashed it off the evening of the first day she spent in Glasgow and sent it to Bothwell by someone deep in the lovers' plot—either Guiseppe Rizzio or Nicolas Herbert (French Paris).

It is a letter charged with passion. The writer refers to a prior-arrangement whereby she is to bring her husband into the power of his enemies so that he may be murdered; she relates the victim's penitence, his fawning on her, his trust in her, his readiness to leave safety for the sake of a reconciliation with her; she impresses on her lover her readiness to obey him and her loathing of 'the pocky fellow' she is luring to his doom; yet she refers to him with contemptuous pity and states that she would not 'do it' out of revenge, but only to please Bothwell; in his service her 'heart is as a diamond'; she is sleepless and passes the terrible hours with her usual diversions of needlework; she is making Bothwell a bracelet that she entreats him not to show, since she has been seen working at it. This curious article has 'a key' and strings or tags; it is difficult to understand what it could have been. Since it was made so rapidly (not finished as well as it should have been), it was probably of knitted silk with laces fastening the band and the 'key' would be one of the symbols then so popular that had a hidden meaning. It might have been a design in beads or other coloured silks, or a jewel attached; that it was a key in the sense that it locked the bracelet seems impossible—metalwork could not have been put together under these conditions and, besides, the bracelet had strings. Reference was often made to 'the bracelets' of magic powers whereby Bothwell bewitched Mary, and this is a curious touch for a forger to have put in. The letter is that of a woman more loving than beloved; she is jealous of another, ( Jane Gordon), and of her brother, Huntly, and the writer implores news, trust, gratitude and love in return for what she is about to do. She mentions the defaced scrap of paper on which she writes and her general hurry and agitation, but she is resolute in her task. She notes that Lennox had 'bled at the nose' and hints that this is an omen of death. It has been objected that the tone of the letters is Coarse and even indecent and that, therefore, a woman of Mary's refinement could not have written them; or, if she did, she was utterly lost to self-respect. This is not so; the letters are candid and leave no doubt that the writer was the mistress of the man to whom she wrote, but there is nothing gross in them and the only touches of indelicacy are those that refer to the details of Darnley's illness, and these are but slight.

It is not the purpose of this narrative to enter into controversy, but it has been impossible to avoid all reference to the 'casket letters'. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that they are genuine; if they are to be taken as forgeries so many coincidences and strange happenings have to be allowed for that credulity is strained to the utmost and one of the most striking pieces of evidence of their genuineness is the poor defence put up by Mary and her friends. For example, if the letters were really written to Darnley or put together from an old diary, with the incriminating portions written in, it would have been easy for Mary, or Herries, or Bishop Leslie, to have at once discovered this and said so; but they never even put the suggestion forward. Nor did they dispute the authenticity of the contracts and verse also in the casket, nor did Mary declare an account of her time in Glasgow and Stirling proving that she could not have written the letters since she was in company or otherwise occupied. For a full and impartial history of these documents, which the defenders of Mary have made into a puzzle, the reader is referred to The Casket Letters and Mary Queen of Scots, by T. F. Henderson. Edinburgh, 1889.

Mary, naturally, viewed with frustrated fury the, to her, lame conclusion of the Westminster Conference. Her particular grievance was that she was not allowed to appear in person, or to see Elizabeth, and her rage increased with her growing certainty that she was to be kept a prisoner indefinitely. Bolton Castle had always been in possession of the noble family of Scrope. It stood on the north side of Wensleydale, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, six miles from Middelhan and ten miles from Richmond. It was built in the reign of Richard II, eighteen years were spent in the erection of the massive fortalice, and it was erected to act as a check on the turbulent Nevilles, entrenched at Middelhan Castle. The ruins, park, church and village of Bolton are themselves of great attraction and interest and the scenery, still unmarred, is beautiful.

Mary was not long at Bolton. Some suspicion arising as to her conspiracy with the Duke of Norfolk, she was taken from the charge of his brother-in-law and sister, Lord and Lady Scrope, and removed on January 26th (1569) to Tutbury. This winter journey was the cause of grave complaint by Mary—she did not choose to recall worse journeys undertaken in Scotland for her own ends, in particular the winter ride from Glasgow to Kirk O'Field. She was taken by Wetherby, Pontefract and Sheffield; the 'pain in the side' (mentioned in the Glasgow letter) afflicted her; she had also a violent headache and the procession stopped at Chesterfield, where a Mr. Foljambe handsomely provided for the party. Lady Livingstone, Mary's faithful attendant, was left behind at Rotherham, too ill to proceed. Tutbury, near Burton-on-Trent, is older than Bolton, being originally a Roman fort; in Mary's time it was crown property and the Earl of Shrewsbury was Governor. It took nine days for the Queen and her retinue to travel from Bolton to Tutbury; she was disgusted with her accommodation in what she termed 'a very old hunting lodge...on the top of a hill and exposed to all the inclemencies of the weather'.

She kept up her spirits, however, by the hopes of the marriage with Norfolk and the Roman Catholic rising that should replace her on the Scots throne and gain for her the English throne. Mary was not harshly kept at Tutbury; her Scots friends came and went as they chose. She received messages from her old counsellor, her uncle of Guise, and her French dowry was sent, though this was not regularly paid. Elizabeth was not lavish with her expenses, but Mary had thirty persons in her train for whom Shrewsbury was allowed forty-five pounds a week. To Tutbury came one of Cecil's men, Sir Nicolas White, who gave as his opinion that the captive was so bewitching as to be dangerous. He noted that she sat up late and was busy with her needle. This work was her constant occupation; she said that the different colours prevented the exacting labour from seeming tedious, and she always had a professional embroiderer in her household who drew the designs and the heavy cutting, mounting and backgrounds.

Norfolk lent Mary money and she obtained other sums through Bishop Lesley from an Italian banker. Norfolk became more deeply involved in her cause and Cecil discovered the marriage project. He had no right to object to it, but he did not like it; he wanted to be rid of Mary and her affairs but could not think how to do this. A private memorandum of his shows his belief in the 'casket letters': 'Her friends desire to place her on the Scots and English thrones...she would not be more scrupulous to take away Queen Elizabeth's life than she was to destroy he husband, because his life hindered her adulterous marriage with Bothwell. Catholics provided with a Papal Absolution would never be scrupulous.'

In the same tone the Privy Council prayed Elizabeth not to restore Mary; it would be a crime to set such an infamous person on a throne; she would prove an active, dangerous enemy to England; she would either recall Bothwell, who would cancel all her promises because they had been made without his consent, or make another marriage equally dangerous to England.

Norfolk was a plain man, of a mean presence and a mediocre character. He had much to lose; by his first wife he had an heir; by his second wife five daughters; he had lost his third wife the year of Mary's flight across the Solway; he was still young and a Protestant; yet ambition and Mary's fascination decided him to risk all he possessed—even his son's future—in her cause. Mary had George Douglas, Moray's half-brother, in her train, and Willie Douglas, who had also helped in her escape from Lochleven. One or other of these acted as her messenger to Norfolk. She sent him warm love letters and a cameo, with her portrait; she accepted from him a diamond that she kept in her bosom. She had not seen him since she was at Carlisle but he represented her best chance of liberty and revenge.

Elizabeth charged Norfolk with the intention of marrying Mary. He denied this, but she warned him of 'the wooden pillow'. In July (1569) Mary sent Lord Boyd to Scotland to try to obtain a divorce for her from Bothwell, her excuse being that her first divorce had not been lawful, though she had not understood that at the time. This plea was put before the Scots Privy Council at Perth and rejected by forty votes to nine. Maitland spoke for the Queen and Moray arrested him, Lord Seton and Grange and lodged them in Edinburgh Castle; they were charged with being 'art and part' in the murder of Darnley.

Soon after Nicolas Herbert, Bothwell's body-servant, was extradited from Norway and made a full confession under fear of torture of how he and Bothwell had planned to place the gunpowder in the Queen's room. Bothwell had been suffering from dysentery at this time and his servant's evidence was marked by sordid details and charges of revolting vices against his master. Elizabeth wanted Herbert sent to England, but Moray had him beheaded in Edinburgh. Elizabeth sent Norfolk to the Tower, but Maitland contrived to send Mary letters of encouragement from Edinburgh Castle and in November (1569) the great Northern Earls, Northumberland and Westmorland, rose for Mary. Their object was her release and marriage to Norfolk. They took Hexham and were advancing on Tutbury when Mary was removed to Wingfield.

Warwick and Sussex put down the rebellion. Northumberland fled to Armstrong, a Border chief who dwelt near Hawick, and Westmorland took refuge with Carr of Ferniehurst, near Jedburgh. Armstrong sold Northumberland to Moray, who sent him to Lochleven. Carr did not betray the other Earl, but heavy punishments in the North quelled the spirit of the unfortunate enthusiasts who had tried to espouse the cause of the Queen of Scots.

Mary was moved back to Tutbury, where she became ill from chagrin and frustration; the failure of the Northern rebellion on which she had set such high hopes reduced her to an insensibility of grief. She alternately wept and swooned for days and was tortured by the pain in her side and violent headaches. Her letters to Elizabeth were unanswered. The rising had done her great harm, since it had shown how dangerous she was to the English government.

Elizabeth opened negotiations with Moray as to delivering Mary into his hands; she wanted to be rid of the Scots Queen, but the bargaining came to nothing. Moray, false to his trust, had used the treasures given to him by Mary at Lochleven; the gold and silver plate he had melted down and many of Mary's jewels he sold at a low price to Elizabeth; a transaction, on both sides, of a peculiar meanness.

In January (1570) Mary, still prostrate from the failure of the Northern plot, heard of the murder of Moray. He was riding from Stirling to Edinburgh; in passing through Linlithgow he went slowly because of the narrow street and was shot from a window. He was taken into a nearby house, where he died of his wound. He was thirty-nine years of age. The murderer, one David Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh, escaped: his grievance remains obscure. Mary rejoiced fiercely at this news and instructed Archbishop Beaton, Steward of her French estates, to give the assassin a pension for life. This same month Mary wrote to 'mine own lord' Norfolk, still in the Tower, asking him if she should enter into more plots for her escape and his own. She reminded him that they were bound together and that he had promised 'not to leave her'; she was ready to do anything 'for weal or woe' that pleased him; she was ready to remain a perpetual prisoner rather than put him in peril; yet she would do anything so that they might be free; she was sad that she did not hear from him; she hoped God would keep them from deceitful friends, and she was:

'Your own faithful to death,
Mary, Queen of Scots, My Norfolk.'

The tone is much that of the 'casket letters'.

Lennox, Mary's most implacable enemy, was elected Regent of Scotland by the influence of Elizabeth, who was further hardened against the Roman Catholics by the Pope's Bull that excommunicated her. This was the climax of the Counter-Reformation and made the conflict in Scotland part of an international war of religion.

In August (1570) Norfolk was released from the Tower on his promise to have nothing more to do with Mary. The civil war in Scotland was violently renewed; there were more sacrifices to the ghost of Darnley; the Archbishop of St. Andrews was hanged at Stirling by order of Lennox for being 'art and part' in that murder; Seton fled again to Flanders; Herries had 'a heavy heart'; Mary languished, schemed and intrigued at Tutbury after a brief period when she was confined in Ashby-de-la-Zouche.

Mary remained in the North of England for nineteen years and those who are following her sad journeys can take their choice of the many pleasant places from which her English prisons—ruins, or in two instances no longer in existence—can be visited. Their sites and surroundings are not much altered and still beautiful. Mary was often moved and it is not possible to fix the exact times of these changes, nor is it of much importance.

Maitland stood openly for the Queen in Scotland. This disposes of him as the forger of the 'casket letters'; it is impossible to believe that, as Mary's partisan, he would not have done her the inestimable favour of declaring that he had written these documents. He sent her regular accounts of affairs in Scotland despite the paralysis that was disabling him; the Hamiltons, Argyll and Huntly wished to wait on Elizabeth to demand the release of Mary, but she refused to receive them and the plea of the French Ambassador met with no better success.

Minor distresses vexed Mary; for one, the disposal of her famous treasures. When she learned (March 1570) that some of her jewels, and in particular the great diamond that was one of the Valois gems, Henri le Grand, were in the possession of Moray's widow she wrote demanding the return of this hoard. The request was refused.

In the autumn of that year Norfolk contrived to see Mary again and she used all her personal fascination to urge this slow suitor into activity. She asked him how she was to smuggle some of her French money into Scotland to help her partisans; many of her messengers had been arrested and one of her most faithful friends, Bishop Lesley, was in the Tower. Norfolk thought that one Banister, a servant of his, could be trusted to take the money to Scotland. He sent the sum and a covering letter by a carrier named Brown, who took both to Cecil, recently created Lord Burleigh. There were other betrayals on the parts of servants and Norfolk was again sent to the Tower, while Mary's retinue was reduced to sixteen people, to her great distress. With heartfelt anguish she parted from George Gordon and Willie Douglas; for she feared for their lives if they were forced to return to Scotland and begged them to try to get to France and to keep together. She hoped that Beaton, steward of her affairs in France, would do something for these loyal friends. She also wrote a desperate letter of personal appeal to the Pope, but she was not of sufficient political importance for the Vatican to interfere on her behalf.

Maitland now said: 'The Queen of England would never have freed a woman she had so bitterly wronged'. Elizabeth, indeed, showed an increasing sternness in her attitude towards Mary. Her letters were intercepted; she was not allowed to write to her son; she became extremely ill from a complication of diseases. In the autumn of 1571 Lennox, Regent of Scotland, was assassinated in a tumult, when Huntly, one of the Hamiltons and other turbulent men seized Stirling when Lennox was in residence. It was night-time and the Regent was abed. He was captured together with Argyll, and several other nobles. These were mounted in order to take them to Edinburgh, but Mar came to the rescue and in the brawl Lennox was stabbed in the back. He died the same night, in Stirling Castle, and Mar was elected Regent in face of Elizabeth's candidate, Morton. Maitland sent a report of this affair to Mary, who derived some satisfaction from the death of her father-in-law, one of her most relentless enemies.

His deeds lived after him. Buchanan's book, based on the evidence against Mary that Lennox had diligently collected, was published in Latin, the Detectio Mariae Reginae as it was named in Buchanan's collected works, but in this edition De Maria Scotoram Regina, etc. Soon after appeared in London the Scots version, Ane Detection of the duinges of Marie Quene of Scottis, etc., and a year later another version appeared at St. Andrews. All are without correct dates or names of publishers or printers. To the Latin version three of the 'casket letters' were appended; the whole eight were given in the Scots version and seven in a French version that appeared in 1572. Elizabeth sent Mary a copy of this book that spread so widely, in four languages, the charges against her. Mary persisted in her firm denials as to the authorship of the letters and the 'calumnies', as she termed them, in Buchanan's indictment, but neither she nor her friends said or did anything to disprove the genuineness of the letters or the truth of Buchanan's tales. The famous Latinist was then Tutor to James VI and educated his pupil in the belief that his mother was a woman who had forfeited her crown and her honour by incorrigible conduct.

Bishop Lesley, under duress, turned traitor against Mary and provided sufficient evidence for Elizabeth to sign the death warrant of Norfolk. She did this with extreme reluctance and twice revoked the sentence; but he had been warned; he had been pardoned; he had given his word not to offend again and the evidence against him, including correspondence with the Pope and the King of Spain, was overwhelming. He had even declared his readiness to become a Roman Catholic if the Vatican would sanction his marriage to Mary. But at the end he stated he was a Protestant and that his sentence was just; he cherished to the last 'a little picture in gold of the Scots Queen' and died bravely. He forfeited not only his life but his great titles and magnificent estates; the attainder was not reversed until 1664 in favour of Thomas, Earl of Arundel.

