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List Of Contents | Contents of Mary Stuart, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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At last, when an hour had passed in this desperate conflict, through
the skirts of this sea of smoke the fugitives were seen to emerge and
disperse in all directions, followed by the victors.  Only, at that
distance, it was impossible to make out who had gained or lost the
battle, and the banners, which on both sides displayed the Scottish
arms, could in no way clear up this confusion.

At that moment there was seen coming down from the Glasgow hillsides
all the remaining reserve of Murray's army; it was coming at full
speed to engage in the fighting; but this manoeuvre might equally
well have for its object the support of defeated friends as to
complete the rout of the enemy.  However, soon there was no longer
any doubt; for this reserve charged the fugitives, amid whom it
spread fresh confusion.  The queen's army was beaten.  At the same
time, three or four horsemen appeared on the hither side of the
ravine, advancing at a gallop.  Douglas recognised them as enemies.

"Fly, madam," cried George, "fly without loss of a second; for those
who are coming upon us are followed by others.  Gain the road, while
I go to check them.  And you," added he, addressing the escort, "be
killed to the last man rather than let them take your queen."

"George! George!" cried the queen, motionless, and as if riveted to
the spot.

But George had already dashed away with all his horse's speed, and as
he was splendidly mounted, he flew across the space with lightning
rapidity, and reached the gorge before the enemy.  There he stopped,
put his lance in rest, and alone against five bravely awaited the
encounter.

As to the queen, she had no desire to go; but, on the contrary, as if
turned to stone, she remained in the same place, her eyes fastened on
this combat which was taking place at scarcely five hundred paces
from her.  Suddenly, glancing at her enemies, she saw that one of
them bore in the middle of his shield a bleeding heart, the Douglas
arms.  Then she uttered a cry of pain, and drooping her head

"Douglas against Douglas; brother against brother!" she murmured: "it
only wanted this last blow."

"Madam, madam," cried her escort, "there is not an instant to lose:
the young master of Douglas cannot hold out long thus alone against
five; let us fly! let us fly!" And two of them taking the queen's
horse by the bridle, put it to the gallop, at the moment when George,
after having beaten down two of his enemies and wounded a third, was
thrown down in his turn in the dust, thrust to the heart by a lance-
head.  The queen groaned on seeing him fall; then, as if he alone had
detained her, and as if he being killed she had no interest in
anything else, she put Rosabelle to the gallop, and as she and her
troop were splendidly mounted, they had soon lost sight of the
battlefield.

She fled thus for sixty miles, without taking any rest, and without
ceasing to weep or to sigh: at last, having traversed the counties of
Renfrew and Ayr, she reached the Abbey of Dundrennan, in Galloway,
and certain of being, for the time at least, sheltered from every
danger, she gave the order to stop.  The prior respectfully received
her at the gate of the convent.

"I bring you misfortune and ruin, father," said the queen, alighting
from her horse.

"They are welcome," replied the prior, "since they come accompanied
by duty."

The queen gave Rosabelle to the care of one of the men-at-arms who
had accompanied her, and leaning on Mary Seyton, who had not left her
for a moment, and on Lord Herries, who had rejoined her on the road,
she entered the convent.

Lord Herries had not concealed her position from Mary Stuart: the day
had been completely lost, and with the day, at least for the present,
all hope of reascending the throne of Scotland.  There remained but
three courses for the queen to take to withdraw into France, Spain or
England.  On the advice of Lord Herries, which accorded with her own
feeling, she decided upon the last; and that same night she wrote
this double missive in verse and in prose to Elizabeth:

"MY DEAR SISTER,--I have often enough begged you to receive my
tempest-tossed vessel into your haven during the storm.  If at this
pass she finds a safe harbour there, I shall cast anchor there for
ever: otherwise the bark is in God's keeping, for she is ready and
caulked for defence on her voyage against all storms.  I have dealt
openly with you, and still do so: do not take it in bad part if I
write thus; it is not in defiance of you, as it appears, for in
everything I rely on your friendship."

"This sonnet accompanied the letter:--

"One thought alone brings danger and delight;
Bitter and sweet change places in my heart,
With doubt, and then with hope, it takes its part,
Till peace and rest alike are put to flight.

Therefore, dear sister, if this card pursue
That keen desire by which I am oppressed,
To see you, 'tis because I live distressed,
Unless some swift and sweet result ensue.

