List Of Contents | Contents of Mary Stuart, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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the queen.  This was the first ostensible act of that hatred which
was afterwards so fatal to Mary.

The queen, on her side, appealed to her nobles, who in response
hastened to rally to her, so that in a month's time she found herself
at the head of the finest army that ever a king of Scotland had
raised.  Darnley assumed the command of this magnificent assembly,
mounted on a superb horse, arrayed in gilded armour; and accompanied
by the queen, who, in a riding habit, with pistols at her saddle-bow,
wished to make the campaign with him, that she might not quit his
side for a moment.  Both were young, both were handsome, and they
left Edinburgh amidst the cheers of the people and the army.

Murray and his accomplices did not even try to stand against them,
and the campaign consisted of such rapid and complex marches and
counter-marches, that this rebellion is called the Run-about Raid-
that is to say, the run in every sense of the word.  Murray and the
rebels withdrew into England, where Elizabeth, while seeming to
condemn their unlucky attempt, afforded them all the assistance they

Mary returned to Edinburgh delighted at the success of her two first
campaigns, not suspecting that this new good fortune was the last she
would have, and that there her short-lived prosperity would cease.
Indeed, she soon saw that in Darnley she had given herself not a
devoted and very attentive husband, as she had believed, but an
imperious and brutal master, who, no longer having any motive for
concealment, showed himself to her just as he was, a man of
disgraceful vices, of which drunkenness and debauchery was the least.
Accordingly, serious differences were not long in springing up in
this royal household.

Darnley in wedding Mary had not become king, but merely the queen's
husband.  To confer on him authority nearly equalling a regent's, it
was necessary that Mary should grant him what was termed the crown
matrimonial--a crown Francis II had worn during his short royalty,
and that Mary, after Darnley's conduct to herself, had not the
slightest intention of bestowing on him.  Thus, to whatever
entreaties he made, in whatever form they were wrapped, Mary merely
replied with an unvaried and obstinate refusal.  Darnley, amazed at
this force of will in a young queen who had loved him enough to raise
him to her, and not believing that she could find it in herself,
sought in her entourage for some secret and influential adviser who
might have inspired her with it.  His suspicions fell on Rizzio.

In reality, to whatever cause Rizzio owed his power (and to even the
most clear-sighted historians this point has always remained
obscure), be it that he ruled as lover, be it that he advised as
minister, his counsels as long as he lived were always given for the
greater glory of the queen.  Sprung from so low, he at least wished
to show himself worthy, of having risen so high, and owing everything
to Mary, he tried to repay her with devotion.  Thus Darnley was not
mistaken, and it was indeed Rizzio who, in despair at having helped
to bring about a union which he foresaw must become so unfortunate,
gave Mary the advice not to give up any of her power to one who
already possessed much more than he deserved, in possessing her

Darnley, like all persons of both weak and violent character,
disbelieved in the persistence of will in others, unless this will
was sustained by an outside influence.  He thought that in ridding
himself of Rizzio he could not fail to gain the day, since, as he
believed, he alone was opposing the grant of this great desire of
his, the crown matrimonial.  Consequently, as Rizzio was disliked by
the nobles in proportion as his merits had raised him above them, it
was easy for Darnley to organise a conspiracy, and James Douglas of
Morton, chancellor of the kingdom, consented to act as chief.

This is the second time since the beginning of our narrative that we
inscribe this name Douglas, so often pronounced, in Scottish history,
and which at this time, extinct in the elder branch, known as the
Black Douglases, was perpetuated in the younger branch, known as the
Red Douglases.  It was an ancient, noble, and powerful family, which,
when the descent in the male line from Robert Bruce had lapsed,
disputed the royal title with the first Stuart, and which since then
had constantly kept alongside the throne, sometimes its support,
sometimes its enemy, envying every great house, for greatness made it
uneasy, but above all envious of the house of Hamilton, which, if not
its equal, was at any rate after itself the next most powerful.

