Makers of History
Mary Queen of Scots
NEW YORK AND LONDON
HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1848, by
HARPER & BROTHERS,
In the Clerk's Office of the Southern District of New York.
Copyright, 1876, by JACOB ABBOTT.
The history of the life of every individual who has, for any reason, attracted extensively the attention of mankind, has been written in a great variety of ways by a multitude of authors, and persons sometimes wonder why we should have so many different accounts of the same thing. The reason is, that each one of these accounts is intended for a different set of readers, who read with ideas and purposes widely dissimilar from each other. Among the twenty millions of people in the United States, there are perhaps two millions, between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five, who wish to become acquainted, in general, with the leading events in the history of the Old World, and of ancient times, but who, coming upon the stage in this land and at this period, have ideas and conceptions so widely different from those of other nations and of other times, that a mere republication of existing accounts is not what they require. The story must be told expressly for them. The things that are to be explained, the points that are to be brought out, the comparative degree of prominence to be given to the various particulars, will all be different, on account of the difference in the situation, the ideas, and the objects of these new readers, compared with those of the various other classes of readers which former authors have had in view. It is for this reason, and with this view, that the present series of historical narratives is presented to the public. The author, having had some opportunity to become acquainted with the position, the ideas, and the intellectual wants of those whom he addresses, presents the result of his labors to them, with the hope that it may be found successful in accomplishing its design.
I. MARY'S CHILDHOOD 13
II. HER EDUCATION IN FRANCE 37
III. THE GREAT WEDDING 56
IV. MISFORTUNES 76
V. RETURN TO SCOTLAND 99
VI. MARY AND LORD DARNLEY 124
VII. RIZZIO 147
VIII. BOTHWELL 168
IX. THE FALL OF BOTHWELL 198
X. LOCH LEVEN CASTLE 218
XI. THE LONG CAPTIVITY 244
XII. THE END 260
DUMBARTON CASTLE, ON THE CLYDE Frontispiece.
MAP OF THE CENTRAL PART OF SCOTLAND.
PLAN OF THE PALACE OF LINLITHGOW 22
VIEW OF THE PALACE OF LINLITHGOW 25
PORTRAIT OF QUEEN ELIZABETH 91
MARY'S EMBARKATION AT CALAIS 105
VIEW OF THE PALACE OF HOLYROOD HOUSE 114
VIEW OF WEMYS CASTLE 137
PLAN OF HOLYROOD HOUSE 160
PRINCE JAMES'S CRADLE 174
VIEW OF EDINBURGH 179
PLAN OF THE HOUSE AT THE KIRK O' FIELD 182
VIEW OF DUNBAR CASTLE 193
PLAN OF LOCH LEVEN CASTLE 221
VIEW OF LOCH LEVEN CASTLE 236
RUINS OF LOCH LEVEN CASTLE 241
VIEW OF FOTHERINGAY 271
MARY'S TOMB IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY 285
MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS
Palace where Mary was born.—Its situation.—Ruins.—The room.—Visitors.—Mary's father in the wars.—His death.—Regency.—Catholic religion.—The Protestants.—England and France.—The Earl of Arran.—The regency.—Arran regent.—New plan.—End of the war.—King Henry VIII.—Janet Sinclair.—King Henry's demands.—Objections to them.—Plans for Mary.—Linlithgow.—Plan of the palace.—Fountain.—The lion's den.—Explanation of the engraving.—The coronation.—Stirling Castle.—Its situation.—Rocky hill.—The coronation scene.—Linlithgow and Stirling.—The Highlands and the Highlanders.—Religious disturbances.—Lake Menteith.—Mary's companions.—The four Maries.—Angry disputes.—Change of plan.—Henry's anger.—Henry's sickness and death.—War renewed.—Danger in Edinburgh.—Aid from France.—New plan.—Going to France.—Dumbarton Castle.—Rock of Dumbarton.—Journey to Dumbarton.—The four Maries.—Departure from Scotland.
Travelers who go into Scotland take a great interest in visiting, among other places, a certain room in the ruins of an old palace, where Queen Mary was born. Queen Mary was very beautiful, but she was very unfortunate and unhappy. Every body takes a strong interest in her story, and this interest attaches, in some degree, to the room where her sad and sorrowful life was begun.
The palace is near a little village called Linlithgow. The village has but one long street, which consists of ancient stone houses. North of it is a little lake, or rather pond: they call it, in Scotland, a loch. The palace is between the village and the loch; it is upon a beautiful swell of land which projects out into the water. There is a very small island in the middle of the loch and the shores are bordered with fertile fields. The palace, when entire, was square, with an open space or court in the center. There was a beautiful stone fountain in the center of this court, and an arched gateway through which horsemen and carriages could ride in. The doors of entrance into the palace were on the inside of the court.
The palace is now in ruins. A troop of soldiers came to it one day in time of war, after Mary and her mother had left it, and spent the night there: they spread straw over the floors to sleep upon. In the morning, when they went away, they wantonly set the straw on fire, and left it burning, and thus the palace was destroyed. Some of the lower floors were of stone; but all the upper floors and the roof were burned, and all the wood-work of the rooms, and the doors and window-frames. Since then the palace has never been repaired, but remains a melancholy pile of ruins.
The room where Mary was born had a stone floor. The rubbish which has fallen from above has covered it with a sort of soil, and grass and weeds grow up all over it. It is a very melancholy sight to see. The visitors who go into the room walk mournfully about, trying to imagine how Queen Mary looked, as an infant in her mother's arms, and reflecting on the recklessness of the soldiers in wantonly destroying so beautiful a palace. Then they go to the window, or, rather, to the crumbling opening in the wall where the window once was, and look out upon the loch, now so deserted and lonely; over their heads it is all open to the sky.
Mary's father was King of Scotland. At the time that Mary was born, he was away from home engaged in war with the King of England, who had invaded Scotland. In the battles Mary's father was defeated, and he thought that the generals and nobles who commanded his army allowed the English to conquer them on purpose to betray him. This thought overwhelmed him with vexation and anguish. He pined away under the acuteness of his sufferings, and just after the news came to him that his daughter Mary was born, he died. Thus Mary became an orphan, and her troubles commenced, at the very beginning of her days. She never saw her father, and her father never saw her. Her mother was a French lady; her name was Mary of Guise. Her own name was Mary Stuart, but she is commonly called Mary Queen of Scots.
As Mary was her father's only child, of course, when he died, she became Queen of Scotland, although she was only a few days old. It is customary, in such a case, to appoint some distinguished person to govern the kingdom, in the name of the young queen, until she grows up: such a person is called a regent. Mary's mother wished to be the regent until Mary became of age.
It happened that in those days, as now, the government and people of France were of the Catholic religion. England, on the other hand, was Protestant. There is a great difference between the Catholic and the Protestant systems. The Catholic Church, though it extends nearly all over the world, is banded together, as the reader is aware, under one man—the pope—who is the great head of the Church, and who lives in state at Rome. The Catholics have, in all countries, many large and splendid churches, which are ornamented with paintings and images of the Virgin Mary and of Christ. They perform great ceremonies in these churches, the priests being dressed in magnificent costumes, and walking in processions, with censers of incense burning as they go. The Protestants, on the other hand, do not like these ceremonies; they regard such outward acts of worship as mere useless parade, and the images as idols. They themselves have smaller and plainer churches, and call the people together in them to hear sermons, and to offer up simple prayers.
In the time of Mary, England was Protestant and France was Catholic, while Scotland was divided, though most of the people were Protestants. The two parties were very much excited against each other, and often persecuted each other with extreme cruelty. Sometimes the Protestants would break into the Catholic churches, and tear down and destroy the paintings and the images, and the other symbols of worship, all which the Catholics regarded with extreme veneration; this exasperated the Catholics, and when they became powerful in their turn, they would seize the Protestants and imprison them, and sometimes burn them to death, by tying them to a stake and piling fagots of wood about them, and then setting the heap on fire.
