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THE WEST COUNTRY
QUEEN MARY AND DARNLEY IN GLASGOW.
QUEEN Mary, beautiful, accomplished, and rich also in gracious, persuasive ways, was not more remarkable among Sovereigns of her own day than for the romance which has ever since surrounded the story of her life, from its chequered opening to that tragic close in the halls of her ancestors at Fotheringay. Partly through her connection with foreign Courts, and partly in spite of that connection, Mary's position as wife of the Dauphin, as Dowager of France, as Queen of Scotland, and as next in succession to her cousin Elizabeth on the English throne—all tended, whether consciously or unconsciously, to make her the centre round which were devised that series of cunning plots and counterplots which disturbed the peace of other nations than Scotland, and ultimately led to serve as excuses for her long, dreary imprisonment, for her unconstitutional trial, and for her cruel execution. "False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not,” is the motto selected from the painful experience of the Psalmist by the most imaginative of modern painters for his portrait of the unhappy Sovereign, fitted more for adorning the gay Court of Bourbon than for controlling or even moderating the pretensions of her own rapacious nobles in the North. Queen Mary may have known innocence; peace but seldom. Cradled amid the storms of the Reformation, she was a prisoner even in infancy, and before she could speak must have been often alarmed by the contentions of violent, unprincipled men. The
necessity of protecting her youthful person from seizure led to her first appearance in the West. The Protector Somerset, failing to follow up his success gained on the field of Pinkie in September, 1547, the Queen-Mother took advantage of the temporary quietness which succeeded that engagement to prepare for removing Mary to the French Court, where, it was thought, she would be safe from the machinations of England, and the no less dangerous factions which existed in her own country. With this object the young Queen was removed with her mimic Court from her retreat in the monastery of Inchmahome, where the remains of her child garden may yet be traced, and placed in Dumbarton Castle to await the arrival of a French fleet in the Clyde. An entry in the Exchequer Record (Register House) fixes the removal as on the last day of February, 1548, when the Queen was about three months over six years
Here she would appear to have sickened of small-pox, without, however, having her beauty impairedan experience which enabled Mary twenty years afterwards to bestow sympathy with her sister of England on casting off a complaint which in these days was little short of a national scourge. It was not till the first week in August that the Queen could safely embark with her “Four Maries and other attendants. The little Lady was observed to shed tears after she had received the maternal blessing and farewell kiss of the only parent she had ever known; but, trained even thus early in the regal science of self-control, she offered no resistance, but permitted herself to be carried on board the galley of the King of France, which had been fitted up and sent expressly for her accommodation by the father of her future husband. Suspicious of hostile ships at sea, the Admiral in charge (Villegaignon) selected a circuitous course to steer by, so that it was six days before Brest was made, when the Queen commenced her progress to the palace of St. Germain, where she was joyfully received by the French monarch, and a household appointed for her at the public expense. With Mary's residence in France, and her training at the Court of the Guises, little mention need be made here, beyond the brief facts that she married the Dauphin at sixteen (1558), was Queen of France for sixteen months, and a widow at eighteen. Never entirely trusted by the Guises, and anxious at the same