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List Of Contents | Contents of Mary Stuart, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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enough for Mary to see that the skilful and vigorous oarsman was a
young man from twenty-five to twenty-six years of age, with long
black hair, clad in a close coat of green cloth, and wearing a
Highlander's cap, adorned with an eagle's feather; then, as with his
back turned to the window he drew nearer, Little Douglas, who was
leaning on his shoulder, said a few words which made him turn round
towards the queen: immediately Mary, with an instinctive movement
rather than with the dread of being an object of idle curiosity, drew
back, but not so quickly, however, but that she had been able to see
the handsome pale face of the unknown, who, when she returned to the
window, had disappeared behind one of the corners of the castle.

Everything is a cause of conjecture to a prisoner: it seemed to Mary
that this young man's face was not unknown to her, and that he had
seen her already; but though great the care with which she questioned
her memory, she could not recall any distinct remembrance, so much so
that the queen ended in thinking it the play of her imagination, or
that some vague and distinct resemblance had deceived her.

However, in spite of Mary, this idea had taken an important place in
her mind: she incessantly saw this little boat skimming the water,
and the young man and the child who were in it drawing near her, as
if to bring her help.  It followed that, although there had been
nothing real in all these captive's dreams, she slept that night a
calmer sleep than she had yet done since she had been in Lochleven
Castle.

Next day, on rising, Mary ran to her window: the weather was fine,
and everything seemed to smile on her, the water, the heavens and the
earth.  But, without being able to account for the restraining
motive, she did not want to go down into the ga den before breakfast.
When the door opened, 'she turned quickly round: it was, as on the
day before, William Douglas, who came to fulfil his duty as taster.

The breakfast was a short and silent one; then, as soon as Douglas
had withdrawn, Mary descended in her turn: in crossing the courtyard
she saw two horses ready saddled, which pointed to the near departure
of a master and a squire.  Was it the young man with the black hair
already setting out again?  This is what Mary did not dare or did not
wish to ask.  She consequently went her way, and entered the garden:
at the first glance she took it in in its full extent; it was
deserted.

Mary walked there a moment; then, soon tiring of the promenade, she
went up again to her room: in passing back through the courtyard she
had noticed that the horses were no longer there.  Directly she
returned into her apartment, she went then to the window to see if
she could discover anything upon the lake to guide her in her
conjectures: a boat was in fact receding, and in this boat were the
two horses and the two horsemen; one was William Douglas, the other a
simple squire from the house.

Mary continued watching the boat until it had touched the shore.
Arrived there, the two horsemen got out, disembarked their horses,
and went away at full gallop, taking the same road by which the queen
had come; so that, as the horses were prepared for a long journey,
Mary thought that William Douglas was going to Edinburgh.  As to the
boat, scarcely had it landed its two passengers on the opposite shore
than it returned towards the castle.

At that moment Mary Seyton announced to the queen that Lady Douglas
was asking permission to visit her.

It was the second time, after long hatred on Lady Douglas's part and
contemptuous indifference on the queen's, that the two women were
face to face; therefore the queen, with that instinctive impulse of
coquetry which urges women, in whatever situation they find
themselves, to desire to be beautiful, above all for women, made a
sign to Mary Seyton, and, going to a little mirror fastened to the
wall in a heavy Gothic frame, she arranged her curls, and readjusted
the lace of her collar; then; having seated herself in the pose most
favourable to her, in a great arm-chair, the only one in her sitting-
room, she said smilingly to Mary Seyton that she might admit Lady
Douglas, who was immediately introduced.

Mary's expectation was not disappointed: Lady Douglas, in spite of
her hatred for James Vs daughter, and mistress of herself as she
thought she as, could not prevent herself from showing by a movement
of surprise the impression that this marvelous beauty was making on
her: she thought she should find Mary crushed by her unhappiness,
pallid from her fatigues, humbled by captivity, and she saw hers
calm, lovely, and haughty as usual.  Mary perceived the effect that
she was producing, and addressing herself with an ironical smile
partly to Mary Seyton, who was leaning on the back of her chair, and
partly to her who was paying her this unforeseen visit

"We are fortunate to-day," said she, "for we are going as it seems to
enjoy the society of our good hostess, whom we thank besides for
having kindly maintained with us the empty ceremony of announcing
herself--a ceremony with which, having the keys of our apartment, she
could have dispensed."