Queen Mary's mother was a Catholic, and for that reason the people of Scotland were not willing that she should be regent. There were one or two other persons, moreover, who claimed the office. One was a certain nobleman called the Earl of Arran. He was a Protestant. The Earl of Arran was the next heir to the crown, so that if Mary had died in her infancy, he would have been king. He thought that this was a reason why he should be regent, and govern the kingdom until Mary became old enough to govern it herself. Many other persons, however, considered this rather a reason why he should not be regent; for they thought he would be naturally interested in wishing that Mary should not live, since if she died he would himself become king, and that therefore he would not be a safe protector for her. However, as the Earl of Arran was a Protestant, and as Mary's mother was a Catholic, and as the Protestant interest was the strongest, it was at length decided that Arran should be the regent, and govern the country until Mary should be of age.
It is a curious circumstance that Mary's birth put an end to the war between England and Scotland, and that in a very singular way. The King of England had been fighting against Mary's father, James, for a long time, in order to conquer the country and annex it to England; and now that James was dead, and Mary had become queen, with Arran for the regent, it devolved on Arran to carry on the war. But the King of England and his government, now that the young queen was born, conceived of a new plan. The king had a little son, named Edward, about four years old, who, of course, would become King of England in his place when he should himself die. Now he thought it would be best for him to conclude a peace with Scotland, and agree with the Scottish government that, as soon as Mary was old enough, she should become Edward's wife, and the two kingdoms be united in that way.
The name of this King of England was Henry the Eighth. He was a very headstrong and determined man. This, his plan, might have been a very good one; it was certainly much better than an attempt to get possession of Scotland by fighting for it; but he was very far from being as moderate and just as he should have been in the execution of his design. The first thing was to ascertain whether Mary was a strong and healthy child; for if he should make a treaty of peace, and give up all his plans of conquest, and then if Mary, after living feebly a few years, should die, all his plans would fail. To satisfy him on this point, they actually had some of the infant's clothes removed in the presence of his embassador, in order that the embassador might see that her form was perfect, and her limbs vigorous and strong. The nurse did this with great pride and pleasure, Mary's mother standing by. The nurse's name was Janet Sinclair. The embassador wrote back to Henry, the King of England, that little Mary was "as goodly a child as he ever saw." So King Henry VIII. was confirmed in his design of having her for the wife of his son.
King Henry VIII. accordingly changed all his plans. He made a peace with the Earl of Arran. He dismissed the prisoners that he had taken, and sent them home kindly. If he had been contented with kind and gentle measures like these, he might have succeeded in them, although there was, of course, a strong party in Scotland opposed to them. Mary's mother was opposed to them, for she was a Catholic and a French lady, and she wished to have her daughter become a Catholic as she grew up, and marry a French prince. All the Catholics in Scotland took her side. Still Henry's plans might have been accomplished, perhaps, if he had been moderate and conciliating in the efforts which he made to carry them into effect.
But Henry VIII. was headstrong and obstinate. He demanded that Mary, since she was to be his son's wife, should be given up to him to be taken into England, and educated there, under the care of persons whom he should appoint. He also demanded that the Parliament of Scotland should let him have a large share in the government of Scotland, because he was going to be the father-in-law of the young queen. The Parliament would not agree to either of these plans; they were entirely unwilling to allow their little queen to be carried off to another country, and put under the charge of so rough and rude a man. Then they were unwilling, too, to give him any share of the government during Mary's minority. Both these measures were entirely inadmissible; they would, if adopted, have put both the infant Queen of Scotland and the kingdom itself completely in the power of one who had always been their greatest enemy.
Henry, finding that he could not induce the Scotch government to accede to these plans, gave them up at last, and made a treaty of marriage between his son and Mary, with the agreement that she might remain in Scotland until she was ten years old, and that then she should come to England and be under his care.
All this time, while these grand negotiations were pending between two mighty nations about her marriage, little Mary was unconscious of it all, sometimes reposing quietly in Janet Sinclair's arms, sometimes looking out of the windows of the Castle of Linlithgow to see the swans swim upon the lake, and sometimes, perhaps, creeping about upon the palace floor, where the earls and barons who came to visit her mother, clad in armor of steel, looked upon her with pride and pleasure. The palace where she lived was beautifully situated, as has been before remarked, on the borders of a lake. It was arranged somewhat in the following manner:
There was a beautiful fountain in the center of the court-yard, where water spouted out from the mouths of carved images, and fell into marble basins below. The ruins of this fountain and of the images remain there still. The den at d was a round pit, like a well, which you could look down into from above: it was about ten feet deep. They used to keep lions in such dens near the palaces and castles in those days. A lion in a den was a sort of plaything in former times, as a parrot or a pet lamb is now: this was in keeping with the fierce and warlike spirit of the age. If they had a lion there in Mary's time, Janet often, doubtless, took her little charge out to see it, and let her throw down food to it from above. The den is there now. You approach it upon the top of a broad embankment, which is as high as the depth of the den, so that the bottom of the den is level with the surface of the ground, which makes it always dry. There is a hole, too, at the bottom, through the wall, where they used to put the lion in.
The foregoing plan of the buildings and grounds of Linlithgow is drawn as maps and plans usually are, the upper part toward the north. Of course the room a, where Mary was born, is on the western side. The adjoining engraving represents a view of the palace on this western side. The church is seen at the right; and the lawn, where Janet used to take Mary out to breathe the air, is in the fore-ground. The shore of the lake is very near, and winds beautifully around the margin of the promontory on which the palace stands. Of course the lion's den, and the ancient avenue of approach to the palace, are round upon the other side, and out of sight in this view. The approach to the palace, at the present day, is on the southern side, between the church and the trees on the right of the picture.
Mary remained here at Linlithgow for a year or two; but when she was about nine months old, they concluded to have the great ceremony of the coronation performed, as she was by that time old enough to bear the journey to Stirling Castle, where the Scottish kings and queens were generally crowned. The coronation of a queen is an event which always excites a very deep and universal interest among all persons in the realm; and there is a peculiar interest felt when, as was the case in this instance, the queen to be crowned is an infant just old enough to bear the journey. There was a very great interest felt in Mary's coronation. The different courts and monarchs of Europe sent embassadors to be present at the ceremony, and to pay their respects to the infant queen; and Stirling became, for the time being, the center of universal attraction.
Stirling is in the very heart of Scotland. It is a castle, built upon a rock, or, rather, upon a rocky hill, which rises like an island out of the midst of a vast region of beautiful and fertile country, rich and verdant beyond description. Beyond the confines of this region of beauty, dark mountains rise on all sides; and wherever you are, whether riding along the roads in the plain, or climbing the declivities of the mountains, you see Stirling Castle, from every point, capping its rocky hill, the center and ornament of the broad expanse of beauty which surrounds it.
Stirling Castle is north of Linlithgow, and is distant about fifteen or twenty miles from it. The road to it lies not far from the shores of the Frith of Forth, a broad and beautiful sheet of water. The castle, as has been before remarked, was on the summit of a rocky hill. There are precipitous crags on three sides of the hill, and a gradual approach by a long ascent on the fourth side. At the top of this ascent you enter the great gates of the castle, crossing a broad and deep ditch by means of a draw-bridge. You enter then a series of paved courts, with towers and walls around them, and finally come to the more interior edifices, where the private apartments are situated, and where the little queen was crowned.
It was an occasion of great pomp and ceremony, though Mary, of course, was unconscious of the meaning of it all. She was surrounded by barons and earls, by embassadors and princes from foreign courts, and by the principal lords and ladies of the Scottish nobility, all dressed in magnificent costumes. They held little Mary up, and a cardinal, that is, a great dignitary of the Roman Catholic Church, placed the crown upon her head. Half pleased with the glittering show, and half frightened at the strange faces which she saw every where around her, she gazed unconsciously upon the scene, while her mother, who could better understand its import, was elated with pride and joy.
Linlithgow and Stirling are in the open and cultivated part of Scotland. All the northern and western part of the country consists of vast masses of mountains, with dark and somber glens among them, which are occupied solely by shepherds and herdsmen with their flocks and herds. This mountainous region was called the Highlands, and the inhabitants of it were the Highlanders. They were a wild and warlike class of men, and their country was seldom visited by either friend or foe. At the present time there are beautiful roads all through the Highlands, and stage-coaches and private carriages roll over them every summer, to take tourists to see and admire the picturesque and beautiful scenery; but in the days of Mary the whole region was gloomy and desolate, and almost inaccessible.
