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Mary And Lord Darnley








1562-1566

Stormy scenes.--Lord James.--Acts of cruelty.--Mary's energy and
decision.--Her popularity.--Story of Chatelard.--His love and
infatuation.--Trial of Chatelard.--His execution and last
words.--Mary and Elizabeth.--The English succession.--Claim of
Lady Lennox.--Lord Darnley.--Offers of marriage.--Duplicity of
Elizabeth.--Melville sent as embassador to Elizabeth.--His
reception.--Conversation of Melville and Elizabeth.--Dudley, earl
of Leicester.--The "long" lad.--Lord Darnley.--Elizabeth's
management.--Darnley's visit to Scotland.--Mary's message to
Elizabeth.--Elizabeth's duplicity.--Wemys Castle.--Mary's opinion
of Darnley.--His interview with her.--The courtship.--Elizabeth in
a rage.--Murray's opposition.--Mary hastens the marriage.--A
dangerous plot.--Mary's narrow escape.--The marriage.--The mourner
and the bride.--Darnley's contemptible character.--Darnley's
imperiousness and pride.--Mary's cares.--Rebellion.--Elizabeth's
treatment of the rebels.--Mary's generous conduct to Darnley.--The
double throne.--Darnley's cruel ingratitude.


During the three or four years which elapsed after Queen Mary's
arrival in Scotland, she had to pass through many stormy scenes of
anxiety and trouble. The great nobles of the land were continually
quarreling, and all parties were earnest and eager in their efforts
to get Mary's influence and power on their side. She had a great deal
of trouble with the affairs of her brother, the Lord James. He wished
to have the earldom of Murray conferred upon him. The castle and
estates pertaining to this title were in the north of Scotland, in
the neighborhood of Inverness. They were in possession of another
family, who refused to give them up. Mary accompanied Lord James to
the north with an army, to put him in possession. They took the
castle, and hung the governor, who had refused to surrender at their
summons. This, and some other acts of this expedition, have since
been considered unjust and cruel; but posterity have been divided in
opinion on the question how far Mary herself was personally
responsible for them.

Mary, at any rate, displayed a great degree of decision and energy in
her management of public affairs, and in the personal exploits which
she performed. She made excursions from castle to castle, and from
town to town, all over Scotland. On these expeditions she traveled on
horseback, sometimes with a royal escort, and sometimes at the head
of an army of eighteen or twenty thousand men. These royal progresses
were made sometimes among the great towns and cities on the eastern
coast of Scotland, and also, at other times, among the gloomy and
dangerous defiles of the Highlands. Occasionally she would pay visits
to the nobles at their castles, to hunt in their parks, to review
their Highland retainers, or to join them in celebrations and fetes,
and military parades.

During all this time, her personal influence and ascendency over all
who knew her was constantly increasing; and the people of Scotland,
notwithstanding the disagreement on the subject of religion, became
more and more devoted to their queen. The attachment which those who
were in immediate attendance upon her felt to her person and
character, was in many cases extreme. In one instance, this
attachment led to a very sad result. There was a young Frenchman,
named Chatelard, who came in Mary's train from France. He was a
scholar and a poet. He began by writing verses in Mary's praise,
which Mary read, and seemed to be pleased with. This increased his
interest in her, and led him to imagine that he was himself the
object of her kind regard. Finally, the love which he felt for her
came to be a perfect infatuation. He concealed himself one night in
Mary's bed-chamber, armed, as if to resist any attack which the
attendants might make upon him. He was discovered by the female
attendants, and taken away, and they, for fear of alarming Mary, did
not tell her of the circumstance till the next morning.

Mary was very much displeased, or, at least, professed to be so. John
Knox thought that this displeasure was only a pretense. She, however,
forbid Chatelard to come any more into her sight. A day or two after
this, Mary set out on a journey to the north. Chatelard followed. He
either believed that Mary really loved him, or else he was led on by
that strange and incontrollable infatuation which so often, in such
cases, renders even the wisest men utterly reckless and blind to the
consequences of what they say or do. He watched his opportunity, and
one night, when Mary retired to her bed-room, he followed her
directly in. Mary called for help. The attendants came in, and
immediately sent for the Earl of Murray, who was in the palace.
Chatelard protested that all he wanted was to explain and apologize
for his coming into Mary's room before, and to ask her to forgive
him. Mary, however, would not listen. She was very much incensed.
When Murray came in, she directed him to run his dagger through the
man. Murray, however, instead of doing this, had the offender seized
and sent to prison. In a few days he was tried, and condemned to be
beheaded. The excitement and enthusiasm of his love continued to the
last. He stood firm and undaunted on the scaffold, and, just before
he laid his head on the block, he turned toward the place where Mary
was then lodging, and said, "Farewell! loveliest and most cruel
princess that the world contains!"

