List Of Contents | Contents of Mary Stuart, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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wished to converse with him was detained.  When he was with him, the
prisoner told him that he was locked up for a debt of only twenty
crowns, and that his desire to be at liberty was so great that if
M. de Chateauneuf would pay that sum for him he would undertake to
deliver the Queen of Scotland from her danger, by stabbing Elizabeth:
to this proposal, M. de Trappes, who saw the pitfall laid for the
French ambassador, was greatly astonished, and said that he was
certain that M. de Chateauneuf would consider as very evil every
enterprise having as its aim to threaten in any way the life of Queen
Elizabeth or the peace of the realm; then, not desiring to hear more,
he returned to M. de Chateauneuf and related to him what had just
happened.  M. de Chateauneuf, who perceived the real cause of this
overture, immediately said to Mr. Stafford that he thought it strange
that a gentleman like himself should undertake with another gentleman
such treachery, and requested him to leave the Embassy at once, and
never to set foot there again.  Then Stafford withdrew, and,
appearing to think himself a lost man, he implored M. de Trappes to
allow him to cross the Channel with him and the French envoys.  M.
de Trappes referred him to M. de Chateauneuf, who answered Mr.
Stafford directly that he had not only forbidden him his house, but
also all relations with any person from the Embassy, that he must
thus very well see that his request could not be granted; he added
that if he were not restrained by the consideration he desired to
keep for his brother, the Earl of Stafford, his colleague, he would
at once denounce his treason to Elizabeth.  The same day Stafford was

After this conference, M. de Trappes set out to rejoin his travelling
companions, who were some hours in advance of him, when, on reaching
Dover he was arrested in his turn and brought hack to prison in
London.  Interrogated the same day, M.  de Trappes frankly related
what had passed, appealing to M.  de Chateauneuf as to the truth of
what he said.

The day following there was a second interrogatory, and great was his
amazement when, on requesting that the one of the day before should
be shown him, he was merely shown, according to custom in English
law, counterfeit copies, in which were avowals compromising him as
well as M. de Chateauneuf: he objected and protested, refused to
answer or to sign anything further, and was taken back to the Tower
with redoubled precaution, the object of which was the appearance of
an important accusation.

Next day, M. de Chateauneuf was summoned before the queen, and there
confronted with Stafford, who impudently maintained that he had
treated of a plot with M. de Trappes and a certain prisoner for debt
--a plot which aimed at nothing less than endangering the Queen's
life.  M. de Chateauneuf defended himself with the warmth of
indignation, but Elizabeth had too great an interest in being
unconvinced even to attend to the evidence.  She then said to M. de
Chateauneuf that his character of ambassador alone prevented her
having him arrested like his accomplice M. de Trappes; and
immediately despatching, as she had promised, an ambassador to King
Henry III, she charged him not to excuse her for the sentence which
had just been pronounced and the death which must soon follow, but to
accuse M. de Chateauneuf of having taken part in a plot of which the
discovery alone had been able to decide her to consent to the death
of the Queen of Scotland, certain as she was by experience, that so
long as her enemy lived her existence would be hourly threatened.

On the same day, Elizabeth made haste to spread, not only in London,
but also throughout England, the rumour of the fresh danger from
which she had just escaped, so that, when, two days after the
departure of the French envoys, the Scottish ambassadors, who, as one
sees, had not used much speed, arrived, the queen answered them that
their request came unseasonably, at a time when she had just had
proof that, so long as Mary Stuart existed, her own (Elizabeth's)
life was in danger.  Robert Melville wished to reply to this; but
Elizabeth flew into a passion, saying that it was he, Melville, who
had given the King of Scotland the bad advice to intercede for his
mother, and that if she had such an adviser she would have him
beheaded.  To which Melville answered--

"That at the risk of his life he would never spare his master good
advice; and that, on the contrary, he who would counsel a son to let
his mother perish, would deserve to be beheaded."

Upon this reply, Elizabeth ordered the Scotch envoys to withdrew,
telling them that she would let them have her answer.