Mary remained in Linlithgow and Stirling for about two years, and then, as the country was becoming more and more disturbed by the struggles of the great contending parties—those who were in favor of the Catholic religion and alliance with France on the one hand, and of those in favor of the Protestant religion and alliance with England on the other hand—they concluded to send her into the Highlands for safety.
It was not far into the country of the Highlands that they concluded to send her, but only into the borders of it. There was a small lake on the southern margin of the wild and mountainous country, called the Lake of Menteith. In this lake was an island named Inchmahome, the word inch being the name for island in the language spoken by the Highlanders. This island, which was situated in a very secluded and solitary region, was selected as Mary's place of residence. She was about four years old when they sent her to this place. Several persons went with her to take care of her, and to teach her. In fact, every thing was provided for her which could secure her improvement and happiness. Her mother did not forget that she would need playmates, and so she selected four little girls of about the same age with the little queen herself, and invited them to accompany her. They were daughters of the noblemen and high officers about the court. It is very singular that these girls were all named Mary. Their names in full were as follows:
Mary Beaton, Mary Fleming, Mary Livingstone, Mary Seaton.
These, with Mary Stuart, which was Queen Mary's name, made five girls of four or five years of age, all named Mary.
Mary lived two years in this solitary island. She had, however, all the comforts and conveniences of life, and enjoyed herself with her four Maries very much. Of course she knew nothing, and thought nothing of the schemes and plans of the great governments for having her married, when she grew up, to the young English prince, who was then a little boy of about her own age, nor of the angry disputes in Scotland to which this subject gave rise. It did give rise to very serious disputes. Mary's mother did not like the plan at all. As she was herself a French lady and a Catholic, she did not wish to have her daughter marry a prince who was of the English royal family, and a Protestant. All the Catholics in Scotland took her side. At length the Earl of Arran, who was the regent, changed to that side; and finally the government, being thus brought over, gave notice to King Henry VIII. that the plan must be given up, as they had concluded, on the whole, that Mary should not marry his son.
King Henry was very much incensed. He declared that Mary should marry his son, and he raised an army and sent it into Scotland to make war upon the Scotch again, and compel them to consent to the execution of the plan. He was at this time beginning to be sick, but his sickness, instead of softening his temper, only made him the more ferocious and cruel. He turned against his best friends. He grew worse, and was evidently about to die; but he was so irritable and angry that for a long time no one dared to tell him of his approaching dissolution, and he lay restless, and wretched, and agitated with political animosities upon his dying bed. At length some one ventured to tell him that his end was near. When he found that he must die, he resigned himself to his fate. He sent for an archbishop to come and see him, but he was speechless when the prelate came, and soon afterward expired.
The English government, however, after his death, adhered to his plan of compelling the Scotch to make Mary the wife of his son. They sent an army into Scotland. A great battle was fought, and the Scotch were defeated. The battle was fought at a place not far from Edinburgh, and near the sea. It was so near the sea that the English fired upon the Scotch army from their ships, and thus assisted their troops upon the shore. The armies had remained several days near each other before coming to battle, and during all this time the city of Edinburgh was in a state of great anxiety and suspense, as they expected that their city would be attacked by the English if they should conquer in the battle. The English army did, in fact, advance toward Edinburgh after the battle was over, and would have got possession of it had it not been for the castle. There is a very strong castle in the very heart of Edinburgh, upon the summit of a rocky hill.[A]
[Footnote A: See the view of Edinburgh, page 179.]
These attempts of the English to force the Scotch government to consent to Mary's marriage only made them the more determined to prevent it. A great many who were not opposed to it before, became opposed to it now when they saw foreign armies in the country destroying the towns and murdering the people. They said they had no great objection to the match, but that they did not like the mode of wooing. They sent to France to ask the French king to send over an army to aid them, and promised him that if he would do so they would agree that Mary should marry his son. His son's name was Francis.
The French king was very much pleased with this plan. He sent an army of six thousand men into Scotland to assist the Scotch against their English enemies. It was arranged, also, as little Mary was now hardly safe among all these commotions, even in her retreat in the island of Inchmahome, to send her to France to be educated there, and to live there until she was old enough to be married. The same ships which brought the army from France to Scotland, were to carry Mary and her retinue from Scotland to France. The four Maries went with her.
They bade their lonely island farewell, and traveled south till they came to a strong castle on a high, rocky hill, on the banks of the River Clyde. The name of this fortress is Dumbarton Castle. Almost all the castles of those times were built upon precipitous hills, to increase the difficulties of the enemies in approaching them. The Rock of Dumbarton is a very remarkable one. It stands close to the bank of the river. There are a great many ships and steam-boats continually passing up and down the Clyde, to and from the great city of Glasgow, and all the passengers on board gaze with great interest, as they sail by, on the Rock of Dumbarton, with the castle walls on the sides, and the towers and battlements crowning the summit. In Mary's time there was comparatively very little shipping on the river, but the French fleet was there, waiting opposite the castle to receive Mary and the numerous persons who were to go in her train.[B]
[Footnote B: Travelers who visit Scotland from this country at the present day, usually land first, at the close of the voyage across the Atlantic, at Liverpool, and there take a Glasgow steamer. Glasgow, which is the great commercial city of Scotland, is on the River Clyde. This river flows northward to the sea. The steamer, in ascending the river, makes its way with difficulty along the narrow channel, which, besides being narrow and tortuous, is obstructed by boats, ships, steamers, and every other variety of water-craft, such as are always going to and fro in the neighborhood of any great commercial emporium.
The tourists, who stand upon the deck gazing at this exciting scene of life and motion, have their attention strongly attracted, about half way up the river, by this Castle of Dumbarton, which crowns a rocky hill, rising abruptly from the water's edge, on the north side of the stream. It attracts sometimes the more attention from American travelers, on account of its being the first ancient castle they see. This it likely to be the case if they proceed to Scotland immediately on landing at Liverpool.]
Mary was escorted from the island where she had been living, across the country to Dumbarton Castle, with a strong retinue. She was now between five and six years of age. She was, of course, too young to know any thing about the contentions and wars which had distracted her country on her account, or to feel much interest in the subject of her approaching departure from her native land. She enjoyed the novelty of the scenes through which she passed on her journey. She was pleased with the dresses and the arms of the soldiers who accompanied her, and with the ships which were floating in the river, beneath the walls of the Castle of Dumbarton, when she arrived there. She was pleased, too, to think that, wherever she was to go, her four Maries were to go with her. She bade her mother farewell, embarked on board the ship which was to receive her, and sailed away from her native land, not to return to it again for many years.
HER EDUCATION IN FRANCE.
Departure.—Stormy voyage.—Journey to Paris.—Release of prisoners.—Barabbas.—St. Germain.—Celebrations.—The convent.—Character of the nuns.—Interest in Mary.—Leaving the convent.—Amusements.—Visit of Mary's mother.—Queen dowager.—Rouen.—A happy meeting.—Rejoicings.—A last farewell.—Visit to a mourner.—The queen dowager's return.—The regency.—A page of honor.—Sir James Melville.—Mary's character.—Her diligence.—Devices and mottoes.—Festivities.—Water parties.—Hunting.—An accident.—Restraint.—Queen Catharine.—Her character.—Embroidery.—Mary's admiration of Queen Catharine.—The latter suspicious.—Unguarded remark.—Catharine's mortification.—The dauphin.—Origin of the title.—Character of Francis.—Mary's beauty.—Torch-light procession.—An angel.—Mary a Catholic.—Her conscientiousness and fidelity.
The departure of Mary from Scotland, little as she was, was a great event both for Scotland and for France. In those days kings and queens were even of greater relative importance than they are now, and all Scotland was interested in the young queen's going away from them, and all France in expecting her arrival. She sailed down the Clyde, and then passed along the seas and channels which lie between England and Ireland. These seas, though they look small upon the map, are really spacious and wide, and are often greatly agitated by winds and storms. This was the case at the time Mary made her voyage. The days and nights were tempestuous and wild, and the ships had difficulty in keeping in each other's company. There was danger of being blown upon the coasts, or upon the rocks or islands which lie in the way. Mary was too young to give much heed to these dangers, but the lords and commissioners, and the great ladies who went to attend her, were heartily glad when the voyage was over. It ended safely at last, after several days of tossing upon the stormy billows, by their arrival upon the northern coast of France. They landed at a town called Brest.
