Return To Scotland


Calais.--Artificial piers and breakwaters.--Throckmorton.--Elizabeth's

plans.--Throckmorton baffled.--Throckmorton's advice.--Queen Catharine's


accident.--Mary's farewell to France.--Her deep emotion.--Mary's first

night on board.--Her reluctance to leave France.--Fog.--One vessel

captured.--Narrow escape.--Mary's Adieu to France.--Attempts t

translate it.--Translations of Mary's Adieu to France.--Arrival at

Leith.--Palace of Holyrood.--Mary's arrival unexpected.--Mary's

reception.--Contrasts.--The cavalcade.--Serenade.--Solitary

home.--Favorable impression.--The Lord James.--Mary makes him one of

her ministers.--The mass.--Transubstantiation.--Adoration of the

host.--Protestant and Catholic worship.--Violence and persecution.--The

mass in Mary's chapel.--Scene of excitement.--Lord James.--The reformer,

John Knox.--His uncompromising character.--Knox's interview with

Mary.--His sternness subdued.--The four Maries.--Queen Elizabeth's


Mary was to sail from the port of Calais. Calais is on the northern

coast of France, opposite to Dover in England, these towns being on

opposite sides of the Straits of Dover, where the channel between

England and France is very narrow. Still, the distance is so great

that the land on either side is ordinarily not visible on the other.

There is no good natural harbor at Calais, nor, in fact, at any other

point on the French coast. The French have had to supply the

deficiency by artificial piers and breakwaters. There are several

very capacious and excellent harbors on the English side. This may

have been one cause, among others, of the great naval superiority

which England has attained.

When Queen Elizabeth found that Mary was going to persevere in her

intention of returning to her native land, she feared that she might,

after her arrival in Scotland, and after getting established in power

there, form a scheme for making war upon her dominions, and

attempt to carry into effect her claim upon the English crown. She

wished to prevent this. Would it be prudent to intercept Mary upon

her passage? She reflected on this subject with the cautious

calculation which formed so striking a part of her character, and

felt in doubt. Her taking Mary a prisoner, and confining her a

captive in her own land, might incense Queen Catharine, who was now

regent of France, and also awaken a general resentment in Scotland,

so as to bring upon her the hostility of those two countries, and

thus, perhaps, make more mischief than the securing of Mary's person

would prevent.

She accordingly, as a previous step, sent to Throckmorton, her

embassador in France, directing him to have an interview with Queen

Catharine, and ascertain how far she would feel disposed to take

Mary's part. Throckmorton did this. Queen Catharine gave no direct

reply. She said that both herself and the young king wished well to

Elizabeth, and to Mary too, that it was her desire that the two

queens might be on good terms with each other; that she was a friend

to them both, and should not take a part against either of them.

This was all that Queen Elizabeth could expect, and she formed her

plans for intercepting Mary on her passage. She sent to Throckmorton,

asking him to find out, if he could, what port Queen Mary was to sail

from, and to send her word. She then gave orders to her naval

commanders to assemble as many ships as they could, and hold them in

readiness to sail into the seas between England and France, for the

purpose of exterminating the pirates, which she said had lately

become very numerous there.

Throckmorton took occasion, in a conversation which he had with Mary

soon after this, to inquire from what port she intended to sail; but

she did not give him the information. She suspected his motive, and

merely said, in reply to his question, that she hoped the wind would

prove favorable for carrying her away as far as possible from the

English coast, whatever might be the point from which she should take

her departure. Throckmorton then endeavored to find out the

arrangements of the voyage by other means, but without much success.

He wrote to Elizabeth that he thought Mary would sail either from

Havre or Calais; that she would go eastward, along the shore of the

Continent, by Flanders and Holland, till she had gained a

considerable distance from the English coast, and then would sail

north along the eastern shores of the German Ocean. He advised that

Elizabeth should send spies to Calais and to Havre, and perhaps to

other French ports, to watch there, and to let her know whenever they

observed any appearances of preparations for Mary's departure.

