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List Of Contents | Contents of Mary Stuart, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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very day when you were beginning to recover a little of your
cheerfulness."

"Alas!" replied the queen, shaking her head and uttering a deep sigh,
"for six years very few days have passed that I have not repeated
those lines to myself, although it may be for the first time to-day
that I repeat them aloud.  He was a Frenchman too, Mary: they have
exiled from me, taken or killed all who came to me from France.  Do
you remember that vessel which was swallowed up before our eyes when
we came out of Calais harbour?  I exclaimed then that it was a sad
omen: you all wanted to reassure me.  Well, who was right, now, you
or I?"

The queen was in one of those fits of sadness for which tears are the
sole remedy; so Mary Seyton, perceiving that not only would every
consolation be vain, but also unreasonable, far from continuing to
react against her mistress's melancholy, fully agreed with her: it
followed that the queen, who was suffocating, began to weep, and that
her tears brought her comfort; then little by little she regained
self-control, and this crisis passed as usual, leaving her firmer and
more resolute than ever, so that when she went up to her room again
it was impossible to read the slightest alteration in her
countenance.

The dinner-hour was approaching, and Mary, who in the morning was
looking forward impatiently to the enjoyment of her triumph over Lady
Lochleven, now saw her advance with uneasiness: the mere idea of
again facing this woman, whose pride one was always obliged to oppose
with insolence, was, after the moral fatigues of the day, a fresh
weariness.  So she decided not to appear for dinner, as on the day
before: she was all the more glad she had taken this resolution, that
this time it was not Lady Lochleven who came to fulfil the duties
enjoined on a member of the family to make the queen easy, but George
Douglas, whom his mother in her displeasure at the morning scene sent
to replace her.  Thus, when Mary Seyton told the queen that she saw
the young man with dark hair cross the courtyard on his way to her,
Mary still further congratulated herself on her decision; for this
young man's insolence had wounded her more deeply than all his
mother's haughty insults.  The queen was not a little astonished,
then, when in a few minutes Mary Seyton returned and informed her
that George Douglas, having sent away the servants, desired the
honour of speaking to her on a matter of importance.  At first the
queen refused; but Mary Seyton told her that the young man's air and
manner this time were so different from what she had seen two days
before, that she thought her mistress would be wrong to refuse his
request.

The queen rose then, and with the pride and majesty habitual to her,
entered the adjoining room, and, having taken three steps, stopped
with a disdainful air, waiting for George to address her.

Mary Seyton had spoken truly: George Douglas was now another man.
To-day he seemed to be as respectful and timid as the preceding day
he had seemed haughty and proud.  He, in his turn, made a step
towards the queen; but seeing Mary Seyton standing behind her--

"Madam," said he, "I wished to speak with your Majesty alone: shall I
not obtain this favour?"

"Mary Seyton is not a stranger to me, Sir: she is my sister, my
friend; she is more than all that, she is my companion in captivity."

"And by all these claims, madam, I have the utmost veneration for
her; but what I have to tell you cannot be heard by other ears than
yours.  Thus, madam, as the opportunity furnished now may perhaps
never present itself again, in the name of what is dearest to you,
grant me what I ask."

There was such a tone of respectful prayer in George's voice that
Mary turned to the young girl, and, making her a friendly sign with
her hand--

"Go, then, darling," said she; "but be easy, you will lose nothing by
not hearing.  Go."

Mary Seyton withdrew; the queen smilingly looked after her, till the
door was shut; then, turning to George--

"Now, sir," said she, "we are alone, speak."

But George, instead of replying, advanced to the queen, and, kneeling
on one knee, drew from his breast a paper which he presented to her.
Mary took it with amazement, unfolded it, glancing at Douglas, who
remained in the same posture, and read as follows:

We, earls, lords, and barons, in consideration that our queen is
detained at Lochleven, and that her faithful subjects cannot have
access to her person; seeing, on the other hand, that our duty
pledges us to provide for her safety, promise and swear to employ all
reasonable means which will depend on us to set her at liberty again
on conditions compatible with the honour of her Majesty, the welfare
of the kingdom, and even with the safety of those who keep her in
prison, provided that they consent to give her up; that if they
refuse, we declare that we are prepared to make use of ourselves, our
children, our friends, our servants, our vassals, our goods, our
persons, and our lives, to restore her to liberty, to procure the
safety of the prince, and to co-operate in punishing the late king's
murderers.  If we are assailed for this intent, whether as a body or
in private, we promise to defend ourselves, and to aid one another,
under pain of infamy and perjury.  So may God help us.