The King of France had made great preparations for receiving the young queen immediately upon her landing. Carriages and horses had been provided to convey herself and the company of her attendants, by easy journeys, to Paris. They received her with great pomp and ceremony at every town which she passed through. One mark of respect which they showed her was very singular. The king ordered that every prison which she passed in her route should be thrown open, and the prisoners set free. This fact is a striking illustration of the different ideas which prevailed in those days, compared with those which are entertained now, in respect to crime and punishment. Crime is now considered as an offense against the community, and it would be considered no favor to the community, but the reverse, to let imprisoned criminals go free. In those days, on the other hand, crimes were considered rather as injuries committed by the community, and against the king; so that, if the monarch wished to show the community a favor, he would do it by releasing such of them as had been imprisoned by his officers for their crimes. It was just so in the time of our Savior, when the Jews had a custom of having some criminal released to them once a year, at the Passover, by the Roman government, as an act of favor. That is, the government was accustomed to furnish, by way of contributing its share toward the general festivities of the occasion, the setting of a robber and a murderer at liberty!
The King of France has several palaces in the neighborhood of Paris. Mary was taken to one of them, named St. Germain. This palace, which still stands, is about twelve miles from Paris, toward the northwest. It is a very magnificent residence, and has been for many centuries a favorite resort of the French kings. Many of them were born in it. There are extensive parks and gardens connected with it, and a great artificial forest, in which the trees were all planted and cultivated like the trees of an orchard. Mary was received at this palace with great pomp and parade; and many spectacles and festivities were arranged to amuse her and the four Maries who accompanied her, and to impress her strongly with an idea of the wealth, and power, and splendor of the great country to which she had come.
She remained here but a short time, and then it was arranged for her to go to a convent to be educated. Convents were in those days, as in fact they are now, quite famous as places of education. They were situated sometimes in large towns, and sometimes in secluded places in the country; but, whether in town or country, the inmates of them were shut up very strictly from all intercourse with the world. They were under the care of nuns who had devoted themselves for life to the service. These nuns were some of them unhappy persons, who were weary of the sorrows and sufferings of the world, and who were glad to retire from it to such a retreat as they fancied the convent would be. Others became nuns from conscientious principles of duty, thinking that they should commend themselves to the favor of God by devoting their lives to works of benevolence and to the exercises of religion. Of course there were all varieties of character among the nuns; some of them were selfish and disagreeable, others were benevolent and kind.
At the convent where Mary was sent there were some nuns of very excellent and amiable character, and they took a great interest in Mary, both because she was a queen, and because she was beautiful, and of a kind and affectionate disposition. Mary became very strongly attached to these nuns, and began to entertain the idea of becoming a nun herself, and spending her life with them in the convent. It seemed pleasant to her to live there in such a peaceful seclusion, in company with those who loved her, and whom she herself loved, but the King of France, and the Scottish nobles who had come with her from Scotland, would, of course, be opposed to any such plan. They intended her to be married to the young prince, and to become one of the great ladies of the court, and to lead a life of magnificence and splendor. They became alarmed, therefore, when they found that she was imbibing a taste for the life of seclusion and solitude which is led by a nun. They decided to take her immediately away.
Mary bade farewell to the convent and its inmates with much regret and many tears; but, notwithstanding her reluctance, she was obliged to submit. If she had not been a queen, she might, perhaps, have had her own way. As it was, however, she was obliged to leave the convent and the nuns whom she loved, and to go back to the palaces of the king, in which she afterward continued to live, sometimes in one and sometimes in another, for many years. Wherever she went, she was surrounded with scenes of great gayety and splendor. They wished to obliterate from her mind all recollections of the convent, and all love of solitude and seclusion. They did not neglect her studies, but they filled up the intervals of study with all possible schemes of enjoyment and pleasure, to amuse and occupy her mind and the minds of her companions. Her companions were her own four Maries, and the two daughters of the French king.
When Mary was about seven years of age, that is, after she had been two years in France, her mother formed a plan to come from Scotland to see her. Her mother had remained behind when Mary left Scotland, as she had an important part to perform in public affairs, and in the administration of the government of Scotland while Mary was away. She wanted, however, to come and see her. France, too, was her own native land, and all her relations and friends resided there. She wished to see them as well as Mary, and to revisit once more the palaces and cities where her own early life had been spent. In speaking of Mary's mother we shall call her sometimes the queen dowager. The expression queen dowager is the one usually applied to the widow of a king, as queen consort is used to denote the wife of a king.
This visit of the queen dowager of Scotland to her little daughter in France was an event of great consequence, and all the arrangements for carrying it into effect were conducted with great pomp and ceremony. A large company attended her, with many of the Scottish lords and ladies among them. The King of France, too, went from Paris toward the French coast, to meet the party of visitors, taking little Mary and a large company of attendants with him. They went to Rouen, a large city not far from the coast, where they awaited the arrival of Mary's mother, and where they received her with great ceremonies of parade and rejoicing. The queen regent was very much delighted to see her little daughter again. She had grown two years older, and had improved greatly in every respect, and tears of joy came into her mother's eyes as she clasped her in her arms. The two parties journeyed in company to Paris and entered the city with great rejoicings. The two queens, mother and daughter, were the objects of universal interest and attention. Feasts and celebrations without end were arranged for them, and every possible means of amusement and rejoicing were contrived in the palaces of Paris, of St. Germain's, and of Fontainebleau. Mary's mother remained in France about a year. She then bade Mary farewell, leaving her at Fontainebleau. This proved to be a final farewell, for she never saw her again.
After taking leave of her daughter, the queen dowager went, before leaving France, to see her own mother, who was a widow, and who was living at a considerable distance from Paris in seclusion, and in a state of austere and melancholy grief, on account of the loss of her husband. Instead of forgetting her sorrows, as she ought to have done, and returning calmly and peacefully to the duties and enjoyments of life, she had given herself up to inconsolable grief, and was doing all she could to perpetuate the mournful influence of her sorrows. She lived in an ancient and gloomy mansion, of vast size, and she had hung all the apartments in black, to make it still more desolate and gloomy, and to continue the influence of grief upon her mind. Here the queen dowager found her, spending her time in prayers and austerities of every kind, making herself and all her family perfectly miserable. Many persons, at the present day, act, under such circumstances, on the same principle and with the same spirit, though they do not do it perhaps in precisely the same way.
One would suppose that Mary's mother would have preferred to remain in France with her daughter and her mother and all her family friends, instead of going back to Scotland, where she was, as it were, a foreigner and a stranger. The reason why she desired to go back was that she wished to be made queen regent, and thus have the government of Scotland in her own hands. She would rather be queen regent in Scotland than a simple queen mother in France. While she was in France, she urged the king to use all his influence to have Arran resign his regency into her hands, and finally obtained writings from him and from Queen Mary to this effect. She then left France and went to Scotland, going through England on the way. The young King of England, to whom Mary had been engaged by the government when she was an infant in Janet Sinclair's arms, renewed his proposals to the queen dowager to let her daughter become his wife; but she told him that it was all settled that she was to be married to the French prince, and that it was now too late to change the plan.
There was a young gentleman, about nineteen or twenty years of age, who came from Scotland also, not far from this time, to wait upon Mary as her page of honor. A page is an attendant above the rank of an ordinary servant, whose business it is to wait upon his mistress, to read to her, sometimes to convey her letters and notes, and to carry her commands to the other attendants who are beneath him in rank and whose business it is actually to perform the services which the lady requires. A page of honor is a young gentleman who sustains this office in a nominal and temporary manner for a princess or a queen.
The name of Mary's page of honor, who came to her now from Scotland, was Sir James Melville. The only reason for mentioning him thus particularly, rather than the many other officers and attendants by whom Mary was surrounded was, that the service which he thus commenced was continued in various ways through the whole period of Mary's life. We shall often hear of him in the subsequent parts of this narrative. He followed Mary to Scotland when she returned to that country, and became afterward her secretary, and also her embassador on many occasions. He was now quite young, and when he landed at Brest he traveled slowly to Paris in the care of two Scotchmen, to whose charge he had been intrusted. He was a young man of uncommon talents and of great accomplishments, and it was a mark of high distinction for him to be appointed page of honor to the queen, although he was about nineteen years of age and she was but seven.