"If my presence is inconvenient to your grace," replied Lady
Lochleven, "I am all the more sorry for it, as circumstances will
oblige me to impose it twice daily, at least during the absence of my
son, who is summoned to Edinburgh by the regent; this is of what I
came to inform your grace, not with the empty ceremonial of the
court, but with the consideration which Lady Lochleven owes to
everyone who has received hospitality in her castle."

"Our good hostess mistakes our intention," Mary answered, with
affected good-nature; "and the regent himself can bear witness to the
pleasure we have always had in bringing nearer to us the persons who
can recall to us, even indirectly, our well-beloved father, James V.
It will be therefore unjustly that Lady Douglas will interpret in a
manner disagreeable to herself our surprise at seeing her; and the
hospitality that she offers us so obligingly does not promise us, in
spite of her goodwill, sufficient distractions that we should deprive
ourselves of those that her visits cannot fail to procure us."

"Unfortunately, madam," replied Lady Lochleven, whom Mary was keeping
standing before her, "whatever pleasure I myself derive from these
visits, I shall be obliged to deprive myself of, except at the times
I have mentioned. I am now too old to bear fatigue, and I have,
always been too proud to endure sarcasms."

"Really, Seyton," cried Mary, seeming to recollect herself, "we had
not dreamed that Lady Lochleven, having won her right to a stool at
the court of the king my father, would have need to preserve it in
the prison of the queen his daughter.  Bring forward a seat, Seyton,
that we be not deprived so soon, and by a failure of memory on our
part, of our gracious hostess's company; or even," went on Mary,
rising and pointing out her own seat to Lady Lochleven, who was
making a motion to withdraw, "if a stool does not suit you, my lady,
take this easy-chair: you will not be the first member of your family
to sit in my place."

At this last allusion, which recalled to her Murray's usurpation,
Lady Lochleven was no doubt about to make some exceedingly bitter
reply, when the young man with the dark hair appeared on the
threshold, without being announced, and, advancing towards Lady
Lochleven, without saluting Mary--

"Madam," said he, bowing to the former, "the boat which took my
brother has just returned, and one of the men in it is charged with a
pressing charge that Lord William forgot to make to you himself."

Then, saluting the old lady with the same respect, he immediately
went out of the room, without even glancing at the queen, who, hurt
by this impertinence, turned round to Mary Seyton, and, with her
usual calm--

"What have they told us, Seyton, of injurious rumours which were
spread about our worthy hostess apropos of a child with a pale face
and dark hair?  If this child, as I have every reason to believe, has
become the young man who just went out of the room, I am ready to
affirm to all the incredulous that he is a true Douglas, if not for
courage, of which we cannot judge, then for insolence, of which he
has just given us proofs.  Let us return, darling," continued the
queen, leaning on Mary Seyton's arm;" for our good hostess, out of
courtesy, might think herself obliged to keep us company longer,
while we know that she is impatiently awaited elsewhere."

With these words, Mary went into her bedroom; while the old lady,
still quite stunned with the shower of sarcasms that the queen had
rained on her, withdrew, murmuring, "Yes, yes, he is a Douglas, and
with God's help he will prove it, I hope."

The queen had had strength as long as she was sustained by her
enemy's presence, but scarcely was she alone than she sank into a
chair, and no longer having any witness of her weakness than Mary
Seyton, burst into tears.  Indeed, she had just been cruelly wounded:
till then no man had come near her who had not paid homage either to
the majesty of her rank or to the beauty of her countenance.  But
precisely he, on whom she had reckoned, without knowing why, with
instinctive hopes, insulted her at one and the same time in her
double pride of queen and woman: thus she remained shut up till
evening.

At dinner-time, just as Lady Lochleven had informed Mary, she
ascended to the queen's apartment, in her dress of honour, and
preceding four servants who were carrying the several dishes
composing the prisoner's repast, and who, in their turn, were
followed by the old castle steward, having, as on days of great
ceremony, his gold chain round his neck and his ivory stick in his
hand.  The servants' placed the dishes on the table, and waited in
silence for the moment when it should please the queen to come out of
her room; but at this moment the door opened, and in place of the
queen Mary Seyton appeared.

"Madam," said she on entering, "her grace was indisposed during the
day, and will take nothing this evening; it will be useless, then,

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