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List Of Contents | Contents of Mary Stuart, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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Bourgoin, and the other deputies were taken to the bishop's palace,
where the persons appointed to take part in the funeral procession
were to assemble, in number more than three hundred and fifty, all
chosen, with the exception of the servants, from among the
authorities, the nobility, and Protestant clergy.

The day following, Thursday, August the 9th, they began to hang the
banqueting halls with rich and sumptuous stuffs, and that in the
sight of Melville, Bourgoin, and the others, whom they had brought
thither, less to be present at the interment of Queen Mary than to
bear witness to the magnificence of Queen Elizabeth.  But, as one may
suppose, the unhappy prisoners were indifferent to this splendour,
great and extraordinary as it was.

On Friday, August 10th, all the chosen persons assembled at the
bishop's palace: they ranged themselves in the appointed order, and
turned their steps to the cathedral, which was close by.  When they
arrived there, they took the places assigned them in the choir, and
the choristers immediately began to chant a funeral service in
English and according to Protestant rites.  At the first words of
this service, when he saw it was not conducted by Catholic priests,
Bourgoin left the cathedral, declaring that he would not be present
at such sacrilege, and he was followed by all Mary's servants, men
and women, except Melville and Barbe Mowbray, who thought that
whatever the tongue in which one prayed, that tongue was heard by the
Lord.  This exit created great scandal; but the bishop preached none
the less.

The sermon ended, the herald king went to seek Bourgoin and his
companions, who were walking in the cloisters, and told them that the
almsgiving was about to begin, inviting them to take part in this
ceremony; but they replied that being Catholics they could not make
offerings at an altar of which they disapproved.  So the herald king
returned, much put out at the harmony of the assembly being disturbed
by this dissent; but the alms-offering took place no less than the
sermon.  Then, as a last attempt, he sent to them again, to tell them
that the service was quite over, and that accordingly they might
return for the royal ceremonies, which belonged only to the religion
of the dead; and this time they consented; but when they arrived, the
staves were broken, and the banners thrown into the grave through the
opening that the workmen had already closed.

Then, in the same order in which it had come, the procession returned
to the palace, where a splendid funeral repast had been prepared.  By
a strange contradiction, Elizabeth, who, having punished the living
woman as a criminal, had just treated the dead woman as a queen, had
also wished that the honours of the funeral banquet should be for the
servants, so long forgotten by her.  But, as one can imagine, these
ill accommodated themselves to that intention, did not seem
astonished at this luxury nor rejoiced at this good cheer, but, on
the contrary, drowned their bread and wine in tears, without
otherwise responding to the questions put to them or the honours
granted them.  And as soon as the repast was ended, the poor servants
left Peterborough and took the road back to Fotheringay, where they
heard that they were free at last to withdraw whither they would.
They did not need to be told twice; for they lived in perpetual fear,
not considering their lives safe so long as they remained in England.
They therefore immediately collected all their belongings, each
taking his own, and thus went out of Fotheringay Castle on foot,
Monday, 13th August, 1587.

Bourgoin went last: having reached the farther side of the
drawbridge, he turned, and, Christian as he was, unable to forgive
Elizabeth, not for his own sufferings, but for his mistress's, he
faced about to those regicide walls, and, with hands outstretched to
them, said in a loud and threatening voice, those words of David:
"Let vengeance for the blood of Thy servants, which has been shed, O
Lord God, be acceptable in Thy sight".  The old man's curse was
heard, and inflexible history is burdened with Elizabeth's
punishment.

We said that the executioner's axe, in striking Mary Stuart's head,
had caused the crucifix and the book of Hours which she was holding
to fly from her hands.  We also said that the two relics had been
picked up by people in her following.  We are not aware of what
became of the crucifix, but the book of Hours is in the royal
library, where those curious about these kinds of historical
souvenirs can see it: two certificates inscribed on one of the blank
leaves of the volume demonstrate its authenticity.  These are they:

                         FIRST CERTIFICATE

"We the undersigned Vicar Superior of the strict observance of the
Order of Cluny, certify that this book has been entrusted to us by
order of the defunct Dom Michel Nardin, a professed religious priest
of our said observance, deceased in our college of Saint-Martial of
Avignon, March 28th, 1723, aged about eighty years, of which he has
spent about thirty among us, having lived very religiously: he was a
German by birth, and had served as an officer in the army a long
time.

"He entered Cluny, and made his profession there, much detached from
all this world's goods and honours; he only kept, with his superior's
permission, this book, which he knew had been in use with Mary
Stuart, Queen of England and Scotland, to the end of her life.

"Before dying and being parted from his brethren, he requested that,
to be safely remitted to us, it should be sent us by mail, sealed.
Just as we have received it, we have begged M. L'abbe Bignon,
councillor of state and king's librarian, to accept this precious
relic of the piety of a Queen of England, and of a German officer of
her religion as well as of ours.

"(Signed)BROTHER GERARD PONCET,
"Vicar-General Superior."


                         SECOND CERTIFICATE

"We, Jean-Paul Bignon, king's librarian, are very happy to have an
opportunity of exhibiting our zeal, in placing the said manuscript in
His Majesty's library.

"8th July, 1724."

"(Signed) JEAN-PAUL BIGNAN."

This manuscript, on which was fixed the last gaze of the Queen of
Scotland, is a duodecimo, written in the Gothic character and
containing Latin prayers; it is adorned with miniatures set off with
gold, representing devotional subjects, stories from sacred history,
or from the lives of saints and martyrs.  Every page is encircled
with arabesques mingled with garlands of fruit and flowers, amid
which spring up grotesque figures of men and animals.

As to the binding, worn now, or perhaps even then, to the woof, it is
in black velvet, of which the flat covers are adorned in the centre
with an enamelled pansy, in a silver setting surrounded by a wreath,
to which are diagonally attached from one corner of the cover to the
other, two twisted silver-gilt knotted cords, finished by a tuft at
the two ends.






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