About the same time Lord Seton, returning from Flanders with arms and money from Alva, was wrecked on the Scots coast and the supplies lost, while some of his papers were forwarded to Elizabeth and helped to increase her anger against this dangerous captive who would not cease to intrigue.

Mary was moved to the Manor of Sheffield, where she was still in the charge of the Earl of Shrewsbury. On her complaints of her ill lodging, Elizabeth sent three commissioners to look into her treatment and, at the same time, to accuse her in formal terms of inspiring the Papal Bull against Elizabeth, of fomenting plots and of secretly betrothing herself to Norfolk. Elizabeth had an excuse for this in the request of her Parliament to attaint Mary as a fellow conspirator with Norfolk against the English throne, a request she had refused.

The massacre of Saint Bartholmew (1572) inflamed public opinion among the Protestants against Mary. The House of Lords and the Clergy drew up an indictment of the Scots Queen in which they detailed her crimes; an anonymous pamphlet summed up the common English feeling against the royal captive in stating that Elizabeth would never be safe while Mary lived. This bitter work underlined a considerable weakness in Mary's case: her betrothal to Norfolk when her divorce from Bothwell had been refused. This attitude of hers made her extremely dangerous because it showed that she considered Bothwell only her 'fornicator' and herself free to contract other alliances now Norfolk was dead. The unknown author, employing language that, although violent, is not unsuited to the facts of the case, regrets 'so much noble and innocent blood has and shall be spilt, so many murders, rapes and robberies, violent and laborious slaughters of all sorts, sexes and ages...the damnation of so many seduced souls...and all for piteous pity and miserable mercy in sparing one horrible woman who carries God's wrath wherever she goes'.

Mary defended herself with courage and address. She told Elizabeth's Commissioners that she was entitled to take what steps she could to secure her release, that she had burnt a copy of the Pope's Bull and that she was within her rights in betrothing herself to the Duke of Norfolk. The enmity between the two Queens, always intense, was yet further embittered by these exchanges and it was clear that only force could set Mary free. Abortive plots, in one of which Huntly was involved, worsened Mary's position; only the will of Elizabeth saved her from death. In 1572 Northumberland, who had spent two years in Lochleven, was beheaded at York. Elizabeth bought him for two thousand pounds from Mar and Morton; soon after the former noble died suddenly and Morton was installed as Regent on the day that Mary's ferocious enemy, John Knox, died, November 24th (1572).

The following year the Pacification of Perth ended the civil war between King's men and Queen's men. Morton vigorously besieged Edinburgh Castle where Maitland and Grange were still holding out for Mary; and this garrison ('the Castalians') surrendered May 29th (1573). Grange and his brother were publicly hanged and Maitland cast into prison at Leith, where he soon died. He was brought to court in his coffin to receive sentence.


Illustration

Bolton Castle as seen in the eighteenth century;
one of Mary's early prisons.
From an old book of prints


Mary's treasures had changed hands. Argyll had married Moray's widow and so they had come into his charge, but after a long struggle the Regent obtained possession of them. He and the country he governed were poor and many of Mary's jewels were sold. Morton also retained the original 'casket letters' that Elizabeth asked for in vain, since they still constituted her most valid excuse for keeping Mary in prison. While the Queen of Scots' affairs went from bad to worse so that she no longer, with the fall of Edinburgh Castle, had a party in Scotland, she lived in comfort and even state. Her health was always poor and she suffered from long illnesses, brought on by anguish of mind, lack of fresh air and exercise and through her being in the low state that catches all infections. Needlework remained her continual pastime. She also always had a Secretary, Rollet, until his death in 1574; then Claude Nau; she wrote a good deal. Pet dogs, tame doves and Barlay pigeons also helped to while away the time.


Illustration

Chatsworth, a view of the new palace taken in 1775;
it stands on the site of one of Mary's prisons


Mary complained, as a matter of routine, of all the places in which she was confined. Her real grief was the loss of her freedom; but though she was not allowed to hunt or ride abroad she had a certain amount of exercise in terrace, battlement or garden. Moreover, the painful monotony of her existence was broken by her movements from Bolton to Tutbury, from Tutbury to Sheffield, from there to Chartley, Wingfield, Hardwick and Chatsworth. From the ruins that remain it is not easy to reconstruct these massive fortresses or mansions, full of busy life with a constant coming and going of people and trains of baggage waggons and animals—all the stir and bustle of a self-contained community.

Two of Mary's English prisons, Chatsworth and Hardwick, were pulled down and other palaces, in a later more elegant style, erected on the sites; the others have suffered the same fate as most mediaeval buildings—either wrecked in civil war or fallen into neglect through the misfortunes of their owners, then used as quarries for the building of smaller houses, then allowed to become the weed-grown, owl-haunted ruins that the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries delighted in and celebrated so often in sketch, engraving, verse or prose. These lonely places, visited only by the hawk or the fox, with the wildflowers growing on the empty hearths and the once splendid halls open to the skies, were the very essence of romanticism to a romantic age—especially when associated with a lovely captive queen, who had to be, for the sake of the poetry, 'wronged'. Many versifiers indulged in fanciful pictures of the enchanting Queen looking wistfully 'for Norfolk and his nuptial train' and many a draughtsman made graceful studies of ruins that even a hundred years ago were in good enough repair to evoke vivid memories of their one-time splendour. These old drawings show the wells, water butts and pipes still in place and smocked farmers' lads attending cattle or flocks of sheep on the sward that covered what once had been Mary's gardens.

In the noble grounds of Chatsworth is a small moated enclosure built for Mary either as a private raised garden or as the base for a summer house that has now disappeared, and in the Church of Edensor (1870) is a brass plate from the old church, pulled down to make way for this building, that commemorates John Beton (Beaton), Mary's faithful servant, of the famous family so prominent in the annals of her reign. This curious plate shows the dead man on a mattress and bears a Latin inscription in which Mary is referred to as Queen of Scotland and France. She was always firm in her repudiation of her Act of Abdication and referred to her son James VI as 'Lord Darnley' or the 'Duke of Lennox'. She would, she often declared, 'die Queen of Scotland' and a royal dais and canopy were always kept in her apartments.

In Tutbury Castle, where Mary was constantly residing, she had State apartments, a large hall, 'a great chamber, an outer chamber, and an inner chamber' all spacious and handsomely furnished. There were rooms for the doctor, the apothecary, the cook, the secretary, private apartments for the Queen, suites for her women servants and other suites for her menservants. There was also a chapel (Roman Catholic) and gardens for the Queen's use. She had a buttery, a pantry, and a room for wood and coals. The surrounding scenery was beautiful and the air healthful. (The above description is taken from Sir Ralph Sadler's [Sadlier or Sadleyr] state papers; he was one of the Governors or Keepers responsible for the safety and comfort of the Queen.)

Mary's own account of Tutbury, however, given in a very long letter she wrote to the French ambassador in London, presents a very different picture. According to this, the Castle was in a ruinous condition and the ramparts so high that no sun and little air could get to the rooms. It was so damp that she was crippled with rheumatism and so cold that she had to hang the room in tapestries and smother herself in coverlets, while even the doctor was ill and everyone else afflicted with chills 'fluxion, colds, or some disorder'. For her private use she had only 'two miserable little rooms' and to retire into 'two paltry holes, with windows facing the surrounding walls'. As to exercise, it was impossible to ride abroad because of the state of the roads, and the garden was no better than a pigsty. There were no drains and Mary, who had been fleeing from bad smells all her life, had to endure 'a perfume not the most agreeable' from the privy beneath her window. Tutbury had unpleasant associations, for her. It was a place where she had always been treated 'with great harshness, rudeness and indignity'; she feared she might be separated from her servants, under the excuse of repairing the rooms and then, no doubt, her life would be attempted. Such was Mary's opinion of Tutbury, which she certainly did not see with romantic eyes.

Tutbury (Staffordshire) keeps its secrets; it is impossible now to decide whether Sir Ralph Sadler or Mary reported correctly on the condition of the massive fort (she termed it a 'hunting lodge') in which she was confined.

Mary's first visit to Sheffield was as early as 1570. Besides her own retinue she had forty retainers of the Earl of Shrewsbury to add to her state, and to see she did not escape. Mary was kept sometimes in the Manor House and sometimes in the Castle of Sheffield. A century ago the ruins of a window were shown as that from which she often gazed; it was here that she collapsed after hearing of the beheading of Norfolk, here that she learned of the slaughter of the Protestants in Paris that caused her to be more strictly guarded.

Shrewsbury was suspected of succumbing to the charms of his prisoner. The usual scandal was spread concerning them and Elizabeth was further angered against the Earl because his managing countess, 'Bess of Hardwick', dared to marry her daughter to Mary's brother-in-law, Charles Stewart, Earl of Lennox. The only issue of this marriage was that unhappy Arabella whose royal blood brought her as sad a fate as that of Mary herself.

Mary had to endure in 1575 the loss of the man who had been her earliest friend and adviser, who had shaped her policies and her attitude towards life, the Cardinal of Lorraine. Her health became so poor that she was allowed to go to Buxton to take the waters. Organic diseases combined with nervous ailments to make her a chronic invalid; she no longer had the strength even to plot. Buxton, a Roman town on the Wye, has no memorial of Mary Queen of Scots. She mentions the place frequently in her letters and the partial cures she obtained there helped to establish the famous 'waters'. The house in which she stayed on her various visits to the 'Auncient Bathes of Buckstones' belonged to the Cavendishes, and was on the site of a hotel known as The Hall built, also by a Cavendish, in 1670.

After her visit to Buxton in 1576 Mary, whose power over the Earl of Shrewsbury had aroused the jealousy of his wife and the wrath of Elizabeth, was secluded in Sheffield Manor House and the Parret House. Shrewsbury's son, Francis Talbot, who lived with his father in Sheffield Castle, told Elizabeth that none of his family had seen the Queen of Scots 'for years'.

It was indeed four years that Mary remained secluded thus, allowed no contact with the outer world. For this space of time she disappears from history. It is easy to guess at her life; the pets, the needlework, the 'hope deferred', the gossip with her faithful servants—all on the same subject, the cruel injustice of her detention—the bouts of illness, pain, sickness, lying abed, insomnia, fear of sudden and secret death. Shortly before her seclusion (1574) she had written to the Archbishop of Glasgow asking for a portion of 'fine unicorn's horn, as I am in great want of it'. The unicorn was the beautiful heraldic beast of Scotland, but Mary was not interested in that subject; the fabulous animal carried in his horn not bone but the most precious ointment on earth—it could cure any ill and was a certain antidote against poison.

Foreign powers interceded for Mary and in the spring of 1580 the prisoner was allowed to visit Buxton again. She was then thirty-seven and appeared an old woman. What remained of her hair was grey and the bright periwigs she wore showed up the flattened contours of her face. She had become heavy and clumsy through disease and lack of exercise; and on attempting to mount her horse she fell and hurt her back. Progress was slow and painful but Mary's spirits rose at the prospect of a short relief from the monotony of her captivity. She had lost much of her vivacity and had not persevered with the English lessons she had begun with Sir Francis Knollys, so that she was much handicapped when away from her French attendants.

Her complication of diseases increased with every year of her life, and she began to be crippled down her right side from afflictions that her doctor, surgeon and apothecary judged to be of rheumatic origin. The spa of Buxton was famed for the relief it brought to sufferers from rheumatism and Mary declared that she had gained much help from the clear and sparkling waters. The baths and the draughts of this pure saline mineral water were also considered excellent for over-excitement, epilepsy, paralysis, and the news of the benefits Mary had received from her visits to Buxton had brought many celebrated people, including Lord Burleigh, to the clean and attractive town that was always cheerful and provided the many visitors with a variety of sports and amusements. On her first visit Mary had been allowed to ride out to Poole's Hole, one of the curiosities of the neighbourhood; a stalagmite in the cave was long known as Mary Queen of Scots' Pillar because she was supposed to have paused there and gazed for a while at the gloomy grandeur of the cavern, lit by torches and lanterns.

The surroundings of Buxton are extremely beautiful in the style that was formerly termed picturesque, but Mary was not long allowed to enjoy the waters, the air and the amusements before she was again removed to the handsome Manor House of Sheffield. Here she had everything save liberty. Her retinue was large, she had her French dowry, though it was not paid regularly, for her own use, and Lord Shrewsbury was responsible for her expenses. He was a reasonably kind guardian, who filled his odious post with tact towards his prisoner and loyalty towards his mistress. His wife, the celebrated 'Bess of Hardwick', did not see much of the captive and did not interfere with her comfort or her state after she had been obliged to retract some of her complaints about Mary and Shrewsbury.

Where Mary resided during the fourteen years that she was in the charge of this nobleman is not precisely known. Her visits to Buxton are believed to have been four in number and on each occasion she resided in the Hall. Her visits to Chatsworth, also for health reasons, were frequent. In the massive walls of Bolton that still dwarf the village of Castle Bolton in Wensleysdale she was imprisoned six or twelve months according to different accounts, but she never returned there after the early years of her imprisonment. She also resided at another of Shrewsbury's mansions, Hardwick Manor, or Hall—not the present building but one near by now destroyed. She was several times taken to Chartley, near Stafford, where she lodged in the now vanished houses of various local notables and she was taken also to Worksop Manor and Wingfield Manor, both splendid dwellings.

These moves from one to another of Lord Shrewsbury's mansions were not only to puzzle potential deliverers as to her whereabouts but for the usual purposes of cleansing these palaces that became, after a few months, uninhabitable from accumulated dirt. Mary, like every other person able to have more than one house, was used to this routine that had been employed even in the gorgeous pleasure palaces of the French Kings, but she never ceased to complain. Either she was kept too long in one place or when she was moved it was at some inclement season of the year.

Wingfield Manor, like so many of the English castles or manors in which Mary was imprisoned, was dismantled in the civil war, allowed to fall into decay and used as a quarry for building stone. In the period when melancholy ruins were so much admired (thistles, it was noted, always grew on the sites of Mary's English prisons) Wingfield Manor was considered charming and one of the most beautiful in Derbyshire. The situation is indeed grand but modern care does not allow the graceful briar, the climbing eglantine, the glossy ivy to adorn these treasured relics, and they do not appear so opulently sad without their garlands of murmuring grasses, their courts full of hawthorn and rose as they did to our ancestors, who saw the captive Queen through a haze of sentimental legend.

The number of Mary's household and the retinue kept by the Earl of Shrewsbury varied. On one occasion, when at Wingfield, two hundred yeomen with their officers were employed in guarding her, while her private establishment consisted of a doctor of medicine, a surgeon, an apothecary, two secretaries, five gentlemen, fourteen servants, three cooks, four pages, three valets and six gentlewomen, while two of the gentlemen had their wives with them and there were several children with their nurses and maids. Mary usually had an embroiderer with her and there are references to this man's family in her letters. She was constantly wishing to change her attendants and servants and to have French people sent to her from the Guise household. She kept up a correspondence with the French and Spanish ambassadors in London, with the Kings of France and Spain and with her French relations. She spoke much of her son, for whom, she declared, she felt a warm affection, and she was always bitter against those who had come between them. A portrait of him hung in her bedroom and she wrote to him and sent him presents, often of her own working, though none of these reached him. At the same time her tone towards him varied. Sometimes she maintained that if she could get free she would have her throne back and he would be only Lord Darnley; sometimes she spoke of 'the King, my son' and said she would be content that he should rule as long as he would consult her. Always she prayed for his conversion to the Roman Catholic Faith.

