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List Of Contents | Contents of Mary Stuart, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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Prior of Dundrennan's presentiments were only too true, and they had
seen Mary Stuart for the last time.




CHAPTER VIII

On landing on the shores of England, the Queen of Scotland found
messengers from Elizabeth empowered to express to her all the regret
their mistress felt in being unable to admit her to her presence, or
to give her the affectionate welcome she bore her in her heart.  But
it was essential, they added, that first of all the queen should
clear herself of the death of Darnley, whose family, being subjects
of the Queen of England, had a right to her protection and justice.

Mary Stuart was so blinded that she did not see the trap, and
immediately offered to prove her innocence to the satisfaction of her
sister Elizabeth; but scarcely had she in her hands Mary Stuart's
letter, than from arbitress she became judge, and, naming
commissioners to hear the parties, summoned Murray to appear and
accuse his sister.  Murray, who knew Elizabeth's secret intentions
with regard to her rival, did not hesitate a moment.  He came to
England, bringing the casket containing the three letters we have
quoted, some verses and some other papers which proved that the queen
had not only been Bothwell's mistress during the lifetime of Darnley,
but had also been aware of the assassination of her husband.  On
their side, Lord Herries and the Bishop of Ross, the queen's
advocates, maintained that these letters had been forged, that the
handwriting was counterfeited, and demanded, in verification, experts
whom they could not obtain; so that this great controversy, remained
pending for future ages, and to this hour nothing is yet
affirmatively settled in this matter either by scholars or
historians.

After a five months' inquiry, the Queen of England made known to the
parties, that not having, in these proceedings, been able to discover
anything to the dishonour of accuser or accused, everything would
remain in statu quo till one or the other could bring forward fresh
proofs.

As a result of this strange decision, Elizabeth should have sent back
the regent to Scotland, and have left Mary Stuart free to go where
she would.  But, instead of that, she had her prisoner removed from
Bolton Castle to Carlisle Castle, from whose terrace, to crown her
with grief, poor Mary Stuart saw the blue mountains of her own
Scotland.

However, among the judges named by Elizabeth to examine into Mary
Stuart's conduct was Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk.  Be it that he
was convinced of Mary's innocence, be it that he was urged by the
ambitious project which since served as a ground for his prosecution,
and which was nothing else than to wed Mary Stuart, to affiance his
daughter to the young king, and to become regent of Scotland, he
resolved to extricate her from her prison.  Several members of the
high nobility of England, among whom were the Earls of Westmoreland
and Northumberland, entered into the plot and under, took to support
it with all their forces.  But their scheme had been communicated to
the regent: he denounced it to Elizabeth, who had Norfolk arrested.
Warned in time, Westmoreland and Northumberland crossed the frontiers
and took refuge in the Scottish borders which were favourable to
Queen Mary.  The former reached Flanders, where he died in exile; the
latter, given up to Murray, was sent to the castle of Lochleven,
which guarded him more faithfully than it had done its royal
prisoner.  As to Norfolk, he was beheaded.  As one sees, Mary
Stuart's star had lost none of its fatal influence.

Meanwhile the regent had returned to Edinburgh, enriched with
presents from Elizabeth, and having gained, in fact, his case with
her, since Mary remained a prisoner.  He employed himself immediately
in dispersing the remainder of her adherents, and had hardly shut the
gates of Lochleven Castle upon Westmoreland than, in the name of the
young King James VI, he pursued those who had upheld his mother's
cause, and among them more particularly the Hamiltons, who since the
affair of "sweeping the streets of Edinburgh," had been the mortal
enemies of the Douglases personally; six of the chief members of this
family were condemned to death, and only obtained commutation of the
penalty into an eternal exile on the entreaties of John Knox, at that
time so powerful in Scotland that Murray dared not refuse their
pardon.

One of the amnestied was a certain Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh, a man
of ancient Scottish times, wild and vindictive as the nobles in the
time of James I.  He had withdrawn into the highlands, where he had
found an asylum, when he learned that Murray, who in virtue of the
confiscation pronounced against exiles had given his lands to one of
his favourites, had had the cruelty to expel his sick and bedridden
wife from her own house, and that without giving her time to dress,
and although it was in the winter cold.  The poor woman, besides,
without shelter, without clothes, and without food, had gone out of
her mind, had wandered about thus for some time, an object of
compassion but equally of dread; for everyone had been afraid of
compromising himself by assisting her.  At last, she had returned to
expire of misery and cold on the threshold whence she had been
driven.