Three or four days passed, and as they heard nothing further, they
asked again for a parting audience to hear the last resolve of her to
whom they were sent: the queen then decided to grant it, and all
passed, as with M. de Bellievre, in recriminations and complaints.
Finally, Elizabeth asked them what guarantee they would give for her
life in the event of her consenting to pardon the Queen of Scotland.
The envoys responded that they were authorised to make pledges in the
name of the King of Scotland, their master, and all the lords of his
realm, that Mary Stuart should renounce in favour of her son all her
claims upon the English crown, and that she should give as security
for this undertaking the King of France, and all the princes and
lords, his relations and friends.

To this answer, the queen, without her usual presence of mind, cried,
"What are you saying, Melville?  That would be to arm my enemy with
two claims, while he has only one".

"Does your Majesty then regard the king, my master, as your enemy?"
replied Melville.  "He believed himself happier, madam, and thought
he was your ally."

"No, no," Elizabeth said, blushing; "it is a way of speaking: and if
you find a means of reconciling everything, gentlemen, to prove to
you, on the contrary, that I regard King James VI as my good and
faithful ally, I am quite ready to incline to mercy.  Seek, then, on
your side" added she, "while I seek on mine."

With these words, she went out of the room, and the ambassadors
retired, with the light of the hope of which she had just let them
catch a glimpse.

The same evening, a gentleman at the court sought out the Master of
Gray, the head of the Embassy, as if to pay him a civil visit, and
while conversing said to him, "That it was very difficult to
reconcile the safety of Queen Elizabeth with the life of her
prisoner; that besides, if the Queen of Scotland were pardoned, and
she or her son ever came to the English throne, there would be no
security for the lords commissioners who had voted her death; that
there was then only one way of arranging everything, that the King of
Scotland should himself give up his claims to the kingdom of England;
that otherwise, according to him, there was no security for Elizabeth
in saving the life of the Scottish queen".  The Master of Gray then,
looking at him fixedly, asked him if his sovereign had charged him to
come to him with this talk.  But the gentleman denied it, saying that
all this was on his own account and in the way of opinion.

Elizabeth received the envoys from Scotland once more, and then told

"That after having well considered, she had found no way of saving
the life of the Queen of Scotland while securing her own, that
accordingly she could not grant it to them".  To this declaration,
the Master of Gray replied: "That since it was thus, he was, in this
case, ordered by his master to say that they protested in the name of
King James that all that had been done against his mother was of no
account, seeing that Queen Elizabeth had no authority over a queen,
as she was her equal in rank and birth; that accordingly they
declared that immediately after their return, and when their master
should know the result of their mission, he would assemble his
Parliament and send messengers to all the Christian princes, to take
counsel with them as to what could be done to avenge her whom they
could not save."

Then Elizabeth again flew into a passion, saying that they had
certainly not received from their king a mission to speak to her in
such a way; but they thereupon offered to give her this protest in
writing under their signatures; to which Elizabeth replied that she
would send an ambassador to arrange all that with her good friend and
ally, the King of Scotland.  But the envoys then said that their
master would not listen to anyone before their return.  Upon which
Elizabeth begged them not to go away at once, because she had not yet
come to her final decision upon this matter.  On the evening
following this audience, Lord Hingley having come to see the Master
of Gray, and having seemed to notice some handsome pistols which came
from Italy, Gray, directly he had gone, asked this nobleman's cousin
to take them to him as a gift from him.  Delighted with this pleasant
commission, the young man wished to perform it the same evening, and
went to the queen's palace, where his relative was staying, to give
him the present which he had been told to take to him.  But hardly
had he passed through a few rooms than he was arrested, searched, and
the arms he was taking were found upon him.  Although these were not
loaded, he was immediately arrested; only he was not taken to the
Tower, but kept a prisoner in his own room.

Next day there was a rumour that the Scotch ambassadors had wanted to
assassinate the queen in their turn, and that pistols, given by the
Master of Gray himself, had been found on the assassin.

This bad faith could not but open the envoys' eyes.  Convinced at
last that they could do nothing for poor Mary Stuart, they left her
to her fate, and set out next day for Scotland.

Scarcely were they gone than Elizabeth sent her secretary, Davison,
to Sir Amyas Paulet.  He was instructed to sound him again with
regard to the prisoner; afraid, in spite of herself, of a public
execution, the queen had reverted to her former ideas of poisoning or

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