List Of Contents | Contents of Mary Stuart, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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distributing the little she had with scrupulous fairness, and still
more according to need than according to service.  The executors she
chose were: the Duke of Guise, her first cousin; the Archbishop of
Glasgow, her ambassador; the Bishop of Ross, her chaplain in chief;
and M. du Ruysseau, her chancellor, all four certainly very worthy of
the charge, the first from his authority; the two bishops by piety
and conscience, and the last by his knowledge of affairs.  Her will
finished, she wrote this letter to the King of France:

SIR MY BROTHER-IN-LAW,--Having, by God's permission and for my sins,
I believe, thrown myself into the arms of this queen, my cousin,
where I have had much to endure for more than twenty years, I am by
her and by her Parliament finally condemned to death; and having
asked for my papers, taken from me, to make my will, I have not been
able to obtain anything to serve me, not even permission to write my
last wishes freely, nor leave that after my death my body should be
transported, as was my dearest desire, into your kingdom, where I had
had the honour of being queen, your sister and your ally.  To-day,
after dinner, without more respect, my sentence has been declared to
me, to be executed to-morrow, like a criminal, at eight o'clock in
the morning.  I have not the leisure to give you a full account of
what has occurred; but if it please you to believe my doctor and
these others my distressed servants, you will hear the truth, and
that, thanks to God, I despise death, which I protest I receive
innocent of every crime, even if I were their subject, which I never
was.  But my faith in the Catholic religion and my claims to the
crown of England are the real causes for my condemnation, and yet
they will not allow me to say that it is for religion I die, for my
religion kills theirs; and that is so true, that they have taken my
chaplain from me, who, although a prisoner in the same castle, may
not come either to console me, or to give me the holy sacrament of
the eucharist; but, on the contrary, they have made me urgent
entreaties to receive the consolations of their minister whom they
have brought for this purpose.  He who will bring you this letter,
and the rest of my servants, who are your subjects for the most part,
will bear you witness of the way in which I shall have performed my
last act.  Now it remains to me to implore you, as a most Christian
king, as my brother-in-law, as my ancient ally, and one who has so
often done me the honour to protest your friendship for me, to give
proof of this friendship, in your virtue and your charity, by helping
me in that of which I cannot without you discharge my conscience--
that is to say, in rewarding my good distressed servants, by giving
them their dues; then, in having prayers made to God for a queen who
has been called most Christian, and who dies a Catholic and deprived
of all her goods.  As to my son, I commend him to you as much as he
shall deserve, for I cannot answer for him; but as to my servants, I
commend them with clasped hands.  I have taken the liberty of sending
you two rare stones good for the health, hoping that yours may be
perfect during a long life; you will receive them as coming from your
very affectionate sister-in-law, at the point of death and giving
proof of her, good disposition towards you.

"I shall commend my servants to you in a memorandum, and will order
you, for the good of my soul, for whose salvation it will be
employed, to pay me a portion of what you owe me, if it please you,
and I conjure you for the honour of Jesus, to whom I shall pray to-
morrow at my death, that you leave me the wherewithal to found a mass
and to perform the necessary charities.

"This Wednesday, two hours after midnight--
Your affectionate and good sister,

"MARY, R...."

Of all these recommendations, the will and the letters, the queen at
once had copies made which she signed, so that, if some should be
seized by the English, the others might reach their destination.
Bourgoin pointed out to her that she was wrong to be in such a hurry
to close them, and that perhaps in two or three hours she would
remember that she had left something out.  But the queen paid no
attention, saying she was sure she had not forgotten anything, and
that if she had, she had only time now to pray and to look to her
conscience.  So she shut up all the several articles in the drawers
of a piece of furniture and gave the key to Bourgoin; then sending
for a foot-bath, in which she stayed for about ten minutes, she lay
down in bed, where she was not seen to sleep, but constantly to
repeat prayers or to remain in meditation.

