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List Of Contents | Contents of Mary Stuart, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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"Madam," Melville replied, "hunting, riding, performing on the lute
and the harpischord."

"Is she skilled upon the latter?" Elizabeth inquired.  "Oh yes,
madam," answered Melville; "skilled enough for a queen."

There the conversation stopped; but as Elizabeth was herself an
excellent musician, she commanded Lord Hunsdon to bring Melville to
her at a time when she was at her harpischord, so that he could hear
her without her seeming to have the air of playing for him.  In fact,
the same day, Hunsdon, agreeably to her instructions, led the
ambassador into a gallery separated from the queen's apartment merely
by tapestry, so that his guide having raised it.  Melville at his
leisure could hear Elizabeth, who did not turn round until she had
finished the piece, which, however, she was playing with much skill.
When she saw Melville, she pretended to fly into a passion, and even
wanted to strike him; but her anger calmed down by little and little
at the ambassador's compliments, and ceased altogether when he
admitted that Mary Stuart was not her equal.  But this was not all:
proud of her triumph, Elizabeth desired also that Melville should see
her dance.  Accordingly, she kept back her despatches for two days
that he might be present at a ball that she was giving.  These
despatches, as we have said, contained the wish that Mary Stuart
should espouse Leicester; but this proposal could not be taken
seriously.  Leicester, whose personal worth was besides sufficiently
mediocre, was of birth too inferior to aspire to the hand of the
daughter of so many kings; thus Mary replied that such an alliance
would not become her.  Meanwhile, something strange and tragic came
to pass.


Among the lords who had followed Mary Stuart to Scotland was, as we
have mentioned, a young nobleman named Chatelard, a true type of the
nobility of that time, a nephew of Bayard on his mother's side, a
poet and a knight, talented and courageous, and attached to Marshal
Damville, of whose household he formed one.  Thanks to this high
position, Chatelard, throughout her stay in France, paid court to
Mary Stuart, who, in the homage he rendered her in verse, saw nothing
more than those poetical declarations of gallantry customary in that
age, and with which she especially was daily overwhelmed.  But it
happened that about the time when Chatelard was most in love with the
queen she was obliged to leave France, as we have said.  Then Marshal
Damville, who knew nothing of Chatelard's passion, and who himself,
encouraged by Mary's kindness, was among the candidates to succeed
Francis II as husband, set out for Scotland with the poor exile,
taking Chatelard with him, and, not imagining he would find a rival
in him, he made a confidant of him, and left him with Mary when he
was obliged to leave her, charging the young poet to support with her
the interests of his suit.  This post as confidant brought Mary and
Chatelard more together; and, as in her capacity as poet, the queen
treated him like a brother, he made bold in his passion to risk all
to obtain another title.  Accordingly, one evening he got into Mary
Stuart's room, and hid himself under the bed; but at the moment when
the queen was beginning to undress, a little dog she had began to
yelp so loudly that her women came running at his barking, and, led
by this indication, perceived Chatelard.  A woman easily pardons a
crime for which too great love is the excuse: Mary Stuart was woman
before being queen--she pardoned.

But this kindness only increased Chatelard's confidence: he put down
the reprimand he had received to the presence of the queen's women,
and supposed that if she had been alone she would have forgiven him
still more completely; so that, three weeks after, this same scene
was repeated.  But this time, Chatelard, discovered in a cupboard,
when the queen was already in bed, was placed under arrest.

The moment was badly chosen: such a scandal, just when the queen was
about to re-marry, was fatal to Mary, let alone to Chatelard.  Murray
took the affair in hand, and, thinking that a public trial could
alone save his sister's reputation, he urged the prosecution with
such vigour, that Chatelard, convicted of the crime of lese-majeste,
was condemned to death.  Mary entreated her brother that Chatelard
might be sent back to France; but Murray made her see what terrible
consequences such a use of her right of pardon might have, so that
Mary was obliged to let justice take its course: Chatelard was led to
execution.  Arrived on the scaffold, which was set up before the
queen's palace, Chatelard, who had declined the services of a priest,
had Ronsard's Ode on Death read; and when the reading, which he
followed with evident pleasure, was ended, he turned--towards the
queen's windows, and, having cried out for the last time, "Adieu,
loveliest and most cruel of princesses!" he stretched out his neck to
the executioner, without displaying any repentance or uttering any
complaint.  This death made all the more impression upon Mary, that
she did not dare to show her sympathy openly.

