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graphis will probably do more to gain over the general run of English readers to her side, than the most elaborate apology, or than quartos full of antiquarian lore.
• Her face, her form, have been so deeply impressed upon the imagination, that, even at the distance of nearly three centuries, it is unnecessary to remind the most ignorant and uninformed reader of the striking traits which characterize that remarkable countenance, which seems at once to combine our ideas of the majestic, the pleasing, and the brilliant, leaving us to doubt whether they express most happily the queen, the beauty, or the accomplished woman. Who is there, at the very mention of Mary Stuart's name, that has not her countenance before him, familiar as that of the mistress of his youth, or the favourite daughter of his advanced age? Even those who feel themselves compelled to believe all, or much of what her enemies laid to her charge, cannot think without a sigh upon a countenance expressive of anything rather than the foul crimes with which she was charged when living, and which still continue to shade, if not to blacken her memory. That brow, so truly open and regal—those eye-brows, so regularly graceful, which yet were saved from the charge of regular insipidity by the beautiful effect of the hazel eyes which they overarched, and which scem to utter a thousand histories -the nose, with all its Grecian precision of outline-the mouth, so well proportioned, so sweetly formed, as if designed to speak nothing but what was delightful to hear—the dimpled chin-the stately swanlike neck, form a countenance, the like of which we know not to have existed in any other character moving in that high class of life, where the actresses as well as the actors command general and undivided attention. It is in vain to say that the portraits which exist of this remarkable woman are not like each other; for, amidst their discrepancy, each possesses general features which the eye at once acknowledges as peculiar to the vision which our imagination has raised while we read her history for the first time, and which has been impressed upon it by the numerous prints and pic. tures which we have seen. Indeed we cannot look on the worst of them, however deficient in point of execution, without saying that it is meant for Queen Mary; and no small instance it is of the power of beauty, that her charms should have remained the subject not merely of admiration, but of warm and chivalrous interest, after the lapse of such a length of time. We know that by far the most acute of those who, in latter days, have adopted the unfavourable view of Mary's character, longed, like the executioner before his dreadful task was performed, to kiss the fair hand of her on whom he was about to perform so horrible a duty.' pp. 179–182.
- When Roland entered, he saw that the Queen had thrown her. self into the large chair which stood nearest the door, and was sobbing for breath in a strong fit of hysterical affection. The elder fewale supported her in her arms, while the younger bathed her face with water and with tears alternately.
• “ Hasten, young man !” said the elder lady, in alarm, “dy-call in assistance she is swooning!"
• But the Queen ejaculated in a faint and broken voice,“ Stir not, I charge you !-call no one to witness—I am better-I will recover instantly." And, indeed, with an effort which seemed like that of one struggling for life, she sate up in ber chair, and endeavoured to resume her composure, while her features yet trembled with the violent emotion of body and mind which she had undergone. “ I am ashamed of my weakness, girls," she said, taking the hands of her attendants ; “ but it is over—and I am Mary Stuart once more. The savage tone of that man's voice-my knowledge of his insolence-the name which he named the purpose for which they come, may excuse a moment's weakness and it shall be a moment's only.” She snatched from her head the curch or cap, which had been disordered during her hysterical agony-shook down the thick clustered tresses of dark brown which had been before veiled under it-and, drawing her slender fingers across the labyrinth which they formed, she arose from the chair, and stood like the inspired image of a Grecian prophetess, in a mood which partook at once of sorrow and pride, of smiles and of tears, “ We are ill appointed,” she said, “to meet our rebel subjects ; but, as far as we may, we will strive to present ourselves as becomes their Queen. Follow me, my maidens," she said ; “ what says thy favourite song, my Fleming?