In the mean time, as the hour for Mary's farewell to Paris and all

its scenes of luxury and splendor, drew near, those who had loved her

were drawn more closely to her in heart than ever, and those who had

been envious and jealous began to relent, and to look upon her with

feelings of compassion and of kind regard. Queen Catharine treated

her with extreme kindness during the last few days of her stay, and

she accompanied her for some distance on her journey, with every

manifestation of sincere affection and good will. She stopped, at

length, at St. Germain, and there, with many tears, she bade her

gentle daughter-in-law a long and last farewell.

Many princes and nobles, especially of the family of Guise, Mary's

relatives, accompanied her through the whole journey. They formed

quite a long cavalcade, and attracted great attention in all the

towns and districts through which they passed. They traveled slowly,

but at length arrived at Calais, where they waited nearly a week to

complete the arrangements for Mary's embarkation. At length the day

arrived for her to set sail. A large concourse of spectators

assembled to witness the scene. Four ships had been provided for the

transportation of the party and their effects. Two of these were

galleys. They were provided with banks of oars, and large crews of

rowers, by means of which the vessels could be propelled when the

wind failed. The two other vessels were merely vessels of burden, to

carry the furniture and other effects of the passengers.

Many of the queen's friends were to accompany her to Scotland. The

four Maries were among them. She bade those that were to remain

behind farewell, and prepared to embark on board the royal galley.

Her heart was very sad. Just at this time, a vessel which was coming

in struck against the pier, in consequence of a heavy sea which was

rolling in, and of the distraction of the seamen occasioned by Mary's

embarkation. The vessel which struck was so injured by the concussion

that it filled immediately and sank. Most of the seamen on board

were drowned. This accident produced great excitement and confusion.

Mary looked upon the scene from the deck of her vessel, which was now

slowly moving from the shore. It alarmed her, and impressed her mind

with a sad and mournful sense of the dangers of the elements to whose

mercy she was now to be committed for many days. "What an unhappy

omen is this!" she exclaimed. She then went to the stern of the ship,

looked back at the shore, then knelt down, and, covering her face

with her hands, sobbed aloud. "Farewell, France!" she exclaimed: "I

shall never, never see thee more." Presently, when her emotions for a

moment subsided, she would raise her eyes, and take another view of

the slowly-receding shore, and then exclaim again, "Farewell, my

beloved France! farewell! farewell!"


She remained in this position, suffering this anguish, for five hours,

when it began to grow dark, and she could no longer see the shore. She

then rose, saying that her beloved country was gone from her sight

forever. "The darkness, like a thick veil, hides thee from my sight,

and I shall see thee no more. So farewell, beloved land! farewell

forever!" She left her place at the stern, but she would not leave

the deck. She made them bring up a bed, and place it for her there,

near the stern. They tried to induce her to go into the cabin, or at

least to take some supper; but she would not. She lay down upon her

bed. She charged the helmsman to awaken her at the dawn, if the land

was in sight when the dawn should appear. She then wept herself to


During the night the air was calm, and the vessels in which Mary and

her company had embarked made such small progress, being worked only

by the oars, that the land came into view again with the gray light

of the morning. The helmsman awoke Mary, and the sight of the shore

renewed her anguish and tears. She said that she could not go. She

wished that Elizabeth's ships would come in sight, so as to compel

her squadron to return. But no English fleet appeared. On the

contrary, the breeze freshened. The sailors unfurled the sails, the

oars were taken in, and the great crew of oarsmen rested from their

toil. The ships began to make their way rapidly through the rippling

water. The land soon became a faint, low cloud in the horizon, and in

an hour all traces of it entirely disappeared.

The voyage continued for ten days. They saw nothing of Elizabeth's

cruisers. It was afterward ascertained, however, that these ships

were at one time very near to them, and were only prevented from

seeing and taking them by a dense fog, which at that time happened to

cover the sea. One of the vessels of burden was seen and taken, and

carried to England. It contained, however, only some of Mary's

furniture and effects. She herself escaped the danger.

