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List Of Contents | Contents of Mary Stuart, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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whatsoever they be, great or small, come to men's knowledge and form
the common subject of their discourse.  He adds sometimes, in
speaking to me of Madame de Rere, 'I wish her services may do you
honour.'  He has assured me that many people thought, and that he
thought himself, that I was not my own mistress; this is doubtless
because I had rejected the conditions he offered me.  Finally, it is
certain that he is very uneasy about you know what, and that he even
suspects that his life is aimed at.  He is in despair whenever the
conversation turns on you, Livingston, and my brother.  However, he
says neither good nor ill of absent people; but, on the contrary, he
always avoids speaking of them.  His father keeps to the house: I
have not seen him yet.  A number of the Hamiltons are here, and
accompany me everywhere; all the friends of the other one follow me
each time I go to see him.  He has begged me to be at his rising to-
morrow.  My messenger will tell you the rest.

"Burn my letter: there would be danger in keeping it.  Besides, it is
hardly worth the trouble, being filled only with dark thoughts.

"As for you, do not be offended if I am sad and uneasy to-day, that
to please you I rise above honour, remorse, and dangers.  Do not take
in bad part what I tell you, and do not listen to the malicious
explanations of your wife's brother; he is a knave whom you ought not
to hear to the prejudice of the most tender and most faithful
mistress that ever was.  Above all, do not allow yourself to be moved
by that woman: her sham tears are nothing in comparison with the real
tears that I shed, and with what love and constancy make me suffer at
succeeding her; it is for that alone that in spite of myself I betray
all those who could cross my love.  God have mercy on me, and send
you all the prosperity that a humble and tender friend who awaits
from you soon another reward wishes you.  It is very late; but it is
always with regret that I lay down my pen when I write to you;
however, I shall not end my letter until I shall have kissed your
hands.  Forgive me that it is so ill-written: perhaps I do so
expressly that you may be obliged to re-read it several times: I have
transcribed hastily what I had written down on my tablets, and my
paper has given out.  Remember a tender friend, and write to her
often: love me as tenderly as I love you, and remember

     "Madame de Rere's words;
     The English;
     His mother;
     The Earl of Argyll;
     The Earl of Bothwell;
     The Edinburgh dwelling."


SECOND LETTER

"It seems that you have forgotten me during your absence, so much the
more that you had promised me, at setting out, to let me know in
detail everything fresh that should happen.  The hope of receiving
your news was giving me almost as much delight as your return could
have brought me: you have put it off longer than you promised me.  As
for me, although you do not write, I play my part always.  I shall
take him to Craigmiller on Monday, and he will spend the whole of
Wednesday there.  On that day I shall go to Edinburgh to be bled
there, unless you arrange otherwise at least.  He is more cheerful
than usual, and he is better than ever.

"He says everything he can to persuade me that he loves me; he has a
thousand attentions for me, and he anticipates me in everything: all
that is so pleasant for me, that I never go to him but the pain in my
side comes on again, his company weighs on me so much.  If Paris
brought me what I asked him, I should be soon cured.  If you have not
yet returned when I go you know where, write to me, I beg you, and
tell me what you wish me to do; for if you do not manage things
prudently, I foresee that the whole burden will fall on me: look into
everything and weigh the affair maturely.  I send you my letter by
Beaton, who will set out the day which has been assigned to Balfour.
It only remains for me to beg you to inform me of your journey.

"Glasgow, this Saturday morning."


THIRD LETTER

"I stayed you know where longer than I should have done, if it had
not been to get from him something that the bearer of these presents
will tell you it was a good opportunity for covering up our designs:
I have promised him to bring the person you know to-morrow.  Look
after the rest, if you think fit.  Alas! I have failed in our
agreement, for you have forbidden me to write to you, or to despatch
a messenger to you.  However, I do not intend to offend you: if you
knew with what fears I am agitated, you would not have yourself so
many doubts and suspicions.  But I take them in good part, persuaded
as I am that they have no other cause than love--love that I esteem
more than anything on earth.