• My maids, come to my dressing bower,
Look ye lay ten times mair.' Alas !” she added, when she had repeated with a smile these lines of an old ballad, “ violence has already robbed me of the ordinary decorations of my rank; and the few that nature gave me have been destroyed by sorrow and by fear.”. Yet while she spoke thus, she again let her slender fingers stray through the wilderness of the beautiful tresses which veiled her kingly neck and swelling bosom, as if, in her agony of mind, she had not altogether lost the consciousness of her unrivalled charms. Roland Græme, on whose youth, inexperience, and ardent sense of what was dignified and lovely, the demeanour of so fair and high-born a lady, wrought like the charm of a magician, stood rooted to the spot with surprise and interest, longing to hazard his life in a quarrel so fair as that which Mary Stuart's must needs be, She had been bred in France-she was possessed of the most distinguished beauty—she bad reigned a Queen, and a Scottish Queen, to whom knowledge of character was as essential as the use of vital air, In all these capacities, Mary was, of all women on the earth, most alert at perceiving and using the advantages which her charms, gave her over almost all who came within the sphere of their influence. She cast on Roland a glance which might have melted a heart of stone. " My poor boy," she said, with a feeling partly real, partly political, “ thou art a stranger to us-sent to this doleful captivity from the society of some tender mother, or sister, or maiden, with whom you had freedom to tread a gay measure round the May-pole. ! grieve for you;—but you are the only male in my limited household wilt thou obey my orders ?"
< " To the deaili, madam,” said Game, in a determined tone.'
The remainder of the tale is occupied with the proceedings within the castle of Lochleven, the plans laid for the Queen's liberation, her escape, the fatal battle wbich ensued, and her embarkation for England. The page is, of course, a chief actor in all these scenes. He is rewarded by having the secret of his birth cleared up to the satisfaction of the Seytons, and returns to the castle of Avenel as its recognised beir. There are some under-plots and subordinate incidents which, without distracting the interest, tend considerably to enliven the story. The romantic love of George Douglas for the Queen, the mysterious double of Catherine Seyton, who is perpetually crossing the perplexed page, and the ubiquitous Magdalen, are introduced with admirable effect. The character of Dryfesdale is a less happy conception: it is indeed violently out of drawing. The Author's design was to portray a gloomy and remorseless fatalist, or, as he pleasesto term birn, predestinarian, of some German school of anabaptists that nobody ever beard of; but he does not understand these matters, and should not meddle with them. The following scene is much better adapted to his pencil.
• At the dead hour of midnight, when all was silent in the castle, the page put the key into the lock of the wicket which opened into the garden, and which was at the bottom of a staircase that descended from the Queen's apartment. “ Now, turn smooth and softly, thou good bolt,” said he, “ if ever oil softened rust!" and his precautions had been so effectual, that the bolt revolved with little or no sound of resistance. He ventured not to cross the threshold, but exchanging a word with the disguised Abbot, asked if the boat were ready.
** This half hour," said the sentinel, “ she lies beneath the wall, too close under the islet to be seen by the warder, but I fear she will hardly escape his notice in putting off again."
• «The darkness," said the page, “and our profound silence, may take her off unobserved, as she came in. Hildebrand has the watch on the tower—a heavy-headed knave, who holds a can of ale to be the best head-piece upon a night watch. He sleeps for a wager."
"" Then bring the Queen,” said the Abbot, “ and I will call Henry Seyton to assist them to the boat.”
• On tiptoe, with noiseless step and suppressed breath, trembling at every rustle of their own apparel, one after another the fair prisoners glided down the winding stair, under the guidance of Roland Græme, and were received at the wicket-gate by Henry Seyton and the churchman. The former seemed instantly to take upon himself the whole direction of the enterprize. “My Lord Abbot,” he said, “ give my sister your arm— I will conduct the Queen-and the youth will have the honour to guide Lady Fleming."
• This was no time to dispute the arrangement, although it was not that which Roland Græme would have chosen. Catherine Seyton, who well knew the garden path, tripped on before like a sylph, rather leading the Abbot than receiving assistance the Queen, her native spirit prevailing over female fear, and a thousand painful reflections, moved
steadily forward, by assistance of Henry Seyton-while the Lady Fleming encumbered with her fears and her helplessness Roland Græme, who followed in the rear and who bore under the other arm a packet of necessaries belonging to the Queen. The door of the garden, which communicated with the shore of the islet, yielded to one of the keys of wlich Roland had possessed himself, although not until he had tried several,-a moment of anxious terror and expectation. The ladies were then partly led, partly carried, to the side of the lake, where a boat with six rowers attended them, the men couched along the bottom to secure them from observation. Henry Seyton placed the Queen in the stern; the Abbot offered to assist Catherine, but she was seated by the Queen's side before he could utter his proffer of help; and Roland Græme was just lifting Lady Fleming over the boat-side, when a thought suddenly occurred to him, and exclaiming, “ Forgotten, forgotten! wait me but one half minute," he replaced on the shore, the helpless lady of the bed-chamber, threw the Queen's packet into the boat, and sped back through the garden with the noiseless speed of a bird on the wing.