The fog, which was thus Mary's protection at one time, was a source

of great difficulty and danger at another; for, when they were

drawing near to the place of their landing in Scotland, they were

enveloped in a fog so dense that they could scarcely see from one end

of the vessel to the other. They stopped the progress of their

vessels, and kept continually sounding; and when at length the fog

cleared away, they found themselves involved in a labyrinth of rocks

and shoals of the most dangerous character. They made their escape at

last, and went on safely toward the land. Mary said, however, that

she felt, at the time, entirely indifferent as to the result. She was

so disconsolate and wretched at having parted forever from all that

was dear to her, that it seemed to her that she was equally willing

to live or to die.

Mary, who, among her other accomplishments, had a great deal of

poetic talent, wrote some lines, called her Farewell to France, which

have been celebrated from that day to this. They are as follows:


Adieu, plaisant pays de France!

O ma patrie,

La plus cherie;

Qui a nourri ma jeune enfance.

Adieu, France! adieu, mes beaux jours!

La nef qui dejoint mes amours,

N'a cy de moi que la moitie;

Une parte te reste; elle est tienne;

Je la fie a ton amitie,

Pour que de l'autre il te souvienne.

Many persons have attempted to translate these lines into English

verse; but it is always extremely difficult to translate poetry from

one language to another. We give here two of the best of these

translations. The reader can judge, by observing how different they

are from each other, how different they must both be from their

common original.


Farewell to thee, thou pleasant shore,

The loved, the cherished home to me

Of infant joy, a dream that's o'er,

Farewell, dear France! farewell to thee.

The sail that wafts me bears away

From thee but half my soul alone;

Its fellow half will fondly stay,

And back to thee has faithful flown.

I trust it to thy gentle care;

For all that here remains with me

Lives but to think of all that's there,

To love and to remember thee.

The other translation is as follows:


Adieu, thou pleasant land of France!

The dearest of all lands to me,

Where life was like a joyful dance,

The joyful dance of infancy.

Farewell my childhood's laughing wiles,

Farewell the joys of youth's bright day,

The bark that takes me from thy smiles,

Bears but my meaner half away.

The best is thine; my changeless heart

Is given, beloved France, to thee;

And let it sometimes, though we part,

Remind thee, with a sigh, of me.

It was on the 19th of August, 1561, that the two galleys arrived at

Leith. Leith is a small port on the shore of the Frith of Forth,

about two miles from Edinburgh, which is situated somewhat inland.

The royal palace, where Mary was to reside, was called the Palace of

Holyrood. It was, and is still, a large square building, with an open

court in the center, into which there is access for carriages through

a large arched passage-way in the center of the principal front of

the building. In the rear, but connected with the palace, there was a

chapel in Mary's day, though it is now in ruins. The walls still

remain, but the roof is gone. The people of Scotland were not

expecting Mary so soon. Information was communicated from country to

country, in those days, slowly and with great difficulty. Perhaps the

time of Mary's departure from France was purposely concealed even

from the Scotch, to avoid all possibility that the knowledge of it

should get into Elizabeth's possession.

At any rate, the first intelligence which the inhabitants of

Edinburgh and the vicinity had of the arrival of their queen, was the

approach of the galleys to the shore, and the firing of a royal

salute from their guns. The Palace of Holyrood was not ready for

Mary's reception, and she had to remain a day at Leith, awaiting the

necessary preparations. In the mean time, the whole population began

to assemble to welcome her arrival. Military bands were turned out;

banners were prepared; civil and military officers in full costume

assembled, and bon-fires and illuminations were provided for the

evening and night. In a word, Mary's subjects in Scotland did all in

their power to do honor to the occasion; but the preparations were so

far beneath the pomp and pageantry which she had been accustomed to

in France, that she felt the contrast very keenly, and realized, more

forcibly than ever, how great was the change which the circumstances

of her life were undergoing.

[Illustration: PALACE OF HOLYROOD. With Salisbury Crags and Arthur's

Seat in the Distance.]

Horses were prepared for Mary and her large company of attendants, to

ride from Leith to Edinburgh. The long cavalcade moved toward evening.

