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List Of Contents | Contents of Mary Stuart, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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Earl of Derby; George, Earl of Cumberland; Henry, Earl of Pembroke,
greeting: [The Earls of Cumberland, Derby, and Pembroke did not
attend to the queen's orders, and were present neither at the reading
of the sentence nor at the execution.]

"Considering the sentence by us given, and others of our Council,
nobility, and judges, against the former Queen of Scotland, bearing
the name of Mary, daughter and heiress of James v, King of Scotland,
commonly called Queen of Scotland and Dowager of France, which
sentence all the estates of our realm in our last Parliament
assembled not only concluded, but, after mature deliberation,
ratified as being just and reasonable; considering also the urgent
prayer and request of our subjects, begging us and pressing us to
proceed to the publication thereof, and to carry it into execution
against her person, according as they judge it duly merited, adding
in this place that her detention was and would be daily a certain and
evident danger, not only to our life, but also to themselves and
their posterity, and to the public weal of this realm, as much on
account of the Gospel and the true religion of Christ as of the peace
and tranquillity of this State, although the said sentence has been
frequently delayed, so that even until this time we abstained from
issuing the commission to execute it: yet, for the complete
satisfaction of the said demands made by the Estates of our
Parliament, through which daily we hear that all our friends and
subjects, as well as the nobility, the wisest, greatest, and most
pious, nay, even those of inferior condition, with all humility and
affection from the care they have of our life, and consequently from
the fear they have of the destruction of the present divine and happy
state of the realm if we spare the final execution, consenting and
desiring the said execution; though the general and continual
demands, prayers, counsels, and advice were in such things contrary
to our natural inclination; yet, being convinced of the urgent weight
of their continual intercessions tending to the safety of our person,
and also to the public and private state of our realm, we have at
last consented and suffered that justice have its course, and for its
execution, considering the singular confidence we have in your
fidelity and loyalty together for the love and affection that you
have toward us, particularly to the safe-guarding of our person and
our country of which you are very noble and chief members; we summon,
and, for the discharge of it we enjoin you, that at sight of these
presents you go to the castle of Fotheringay, where the former Queen
of Scotland is, in the care of our friend and faithful servant and
counsellor, Sir Amyas Paulet, and there take into your keeping and do
that by your command execution be done on her person, in the presence
of yourselves and the said Sir Amyas Paulet, and of all the other
officers of justice whom you command to be there: in the meantime we
have for this end and this execution given warrant in such a way and
manner, and in such a time and place, and by such persons, that you
five, four, three, or two, find expedient in your discretion;
notwithstanding all laws, statutes, and ordinances whatsoever,
contrary to these presents, sealed with our Great Seal of England,
which will serve for each of you, and all those who are present, or
will make by your order anything pertaining to the execution
aforesaid full and sufficient discharge for ever.

"Done and given in our house at Greenwich, the first day of February
(10th February New Style), in the twenty-ninth year of our reign."

Mary listened to this reading with great calmness and great dignity;
then, when it was ended, making the sign of the cross--

"Welcome," said she, "to all news which comes in the name of God!
Thanks, Lord, for that You deign to put an end to all the ills You
have seen me suffer for nineteen years and more."

"Madam," said the Earl of Kent, "have no ill-will towards us on
account of your death; it was necessary to the peace of the State and
the progress of the new religion."

"So," cried Mary with delight, "so I shall have the happiness of
dying for the faith of my fathers; thus God deigns to grant me the
glory of martyrdom.  Thanks, God," added she, joining her hands with
less excitement but with more piety, "thanks that You have deigned to
destine for me such an end, of which I was not worthy.  That, O my
God, is indeed a proof of Your love, and an assurance that You will
receive me in the number of Your servants; for although this sentence
had been notified to me, I was afraid, from the manner in which they
have dealt with me for nineteen years, of not yet being so near as I
am to such a happy end, thinking that your queen would not dare to
lay a hand on me, who, by the grace of God, am a queen as she is, the
daughter of a queen as she is, crowned as she is, her near relative,
granddaughter of King Henry VII, and who has had the honour of being
Queen of France, of which I am still Dowager; and this fear was so
much the greater," added she, laying her hand on a New Testament
which was near her on the little table, "that, I swear on this holy
book, I have never attempted, consented to, or even desired the death
of my sister, the Queen of England."