Beheld I have my ship compelled by fate
To seek the open sea, when close to port,
And calmest days break into storm and gale;
Wherefore full grieved and fearful is my state,
Not for your sake, but since, in evil sort,
Fortune so oft snaps strongest rope and sail."

Elizabeth trembled with joy at receiving this double letter; for the
eight years that her enmity had been daily increasing to Mary Stuart,
she had followed her with her eyes continually, as a wolf might a
gazelle; at last the gazelle sought refuge in the wolf's den.
Elizabeth had never hoped as much: she immediately despatched an
order to the Sheriff of Cumberland to make known to Mary that she was
ready to receive her.  One morning a bugle was heard blowing on the
sea-shore: it was Queen Elizabeth's envoy come to fetch Queen Mary
Stuart.

Then arose great entreaties to the fugitive not to trust herself thus
to a rival in power, glory, and beauty; but the poor dispossessed
queen was full of confidence in her she called her good sister, and
believed herself going, free and rid of care, to take at Elizabeth's
court the place due to her rank and her misfortunes: thus she
persisted, in spite of all that could be said.  In our time, we have
seen the same infatuation seize another royal fugitive, who like Mary
Stuart confided himself to the generosity of his enemy England: like
Mary Stuart, he was cruelly punished for his confidence, and found in
the deadly climate of St. Helena the scaffold of Fotheringay.

Mary Stuart set out on her journey, then, with her little following.
Arrived at the shore of Solway Firth, she found there the Warden of
the English Marches: he was a gentleman named Lowther, who received
the queen with the greatest respect, but who gave her to understand
that he could not permit more than three of her women to accompany
her.  Mary Seyton immediately claimed her privilege: the queen held
out to her her hand.

"Alas! mignonne," said she, "but it might well be another's turn: you
have already suffered enough for me and with me."

But Mary, unable to reply, clung to her hand, making a sign with her
head that nothing in the world should part her from her mistress.
Then all who had accompanied the queen renewed their entreaties that
she should not persist in this fatal resolve, and when she was
already a third of the way along the plank placed for her to enter
the skiff, the Prior of Dundrennan, who had offered Mary Stuart such
dangerous and touching hospitality, entered the water up to his
knees, to try to detain her; but all was useless: the queen had made
up her mind.

At that, moment Lowther approached her.  "Madam," said he, "accept
anew my regrets that I cannot offer a warm welcome in England to all
who would wish to follow you there; but our queen has given us
positive orders, and we must carry them out.  May I be permitted to
remind your Majesty that the tide serves?"

"Positive orders!" cried the prior.  "Do you hear, madam?  Oh! you
are lost if you quit this shore! Back, while there is yet time! Back;
madam, in Heaven's name! To me, sir knights, to me!" he cried,
turning to Lord Herries and the other lords who had accompanied Mary
Stuart; "do not allow your queen to abandon you, were it needful to
struggle with her and the English at the same time.  Hold her back,
my lords, in Heaven's name! withhold her!"

"What means this violence, sir priest?" said the Warden of the
Marches.  "I came here at your queen's express command; she is free
to return to you, and there is no need to have recourse to force for
that".  Then, addressing the queen--

"Madam," said he, "do you consent to follow me into England in full
liberty of choice?  Answer, I entreat you; for my honour demands that
the whole world should be aware that you have followed me freely."

"Sir," replied Mary Stuart, "I ask your pardon, in the name of this
worthy servant of God and his queen, for what he may have said of
offence to you.  Freely I leave Scotland and place myself in your
hands, trusting that I shall be free either to remain in England with
my royal sister, or to return to France to my worthy relatives".
Then, turning to the priest, "Your blessing, father, and God protect
you!"

"Alas! alas!" murmured the abbot, obeying the queen, "it is not we
who are in need of God's protection, but rather you, my daughter.
May the blessing of a poor priest turn aside from you the misfortunes
I foresee!  Go, and may it be with you as the Lord has ordained in
His wisdom and in His mercy!"

Then the queen gave her hand to the sheriff, who conducted her to the
skiff, followed by Mary Seyton and two other women only.  The sails
were immediately unfurled, and the little vessel began to recede from
the shores of Galloway, to make her way towards those of Cumberland.
So long as it could be seen, they who had accompanied the queen
lingered on the beach, waving her signs of adieu, which, standing on
the deck of the shallop which was bearing her, away, she returned
with her handkerchief.  Finally, the boat disappeared, and all burst
into lamentations or into sobbing.  They were right, for the good

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