On his side James VI moved cautiously; he had been influenced by his mother's sharpest enemies, George Buchanan, his tutor; Lennox, his grandfather and one-time Regent; and Morton, another Regent. He had been educated in strict Protestant tenets and taught to detest his mother's religion and to think of her as a woman of a life so scandalous that the only dignified course he could follow would be to leave her in her English prisons. James VI was a scholarly, shrewd, yet superstitious youth. Plain in feature, ungainly in person, he early learned to grasp the supreme importance of keeping on good terms with Elizabeth from whom he might, as a Protestant and a male, obtain the promise of the English crown for which his mother had striven in vain, and the wisdom of hushing up Mary's story, which was, as he remarked, 'very strange'. It was not long before he heard from the lips of his enemies the sneer 'son of David', a taunt that was to follow him, all his life; and it was not to his interest to open up the details of the murder of David Rizzio, the murder of Henry Darnley, or the Bothwell marriage. He knew, also, that he held the throne only through the Act of Abdication that his mother had since repudiated, and that, if she were free, she would try to claim the Scots crown. So, on all counts, the cautious youth, though he sometimes complained that he was not allowed to communicate with his mother, was prepared to sacrifice her interests to his own and match Elizabeth in a waiting game.

He therefore made no attempt to obtain any favours for Mary or to send her, save once, any gifts or messages. From an early age he was given to sentimental attachments, amounting to obsessions while they lasted, and when Mary was allowed, in 1580, from her seclusion in Sheffield Manor to visit Buxton, James VI was throwing off the influence of the Regent Morton and passing under that of the second of his wayward favourites, Esmé Stewart (the Earl of Arran being the first)—and young Esmé had everything to gain from persuading his master that his main policy should consist in subservience to Elizabeth Tudor.

Mary therefore had nothing to hope for from her son, though she found it hard to believe that he should entirely overlook her claims as his mother and his sovereign. She remained, however, undaunted by her own failures. Disaster had overwhelmed her private life, yet she gave herself no blame and she did not alter her aims or her views. From the moment she had entered England she had flattered Elizabeth while secretly stirring up rebellion against her; while persistently and passionately demanding an interview with the English Queen so that she could win her over by personal charm and personal promise, she was always ready to bring over a French or Spanish army to dethrone the woman declared illegitimate by the Pope and put Mary Stewart in her place. With that superficial cleverness that is not very useful she maintained to the English agents and messengers occasionally sent to her that, as she was wrongfully detained and did not admit obedience to the laws of England, she was within her rights in trying all means of escape. At the same time, she declared that she loved Elizabeth and England and would never do anything to injure either.

The shrewd men with whom she had to deal found this ambiguous attitude merely tedious; it was quite obvious that she could not escape without foreign or rebel English aid or without ruining Elizabeth. Burleigh, as his private memoranda shows, believed that Mary wrote the 'casket letters' and was a murderess who would not be checked by any scruple in seeking the life of his mistress. The people of England shared this view, as did the people of Scotland. Mary's friends were, in both countries, in a minority and consisted mostly of Roman Catholics who championed her blindly on account of her Faith, or those who were, by some political combination, at odds with their governments. Among these may be placed Huntly, Argyll and some other Lords, who petitioned the King of France to intervene in his sister-in-law's favour. That monarch, much under the influence of his mother, Catherine, whose dislike of Mary had not diminished with the years, was not disposed to undertake a dangerous war with England for the sake of a ruined and discredited woman; nor was Philip of Spain, though he dwelt broodingly on the prospect of invasion of England that should restore Mary and the Roman Catholic Faith to power.

Mary's brightest prospect lay in resignation, in accepting a luxurious retirement, in clearing her mind of ambitions, plots, intrigues and schemes and in striving after the tranquil spirit that alone would have eased her bodily ills. Never politically intelligent, she could not see this. She could not grasp the powerful motives that kept her son and foreign powers aloof; she could not see that she was so dangerous to England that Burleigh and his colleagues must always keep her close; she could not grasp the reasons why Elizabeth must always refuse to see her; she could not realize how ruined her reputation was among high and low; she could not understand the firm grasp the Reformation had on at least a large part of Europe and that the constant policy of men like Moray and Burleigh—unification of the two crowns—was succeeding through the education of her son as a Protestant and Elizabeth's celibacy. Mary still continued to hope, to watch, to wait, to expect that some day, somewhere, a champion would rise to put her where she had been when she had landed at Leith with her gay and sumptuous train.

Although adroit in small intrigues she never understood large issues nor how to handle vast affairs, and as the years of monotonous seclusion passed she became more and more out of touch with the outside world. Her ideas became more and more fixed. She felt no remorse, for she never admitted even to herself that she had ever done wrong; she persuaded herself that she had been pursued by an evil fate and always hounded by liars, forgers and slanderers. In this attitude she was encouraged by her attendants, who always treated her with respect, affection and as a queen greatly wronged.

Gradually the past became blurred to Mary and the present out of focus. She dwelt incessantly on a picture of herself as a Queen against whom wicked men had rebelled, as a fugitive who, relying on promises from a sister sovereign, had placed herself in the hands of one on whom she had been told to rely. She imagined that she need not have come to England, since she had a large party in Scotland, forgetting the wild ride when she had fled for her life; she imagined that, if given permission, she could have retreated to France; forgetting the enmity of Catherine de Medici and that she would have had no asylum save under the uncertain protection of the Guises, in a convent life as dull as any she endured in her English prisons.

As she was so completely self-centred she never considered for a moment the point of view of anyone else or regretted the mischief she had already done, or the thousands who had died in 'the great wars' she boasted she had 'stirred up' in Scotland and England. She was ready to do this again, and, though noble sentiments were often on her lips and she was charmingly grateful to those in her service, she would, given opportunity, have urged any champion to his doom as she had urged Norfolk and the Northern Lords.

It was nothing to her that England and Scotland were at last at peace, and that if her son succeeded Elizabeth they were likely to remain at peace. It was nothing to her that a Spanish invasion of England would lead to massacres of the Protestants more fearful than the slaughter of St. Bartholmew's Day; all that mattered was that Mary Stewart, so pitifully incapable of ruling, so pitifully incapable of leading an orderly life, should be returned to the power she had misused and forfeited.

This singleness of aim gave her considerable force in speech and bearing; she never faltered a second from the position she had taken up and many besides her own devoted attendants were impressed by her resolute dignity.

She no longer thought of Bothwell or Norfolk, but her descent from Henry VII was constantly in her mind, and gracious and familiar as she was with her intimates no one was allowed to forget that she was Queen Regnant of Scotland and Queen Dowager of France.

She was seldom idle. Her secretaries, the Scot Curle and the Frenchman Claude Nau, were kept busy with her futile correspondence; her letters were all on one theme—her wrongs and her hopes of deliverance. She was permitted to buy books and had gathered together a fair library, although not as considerable as that which she had wished to leave to St. Andrew's University but which had been scattered since her downfall. She read French books, histories, works on religion, and lives of the Saints, and she dwelt continually on her fidelity to her Faith and her astonishment that God had permitted the triumph of the heretics. So long as her fingers served she played the virginals and worked with her needle, but her right hand became gradually crippled and only at intervals could she use her needle or strike the keys. She purchased rolls of silk, velvet, cloth, cambric, gauze and lace and had these materials made up by her ladies in the style she had always affected, that made fashionable by Diane de Poitiers so many years before. Mary Seton remained with her for many years 'busking' the periwigs Mary wore, until, ill, melancholy and exhausted, the faithful friend retired to a French convent.

Mary was ingenious with small things. She wrote conventional verses and was clever at contriving the emblematic devices then fashionable; the rebus, the anagram and the pun were freely employed in this amusement that derived from heraldry then familiar to everyone gently born. Mary even altered her name to the French form, Stuart or Stouart, instead of Stewart, the French language being without the letter 'W'.

One of the best known of her emblems was that of the ancient symbol of eternity, the serpent with the tail in its mouth with the motto: In my end is my beginning.

She kept in touch with some of those who had admired her in France when she was so brilliant and so lovely. Pierre Ronsard dedicated a volume of his poems to her, and Mary, always gracious in these matters, sent him a casket of money and a silver vase with the design of Pegasus drinking at the Muses' stream.

While Mary was in her strict seclusion in Sheffield Manor House, Bothwell died—in 1578, according to the most reliable accounts. He had been ten years or more a prisoner, for it was in June 1567 that he had left Dunbar, sailing north towards his dukedom of Orkney that he held by virtue of Mary's patent which he carried with him. Refused shelter by the Bailiff of Orkney, Bothwell fled towards Shetland; driven by a storm on the Danish coast, he was arrested by Frederick II and was detained at Bergen, where he was well treated until Anne Throndsson sued him for breach of promise. After many negotiations between Scotland and Denmark and many protests from Bothwell he was taken to Malmoe Castle where he was strictly kept, though allowed some liberty, and when Lennox came to the Regency he pressed for the surrender of the man he regarded as the chief of his son's murderers. The Danes would have surrendered Bothwell had it not been for the earnest entreaties of the Ambassadors of Charles IX; it was wished to spare a Queen Dowager of France the humiliation of having her husband put on trial for the murder of his predecessor. 'Nothing in the world,' wrote the French Ambassador in London, 'would be a greater scandal to the reputation of this poor Princess or a greater confusion to her affairs.'

Until 1573 Bothwell was treated with consideration. There are many traditions as to his behaviour during this period and of the intrigues and counter-intrigues that centred round his person but none is reliable, and after this year his story is obscure. Several reports state that the captive became insane; this was as widely believed as Mary's complicity in the Darnley murder. Even the name of his prison is not known, and though it is believed to have been Dragsholm in Zealand all that is certain is that Bothwell was dead in a Danish prison either in 1578 or shortly afterwards. It is a fact that Mary in 1576 had heard that Bothwell had made a declaration that he alone was guilty of the Kirk O'Field crime, for she wrote to Beaton (June 1st, 1576) that her husband had 'testified by his soul's salvation to my innocence'. She wished Beaton to send a messenger to Denmark to secure this document but the matter had to drop through lack of funds.

It is now believed that such a testament never existed, the best argument for this being that when Mary's son was in Zealand in 1590 with his bride, Anne, Frederick's daughter, he made no attempt to discover, nor did any bring to his notice, a document that would have been of such importance to his mother's reputation. When the death of Bothwell set Mary free she no longer needed the divorce for which she had agitated in 1568; since the death of Norfolk there had been no suitors for her hand Despairing of finding a husband or a champion, and having no hope in France after the Treaty of Blois, Mary made a will in which she left her rights to the Scots and English crowns to Philip II as she had threatened she would do when first detained in Bolton.

In 1580 Morton, by a palace revolution, was seized and kept a prisoner in Dumbarton Castle. In the following year on June 1st 1585, he was tried for the murder of Darnley and beheaded at the market cross of Edinburgh for being 'art and part' in that crime. He confessed that he had known of it and concealed his knowledge; beyond that he said nothing that threw any light on this mysterious murder or on the puzzle of the 'casket letters'. About this period James VI sent a letter and a gift to his mother that raised her hopes for a time, but the gesture was meaningless and James did nothing for Mary.

The so-called Sheffield portrait of Mary is dated 1578 and was extensively altered and copied for memorial purposes. It is signed 'P. Oudry' and appears to be the work of a journeyman painter; it is interesting as being the only likeness of Mary made during her imprisonment in England and the last portrait of her. Experts believe the original to be now in Hardwick Hall and that this is the picture referred to by Claude Nau when writing to the Archbishop of Glasgow (Beaton) in August 1577. The portrait may have been begun or ordered then and completed the following year or Nau may refer to some lost original of which the Sheffield portrait is a copy. It is a poor piece of work and shows Mary standing stiffly in the mourning robes she usually wore. The face is obviously the same with which we have become acquainted in the earlier portraits of Mary, but at thirty-six years of age the lovely oval countenance appears shadowless and expressionless and there is no hint of her charm and vivacity or of the pathos of her captivity and suffering.

With every year public affairs worsened for Mary. In 1580 was issued 'the Bann', formulated by the Pope and Philip II against the great Protestant leader, William of Orange. This authorized his assassination and meant that the Pope and the King of Spain would encourage and reward any of the faithful who would undertake to murder a heretic. Elizabeth feared for herself, and with reason; her Roman Catholic subjects took 'the Bann' so seriously that some of them sent an Oxford Doctor of Laws, one Humphrey Eli, to the Papal Nuncio at Madrid to ask his opinion as to the legality of murdering the 'illegitimate daughter of Henry VIII'; and received a full approbation of such an assassination. Elizabeth heard rumours of this and of other Roman Catholic plots. Esmé Stewart, created Duke of Lennox by James VI, meddled in a conspiracy to restore Mary and her Faith; Philip II and Mary's cousin, the Duke of Guise, were in this plot. Mary, through the Spanish Ambassador in London, Mendoza, managed much of the complicated and halfhearted affair. All these efforts proved abortive but both Elizabeth and her Council feared that sooner or later there would be a Roman Catholic plot that would succeed and that as long as Mary lived she would be the focus of, and the inspiration for, conspiracies to murder Elizabeth and enslave England.

It was impossible to send Mary to Scotland or France and so there was nothing to ensure the safety of Elizabeth and her realm save the death of Mary. The only question was how this was to be done so as to avoid the wrath of Spain and France and the odium of putting to death a royal fugitive who was also a relative of Elizabeth. It must always be kept in mind that the English Queen did not, as is so often stated, move in single-handed malice and spite against the Queen of Scots, but that she obeyed, reluctantly, the wishes of her Council, of her Parliament and of her people. Elizabeth was no friend to Mary; she believed the worst that was told of her and she still cherished resentment at Mary's assumption of the English arms, but she did not want the responsibility of putting her to death nor to create the precedent that sovereigns could be put on trial.

So she hesitated and delayed until 1584, when the murder of the Prince of Range by a Roman Catholic fanatic set all the Protestants in a ferment of rage and alarm. A Band of Association for the protection of Elizabeth was at once formed; this made death the penalty for the slightest knowledge of any plot against the Queen of England. Mary joined the Association that she believed was directed against herself. Elizabeth, not deceived, gave a tacit consent to the resolve of Burleigh and Walsingham that the Queen of Scots must at last be put to death; the laws against the Roman Catholics (the famous 'twenty seventh of Elizabeth') left Mary at the mercy of the English Government. In 1581 the so-called 'statute of silence' had been passed; this was also directed against Mary and made it high treason even to discuss Elizabeth's possible successor. It was also, under this law, high treason to be the object of any plot to find a successor to Elizabeth; thus an innocent person might be put to death merely because some conspirators of whom he had never heard had plotted in his favour.

With the nation and the Queen behind them it only remained for Burleigh and Walsingham to discover means as plausible as possible for destroying the Queen of Scots. In May 1585 Walsingham intercepted a letter from Mary again offering her regal rights to Philip II; that same month James VI finally renounced any dallyings with the Roman Catholics and concluded an alliance with Elizabeth. When Mary heard of this she wrote a letter to the English Queen in which she disowned her son, yet a few months before she had gracefully chatted with Somers, one of Elizabeth's Commissioners, about the marriage prospects of James. She was then in Wingfield Manor, heavily guarded with a retinue of nearly fifty people, and her alluring grace, her craftiness, showed in the meek terms she used to Somers. Well she knew that all her words and demeanour would be reported to Elizabeth and she affected an air of smiling resignation. She was old, she declared, and had done with ambition; she only wanted to visit James in Scotland and then to retire to France to live on her dowry. Nor had she any desire to marry again, 'seeing I have a son who is a man'. But on this same son allying himself with Elizabeth all her ambition and rage flared up with no hint of exhaustion or fear, though she was often so ill that she would exclaim, 'Would that I had died at Jedburgh!'