"Madam," replied the Earl of Kent, taking a step towards her and
pointing to the New Testament; "this book on which you have sworn is
not genuine, since it is the papist version; consequently, your oath
cannot be considered as any more genuine than the book on which it
has been taken."

"My lord," answered the queen, "what you say may befit you, but not
me, who well know that this book is the true and faithful version of
the word of the Lord, a version made by a very wise divine, a very
good man, and approved by the Church."

"Madam," the Earl of Kent returned, "your Grace stopped at what you
were taught in your youth, without inquiry as to whether it was good
or bad: it is not surprising, then, that you have remained in your
error, for want of having heard anyone who could make known the truth
to you; this is why, as your Grace has but a few hours longer to
remain in this world, and consequently has no time to lose, with your
permission we shall send for the Dean of Peterborough, the most
learned man there is on the subject of religion, who, with his word,
will prepare you for your salvation, which you risk to our great
grief and that of our august queen, by all the papistical follies,
abominations, and childish nonsense which keep Catholics away from
the holy word of God and the knowledge of the truth."

"You mistake, my lord," replied the queen gently, "if you have
believed that I have grown up careless in the faith of my fathers,
and without seriously occupying myself with a matter so important as
religion.  I have, on the contrary, spent my life with learned and
wise men who taught me what one must learn on this subject, and I
have sustained myself by reading their works, since the means of
hearing them has been taken from me.  Besides, never having doubted
in my lifetime, doubt is not likely to seize me in my death-hour.
And there is the Earl of Shrewsbury, here present, who will tell you
that, since my arrival in England, I have, for an entire Lent, of
which I repent, heard your wisest doctors, without their arguments
having made any impression on my mind.  It will be useless, then, my
lord," she added, smiling, "to summon to one so hardened as I the
Dean of Peterborough, learned as he is.  The only thing I ask you in
exchange, my lord, and for which I shall be grateful to you beyond
expression, is that you will send me my almoner, whom you keep shut
up in this house, to console me and prepare me for death, or, in his
stead, another priest, be he who he may; if only a poor priest from a
poor village, I being no harder to please than God, and not asking
that he have knowledge, provided that he has faith."

"It is with regret, madam," replied the Earl of Kent, "that I find
myself obliged to refuse your Grace's, request; but it would be
contrary to our religion and our conscience, and we should be
culpable in doing it; this is why we again offer you the venerable
Dean of Peterborough, certain that your Grace will find more
consolation and content in him than in any bishop, priest, or vicar
of the Catholic faith."

"Thank you, my lord," said the queen again, "but I have nothing to-do
with him, and as I have a conscience free of the crime for which I am
about to die, with God's help, martyrdom will take the place of
confession for me.  And now, I will remind you, my lord, of what you
told me yourself, that I have but a few hours to live; and these few
hours, to profit me, should be passed in prayer and meditation, and
not in idle disputes."

With these words, she rose, and, bowing to the earls, Sir Robert
Beale, Amyas, and Drury, she indictated, by a gesture full of
dignity, that she wished to be alone and in peace; then, as they
prepared to go out--

"Apropos, my lords," said she, "for what o'clock should I make ready
to die?"

"For eight o'clock to-morrow, madam," answered the Earl of
Shrewsbury, stammering.

"It is well," said Mary; "but have you not some reply to make me,
from my sister Elizabeth, relative to a letter which I wrote to her
about a month ago?"

"And of what did this letter treat, if it please you, madam?  "asked
the Earl of Kent.

"Of my burial and my funeral ceremony, my lord: I asked to be
interred in France, in the cathedral church of Rheims, near the late
queen my mother."

"That may not be, madam," replied the Earl of Kent; "but do not
trouble yourself as to all these details: the queen, my august
mistress, will provide for them as is suitable.  Has your grace
anything else to ask us?"

"I would also like to know," said Mary, "if my servants will be
allowed to return, each to his own country, with the little that I
can give him; which will hardly be enough, in any case, for the long
service they have done me, and the long imprisonment they have borne

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