“And upon what proofs could such a charge be founded, my lord? Pardon my persistence, which takes up your precious time; but I am sufficiently interested in the matter to be permitted such a question.”
“The proof, madam?” returned Ruthven. “There is but one, I know; but that one is unexceptionable: it is the precipitate marriage of the widow of the assassinated with the chief assassin, and the letters which have been handed over to us by James Balfour, which prove that the guilty persons had united their adulterous hearts before it was permitted them to unite their bloody hands.”
“My lord,” cried the queen, “do you forget a certain repast given in an Edinburgh tavern, by this same Bothwell, to those same noblemen who treat him 南海盐步桑拿网 to-day as an adulterer and a murderer; do you forget that at the end of that meal, and on the same table at which it had been given, a paper was signed to invite that same woman, to whom to-day you make the haste of her new wedding a crime, to leave off a widow’s mourning to reassume a marriage robe? for if you have forgotten it, my lords, which would do no more honour to your sobriety than to your memory, I undertake to show it to you, I who have preserved it; and perhaps if we search well we shall find among the signatures the names of Lindsay of Byres and William Ruthven. O noble Lord Herries,” cried Mary, “loyal James Melville, you alone were right then, when you threw yourselves at my feet, entreating me not to conclude this marriage, which, I see it clearly to-day, was only a trap set for an ignorant woman by perfidious advisers or disloyal lords.”
“Madam,” cried 佛山桑拿按摩休闲中心 Ruthven, in spite of his cold impassivity beginning to lose command of himself, while Lindsay was giving still more noisy and less equivocal signs of impatience, “madam, all these discussions are beside our aim: I beg you to return to it, then, and inform us if, your life and honour guaranteed, you consent to abdicate the crown of Scotland.”
“And what safeguard should I have that the promises you here make me will be kept?”
“Our word, madam,” proudly replied Ruthven.
“Your word, my lord, is a very feeble pledge to offer, when one so quickly forgets one’s signature: have you not some trifle to add to it, to make me a little easier than I should be with it alone?”
“Enough, Ruthven, enough,” cried Lindsay. “Do you not see that for an hour this woman answers our proposals only by insults?”
“Yes, let us go,” said Ruthven; “and thank yourself only, madam, for the day when the thread breaks which holds the sword suspended over 佛山夜生活哪里好玩 your head.”
“My lords,” cried Melville, “my lords, in Heaven’s name, a little patience, and forgive something to her who, accustomed to command, is today forced to obey.”
“Very well,” said Lindsay, turning round, “stay with her, then, and try to obtain by your smooth words what is refused to our frank and loyal demand. In a quarter of an hour we shall return: let the answer be ready in a quarter of an hour!”
With these words, the two noblemen went out, leaving Melville with the queen; and one could count their footsteps, from the noise that Lindsay’s great sword made, in resounding on each step of the staircase.
Scarcely were they alone than Melville threw himself at the queen’s feet.
“Madam,” said he, “you remarked just now that Lord Herries and my brother had given your Majesty advice that you repented not having followed; well, madam, reflect on that I in my turn give you; for it is more important than the other, for you will regret with still more bitterness not having listened to it. Ah! you do not know what may happen, 佛山桑拿介绍 you are ignorant of what your brother is capable.”
“It seems to me, however,” returned the queen, “that he has just instructed me on that head: what more will he do than he has done already? A public trial! Oh! it is all I ask: let me only plead my cause, and we shall see what judges will dare to condemn me.”
“But that is what they will take good care not to do, madam; for they would be mad to do it when they 佛山桑拿按摩论坛蒲友 keep you here in this isolated castle, in the care of your enemies, having no witness but God, who avenges crime, but who does not prevent it. Recollect, madam, what Machiavelli has said, ‘A king’s tomb is never far from his prison.’ You come of a family in which one dies young, madam, and almost always of a sudden death: two of your ancestors perished by steel, and one by poison.”
“Oh, if my death were sudden and easy,” cried Mary, “yes, I should accept it as an expiation for my faults; for if I am proud when I compare myself with others, Melville, I am humble when I judge myself. I am unjustly accused of being an accomplice of Darnley’s death, but I am justly condemned for having married Bothwell.”
“Time presses, madam; time presses,” cried Melville, looking at the sand, which, placed on the table, was marking the time. “佛山桑拿按摩视频 They are coming back, they will be here in a minute; and this time you must give them an answer. Listen, madam, and at least profit by your situation as much as you can. You are alone here with one woman, without friends, without protection, without power: an abdication signed at such a juncture will never appear to your people to have been freely given, but will always pass as having been torn from you by force; and if need be, madam, if the day comes when such a solemn declaration is worth something, well, then you will have two witnesses of the violence done you: the one will be Mary Seyton, and the other,” he added in a low voice and looking uneasily about him,—”the other will be Robert Melville.”
Hardly had he finished speaking when the footsteps of the two nobles were again heard on the staircase, returning even before 佛山桑拿js the quarter of an hour had elapsed; a moment afterwards the door opened, and Ruthven appeared, while over his shoulder was seen Lindsay’s head.
“Madam,” said Ruthven, “we have returned. Has your Grace decided? We come for your answer.”
“Yes,” said Lindsay, pushing aside Ruthven, who stood in his way, and advancing to the table,—”yes, an answer, clear, precise, positive, and without dissimulation.”