The English Government hoped that the captive might make an attempt to escape or that some desperate champion would try to rescue her; in either of these cases her guards had orders to slay her at once. But no such incident saved the counsellors of Elizabeth the complicated pains to which they had to resort in order to destroy Mary Stewart. Walsingham's secret service was extremely efficient and a vast amount of zeal, patience and skill was used in the scheme, popularly known as the Babington Plot, that brought Mary to the block. A curious tribute to the competence of Walsingham's service is the fact that Mary, working through her two secretaries, Curle and Nau, employed over seventy cyphers and Walsingham's officials knew the keys to all of them. Moreover, Walsingham and his people knew where to put their hands on spies, informers and forgers both in England and on the Continent, for the English secret service worked through the underworld of Europe.

Two Englishmen, George Gifford and William Parry, had been concerned in the Duke of Guise's plot for the assassination of Elizabeth in 1583. Though they had received an Indulgence from the Pope for this crime, they were men who played double games and betrayed the conspiracy to Elizabeth, who at first rewarded Parry, then, uncertain of his loyalty, allowed him to be put to death under the new laws against the Roman Catholics, and in his last moments Parry accused Thomas Morgan of plots against Elizabeth. This man was a loyal servant to the Queen of Scots; he had worked for her in transmitting her French money to England and in sending her foreign correspondence through the diplomatic bags of the French Ambassador in London. Elizabeth demanded Morgan, then in Paris, from Henry III, but the French king sent Morgan to the Bastille; Walsingham then used Gifford and two other of his spies, one Robert Bruce and Robert Pooley (Sweet Robin), to work on Morgan for Mary's ruin.


Illustration

The Bower in the grounds of Chatsworth
where Mary spent most of her time. Illustration from an old book.
Building is now demolished


Gifford had been in the English College at Rome, from which he had been expelled. After a roving life he had been received into the seminary at Rheims and soon was involved in the Duke of Guise's plots. His brother, William Gifford, was an honourable man who later became Archbishop of Rheims and Primate of France. Through his brother George, Gifford got into touch with Morgan. William Gifford acted sincerely and believed that he was introducing a useful servant to Morgan, who was also deceived and trusted George Gifford with the task that he, in the Bastille, was no longer able to perform—that of taking Mary's letters to and from the Continent; he also gave George Gifford letters of introduction to Mary and to the French Ambassador in London. In order to deceive Mary and her friends, Walsingham had George Gifford arrested when he landed at Rye, December loth (1585). He was brought before Walsingham who arranged with him the scheme to destroy the Queen of Scots, and from then on Gifford's part was that of agent-provocateur. His instructions were to gain Mary's confidence, to entice her into a plot against Elizabeth and thus to provide the Council with evidence against Mary that would cost her her life.


Illustration

An eighteenth-century view of Wingfield Manor House,
one of the last of Mary's prisons. Now demolished.


Both the captive Queen and Morgan were deceived by the arrest of Gifford and completed trusted Walsingham's spy who called at the French Embassy for Mary's correspondence. The Ambassador, Guillaume de l'Aubespine, Baron de Châteauneuf, allowed Mary's letters to come in his bag as far as London and then gave them to one of her secret messengers, who took them to the Queen. Mary was then at Chartley in one of the houses long since destroyed. She had recently had difficulty in receiving her foreign correspondence, to which she attached great importance, though these packets of letters, sent so secretly, were often months old before she received them.

Gifford had brought credentials from the Archbishop of Glasgow, Morgan and another of Mary's agents, Charles Paget, but Cordaillot, secretary to the French Ambassador, thought he looked too young and simple for the dangerous work he had undertaken. Also, the Frenchman noted, he was lodging with one of Walsingham's servants, one Thomas Phelippes. Gifford allayed these suspicions; he appeared to be, he said, at least ten years less than his real age, while as to Phelippes, he, Gifford, was picking his secrets for Mary's benefit. Moreover, Phelippes was secretly inclined to Roman Catholicism. Cordaillot was satisfied but the truth was that Phelippes though a man of bad character was scrupulously faithful to Walsingham; and he and Gifford worked together. Phelippes was thirty years of age, of a wretched appearance, much scarred by smallpox and remarkably proficient in cypher in Latin, French, Italian and, a little, in Spanish.

Shrewsbury, being afflicted by ill health and the rumours that had scandalously connected his name with that of his charge, had been replaced by Sir Ralph Sadler. He, in his turn, had been thought to be too tender with Mary and at this time when she was taken to Chartley she was the ward of Sir Amias Paulet (or Amyas Poulet), an austere Puritan, who was not in the least moved by her graces or her sufferings, though he was, according to his own code, just and humane. As he regarded Mary as a murderess and one eager to plot the assassination of Elizabeth he was quite ready to fall in with Walsingham's schemes and he received Phelippes at Chartley, while to this place also came George Gifford with the excuse of looking after the paternal estates near by.

Mary was closely kept by Paulet, who cut her off from almost all communication with the outer world. He carefully supervised her household and the sole news he allowed her to receive were letters from the French Ambassador that he read first. Mary had lived in this seclusion for nearly a year when Paulet connived at the trap for her destruction. She was allowed to receive a smuggled letter from Morgan recommending George Gifford, and one from Gifford himself offering to be her agent. Mary joyfully accepted in a letter to Morgan, sent by way of Gifford who at once gave it to Paulet. This man passed on the captive's letter to Phelippes, who opened and deciphered it, then sent it to Walsingham from where, after it had been resealed by Arthur Gregory, the expert in this department, it was returned to Gifford, who gave it to the French Ambassador. This complicated proceeding took place with all the letters that Mary entrusted to Gifford. Châteauneuf soon dropped his early suspicions and accepted the new agent.

The business was made yet more intricate by a device thought of by Walsingham's spies: the letters were put in a tube that was attached to a cork and slipped through the bunghole of the barrel that provided beer for Mary's household. The brewer was paid by Paulet and Mary but, not satisfied with this, he threatened to tell Mary of the trap unless the price of the beer was sent up to an extravagant height, and Paulet had to yield to this blackmail.

Elizabeth was advised of all the details of this slow and tortuous plot. Her temper prevailed over her caution and she nearly betrayed Walsingham's elaborate devices by remarking to Châteauneuf that she knew all that was going on in her kingdom and in particular his secret dealings with the Queen of Scots—'besides, I was a prisoner myself in the time of the Queen my sister and I know what artifices prisoners use'.

Châteauneuf thought this comment was a mere generalization and did not suspect the carefully baited trap.

Early in the year 1586 one Thomas Salisbury and two priests, Ballard and Kerrill, who had been imprisoned, joined in a loose plot for the liberation of Mary, the revolt of the English Roman Catholics and, more vaguely still, the assassination of Elizabeth. With these plotters mingled Bernard Maud, one of Walsingham's spies, and a genuine plotter who had no suspicion that the whole affair was engineered by Elizabeth's secret service. This was Anthony Babington after whom the conspiracy was named. He was wealthy, of a good Derbyshire family, married with one child. He was gifted and serious minded but weak and easily deceived; his romantic disposition was incensed by the harsh laws against his co-religionists, the Roman Catholics, and by the poignancy of the fate of the captive Queen. His great fault was his half-heartedness. By the summer of 1586 he was the leader of the plot and had promised to raise a revolt in Derby and agreed to the assassination of Elizabeth. There were then thirteen conspirators of whom six, who remain nameless, were detailed to assassinate Elizabeth. But Babington blew hot and cold; sometimes he considered withdrawing from the conspiracy, sometimes of going through with it, sometimes even of putting the whole scheme before Walsingham. Meanwhile the Government spies led him on and encouraged him to send promises to Mary that only one long shut away from the world could have listened to; this was the strongest hope that had come her way for many a weary day and she was incapable of judging the importance of Babington and his chances of success. She would not consider how little likely it was that this 'foreign assistance' so often looked for in vain could be procured by this private gentleman. She was excited, joyous and confident; she forgot her ill-health, her resignation, her talk of retiring to a French nunnery; she saw only a chance of liberty, power, revenge.

On June 25th (1586) she wrote a letter to Babington that was delivered by the usual laborious method to Walsingham and by him put before Elizabeth, who ordered the plot to be allowed to develop. In the first week of July Babington wrote again to Mary making wild promises. He undertook to deliver the captive Queen, to assassinate Elizabeth and to arrange for foreign troops to arrive at the English ports. Mary saw nothing crazy in a man like Babington undertaking so much, but she thought long over the reply that she composed with the aid of her two secretaries, Claude Nau, the Frenchman, and Gilbert Curle, the Scot. Both were utterly trusted by their mistress.

Unfortunately neither of these men knew enough of world affairs to realize how poorly supported Babington was. They supposed he must be the agent for some huge Spanish-French plot for reinstating Mary and her Faith; but Nau did advise that his letter should not be answered and Mary was still shrewd enough to see the danger of possible discovery although so much encouraged and excited by the startling offers. She remarked that if this attempt was made, and failed, it would be a sufficient cause for Elizabeth to imprison her rigorously; but she could not forgo what seemed to her a glorious chance of obtaining all that she wanted. She no longer had any hope in her son—she knew him to be a pensioner of England. Only from the English Romanists and abroad—from Spain, whose King was her heir—could help come.

She took one night to consider Babington's letter, then resolved to accept his offer. This decision showed remarkable courage and energy, for she was in such wretched health that she was often spoken of as dying, lame from an ulcerated leg, half paralysed from an infection of the neck and right arm, racked with rheumatism and obliged to spend so many hours in bed that she was afflicted with sores. Her misery had moved Paulet to send for a down mattress for her racked limbs and her guardians believed that she had not many months to live. Yet her spirit was unquenched. She overruled the doubts of her faithful secretaries and composed the letter for which Walsingham was waiting and that was her death warrant. To her gallant recklessness was always joined what was so often termed her craftiness; she took the same attitude towards Babington as she had taken towards the Lords at Craigmillar when they had offered to rid her of Darnley. She wanted the deed done; she wanted the benefit of it but she was not to be involved or blamed. There was not to be 'any speck' on her honour.

Babington, too, had been cautious; he wrote that six gentlemen were to undertake an office of special danger against the person of Elizabeth and wished to know what reward Mary would offer these valiant conspirators. Mary evaded any definite reply. She would stand aside and allow events to take their course, she would 'reward all those who would assist'. In sum she wrote approving of Babington's efforts, promising to do her part to make them successful and that she would recompense those who 'assisted' her in any way. That she was willing for Elizabeth to die was shown by her silence; had she wished to draw the line at assassination, she would have disclosed to the English Queen the lengths to which Babington was proposing to go.

The rough outline of the plot was that when the attempt on Elizabeth had succeeded Mary should be rescued by force from Chartley or Tutbury and placed in safety until her adherents, aided by foreign troops, were sufficiently powerful to place her on the English throne. Mary's consent to so impractical and desperate a scheme has been put down to mental weakness induced by long imprisonment added to her lack of knowledge of European and English affairs; but her action was in character—she had always been imprudent, reckless, carried away by the excitement of the moment.

Only this new hope kept her from complete physical collapse. 'Defluctions in the neck' gave her constant anguish; her women were often up with her all night; at times she could not use either of her arms. All these maladies she imputed to her long imprisonment, but her medical hi story shows that she had had the seeds of these diseases in her from early childhood; even had her life been free she had not the temperament to make it happy nor the physical health to keep it free from suffering, disablement and torment. It was the opinion of all about her that she had not, in this summer of 1586, long to live.

But Walsingham could not wait. He continued his intricate plot even after Phelippes had sent him a deciphered copy of Mary's fatal letter, with the mark of the double gallows on the envelope. Since he wished his victims to commit themselves yet further he sent for Babington, with whom he was acquainted, and hinted that he knew of the conspiracy, hoping that Babington would confess. That young man betrayed nothing, however, but warned his friends. For himself, he fell into a desperate agitation and was half-minded to attempt the murder of Elizabeth, half-minded to flee from the country. He showed more plainly what had been vaguely apparent during the whole crazy affair signs of mental unbalance—the ardour of an exalted fanatic and the terror of a man betrayed.

Soon after he forced money and arms on two of the 'six gentlemen' and had bade them carry out the attempt on Elizabeth. Scudamore, one of Walsingham's agents, was shadowing Babington and was about to arrest him in a tavern when the victim, taking fright, slipped away to Westminster and thence to St. John's Wood, where he hid in the forest for ten days with four other of the conspirators. Then the five men went to Uxendon, a moated house at Harrow where a Roman Catholic family named Bellamy resided. Here they received material and spiritual succour, being given the sacraments by a priest in hiding. On venturing to leave this shelter, however, they were arrested and sent to the Tower, where three members of the Bellamy family suffered death for this act of mercy.

Walsingham then decided to strike at Mary. She had been moved from one gentleman's house to another at Chartley, near Stafford (always taking her retinue and her papers with her), for the past eight months, when Paulet suggested, in August 1585, that she might care to attend a hunt in the neighbourhood. Mary eagerly accepted the proffered pleasure and set off with her entire household. Her secret hopes and the excitement of the Babington conspiracy had improved her health and she was able to mount a horse and amble along with her train. As soon as she was well in the forest, Paulet raided her apartments and seized all her papers and what money he could find; though she had often complained of poverty her hoard was found to be considerable. But all was not discovered. Paulet wished to take away from Mary the means of bribery; she had, for this reason, been refused permission to give alms to the people dwelling near her prisons.

While Paulet was thus impounding Mary's papers and cash Elizabeth's messengers overtook the cavalcade proceeding to the hunt and arrested Nau and Curle and ordered the Queen to the Manor of Tyxhall, the property of Edward Haston about three miles from Chartley.

Mary's rage and despair broke into a violent passion. She dismounted and taking her stand under a tree refused to move, calling on her servants to protect her, while she abused Elizabeth and the English Lords. But Paulet forced away the protesting woman whose lamenting attendants followed her and all were lodged in Tyxhall while the incriminating papers were forwarded to London. Paulet received a grateful letter from Elizabeth, thanking him for his 'spotless endeavours and faultless actions' in 'so dangerous and crafty a charge'. Elizabeth also told Paulet to bid Mary to ask God's forgiveness for her treacherous dealings, adding that she, Elizabeth, had for many a year put her own life in peril in order to save Mary's and forgiven her much, yet Mary 'must fault again so horribly, far passing a woman's thought, much less a Princess's'. Elizabeth wrote sincerely and truthfully. She had stood, on several occasions, between Mary and the will of the English Council and the rage of the English people, whatever her motives, and Mary was prepared to 'look through her fingers' at the murder of Elizabeth, whatever her excuses. Elizabeth's indignation was not feigned, nor was her fear, but she still did not know how to dispose of her dangerous prisoner.

When Mary heard of her rifled cabinets she broke into another storm of anguish and revealed her two life-long obsessions by declaring that no one could take from her the true Faith and her descent from Henry VII. On seeing beggars about the gate of Tyxhall Park she took the opportunity of remarking loudly that she, too, was a beggar, since all her money was taken from her. Curle's wife gave birth to a daughter and as a priest was now forbidden to the captives Mary herself baptized the child, giving her the name she herself bore. All the news that Mary was allowed to receive was dismal in the extreme to her who so lately had been bouyant with hope.

While bells and bonfires showed the national relief at the discovery of the Roman Catholic plot Mary's secretaries confessed. Nau, after a denial, declared before Burleigh that his mistress's letters to Babington were genuine and that 'I wrote them from a minute in the Queen's handwriting'. Both Nau and Curle admitted that all the papers seized at Chartley were authentic; they could not have denied their own hands and cyphers and, damning to her as their evidence was, they were faithful to their mistress for whom they did their best. Nau, who had advised against answering Babington's most dangerous letter, had merely been obeying orders when he put Mary's notes into cypher. He owed his life to the fact that he was a French subject and lived to write a memorial, or life, of Mary that gives her side of her much debated story. In his own words he had spent twelve of the best years of his life in 'constant care, labour, trouble and exertion, in negotiation in almost every place in Christendom, in order that the Queen might gain her liberty, obtain possession of the King her son, and both preserve their rights to Great Britain'.