In the mean time, Mary and Queen Elizabeth continued ostensibly on
good terms. They sent embassadors to each other's courts. They
communicated letters and messages to each other, and entered into
various negotiations respecting the affairs of their respective
kingdoms. The truth was, each was afraid of the other, and neither
dared to come to an open rupture. Elizabeth was uneasy on account of
Mary's claim to her crown, and was very anxious to avoid driving her
to extremities, since she knew that, in that case, there would be
great danger of her attempting openly to enforce it. Mary, on the
other hand, thought that there was more probability of her obtaining
the succession to the English crown by keeping peace with Elizabeth
than by a quarrel. Elizabeth was not married, and was likely to live
and die single. Mary would then be the next heir, without much
question. She wished Elizabeth to acknowledge this, and to have the
English Parliament enact it. If Elizabeth would take this course,
Mary was willing to waive her claims during Elizabeth's life.
Elizabeth, however, was not willing to do this decidedly. She wished
to reserve the right to herself of marrying if she chose. She also
wished to keep Mary dependent upon her as long as she could. Hence,
while she would not absolutely refuse to comply with Mary's
proposition, she would not really accede to it, but kept the whole
matter in suspense by endless procrastination, difficulties, and
delays.

I have said that, after Elizabeth, Mary's claim to the British crown
was almost unquestioned. There was another lady about as nearly
related to the English royal line as Mary. Her name was Margaret
Stuart. Her title was Lady Lennox. She had a son named Henry Stuart,
whose title was Lord Darnley. It was a question whether Mary or
Margaret were best entitled to consider herself the heir to the
British crown after Elizabeth. Mary, therefore, had two obstacles in
the way of the accomplishment of her wishes to be Queen of England:
one was the claim of Elizabeth, who was already in possession of the
throne, and the other the claims of Lady Lennox, and, after her, of
her son Darnley. There was a plan of disposing of this last
difficulty in a very simple manner. It was, to have Mary marry Lord
Darnley, and thus unite these two claims. This plan had been
proposed, but there had been no decision in respect to it. There was
one objection: that Darnley being Mary's cousin, their marriage was
forbidden by the laws of the Catholic Church. There was no way of
obviating this difficulty but by applying to the pope to grant them a
special dispensation.

In the mean time, a great many other plans were formed for Mary's
marriage. Several of the princes and potentates of Europe applied for
her hand. They were allured somewhat, no doubt, by her youth and
beauty, and still more, very probably, by the desire to annex her
kingdom to their dominions. Mary, wishing to please Elizabeth,
communicated often with her, to ask her advice and counsel in regard
to her marriage. Elizabeth's policy was to embarrass and perplex the
whole subject by making difficulties in respect to every plan
proposed. Finally, she recommended a gentleman of her own court to
Mary--Robert Dudley, whom she afterward made Earl of Leicester--one
of her special favorites. The position of Dudley, and the
circumstances of the case, were such that mankind have generally
supposed that Elizabeth did not seriously imagine that such a plan
could be adopted, but that she proposed it, as perverse and
intriguing people often do, as a means of increasing the difficulty.
Such minds often attempt to prevent doing what can be done by
proposing and urging what they know is impossible.

In the course of these negotiations, Queen Mary once sent Melville,
her former page of honor in France, as a special embassador to Queen
Elizabeth, to ascertain more perfectly her views. Melville had
followed Mary to Scotland, and had entered her service there as a
confidential secretary; and as she had great confidence in his
prudence and in his fidelity, she thought him the most suitable
person to undertake this mission. Melville afterward lived to an
advanced age, and in the latter part of his life he wrote a narrative
of his various adventures, and recorded, in quaint and ancient
language, many of his conversations and interviews with the two
queens. His mission to England was of course a very important event
in his life, and one of the most curious and entertaining passages in
his memoirs is his narrative of his interviews with the English
queen. He was, at the time, about thirty-four years of age. Mary was
about twenty-two.

