List Of Contents | Contents of Mary Stuart, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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assassination; but Sir Amyas Paulet declared that he would let no one
have access to Mary but the executioner, who must in addition be the
bearer of a warrant perfectly in order, Davison reported this answer
to Elizabeth, who, while listening to him, stamped her foot several
times, and when he had finished, unable to control herself, cried,
"God's death! there's a dainty fellow, always talking of his fidelity
and not knowing how to prove it!"

Elizabeth was then obliged to make up her mind.  She asked Davison
for the warrant; he gave it to her, and, forgetting that she was the
daughter of a queen who had died on the scaffold, she signed it
without any trace of emotion; then, having affixed to it the great
seal of England, "Go," said she, laughing, "tell Walsingham that all
is ended for Queen Mary; but tell him with precautions, for, as he is
ill, I am afraid he will die of grief when he hears it."

The jest was the more atrocious in that Walsingham was known to be
the Queen of Scotland's bitterest enemy.

Towards evening of that day, Saturday the 14th, Beale, Walsingham's
brother-in-law, was summoned to the palace!  The queen gave into his
hands the death warrant, and with it an order addressed to the Earls
of Shrewsbury, Kent, Rutland, and other noblemen in the neighbourhood
of Fotheringay, to be present at the execution.  Beale took with him
the London executioner, whom Elizabeth had had dressed in black
velvet for this great occasion; and set out two hours after he had
received his warrant.


Queen Mary had known the decree of the commissioners these two
months.  The very day it had been pronounced she had learned the news
through her chaplain, whom they had allowed her to see this once
only.  Mary Stuart had taken advantage of this visit to give him
three letters she had just written-one for Pope Sixtus V, the other
to Don Bernard Mendoza, the third to the Duke of Guise.
Here is that last letter:--

14th December, 1586

"My Good Cousin, whom I hold dearest in the world, I bid you
farewell, being prepared to be put to death by an unjust judgment,
and to a death such as no one of our race, thanks to God, and never a
queen, and still less one of my rank, has ever suffered.  But, good
cousin, praise the Lord; for I was useless to the cause of God and of
His Church in this world, prisoner as I was; while, on the contrary,
I hope that my death will bear witness to my constancy in the faith
and to my willingness to suffer for the maintenance and the
restoration of the Catholic Church in this unfortunate island.  And
though never has executioner dipped his hand in our blood, have no
shame of it, my friend; for the judgment of heretics who have no
authority over me, a free queen, is profitable in the sight of God to
the children of His Church.  If I adhered, moreover, to what they
propose to me, I should not suffer this stroke.  All of our house
have been persecuted by this sect, witness your good father, through
whose intercession I hope to be received with mercy by the just
judge.  I commend to you, then, my poor servants, the discharge of my
debts, and the founding of some annual mass for my soul, not at your
expense, but that you may make the arrangements, as you will be
required when you learn my wishes through my poor and faithful
servants, who are about to witness my last tragedy.  God prosper you,
your wife, children, brothers and cousins, and above all our chief,
my good brother and cousin, and all his.  The blessing of God and
that which I shall give to my children be on yours, whom I do not
commend less to God than my own son, unfortunate and ill-treated as
he is.  You will receive some rings from me, which will remind you to
pray God for the soul of your poor cousin, deprived of all help and
counsel except that of the Lord, who gives me strength and courage to
alone to resist so many wolves howling after me.  To God be the

"Believe particularly what will be told you by a person who will give
you a ruby ring from me; for I take it on my conscience that the
truth will be told you of what I have charged him to tell, and
especially in what concerns my poor servants and the share of any.  I
commend this person to you for his simple sincerity and honesty, that
he may be placed in some good place.  I have chosen him as the least
partial and as the one who will most simply bring you my commands.
Ignore, I beg you, that he told you anything in particular; for envy
might injure him.  I have suffered a great deal for two years and
more, and have not been able to let you know, for an important
reason.  God be praised for all, and give you grace to persevere in
the service of His Church as long as you live, and never may this
honour pass from our race, while so many men and women are ready to
shed their blood to maintain the fight for the faith, all other
worldly considerations set aside.  And as to me, I esteem myself born
on both father's and mother's sides, that I should offer up my blood
for this cause, and I have no intention of degenerating.  Jesus,
crucified for us, and all the holy martyrs, make us by their
intercession worthy of the voluntary offering we make of our bodies
to their glory!