"My feelings and my favours are to me sure warrants for that love,
and answer to me for your heart; my trust is entire on this head: but
explain yourself, I entreat you, and open your soul to me; otherwise,
I shall fear lest, by the fatality of my star, and by the too
fortunate influence of the stars on women less tender and less
faithful than I, I may be supplanted in your heart as Medea was in
Jason's; not that I wish to compare you to a lover as unfortunate as
Jason, and to parallel myself with a monster like Medea, although you
have enough influence over me to force me to resemble her each time
our love exacts it, and that it concerns me to keep your heart, which
belongs to me, and which belongs to me only.  For I name as belonging
to me what I have purchased with the tender and constant love with
which I have burned for you, a love more alive to-day than ever, and
which will end only with my life; a love, in short, which makes me
despise both the dangers and the remorse which will be perhaps its
sad sequel.  As the price of this sacrifice, I ask you but one
favour, it is to remember a spot not far from here: I do not exact
that you should keep your promise to-morrow; but I want to see you to
disperse your suspicions.  I ask of God only one thing: it is that He
should make you read my heart, which is less mine than yours, and
that He should guard you from every ill, at least during my life:
this life is dear to me only in so far as it pleases you, and as I
please you myself.  I am going to bed: adieu; give me your news to-
morrow morning; for I shall be uneasy till I have it.  Like a bird
escaped from its cage, or the turtle-dove which has lost her mate, I
shall be alone, weeping your absence, short as it may be.  This
letter, happier than I, will go this evening where I cannot go,
provided that the messenger does not find you asleep, as I fear.  I
have not dared to write it in the presence of Joseph, of Sebastian,
and of Joachim, who had only just left me when I began it."


Thus, as one sees, and always supposing these letters to be genuine,
Mary had conceived for Bothwell one of those mad passions, so much
the stronger in the women who are a prey to them, that one the less
understands what could have inspired them.  Bothwell was no longer
young, Bothwell was not handsome, and yet Mary sacrificed for him a
young husband, who was considered one of the handsomest men of his
century.  It was like a kind of enchantment.  Darnley, the sole
obstacle to the union, had been already condemned for a long time, if
not by Mary, at least by Bothwell; then, as his strong constitution
had conquered the poison, another kind of death was sought for.

The queen, as she announces in her letter to Bothwell, had refused to
bring back Darnley with her, and had returned alone to Edinburgh.
Arrived there, she gave orders for the king to be moved, in his turn,
in a litter; but instead of taking him to Stirling or Holyrood, she
decided to lodge him in the abbey of the Kirk of Field.  The king
made some objections when he knew of this arrangement; however, as he
had no power to oppose it, he contented himself with complaining of
the solitude of the dwelling assigned him; but the queen made answer
that she could not receive him at that moment, either at Holyrood or
at Stirling, for fear, if his illness were infectious, lest he might
give it to his son: Darnley was then obliged to make the best of the
abode allotted him.

It was an isolated abbey, and little calculated by its position to
dissipate the fears that the king entertained; for it was situated
between two ruined churches and two cemeteries: the only house, which
was distant about a shot from a cross-bow, belonged to the Hamiltons,
and as they were Darnley's mortal enemies the neighbourhood was none
the more reassuring: further, towards the north, rose some wretched
huts, called the "Thieves' cross-roads".  In going round his new
residence, Darnley noticed that three holes, each large enough for a
man to get through, had been made in the walls; he asked that these
holes, through which ill-meaning persons could get in, should be
stopped up: it was promised that masons should be sent; but nothing
was done, and the holes remained open.

The day after his arrival at Kirk of Field, the king saw a light in
that house near his which lie believed deserted; next day he asked
Alexander Durham whence it came, and he heard that the Archbishop of
St. Andrew's had left his palace in Edinburgh and had housed there
since the preceding evening, one didn't know why: this news still
further increased the king's uneasiness; the Archbishop of St.
Andrew's was one of his most declared enemies.

The king, little by little abandoned by all his servants lived on the
first floor of an isolated pavilion, having about him only this same
Alexander Durham, whom we have mentioned already, and who was his
valet.  Darnley, who had quite a special friendship for him, and who
besides, as we have said, feared some attack on his life at every
moment, had made him move his bed into his own apartment, so that
both were sleeping in the same room.

On the night of the 8th February, Darnley awoke Durham: he thought he
heard footsteps in the apartment beneath him.  Durham rose, took a
sword in one hand, a taper in the other, and went down to the ground
floor; but although Darnley was quite certain he had not been

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