Sir James Melville was received with many marks of attention and
honor by Queen Elizabeth. His first interview with her was in a
garden near the palace. She first asked him about a letter which Mary
had recently written to her, and which, she said, had greatly
displeased her; and she took out a reply from her pocket, written in
very sharp and severe language, though she said she had not sent it
because it was not severe enough, and she was going to write another.
Melville asked to see the letter from Mary which had given Elizabeth
so much offense; and on reading it, he explained it, and disavowed,
on Mary's part, any intention to give offense, and thus finally
succeeded in appeasing Elizabeth's displeasure, and at length induced
her to tear up her angry reply.

Elizabeth then wanted to know what Mary thought of her proposal of
Dudley for her husband. Melville told her that she had not given the
subject much reflection, but that she was going to appoint two
commissioners, and she wished Elizabeth to appoint two others, and
then that the four should meet on the borders of the two countries,
and consider the whole subject of the marriage. Elizabeth said that
she perceived that Mary did not think much of this proposed match.
She said, however, that Dudley stood extremely high in her regard,
that she was going to make him an earl, and that she should marry him
herself were it not that she was fully resolved to live and die a
single woman. She said she wished very much to have Dudley become
Mary's husband both on account of her attachment to him, and also on
account of his attachment to her, which she was sure would prevent
his allowing her, that is, Elizabeth, to have any trouble out of
Mary's claim to her crown as long as she lived.

Elizabeth also asked Melville to wait in Westminster until the day
appointed for making Dudley an earl. This was done, a short time
afterward, with great ceremony. Lord Darnley, then a very tall and

slender youth of about nineteen, was present on the occasion. His
father and mother had been banished from Scotland, on account of some
political offenses, twenty years before, and he had thus himself been
brought up in England. As he was a near relative of the queen, and a
sort of heir-presumptive to the crown, he had a high position at the
court, and his office was, on this occasion, to bear the sword of
honor before the queen. Dudley kneeled before Elizabeth while she put
upon him the badges of his new dignity. Afterward she asked Melville
what he thought of him. Melville was polite enough to speak warmly in
his favor. "And yet," said the queen, "I suppose you prefer yonder
long lad," pointing to Darnley. She knew something of Mary's
half-formed design of making Darnley her husband. Melville, who did
not wish her to suppose that Mary had any serious intention of
choosing Darnley, said that "no woman of spirit would choose such a
person as he was, for he was handsome, beardless, and lady-faced; in
fact, he looked more like a woman than a man."

Melville was not very honest in this, for he had secret instructions
at this very time to apply to Lady Lennox, Darnley's mother, to send
her son into Scotland, in order that Mary might see him, and be
assisted to decide the question of becoming his wife, by ascertaining
how she was going to like him personally. Queen Elizabeth, in the
mean time, pressed upon Melville the importance of Mary's deciding
soon in favor of the marriage with Leicester. As to declaring in
favor of Mary's right to inherit the crown after her, she said the
question was in the hands of the great lawyers and commissioners to
whom she had referred it, and that she heartily wished that they
might come to a conclusion in favor of Mary's claim. She should urge
the business forward as fast as she could; but the result would
depend very much upon the disposition which Mary showed to comply
with her wishes in respect to the marriage. She said she should
never marry herself unless she was compelled to it on account of
Mary's giving her trouble by her claims upon the crown, and forcing
her to desire that it should go to her direct descendants. If Mary
would act wisely, and as she ought, and follow her counsel, she
would, in due time, have all her desire.

Some time more elapsed in negotiations and delays. There was a good
deal of trouble in getting leave for Darnley to go to Scotland. From
his position, and from the state of the laws and customs of the two
realms, he could not go without Elizabeth's permission. Finally, Mary
sent word to Elizabeth that she would marry Leicester according to
her wish, if she would have her claim to the English crown, after
Elizabeth, acknowledged and established by the English government, so
as to have that question definitely and finally settled. Elizabeth
sent back for answer to this proposal, that if Mary married
Leicester, she would advance him to great honors and dignities, but
that she could not do any thing at present about the succession. She
also, at the same time, gave permission to Darnley to go to Scotland.

