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List Of Contents | Contents of Mary Stuart, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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quite delighted, cried on receiving them, "God's death, then I hold
her life and honour in my hands!"


FIRST LETTER

"When I set out from the place where I had left my heart, judge in
what a condition I was, poor body without a soul: besides, during the
whole of dinner I have not spoken to anyone, and no one has dared to
approach me, for it was easy to see that there was something amiss.
When I arrived within a league of the town, the Earl of Lennox sent
me one of his gentlemen to make me his compliments, and to excuse
himself for not having come in person; he has caused me to be
informed, moreover, that he did not dare to present himself before me
after the reprimand that I gave Cunningham.  This gentleman begged
me, as if of his own accord, to examine his master's conduct, to
ascertain if my suspicions were well founded.  I have replied to him
that fear was an incurable disease, that the Earl of Lennox would not
be so agitated if his conscience reproached him with nothing, and
that if some hasty words had escaped me, they were but just reprisals
for the letter he had written me.

"None of the inhabitants visited me, which makes me think they are
all in his interests; besides, they speak of him very favourably, as
well as of his son.  The king sent for Joachim yesterday, and asked
him why I did not lodge with him, adding that my presence would soon
cure him, and asked me also with what object I had come: if it were
to be reconciled with him; if you were here; if I had taken Paris and
Gilbert as secretaries, and if I were still resolved to dismiss
Joseph?  I do not know who has given him such accurate information.
There is nothing, down to the marriage of Sebastian, with which he
has not made himself acquainted.  I have asked him the meaning of one
of his letters, in which he complains of the cruelty of certain
people. He replied that he was--stricken, but that my presence caused
him so much joy that he thought he should die of it.  He reproached
me several times for being dreamy; I left him to go to supper; he
begged me to return: I went back.  Then he told me the story of his
illness, and that he wished to make a will leaving me everything,
adding that I was a little the cause of his trouble, and that he
attributed it to my coldness.  'You ask me,' added he, 'who are the
people of whom I complain: it is of you, cruel one, of you, whom I
have never been able to appease by my tears and my repentance.  I
know that I have offended you, but not on the matter that you
reproach me with: I have also offended some of your subjects, but
that you have forgiven me.  I am young, and you say that I always
relapse into my faults; but cannot a young man like me, destitute of
experience, gain it also, break his promises, repent directly, and in
time improve?  If you will forgive me yet once more, I will promise
to offend you never again.  All the favour I ask of you is that we
should live together like husband and wife, to have but one bed and
one board: if you are inflexible, I shall never rise again from here.
I entreat you, tell me your decision: God alone knows what I suffer,
and that because I occupy myself with you only, because I love and
adore only you.  If I have offended you sometimes, you must bear the
reproach; for when someone offends me, if it were granted me to
complain to you, I should not confide my griefs to others; but when
we are on bad terms, I am obliged to keep them to myself, and that
maddens me.'

"He then urged me strongly to stay with him and lodge in his house;
but I excused myself, and replied that he ought to be purged, and
that he could not be, conveniently, at Glasgow; then he told me that
he knew I had brought a letter for him, but that he would have
preferred to make the journey with me.  He believed, I think, that I
meant to send him to some prison: I replied that I should take him to
Craigmiller, that he would find doctors there, that I should remain
near him, and that we should be within reach of seeing my son.  He
has answered that he will go where I wish to take him, provided that
I grant him what he has asked.  He does not, however, wish to be seen
by anyone.

"He has told me more than a hundred pretty things that I cannot
repeat to you, and at which you yourself would be surprised: he did
not want to let me go; he wanted to make me sit up with him all
night.  As for me, I pretended to believe everything, and I seemed to
interest myself really in him.  Besides, I have never seen him so
small and humble; and if I had not known how easily his heart
overflows, and how mine is impervious to every other arrow than those
with which you have wounded it, I believe that I should have allowed
myself to soften; but lest that should alarm you, I would die rather
than give up what I have promised you.  As for you, be sure to act in
the same way towards those traitors who will do all they can to
separate you from me.  I believe that all those people have been cast
in the same mould: this one always has a tear in his eye; he bows
down before everyone, from the greatest to the smallest; he wishes to
interest them in his favour, and make himself pitied.  His father
threw up blood to-day through the nose and mouth; think what these
symptoms mean.  I have not seen him yet, for he keeps to the house.
The king wants me to feed him myself; he won't eat unless I do.  But,
whatever I may do, you will be deceived by it no more than I shall be
deceiving myself.  We are united, you and I, to two kinds of very
detestable people [Mary means Miss Huntly, Bothwell's wife, whom he
repudiated, at the king's death, to marry the queen.]: that hell may
sever these knots then, and that heaven may form better ones, that
nothing can break, that it may make of us the most tender and
faithful couple that ever was; there is the profession of faith in
which I would die.

