List Of Contents | Contents of Mary Stuart, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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and to shed more tears than the loss of all her relations, so much
the more that the Queen of Scotland was her near relative and closely
connected with the King of France; and as, in their remonstrances,
MM. de Chateauneuf and de Bellievre had brought forward several
examples drawn from history, she assumed, in reply to them on this
occasion, the pedantic style which was usual with her, and told them
that she had seen and read a great many books in her life, and a
thousand more than others of her sex and her rank were wont to, but
that she had never found in them a single example of a deed like that
attempted on her--a deed pursued by a relative, whom the king her
brother could not and ought not to support in her wickedness, when it
was, on the contrary, his duty to hasten the just punishment of it:
then she added, addressing herself specially to M. de Bellievre, and
coming down again from the height of her pride to a gracious
countenance, that she greatly regretted he was not deputed for a
better occasion; that in a few days she would reply to King Henry her
brother, concerning whose health she was solicitous, as well as that
of the queen mother, who must experience such great fatigue from the
trouble she took to restore peace to her son's kingdom; and then, not
wishing to hear more, she withdrew into her room.

The envoys returned to London, where they awaited the promised reply;
but while they were expecting it unavailingly, they heard quietly the
sentence of death given against Queen Mary, which decided them to
return to Richmond to make fresh remonstrances to Queen Elizabeth.
After two or three fruitless journeys, they were at last, December
15th, admitted for the second time to the royal presence.

The queen did not deny that the sentence had been pronounced, and as
it was easy to see that she did not intend in this case to use her
right of pardon, M. de Bellievre, judging that there was nothing to
be done, asked for a safe-conduct to return to his king: Elizabeth
promised it to him within two or three days.

On the following Tuesday, the 17th of the same month of December,
Parliament as well as the chief lords of the realm were convoked at
the Palace of Westminster, and there, in full court and before all,
sentence of death was proclaimed and pronounced against Mary Stuart:
then this same sentence, with great display and great solemnity, was
read in the squares and at the cross-roads of London, whence it
spread throughout the kingdom; and upon this proclamation the bells
rang for twenty-four hours, while the strictest orders were given to
each of the inhabitants to light bonfires in front of their houses,
as is the custom in France on the Eve of St. John the Baptist.

Then, amid this sound of bells, by the light of these bonfires, M.
de Bellievre, wishing to make a last effort, in order to have nothing
with which to reproach himself, wrote the following letter to Queen

"MADAM:--We quitted your Majesty yesterday, expecting, as it had
pleased you to inform us, to receive in a few days your reply
touching the prayer that we made you on behalf of our good master,
your brother, for the Queen of Scotland, his sister in-law and
confederate; but as this morning we have been informed that the
judgment given against the said queen has been proclaimed in London,
although we had promised ourselves another issue from your clemency
and the friendship your bear to the said lord king your good brother,
nevertheless, to neglect no part of our duty, and believing in so
doing to serve the intentions of the king our master, we have not
wanted to fail to write to you this present letter, in which we
supplicate you once again, very humbly, not to refuse his Majesty the
very pressing and very affectionate prayer that he has made you, that
you will be pleased to preserve the life of the said lady Queen of
Scotland, which the said lord king will receive as the greatest
pleasure your Majesty could do him; while, on the contrary, he could
not imagine anything which would cause him more displeasure, and
which would wound him more, than if he were used harshly with regard
to the said lady queen, being what she is to him: and as, madam, the
said king our master, your good brother, when for this object he
despatched us to your Majesty, had not conceived that it was
possible, in any case, to determine so promptly upon such an
execution, we implore you, madam, very humbly, before permitting it
to go further, to grant us some time in which we can make known to
him the state of the affairs of the said Queen of Scotland, in order
that before your Majesty takes a final resolution, you may know what
it may please his very Christian Majesty to tell you and point out to
you on the greatest affair which, in our memory, has been submitted
to men's judgment.  Monsieur de Saint-Cyr, who will give these
presents to your Majesty, will bring us, if it pleases you, your good

"London, this 16th day of December 1586.