The various professions and trades of Edinburgh were drawn up in lines

on each side of the road, and thousands upon thousands of other

spectators assembled to witness the scene. When she reached the Palace

of Holyrood House, a band of music played for a time under her

windows, and then the great throng quietly dispersed, leaving Mary to

her repose. The adjoining engraving represents the Palace of Holyrood

as it now appears. In Mary's day, the northern part only had been

built--that is, the part on the left, in the view, where the ivy

climbs about the windows--and the range extending back to the royal

chapel, the ruins of which are seen in the rear.[E] Mary took up her

abode in this dwelling, and was glad to rest from the fatigues and

privations of her long voyage; but she found her new home a solitary

and gloomy dwelling, compared with the magnificent palaces of the land

she had left.

[Footnote E: For the situation of this palace in respect to Edinburgh

see the view of Edinburgh, page 179.]

Mary made an extremely favorable impression upon her subjects in

Scotland. To please them, she exchanged the white mourning of France,

from which she had taken the name of the White Queen, for a black

dress, more accordant with the ideas and customs of her native land.

This gave her a more sedate and matronly character, and though the

expression of her countenance and figure was somewhat changed by it,

it was only a change to a new form of extreme and fascinating beauty.

Her manners, too, so graceful and easy, and yet so simple and

unaffected, charmed all who saw her.

Mary had a half brother in Scotland, whose title was at this time the

Lord James. He was afterward named the Earl of Murray, and is

commonly known in history under this latter designation. The mother

of Lord James was not legally married to Mary's father, and

consequently he could not inherit any of his father's rights to the

Scottish crown. The Lord James was, however, a man of very high rank

and influence, and Mary immediately received him into her service,

and made him one of her highest ministers of state. He was now about

thirty years of age, prudent, cautious, and wise, of good person and

manners, but somewhat reserved and austere.

Lord James had the general direction of affairs on Mary's arrival,

and things went on very smoothly for a week; but then, on the first

Sunday after the landing, a very serious difficulty threatened to

occur. The Catholics have a certain celebration, called the mass, to

which they attach a very serious and solemn importance. When our

Savior gave the bread and the wine to his disciples at the Last

Supper he said of it, "This is my body, broken for you," and "This is

my blood, shed for you." The Catholics understand that these words

denote that the bread and wine did at that time, and that they do

now, whenever the communion service is celebrated by a priest duly

authorized, become, by a sort of miraculous transformation, the true

body and blood of Christ, and that the priest, in breaking the one

and pouring out the other, is really and truly renewing the great

sacrifice for sin made by Jesus Christ at his crucifixion. The mass,

therefore, in which the bread and the wine are so broken and poured

out, becomes, in their view, not a mere service of prayer and praise

to God, but a solemn act of sacrifice. The spectators, or

assistants, as they call them, meaning all who are present on the

occasion, stand by, not merely to hear words of adoration, in which

they mentally join, as is the case in most Protestant forms of

worship, but to witness the enactment of a deed, and one of great

binding force and validity: a real and true sacrifice of Christ, made

anew, as an atonement for their sins. The bread, when consecrated,

and as they suppose, transmuted to the body of Christ, is held up to

view, or carried in a procession around the church, that all present

may bow before it and adore it as really being, though in the form of

bread, the wounded and broken body of the Lord.

Of course the celebration of the mass is invested, in the minds of

all conscientious Catholics, with the utmost solemnity and

importance. They stand silently by, with the deepest feelings of

reverence and awe, while the priest offers up for them, anew, the

great sacrifice for sin. They regard all Protestant worship, which

consists of mere exhortations to duty, hymns and prayers, as lifeless

and void. That which is to them the soul, the essence, and substance

of the whole, is wanting. On the other hand, the Protestants abhor

the sacrifice of the mass as gross superstition. They think that the

bread remains simply bread after the benediction as much as before;

that for the priests to pretend that in breaking it they renew the

sacrifice of Christ, is imposture; and that to bow before it in

adoration and homage is the worst idolatry.

Now it happened that during Mary's absence in France, the contest

between the Catholics and the Protestants had been going fiercely

on, and the result had been the almost complete defeat of the

Catholic party, and the establishment of the Protestant interest

throughout the realm. A great many deeds of violence accompanied this

change. Churches and abbeys were sometimes sacked and destroyed. The

images of saints, which the Catholics had put up, were pulled down

and broken; and the people were sometimes worked up to phrensy

against the principles of the Catholic faith and Catholic

observances. They abhorred the mass, and were determined that it

should not be introduced again into Scotland.