During the whole reign of James V, thanks to the hatred which the
king bore them, the Douglases had: not only lost all their influence,
but had also been exiled to England.  This hatred was on account of
their having seized the guardianship of the young prince and kept him
prisoner till he was fifteen.  Then, with the help of one of his
pages, James V had escaped from Falkland, and had reached Stirling,
whose governor was in his interests.  Scarcely was he safe in the
castle than he made proclamation that any Douglas who should approach
within a dozen miles of it would be prosecuted for high treason.
This was not all: he obtained a decree from Parliament, declaring
them guilty of felony, and condemning them to exile; they remained
proscribed, then, during the king's lifetime, and returned to
Scotland only upon his death.  The result was that, although they had
been recalled about the throne, and though, thanks to the past
influence of Murray, who, one remembers, was a Douglas on the
mother's side, they filled the most important posts there, they had
not forgiven to the daughter the enmity borne them by the father.

This was why James Douglas, chancellor as he was, and consequently
entrusted with the execution of the laws, put himself at the head of
a conspiracy which had for its aim the violation of all laws; human
and divine.

Douglas's first idea had been to treat Rizzio as the favourites of
James III had been treated at the Bridge of Lauder--that is to say,
to make a show of having a trial and to hang him afterwards.  But
such a death did not suffice for Darnley's vengeance; as above
everything he wished to punish the queen in Rizzio's person, he
exacted that the murder should take place in her presence.

Douglas associated with himself Lord Ruthven, an idle and dissolute
sybarite, who under the circumstances promised to push his devotion
so far as to wear a cuirass; then, sure of this important accomplice,
he busied himself with finding other agents.

However, the plot was not woven with such secrecy but that something
of it transpired; and Rizzio received several warnings that he
despised.  Sir James Melville, among others, tried every means to
make him understand the perils a stranger ran who enjoyed such
absolute confidence in a wild, jealous court like that of Scotland.
Rizzio received these hints as if resolved not to apply them to
himself; and Sir James Melville, satisfied that he had done enough to
ease his conscience, did not insist further.  Then a French priest,
who had a reputation as a clever astrologer, got himself admitted to
Rizzio, and warned him that the stars predicted that he was in deadly
peril, and that he should beware of a certain bastard above all.
Rizzio replied that from the day when he had been honoured with his
sovereign's confidence, he had sacrificed in advance his life to his
position; that since that time, however, he had had occasion to
notice that in general the Scotch were ready to threaten but slow to
act; that, as to the bastard referred to, who was doubtless the Earl
of Murray, he would take care that he should never enter Scotland far
enough for his sword to reach him, were it as long as from Dumfries
to Edinburgh; which in other words was as much as to say that Murray
should remain exiled in England for life, since Dumfries was one of
the principal frontier towns.

Meanwhile the conspiracy proceeded, and Douglas and Ruthven, having
collected their accomplices and taken their measures, came to Darnley
to finish the compact.  As the price of the bloody service they
rendered the king, they exacted from him a promise to obtain the
pardon of Murray and the nobles compromised with him in the affair of
the "run in every sense".  Darnley granted all they asked of him, and
a messenger was sent to Murray to inform him of the expedition in
preparation, and to invite him to hold himself in readiness to
reenter Scotland at the first notice he should receive.  Then, this
point settled, they made Darnley sign a paper in which he
acknowledged himself the author and chief of the enterprise.  The
other assassins were the Earl of Morton, the Earl of Ruthven, George
Douglas the bastard of Angus, Lindley, and Andrew, Carew.  The
remainder were soldiers, simple murderers' tools, who did not even
know what was afoot.  Darnley reserved it for himself to appoint the

Two days after these conditions were agreed upon, Darnley having been
notified that the queen was alone with Rizzio, wished to make himself
sure of the degree of her favour enjoyed by the minister.  He
accordingly went to her apartment by a little door of which he always
kept the key upon him; but though the key turned in the lock, the
door did not open.  Then Darnley knocked, announcing himself; but
such was the contempt into which he had fallen with the queen, that
Mary left him outside, although, supposing she had been alone with
Rizzio, she would have had time to send him away.  Darnley, driven to
extremities by this, summoned Morton, Ruthven, Lennox, Lindley, and
Douglas's bastard, and fixed the assassination of Rizzio for two days

They had just completed all the details, and had, distributed the
parts that each must play in this bloody tragedy, when suddenly, and
at the moment when they least expected it, the door opened and, Mary
Stuart appeared on the threshold.

"My lords," said she, "your holding these secret counsels is useless.
I am informed of your plots, and with God's help I shall soon apply a

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