"Excuse my scrawl: you must guess more than the half of it, but I
know no help for this.  I am obliged to write to you hastily while
everyone is asleep here: but be easy, I take infinite pleasure in my
watch; for I cannot sleep like the others, not being able to sleep as
I would like--that is to say, in your arms.

"I am going to get into bed; I shall finish my letter tomorrow: I
have too many things to tell to you, the night is too far advanced:
imagine my despair.  It is to you I am writing, it is of myself that
I converse with you, and I am obliged to make an end.

"I cannot prevent myself, however, from filling up hastily the rest
of my paper.  Cursed be the crazy creature who torments me so much!
Were it not for him, I could talk to you of more agreeable things: he
is not greatly changed; and yet he has taken a great deal o f %t.
But he has nearly killed me with the fetid smell of his breath; for
now his is still worse than your cousin's: you guess that this is a
fresh reason for my not approaching him; on the contrary, I go away
as far as I can, and sit on a chair at the foot of his bed.

"Let us see if I forget anything.

     "His father's messenger on the road;
     The question about Joachim;
     The-state of my house;
     The people of my suite;
     Subject of my arrival;
     Joseph;
     Conversation between him and me;
     His desire to please me and his repentance;
     The explanation of his letter;
     Mr. Livingston.

"Ah! I was forgetting that.  Yesterday Livingston during supper told
de Rere in a low voice to drink to the health of one I knew well, and
to beg me to do him the honour.  After supper, as I was leaning on
his shoulder near the fire, he said to me, 'Is it not true that there
are visits very agreeable for those who pay them and those who
receive them?  But, however satisfied they seem with your arrival, I
challenge their delight to equal the grief of one whom you have left
alone to-day, and who will never be content till he sees you again.'
I asked him of whom he wished to speak to me.  He then answered me by
pressing my arm: 'Of one of those who have not followed you; and
among those it is easy for you to guess of whom I want to speak.'

"I have worked till two o'clock at the bracelet; I have enclosed a
little key which is attached by two strings: it is not as well worked
as I should like, but I have not had time to make it better; I will
make you a finer one on the first occasion.  Take care that it is not
seen on you; for I have worked at it before everyone, and it would be
recognised to a certainty.

"I always return, in spite of myself, to the frightful attempt that
you advise.  You compel me to concealments, and above all to
treacheries that make me shudder; I would rather die, believe me,
than do such things; for it makes my heart bleed.  He does not want
to follow me unless I promise him to have the selfsame bed and board
with him as before, and not to abandon him so often.  If I consent to
it, he says he will do all I wish, and will follow me everywhere; but
he has begged me to put off my departure for two days.  I have
pretended to agree to all he wishes; but I have told him not to speak
of our reconciliation to anyone, for fear it should make some lords
uneasy.  At last I shall take him everywhere I wish....  Alas! I have
never deceived anyone; but what would I not do to please you?
Command, and whatever happens, I shall obey.  But see yourself if one
could not contrive some secret means in the shape of a remedy.  He
must purge himself at Craigmiller and take baths there; he will be
some days without going out.  So far as I can see, he is very uneasy;
but he has great trust in what I tell him: however, his confidence
does not go so far as to allow him to open his mind to me.  If you
like, I will tell him every thing: I can have no pleasure in
deceiving someone who is trusting.  However, it will be just as you
wish: do not esteem me the less for that.  It is you advised it;
never would vengeance have taken me so far.  Sometimes he attacks me
in a very sensitive place, and he touches me to the quick when he
tells me that his crimes are known, but that every day greater ones
are committed that one uselessly attempts to hide, since all crimes,

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