« « By Heaven he is false at last!” said Seyton ; “ I ever feared it!”
«« He is as true,” said Catherine, “ as Heaven itself, and that I will maintain."
«« Be silent, minion,” said her brother, “ for shame, if not for i fear-Fellows, put off, and row for your lives."
• “ Help me, help me on board !” said the deserted Lady Fleming, and that louder than prudence warranted.
6- Put off-put off,” cried Henry Seyton; “ leave all behind, so the Queen is safe.”
«« Will you permit this, Madam?” said Catherine, imploringly; “ you leave your deliverer to death.”
*" I will not," said the Queen.-“Seyton, I command you to stay at every risk.”
«« Pardon me, madam, if I disobey," said the intractable young man; and with one hand lifting in Lady Fleming, he begun himself to push off the boat.
• She was two fathoms length from the shore, and the rowers were getting her head round, when Roland Græme, arriving, bounded from the beach, and attained the boat, overturning Seyton, on whom he lighted. The youth swore a deep but suppressed oath, and stopping Græme as he stepped toward the stern, said, “ Your place is not with high-born dames-keep at the head and trim the vessel – Now give way-give way_Row, for God and the Queen!"
The rowers obeyed, and began to pull vigorously.
6" Why did ye not muffle the oars?" said Roland Græme; “ the dash must awaken the centinel-Row, lads, and get out of shot ; for had not old Hildebrand, the warder, supped upon poppy-porridge, this whispering must have waked him."
« « It was all thine own delay,” said Seyton; “ thou shalt reckon with me hereafter for that and other matters.”
• But Roland's apprehension was verified too instantly to permit him to reply. The centincl, whose slumbering had withstood the
whispering, was alarmed by the dash of the oars. His challenge was instantly heard. “A boaia boat !—-bring to, or I shoot !" And, as they continued to ply their qars, he called aloud, “ Treason! treason!” rung the bell of the castle, and discharged bis harquebuss at the boat. The ladies crowded on each other like startled wildfowl, at the flash and report of the piece, while the men urged the rowers to the utmost speed. They heard more than one ball whiz along the surface of the lake, at no great distance from their little bark; and from the lights, which glanced like meteors from window to window, it was evident the whole castle was alarmed, and their escape discovered.
• Pull !” again exclaimed Seyton; “ stretch to your oars, or I will spur you to the task with my dagger-they will launch a boat immediately.”
• “ That is cared for,” said Roland ; " I locked gate and wicket on them when I went back, and no boat will stir from the island this night, if doors of good oak and bolts of iron can keep men within stone-walls. And now I resign my office of porter of Lochleven, and give the keys to the Kelpie's keeping."
• As the heavy keys plunged in the lake, the Abbot, who till then had been repeating his prayers, exclaimed, “ Now, bless thee, my son! for thy ready prudence puts shame on us all.”
• “ I knew,” said Mary, drawing her breath more freely, as they were now out of reach of the musketry—“I knew my squire's truth, promptitude, and sagacity.-! must have him dear friends with my no less true knights, Douglas and Seaton--but where, then, is Douglas ?"
• * Here, madam," answered the deep and melancholy voice of the boalman who sate next her, and who acted as steersman.
•“ Alas ! was it you who stretched your body before me,” said the Queen, “when the balls were raining around us?”
!“ Believe you,” said he, in a low tone, “ that Douglas would have resigned to any one the chance of protecting his Queen's life with his own?”
• The dialogue was here interrupted by a shot or two, from one of those small pieces of artillery, called falconets, then used in defending castles. The shot was too vague to have any effect, but the broader flash, the deeper sound, the louder return, which was made by the midnight echoes of Bennarty, terrified and imposed silence on the liberated prisoners. The boat was alongside of a rude quay or landing-place, running out from a garden of considerable extent, ere any of them again attempted to speak. They landed, and while the Abbot returned thanks aloud to Heaven, which had thus far favoured their enterprize, Douglas enjoyed the best reward of his desperate undertaking, in conducting the Queen to the house of the gardener.' pp. 262—270.
There are a hundred improbabilities in the tale, but these we do not stop to notice. The Author winds up the narrative, and gets rid of the supernumerary personages, rather better than usual. Father Ambrosius is made to warn the ill-fated Queen,