After the queen regent's return to Scotland, Mary went on improving in every respect more and more. She was diligent, industrious, and tractable. She took a great interest in her studies. She was not only beautiful in person, and amiable and affectionate in heart, but she possessed a very intelligent and active mind, and she entered with a sort of quiet but earnest enthusiasm into all the studies to which her attention was called. She paid a great deal of attention to music, to poetry, and to drawing. She used to invent little devices for seals, with French and Latin mottoes, and, after drawing them again and again with great care, until she was satisfied with the design, she would give them to the gem-engravers to be cut upon stone seals, so that she could seal her letters with them. These mottoes and devices can not well be represented in English, as the force and beauty of them depended generally upon a double meaning in some word of French or Latin, which can not be preserved in the translation. We shall, however, give one of these seals, which she made just before she left France, to return to Scotland, when we come to that period of her history.
The King of France, and the lords and ladies who came with Mary from Scotland, contrived a great many festivals and celebrations in the parks, and forests, and palaces, to amuse the queen and the four Maries who were with her. The daughters of the French king joined, also, in these pleasures. They would have little balls, and parties, and pic-nics, sometimes in the open air, sometimes in the little summer-houses built upon the grounds attached to the palaces. The scenes of these festivities were in many cases made unusually joyous and gay by bon-fires and illuminations. They had water parties on the little lakes, and hunting parties through the parks and forests. Mary was a very graceful and beautiful rider, and full of courage. Sometimes she met with accidents which were attended with some danger. Once, while hunting the stag, and riding at full speed with a great company of ladies and gentlemen behind her and before her, her dress got caught by the bough of a tree, and she was pulled to the ground. The horse went on. Several other riders drove by her without seeing her, as she had too much composure and fortitude to attract their attention by outcries and lamentations. They saw her, however, at last, and came to her assistance. They brought back her horse, and, smoothing down her hair, which had fallen into confusion, she mounted again, and rode on after the stag as before.
Notwithstanding all these means of enjoyment and diversion, Mary was subjected to a great deal of restraint. The rules of etiquette are very precise and very strictly enforced in royal households, and they were still more strict in those days than they are now. The king was very ceremonious in all his arrangements, and was surrounded by a multitude of officers who performed every thing by rule. As Mary grew older, she was subjected to greater and greater restraint. She used to spend a considerable portion of every day in the apartments of Queen Catharine, the wife of the King of France and the mother of the little Francis to whom she was to be married. Mary and Queen Catharine did not, however, like each other very well. Catharine was a woman of strong mind and of an imperious disposition; and it is supposed by some that she was jealous of Mary because she was more beautiful and accomplished and more generally beloved than her own daughters, the princesses of France. At any rate, she treated Mary in rather a stern and haughty manner, and it was thought that she would finally oppose her marriage to Francis her son.
And yet Mary was at first very much pleased with Queen Catharine, and was accustomed to look up to her with great admiration, and to feel for her a very sincere regard. She often went into the queen's apartments, where they sat together and talked, or worked upon their embroidery, which was a famous amusement for ladies of exalted rank in those days. Mary herself at one time worked a large piece, which she sent as a present to the nuns in the convent where she had resided; and afterward, in Scotland, she worked a great many things, some of which still remain, and may be seen in her ancient rooms in the palace of Holyrood House. She learned this art by working with Queen Catharine in her apartments. When she first became acquainted with Catharine on these occasions, she used to love her society. She admired her talents and her conversational powers, and she liked very much to be in her room. She listened to all she said, watched her movements, and endeavored in all things to follow her example.
Catharine, however, thought that this was all a pretense, and that Mary did not really like her, but only wished to make her believe that she did so in order to get favor, or to accomplish some other selfish end. One day she asked her why she seemed to prefer her society to that of her youthful and more suitable companions. Mary replied, in substance, "The reason was, that though with them she might enjoy much, she could learn nothing; while she always learned from Queen Catharine's conversation something which would be of use to her as a guide in future life." One would have thought that this answer would have pleased the queen, but it did not. She did not believe that it was sincere.
On one occasion Mary seriously offended the queen by a remark which she made, and which was, at least, incautious. Kings and queens, and, in fact, all great people in Europe, pride themselves very much upon the antiquity of the line from which they have descended. Now the family of Queen Catharine had risen to rank and distinction within a moderate period; and though she was, as Queen of France, on the very pinnacle of human greatness, she would naturally be vexed at any remark which would remind her of the recentness of her elevation. Now Mary at one time said, in conversation in the presence of Queen Catharine, that she herself was the descendant of a hundred kings. This was perhaps true, but it brought her into direct comparison with Catharine in a point in which the latter was greatly her inferior, and it vexed and mortified Catharine very much to have such a thing said to her by such a child.
Mary associated thus during all this time, not only with the queen and the princesses, but also with the little prince whom she was destined to marry. His name was Francis, but he was commonly called the dauphin, which was the name by which the oldest son of the King of France was then, and has been since designated. The origin of this custom was this. About a hundred years before the time of which we are speaking, a certain nobleman of high rank, who possessed estates in an ancient province of France called Dauphiny, lost his son and heir. He was overwhelmed with affliction at the loss, and finally bequeathed all his estates to the king and his successors, on condition that the oldest son should bear the title of Dauphin. The grant was accepted, and the oldest son was accordingly so styled from that time forward, from generation to generation.
The dauphin, Francis, was a weak and feeble child, but he was amiable and gentle in his manners, and Mary liked him. She met him often in their walks and rides, and she danced with him at the balls and parties given for her amusement. She knew that he was to be her husband as soon as she was old enough to be married, and he knew that she was to be his wife. It was all decided, and nothing which either of them could say or do would have any influence on the result. Neither of them, however, seem to have had any desire to change the result. Mary pitied Francis on account of his feeble health, and liked his amiable and gentle disposition; and Francis could not help loving Mary, both on account of the traits of her character and her personal charms.
As Mary advanced in years, she grew very beautiful. In some of the great processions and ceremonies, the ladies were accustomed to walk, magnificently dressed and carrying torches in their hands. In one of these processions Mary was moving along with the rest, through a crowd of spectators, and the light from her torch fell upon her features and upon her hair in such a manner as to make her appear more beautiful than usual. A woman, standing there, pressed up nearer to her to view her more closely, and, seeing how beautiful she was, asked her if she was not an angel. In those days, however, people believed in what is miraculous and supernatural more easily than now, so that it was not very surprising that one should think, in such a case, that an angel from Heaven had come down to join in the procession.
Mary grew up a Catholic, of course: all were Catholics around her. The king and all the royal family were devoted to Catholic observances. The convent, the ceremonies, the daily religious observances enjoined upon her, the splendid churches which she frequented, all tended in their influence to lead her mind away from the Protestant religion which prevailed in her native land, and to make her a Catholic: she remained so throughout her life. There is no doubt that she was conscientious in her attachment to the forms and to the spirit of the Roman Church. At any rate, she was faithful to the ties which her early education imposed upon her, and this fidelity became afterward the source of some of her heaviest calamities and woes.
THE GREAT WEDDING
Hastening the wedding.—Reasons for it.—Attempt to poison Mary.—The Guises.—Catharine's jealousy.—Commissioners from Scotland.—Preliminaries.—Stipulations.—Plan of Henry to evade them.—Marriage settlement.—Secret papers.—Their contents.—Ceremonies.—The betrothal.—The Louvre.—Notre Dame.—View of the interior.—Amphitheater.—Covered gallery.—The procession.—Mary's dress.—Appearance of Mary.—Wedding ring.—Movement of the procession.—Largess.—Confusion.—The choir.—Mass.—Return of the procession.—Collation.—Ball.—Evening's entertainments.—A tournament.—Rank of the combatants.—Lances.—Rapid evolutions.—Tourner.—Francis's feebleness.—Mary's love for him.—He retires to the country.—Rejoicings in Scotland.—Mons Meg.—Large ball.—Celebration of Mary's marriage.
