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List Of Contents | Contents of Mary Stuart, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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"And by what right," said Mary Seyton, "am I ordered thus insolently
to open the Queen of Scotland's door?"

"By the right of the ambassador of the regent to enter everywhere in
his name.  I am Lord Lindsay, and I am come to speak to Lady Mary

"To be an ambassador," answered Mary Seyton, "is not to be exempted
from having oneself announced in visiting a woman, and much more a
queen; and if this ambassador is, as he says, Lord Lindsay, he will
await his sovereign's leisure, as every Scottish noble would do in
his place."

"By St. Andrew!" cried Lord Lindsay, "open, or I will break in the

"Do nothing to it, my lord, I entreat you," said another voice, which
Mary recognised as Meville's.  "Let us rather wait for Lord Ruthven,
who is not yet ready."

"Upon my soul," cried Lindsay, shaking the door, "I shall not wait a
second".  Then, seeing that it resisted, "Why did you tell me, then,
you scamp," Lindsay went on, speaking to the steward, "that the bar
had been removed?

"It is true," replied he.

"Then," returned Lindsay, "with what is this silly wench securing the

"With my arm, my lord, which I have passed through the rings, as a
Douglas did for King James I, at a time when Douglases had dark hair
instead of red, and were faithful instead of being traitors."

"Since you know your history so well," replied Lindsay, in a rage,"
you should remember that that weak barrier did not hinder Graham,
that Catherine Douglas's arm was broken like a willow wand, and that
James I was killed like a dog."

"But you, my lord," responded the courageous young girl, "ought also
to know the ballad that is still sung in our time--

"'Now, on Robert Gra'am,
The king's destroyer, shame!
To Robert Graham cling
Shame, who destroyed our king.'"

"Mary," cried the queen, who had overheard this altercation from her
bedroom,--"Mary, I command you to open the door directly: do you

Mary obeyed, and Lord Lindsay entered, followed by Melville, who
walked behind him, with slow steps and bent head.  Arrived in the
middle of the second room, Lord Lindsay stopped, and, looking round

"Well, where is she, then?" he asked; "and has she not already kept
us waiting long enough outside, without making us wait again inside?
Or does she imagine that, despite these walls and these bars, she is
always queen

"Patience, my lord," murmured Sir Robert: "you see that Lord Ruthven
has not come yet, and since we can do nothing without him, let us

"Let wait who will," replied Lindsay, inflamed with anger; "but it
will not be I, and wherever she may be, I shall go and seek her."

With these words, he made some steps towards Mary Stuart's bedroom;
but at the same moment the queen opened the door, without seeming
moved either at the visit or at the insolence of the visitors, and so
lovely and so full of majesty, that each, even Lindsay himself, was
silent at her appearance, and, as if in obedience to a higher power,
bowed respectfully before her.

"I fear I have kept you waiting, my lord," said the queen, without
replying to the ambassador's salutation otherwise than by a slight
inclination of the head; "but a woman does not like to receive even
enemies without having spent a few minutes over her toilet.  It is
true that men are less tenacious of ceremony," added she, throwing a
significant glance at Lord Lindsay's rusty armour and soiled and
pierced doublet.  "Good day, Melville," she continued, without paying
attention to some words of excuse stammered by Lindsay; "be welcome
in my prison, as you were in my palace; for I believe you as devoted
to the one as to the other".

Then, turning to Lindsay, who was looking interrogatively at the
door, impatient as he was for Ruthven to come--

"You have there, my lord," said she, pointing to the sword he carried
over his shoulder, "a faithful companion, though it is a little
heavy: did you expect, in coming here, to find enemies against whom
to employ it?  In the contrary case, it is a strange ornament for a
lady's presence.  But no matter, my lord, I, am too much of a Stuart
to fear the sight of a sword, even if it were naked, I warn you."

"It is not out of place here, madam," replied Lindsay, bringing it
forward and leaning his elbow on its cross hilt, "for it is an old
acquaintance of your family."

"Your ancestors, my lord, were brave and loyal enough for me not to
refuse to believe what you tell me.  Besides, such a good blade must
have rendered them good service."