It is thought that Elizabeth never seriously intended that Mary
should marry Leicester, and that she did not suppose Mary herself
would consent to it on any terms. Accordingly, when she found Mary
was acceding to the plan, she wanted to retreat from it herself, and
hoped that Darnley's going to Scotland, and appearing there as a new
competitor in the field, would tend to complicate and embarrass the
question in Mary's mind, and help to prevent the Leicester
negotiation from going any further. At any rate, Lord Darnley--then a
very tall and handsome young man of nineteen--obtained suddenly
permission to go to Scotland. Mary went to Wemys Castle, and made
arrangements to have Darnley come and visit her there.

[Illustration: WEMY'S CASTLE--The Scene of Mary's first Interview
with Darnley.]

Wemys Castle is situated in a most romantic and beautiful spot on the
sea-shore, on the northern side of the Frith of Forth. Edinburgh is
upon the southern side of the Frith, and is in full view from the
windows of the castle, with Salisbury Crags and Arthur's Seat on the
left of the city. Wemys Castle was, at this time, the residence of
Murray, Mary's brother. Mary's visit to it was an event which
attracted a great deal of attention. The people flocked into the
neighborhood and provisions and accommodations of every kind rose
enormously in price. Every one was eager to get a glimpse of the
beautiful queen. Besides, they knew that Lord Darnley was expected,
and the rumor that he was seriously thought of as her future husband
had been widely circulated, and had awakened, of course, a universal
desire to see him.

Mary was very much pleased with Darnley. She told Melville, after
their first interview, that he was the handsomest and best
proportioned "long man" she had ever seen. Darnley was, in fact, very
tall, and as he was straight and slender, he appeared even taller
than he really was. He was, however, though young, very easy and
graceful in his manners, and highly accomplished. Mary was very much
pleased with him. She had almost decided to make him her husband
before she saw him, merely from political considerations, on account
of her wish to combine his claim with hers in respect to the English
crown. Elizabeth's final answer, refusing the terms on which Mary had
consented to marry Leicester, which came about this time, vexed her,
and determined her to abandon that plan. And now, just in such a
crisis, to find Darnley possessed of such strong personal
attractions, seemed to decide the question. In a few days her
imagination was full of pictures of joy and pleasure, in
anticipations of union with such a husband.

The thing took the usual course of such affairs. Darnley asked Mary
to be his wife. She said no, and was offended with him for asking it.
He offered her a present of a ring. She refused to accept it. But the
no meant yes, and the rejection of the ring was only the prelude to
the acceptance of something far more important, of which a ring is
the symbol. Mary's first interview with Darnley was in February. In
April, Queen Elizabeth's embassador sent her word that he was
satisfied that Mary's marriage with Darnley was all arranged and
settled.

Queen Elizabeth was, or pretended to be, in a great rage. She sent
the most urgent remonstrances to Mary against the execution of the
plan. She forwarded, also, very decisive orders to Darnley, and to
the Earl of Lennox his father, to return immediately to England.
Lennox replied that he could not return, for "he did not think the
climate would agree with him!" Darnley sent back word that he had
entered the service of the Queen of Scots, and henceforth should
obey her orders alone. Elizabeth, however, was not the only one who
opposed this marriage. The Earl of Murray, Mary's brother, who had
been thus far the great manager of the government under Mary, took at
once a most decided stand against it. He enlisted a great number of
Protestant nobles with him, and they held deliberations, in which
they formed plans for resisting it by force. But Mary, who, with all
her gentleness and loveliness of spirit, had, like other women, some
decision and energy when an object in which the heart is concerned is
at stake, had made up her mind. She sent to France to get the consent
of her friends there. She dispatched a commissioner to Rome to obtain
the pope's dispensation; she obtained the sanction of her own
Parliament; and, in fact, in every way hastened the preparations for
the marriage.