When Mary was about fifteen years of age, the King of France began to think that it was time for her to be married. It is true that she was still very young, but there were strong reasons for having the marriage take place at the earliest possible period, for fear that something might occur to prevent its consummation at all. In fact, there were very strong parties opposed to it altogether. The whole Protestant interest in Scotland were opposed to it, and were continually contriving plans to defeat it. They thought that if Mary married a French prince, who was, of course, a Catholic, she would become wedded to the Catholic interest hopelessly and forever. This made them feel a most bitter and determined opposition to the plan.
In fact, so bitter and relentless were the animosities that grew out of this question, that an attempt was actually made to poison Mary. The man who committed this crime was an archer in the king's guard: he was a Scotch man, and his name was Stewart. His attempt was discovered in time to prevent the accomplishment of his purpose. He was tried and condemned. They made every effort to induce him to explain the reason which led him to such an act, or, if he was employed by others, to reveal their names; but he would reveal nothing. He was executed for his crime, leaving mankind to conjecture that his motive, or that of the persons who instigated him to the deed, was a desperate determination to save Scotland, at all hazards, from falling under the influence of papal power.
Mary's mother, the queen dowager of Scotland, was of a celebrated French family, called the family of Guise. She is often, herself, called in history, Mary of Guise. There were other great families in France who were very jealous of the Guises, and envious of their influence and power. They opposed Queen Mary's marriage to the dauphin, and were ready to do all in their power to thwart and defeat it. Queen Catharine, too, who seemed to feel a greater and greater degree of envy and jealousy against Mary as she saw her increasing in grace, beauty, and influence with her advancing years, was supposed to be averse to the marriage. Mary was, in some sense, her rival, and she could not bear to have her become the wife of her son.
King Henry, finding all these opposing influences at work, thought that the safest plan would be to have the marriage carried into effect at the earliest possible period. When, therefore, Mary was about fifteen years of age, which was in 1557, he sent to Scotland, asking the government there to appoint some commissioners to come to France to assent to the marriage contracts, and to witness the ceremonies of the betrothment and the wedding. The marriage contracts, in the case of the union of a queen of one country with a prince of another, are documents of very high importance. It is considered necessary not only to make very formal provision for the personal welfare and comfort of the wife during her married life, and during her widowhood in case of the death of her husband, but also to settle beforehand the questions of succession which might arise out of the marriage, and to define precisely the rights and powers both of the husband and the wife, in the two countries to which they respectively belong.
The Parliament of Scotland appointed a number of commissioners, of the highest rank and station, to proceed to France, and to act there as the representatives of Scotland in every thing which pertained to the marriage. They charged them to guard well the rights and powers of Mary, to see that these rights and all the interests of Scotland were well protected in the marriage contracts, and to secure proper provision for the personal comfort and happiness of the queen. The number of these commissioners was eight. Their departure from Scotland was an event of great public importance. They were accompanied by a large number of attendants and followers, who were eager to be present in Paris at the marriage festivities. The whole company arrived safely at Paris, and were received with every possible mark of distinction and honor.
The marriage contracts were drawn up, and executed with great formality. King Henry made no objection to any of the stipulations and provisions which the commissioners required, for he had a secret plan for evading them all. Very ample provision was made for Mary herself. She was to have a very large income. In case the dauphin died while he was dauphin, leaving Mary a widow, she was still to have a large income paid to her by the French government as long as she lived, whether she remained in France or went back to Scotland. If her husband outlived his father, so as to become King of France, and then died, leaving Mary his widow, her income for the rest of her life was to be double what it would have been if he had died while dauphin. Francis was, in the mean time, to share with her the government of Scotland. If they had a son, he was to be, after their deaths, King of France and of Scotland too. Thus the two crowns would have been united. If, on the other hand, they had only daughters, the oldest one was to be Queen of Scotland only, as the laws of France did not allow a female to inherit the throne. In case they had no children, the crown of Scotland was not to come into the French family at all, but to descend regularly to the next Scotch heir.
Henry was not satisfied with this entirely, for he wanted to secure the union of the Scotch and French crowns at all events, whether Mary had children or not; and he persuaded Mary to sign some papers with him privately, which he thought would secure his purposes, charging her not to let the commissioners know that she had signed them. He thought it possible that he should never have occasion to produce them. One of these papers conveyed the crown of Scotland to the King of France absolutely and forever, in case Mary should die without children. Another provided that the Scotch government should repay him for the enormous sums he had expended upon Mary during her residence in France, for her education, her attendants, the celebrations and galas which he had provided for her, and all the splendid journeys, processions, and parades. His motive in all this expense had been to unite the crown of Scotland to that of France, and he wished to provide that if any thing should occur to prevent the execution of his plan, he could have all this money reimbursed to him again. He estimated the amount at a million of pieces of gold. This was an enormous sum: it shows on how magnificent a scale Mary's reception and entertainment in France were managed.
These preliminary proceedings being settled, all Paris, and, in fact, all France, began to prepare for the marriage celebrations. There were to be two great ceremonies connected with the occasion. The first was the betrothment, the second was the marriage. At the betrothment Francis and Mary were to meet in a great public hall, and there, in the presence of a small and select assemblage of the lords and ladies of the court, and persons of distinction connected with the royal family, they were formally and solemnly to engage themselves to each other. Then, in about a week afterward, they were to be married, in the most public manner, in the great Cathedral Church of Notre Dame.
The ceremony of the betrothal was celebrated in the palace. The palace then occupied by the royal family was the Louvre. It still stands, but is no longer a royal dwelling. Another palace, more modern in its structure, and called the Tuilleries, has since been built, a little farther from the heart of the city, and in a more pleasant situation. The Louvre is square, with an open court in the center. This open court or area is very large, and is paved like the streets. In fact, two great carriage ways pass through it, crossing each other at right angles in the center, and passing out under great arch-ways in the four sides of the building. There is a large hall within the palace, and in this hall the ceremony of the betrothal took place. Francis and Mary pledged their faith to each other with appropriate ceremonies. Only a select circle of relations and intimate friends were present on this occasion. The ceremony was concluded in the evening with a ball.
In the mean time, all Paris was busy with preparations for the marriage. The Louvre is upon one side of the River Seine, its principal front being toward the river, with a broad street between. There are no buildings, but only a parapet wall on the river side of the street, so that there is a fine view of the river and of the bridges which cross it, from the palace windows. Nearly opposite the Louvre is an island, covered with edifices, and connected, by means of bridges, with either shore. The great church of Notre Dame, where the marriage ceremony was to be performed, is upon this island. It has two enormous square towers in front, which may be seen, rising above all the roofs of the city, at a great distance in every direction. Before the church is a large open area, where vast crowds assemble on any great occasion. The interior of the church impresses the mind with the sublimest emotions. Two rows of enormous columns rise to a great height on either hand, supporting the lofty arches of the roof. The floor is paved with great flat stones, and resounds continually with the footsteps of visitors, who walk to and fro, up and down the aisles, looking at the chapels, the monuments, the sculptures, the paintings, and the antique and grotesque images and carvings. Colored light streams through the stained glass of the enormous windows, and the tones of the organ, and the voices of the priests, chanting the service of the mass, are almost always resounding and echoing from the vaulted roof above.
The words Notre Dame mean Our Lady, an expression by which the Roman Catholics denote Mary, the mother of Jesus. The church of Notre Dame had been for many centuries the vast cathedral church of Paris, where all great ceremonies of state were performed. On this occasion they erected a great amphitheater in the area before the church, which would accommodate many thousands of the spectators who were to assemble, and enable them to see the procession. The bride and bridegroom, and their friends, were to assemble in the bishop's palace, which was near the Cathedral, and a covered gallery was erected, leading from this palace to the church, through which the bridal party were to enter. They lined this gallery throughout with purple velvet, and ornamented it in other ways, so as to make the approach to the church through it inconceivably splendid.
Crowds began to collect in the great amphitheater early in the morning. The streets leading to Notre Dame were thronged. Every window in all the lofty buildings around, and every balcony, was full. From ten to twelve the military bands began to arrive, and the long procession was formed, the different parties being dressed in various picturesque costumes. The embassadors of various foreign potentates were present, each bearing their appropriate insignia. The legate of the pope, magnificently dressed, had an attendant bearing before him a cross of massive gold. The bridegroom, Francis the dauphin, followed this legate, and soon afterward came Mary, accompanied by the king. She was dressed in white. Her robe was embroidered with the figure of the lily, and it glittered with diamonds and ornaments of silver. As was the custom in those days, her dress formed a long train, which was borne by two young girls who walked behind her. She wore a diamond necklace, with a ring of immense value suspended from it, and upon her head was a golden coronet, enriched with diamonds and gems of inestimable value.