On learning this news, Bothwellhaugh, despite the violence of his
character, displayed no anger: he merely responded, with a terrible
smile, "It is well; I shall avenge her."

Next day, Bothwellhaugh left his highlands, and came down, disguised,
into the plain, furnished with an order of admission from the
Archbishop of St. Andrews to a house which this prelate--who, as one
remembers, had followed the queen's fortunes to the last moment--had
at Linlithgow.  This house, situated in the main street, had a wooden
balcony looking on to the square, and a gate which opened out into
the country.  Bothwellhaugh entered it at night, installed himself on
the first floor, hung black cloth on the walls so that his shadow
should not be seen from without, covered the floor with mattresses so
that his footsteps might not be heard on the ground floor, fastened a
racehorse ready saddled and bridled in the garden, hollowed out the
upper part of the little gate which led to the open country so that
he could pass through it at a gallop, armed himself with a loaded
arquebuse, and shut himself up in the room.

All these preparations had been made, one imagines, because Murray
was to spend the following day in Linlithgow.  But, secret as they
were, they were to be rendered useless, for the regent's friends
warned him that it would not be safe for him to pass through the
town, which belonged almost wholly to the Hamiltons, and advised him
to go by it.  However, Murray was courageous, and, accustomed not to
give way before a real danger, he chid nothing but laugh at a peril
which he looked upon as imaginary, and boldly followed his first
plan, which was not to go out of his way.  Consequently, as the
street into which the Archbishop of St. Andrews' balcony looked was
on his road, he entered upon it, not going rapidly and preceded by
guards who would open up a passage for him, as his friends still
counselled, but advancing at a foot's pace, delayed as he was by the
great crowd which was blocking up the streets to see him.  Arrived in
front of the balcony, as if chance had been in tune with the
murderer, the crush became so great that Murray was obliged to halt
for a moment: this rest gave Bothwellhaugh time to adjust himself for
a steady shot.  He leaned his arquebuse on the balcony, and, having
taken aim with the necessary leisure and coolness, fired.
Bothwellhaugh had put such a charge into the arquebuse, that the
ball, having passed through the regent's heart, killed the horse of a
gentleman on his right.  Murray fell directly, saying, "My God! I am
killed."

As they had seen from which window the shot was fired, the persons in
the regent's train had immediately thrown themselves against the
great door of the house which looked on to the street, and had
smashed it in; but they only arrived in time to see Bothwellhaugh fly
through the little garden gate on the horse he had got ready: they
immediately remounted the horses they had left in the street, and,
passing through the house, pursued him.  Bothwellhaugh had a good
horse and the lead of his enemies; and yet, four of them, pistol in
hand, were so well mounted that they were beginning to gain upon him.
Then Bothwellhaugh; seeing that whip and spur were not enough, drew
his dagger and used it to goad on his horse.  His horse, under this
terrible stimulus, acquired fresh vigour, and, leaping a gully
eighteen feet deep, put between his master and his pursuers a barrier
which they dared not cross.

The murderer sought an asylum in France, where he retired under the
protection of the Guises.  There, as the bold stroke he had attempted
had acquired him a great reputation, some days before the Massacre of
St. Bartholomew, they made him overtures to assassinate Admiral
Coligny.  But Bothwellhaugh indignantly repulsed these proposals,
saying that he was the avenger of abuses and not an assassin, and
that those who had to complain of the admiral had only to come and
ask him how he had done, and to do as he.

As to Murray, he died the night following his wound, leaving the
regency to the Earl of Lennox, the father of Darnley: on learning the
news of his death, Elizabeth wrote that she had lost her best friend.

While these events were passing in Scotland, Mary Stuart was still a
prisoner, in spite of the pressing and successive protests of Charles
IX and Henry III.  Taking fright at the attempt made in her favour,
Elizabeth even had her removed to Sheffield Castle, round which fresh
patrols were incessantly in motion.

But days, months, years passed, and poor Mary, who had borne so
impatiently her eleven months' captivity in Lochleven Castle, had
been already led from prison to prison for fifteen or sixteen years,
in spite of her protests and those of the French and Spanish
ambassadors, when she was finally taken to Tutbury Castle and placed

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