The one man in England who dared to speak for Mary was Châteauneuf, the French Ambassador; he added some complaints of his own as he and his household were in danger from the London Anti-Popery crowds. He was told: 'The people are excited and cannot be restrained' Walsingham adding 'The same thing happened in Paris the night of Saint Bartholomew'. Elizabeth was equally sharp when Châteauneuf complained of insults offered by the English to Henry III. 'No doubt,' she said, 'there are very many in Paris who speak ill of me.' Nor would she listen to the Frenchman's pleas for Mary, for she imputed the whole plot to her.

The Ambassador knew nothing of the Babington tangle but had been intriguing with Mary and felt uneasy on his own account; he sensed Walsingham's trap and declared: 'There can be no other intention but by some means or other to effect the ruin of the Queen of Scots'. He stressed, in his letters to his master, that Mary was 'a Sovereign Princess and sister-in-law to Your Majesty', but considered she was in 'a wretched case'.

In September (1586) Anthony Babington and the other conspirators were put to death with all the barbarity of the age, the last men to die for Mary, Queen of Scots. They made a full confession, further implicating Mary, who had been returned to her old residence at Chartley and was again seriously ill. Many of her servants were dismissed and she feared secret murder, a dread that had haunted all her imprisonment. Paulet waited on her to ask if she had any more money concealed. She replied in anger that she had none and that even the wages of her maids and valets were not paid. She refused to hand over the keys of her cabinet and made 'many denials, many exclamations and other railings against you and myself,' wrote Paulet to Walsingham. When bars were brought and the cabinets smashed in large sums of French money were found; in Nau's chamber alone were nearly two thousand pounds. Mary's vehement falsehoods on this occasion did not help her credit when she exclaimed, as she often did: 'I have never attempted anything against your Queen.'

Elizabeth wrote to Mary on October 16th (1586) stating that as she had heard that Mary denied complicity 'in any attempt against our person and state' she would allow her to make her defence before 'divers of our chief and ancient noble men'. The only question then was under what charges Mary should be tried, what her status was, and how she might be brought under the English law. Robert Beale, Clerk to the Council, thought that she could be given the rank of a peer's wife, that she was not a queen and that she was amenable to the laws of the realm. Moreover, if she considered herself a prisoner of war she had no right to excite conspiracies. Mary did not so consider herself to be in any way answerable to the English crown; she would not concede that Scotland was subject to England, that her abdication was valid or that she was rightly detained. She held to the old story that she had come freely to ask Elizabeth's protection after this had been promised and that she had been most shamefully imprisoned without being allowed even to state her case or to see her protector. Elizabeth held to her old story that she had never invited the Queen of Scots, who had escaped into England from certain death at the hands of her subjects, that she, Mary, lay under a heavy suspicion of adultery and murder that she had never done anything to remove and that she had been given splendid asylum by Elizabeth, who had treated her with regal dignity and refused to sacrifice her to the demands of Parliament and people or to deliver her to the Scots. In return for this generosity, the English Queen argued, Mary had continually plotted to raise revolts in England and finally had been party to a conspiracy to assassinate Elizabeth.

Mary was tried under a savage law that was valid in her case. If we admit that she had resigned her crown and was under English jurisdiction, she had committed by the Babington Letters a crime, the legal punishment of which was death; but she herself maintained that she was a sovereign Queen, liable to no laws and subject to no power. The case was most complicated and a torment to all concerned in it. All Walsingham's intricate scheming that cost so many lives and so much time and skill had the one purpose: to give an air of legality to the death of the Queen of Scots. All he—and the English Government for which he acted—achieved was a judicial murder—it can be termed nothing else since Mary's death was decided on before the trap was set—and the creation of another Roman Catholic martyr.

The trial and death of Mary seems a political mistake, since she could not have lived long and her natural death would have robbed her of the chance of appearing as a heroine, of washing out her faults with her blood, and prevented the odium of her death from resting on Elizabeth and her counsellors. On the other hand, there is no doubt that both the English Queen and her advisers had their hands forced. It is difficult to realize now the acute peril that England was in from Roman Catholic powers and in particular from Spain, and the intense popular feeling against the Queen of Scots, the serpent on the hearth, always intriguing with England's enemies. She was popularly regarded as she is represented in Buchanan's well-circulated books, a 'curst' creature steeped in crime, who would murder all those who came in her way if she had the power to do so. It was common knowledge that she had been 'art and part' in the murder of Darnley, and many other crimes, invented by Buchanan and Lennox or repeated by them at second hand, were imputed to her. The people of England regarded it as an act of weakness, almost of treachery, on the part of their Government to keep the Queen of Scots alive.

In September, 1586, Mary was taken from Chartley to the royal Castle of Fotheringhay, where the Castellan was Sir William Fitzwilliam of Milton. The captive brought with her a large household. Though she had lost her two secretaries and her 'massing priest' Du Preau had been removed, she still had a physician, a surgeon, an apothecary, gentlefolk as attendants, servants, and many articles of luxury, jewellery, bed furniture, virginals, watches, lutes, sets of tapestries and many gowns furred and adorned with intricate embroideries, besides three canopies, or 'cloths of State', and a coach and horses. Shrewsbury had never spent less on Mary's expenses than the fifty-two pounds a week that Elizabeth, both poor and extravagant, grudgingly allowed him. Mary's French revenues she had for her own use; they were still often overdue and her property was said to be underlet and poorly managed. But she often had large sums at her disposal. These she had used, during the first years of her imprisonment, to help her Scots friends, and afterwards to assist the different agents who conspired in her name. She was never frustrated in her desire to employ herself and her ladies in elaborate needlework; she took to Fotheringhay two sets of bed hangings she had not completed, 'black velvet garnished with blue lace' and 'net work and holland intermixed' (from Paulet's inventory). She also brought some of her pets, including 'beautiful little dogs'.

Fotheringhay was a royal castle in Northamptonshire. The original building was erected in the reign of William I; that which Mary entered dated from the times of Edward Ill and Edward IV. It had passed into royal hands as part of the Earldom of Chester and the rich windows of the Manor House, attached to the Castle, were decorated with the arms of France and England, those of Neville and Mortimer, and those of Leon and Castile for the Spanish Princess who had married Edmund of Langley, Duke of York, fifth son of Edward III, at one time Lord of Fotheringhay. This royal residence had a notable history. It once belonged to the Earl of Rutland who was slain at Agincourt and was the birthplace of Richard III. Henry VIII gave the Lordship of Fotheringhay to his first wife; Mary Tudor used it as a State prison; Elizabeth gave the keeping of Fotheringhay to Sir William Fitzwilliam, whose family estate was at Milton. The Castle was large and imposing, built of stone, with a tower, double moat and battlements; it contained two chapels and a large hall as well as fine chambers and offices. The mansion or Manor House was within the Castle precincts. This residence covered ten acres, had two courts and was, as were most establishments of this size and period, self-contained; there were barns, mills, stables, kitchen well, granaries, storehouses, and a guest house named the New Inn. There is now no trace remaining of either castle or mansion; although a century ago some of the outbuildings were standing and in use as granaries.

As soon as Mary arrived (September 1586) at Fotheringhay she complained of the meanness of the rooms allotted to her; this slight seemed more obvious as the Queen and her attendants observed several fine rooms unoccupied, and served to increase their nervous suspicions that some trial was intended—as indeed Elizabeth suggested in her curt letter to Mary (October 6th 1586). On the 11th of that month Elizabeth's Commissioners arrived at Fotheringhay and heard a sermon preached by Dr. Fletcher, Dean of Peterborough. The chief of these Commissioners was the Lord Chancellor Bromley, supported by the Earls of Oxford, Shrewsbury (summoned, but too ill to attend), Kent, Pembroke, Lincoln, Derby, Rutland, Worcester, Northumberland and Warwick, together with Burleigh himself, Walsingham, the Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench, and the Lords Chief Justices of the Common Pleas with many other judges and lawyers.

Mary, who was denied counsel, at first refused to appear before this formidable tribunal; she stood upon her rights as a sovereign Queen 'by the Grace of God'. On October 1st Paulet had waited on her, advising her of the charges about to be brought against her and suggesting that she should confess her design against Elizabeth and ask pardon for it, an idea she scornfully put aside. She would not make things easier for Elizabeth by a confession; she spurned the bribe of mercy. It will never be known if this offer was sincere, but soon afterwards Melville had been allowed to join Mary's household. He brought with him his daughter and the daughter of Sebastien Page. The company of these two young women had given Mary pleasure but she had been greatly vexed by the dismissal of her coachmen and several other servants.

A large train accompanied the Commissioners and most of these gentlemen and servants were lodged in the village and adjoining farms and cottages. A formal deputation waited on Mary and she replied to their haughty terms, addressed to 'The Scotish' (sic), with equal formality, going over the old ground of her sovereign rights, her refusal to submit to the laws of England, and her ill treatment at the hands of Elizabeth. She repeated once again that she had come to England, deluded by Elizabeth's promises of assistance, and had wrongfully been detained a prisoner. This reply was taken to the Commissioners, who were gathered in the room and the great hall of the Castle; the gist of her speech was put into writing and taken back to Mary, who approved it. The next morning some of the Commissioners again waited on her and reminded her that they considered her subject to the laws of England, and that unless she attended the tribunal she would be proceeded against in her absence. Mary wept but remained firm. She said she would answer for herself before a free Parliament, but not before these Commissioners 'who have probably condemned me unheard', adding that they should 'look to their consciences' and that 'the theatre of the world was wider than the realm of England'.

Burleigh then took the lead and there followed an argument about canon and civil law. Mary contended that Protestants could have nothing to do with the first and that she was not answerable to the second. Burleigh reminded her that Elizabeth had saved her life at the time of the Norfolk rebellion and protected her from the fury of her own subjects; Mary made no answer. The next two days were spent in quibbles always conducted with elaborate ceremony. Mary showed spirit and courage and defended herself with much intelligence; Sir Christopher Hatton interrupted and tried to bring the argument round to the question of Mary's complicity in the Babington plot; he took a reassuring tone towards Mary, promising her that there was no 'danger' ahead for her and that she had only to appear before the Commissioners and establish her innocence, then Elizabeth would be satisfied. As for the trial taking place in the large hall (to which Mary had objected) Sir Christopher said that this place had been chosen because it was royal property; the chamber over the hall was adjacent to Mary's rooms and therefore convenient for her in her poor state of health, while the dais that would be erected there 'represents our Queen, as if she were here in person'. Burleigh interrupted Hatton by saying that the Council would assemble and proceed with their business whether Mary was present or not.

Elizabeth was kept informed of these proceedings and, vexed at Mary's refusal to acknowledge the authority of the Commissioners, she sent a post-haste courier with a letter to Burleigh ordering him to hold his hand until she had a full report of the proceedings, and a harsh note to Mary repeating once more that she, Elizabeth, had saved Mary's life while Mary had conspired against hers, charging her also to abate her arrogance and to reply to the Commissioners. The last line of this letter held out hope to Mary of 'greater favour' if she would 'answer fully'.

Mary spent a restless night; she felt it beneath her to appear before the Commissioners and yet she dreaded that her refusal to do so might be taken as a sign of guilt. In the morning (October 14th 1586) she sent for some of the Commissioners and made a long speech composed from notes she had contrived to write herself despite her crippled arm. This merely comprised her usual defence, and finally she consented to appear in the hall before the Commissioners. Pleased at this concession, the Lords, Judges and Knights glossed over the whole proceeding, which was undertaken, they declared, only that Elizabeth might be satisfied of Mary's innocence.

Mary asked for a slight delay; she wished to take a little wine as she felt ill. At nine o'clock she entered the large apartment where the Commissioners were gathered and that was situated over the great hall of the Castle. Benches were placed either side of this chamber that was divided by a temporary barrier. Beyond this, as spectators, were the attendants of Elizabeth's Lords. These last sat either side of a table on which were copies of the Babington letters and other documents, and on the benches that were placed round three sides of this table. At the end of the room was a dais, an empty throne with the arms of England and a canopy, the whole representing. Queen Elizabeth. A contemporary drawing and a list of those present at this so-called trial enables us to reconstruct the scene. The right-hand benches were occupied by Burleigh, Bromley, and the Earls, those on the left by the Barons and Knights of the Privy Council. At the table sat the representatives of the Crown and two clerks to take notes.

Mary entered with an escort of halberdiers. She was helped by her physician, M. Bourgoing, and Melville, for she could walk only with painful difficulty. Her train was held by a Frenchwoman, Renée Beauregard; her surgeon, Gervais, and her apothecary, Gorion, followed her together with three ladies, Gillis Mowbray, Jane (or Joan) Kennedy and Alice Curie. She was conducted to a crimson velvet chair to the left of the dais, with a footstool. (In the drawing of this scene Mary is the only woman present; her female attendants are withdrawn in the doorway.) The Queen wore a gown of black velvet, one of the pointed caps, since given her name, a white gauze caul or veils, stiffened with wires in the style that had been for so long fashionable, and a deep ruff. She exclaimed with vexation at being seated lower than the dais that was, she declared, her proper place and she remarked to Melville: 'Here are many lawyers, but none for me.' Sir Amias Paulet stood behind her chair and she frequently asked him who such and such a one was among the assembled Lords and Judges. Some of the peers had been her partisans, but, now that she was ruined, they found it prudent to appear among Elizabeth's Commissioners.

The Lord Chancellor opened the proceeding. He stated Elizabeth's position, then Mary stated hers. There was nothing new in either speech. Bromley, replying to the Queen, utterly denied that she had come to England under promise of help from Elizabeth and declared that Mary's protest against the validity of the Commissioners was null and void. He maintained that Mary was subject to the laws of England; she maintained (though she never knew of Walsingham's plot) that these had been framed expressly to destroy her. Gawdry, the English Queen's Serjeant, came to the heart of the matter when he rose and spoke of the Babington plot, Mary's letters to this man and the existence of the 'six gentlemen' detailed off to assassinate Elizabeth. Mary's defence was that she did not know, had never seen or 'trafficked' with Babington. On this another lawyer produced copies of the Babington correspondence, his confession and those of Curle and Nau. Mary demanded the originals of the letters and to be confronted with her secretaries; she protested, as she had protested when faced with some of the letters she had written to those implicated in the Norfolk conspiracy, that her cypher had been tampered with. She 'formally declared' that she had never written the letters produced, or ever sanctioned any attempt against Elizabeth, though she had tried to escape from her 'miserable prisons' and to 'improve the lot of Catholics'. Babington and his fellows she described as 'a few desperate men' whose 'criminal projects' were planned 'without my knowledge or participation.'

On hearing references to those who had suffered through the Babington plot, Mary appeared much troubled. She refused to credit Babington's confession and declared her belief that he had been hastily put to death in order that he might not be confronted with her. These disputes, largely technical, went on for hours with a short interval for a mid-day meal. Mary played her part with skill, courage and dignity.

Yet the scene that should have been tragic was almost dull, for the conclusion was foregone and Mary was lying; though she valiantly fought point after point, often with success, falsehood lay behind all her vehement and clever verbal defences. Burleigh's succinct report to Secretary Davison sums up the position of the captive Queen clearly and coldly: 'Mary has denied the accusations. Her intention was to move pity by long artificial speeches; to lay all the blame on the Queen's Majesty, etc. And in these speeches I did so encounter her with reasons, out of my knowledge and experience, as she had not the advantage that she looked for. And I am assured that the auditory did find her case not pitiable, and her allegations untrue.'