"Yes, madam, yes, surely it has done so, but that kind of service
that kings do not forgive.  He for whom it was made was Archibald
Bell-the-Cat, and he girded himself with it the day when, to justify
his name, he went to seize in the very tent of King James III, your
grandfather, his un worthy favourites, Cochran, Hummel, Leonard, and
Torpichen, whom he hanged on Louder Bridge with the halters of his
soldiers' horses.  It was also with this sword that he slew at one
blow, in the lists, Spens of Kilspindie, who had insulted him in the
presence of King James IV, counting on the protection his master
accorded him, and which did not guard him against it any more than
his shield, which it split in two.  At his master's death, which took
place two years after the defeat of Flodden, on whose battlefield he
left his two sons and two hundred warriors of the name of Douglas, it
passed into the hands of the Earl of Angus, who drew it from the
scabbard when he drove the Hamiltons out of Edinburgh, and that so
quickly and completely that the affair was called the 'sweeping of
the streets.'  Finally, your father James V saw it glisten in the
fight of the bridge over the Tweed, when Buccleuch, stirred up by
him, wanted to snatch him from the guardianship of the Douglases, and
when eighty warriors of the name of Scott remained on the

"But," said the queen, "how is it that this weapon, after such
exploits, has not remained as a trophy in the Douglas family?  No
doubt the Earl of Angus required a great occasion to decide him to-
renounce in your favour this modern Excalibur". [History of Scotland,
by Sir Walter Scott.--"The Abbott": historical part.]

"Yes, no doubt, madam, it was upon a great occasion," replied
Lindsay, in spite of the imploring signs made by Melville, "and this
will have at least the advantage of the others, in being sufficiently
recent for you to remember.  It was ten days ago, on the battlefield
of Carberry Hill, madam, when the infamous Bothwell had the audacity
to make a public challenge in which he defied to single combat
whomsoever would dare to maintain that he was not innocent of the
murder of the king your husband.  I made him answer then, I the
third, that he was an assassin.  And as he refused to fight with the
two others under the pretext that they were only barons, I presented
myself in my turn, I who am earl and lord.  It was on that occasion
that the noble Earl of Morton gave me this good sword to fight him to
the death.  So that, if he had been a little more presumptuous or a
little less cowardly, dogs and vultures would be eating at this
moment the pieces that, with the help of this good sword, I should
have carved for them from that traitor's carcass."

At these words, Mary Seyton and Robert Melville looked at each other
in terror, for the events that they recalled were so recent that they
were, so to speak, still living in the queen's heart; but the queen,
with incredible impassibility and a smile of contempt on her lips--

"It is easy, my lord," said she, "to vanquish an enemy who does not
appear in the lists; however, believe me, if Mary had inherited the
Stuarts' sword as she has inherited their sceptre, your sword, long
as it is, would yet have seemed to you too short.  But as you have
only to relate to us now, my lord, what you intended doing, and not
what you have done, think it fit that I bring you back to something
of more reality; for I do not suppose you have given yourself the
trouble to come here purely and simply to add a chapter to the little
treatise Des Rodomontades Espagnolles by M. de Brantome."

"You are right, madam," replied Lindsay, reddening with anger, "and
you would already know the object of our mission if Lord Ruthven did
not so ridiculously keep us waiting.  But," added he, "have patience;
the matter will not be long now, for here he is."

Indeed, at that moment they heard steps mounting the staircase and
approaching the room, and at the sound of these steps, the queen, who
had borne with such firmness Lindsay's insults, grew so perceptibly
paler, that Melville, who did not take his eyes off her,--put out his
hand towards the arm-chair as if to push it towards her; but the
queen made a sign that she had no need of it, and gazed at the door
with apparent calm.  Lord Ruthven appeared; it was the first time
that she had seen the son since Rizzio had been assassinated by the

Lord Ruthven was both a warrior and a statesman, and at this moment
his dress savoured of the two professions: it consisted of a close
coat of embroidered buff leather, elegant enough to be worn as a
court undress, and on which, if need were, one could buckle a
cuirass, for battle: like his father, he was pale; like his father,
he was to die young, and, even more than his father, his countenance
wore that ill-omened melancholy by which fortune-tellers recognise
those who are to die a violent death.

Lord Ruthven united in himself the polished dignity of a courtier and
the inflexible character of a minister; but quite resolved as he was
to obtain from Mary Stuart, even if it were by violence, what he had
come to demand in the regent's name, he none the less made her, on
entering, a cold but respectful greeting, to which the queen
responded with a courtesy; then the steward drew up to the empty arm-
chair a heavy table on which had been prepared everything necessary
for writing, and at a sign from the two lords he went out, leaving
the queen and her companion alone with the three ambassadors.  Then
the queen, seeing that this table and this arm-chair were put ready

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