"From Fotheringay, this Thursday, 24th November.

"They have, thinking to degrade me, pulled down my canopy of state,
and since then my keeper has come to offer to write to their queen,
saying this deed was not done by his order, but by the advice of some
of the Council.  I have shown them instead of my arms on the said
canopy the cross of Our Lord.  You will hear all this; they have been
more gentle since.--Your affectionate cousin and perfect friend,

"MARY, Queen of Scotland, Dowager of France"

>From this day forward, when she learned the sentence delivered by the
commissioners, Mary Stuart no longer preserved any hope; for as she
knew Elizabeth's pardon was required to save her, she looked upon
herself thenceforward as lost, and only concerned herself with
preparing to die well.  Indeed, as it had happened to her sometimes,
from the cold and damp in her prisons, to become crippled for some
time in all her limbs, she was afraid of being so when they would
come to take her, which would prevent her going resolutely to the
scaffold, as she was counting on doing.  So, on Saturday the 14th
February, she sent for her doctor, Bourgoin, and asked him, moved by
a presentiment that her death was at hand, she said, what she must do
to prevent the return of the pains which crippled her.  He replied
that it would be good for her to medicine herself with fresh herbs.
"Go, then," said the queen," and ask Sir Amyas Paulet from me
permission to seek them in the fields."

Bourgoin went to Sir Amyas, who, as he himself was troubled with
sciatica, should have understood better than anyone the need of the
remedies for which the queen asked.  But this request, simple as it
was, raised great difficulties.  Sir Amyas replied that he could do
nothing without referring to his companion, Drury; but that paper and
ink might be brought, and that he, Master Bourgoin, could then make a
list of the needful plants, which they would try to procure.
Bourgoin answered that he did not know English well enough, and that
the village apothecaries did not know enough Latin, for him to risk
the queen's life for some error by himself or others.  Finally, after
a thousand hesitations, Paulet allowed Bourgoin to go out, which he
did, accompanied by the apothecary Gorjon; so that the following day
the queen was able to begin to doctor herself.

Mary Stuart's presentiments had not deceived her: Tuesday, February
17th, at about two o'clock in the afternoon, the Earls of Kent and
Shrewsbury, and Beale sent word to the queen that they desired to
speak with her.  The queen answered that she was ill and in bed, but
that if notwithstanding what they had to tell her was a matter of
importance, and they would give her a little time, she would get up.
They made answer that the communication they had to make admitted of
no delay, that they begged her then to make ready; which the queen
immediately did, and rising from her bed and cloaking herself, she
went and seated herself at a little table, on the same spot where she
was wont to be great part of the day.

Then the two earls, accompanied by Beale, Arnyas Paulet, and Drue
Drury, entered.  Behind them, drawn by curiosity, full of terrible
anxiety, came her dearest ladies and most cherished servants.  These
were, of womenkind, the Misses Renee de Really, Gilles Mowbray,
Jeanne Kennedy, Elspeth Curle, Mary Paget, and Susan Kercady; and of
men-kind, Dominique Bourgoin her doctor, Pierre Gorjon her
apothecary, Jacques Gervais her surgeon, Annibal Stewart her footman,
Dither Sifflart her butler, Jean Laudder her baker, and Martin Huet
her carver.

Then the Earl of Shrewsbury, with head bared like all those present,
who remained thus as long as they were in the queen's room, began to
say in English, addressing Mary--

"Madam, the Queen of England, my august mistress, has sent me to you,
with the Earl of Kent and Sir Robert Beale, here present, to make
known to you that after having honourably proceeded in the inquiry
into the deed of which you are accused and found guilty, an inquiry
which has already been submitted to your Grace by Lord Buckhurst, and
having delayed as long as it was in her power the execution of the
sentence, she can no longer withstand the importunity of her
subjects, who press her to carry it out, so great and loving is their
fear for her.  For this purpose we have come the bearers of a
commission, and we beg very humbly, madam, that it may please you to
hear it read."

"Read, my lord; I am listening," replied Mary Stuart, with the
greatest calmness.  Then Robert Beale unrolled the said commission,
which was on parchment, sealed with the Great Seal in yellow wax, and
read as follows:

"Elizabeth, by the grace of God, Queen of England, France, and
Ireland, etc., to our beloved and faithful cousins, George, Earl of
Shrewsbury, Grand Marshal of England; Henry, Earl of Kent; Henry,

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