Towards four o'clock in the morning, the queen, who was accustomed,
after evening prayers, to have the story of some male or female saint
read aloud to her, did not wish to depart from this habit, and, after
having hesitated among several for this solemn occasion, she chose
the greatest sinner of all, the penitent thief, saying humbly--

"If, great sinner as he was, he has yet sinned less than I, I desire
to beg of him, in remembrance of the passion of Jesus Christ; to,
have pity on me in the hour of my death, as Our Lord had pity on

Then, when the reading was over, she had all her handkerchiefs
brought, and chose the finest, which was of delicate cambric all
embroidered in gold, to bandage her eyes with.

At daybreak, reflecting that she had only two hours to live, she rose
and began dressing, but before she had finished, Bourgoin came into
her room, and, afraid lest the absent servants might murmur against
the queen, if by chance they were discontented at the will, and might
accuse those who had been present of having taken away from their
share to add to their own, he begged Mary to send for them all and to
read it in their presence; to which Mary agreed, and consented to do
so at once.

All the servants were then summoned, and the queen read her
testament, saying that it was done of her own free, full and entire
will, written and signed with her own hand, and that accordingly she
begged those present to give all the help in their power in seeing it
carried out without change or omission; then, having read it over,
and having received a promise from all, she gave it to Bourgoin,
charging him to send it to M.  de Guise, her chief executor, and at
the same time to forward her letters to the king and her principal
papers and memorandums: after this, she had the casket brought in
which she had put the purses which we mentioned before; she opened
them one after another, and seeing by the ticket within for whom each
was intended, she distributed them with her own hand, none of the
recipients being aware of their contents.  These gifts varied from
twenty to three hundred crowns; and to these sums she added seven
hundred livres for the poor, namely, two hundred for the poor of
England and five hundred for the poor of France; then she gave to
each man in her suite two rose nobles to be distributed in alms for
her sake, and finally one hundred and fifty crowns to Bourgoin to be
divided among them all when they should separate; and thus twenty-six
or twenty-seven people had money legacies.

The queen performed all this with great composure and calmness, with
no apparent change of countenance; so that it seemed as if she were
only preparing for a journey or change of dwelling; then she again
bade her servants farewell, consoling them and exhorting them to live
in peace, all this while finishing dressing as well and as elegantly
as she could.

Her toilet ended, the queen went from her reception-room to her ante-
room, where there was an altar set up and arranged, at which, before
he had been taken from her, her chaplain used to say mass; and
kneeling on the steps, surrounded by all her servants, she began the
communion prayers, and when they were ended, drawing from a golden
box a host consecrated by Pius V, which she had always scrupulously
preserved for the occasion of her death, she told Bourgoin to take
it, and, as he was the senior, to take the priest's place, old age
being holy and sacred; and in this manner in spite of all the
precautions taken to deprive her of it, the queen received the holy
sacrament of the eucharist.

This pious ceremony ended, Bourgoin told the queen that in her will
she had forgotten three people--Mesdemoiselles Beauregard, de
Montbrun, and her chaplain.  The queen was greatly astonished at this
oversight, which was quite involuntary, and, taking back her will,
she wrote her wishes with respect to them in the first empty margin;
then she kneeled down again in prayer; but after a moment, as she
suffered too much in this position, she rose, and Bourgoin having had
brought her a little bread and wine, she ate and drank, and when she
had finished, gave him her hand and thanked him for having been
present to help her at her last meal as he was accustomed; and
feeling stronger, she kneeled down and began to pray again.

Scarcely had she done so, than there was a knocking at the door: the
queen understood what was required of her; but as she had not
finished praying, she begged those who were come to fetch her to wait
a moment, and in a few minutes' she would be ready.

The Earls of Kent and Shrewsbury, remembering the resistance she had
made when she had had to go down to the commissioners and appear
before the lawyers, mounted some guards in the ante-room where they
were waiting themselves, so that they could take her away by force if
necessary, should she refuse to come willingly, or should her
servants want to defend her; but it is untrue that the two barons
entered her room, as some have said.  They only set foot there once,
on the occasion which we have related, when they came to apprise her
of her sentence.

They waited some minutes, nevertheless, as the queen had begged them;
then, about eight o'clock, they knocked again, accompanied by the
guards; but to their great surprise the door was opened immediately,
and they found Mary on her knees in prayer.  Upon this, Sir Thomas
Andrew, who was at the time sheriff of the county of Nottingham,

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