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List Of Contents | Contents of Mary Stuart, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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resign them to the Kelpie, the genie of the lake, and I nominate him
porter of Lochleven Castle."

The discharge of a small piece of artillery answered William's joke;
but as the night was too dark for one to aim to such a distance as
that already between the castle and the boat, the ball ricochetted at
twenty paces from the fugitives, while the report died away in echo
after echo.  Then Douglas drew his pistol from his belt, and, warning
the ladies to have no fear, he fired in the air, not to answer by
idle bravado the castle cannonade, but to give notice to a troop of
faithful friends, who were waiting for them on the other shore of the
lake, that the queen had escaped.  Immediately, in spite of the
danger of being so near Kinross, cries of joy resounded on the bank,
and William having turned the rudder, the boat made for land at the
spot whence they had been heard.  Douglas then gave his hand to the
queen, who sprang lightly ashore, and who, falling on her knees,
immediately began to give thanks to God for her happy deliverance.

On rising, the queen found herself surrounded by her most faithful
servants--Hamilton, Herries, and Seyton, Mary's father.  Light-headed
with joy, the queen extended her hands to them, thanking them with
broken words, which expressed her intoxication and her gratitude
better than the choicest phrases could have done, when suddenly,
turning round, she perceived George Douglas, alone and melancholy.
Then, going to him and taking him by the hand--

"My lords," said she, presenting George to them, and pointing to
William, "behold my two deliverers: behold those to whom, as long as
I live, I shall preserve gratitude of which nothing will ever acquit
me."

"Madam," said Douglas, "each of us has only done what he ought, and
he who has risked most is the happiest.  But if your Majesty will
believe me, you will not lose a moment in needless words."

"Douglas is right," said Lord Seyton.  "To horse! to horse!"

Immediately, and while four couriers set out in four different
directions to announce to the queen's friends her happy escape, they
brought her a horse saddled for her, which she mounted with her usual
skill; then the little troop, which, composed of about twenty
persons, was escorting the future destiny of Scotland, keeping away
from the village of Kinross, to which the castle firing had doubtless
given the alarm, took at a gallop the road to Seyton's castle, where
was already a garrison large enough to defend the queen from a sudden
attack.

The queen journeyed all night, accompanied on one side by Douglas, on
the other by Lord Seyton; then, at daybreak, they stopped at the gate
of the castle of West Niddrie, belonging to Lord Seyton, as we have
said, and situated in West Lothian.  Douglas sprang from his horse to
offer his hand to Mary Stuart; but Lord Seyton claimed his privilege
as master of the house.  The queen consoled Douglas with a glance,
and entered the fortress.

"Madam," said Lord Seyton, leading her into a room prepared for her
for nine months, "your Majesty must have need of repose, after the
fatigue and the emotions you have gone through since yesterday
morning; you may sleep here in peace, and disquiet yourself for
nothing: any noise you may hear will be made by a reinforcement of
friends which we are expecting.  As to our enemies, your Majesty has
nothing to fear from them so long as you inhabit the castle of a
Seyton."

The queen again thanked all her deliverers, gave her hand to Douglas
to kiss one last time, kissed Little William on the forehead, and
named him her favourite page for the future; then, profiting by the
advice given her, entered her room where Mary Seyton, to the
exclusion of every other woman, claimed the privilege of performing
about her the duties with which she had been charged during their
eleven months' captivity in Lochleven Castle.

On opening her eyes, Mary Stuart thought she had had one of those
dreams so gainful to prisoners, when waking they see again the bolts
on their doors and the bars on their windows.  So the queen, unable
to believe the evidence of her senses, ran, half dressed, to the
window.  The courtyard was filled with soldiers, and these soldiers
all friends who had hastened at the news of her escape; she
recognised the banners of her faithful friends, the Seytons, the
Arbroaths, the Herries, and the Hamiltons, and scarcely had she been
seen at the window than all these banners bent before her, with the
shouts a hundred times repeated of "Long live Mary of Scotland! Long
live our queen!"  Then, without giving heed to the disarray of her
toilet, lovely and chaste with her emotion and her happiness, she
greeted them in her turn, her eyes full of tears; but this time they
were tears of joy.  However, the queen recollected that she was
barely covered, and blushing at having allowed herself to be thus
carried away in her ecstasy, she abruptly drew back, quite rosy with
confusion.