It seems, however, strange that Burleigh, with this boasted 'knowledge and experience', should have allowed Mary to be put in a position that posterity, if not the 'auditory' at Fotheringhay, might find 'pitiable'. It would not have helped her in the least to have had counsel, to have seen the originals of the Babington letters and to have been confronted with her secretaries or any of the conspirators. The case against her was so carefully arranged that Burleigh could well have afforded to have given her all the aid she required; her guilt would have been made more manifest by the production of the evidence she asked for so defiantly. But the English allowed Mary to exclaim, as she had exclaimed when the 'casket letters' were produced, 'several of my enemies have brewed this for me' and to pose as a greatly injured woman, as indeed she appeared, alone, defenceless, ill and fatigued, with none to speak for her and all the might of the English Law and 'ancient nobility' brought against her. Yet she aroused no one's compassion even when she 'blubbered a good deal'.

These tears were not the result of fear; everyone who reported on her behaviour, and there were many to do so, noticed her courage. Paulet, writing to Walsingham (October 24th 1586) stated that Mary preserved her serenity. She was careful to have her rooms well kept, hoped and expected to have her money returned to her, was free from grief of mind, as far as Sir Amias could judge, and took 'pleasure in trifling lies'. She remarked to him that the history of England was extremely blood-stained, on which Sir Amias replied that Scotland, France and Italy were far worse in this respect. Mary turned the subject aside and Paulet did not think she was referring to her own case; he considered that she felt secure, 'utterly free of all fear of harm'.

At this date Mary may have believed that she would escape with her life. She showed not only fortitude but cheerfulness and eagerly took up the part of persecuted heroine and valiant martyr, an attitude much encouraged by her attendants, all of whom were devoted to her and most of whom shared her Faith. Unfortunately she made many false statements besides her denial of any part in the Babington plot. She declared that she had no ambition, no desire to reign, and wished only to spend the few years she was likely to live in peace and retirement. When Burleigh reminded her of her first offence against Elizabeth, the assumption of the English arms, she put the onus of that action on her father-in-law, Henry II. She insisted, however, on her rights to the English throne and repeatedly remarked on her descent from Henry VII. She stated that the letters produced against her were a contrivance of Walsingham's for her destruction and added, yet once more, how easy it was to forge cyphers and handwriting. With great emotion she lamented the fate of the English Catholics. Burleigh answered that no one in England had suffered through religion, but only through treason, and this point was frequently brought up. Walsingham was disturbed by the Queen's charges and made the defence that whatever he had done it had been his duty as Secretary of State: 'As a private person I have done nothing unworthy of an honest man'. As clever at quibbling as Mary herself, he protested that he bore her no ill will and wished no one's death, but had to be ever vigilant concerning the safety of his Queen and country.

Mary admitted, at length, that some of the cyphers produced were hers. She agreed that Curle might have written some of the letters, under pressure from Nau, when she was ill. She stated she believed their confessions had been forced from them under threat of torture and she disavowed them both.

On the second day of the trial she made a speech to the Assembly in which she again stated her position, stressing her weakness and defencelessness. Burleigh answered in moderate terms, but declared he had not the power to convene another Assembly, as Mary had demanded. The wearisome verbal duel continued, Mary disputing every point raised. One of the few dramatic moments in the dull proceedings was when Burleigh stated that Parry, one of Mary's servants, had been sent by Morgan, her agent, to assassinate Elizabeth, and Mary was startled into exclaiming: 'You are indeed my enemy!'

Mary's letters concerning the proposed Spanish invasion were then read, and that giving Philip II her rights to the English throne: Mary declared: 'On this point I have to answer to no one'. When the details of the Babington plot were further unfolded she replied that she knew nothing of them and that her name must have been used without her knowledge; her sole fault, she declared, had been too much 'gentleness and clemency', which had been abused by her Scots subjects. She had never heard of a proposal to burn Chartley, and as for any risings of the Roman Catholics they were so cruelly treated that they were 'in despair'.

Burleigh again told her that no one in England was punished for religion; Mary again protested. When she was asked to withdraw, she remained seated. The Solicitor General then wished to know if she had anything more to say in her defence. Mary then rose and once more demanded to be heard in full Parliament and to speak with Elizabeth. She then pardoned the Commissioners and, rising, spoke to some of them, including Walsingham. Her remarks were speculations on the alleged confessions of her two secretaries. She then turned to the gathering and stated that she left her cause in the hands of God.

On passing the lawyers Mary reproached them with their harsh handling of her case, all the worse as she had 'little knowledge of the laws of quibbling'. At this the Englishmen glanced at each other, smiling, and Mary smiled also at this silent tribute to her verbal skill.

The Commissioners were willing to sentence Mary as soon as she had withdrawn, but Burleigh gave them the commands of Elizabeth to suspend this task until she herself should have read their report. The peers and notables then left Fotheringhay, arranging to meet on October 29th (1586) in the Star Chamber at Westminster. Walsingham regretted the delay and Elizabeth's hesitation; he wrote to Leicester bitterly that 'this accused creature seems to have been chosen by God for the punishment of our sins'.

Paulet now conducted himself courteously towards the captive Queen. He rearranged the room above the hall where the trial had been held for her use and ordered a large table to be covered with baize so that she might play billiards. The extreme danger she was in had raised Mary's spirits; she appeared eager to die as a martyr for her Faith, and even once compared her sufferings to the Passion of Christ. Yet she held to the hope that Elizabeth would save her from death and told Paulet that she had observed compassion in the faces of some of the Commissioners. He replied that she was mistaken: 'Not one of them was favourable to your cause,' and added that everyone marvelled to see her so calm—No living person has ever been accused of crimes so frightful and odious as you are'.

Mary rejoined that her serenity arose from a perfectly clear conscience. She took the chance of repeating that she was eager to die for her religion, and he took the chance of telling her that it was no question of religion but of invasion and murder. This argument took place on All Souls Day. Paulet had instructions to try to force a confession out of the Queen who, deprived of a chaplain, had been praying alone in her oratory; but Mary refused to make the way of her enemies easy. She steadfastly asserted her innocence, even in face of 'the facts so clear and evident' that the Commissioners had found, and declared that her trial had been a mockery and her fate settled before her judges met.

The interviews were conducted in French and much disliked by Paulet. He could endure, he said, Mary's passions and railings, but much of what she said was so 'idle' that he often left her while she was still speaking. He wrote to Walsingham begging that he might be spared, as much as possible, from arguing with Mary. 'I do not see what good can come of it.'

The Commissioners met in Westminster, examined Nau's and Curie's confessions and found Mary guilty of compassing the 'hurt, death and destruction of the Queen of England'. There was only one dissentient voice, that of Lord Zouch, who was not satisfied that the charge was proved. The Commissioners also declared that James VI should not in any way suffer from the sentence passed on his mother, either in title, honour, place, degree, or right. Both Houses of Parliament then presented an Address to Elizabeth praying for the execution of the sentence pronounced on the Queen of Scots. The existence of Mary was, they declared, a certain and undoubted danger, not only to Elizabeth but to themselves, their posterity and the public state of the realm, as well as for the cause of the Gospel and the true religion of Christ, and for the peace of the whole realm. The Peers and Commons even feared that the heavy displeasure of Almighty God might fall on them if the speedy dispatching of Mary was neglected. Elizabeth held back; she asked for time. She mentioned that Mary was of her own kin, her own sex, her own rank and that if she would confess and repent, she, Elizabeth, would willingly pardon her—save that the good of England was at stake. After a delay of twelve days Elizabeth begged Parliament 'to devise some better remedy' to secure her own life and spare that of the Queen of Scots.

Both Houses again earnestly deliberated on this issue and again declared that Mary's death was essential to the safety of England; but Elizabeth was still evasive.

On November 13th (1586) Sir Drue Drury arrived at Fotheringhay and later Lord Buckhurst, with Beale, Clerk of the Council; their mission was to announce to Mary that she had been sentenced to death by the Commissioners assembled in Westminster. Buckhurst was known to Mary and had not been present at her trial. He had been chosen for his charm, talent and moderation, for Elizabeth still hoped to coax or bribe a confession out of Mary. Paulet was also instructed to watch his charge carefully and to note any 'secret matter' she might disclose. Buckhurst lodged in the village, but came to the Castle in order to consult with Paulet. On November 30th (1586) these two men and Sir Drue Drury waited on Mary after dinner.

Lord Buckhurst formally delivered the case for Elizabeth and the English Parliament and Mary formally replied giving her usual defence. Both the English and Mary had become completely convinced that truth and justice were on their side. Even Walsingham, who had staged the Babington conspiracy in order to destroy Mary, was able to divorce this public action from his private honour and to persuade himself that he had acted honestly; his colleagues had no difficulty in taking the same view, while Mary had convinced herself that she was innocent and wronged. Mary's general admission that she was a sinner before God as was everyone else absolved her in her own mind from any individual charge and her own falsehood in denying every crime laid to her account.

Buckhurst urged Mary to confess, saying that the Commissioners had condemned her to death and that Elizabeth would not be able to resist the pressure put on her to sign the warrant for the execution of this sentence. Beale spoke of the trouble she had been since she had been taken to Carlisle 'for her own safety'. Mary retorted that she had gone there under duress and the three retired. Lord Buckhurst did not appear again at Fotheringhay.

On November 24th (1586) Mary wrote an account of this interview to her steward and one-time ambassador in France, the Archbishop of Glasgow. This was one of her remarkable letters in which she was able to state her case with clarity, confidence and a specious air of detachment. Among the other epistles written in the last few months of her life it proves that her intelligence was not (as she had claimed) weakened by the tedious years of imprisonment and the increasing burden of her physical ills; indeed, so alert and shrewd are these letters, and so cleverly does she make herself out as an innocent person, persecuted for her religion, that it remains surprising that she did not manage her affairs better when she had full control over them. Her wits had not declined since she had written her clear account of the Rizzio murder to France. Her attendants recorded that her face was illuminated with 'an extraordinary joy' when she learned God had chosen her to die for the Catholic Faith.

She was not prepared, however, to endure a paltry affront put on her by Paulet, who exceeded his instructions in taking down her canopy. There had been some trouble before over this emblem of royalty, but Mary had been allowed to retain it until she had heard the sentence that made her, in Paulet's opinion, 'only a dead woman, without the dignity or honours of a queen'. Mary protested vehemently and her attendants refused to dismantle the cloth of State; soldiers were brought in to do the work and the billiard table, as yet uncovered, was removed. Yet when Mary, who had been reading much history, spoke of the fate of Richard II, Paulet replied that she need not fear anything of that kind since she was 'in the charge of a Christian gentleman'.

Mary believed that her death would follow soon on the departure of Lord Buckhurst. She summoned all her retinue, repeated once more her fidelity to the Roman Catholic Faith and her innocence of all the crimes imputed to her. She wrote three more farewell letters and gave them to her servants to deliver (they were not able to do this, owing to the restrictions imposed on them, until the following autumn); these were on the lines of that she had written to the Archbishop of Glasgow. That to the Pope (Sixtus V) might come under Paulet's strictures of being 'tedious and artificial', but it shows both spiritual and worldly pride. She made a 'general confession' of sin, without admitting to any one sin in particular, and implored His Holiness to accept her letter as her Viaticum, should she be deprived of a chaplain. She asked for prayers to be said for her soul and for the souls of those who had died or would die in the same cause. She mentioned her captivity and her long illness and the 'perdition' of her 'poor child' James VI, who, she still hoped, might be saved by the efforts of the Pope and Philip II. At the end of this composed and able letter she excused her writing, poor by reason of her crippled arm, warned the Pope of some English spies who were, she had heard, in the Vatican, and signed herself 'Marie, Queen of Scotland, Dowager of France'.

The letter to the Spanish Ambassador in London, Bernard de Mendoza, was more personal, though parts of it covered the same ground. Mary noted that she heard workmen and believed that the scaffolding was being put up for the last act of her tragedy. She repeated her wish to make Philip II her heir, and informed Mendoza that she would send him the Duke of Norfolk's diamond; she referred to the pain she had in writing and to Nau, Curle, and another Pasquier, as having 'much hastened my death'. Her comments on her secretaries could easily be read as admission of her complicity in the Babington plot and of her knowledge that Mendoza was aware of this, so that he would understand her meaning when she wrote 'Nau has confessed all, Curle following his example' and, later, the comment that Nau had 'kept some papers' and that he and Pasquier were 'people who wish to live in both worlds if they can have their commodities'. The third letter was to her cousin, the Duke of Guise. The material was the same; the bearer was to show a ruby ring in token of being indeed a servant of the Queen of Scots. She mentioned that her dais had been taken down and stated that 'I showed them the Cross of my Saviour in the place where my arms had been on the said dais', but she admitted that Elizabeth was not responsible for this attempt to degrade her. These letters are dated from Fotheringhay November 24th (1586).

Elizabeth still refused to sign Mary's death warrant. Burleigh became afraid that after all his exertions he would not yet get rid of the Queen of Scots. Paulet also wished to see the end of his troublesome charge; he feared an attempt at rescue and his garrison was increased to the number of seventy infantrymen and fifty archers, The formal protests against Mary's sentence sent by Henry III and James VI were ignored by Elizabeth and her counsellors. Mary was relieved when she heard that this same sentence had been publicly proclaimed, with sound of trumpet, at the market crosses of England.

Both she and Elizabeth thought much about murder. Mary had long dreaded a secret taking off that might be imputed to suicide and followed by a false confession or repudiation of her Faith; she wished to make a brave end, protesting her innocence and her belief publicly at the last. On her side, Elizabeth dwelt on the extreme convenience it would be to her if Mary could be privately disposed of, without the odium that would attach to her, Elizabeth, if she signed the death warrant.

On December 15th (1586) Paulet and Sir Drue Drury waited on Mary and returned her the money taken from her, less some expenses incurred on her behalf. She was in bed in pain from her ulcerated leg but showed no lack of alertness or promptitude in at once repeating her requests for permission to make a will, the return of her papers and the promise of passports for her servants. She also asked again for a priest, and Paulet sent to fetch the chaplain who was lodging in a nearby house. This was against his own wish, as he feared that 'this ignorant Popish priest' would only strengthen Mary 'in all her errors', and he described her fortitude in harsh terms when he wrote of her to Walsingham 'as perverse and obstinate', showing 'no sign of repentance and no submission. She does not acknowledge her fault, does not ask for forgiveness and shows no signs of wishing to live.'

Soon after the priest, by permission of Walsingham, arrived at Fotheringhay. On December 16th (1586) Mary sent Melville to Paulet with a message that she wished to send Elizabeth 'a last farewell'. She had before said she could not write to the English Queen, as she knew not how to address her, being so humbled and deprived of dignity and title, and Paulet was suspicious that this letter might be poisoned. Mary satisfied him by showing him the open paper, passing it over her face, then closing it with white silk and Spanish wax. This famous epistle, written in French and dated December 19th (1586), consists of yet another denial of the crimes with which Mary was charged, her joy in dying for her Faith, her thanks for the return of her chaplain and her money and her gratitude to Elizabeth for not ordering the removal of her canopy. She asked if her 'sister and cousin' would receive 'the jewel' Elizabeth had once given her, and if she might send another jewel and her blessing to her son. In conclusion, she reminded Elizabeth that the time would come when she also would have to face eternity and judgement. She signed herself 'Your cousin and sister, wrongfully imprisoned, Marie Queen'.

Elizabeth wept when she received Mary's letter and this alarmed Burleigh, who feared that this affair of the Scots Queen would never end before the country was invaded and his sovereign assassinated. England was disturbed by many rumours and alarms. Every day there was a scare of a new plot or an invasion. The Duke of Parma was reported as landing, the Duke of Guise also to be on the English coasts and the Scots massing on the Border. A sombre Christmas passed at Fotheringhay. Paulet, exhausted and over-strained, took to his bed, communicating with Mary by means of servants.