But the dress and the diamonds which Mary wore were not the chief points of attraction to the spectators. All who were present on the occasion agree in saying that she looked inexpressibly beautiful, and that there was an indescribable grace and charm in all her movements and manner, which filled all who saw her with an intoxication of delight. She was artless and unaffected in her manners, and her countenance, the expression of which was generally placid and calm, was lighted up with the animation and interest of the occasion, so as to make every body envy the dauphin the possession of so beautiful a bride. Queen Catharine, and a long train of the ladies of the court, followed in the procession after Mary. Every body thought that she felt envious and ill at ease.
The essential thing in the marriage ceremony was to be the putting of the wedding ring upon Mary's finger, and the pronouncing of the nuptial benediction which was immediately to follow it. This ceremony was to be performed by the Archbishop of Rouen, who was at that time the greatest ecclesiastical dignitary in France. In order that as many persons as possible might witness this, it was arranged that it should be performed at the great door of the church, so as to be in view of the immense throng which had assembled in the amphitheater erected in the area, and of the multitudes which had taken their positions at the windows and balconies, and on the house-tops around. The procession, accordingly, having entered the church through the covered gallery, moved along the aisles and came to the great door. Here a royal pavilion had been erected, where the bridal party could stand in view of the whole assembled multitude. King Henry had the ring. He gave it to the archbishop. The archbishop placed it upon Mary's finger, and pronounced the benediction in a loud voice. The usual congratulations followed, and Mary greeted her husband under the name of his majesty the King of Scotland. Then the whole mighty crowd rent the air with shouts and acclamations.
It was the custom in those days, on such great public occasions as this, to scatter money among the crowd, that they might scramble for it. This was called the king's largess; and the largess was pompously proclaimed by heralds before the money was thrown. The throwing of the money among this immense throng produced a scene of indescribable confusion. The people precipitated themselves upon each other in their eagerness to seize the silver and the gold. Some were trampled under foot. Some were stripped of their hats and cloaks, or had their clothes torn from them. Some fainted, and were borne out of the scene with infinite difficulty and danger. At last the people clamorously begged the officers to desist from throwing any more money, for fear that the most serious and fatal consequences might ensue.
In the mean time, the bridal procession returned into the church, and, advancing up the center between the lofty columns, they came to a place called the choir, which is in the heart of the church, and is inclosed by screens of carved and sculptured work. It is in the choir that congregations assemble to be present at mass and other religious ceremonies. Movable seats are placed here on ordinary occasions, but at the time of this wedding the place was fitted up with great splendor. Here mass was performed in the presence of the bridal party. Mass is a solemn ceremony conducted by the priests, in which they renew, or think they renew, the sacrifice of Christ, accompanied with offerings of incense, and other acts of adoration, and the chanting of solemn hymns of praise.
At the close of these services the procession moved again down the church, and, issuing forth at the great entrance, it passed around upon a spacious platform, where it could be seen to advantage by all the spectators. Mary was the center to which all eyes were turned. She moved along, the very picture of grace and beauty, the two young girls who followed her bearing her train. The procession, after completing its circuit, returned to the church, and thence, through the covered gallery, it moved back to the bishop's palace. Here the company partook of a grand collation. After the collation there was a ball, but the ladies were too much embarrassed with their magnificent dresses to be able to dance, and at five o'clock the royal family returned to their home. Mary and Queen Catharine went together in a sort of palanquin, borne by men, high officers of state walking on each side. The king and the dauphin followed on horseback, with a large company in their train; but the streets were every where so crowded with eager spectators that it was with extreme difficulty that they were able to make their way.
The palace to which the party went to spend the evening was fitted up and illuminated in the most splendid manner, and a variety of most curious entertainments had been contrived for the amusement of the company. There were twelve artificial horses, made to move by internal mechanism, and splendidly caparisoned. The children of the company, the little princes and dukes, mounted these horses and rode around the arena. Then came in a company of men dressed like pilgrims, each of whom recited a poem written in honor of the occasion. After this was an exhibition of galleys, or boats, upon a little sea. These boats were large enough to bear up two persons. There were two seats in each, one of which was occupied by a young gentleman. As the boats advanced, one by one, each gentleman leaped to the shore, or to what represented the shore, and, going among the company, selected a lady and bore her off to his boat, and then, seating her in the vacant chair, took his place by her side, and continued his voyage. Francis was in one of the boats, and he, on coming to the shore, took Mary for his companion.
The celebrations and festivities of this famous wedding continued for fifteen days. They closed with a grand tournament. A tournament was a very magnificent spectacle in those days. A field was inclosed, in which kings, and princes, and knights, fully armed, and mounted on war-horses, tilted against each other with lances and blunted swords. Ladies of high rank were present as spectators and judges, and one was appointed at each tournament to preside, and to distribute the honors and rewards to those who were most successful in the contests. The greatest possible degree of deference and honor was paid to the ladies by all the knights on these occasions. Once, at a tournament in London, arranged by a king of England, the knights and noblemen rode in a long procession to the field, each led by a lady by means of a silver chain. It was a great honor to be admitted to a share in these contests, as none but persons of the highest rank were allowed to take a part in them. Whenever one was to be held, invitations were sent to all the courts of Europe, and kings, queens, and sovereign princes came to witness the spectacle.
The horsemen who contended on these occasions carried long lances, blunt, indeed, at the end, so that they could not penetrate the armor of the antagonist at which they were aimed, but yet of such weight that the momentum of the blow was sometimes sufficient to unhorse him. The great object of every combatant was, accordingly, to protect himself from this danger. He must turn his horse suddenly, and avoid the lance of his antagonist; or he must strike it with his own, and thus parry the blow; or if he must encounter it, he was to brace himself firmly in his saddle, and resist its impulse with all the strength that he could command. It required, therefore, great strength and great dexterity to excel in a tournament. In fact, the rapidity of the evolutions which it required gave origin to the name, the word tournament being formed from a French word[C] which signifies to turn.
[Footnote C: Tourner.]
The princes and noblemen who were present at the wedding all joined in the tournament except the poor bridegroom, who was too weak and feeble in body, and too timid in mind, for any such rough and warlike exercises. Francis was very plain and unprepossessing in countenance, and shy and awkward in his manners. His health had always been very infirm, and though his rank was very high, as he was the heir apparent to what was then the greatest throne in Europe, every body thought that in all other respects he was unfit to be the husband of such a beautiful and accomplished princess as Mary. He was timid, shy, and anxious and unhappy in disposition. He knew that the gay and warlike spirits around him could not look upon him with respect, and he felt a painful sense of his inferiority.
Mary, however, loved him. It was a love, perhaps, mingled with pity. She did not assume an air of superiority over him, but endeavored to encourage him, to lead him forward, to inspire him with confidence and hope, and to make him feel his own strength and value. She was herself of a sedate and thoughtful character, and with all her intellectual superiority, she was characterized by that feminine gentleness of spirit, that disposition to follow and to yield rather than to govern, that desire to be led and to be loved rather than to lead and be admired, which constitute the highest charm of woman.
Francis was glad when the celebrations, tournament and all, were well over. He set off from Paris with his young bride to one of his country residences, where he could live, for a while, in peace and quietness. Mary was released, in some degree, from the restraints, and formalities, and rules of etiquette of King Henry's court, and was, to some extent, her own mistress, though still surrounded with many attendants, and much parade and splendor. The young couple thus commenced the short period of their married life. They were certainly a very young couple, being both of them under sixteen.