Murray, on the other hand, and his confederate lords, were determined
to prevent it. They formed a plan to rise in rebellion against Mary,
to waylay and seize her, to imprison her, and to send Darnley and his
father to England, having made arrangements with Elizabeth's
ministers to receive them at the borders. The plan was all well
matured, and would probably have been carried into effect, had not
Mary, in some way or other, obtained information of the design. She
was then at Stirling, and they were to waylay her on the usual route
to Edinburgh. She made a sudden journey, at an unexpected time, and
by a new and unusual road, and thus evaded her enemies. The violence
of this opposition only stimulated her determination to carry the
marriage into effect without delay. Her escape from her rebellious
nobles took place in June, and she was married in July. This was six
months after her first interview with Darnley. The ceremony was
performed in the royal chapel at Holyrood. They show, to this day,
the place where she is said to have stood, in the now roofless
interior.

Mary was conducted into the chapel by Lennox and another nobleman, in
the midst of a large company of lords and ladies of the court, and of
strangers of distinction, who had come to Edinburgh to witness the
ceremony. A vast throng had collected also around the palace. Mary was
led to the altar, and then Lord Darnley was conducted in. The marriage
ceremony was performed according to the Catholic ritual. Three rings,
one of them a diamond ring of great value, were put upon her finger.
After the ceremony, largess was proclaimed, and money distributed
among the crowd, as had been done in Paris at Mary's former marriage,
five years before. Mary then remained to attend the celebration of
mass, Darnley, who was not a Catholic, retiring. After the mass, Mary
returned to the palace, and changed the mourning dress which she had
continued to wear from the time of her first husband's death to that
hour, for one more becoming a bride. The evening was spent in
festivities of every kind.

We have said that Darnley was personally attractive in respect both
to his countenance and his manners; and, unfortunately, this is all
that can be said in his favor. He was weak-minded, and yet
self-conceited and vain. The sudden elevation which his marriage with
a queen gave him, made him proud, and he soon began to treat all
around him in a very haughty and imperious manner. He seems to have
been entirely unaccustomed to exercise any self-command, or to submit
to any restraints in the gratification of his passions. Mary paid him
a great many attentions, and took great pleasure in conferring upon
him, as her queenly power enabled her to do, distinctions and honors;
but, instead of being grateful for them, he received them as matters
of course, and was continually demanding more. There was one title
which he wanted, and which, for some good reason, it was necessary to
postpone conferring upon him. A nobleman came to him one day and
informed him of the necessity of this delay. He broke into a fit of
passion, drew his dagger, rushed toward the nobleman, and attempted
to stab him. He commenced his imperious and haughty course of
procedure even before his marriage, and continued it afterward,
growing more and more violent as his ambition increased with an
increase of power. Mary felt these cruel acts of selfishness and
pride very keenly, but, womanlike, she palliated and excused them,
and loved him still.

She had, however, other trials and cares pressing upon her
immediately. Murray and his confederates organized a formal and open
rebellion. Mary raised an army and took the field against them. The
country generally took her side. A terrible and somewhat protracted
civil war ensued, but the rebels were finally defeated and driven out
of the country. They went to England and claimed Elizabeth's
protection, saying that she had incited them to the revolt, and
promised them her aid. Elizabeth told them that it would not do for
her to be supposed to have abetted a rebellion in her cousin Mary's
dominions, and that, unless they would, in the presence of the
foreign embassadors at her court, disavow her having done so, she
could not help them or countenance them in any way. The miserable
men, being reduced to a hard extremity, made this disavowal.
Elizabeth then said to them, "Now you have told the truth. Neither I,
nor any one else in my name, incited you against your queen; and your
abominable treason may set an example to my own subjects to rebel
against me. So get you gone out of my presence, miserable traitors as
you are."

Thus Mary triumphed over all the obstacles to her marriage with the
man she loved; but, alas! before the triumph was fully accomplished,
the love was gone. Darnley was selfish, unfeeling, and incapable of
requiting affection like Mary's. He treated her with the most
heartless indifference, though she had done every thing to awaken his
gratitude and win his love. She bestowed upon him every honor which
it was in her power to grant. She gave him the title of king. She
admitted him to share with her the powers and prerogatives of the
crown. There is to this day, in Mary's apartments at Holyrood House,
a double throne which she had made for herself and her husband, with
their initials worked together in the embroidered covering, and each
seat surmounted by a crown. Mankind have always felt a strong
sentiment of indignation at the ingratitude which could requite such
love with such selfishness and cruelty.





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