In the first week of the New Year (1587) Mary, who had had no answer from Elizabeth, wrote again; this epistle was more moving than that which had drawn tears from the English Queen. Mary begged for her papers, and not to be kept in suspense any longer as to her fate, even for the sake of her poor servants, who were losing their time and their health in the cruel day-to-day waiting. She asked, moreover, if, at the hour of her death, she should have some secret that was for the ear of Elizabeth alone, to whom was she to confide it? She paid Elizabeth many stately compliments and sent her many ornate wishes of goodwill. Paulet made a to-do about sending this letter and in the end it never reached Elizabeth. Mary suspected that her correspondence was being delayed or interfered with and this added to a distress further increased when Melville and the chaplain (though both were allowed to remain in Fotheringhay) were forbidden to see her. Mary protested strongly and again expressed her fears of assassination; Paulet was outraged by this suspicion and assured Mary that she was as safe in his charge as his own wife. More bickerings concerned the supply of herbs for the Queen's health and the taking away of the rod that Mary's butler (in the absence of Melville) carried in before he served her meals. Paulet, though ill, was resolute; he had heard all the rumours of attempts to rescue the Queen of Scots and assured Walsingham that Mary should not escape him, unless he were slain.

Secretary Davison held the unsigned death warrant and Elizabeth continued to hesitate in gloomy perplexity. At length she gave her counsellors to understand, using hints and veiled phrases, that she considered it their duty to have Mary murdered secretly, so that no blame or trouble should fall on herself. No one acted on these suggestions. All who knew Elizabeth knew that if the murder were discovered, that is, if Mary's death could not be put down to natural causes, the Tudor Queen would save her own good name by sacrificing someone else.

On February 1st (1587) Elizabeth signed the warrant for the execution of the sentence on Mary. This was at Greenwich and Elizabeth put her name to the document carelessly, as if she were going to pretend that she had signed it among others, without looking at it; but later she made some comments on it and directed that Mary was not to be put to death in public, but in the hall in Fotheringhay Castle. She wished, she said, to hear no more of the matter, but almost at once reminded Davison that she considered the members of the Association drawn up for her protection should relieve her of this great responsibility by having Mary murdered; loyal subjects, she said, as Paulet and Drury claimed to be, should have already seen to this, since, while Mary lived, the life of the sovereign they had sworn to protect was in extreme danger.

Davison, after conferring with Burleigh and Walsingham, sent Paulet a wordy letter the gist of which was that Elizabeth took it 'unkindly' that Paulet did not 'shorten the life' of Mary, since he knew that Elizabeth much disliked to shed blood, especially the blood of her own sex, kin and quality. Davison made the urgent request that this letter should be burnt; he would have been wiser not to have committed such dangerous matter to writing. Thus Mary's suspicions were justified, but Paulet kept the promise he had so often made her. He showed the letter to Drury and the two men sent an indignant reply in which they stated their 'great grief and bitterness of mind' at being considered capable of 'shedding blood without law or warrant'. In dignified terms they refused to commit murder, while offering their own lives to Elizabeth. They saw the trap in Davison's letter but they were, according to their own standards, men of honour.

Elizabeth continued to dally with the warrant and it may be true, as she afterwards declared, that she intended it only to be used in the case of an invasion or an attempt on her own life. Burleigh, at least, did not trust her and showed her signed warrant to the Council, who at once agreed to appoint the Earls of Kent and Shrewsbury to see to its execution. Elizabeth received Paulet's reply on February 4th (1587). Before that she had sent for Davison, telling him, in grim jest, that she had dreamed she was punishing him for the death of the Queen of Scots and had told him she did not like 'legal methods' of disposing of Mary. On reading Paulet's letter Elizabeth fell into a violent rage and abused Sir Amias roundly, adding that she knew of others 'who would not draw back'. But Burleigh and Walsingham were determined to give a legal colour to the death of Mary. The block was the usual penalty for political failure and the English have usually preferred judicial murder to private assassination; Elizabeth's counsellors, moreover, did not intend to give her the chance of getting out of her responsibility and punishing them to satisfy the Roman Catholic powers and James VI.

Yet when Robert Beale arrived at Fotheringhay with the signed warrant he found Paulet and Drury still agitated by proposals to smother Mary secretly. This advice had been urged on Elizabeth, Beale thought, by the Earl of Leicester and the Scots Ambassador, Archibald Douglas, and there was again talk of the man Wingfield, mentioned by Elizabeth as a likely assassin. But Beale agreed with Paulet and Drury that murder was base and dangerous; it seems, also, as if it would have been impossible to have kept it secret, since Mary was surrounded by devoted attendants who would have had to have been forced away from her. Poison was the only method whereby the Scots Queen could have been privately disposed of and even this would have been difficult as she had three medical men in her train well versed in the knowledge of their profession as it then stood. The expedient of 'smothering' seems strangely clumsy.

On February 7th (1587) Mary, seated at the foot of her bed, received Kent, Shrewsbury and Beale. Beale read out the document that Elizabeth had signed and informed Mary that her death could not be delayed, greatly reluctant as Elizabeth had been to consent to it. Mary behaved with her usual calm dignity and the exquisite courtesy she often showed even to her enemies. She answered at length, running over her sad story, her main grievance being her unjust imprisonment in England. Placing her hand on a copy of the Catholic Bible that lay near, she took an oath that she had never desired the death of Elizabeth. The Earl of Kent quibbled that the oath was of no value taken on this version of the Bible and offered her the services of the Dean of Peterborough for a death scene conversion. This Mary proudly rejected and asked for her priest. A religious argument then followed that reads strangely now; yet both the Englishmen and Mary were sincere in their rigidly held beliefs. She was convinced that she was saving her soul by remaining true to her Faith and they were convinced that they were trying to save her from damnation by forcing on her the learned Dean, Dr. Fletcher.

On being told she was to die early the next morning Mary said the time was short, wondered Elizabeth should have allowed her death and wept a little, but not from fear. She could not obtain all her papers that she needed in order to make her will complete, nor a promise that she would be buried in France—at St. Denis, or beside her mother in the Church of St. Peter at Rheims. She asked if Nau was still alive, and on being told that he was she remarked that she had to die for one who had accused her in order to save himself. Mary's attendants begged a little delay in the carrying out of the sentence, but this was not granted.

Mary was obsessed with this part of martyr she had taken up. She prayed, had supper and divided her money, directing that Nau should have his share. She distributed the contents of her wardrobe, her plate and her jewels. Among these treasures was a portion of the precious unicorn's horn, two lutes, a music book, family portraits, silver boxes, a little gilt bottle of sweet water, a gold bodkin with a sapphire at the end, a model cannon on wheels, a model bow and arrow, all of gold, a chain of coral and mother o' pearl, a little bear enamelled white, the ruby tortoise that had been Rizzio's gift, a pair of perfumed bracelets, intermixed with silk (that brings to mind the curious bracelet mentioned in the Glasgow letter), a golden jewel set with precious stones and a little golden bird enamelled green. Among those to whom she left these touching legacies were Sebastien Page and 'Bastien's wife', the groom and bride of the wedding feast held at Holyrood on the night of the Kirk O'Field murder.

Those who had lived for so long in close contact with Mary during her misfortunes were strongly attached to her and the careful account of her last hours left by her physician, Bourgoing, testified to the affection and respect in which she was held by her attendants and the remarkable serenity she displayed. Her long, pious exhortations to her friends, however, were generalizations and revealed nothing of her character; she made no reference to any of the strange events that had darkened her life and touched on no personal matters. She was like an actress of genius, putting through with amazing skill the part of a deeply wronged, saintly woman dying for her Faith. She maintained this role to the last, with grace and elegance, spending the early hours of the winter day in what seemed an ecstasy of silent prayer. Before this final withdrawal she had written to Du Préau, her French chaplain, begging for his Absolution, and also drafted a will as well as she could without all her papers; the executors were the Bishop of Ross, the Duke of Guise, the Archbishop of Glasgow and the Chancellor of her French estates. She also found time to write the last of her remarkable letters; this was to Henry III and stated her case, for the last time, with dignity, clarity and calmness. She hoped Bourgoing would carry this letter and that Henry HI would take him into his service; she also implored her brother-in-law to look after her servants. It was, when she had finished this letter, two o'clock in the morning and Mary gave a glimpse into her secret mind by asking Joan Kennedy to read her the life of a saint who had been a great sinner; the good thief was chosen and Mary was satisfied. She then lay down to compose herself to prayer and, as Joan Kennedy afterwards reported, seemed, by the movement of her lips, to be 'laughing with the angels'.

At six o'clock on the morning of February 8th (1587) Mary rose and was dressed in her most regal attire. She wore a skirt and bodice of black satin over a petticoat of russet satin, a long black satin mantle, edged with fur, the delicate caul of wired crape edged with lace, and a pointed cap over an auburn periwig. She had a chain of scented beads with a cross, and a rosary, and she carried a prayer book. She had prayed awhile in her ante-chamber that was arranged as an oratory and it was on her knees with her women that the sheriff found her when, bearing his white wand, he came to summon her to her death.

Bourgoing suggested that the ivory crucifix from the altar should be carried before her by Annibal Stewart, her groom of the chamber, and this gave her deep pleasure. At the door to the great hall her attendants, weeping and protesting, were forced back and Mary, taking the crucifix from the servant, proceeded, supported on either side by one of Paulet's soldiers. Her weakness proceeded from disease, not fear; she did not change colour or give any sign of agitation. Melville was allowed to meet her; affectionate greetings were exchanged between them and William Fitzwilliam, Castellan of Fotheringhay, also respectfully greeted Mary. She had always been grateful for his kindness and courtesy and now she left him the portrait of her son that hung above her bed.

Mary then, with smiling grace, asked that her servants might be admitted into the hall; she was most anxious to have friendly witnesses present as she feared that her enemies would give garbled accounts of her end, to her disadvantage. Kent and Shrewsbury allowed six of the men to enter and Mary chose Bourgoing, Gorion, Gervais and Didier. Her request to have some of her women was refused as the Lords feared painful scenes, but Mary was insistent. She reminded the Earls that their Queen was a maiden Queen and would wish her to have women with her, and as a last argument that she, Mary, was descended from Henry VII. Finally, Joan Kennedy and Elizabeth Curle were allowed to enter the hall that was hung with black, warmed by a large fire and divided by a railing. The scaffold was raised two feet from the ground and twelve feet square. Paulet and Drury were present as well as the two Earls. There was a guard of halberdiers and spectators to the number of about three hundred.

Mary mounted the scaffold with Paulet's assistance and seated herself on the black-covered stool prepared for her while Beale read the royal commission for her death. She seemed utterly indifferent; some of the spectators noted her remarkable charm and beauty, others found her corpulent, flat-faced and round-shouldered. It was with 'a bright colour' in her face she made her last speech, delivered with perfect dignity and elegance and betraying nothing save the sentiments that had now become routine with her. She rejected the offices of the Dean of Peterborough and the prayers of the Lords and put up her own petitions, in Latin (the penitential psalms) and in English. This she did with great vehemence, striking her breast with the ivory crucifix. These prayers were long; she recommended many persons by name to the Almighty, including the Pope, and her enemies, among them Elizabeth Tudor. When she rose from her knees and began to disrobe her two women began to lament, on which she reminded them: 'I have answered for you.' Then, loyally composing themselves, they helped her to take off her upper garments, her collar, mantle and veil.

She refused the rude help of the executioner and remarked that she knew the business better than he did and that never before had she undressed before so many people. Her eyes were bandaged with the fine gold embroidered chalice veil she had chosen the night before and so she was helped to the block, as she once again placed her hopes in her God. Shrewsbury, much overcome, raised his wand. At one blow of the axe the sufferings of Mary Stewart were ended; at the third blow her head was severed from the body. This, freed of coif and wig, now appeared that of an old woman with a grey shaven poll, when exhibited to the spectators. It was then placed on a dish and shown at a window to the people gathered in the courtyard. A ribald tune, usually played during the punishment of witches, had been performed here, but to such a slow measure it seemed rather a funeral march. The outer gates of the Castle were kept locked and there was no disorder. Everything to do with this tragedy that could be thus destroyed was burnt so that there might be no hoarding of relics; and one of the Queen's little dogs who had crept out under her gown was carefully washed.

There was no beauty in her dead face or any likeness to what it had been in life. Her radiance was quenched suddenly, like a light put out. The body was carried by the sheriff and his men into a neighbouring chamber, where it was covered with the green baize that had been intended for her billiard table; her women were not allowed to attend to her remains but knelt and prayed outside the room until Paulet had the keyhole stopped up. By four o'clock in the afternoon the body was embalmed, wrapped in a waxed winding sheet and placed in a coffin. The next morning Mary's French chaplain was allowed to hold a Mass for her soul in the presence of her bereaved attendants, but the same day Paulet ordered the altar to be taken down and forbade any more Roman Catholic services to be held in Fotheringhay. Here the story of Mary, Queen of Scots and the pilgrimage of those who would follow in her steps ends, but a few more particulars may be of interest.

Elizabeth at once tried to cast the blame of the death of Mary on to anyone save herself. She wrote to James VI deploring 'the unfortunate accident' that had deprived him of his mother and declaring that she was not so vile or so basely born that she would not have admitted her share in this tragedy if she had had one. James VI accepted these excuses with the same cynicism as that with which they were written. He continued to be the pensioner of England until he inherited the crown that Mary had all her life so keenly envied.

On June 30th (1589) Mary's body was taken from Fotheringhay to Peterborough. The twelve miles journey took place by torchlight between ten o'clock at night and half past one in the morning. Full pomp was allowed the dead queen, whose body was in a hearse drawn by four black horses and set out with escutcheons bearing the arms of Scotland. Heralds accompanied the hearse that was followed by Mary's household, still detained in England. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Dean and Chapter, received the body, which was placed in a vault near to that where Catherine of Aragon lay. One Scarlett had, fifty years before, been the grave-digger for this queen and now performed the same offices for the Queen of Scots. On the next day a stately ceremony was held in the Bishop's palace. The hall was hung with mourning and a throne and canopy represented Elizabeth, for whom the Countess of Bedford stood proxy as chief mourner. A wax figure of Mary, attired in regal garments, lay on a bier, which was carried to the cathedral with great state. The Roman Catholics who had been in Mary's service refused to enter the church, which was surrounded by a large crowd. The order of the procession, as drawn up by Garter King of Arms, shows a handsome gathering that included seventeen 'Scottes in Cloakes' and a 'Scottish priest' who was, in fact, Mary's former French chaplain Six gentlemen carried the body (one is reminded of the 'six gentlemen' who formed the darkest part of the Babington conspiracy). Mary's effigy was placed on a 'stately hearse...most beautiful to behold', set within the choir; it was richly adorned with the arms of Scotland, France and Darnley—no symbol represented Bothwell. The Scottish Unicorn was shown under several forms. The Bishop of Lincoln preached the funeral sermon in which he tactfully said that he had few remarks to make of Mary's life or death, as he knew little of the one and had not assisted at the other. Mary's regal coat of mail, helm, sword and shield were presented by Lord Bedford at the altar, then hung above her place of burial, where they remained until 1643.

Afterwards there was a banquet; Mary's one-time attendants dined and wept in a separate room. No inscription marked Mary's resting place until one of her followers, Adam Blackwood, contrived to hang there an indignant epitaph, that was soon removed. Elizabeth ordered and paid for all this elaborate and costly ceremony. She was vexed by the behaviour of Mary's former attendants in refusing to enter the Protestant church and delayed their release from Fotheringhay until the following October (1587); then they were allowed to go about their several missions.

The Archbishop of Bourges preached Mary's funeral sermon before Henry III and his Court in Notre Dame. The eloquent preacher recalled the day of Mary's bridal in this same church, covered with jewels so that she shone like the sun 'so beautiful, so charming in all as never woman was'.