The rejoicings on account of the marriage were not confined to Paris. All Scotland celebrated the event with much parade. The Catholic party there were pleased with the final consummation of the event, and all the people, in fact, joined, more or less, in commemorating the marriage of their queen. There is in the Castle of Edinburgh, on a lofty platform which overlooks a broad valley, a monstrous gun, several centuries old, which was formed of bars of iron secured by great iron hoops. The balls which this gun carried are more than a foot in diameter. The name of this enormous piece of ordnance is Mons Meg. It is now disabled, having been burst, many years ago, and injured beyond the possibility of repair. There were great rejoicings in Edinburgh at the time of Mary's marriage, and from some old accounts which still remain at the castle, it appears that ten shillings were paid to some men for moving up Mons Meg to the embrasure of the battery, and for finding and bringing back her shot after she was discharged; by which it appears that firing Mons Meg was a part of the celebration by which the people of Edinburgh honored the marriage of their queen.
Mary's love for Francis.—How to cherish the passion.—Grand tournament.—Henry's pride.—An encounter.—The helmet.—The vizor.—King Henry wounded.—His death.—The mournful marriage.—The dauphin becomes king.—Catharine superseded.—Mary's gentleness.—Coronation of Francis.—Francis's health declines.—Superstition of the people.—Commotions in Scotland.—Sickness of the queen regent.—Death of Mary's mother.—Illness of Francis.—His last moments and death.—Mary a young widow.—Embassadors from Scotland.—Mary's unwillingness to leave France.—Mary in mourning.—She is called the White Queen.—A device.—Mary's employments.—Her beautiful hands.—Melancholy visit.—Mary returns to Paris.—Jealousy.—Queen Elizabeth.—Her character.—Henry VIII.—Elizabeth's claim to the throne.—Mary's claim.—The coat of arms.—Elizabeth offended and alarmed.—The Catholic party.—A device.—Treaty of Edinburgh.—The safe-conduct.—Elizabeth refuses the safe-conduct.—Mary's speech.—Mary's true nobility of soul.—Sympathy with her.—Mary's religious faith.—Her frankness and candor.
It was said in the last chapter that Mary loved her husband, infirm and feeble as he was both in body and in mind. This love was probably the effect, quite as much as it was the cause, of the kindness which she showed him. As we are very apt to hate those whom we have injured, so we almost instinctively love those who have in any way become the objects of our kindness and care. If any wife, therefore, wishes for the pleasure of loving her husband, or which is, perhaps, a better supposition, if any husband desires the happiness of loving his wife, conscious that it is a pleasure which he does not now enjoy, let him commence by making her the object of his kind attentions and care, and love will spring up in the heart as a consequence of the kind of action of which it is more commonly the cause.
About a year passed away, when at length another great celebration took place in Paris, to honor the marriages of some other members of King Henry's family. One of them was Francis's oldest sister. A grand tournament was arranged on this occasion too. The place for this tournament was where the great street of St. Antoine now lies, and which may be found on any map of Paris. A very large concourse of kings and nobles from all the courts of Europe were present. King Henry, magnificently dressed, and mounted on a superb war-horse, was a very prominent figure in all the parades of the occasion, though the actual contests and trials of skill which took place were between younger princes and knights, King Henry and the ladies being generally only spectators and judges. He, however, took a part himself on one or two occasions, and received great applause.
At last, at the end of the third day, just as the tournament was to be closed, King Henry was riding around the field, greatly excited with the pride and pleasure which so magnificent a spectacle was calculated to awaken, when he saw two lances still remaining which had not been broken. The idea immediately seized him of making one more exhibition of his own power and dexterity in such contests. He took one of the lances, and, directing a high officer who was riding near him to take the other, he challenged him to a trial of skill. The name of this officer was Montgomery. Montgomery at first declined, being unwilling to contend with his king. The king insisted. Queen Catharine begged that he would not contend again. Accidents sometimes happened, she knew, in these rough encounters; and, at any rate, it terrified her to see her husband exposed to such dangers. The other lords and ladies, and Francis and Queen Mary particularly, joined in these expostulations. But Henry was inflexible. There was no danger, and, smiling at their fears, he commanded Montgomery to arm himself with his lance and take his position.
The spectators looked on in breathless silence. The two horsemen rode toward each other, each pressing his horse forward to his utmost speed, and as they passed, each aimed his lance at the head and breast of the other. It was customary on such occasions to wear a helmet, with a part called a vizor in front, which could be raised on ordinary occasions, or let down in moments of danger like this, to cover and protect the eyes. Of course this part of the armor was weaker than the rest, and it happened that Montgomery's lance struck here—was shivered—and a splinter of it penetrated the vizor and inflicted a wound upon Henry, on the head, just over the eye. Henry's horse went on. The spectators observed that the rider reeled and trembled in his seat. The whole assembly were in consternation. The excitement of pride and pleasure was every where turned into extreme anxiety and alarm.
They flocked about Henry's horse, and helped the king to dismount. He said it was nothing. They took off his helmet, and found large drops of blood issuing from the wound. They bore him to his palace. He had the magnanimity to say that Montgomery must not be blamed for this result, as he was himself responsible for it entirely. He lingered eleven days, and then died. This was in July, 1559.
One of the marriages which this unfortunate tournament had been intended to celebrate, that of Elizabeth, the king's daughter, had already taken place, having been performed a day or two before the king was wounded; and it was decided, after Henry was wounded, that the other must proceed, as there were great reasons of state against any postponement of it. This second marriage was that of Margaret, his sister. The ceremony in her case was performed in a silent and private manner, at night, by torch-light, in the chapel of the palace, while her brother was dying. The services were interrupted by her sobs and tears.
Notwithstanding the mental and bodily feebleness which seemed to characterize the dauphin, Mary's husband, who now, by the death of his father, became King of France, the event of his accession to the throne seemed to awaken his energies, and arouse him to animation and effort. He was sick himself, and in his bed, in a palace called the Tournelles, when some officers of state were ushered into his apartment, and, kneeling before him, saluted him as king. This was the first announcement of his father's death. He sprang from his bed, exclaiming at once that he was well. It is one of the sad consequences of hereditary greatness and power that a son must sometimes rejoice at the death of his father.
It was Francis's duty to repair at once to the royal palace of the Louvre, with Mary, who was now Queen of France as well as of Scotland, to receive the homage of the various estates of the realm. Catharine was, of course, now queen dowager. Mary, the child whom she had so long looked upon with feelings of jealousy and envy was, from this time, to take her place as queen. It was very humiliating to Catharine to assume the position of a second and an inferior in the presence of one whom she had so long been accustomed to direct and to command. She yielded, however, with a good grace, though she seemed dejected and sad. As they were leaving the Tournelles, she stopped to let Mary go before her, saying, "Pass on, madame; it is your turn to take precedence now." Mary went before her, but she stopped in her turn, with a sweetness of disposition so characteristic of her, to let Queen Catharine enter first into the carriage which awaited them at the door.
Francis, though only sixteen, was entitled to assume the government himself. He went to Rheims, a town northeast of Paris, where is an abbey, which is the ancient place of coronation for the kings of France. Here he was crowned. He appointed his ministers, and evinced, in his management and in his measures, more energy and decision than it was supposed he possessed. He himself and Mary were now, together, on the summit of earthly grandeur. They had many political troubles and cares which can not be related here, but Mary's life was comparatively peaceful and happy, the pleasures which she enjoyed being greatly enhanced by the mutual affection which existed between herself and her husband.
Though he was small in stature, and very unprepossessing in appearance and manners, Francis still evinced in his government a considerable degree of good judgment and of energy. His health, however, gradually declined. He spent much of his time in traveling, and was often dejected and depressed. One circumstance made him feel very unhappy. The people of many of the villages through which he passed, being in those days very ignorant and superstitious, got a rumor into circulation that the king's malady was such that he could only be cured by being bathed in the blood of young children. They imagined that he was traveling to obtain such a bath; and, wherever he came, the people fled, mothers eagerly carrying off their children from this impending danger. The king did not understand the cause of his being thus shunned. They concealed it from him, knowing that it would give him pain. He knew only the fact, and it made him very sad to find himself the object of this mysterious and unaccountable aversion.
In the mean time, while these occurrences had been taking place in France, Mary's mother, the queen dowager of Scotland, had been made queen regent of Scotland after her return from France; but she experienced infinite trouble and difficulty in managing the affairs of the country. The Protestant party became very strong, and took up arms against her government. The English sent them aid. She, on the other hand, with the Catholic interest to support her, defended her power as well as she could, and called for help from France to sustain her. And thus the country which she was so ambitious to govern, was involved by her management in the calamities and sorrows of civil war.