Then she had an instant's womanly fright: she had fled from Lochleven
Castle in the Douglas livery, and without either the leisure or the
opportunity for taking women's clothes with her.  But she could not
remain attired as a man; so she explained her uneasiness to Mary
Seyton, who responded by opening the closets in the queen's room.
They were furnished, not only with robes, the measure for which, like
that of the suit, had been taken from Mary Fleming, but also with all
the necessaries for a woman's toilet.  The queen was astonished: it
was like being in a fairy castle.

"Mignonne," said she, looking one after another at the robes, all the
stuffs of which were chosen with exquisite taste, "I knew your father
was a brave and loyal knight, but I did not think him so learned in
the matter of the toilet.  We shall name him groom of the wardrobe."

"Alas! madam," smilingly replied Mary Seyton, "you are not mistaken:
my father has had everything in the castle furbished up to the last
corselet, sharpened to the last sword, unfurled to the last banner;
but my father, ready as he is to die for your Majesty, would not have
dreamed for an instant of offering you anything but his roof to rest
under, or his cloak to cover you.  It is Douglas again who has
foreseen everything, prepared everything--everything even to
Rosabelle, your Majesty's favourite steed, which is impatiently
awaiting in the stable the moment when, mounted on her, your Majesty
will make your triumphal re-entry into Edinburgh."

"And how has he been able to get her back again?" Mary asked.
"I thought that in the division of my spoils Rosabelle had fallen to
the fair Alice, my brother's favourite sultana?"

"Yes, yes," said Mary Seyton, "it was so; and as her value was known,
she was kept under lock and key by an army of grooms; but Douglas is
the man of miracles, and, as I have told you, Rosabelle awaits your
Majesty."

"Noble Douglas!" murmured the queen, with eyes full of tears; then,
as if speaking to herself, "And this is precisely one of those
devotions that we can never repay.  The others will be happy with
honours, places, money; but to Douglas what matter all these things?"

"Come, madam, come," said Mary Seyton, "God takes on Himself the
debts of kings; He will reward Douglas.  As to your Majesty, reflect
that they are waiting dinner for you.  I hope," added she, smiling,
"that you will not affront my father as you did Lord Douglas
yesterday in refusing to partake of his feast on his fortunate home-
coming."

"And luck has come to me for it, I hope," replied Mary.  "But you are
right, darling: no more sad thoughts; we will consider when we have
indeed become queen again what we can do for Douglas."

The queen dressed and went down.  As Mary Seyton had told her, the
chief noblemen of her party, already gathered round her, were waiting
for her in the great hall of the castle.  Her arrival was greeted
with acclamations of the liveliest enthusiasm, and she sat down to
table, with Lord Seyton on her right hand, Douglas on her left, and
behind her Little William, who the same day was beginning his duties
as page.

Next morning the queen was awakened by the sound of trumpets and
bugles: it had been decided the day before that she should set out
that day for Hamilton, where reinforcements were looked for.  The
queen donned an elegant riding-habit, and soon, mounted on Rosabelle,
appeared amid her defenders.  The shouts of joy redoubled: her
beauty, her grace, and her courage were admired by everyone.  Mary
Stuart became her own self once more, and she felt spring up in her
again the power of fascination she had always exercised on those who
came near her.  Everyone was in good humour, and the happiest of all
was perhaps Little William, who for the first time in his life had
such a fine dress and such a fine horse.

Two or three thousand men were awaiting the queen at Hamilton, which
she reached the same evening; and during the night following her
arrival the troops increased to six thousand.  The 2nd of May she was
a prisoner, without another friend but a child in her prison, without
other means of communication with her adherents than the flickering
and uncertain light of a lamp, and three days afterwards--that is to
say, between the Sunday and the Wednesday--she found herself not only
free, but also at the head of a powerful confederacy, which counted
at its head nine earls, eight peers, nine bishops, and a number of
barons and nobles renowned among the bravest of Scotland.

The advice of the most judicious among those about the queen was to
shut herself up in the strong castle of Dumbarton, which, being
impregnable, would give all her adherents time to assemble together,
distant and scattered as they were: accordingly, the guidance of the
troops who were to conduct the queen to that town was entrusted to
the Earl of Argyll, and the 11th of May she took the road with an
army of nearly ten thousand men.

Murray was at Glasgow when he heard of the queen's escape: the place
was strong; he decided to hold it, and summoned to him his bravest
and most devoted partisans.  Kirkcaldy of Grange, Morton, Lindsay of

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