The same day, M. de Saint-Cyr and the other French lords returned to
Richmond to take this letter; but the queen would not receive them,
alleging indisposition, so that they were obliged to leave the letter
with Walsingham, her first Secretary of State, who promised them to
send the queen's answer the following day.

In spite of this promise, the French lords waited two days more: at
last, on the second day, towards evening, two English gentlemen
sought out M. de Fellievre in London, and, viva voce, without any
letter to confirm what they were charged to say, announced to him, on
behalf of their queen, that in reply to the letter that they had
written her, and to do justice to the desire they had shown to obtain
for the condemned a reprieve during which they would make known the
decision to the King of France, her Majesty would grant twelve days.
As this was Elizabeth's last word, and it was useless to lose time in
pressing her further, M. de Genlis was immediately despatched to his
Majesty the King of France, to whom, besides the long despatch of M.
de Chateauneuf and de Bellievre which he was charged to remit, he was
to say 'viva voce' what he had seen and heard relative to the affairs
of Queen Mary during the whole time he had been in England.

Henry III responded immediately with a letter containing fresh
instructions for MM. de Chateauneuf and de Bellievre; but in spite of
all the haste M. de Genlis could make, he did not reach London till
the fourteenth day--that is to say, forty-eight hours after the
expiration of the delay granted; nevertheless, as the sentence had
not yet been put into execution, MM. de Bellievre and de Chateauneuf
set out at once for Greenwich Castle, some miles from London, where
the queen was keeping Christmas, to beg her to grant them an
audience, in which they could transmit to her Majesty their king's
reply; but they could obtain nothing for four or five days; however,
as they were not disheartened, and returned unceasingly to the
charge, January 6th, MM. de Bellievre and de Chateauneuf were at last
sent for by the queen.

As on the first occasion, they were introduced with all the
ceremonial in use at that time, and found Elizabeth in an audience-
chamber.  The ambassadors approached her, greeted her, and M. de
Bellievre began to address to her with respect, but at the same time
with firmness, his master's remonstrances.  Elizabeth listened to
them with an impatient air, fidgeting in her seat; then at last,
unable to control herself, she burst out, rising and growing red with

"M. de Bellievre," said she, "are you really charged by the king, my
brother, to speak to me in such a way?"

"Yes, madam," replied M.  de Bellievre, bowing; "I am expressly
commanded to do so."

"And have you this command under his hand?"  continued Elizabeth.

"Yes, madam," returned the ambassador with the same calmness; "and
the king, my master, your good brother, has expressly charged me, in
letters signed by his own hand, to make to your Majesty the
remonstrances which I have had the honour to address to you."

"Well," cried Elizabeth, no longer containing herself, "I demand of
you a copy of that letter, signed by you; and reflect that you will
answer for each word that you take away or add."

"Madam," answered M. de Bellievre, "it is not the custom of the kings
of France, or of their agents, to forge letters or documents; you
will have the copies you require to-morrow morning, and I pledge
their accuracy on my honour."

"Enough, sir, enough!" said the queen, and signing to everyone in the
room to go out, she remained nearly an hour with MM. de Chateauneuf
and de Bellievre.  No one knows what passed in that interview, except
that the queen promised to send an ambassador to the King of France,
who, she promised, would be in Paris, if not before, at least at the
same time as M. de Bellievre, and would be the bearer of her final
resolve as to the affairs of the Queen of Scotland; Elizabeth then
withdrew, giving the French envoys to understand that any fresh
attempt they might make to see her would be useless.

On the 13th of January the ambassadors received their passports, and
at the same time notice that a vessel of the queen's was awaiting
them at Dover.

The very day of their departure a strange incident occurred.  A
gentleman named Stafford, a brother of Elizabeth's ambassador to the
King of France, presented himself at M. de Trappes's, one of the
officials in the French chancellery, telling him that he was
acquainted with a prisoner for debt who had a matter of the utmost
importance to communicate to him, and that he might pay the greater
attention to it, he told him that this matter was connected with
the service of the King of France, and concerned the affairs of Queen
Mary of Scotland.   M. de Trappes, although mistrusting this overture
from the first, did not want, in case his suspicions deceived him, to
have to reproach himself for any neglect on such a pressing occasion.
He repaired, then, with; Mr. Stafford to the prison, where he who

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