“You are exacting, my lord,” said the queen: “you would scarcely have the right to expect that from me if I were in full liberty on the other side of the lake and surrounded with a faithful escort; but between these walls, behind these bars, in the depths of this fortress, I shall not tell you that I sign voluntarily, lest you should not believe it. But no matter, you want my signature; well, I am going to give it to you. 佛山飞机桑拿0757Melville, pass me the pen.”
“But I hope,” said Lord Ruthven, “that your Grace is not counting on using your present position one day in argument to protest against what you are going to do?”
The queen had already stooped to write, she had already set her hand to the paper, when Ruthven spoke to her. But scarcely had he done so, than she rose up proudly, and letting fall the pen, “My lord,” said she, “what you asked of me just now was but an abdication pure and simple, and I was going to sign it. But if to this abdication is joined this marginal note, then I renounce of my own accord, and as judging myself unworthy, the throne of Scotland. I would not do it for the three united crowns that I have been robbed of in turn.”
“Take care, madam,” cried Lord Lindsay, seizing the queen’s wrist with his steel gauntlet and squeezing it with all his angry strength—”take care, for our patience is at an end, and we could easily end by breaking what would not bend.”
The queen remained standing, and although a violent flush had passed like a flame over her countenance, she did not utter a word, and did not move: her eyes only were fixed with such a great expression of contempt on those of the rough baron, that he, ashamed of the passion that had carried him away, let go the hand he had seized and took a step back. Then raising her sleeve and showing the violet marks made on her arm by Lord Lindsay’s steel gauntlet.
“This is what I expected, my lords,” said she, “and nothing prevents me any longer from signing; yes, I freely abdicate the throne and crown of Scotland, and there is the proof that my will has not been forced.”
With these words, she took the pen and rapidly signed the two documents, held them
out to Lord Ruthven, and bowing with great dignity, withdrew slowly into her room, accompanied by Mary Seyton. Ruthven looked after her, and when she had disappeared, “It doesn’t matter,” he said; “she has signed, and although the means you employed, Lindsay, may be obsolete enough in diplomacy, it is not the less efficacious, it seems.”
“No joking, Ruthven,” said Lindsay; “for she is a noble creature, and if I had dared, I should have thrown myself at her feet to ask her forgiveness.”
“There is still time,” replied Ruthven, “and Mary, in her present situation, will not be severe upon you: perhaps she has resolved to appeal to the judgment of God to prove her innocence, and in that case a champion such as you might well change the face of things.”
“Do not joke, Ruthven,” Lindsay answered a second time, with more violence
than the first; “for if I were as well convinced of her innocence as I am of her crime, I tell you that no one should touch a hair of her head, not even the regent.”
“The devil! my lord,” said Ruthven. “I did not know you were so sensitive to a gentle voice and a tearful eye; you know the story of Achilles’ lance, which healed with its rust the wounds it made with its edge: do likewise my lord, do likewise.”
“Enough, Ruthven, enough,” replied Lindsay; “you are like a corselet of Milan steel, which is three times as bright as the steel armour of Glasgow, but which is at the same time thrice as hard: we know one another, Ruthven, so an end to railleries or threats; enough, believe me, enough.”
And after these words, Lord Lindsay went out first, followed by Ruthven and Melville, the first with his head high and affecting
an air of insolent indifference, and the second, sad, his brow bent, and not even trying to disguise the painful impression which this scene had made on him.’ [“History of Scotland, by Sir Walter Scott.—’The Abbott”: historical part.]
The queen came out of her room only in the evening, to take her place at the window which looked over the lake: at the usual time she saw the light which was henceforth her sole hope shine in the little house in Kinross; for a whole long month she had no other consolation than seeing it, every night, fixed and faithful.
At last, at the end of this time, and as she was beginning to despair of seeing George Douglas again, one morning, on opening the window, she uttered a cry. Mary Seyton ran to her, and the queen, without having strength to speak, showed her in the middle of the lake the tiny boat at anchor, and in the boat Little Douglas and George, who were absorbed in fishing, their favourite amusement. The young man had arrived the day before, and as everyone was accustomed to his unexpected returns, the sentinel had not even blown the horn, and the queen had not known that at last a friend had come.
However, she was three days yet without seeing this friend otherwise than she had just done-that is, on the lake. It is true that from morning till evening he did not leave that spot, from which he could view the queen’s windows and the queen herself, when, to gaze at a wider horizon, she leaned her face against the bars. At last, on the morning of the fourth day, the queen was awakened by a great noise of dogs and horns: she immediately ran to the window, for to a prisoner everything is an event, and she saw William Douglas, who was embarking with a pack of hounds and some huntsmen. In fact, making a truce, for a day, with his gaoler’s duties, to enjoy a pleasure more in harmony with his rank 佛山桑拿体验 and birth, he was going to hunt in the woods which cover the last ridge of Ben Lomond, and which, ever sinking, die down on the banks of the lake.
The queen trembled with delight, for she hoped that Lady Lochleven would maintain her ill-will, and that then George would replace his brother: this hope was not disappointed. At the usual time the queen heard the footsteps of those who were bringing her her breakfast; the door opened, and she saw George Douglas enter, preceded by the servants who were carrying the dishes. George barely bowed; but the queen, warned by him not to be surprised at anything, returned him his greeting with a disdainful air; then the servants performed their task and went out, as they were accustomed.
“At last,” said the queen, “you are back again, then.”
George motioned with his finger, went to the 佛山桑拿飞机网0757d door to listen if all the servants had really gone away, and if no one had remained to spy. Then, returning more at ease, and bowing respectfully—