Queen Mary, knowing this state of things determined, on her arrival

in Scotland, not to interfere with her people in the exercise of

their religion; but she resolved to remain a Catholic herself, and to

continue, for the use of her own household, in the royal chapel at

Holyrood, the same Catholic observances to which she had been

accustomed in France. She accordingly gave orders that mass should be

celebrated in her chapel on the first Sunday after her arrival. She

was very willing to abstain from interfering with the religious

usages of her subjects, but she was not willing to give up her own.

The friends of the Reformation had a meeting, and resolved that mass

should not be celebrated. There was, however, no way of preventing

it but by intimidation or violence. When Sunday came, crowds began to

assemble about the palace and the chapel,[F] and to fill all the

avenues leading to them. The Catholic families who were going to

attend the service were treated rudely as they passed. The priests

they threatened with death. One, who carried a candle which was to be

used in the ceremonies, was extremely terrified at their threats and

imprecations. The excitement was very great, and would probably have

proceeded to violent extremities, had it not been for Lord James's

energy and courage. He was a Protestant, but he took his station at

the door of the chapel, and, without saying or doing any thing to

irritate the crowd without, he kept them at bay, while the service

proceeded. It went on to the close, though greatly interrupted by the

confusion and uproar. Many of the French people who came with Mary

were so terrified by this scene, that they declared they would not

stay in such a country, and took the first opportunity of returning

to France.

[Footnote F: The ruins of the royal chapel are to be seen in the rear

of the palace in the view on page 114.]

One of the most powerful and influential of the leaders of the

Protestant party at this time was the celebrated John Knox. He was a

man of great powers of mind and of commanding eloquence; and he had

exerted a vast influence in arousing the people of Scotland to a

feeling of strong abhorrence of what they considered the abominations

of popery. When Queen Mary of England was upon the throne, Knox had

written a book against her, and against queens in general, women

having, according to his views, no right to govern. Knox was a man of

the most stern and uncompromising character, who feared nothing,

respected nothing, and submitted to no restraints in the blunt and

plain discharge of what he considered his duty. Mary dreaded his

influence and power.

Knox had an interview with Mary not long after her arrival, and it is

one of the most striking instances of the strange ascendency which

Mary's extraordinary beauty and grace, and the pensive charm of her

demeanor, exercised over all that came within her influence, that

even John Knox, whom nothing else could soften or subdue, found his

rough and indomitable energy half forsaking him in the presence of

his gentle queen. She expostulated with him. He half apologized.

Nothing had ever drawn the least semblance of an apology from him

before. He told her that his book was aimed solely against Queen Mary

of England, and not against her; that she had no cause to fear its

influence; that, in respect to the freedom with which he had advanced

his opinions and theories on the subjects of government and religion,

she need not be alarmed, for philosophers had always done this in

every age, and yet had lived good citizens of the state, whose

institutions they had, nevertheless, in some sense theoretically

condemned. He told her, moreover, that he had no intention of

troubling her reign; that she might be sure of this, since, if he had

such a desire, he should have commenced his measures during her

absence, and not have postponed them until her position on the throne

was strengthened by her return. Thus he tried to soothe her fears,

and to justify himself from the suspicion of having designed any

injury to such a gentle and helpless queen. The interview was a very

extraordinary spectacle. It was that of a lion laying aside his

majestic sternness and strength to dispel the fears and quiet the

apprehensions of a dove. The interview was, however, after all,

painful and distressing to Mary. Some things which the stern reformer

felt it his duty to say to her, brought tears into her eyes.

Mary soon became settled in her new home, though many circumstances

in her situation were well calculated to disquiet and disturb her.

She lived in the palace at Holyrood. The four Maries continued with

her for a time, and then two of them were married to nobles of high

rank. Queen Elizabeth sent Mary a kind message, congratulating her on

her safe arrival in Scotland, and assuring her that the story of her

having attempted to intercept her was false. Mary, who had no means

of proving Elizabeth's insincerity, sent her back a polite reply.