"Given with our own hands at Dumbarton,

"St.  Andrews, Argyll, Huntly, Arbroath, Galloway, Ross, Fleming,
Herries, Stirling, Kilwinning, Hamilton, and Saint-Clair, Knight."


"And Seyton!" cried Mary, "among all these signatures, I do not see
that of my faithful Seyton."

Douglas, still kneeling, drew from his breast a second paper, and
presented it to the queen with the same marks of respect.  It
contained only these few words:

"Trust George Douglas; for your Majesty has no more devoted friend in
the entire kingdom.

"SEYTON."


Mary lowered her eyes to Douglas with an expression which was hers
only; then, giving him her hand to raise him--

"Ah!" said she, with a sigh more of joy than of sadness, "now I see
that God, in spite of my faults, has not yet abandoned me.  But how
is it, in this castle, that you, a Douglas.... oh! it is incredible!"

"Madam," replied George, "seven years have passed since I saw you in
France for the first time, and for seven years I have loved you".
Mary moved; but Douglas put forth his hand and shook his head with an
air of such profound sadness, that she understood that she might hear
what the young man had to say.  He continued: "Reassure yourself,
madam; I should never have made this confession if, while explaining
my conduct to you, this confession would not have given you greater
confidence in me.  Yes, for seven years I have loved you, but as one
loves a star that one can never reach, a madonna to whom one can only
pray; for seven years I have followed you everywhere without you ever
having paid attention to me, without my saying a word or making a
gesture to attract your notice.  I was on the knight of Mevillon's
galley when you crossed to Scotland; I was among the regent's
soldiers when you beat Huntly; I was in the escort which accompanied
you when you went to see the sick king at Glasgow; I reached
Edinburgh an hour after you had left it for Lochleven; and then it
seemed to me that my mission was revealed to me for the first time,
and that this love for which till then, I had reproached myself as a
crime, was on the contrary a favour from God.  I learned that the
lords were assembled at Dumbarton: I flew thither.  I pledged my
name, I pledged my honour, I pledged my life; and I obtained from
them, thanks to the facility I had for coming into this fortress, the
happiness of bringing you the paper they have just signed.  Now,
madam, forget all I have told you, except the assurance of my
devotion and respect: forget that I am near you; I am used to not
being seen: only, if you have need of my life, make a sign; for seven
years my life has been yours."

"Alas!" replied Mary, "I was complaining this morning of no longer
being loved, and I ought to complain, on the contrary, that I am
still loved; for the love that I inspire is fatal and mortal.  Look
back, Douglas, and count the tombs that, young as I am, I have
already left on my path--Francis II, Chatelard, Rizzio, Darnley....
Oh to attach one's self to my fortunes more than love is needed now
heroism and devotion are requisite so much the more that, as you have
said, Douglas, it is love without any possible reward.  Do you
understand?"

"Oh, madam, madam," answered Douglas, "is it not reward beyond my
deserts to see you daily, to cherish the hope that liberty will be
restored to you through me, and to have at least, if I do not give it
you, the certainty of dying in your sight?"

"Poor young man!" murmured Mary, her eyes raised to heaven, as if she
were reading there beforehand the fate awaiting her new defender.

"Happy Douglas, on the contrary," cried George, seizing the queen's
hand and kissing it with perhaps still more respect than love, "happy
Douglas! for in obtaining a sigh from your Majesty he has already
obtained more than he hoped."

"And upon what have you decided with my friends?" said the queen,
raising Douglas, who till then had remained on his knees before her.

"Nothing yet," George replied; "for we scarcely had time to see one
another.  Your escape, impossible without me, is difficult even with
me;  and your Majesty has seen that I was obliged publicly to fail in
respect, to obtain from my mother the confidence which gives me the
good fortune of seeing you to-day: if this confidence on my mother's
or my brother's part ever extends to giving up to me the castle keys,
then you are saved!  Let your Majesty not be surprised at anything,
then: in the presence of others, I shall ever be always a Douglas,
that is an enemy; and except your life be in danger, madam, I shall
not utter a word, I shall not make a gesture which might betray the
faith that I have sworn you; but, on your side, let your grace know
well, that present or absent, whether I am silent or speak, whether I

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