Many miniatures and paintings were made as memorials of Mary, Queen of Scots; most of them appear to be based on the Sheffield portrait made some years before her death. A famous version, believed to have been painted by Amyas Cawood, belongs to Blair College, Aberdeen, and shows the Queen in the last attire she wore with the crucifix in one hand, the prayer book in the other. The work is unskilful, and to the left of the figure is a small representation of the Queen having her head struck off; above are the royal Stewart arms with the unicorn supporters; on the other side are the figures of Joan Kennedy and Elizabeth Curle in deep mourning; above them a Latin inscription gives the claims, captivity and death of the Queen of Scotland, while beneath the figure of Mary is an even more emphatic account of her fate. The face is serene and smooth and bears a considerable likeness to the early French portraits of Mary. This picture was painted for Elizabeth Curle and by her bequeathed to the English College at Douai. A longstanding tradition states that one of the Queen's attendants, the above-mentioned Amyas Cawood, painted, probably from memory or from a sketch made on the spot, the head of the dead Queen, and that the picture now at Abbotsford, signed and dated a year after Mary's death (by error?) is this picture.

Many of Mary's personal possessions and treasures are still preserved. A large number of them, from private collections, were gathered together in the Glasgow Exhibition of 1888 that was held in a reproduction of the old Bishop's Castle of Glasgow, and among these remarkable relics of great interest and beauty were the cuff of one of Darnley's gloves, worked by Mary in July 1565; part of the christening robe of James VI, in salmon colour, with gold thread, lined with white, all of silk; a workbox with the emblem of the Marguerite used by that ancestor through whom Mary held her never-forgotten claims to the English throne; a gold, white and red enamelled crucifix that Mary used at Fotheringhay; the leading strings she worked for James VI and the prayer book she held at the last—this exquisite piece of work was printed at Lyons in 1558 and bound in embossed crimson silk velvet—and a charming glove of light buff leather, embroidered with silver, roses of light and pale blue and lined with crimson velvet. The catalogue description states that this glove was given by Mary to Marmaduke Darell on the morning of the execution of the death sentence; this name is among those 'gentlemen in gowns' who accompanied Mary's body from Fotheringhay to Peterborough Cathedral.

In this exhibition was shown a Dutch watercolour drawing of the beheading of Mary, the music 'Jumping Joan' said to have been played in the courtyard of Fotheringhay Castle and many letters from Mary and her mother, together with magnificent specimens of her needlework.

James VI was long credited with having demolished Fotheringhay Castle and mansion; this, however, was not so. The buildings were destroyed by the usual enemies of great houses in England, the Civil War and time, until of the former nothing was left 'but a few stones and clumps of thistles' and of the latter a few scattered barns or so put to mundane uses. Some of the materials, arches, columns, stones, including portions of the Great Hall and so on, were said to have been taken from Fotheringhay to other places, used to build a chapel at Fireside near by, and to repair the banks of the River Neu. Some of the stained-glass windows of Fotheringhay Castle were taken to the mansion of Obby Milton, belonging to Sir William Fitzwilliam, where he kept the portrait of James VI given to him in return for his courtesy by Mary, and another of herself, painted in 1582.

In August 1603 James VI of Scotland, I of England, decided to honour his mother's memory and sent a splendid pall to Peterborough Cathedral to be laid over her hearse still standing in the choir. In September 1612, nine years after, James decided to have Mary's body removed to Westminster Abbey; he had remembered this costly pall that he thought the Dean and Chapter might claim as a perquisite and directed that they should be paid a fee in order that it might be laid over Mary's coffin when this was brought to London. The erection of her tomb in Westminster Abbey had been begun in May 1606. Two hundred pounds were then' paid to Cornelius Cure, 'Master Mason of his Highness' works'; the next payment was made four years later, to his son, William. The payments were completed in 1613 and amounted to £825 10s. The tomb was painted and gilded in 1616 by James Mauncy, who was paid £265 'in full satisfaction'.

There is no record of the last journey of the body of Mary from Peterborough Cathedral to Westminster Abbey. Her alabaster tomb is famous and beautiful; the serene face is certainly a likeness taken from one of Mary's portraits and the monument is not far from another equally splendid, erected to the memory of Elizabeth Tudor, also by order of James VI of Scotland and I of England.



NOTES

A detailed account of Queen Mary's life when under the care of Lord and Lady Shrewsbury can be found in Mary, Queen of Scots in Captivity by John Daniel Leader, Sheffield and London, 1880. This follows, with minute care, the day-to-day existence of the Queen and gives long descriptions of the incessant and complicated plots in which she was involved from January 1569 to December 1584 when Shrewsbury was at last relieved of the tedious burden that had cost him so much in ease of mind, family peace and money. This book also contains much of Mary's correspondence and some of that exchanged between Shrewsbury and Walsingham. Though Mary wrote several notable letters, famous both for their contents and their style, much of her correspondence is as monotonous as her continual intriguing; her subject matter is nearly always the same, her attitude persistently that of an injured innocent woman, her manner moody and garnished with dull generalizations that appear to have been copied from some book of devotions or remembered from her schoolroom days. One exception to the tedium of the prisoner's tone of suffering resignation is the so-called 'Scandal Letter' given by J. D. Leader in the original French; it has often been reprinted, is preserved among the Cecil papers at Hatfield and was accepted as genuine by that warm admirer of Mary, Prince Labanoff. But as its authenticity is still in question, as it did not reach Elizabeth, being either kept by Mary or intercepted by Burleigh's spies, it has not been mentioned in the text of this book. It consists of a bold retaliation against the Countess of Shrewsbury for the slanders she was spreading against Mary and Shrewsbury, and details all the gossip, wholly unfavourable to Elizabeth, that Lady Shrewsbury had recounted to Mary. The date of this letter is not known; it was probably the spring of 1584 and it appears to have been written from Sheffield and not, as is sometimes stated, from Wingfield or Chartley. It is not of importance save in showing the corruption of the times, Mary's knowledge of all the scandals of the English Court and the spite with which the two Queens and the Countess were involved. If it is a forgery the questions arise as to who forged it and why; it would be idle to attempt an answer here. Knollys relinquished his charge of Mary Stewart with deep gratitude; 'to be rid of her' was the desire of his heart. He declared he would 'suffer any punishment' rather than continue in the task of keeping the Queen of Scots safely, but his task ended when he delivered his prisoner to Shrewsbury in Tutbury Castle, then used as a hunting lodge. At first Shrewsbury found the Queen docile, a surprise to Knollys, who had often flinched before her mockery and violence. This George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, was a man of considerable wealth and importance. He possessed huge estates, seven mansions, and two others in the name of his wife. His chief seat was at Sheffield, the Castle in the park of magnificent trees that also enclosed the Manor House and a Lodge, or Turret House believed to have been built by him to secure his prisoner. He held the Manor of Worksop and Wingfield, the Abbey of Rufford, the Hall at Buxton, and the lodge or castle at Tutbury. Chatsworth belonged to Lady Shrewsbury, through her marriage with a Cavendish, and Hardwick had come to her from her father. These splendid residences were within easy distance of one another and the country surrounding them was part of the Talbot estate. Mary, as has been noted, moved from one to another of the Shrewsbury residences. Fourteen years of her captivity were spent in Sheffield Castle, Manor House or Lodge. These mansions were always handsomely furnished; tapestries and other luxuries for Mary's use were even sent from the Tower of London, a storehouse of royal possessions. The laborious nature of Mary's journeys from one English castle to another and the care with which they were undertaken is shown by several itineraries extant. One, reconstructed by Mr. Leader from the letters of Knollys to the Privy Council, was from Bolton to Tutbury in January 1569. The first stage was to Ripon, sixteen miles; there Mary stayed 'in a gentleman's house' while her retinue was housed in Ripon. The next stage was one of ten miles to Weatherby, then to Pontefract, then to Rotherham, then to Chesterfield, then to Wingfield and Derby and finally to Tutbury. The important and attractive city of Sheffield has no trace of the vast park, the noble avenues, the three residences so familiar to Mary of Scotland. Even when the Talbots owned the land, Sheffield was famous for cutlery, and the development of this and other industries destroyed what the Civil War had left of the Castle that was demolished, like so many other ancient strongholds, during the Commonwealth. The stone, as usual, was taken for other buildings and the site of the Castle is covered by streets. The Manor House remained, in fair preservation, longer than the Castle. In 1875 the considerable ruins of the Lodge or Turret House were restored; a description of the then state of the building was given in a paper read by M. Charles Hadfield before the Royal Institute of British Architects, quoted by Thomas Winder in his pamphlet, The Manor Lodge, Sheffield, 1919. This 'Manor Lodge' is the Manor House that stood two miles from the Castle in the magnificent park, and not the Lodge built by Shrewsbury and, as is believed, especially for Mary's use; this is now known as the Turret House. Old drawings of Sheffield Manor show it to have been an impressive building, rising from a forest of oaks and near the famous walnut tree avenue that was standing as late as 1781. Wingfield Manor House was similar in style. The principal remains at Sheffield consist of a few walls and chimney stack and the so-called Turret House, the building especially erected by Shrewsbury in 1574 for, it is believed, the safe keeping of the Queen. It was restored by the late Duke of Norfolk in 1872, after it had been discovered among some farm buildings. It is square, three storeyed, and stands outside the defences of the Castle. Tiles of French origin were discovered here round the fireplace of what has long been known as Queen Mary's Room. This battlemented Tudor building, with a lead-covered roof, has a turret from which it takes its name and three chimney stacks. It faces the main entrance to the Manor Lodge or House. A stone stairway leads from the ground floor to the turret. Mary would be under constant observation in this compact dwelling and also separated from Shrewsbury's household. During the early part of her stay in Sheffield she was free of the splendid park, but afterwards took her exercise on the leaden roof. The Queen's room is finely decorated with Talbot and Shrewsbury mottoes. These details of the only surviving English prison inhabited by Mary, Queen of Scots is from M. Winder's pamphlet that gives a full account of this fascinating relic. This pamphlet, Mr. Leader's rare book, and Sheffield by Mary Walton, 1948, have been kindly brought to the notice of the author by M. J. P. Lamb, City Librarian of Sheffield City Libraries. Tyxhall (or Tixhall) was recently built when Mary was taken there; nothing remains but the gateway. Chartley is a ruin, the bases of two towers. Both Tyxhall and Chartley, situated in delightful country, can be visited from the charming town of Stafford—the Stafford rural district—including the northern borders of the famous Cannock Chase that sheltered the fallow deer that Mary, pining in confinement, longed to hunt. It was here that she was taken, on a false promise of assisting at a chase, from Chartley to Tyxhall while her papers were seized, and here, in some glade or forest similar to the woods of Cannock Chase, that she stood at bay, like the animals she had so often watched being brought down by the hounds. Mary, her mind always full of hunting terms, spoke of her own end as 'my last taking'. The following additional information with regards to Buxton is from Mr. Ernest Axon's Historical Notes on Buxton, supplied with great courtesy by Mr. John Robinson, Entertainments and Publicity Manager, Pavilion Gardens, Buxton. The New Hall, Mr. Axon thinks, was built especially for Mary; this opinion is based on a letter written by Lord Shrewsbury in which he writes of the 'house not being finished' now, but this might refer to repairs and furnishing. This house adjoined Buxton Well and was on the site of the Old Hall. This New Hall became the chief Inn of Buxton for three-and-a-half centuries; it was sometimes known as 'The Inn of the Sign of the Talbot'. Although often altered and repaired, some portions of the 1572 buildings still remain. Mary found health as well as opportunities for plotting in the visits to the pleasant town of Buxton that she helped to make famous. She was one of many celebrated visitors who found ease in what she termed 'La fontaine de Bogsby' or 'Bookston Well', and the above-mentioned pamphlet gives a description of the graceful tribute she paid to Buxton by having a design placed on a window that was probably put together by her secretary, Nau, or one of his family. This was composed of anagrams, cyphers and monograms, verses in Greek and French, phrases in Latin; the celebrated testimony to the virtues of Buxton was not on this window but on another. Both have long been lost. Mary's visits to Buxton lead one to the question of her health, which was such an important factor in her life. It would be a curious study to investigate the causes and nature of her continual illnesses, but it is doubtful if the science of the sixteenth century was sufficiently advanced for the medical opinions available on Mary's case to be of much value; we do not even know the nature of the pills that caused her such distress, even to convulsions, and eventually relieved her, or if the pain in her side was really due to 'an indurated liver'. It has been thought that while in England she affected illnesses in order to move Elizabeth and make things difficult for her jailors, but her record, from her earliest childhood, contradicts this. Her afflictions seem to have been genuine. Elizabeth, afraid that Mary would die and she, Elizabeth, be accused of her death, sent English physicians to examine her, but they could make little of the complication of diseases that tormented her. Malaria was then endemic in Europe and she may have suffered from that. The Englishman's diagnosis of 'the mother' (i.e. hysteria) was undoubtedly correct. The damp rooms, foul smells, lack of exercise, frustration and constant disappointment that Mary herself so often declared to be the roots of her illnesses were probably part of her trouble but part only. It was an unhealthful age. The constant sickness of young and old, the short expectation of life, the sudden deaths from poison (not maliciously administered) were the result of airless damp rooms, draughty passages, over-rich and over-plentiful food, too much alcohol, unhealthful clothing, infection everywhere through lack of drainage and cleanliness. There were also the endemic ague, malaria, smallpox and measles, besides epidemics of cholera and typhus. Lack of dentistry and personal hygiene added to the miseries of these short lives. But Mary's case was wretched, even for those days, and her death, though seeming so tragic, was in reality the conventional 'merciful release' from sufferings that must have been almost intolerable. The iconography of Mary Stewart is a subject by itself and one that has been dealt with exhaustively; few likenesses of Mary, apart from the early French drawings and the statue on her tomb, give any idea of her beauty. The last (the sculptor is unknown) is probably taken from the wax effigy that lay on the hearse in Peterborough Cathedral. That, in turn, was taken from portraits in possession of the Queen's attendants. The story that a death-mask was made of her features is most unlikely in view of the manner of her death. The Sheffield portrait, painted when Mary was thirty-six years old, is so poorly executed that it gives the impression of a plain woman with large ugly hands and a squint. In the memorial portrait based on this, the appearance of Mary is much improved. In a letter to the Archbishop of Glasgow, January 1575, Mary asked for portraits of herself, four in number, to be sent to her secretly, for presentation to her friends in England. These, made second or third hand, are probably among the many curious portraits 'alleged' to be of Mary; they must have been painted from an early likeness made while the Queen was in France, or wholly fanciful. It is strange that she should have wished to send the ugly Sheffield picture to France. There are many versions of this; that at Hardwick it is believed to be the original—it is the only one signed. In Life of the Queen of Scots, by Dr. Chalmers, is an account of a composite portrait of Mary, made under the direction of Chalmers by a painter named Pailou. He considered the sculpture on the tomb to be the best likeness and was confused by the different colourings given in different portraits; the hair, now black, now auburn, can be accounted for by the use of periwigs, but the eyes, now grey, now chestnut-coloured, now hazel, remain a puzzle. Many of these pictures must have been painted by men who had never seen Mary. The weight of evidence is in favour of her having light auburn hair, often in her youth powdered with silver to look ash blonde, and eyes that flattery might term golden. Mary had high cheek-bones, a lofty forehead, faintly marked (possibly plucked) eyebrows, a thin mouth, a depression in her chin, a long, fine nose and an oval face. No catalogue of her features, however, can do justice to the 'alluring grace' that must have lain largely in her vivacity, charm of manner and elegant splendour. Mary Stewart was the last of those who could be considered as being 'art and part' in the Darnley murder, that mysterious and well-arranged crime, to suffer a violent death, but a strange echo of Kirk O'Field comes in 'Gunpowder Plot', directed, amongst others, against Darnley's son, James VI and I. These appear to be the only known instances of murder and attempted murder by means of explosives lodged in lower chambers or vaults.


THE END

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