Meanwhile there was a rumour that the queen of Scotland was
consenting to a new marriage, and several suitors came forward,
sprung from the principal reigning families of Europe: first, the
Archduke Charles, third son of the Emperor of Germany; then the Duke
of Anjou, who afterwards became Henry III.  But to wed a foreign
prince was to give up her claims to the English crown.  So Mary
refused, and, making a merit of this to Elizabeth, she cast her eyes
on a relation of the latter's, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, son of the
Earl of Lennox.  Elizabeth, who had nothing plausible to urge against
this marriage, since the Queen of Scotland not only chose an
Englishman for husband, but was marrying into her own family, allowed
the Earl of Lennox and his son to go to the Scotch court, reserving
it to herself, if matters appeared to take a serious turn, to recall
them both--a command which they would be constrained to obey, since
all their property was in England.

Darnley was eighteen years of age: he was handsome, well-made,
elegant; he talked in that attractive manner of the young nobles of
the French and English courts that Mary no longer heard since her
exile in Scotland; she let herself be deceived by these appearances,
and did not see that under this brilliant exterior Darnley hid utter
insignificance, dubious courage, and a fickle and churlish character.
It is true that he came to her under the auspices of a man whose
influence was as striking as the risen fortune which gave him the
opportunity to exert it.  We refer to David Rizzio.

David Rizzio, who played such a great part in the life of Mary
Stuart, whose strange favour for him has given her enemies, probably
without any cause, such cruel weapons against her, was the son of a
Turin musician burdened with a numerous family, who, recognising in
him a pronounced musical taste, had him instructed in the first
principles of the art.  At the age of fifteen he had left his
father's house and had gone on foot to Nice, where the Duke of Savoy
held his court; there he entered the service of the Duke of Moreto,
and this lord having been appointed, some years afterwards, to the
Scottish embassy, Rizzio followed him to Scotland.  As this young man
had a very fine voice, and accompanied on the viol and fiddle songs
of which both the airs and the words were of his own composition, the
ambassador spoke of him to Mary, who wished to see him.  Rizzio, full
of confidence in himself, and seeing in the queen's desire a road to
success, hastened to obey her command, sang before her, and pleased
her.  She begged him then of Moreto, making no more of it than if she
had asked of him a thoroughbred dog or a well-trained falcon.  Moreta
presented him to her, delighted at finding such an opportunity to pay
his court; but scarcely was Rizzio in her service than Mary
discovered that music was the least of his gifts, that he possessed,
besides that, education if not profound at least varied, a supple
mind, a lively imagination, gentle ways, and at the same time much
boldness and presumption.  He reminded her of those Italian artists
whom she had seen at the French court, and spoke to her the tongue of
Marot and Ronsard, whose most beautiful poems he knew by heart: this
was more than enough to please Mary Stuart.  In a short time he
became her favourite, and meanwhile the place of secretary for the
French despatches falling vacant, Rizzio was provided for with it.

Darnley, who wished to succeed at all costs, enlisted Rizzio in his
interests, unconscious that he had no need of this support; and as,
on her side, Mary, who had fallen in love with him at first sight,
fearing some new intrigue of Elizabeth's, hastened on this union so
far as the proprieties permitted, the affair moved forward with
wonderful rapidity; and in the midst of public rejoicing, with the
approbation of the nobility, except for a small minority, with Murray
at its head, the marriage was solemnised under the happiest auspices,
29th July 1565.  Two days before, Darnley and his father, the Earl of
Lennox, had received a command to return to London, and as they had
not obeyed it, a week after the celebration of the marriage they
learned that the Countess of Lennox, the only one of the family
remaining in Elizabeth's power, had been arrested and taken to the
Tower.  Thus Elizabeth, in spite of her dissimulation, yielding to
that first impulse of violence that she always had such trouble to
overcome, publicly displayed her resentment.

However, Elizabeth was not the woman to be satisfied with useless
vengeance: she soon released the countess, and turned her eyes
towards Murray, the most discontented of the nobles in opposition,
who by this marriage was losing all his personal influence.  It was
thus easy for Elizabeth to put arms in his hand.  In fact, when he
had failed in his first attempt to seize Darnley, he called to his
aid the Duke of Chatellerault, Glencairn, Argyll, and Rothes, and
collecting what partisans they could, they openly rebelled against

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